Friday, July 22, 2011

Captain America and Daniel McCarthy

I mused yesterday that William F. Buckley might have grown more sympathetic to Ron Paul if Buckley had not died in early 2008.  I defer to the expertise of AmCon editor Dan McCarthy, who responds that he actually began to feel out Buckley on just that topic before the end.  He links a one-hour Firing Line argument between Buckley and Paul from 1988 that shows Buckley to have been quite skeptical during Ron Paul’s Libertarian Party run for the presidency back then, though we can’t be sure where things would stand today. 

Most of Buckley’s concerns are ones that might divide libertarians as well, such as whether the CIA is inherently bad or has simply done some bad things and whether some forms of taxation are more moral than others.  Just to keep people confused, I should note that I’m probably closer to Buckley’s position and Dan closer to Ron Paul’s on some things (though this may look very hair-splitting to anyone on the left). 

I have generally taken the Cold Warrior view, for instance, that the government should be granted a bit of leeway in responding to foreign aggression and domestic criminals even if it ought to be granted none in initiating aggression.  Founding the CIA in a world without foreign foes would be wrong, but founding it in response to such foes is not necessarily wrong and is, in an important sense, the fault of the foes (keep in mind Buckley in the linked video was talking to Paul one year prior to the collapse of European Communism – and it’s nicely prophetic that Ernest van den Haag at one point in the third clip says, “Well, foreign policy is not a tea party”). 

I don’t think this sort of thing has to be a coalition-splitter, but then, I’m neither an AmCon nor an NR editor. 


Likewise, I would not fault a central government for starting a Super-Soldier program in response to the Nazi menace and thus creating the hero known as Captain America (about whom I’ll see – and probably enjoy – a movie on Sunday).  The main menace in this case will be the Nazi villain the Red Skull, and it must be fun for Hugo Weaving to be that character as well as Megatron in this same summer (not to mention Elrond, if you count the three-day re-release just last month of the Lord of the Rings trilogy). 

And he should be pleased that Transformers: Dark of the Moon earned over twice as much as Cars 2, though it would be even more satisfying to watch the Cars fight the Decepticons, of course.

Captain America is as iconic as – well, cowboys who fight aliens, anyway, and the new movie contains not only a post-credits teaser for next year’s ensemble Avengers movie but this irono-patriotic faux-USO number about Cap, reports BleedingCool.  That’s not bad, but even better, frankly, is Lorinne Lampert’s rendition of “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” 

I’m no mere flag-waving militarist, but I have to admit that
it would at least be pleasantly amusing if Cap’s rivals over at DC Comics, when they relaunch their characters in September with the premise that they have only been active for five fictional years, depicted the young Superman of five years ago (i.e., 2006) as someone living in a time of patriotism under a beloved wartime president, much like in the early Superman comics of seventy years ago.  This will not likely happen.


The Captain American movie does not, to my knowledge, feature Cap’s French foe Batroc the Leaper, but there were about two seconds of parkour-behavior in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, one more weird reminder that Michael Bay throws in everything, even if only for an underdeveloped split second.  But I'm not really complaining.  And needless to say, the Autobots have also been poppin’ n’ lockin’ for decades now.

Look for planking, owling, coning, and who knows what else in next year’s action flicks.

For my money, though, the undisputed king of owling (crouching in odd places like an owl to freak people out) is none other than...Eric Stoltz in the 1995 thriller Prophecy, wherein angels have no wings yet move and perch in birdlike fashion.  An early moment where he alights as if weightless upon the back of a small chair is as beautiful as ballet, in its way.

And anyone with an interest in religion, pro or con, should try to watch that film without learning in advance the clever, simple-but-epic premise (though variations on the idea have cropped up in everything from comics to the TV show Supernatural since).  It makes our earthly wars seem trivial.


Gerard said...

Love Van Den Haag, may he rest in peace. He probably made the most persuasive argument in favor of capital punishment of any political philosopher.

Todd Seavey said...

Sadly, I see that someone has opted to write a Wikipedia page for him covering almost nothing except his Jim Crow-era segregationist views, which someone more Wiki-savvy and van den Haag-savvy than I might wish to tweak.

That the tail is wagging the dog in that entry is indicated, I think, by the way the giant final paragraph begins with "But..."

Gerard said...

Wikipedia not being a scrupulous, impartial arbiter of the facts?

Frankly, I'm astonished.