Good men doing good things is a predominant theme of these Friday features; and our Postmodern culture could certainly use some more of them. Anarchists running wild in the streets; Hollywood bad-boys held up as role models; sleazy politicians and corrupt elites; Gender Identity Disorder the new normal; and people running in terror from clowns---our society is a badly-messed up place.
It's hard to imagine that once upon a time, American men were men who took their unique personal abilities and enlisted them in the service of others. It used to be thought that to stand silent in the face of evil was as bad as condoning it. Today, men are taught just the opposite. Men are taught today that the Smart Boys know how to project an image and to regard good and evil as relative concepts. In today's world, only suckers and chumps stand for quaint ideals like right and wrong; the Wise Guys look out for Number One and use others to their own advantage.
If readers would like something different during this extended holiday weekend, we can recommend a real hero worth following. Our selection this week is a television series which ran on NBC from 1966-1967, T.H.E. Cat.
The protagonist of this series was a soldier of fortune named Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat. Cat was a retired circus acrobat (apparently not afraid of clowns) who with his Gypsy friend, Pepe, operated a nightclub called La Casa del Gato. Mr. Cat finds peace is too peaceful, with much good to be done in the world, and sets on a series of adventures saving people in trouble and recovering valuable properties.
T.H.E. Cat was created by the same producer who later produced the Dirty Harry series in Hollywood. It was also directed by the same man who directed Peter Gunn (reviewed here May 27th). Like those series, and many other late Golden Age television dramas, moral questions and sharply-drawn lines between good and evil prevailed. What we see actually reflected here is the Christian social outlook that once prevailed our culture. We are all flawed human beings, pure evil seeks to overcome us, and must be met with resistance of a crusader fighting for right.
Some critics of this series complain that the villains are personified as purely evil and that the heroes "do things just as bad". These critics miss the entire point. While all of us are sinners and liable to do wrong; evil is an irrational force that, as the Bible says of Satan, "goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." Evil will prey upon fallible humans and consume us, unless good men stand up to halt its course. The weakness of Moral Relativism is that it recognizes human evil, but not human good.
In the Biblical story, the first commandment God gave to Adam was "to maintain the Garden and defend it." This is what it means to be a man; the author of Genesis thus signifies that this is man's primary duty on Earth. Men are not taught this way any longer; the Feminists tell us that women are to maintain the Garden, while the Manospherians teach that it's nobody's responsibility to defend it.
Thankfully, Mr. Cat gives men a better role model. A man of conviction and ability puts the swaggering Alphas to shame. The first episode, Cat must protect a priest who is about to testify; in others he tries to dissuade people from committing criminal acts. T.H.E. Cat features plenty of action (Cat was a skillful martial artist) and every episode opens with an action scene. In addition to its deep and often unpredictable plots and the dark, film noir atmosphere, T.H.E. Cat is, as one reviewer said, "people who become like friends, people we want to spend time with every week, people we want to know more about." Sadly, the series only lasted one season: the fate of far too many excellent series at the end of television's Golden Age.
Some episodes of T.H.E. Cat are available on Youtube and complete series on DVD.