Friday, July 8, 2016


     After a week of watching criminal politicians exonerated and Anarchist criminals rioting and murdering in the streets, the remaining sane Americans may seek an oasis of justice in the barren sands of a morally sterile culture. Justice is a concept that has disappeared from modern media portrayals, just as it has from society at large.

      Americans used to believe in fairness. It's enshrined in our founding documents that all men are created equal and have an inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Injustice follows when criminals deprive us of these rights through unfair and unequal means. But that is not injustice, according to the Smart Boys who pose as our Cultural Elites. Unfair advantages and general cheating are New Normals among the public at large; fair play and hard work are for chumps.

      But when we used to respect fairness and justice, there were people whose job it was to stop criminal enterprises and protect the public. So our entertainment choice for this weekend is a unique, but engaging, specimen in television drama, Shotgun Slade.

      Shotgun Slade was a production of Universal Studios and ran on Independent television stations (we used to have those) from 1959-1961. This program's premise was truly innovative. Like the later Science-Fiction program Star Trek, Shotgun Slade never had high ratings among the general audience, but did have (and still has) a loyal cadre of devoted fans. Its particular innovation was in that it combined the two most popular genres of the period; film noir and westerns into one format. Basically this program carried film noir storylines and theme music onto the scenery of the American West.

        Slade, whose real first name is never given, is a private detective operating out of an office over a saloon in Denver, Colorado during the late 19th Century. His nickname comes from his weapon of choice; unlike most 1950s cowboys, Slade never carried a six-shooter but a sawed-off shotgun---which with he was quite proficient. His job was breaking up criminal gangs, recovering stolen property, and helping people in trouble.

        Slade's character reveals, too, that our forefathers valued masculinity as strongly as they revered courage and justice. Slade has a strong sense of duty to the people---he's certainly not a mercenary. Unlike Hollywood tough guys of today, Slade empathizes with the people he protects and shows considerable deference to females. True masculinity operates in this way. The bad boys held up as masculine role models by media shylocks and Manosphere Game Cultists are not masculine at all. Masculinity proves itself by its actions, not by its appearances. 

         Thus, Slade recovers stolen bank money and dutifully returns it. He refuses bribes from corrupt officials to betray their victims. In one episode, he tries to dissuade a young gunfighter who's been hired to kill him. In another, while trailing robbers, he pauses to help a boy find his dog. The wise guys of today can't relate to this kind of behavior. That's why our culture produces only men whose single greatest achievement is the number of women with whom they can sleep.

          This is not to say that Slade is unattractive to women. But he doesn't let even that stand in the way of completing his job. The sense of duty that accompanies genuine masculinity is premised on an understanding that more than personal gratification is at stake. The reason that he can act in such a seemingly unselfish and sacrificial way is because he realizes that others depend on him. Recovering a herd of stolen cattle not only helps the ranchers, but all who are in his employ and their families; all who hold credit on the ranch; and those who depend on the ranch for meat.

             Good Men Doing Good Things: we may not see it in our culture today, but we can still see it depicted in Shotgun Slade. The series is in the public domain; several episodes are available on Youtube and Dailymotion, as well as on DVD.  For those who enjoy both action-packed detective shows and tough all-American cowboys, Shotgun Slade gives a two-for-one special.


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