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Seventy-five years of Bonnie and Clyde
August 6, 2009 9:34 AM   Subscribe

But have they become tools of the Left? Seventy-five years on, the murderous pair is still provoking comment. This time, from neocons.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit (38 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
the vanities of a generation hell-bent on avoiding an inconvenient war

I'm only partway through the article right now, but I have to say.... yes, for all those worried about themselves and their brothers and friends dying for a doomed and pointless cause, I think Vietnam was definitely inconvenient.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:42 AM on August 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


1. Hollywood exagerates a true story to make a more appealing film.
2. ???
3. COMMUNISM
posted by martens at 9:43 AM on August 6, 2009


It is of course ridiculous at this late date to run a comparison of the movie and the just-published books and get hung up at the manifold elisions and mendacities of the later.

If you're going to use big words, at least don't fuck up the basics.

Also, this is a pretty vacuous commentary on a classic film.
posted by HumanComplex at 9:43 AM on August 6, 2009


Route 154 seems like a road out of a Beckett landscape, a long, hot, flat, dusty strip that runs through a featureless pine forest.

He can't see the trees for the forest.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:47 AM on August 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, this is a pretty vacuous commentary on a classic film.


Yah... my reaction upon finishing was, this guy won a Pulitzer?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:49 AM on August 6, 2009


Oh, how did I know he wouldn't be able to get through the article without compulsively mentioning Reds? Call me clairvoyant.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:49 AM on August 6, 2009


Hamer stands for your grandfather’s authority, annoyance at fools, and the willingness to kill in the belief that he was saving the weak by eliminating their predator. He was a righteous killer, a dinosaur whose time has passed. He’s what Barack Obama swears he’ll change about America.

The mental leap there is astounding. I can't actually figure out where the HELL he pulled it from.
posted by mephron at 9:49 AM on August 6, 2009


I find it easy to believe that a movie based on Bonnie and Clyde is destroying America. Well, easier than that jeans are doing it.
posted by DU at 9:51 AM on August 6, 2009


Ok, after reading some of the article I got half way down and found this beautiful statement:

That point is that the legendary Penn movie that invented the New Bonnie and Clyde was such a ideological crock that it deserves placement in that list of other leftist crocks mistaken by gullible critics and film lovers as somehow great...

What? How does them being a foil for the baby boomer generation have anything to do with the left?

Interesting read, but I don't really buy his interpretation. Also, that satellite imagery in the beginning was terrible.
posted by scrutiny at 9:53 AM on August 6, 2009


This is like, the weirdest article ever.

It conflates Bonnie and Clyde (movie) with Michael Moore. Which is about as bad as it gets from a neocon standpoint, I'm guessing. Then claims that the romanticization of them was due to 60's libralism. Then this:

"She was a dim romantic and self-styled poet who dreamed of appearing on Broadway but had to settle for waitressing..." "...she was the live wire, the jazz baby, Betty Boop."

".. [Clyde] possessed a native ferocity and aggression so intense it would have made him a natural leader and hero in the Second World War, another Texas Audie Murphy"


What the hell? They were romantacized as outlaws, so instead you romanticize them as misplaced war heroes?

As a piece of political essayism this is unfocused at best. As a piece of film/cultural criticism this is excerable. And that's the bottom of a very deep barrel.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:56 AM on August 6, 2009


A textbook example of pandering to your audience.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:56 AM on August 6, 2009


I know it can't just be me. But that article was nearly unreadable. My eyes kept glazing over. What the fuck is the guy doing attempting to retro-fit a 40 year old film into a meaningful or even topical allegory for contemporary politics. And why the fuck should anybody care.
posted by tkchrist at 9:57 AM on August 6, 2009


The episode of Cracker where Robbie Coltrane demolishes the Bonny and Clyde myth is better.
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM on August 6, 2009


It's not you at all, tkchrist. I couldn't read it at all. Execrable is right.
posted by Caduceus at 10:01 AM on August 6, 2009


Wait, so this isn't about that Jay-Z/Beyonce video?
posted by box at 10:03 AM on August 6, 2009


What's that, Mr. Hunter? I can't hear you! Put down the axe you're grinding for a minute and then maybe we can talk.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:04 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


1. Hollywood exagerates a true story to make a more appealing film.
2. ???
3. COMMUNISM Profit!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:13 AM on August 6, 2009


Great. Now I've got Serge Gainsbourg stuck in my head.
posted by jquinby at 10:17 AM on August 6, 2009


What a terrible article. Of course a film release in 1967 about criminals would take the position that the criminals were at least somewhat heroic and the legal/political establishment ossified and corrupt. That's because in 1967 that is precisely how most young people felt. And they were right. Should people have willing marched to their death in Vietnam simply because Johnson and some general ordered them to?

