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I hate to be pedantic (I don't really) but if you'd listened to that Springsteen track that much you should know it's just called 'Hungry Heart'. Are you so incurious that you've never looked at the album sleeve?

Sorry, there's always a wise-ass prick like me around on the web, isn't there?



Did I mention that there are not only times when I almost feel sorry for George Bush, there are times when I identify with him?


OK, I'll pony up. (No pun intended.) In addition to literary "saints" I've found compelling over the years, I'll admit to early and lasting inspiration from John Wayne. Not the actor, the real person, but the characters he portrayed on-screen. These men -- Captain York, Lt. Rusty Ryan, Sergeant Stryker, Dan Roman, "Guns" Donovan, Cole Thornton/Dan Chance, Admiral "Rock" Torrey, Col. Marlowe, even Ethan Edwards -- were pretty good role models. They were honorable, they stood tall, faced trouble and disaster without flinching. There was no posturing or grandstanding, just quiet professionalism. They were kind (if gruff) with younger men as well as women and children. They were no more cynical than they had to be. A kid growing up in the 1950s could do worse.


Lance, the man is stupid. He's wrong about EVERYTHING, all the time. He has a massive history of "interpreting" things incorrectly. PLUS, Charles Wesley would PERSONALLY and PUBLICLY have nothing to do with Bush(I'm a former Methodist who grew up in a Methodist resort town, so I know a TEENY bit about John and Charles Wesley). He didn't start out stupid. His SAT scores are about the same as mine. The difference is that Bush has never, not one day in his life, done an honest day's work. Big time brush clearer. Wow. What kind of freakin' moron clears brush in Central Texas in the SUMMER?

So, charge to keep, my ass. The man is a moron. His heroes inspire EXACTLY the opposite reaction to reality. The schadenfreudian slip in understanding this painting is just what you expect from a man who's favorite "philosopher" is a Nazarene of questionable existence.


I grew up in the fifties, too. John Wayne spoke lines. Big fucking deal. Reagan, too. Those lines were written by someone else. When it came time for John Wayne to stand tall for REAL, he made movies about being a war hero. When it was his son PATRICK'S time to stand tall for real, HE made movies about being a war hero.


Wayne was 34 with two kids at the start of WWII. He never made one move to enlist. Yet he was pro war. And conservative. Coward. Kind of reminds you of a guy who would write a book on liberal fascism, huh?


Excuse me, he was 37. Even MORE like the pantload.


I'm not sure I'd be as kind as you are, Lance.

One thing that strikes me about the painting is that the lead rider is clearly trying to get away from the men behind him, he's alone, riding away from a group.

Yea, I suppose, viewed thru the lens of an addiction, you might think he's riding away from his demons, but I don't believe George is that deep.


Remind me not to invite Bob to a classic movies film festival. Wayne made some great films and gave some great performances, and neither the films or the performances are changed by his reactionary politics. Would I have voted for him if he ran for office? No. I probably wouldn't have got along with him personally either. Does that have anything to do with my appreciating, say, The Cowboys? Nope.

As for my personal myths, the list is very long, but a sample few:

The Scooby Gang from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tyrion from George RR Martin's ongoing A Song of Ice and Fire series, Dr. Maturin from the Patrick O'Brian books, Claude Rains in Casablanca, Mark Twain as himself in his various first-person books, Horace Rumpole, Robert Bolt's Thomas More (as opposed to the historical Thomas More, who I dislike), Groucho Marx, Monty Python, Derek Jacobi in I Claudius, Charles Laughton in The Hunchback of Note Dames, Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities, Diane Keaton and Jamie Lee Curtis in almost anything, Horatio from Hamlet, and to finish on a really odd note, the movie Attack of the Crab Monsters.

If you can find a connecting theme or thread in that list, please do let me know-the only thing I can find that they have in common is that they all mean a lot to me.


td, I'd go gladly, but skip the Wayne movies. I was drafted into a war Wayne publicly supported while his son sat around the pool getting head and making poor imitations of his dad's characters. I HATE John Wayne every bit as much as I hate Richard Nixon. I wouldn't give a shit if he had given a definitive performance of one of the Shakespeares that Bush read. Glenn Miller is more a hero to me than Wayne, and I don't even like his music. Joe Dimaggio. James Stewart. THESE guys were heroes. John Wayne is NOTHING compared to a REAL hero. Fuck John Wayne. My point is that people like Bush latch onto fake heroes to fit their view. Wayne was like that for MANY Americans. No actor could ever be my hero, except as an ACTOR, a fellow artist doing his job well. As for the ROLES they play? It's just pretend. I'll take my heroes from real life, thanks.


>I was drafted into a war Wayne publicly supported

But you weren't drafted because he supported it. But if you want to hate John Wayne, go ahead; he's dead and doesn't care. Ultimately all you are doing is depriving yourself of enjoying some good movies, but that is your affair.

>As for the ROLES they play? It's just pretend. I'll take my heroes from real life, thanks.

Well, all art is "just pretend." Many people (including myself) find it rather important regardless. As for heroes, I didn't use the word (perhaps Lance did). I don't have any heroes, real or imagined. I have people I greatly admire (including actors and writers) and people I politically support, but heroes, no. But I do have "myths" (real or imagined) that touch me, move me, and are part of what makes me me (see the very partial list above).

Ken Muldrew

Horses and I don't get along very well and so we don't often seek out each other's company, but I have a hard time believing that anyone who has ever associated with horses at all could look at that painting and not see immediately that the rider is running for his life (and hanging a mighty licking on that horse to do it).

