So now the Social Justice Warrior Left has dug up an old Playboy interview with John Wayne and discovered — surprise! — that the Duke was not politically correct by the standards of 2019.
John Wayne is never going to be confused for a progressive by anyone familiar with his life and career. The actor was famous as one of Hollywood’s staunchest conservatives: a onetime member of the reactionary anti-Communist John Birch Society, a producer for and actor in a film about the ignominious House Un-American Activities Committee and a vocal supporter of the Vietnam War after much of the public had turned against it.
But this week snippets of an old interview he did with Playboy magazine, in which he expressed racist and homophobic sentiments and railed against socialism, began circulating on Twitter. A tweet with portions of the interview sent Sunday night from a screenwriter in Tennessee went viral — and, with that, Wayne’s politics were news again.
In the 1971 interview, Wayne railed against “perverted films,” giving the interviewer, Richard Warren Lewis, two examples when asked: “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy.” The actor described the characters in the latter film with a homophobic slur, then went on to extol the virtues of sexual intercourse between men and women.
Imagine that! A heterosexual movie star endorsing heterosexuality. But wait, it got worse:
“I believe in white supremacy,” he said, and spoke harshly about African Americans, saying, “We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people,” he said.
Of slavery, he said that he didn’t feel any guilt about the U.S. history. “I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves,” he said. “Now, I’m not condoning slavery. It’s just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and has to wear braces so he can’t play football with the rest of us.”
Etc. We used to think the sins of the past should be buried with the dead. But now, in the age of “reparations,” no man, no period of history, and no aspect of Western culture is safe from the vengeful SJWs. After Oliver Cromwell’s death in 1658, he was buried with honors in Westminster Abbey. Three years later, as the national mood turned against him, he was exhumed and subjected to a posthumous execution: he was hanged, decapitated, his head put on a pike, and his body thrown into a pit.
We don’t conduct posthumous executions yet, except of reputations. So we pull down the statues of great men, strike their names off public buildings, cover up their images and likenesses in educational institutions. Therefore:
the resurrection of a 1971 interview Wayne gave to Playboy magazine has underscored the sheer crudeness of the actor’s feelings about gay people, black people, Native Americans, young people and liberals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s impossible or immoral to enjoy Westerns and war movies starring John Wayne; that’s a personal choice. But it certainly undermines any justification for his name and image to adorn a civic facility.
In 2016, a Republican assemblyman from Orange County tried to declare May 26 John Wayne Day in the state, but the measure failed by a wide margin. Luis Alejo, a Democratic assemblyman from Watsonville, had read Wayne’s “white supremacy” quote from the Playboy interview.
As The Washington Post reported at the time, another lawmaker, Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), said her mother wouldn’t let her watch John Wayne films because of the violence they depicted against Native Americans. She too read a quote from the Playboy interview.
It used to be understood that no man was a saint, and that everybody had feet of clay. The honoring and commemoration of public figures was based on their public lives, not their private ones (Wayne was such a “racist” that all three of his wives were Latinas).
Wayne was once the biggest movie star in America. But that America is fast disappearing. The Left won’t rest until every dead white male is dragged from his grave, beheaded, and his rotting corpse thrown down the memory hole as the rest of us head into the Brave New World, heads shorn, in sackcloth and ashes in atonement for the sins of the past.