What broken diseased logic this writer has, as does everyone who writes for commentary. They deliberately created a fictitious left wing in the 80's to serve as foil, but in the last 30 years, they've forgotten that they made it up. I think they think it's real.

I'd like to direct this pea-brained writer to watch the film Public Enemies about B & C's contemporary John Dillinger, and then watch the film that Public Enemies liberally cribs from, Heat also directed by Michael Mann.

In both films there is a scene where the criminal tells the bank's customers that he's there to steal the bank's money, not their money (in Heat, this is followed by the line "you're money is insured by the federal government"). The criminal stands in opposition to the corporation, because that is who we today believe to be corrupt and untrustworthy. In Heat, there is a subplot in which the master bank robber and the money launderer conspire to re-launder the bearer bonds of the latter that the former has stolen. The message is this - "we are the same, I didn't mean to steal from someone like me, so be way of apology, here's how we can screw over an insurance company and we can both make out."

The author would be uncomfortable with this because in his authoritarian worldview, corporations are in line right after the government as deserving our reverence and awe. They are large, and he knows people who make money from them, so they must be great things. The writer doesn't understand that Americans at large have come to fully understand - that corporate America is a sham designed to extract money from taxpayers and consumers alike.

We need more films like '67's Bonnie and Clyde, as well as Five Easy Pieces, the Conversation, etc. People need to be constantly reminded that systems and institutions can never be trusted because their sole purpose is to constrain the mercy and compassion of the people who work within them for the benefit of the people who own them.

Commentary, National Review, and similar publications are subversive, anti-American, and criminal. They have knowingly provided intellectual cover for non-productive financiers and money hustlers to dismantle the economic and industrial might of the country in the interest of making a few dollars for themselves. The people listed at the bottom of this article should be monitored, challenged, and blocked at every opportunity. Regardless of their arguments, they cannot be trusted not to have ulterior motives.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:20 AM on August 6, 2009 [18 favorites]


He was a righteous killer, a dinosaur whose time has passed. He’s what Barack Obama swears he’ll change about America.

So, Obama is going to bring back the dinosaurs?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:23 AM on August 6, 2009


vous avez lu l'histoire
de jesse james
comment il vicut
comment il est mort
ca vous a plus hein
vous en d'mandez encore
et bien
ecoutez l'histoire
de bonnie and clyde

alors voil`
clyde a une petite amie
elle est belle et son prinom
c'est bonnie
a eux deux ils forment
le gang barrow
leurs noms
bonnie parker et clyde barrow

bonnie and clyde
bonnie and clyde

moi lorsque j'ai connu clyde
autrefois
c'itait un gars loyal
honnjte et droit
il faut croire
que c'est la sociiti
qui m'a difinitivement abnmi

bonnie and clyde
bonnie and clyde

qu'est c' qu'on a pas icrit
sur elle et moi
on pritend que nous tuons
de sang froid
c'e'st pas drol'
mais on est bien obligi
de fair' tair'
celui qui s'met ` gueuler

bonnie and clyde
bonnie and clyde

chaqu'fois qu'un polic'man
se fait buter
qu'un garage ou qu'un' banque
se fait braquer
pour la polic'
ca ne fait pas d'myster
c'est signi clyde barrow
bonnie parker

bonnie and clyde
bonnie and clyde

maint'nant chaq'fois
qu'on essaie d'se ranger
de s'installer tranquill's
dans un meubli
dans lees trois jours
voil` le tac tac tac
des mitraillett's
qui revienn't ` l'attaqu'

bonnie and clyde
bonnie and clyde

bonnie and clyde
bonnie and clyde

un de ces quatr'
nous tomberons ensemble
moi j'm'en fous
c'est pour Bonnie que je tremble
qu'elle importanc'
qu'ils me fassent la peau
moi bonnie
je tremble pour clyde barrow

bonnie and clyde
bonnie and clyde

d'tout' fagon
ils n'pouvaient plus s'en sortir
la seule solution
c'itait mourir
mais plus d'un les a suivis
en enfer
quand sont morts
barrow et bonnie parker

bonnie and clyde
bonnie and clyde
posted by psmealey at 10:25 AM on August 6, 2009


So, Obama is going to bring back the dinosaurs?

Never Forget.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:29 AM on August 6, 2009


It seems like neocons especially conflate florid language for actual thought. They think if an argument sounds "pretty" or has the right emotional resonance, it's more convincing. And they think the more convincing arguments are the winning ones. They think if you can trap the person you're arguing with into making a logically necessary but uncomfortable assertion (example: "So you favor leaving Saddam Hussein in power!?") they win.

