May 1, 2002
5:09 PM   Subscribe

"When I see what you've done to this beautiful flower, I just go berserk!" That's right. Everyone's favorite karate-kicking, ex-Green Beret, Harley riding, pacifist Native American hippie is back and online. He's been keeping busy the last 30 years, writing books, giving Jungian Seminars and making loads of cool schwag. He even has a QT trailers up for the long lost film Billy Jack Goes to Washington. A fitting return for one of the great 70's period pieces and an unheralded influence on many of today's action flicks. I may have to buy one of these just for the cool factor.

*raises fist*
One Tin Soldier rides away....
posted by jonmc (17 comments total)
"Don't Shoot!...It's Billy Jack!!!!"
posted by stifford at 5:31 PM on May 1, 2002

karate-kicking pacifist?
posted by ODiV at 5:48 PM on May 1, 2002

exactly ODiV...the '70's were kinda weird even to a kid like I was at the time. People wanted to be liberal and open-minded and hippie-ish and smoke dope and have wild sex but they were also pissed at the world and wanted to kick ass.

Billy Jack was the perfect icon for such a time. I saw it dozens of times on TV during my childhood and adolecence. It somehow out-weirds most avant-garde film-makers without even trying. And most of todays brooding loner "action heros" stole most of their shtick from Tom Laughlin.
posted by jonmc at 5:56 PM on May 1, 2002

I remember being stoned out of my mind and seeing Billy Jack at the movies. (Actually, that statement applies to EVERY movie I saw in the 70's.) Anyway. . . ahh, what were we talking about? Oh. Yeah.

Anyway, I remember walking out of that movie and wanting to kick some cop's ass.

Of course, then we had Walking Tall a little later on in the decade, which was pretty much Billy Jack as a cop.

You're right, jonmc, the 70's were weird. And thank the lord for it.
posted by groundhog at 6:09 PM on May 1, 2002

Pure drive-in fare.
(Who gets the trunk?)
posted by HTuttle at 6:09 PM on May 1, 2002

You gotta love a decade that gave us avocado appliances, brought porn to the masses, spawned disco and punk, and gave us Billy Jack.

Anyhoo, excellent link Monsieur Minister of Culture. You rock.
posted by xena at 7:10 PM on May 1, 2002

Now that we know what jonmc looks like, can't you just see him in that Billy Jack leather hippie hat?
posted by Lynsey at 8:03 PM on May 1, 2002

you had to pick that picture, Lynsey? Makes me look like a drunk, acne-scarres gutter rat...
posted by jonmc at 8:07 PM on May 1, 2002

what're you holding in your left hand, jonmc?
posted by Ty Webb at 9:29 PM on May 1, 2002

The secret to inner peace, Ty...
posted by jonmc at 9:33 PM on May 1, 2002

Sorry, Jon, but if Billy Jack was ever cool, then I'm Andrew Sullivan.
And post witty comments.
I just always wanted to see him get his ass kicked reeaalll gooood.
posted by StOne at 10:09 PM on May 1, 2002

If you can believe it, One Tin Soldier has now become the anthem for ... creepy fascistic gummint indoctrination! Exceedingly strange. I always thought it typified the unexamined hippie worldview: I could never figure out why "the valley" replied with such violence to "the mountain" offering to share, and if they were that conquest-oriented in the first place, why they'd even asked the mountain for the riches. Then there was the overall textual problem of just whom was represented by the "one tin soldier". Billy Jack, yes, in the context of the film, but there wasn't a whole lot besides that, that mapped to the film's plot. Unless you accept uncritically the "basic socialist ideals" of the screenplay.

There was so much self-contradictory stuff here. Billy Jack seemed to represent the "converted hero", a man seduced away from the bad guys (Green Berets/white society) to fight for the good guys (who then may conveniently themselves remain pacifist, while having defended their ideals, Billy goes to jail -- don't examine this too closely). He also represented a working-class point of view; while it's an exaggeration to claim as some do that all the hippies were middle-class kids living off their parents money, there's an uncomfortable truth there, and all too many hippies, protesters, or even Weathermen sought to bask in the street cred of others. In that sense he was the perfect creation for the zeitgeist -- and it's unsurprisingly not something that came out of studio Hollywood.

Well, if nothing else, perhaps we can give BJ credit for helping advance the criminalization of rape.
posted by dhartung at 10:30 PM on May 1, 2002

I'd never heard of Billy Jack. Must be an american thing...
posted by Jubey at 11:09 PM on May 1, 2002

The cult character of the time, Jubey...the anti-estabishment new-age dude who would commune with nature but could, when called upon to defend the helpless and downtrodden kick the living hell out of 'bad people'. Billy Jack was somewhat like Kwai Chang Caine in kung-fu, the teevee series, advocating non-violence while maintaining his high level martial arts skill in case he needed to tear someones head off.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:58 PM on May 1, 2002

"I'm going to put this side of my foot, on that side of your face, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."

Anyone else think that Billy Jack could be separated at birth from John McCain?
posted by dglynn at 6:41 AM on May 2, 2002

I thought he was dead. Isn't he?
posted by johnnydark at 6:46 AM on May 2, 2002

dhartung- there's possibly something to that. According to the book Lords of Chaos, Coven(who did "One Tin Soldier") was actually a satanic band. They even went so far as recording a "Satanic Mass" on one album. And yes, it's the same group, I checked. Those lyrics sound totally different now.
posted by jonmc at 8:46 AM on May 2, 2002

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