As for personal myth-characters, Saints, as you have styled it: Dietrich from Barney Miller, Dick Buek, Warren Harding (the Yosemite climber, not the president), Richard Feynman, Rumpole, Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes, Philbert Bono from the Pow Wow Highway (and Protector, the war pony), Huck Finn, and David Thompson. A representative but far from exhaustive list.


Ken, I think I read somewhere that Bush doesn't like horses, another part of the fake ranch business, a farce and a lie that is one of the many reasons I don't feel sorry for the guy. But the fact that the horse is being ridden hard is part of its "myth". Good guys have to get places in a hurry as much as bad guys have to get away from other places just as fast.

But hooray for Philbert and the war pony and Pow-wow Highway! You're the only other person I know who's heard of them!


I was drafted into a war Wayne publicly supported while his son sat around the pool getting head and making poor imitations of his dad's characters.

And getting lung cancer. personal myths: Unicorns, dragons, mermaids.

Indiana Jones. James Bond. Superman.

John Norman's "Gor" series, but only up to book eleven.


>These are my myths.
>I'm sure you have yours.
>Want to let us in a few?

George Smiley.

There was a time I would have added Superman, but Umberto "Buzzkill" Eco pretty much ruined that one for me:

Clark Kent personifies fairly typically the average reader who harassed by complexes and despised by his fellow men [...] any accountant in any American city secretly feeds the hope that one day there can spring forth a superman who is capable of redeeming years of mediocre existence.

Imagine writing that one on your shaving mirror to get yourself psyched up in the morning?



Oh yeah:

Dr. Jonathan Miller, BBC Shakespeare director, author of books on the history of medicine, and 'Beyond the Fringe' co-founder.

He's good, too.



Let's go for sports. Jackie Robinson. Billie Jean King. Arthur Ashe. Rafer Johnson. Muhammad Ali.


Francis Crawford of Lymond

greg in ak

Gee nobody mentioned spock, kirk or picard as personal heroes??? Sacrilege. An outrage.

This is a great point even if you are having sympathy for president douche bag. when i was a child therapist i would keep various pictures of one of my heroes as the wallpaper on my computer. it was a great conversation starter with reluctant kids and they were often able to find some emotional meaning in the pictures. My hero...Godzilla. I have always loved some of those movies and the pix i had were of the big guy howling in pain with a grievous wound or raging at a stupid world. While the kids i saw weren't aware of the complex development of Godzilla's character or his many cool ways of destroying stuff those pix were a start to expressing emotions and finding their own myths instead of the shitty ones the world had given them.

It also didn't hurt that i was filled with rage and pain at the time so i felt part of my myth in those pix. I also liked that my co-workers thought i was weird and eccentric. that would have figured that out anyway but they found out in my own way.


Funny that earlier mention of brush clearing. I always wondered about that, what it entails. Does Bush actually have to clean up the cut vegetation afterwards, or does he just like to plow in and throw around a big noisy destructo-machine? All this phoney virtue in doing ranch work - any "work" is fun if you only do the destructive part. Kinda like me using a sledgehammer to take out my frustrations on an old Toyota, and then claiming afterwards that I was "working on the car" while expecting someone else to get rid of the broken glass and oil spills.


I LOVE that you mentioned Betsy Trotwood! Aunt Betsy was my favorite character in David Copperfield - I adored the way this funny little woman refused to be intimidated. Reminds me of some of my other favorites who were strong but kind, intimidating but decent, maybe unconventional but dignified old broads who insist on living their lives the way they saw fit and the hell with anyone who thinks otherwise. Besides Aunt Betsy, there's Aunt Alicia from Gigi, Aunt March from Little Women (the movie, at least), Auntie Mame...

I sense a pattern.

Exiled in New Jersey

Funny, I have the opposite reaction to Roy Hobbs, Redford and The Natural. I took my daughter and dared not tell her that Hobbs struck out in the book; the whole thing was a celebration of "Morning in America" and creeping Reaganism. It could not have been made in any other era.

My Hawkeye is from Mann's version of The Last of the Mohicans: both Daniel Day-Lewis and Russell Means as Chingachgook are giants from my myths, even if Mann took them to North Carolina to film. Then there is Chauncey Gardner, a true man for all seasons.


All right, I'll play too (just some touchstones throughout the years):
Dick Powell, Josef Von Sternberg, David Bowie, Kobo Abe, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Rossen, Paul Newman, John Garfield, Jack Benny, Green Acres, The Larry Sanders Show, Patti Smith, Bjork, Fred Rogers, Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane, Bewitched, Dev Anand, Sonic Youth, Artie Shaw, Alan Alda,Luis Bunuel, Yves Klein, Marcel Duchamp,John Dos Passos, Nelson Algren, SNL from the Seventies, Mark E. Smith, Bob Dylan, James Wong Howe, Gregg Toland, Paul Warfield, Cesar Geronimo...The list could go on, but it does make me feel a little read it back and think what an amalgamation I am...

Gray Lensman

Samuel L. Clemens and Robert G. Ingersoll


This is a great post that reflects that kind of liberal squishiness that prevents Democrats from going for the jugular. It also reminded me of how I always wonder what to say to people who claim Polonius's "To thine own self be true" speech as personal inspiration. As a sentiment it's noble; in context it's terribly ironic. Almost as tragically so, not as Bush's identification with this painting, but as his speech a couple months back defending the Constitution before the Federalist society.

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