Truth is not on their agenda, because they're stupid.
posted by delmoi at 10:29 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


in his authoritarian worldview, corporations are in line right after the government as deserving our reverence and awe

I think you've got the order reversed, unfortunately.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:33 AM on August 6, 2009


Well, I was all set to swoop in here and make a chickenhawk joke or two, but then I looked Mr. Hunter up and learned that he (unlike most of these right wing wannabe Tough Guys) actually served two years in the Army. Then I read on a little further and found out that he was actually "a ceremonial soldier in The Old Guard (3rd Infantry Regiment)." Which is just perfect. Dude got to dress up and pretend to be a soldier, without any of that inconvenient danger.
posted by you just lost the game at 10:36 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


And they think the more convincing arguments are the winning ones.

I, too, think that the argument that convinces more people is the winning one.
posted by Diablevert at 10:43 AM on August 6, 2009


The thing is, although they're presented sympathetically and simplistically (as are Butch and Sundance, John Nash, Ray Charles, or a million other glossy biopic protagonists whose moral complications are whitewashed over), B&C aren't all that heroic in Penn's film. Plenty of antihero touches, sure, but to me -- even as a kid when I first saw the movie -- they come across as good-looking but shallow, reckless, short-sighted adolescents caught up in pathetically romanticizing themselves. It's possible to feel for them while still thinking, "Bad idea, kids. Bad, bad idea."

Yes, they're likable, funny, etc., but when things go horribly wrong and they seem surprised (like when Bonnie's mother confronts her at the sandpit), the audience is not surprised with them -- and not just because we know the end of the story but because we say, "Um, you really didn't know this was where things were heading? You really thought your little joyride wasn't serious or full of awful consequences?"

There's a difference between glamorizing outlaws (something humans have been doing for a thousand years at least) and presenting them as role models. Now, let's all rise and sing the Internationale.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:47 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favorite date trick here in Dallas is to take the girl to Bonnie's grave, dig out a spoonful of dirt, then drive to Clyde's grave about 5 miles away and deposit the dirt. Gets 'em every time.
posted by item at 10:50 AM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Clyde and Bonnie Died for Nihilism

Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:02 AM on August 6, 2009 [9 favorites]


Good article for scanning. I think I got the point, though: John Wayne. "I'ma gonna cumma downa there-a anda fukka yore-a shidda uppa, pardna."

Did you catch the titles & subtitles of some of the other articles? I knew there was a reason I only go online for football scores and the occasional peek in here...those guys are freaking loonatacks.
posted by valentinepig at 11:54 AM on August 6, 2009


Then I read on a little further and found out that he was actually "a ceremonial soldier in The Old Guard (3rd Infantry Regiment)." Which is just perfect. Dude got to dress up and pretend to be a soldier, without any of that inconvenient danger.
Not sure if it's the same in the Army, but to join the Marine equivalent of this unit you had to be in the very top of your class. In fact, it was one of the things the recruiters used (like becoming a Ranger, or a SEAL) to get people to sign up for extra years.

So yeah, no danger working in DC, you just had to get the Navy Cross first.

So, it might not be exactly be fair to consider these people "pretend" soldiers.
posted by sideshow at 12:06 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Any piece that tells me that the author thinks that he was wrong for thinking that Bosley Crowther was an idiot for hating on "Bonnie and Clyde" gets an automatic deep-six from me.
posted by blucevalo at 12:08 PM on August 6, 2009


Hold the phone! This was written by Stephen Hunter?! This man used to be the film critic for the Baltimore Sun. Now, I may have been a mere unsophisticated youth at the time, but I remember his reviews being insightful, witty, biting and above all intelligent.

Oh, Stephen, Stephen, Stephen. What have they done to you?
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:16 PM on August 6, 2009


Huh, I never realized John Wayne was Italian.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:13 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why do you think they call him Il Duce?
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:21 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


John Wayne was in the Mentors?
posted by tkchrist at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


...no danger working in DC....

Actually, they have quite a distinguished combat record and even now they don't hang just in DC.

Not that DC is wholly out of harm's way....
posted by IndigoJones at 5:24 PM on August 6, 2009


People need to be constantly reminded that systems and institutions can never be trusted because their sole purpose is to constrain the mercy and compassion of the people who work within them for the benefit of the people who own them.

I work for the NHS. If that organisation's purpose is to constrain the mercy and compassion of the people who work within them, that's because its goal is to prevent people being sick in the first place and to cure them when they get sick rather than keep them ill so they need to continue to be recipients of mercy and compassion. And who owns the NHS? The citizens of Great Britain. And yes it does work to benefit us more than anyone. (I know some in senior management or politics think it's for their benefit, and some doctors definitely do...)
posted by Francis at 2:55 AM on August 7, 2009


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