For more than a century, artists and intellectuals have castigated everydayfolks who believe in hard work, personal responsibility, family, and God. The elite see middle-class Americans as drudges, materialists, consumerists, and exploiters, mired in commerce and industry, holding to pre-Enlightenment values and beliefs, ignorant of art. They give us unflattering (in their view) names: the bourgeoisie, philistines, Tea Partiers. Our president, Barack Hussein Obama, indirectly coined the term "bitter clingers," referring to guns and God and antipathy "toward people who aren't like them." So powerful is the disdain of the elite for the common man and woman that the Clever Ones now put great effort into saving children from their misguided, uncultured, immoral parents. See, e.g., unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, now a retired and, it is said, distinguished professor of public education. Karl Marx would have broken the grip of the bourgeoisie through revolution; modern radicals hope to do the same by corrupting the schools, mocking the bourgeoisie, and fundamentally transforming the institutions and processes of civilization itself. You can see this process at work on any given day by reading the editorial page of the Houston Chronicle, a self-anointed vanguard against the likes of you and me. We are unlovely, uncultured men and women of little brain and less heart, unlike our betters in, say, the Occupy movement. Modern artists, many of them, self-consciously set out to shock and insult common folks (épater la bourgeoisie, at they say).
What a shock it is, then, to see the most gifted American filmmakers of our time -- Ethan and Joel Coen -- dismantle the pretensions of the elite in one of the most brilliant scenes . . .
YOU'LL FIND a nice retrospective essay in today's Wall Street Journal's "Review" section on the great western movie, "Shane," on the occasion of its sixtieth birthday. It's the best movie ever made about the myth (in the nonpejorative sense of the word; see below) of the gunfighter as chivalric hero.
The law did not exist on the frontier, and the nearest marshal . . .