John Wayne Was A ‘Hollow’ Masculine Icon, The Atlantic Says. The Atlantic Can Go To Hell.
John Wayne was an overcompensating pawn — if you take The Atlantic’s word for it.
Reviewing Nancy Shoenberger’s book, “Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero” in this month’s issue of the once-great magazine, Stephen Metcalf soliloquizes on the two icons of early American cinema: director John Ford and his protegé: The Duke himself.
Ford was a manic, closeted homosexual, Metcalf implies. Wayne, a “hollow” shell of a propaganda stunt: a bumbling buffoon used naively to propel the myth of American masculinity on the big screen.
“The actor’s persona was inextricable from the toxic culture of Cold War machismo,” Metcalf writes.
I disagree. A “hollow icon of masculinity” Wayne was not.
Ford and Wayne made 23 movies together, including icons like “Stagecoach,” “The Searchers” and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Together, they redefined the classic Western, and, for generations of American boys, created a character we all wanted to be: The Duke.
The Duke was truly awesome. Tough but tender. Strong and empathetic. A cowboy who slugged the bad guys and took off his hat in the presence of a lady.
In “The Sands of Iwo Jima,” Wayne was a Marine sergeant who taught us that, “courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
In “True Grit,” he taught us how to take up lost causes, defend the innocent – and thunder a horse across a field with the reigns in your mouth all while while slinging a rifle at evil Ned Pepper.