Friday, January 13, 2012

Spencer Tracy Kicks Ass With One Hand!

We had our first real snow here in Chicago. I like it when it snows. It allows for the possibility of a penis joke.

"We got four to eight inches last night."

"That's what she said."

"Four to Eight? That's pretty confused. Hard to do with that range."

"Ardor often accounts for imprecision."

So, anyway, I want to apologize for the last online entry. It really was just a shameless display of public masturbation, and, upon re-reading, actually not particularly interesting in terms of speculative fiction.

So, today I was going to write about how much Ron Paul sucks, but, you know, plenty of time and material for that. No, really, Fuck Ron Paul. Why any progressive would back him is a complete mystery. I thought progressives wanted to move forward, and it is a certainty that Paul would have us all move back to the 1890s at the latest.

And I also want to discuss whether or not Mitt Romney is a psychopath. he sure looks like it, and he enjoys all the delusions. But, again plenty of time for that later.

Instead, since we had a good snow last night, I decided it was a movie night with cold beer and frozen vodka. Oh, yeah. So, I went to the library and came back with the movie "Bad Day at Black Rock".

Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Walter Brennan, and both Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin. If you want to play Kevin Bacon, this movie is right next door to "The Dirty Dozen".

Directed by John Sturges, who also did "Gunfight at the OK Corral, "The Magnificent Seven", "The Great Escape", so, a guy who knows how to direct action movies.

At the very least, watch Spencer kick Ernie's ass with one hand:

"Bad Day at Black Rock" poses as post-WWII film noir, but it's really a Western. Not seen the movie? Fine, I'll spoil it for you, and do it by giving you the behind the scenes narrative without all the suspense and mystery.

Spencer Tracy plays a ex-lieutenant who has lost an arm in Italy. A young Japanese-American soldier serving under him died saving Spencer's life. He has traveled to Black Rock, a shitty little Western town, to meet the boy's father, a Mr. Komako, to deliver the medal posthumously awarded to his son.

(Presumably, his son was part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, perhaps even in the legendary 100th Battalion, which had fought in Italy.  So, though the medal is never shown, there is a good chance that it is a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor).

Unfortunately for Spencer, Robert Ryan has killed Mr. Komako in a drunken fit of post-Pearl-Harbor bigotry and rage. Other townspeople participated in the lynching (actually, Mr. Komako's house was set afire, and then he was shot trying to escape the flames) and so they are locked in a mutual stranglehold of blackmail and suspicion. The rest of the movie is an unravelling of the coverup, with the townsfolk's intimidation and suspicion of Spencer fueling his own suspicion's of foul play.

Now, Spencer receives a lot of intimidation and bullying, but no overt actual violence for much of the movie.  I would argue, under various forms (no force or fraud/no initiation force or fraud) of Libertarian political philosophy, that the townspeople were perfectly justified and ethical in their actions. True, a murder was committed, but the coverup was completely sanctioned under Libertarian tenets.

Intimidation, bullying, and threats are neither force or fraud, as they do not engage in any morally questionable overt acts. The threat of violence is not in itself violence. One can argue that a threat is a form of violence, but it can also be viewed as an exchange of information - especially when individual rights to privacy and property are employed - which in the movie, they are.

In fact, the townspeople were completely within their rights to treat Spencer the way they do. If anything, it's Spencer who is apply initial coercion by his very presence, since in more than one occasion he attempts a non-consensual use of others' property. And the fact that he initally fails to divulge his purpose for being in town can be viewed as a form of fraud. His reticence is nothing other than a morally questionable ways to get people to do things.

In short, this is, yes, a nice little piece of sophistry, and yet, it is exactly the type crap that your average Internet libertard goof engages in.

Sophistry, it's what's for dinner!


  1. Meh. Spencer Tracey existed because some marketing guy thought there was a niche halfway between James Cagney and Carey Grant.

    1. Yeah, but Tom, he did his own stunts. And...AND... he had his arm removed for that movie. (Flash-frozen, later reattached).