Archive for October, 2011

Early 50’s TV “Feminist” Returns to TV

October 23, 2011

Television in the fifties at times was very liberated in its portrayal of women as being able to perform many different jobs.

This statement may come as a surprise to those who think of female television characters in the fifties in terms of sitcom housewives like June Cleaver on “Leave it to Beaver”. It may be an even bigger surprise that “liberated” women were often found on television westerns.

Dale Evans was one of the first to appear on TV in what would normally be considered a male role. On the “Roy Rogers Show” she ran a cafe with a male employee in a western town. When necessary she would strap on her six gun and help Roy and the sheriff catch the bad guys just like the male heroes. Dale could shoot the guns out of the bad guys’ hands just as well as Roy could. In the first episode Dale put on a shooting demonstration at a local celebration.

Dale was married to Roy in real life, but on the show both were single. Both used their real names on the show.

The program referred to Roy as “King of the Cowboys” and Dale as the “Queen of the West”. Ironically, the “King of the cowboys” was part Choctaw.

An interesting aspect of the show is that it was set in the contemporary era. Motor vehicles appeared at times, especially a jeep named Nelly belle, but most of the time the characters were riding horses.across country in an area which seemed to have a shortage of improved roads.

RFD-TV has brought back “The Roy Rogers Show” after purchasing Roy’s stuffed horse Trigger. The network specializes in rural oriented programming including shows dealing with farming and ranching. It’s schedule also includes cooking shows, travel shows and various music shows including old music programs such as “Hee Haw”. Dolly Parton fans can see her on the old “Porter Waggoner” program. Loretta Lynn is a regular on “The Wilburn Brothers Show”.

Dale Evans wasn’t the only woman who helped enforce the law in old westerns. Gail Davis portrayed “Little Sure Shot” “Annie Oakley”. Annie was the sheriff’s niece and helped the deputy catch the bad guys when her uncle was in “another part of the county”. She was usually the one who figured out who committed the crimes. A couple of episodes of the “Gene Autry Show” even had women sheriffs.

Incidentally, many western bad “guys” were women, including a woman banker on “Roy Rogers” who killed farmers with mortgages so she could sell the farms to someone else.

Saloon owners often were prominent characters in westerns and some of those saloon owners were women, particularly Miss Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake) on “Gunsmoke“. Like Dale Evans she had a male employee who took orders from her.

Lily Merrill (Peggy Castle) was a similar character on “Lawman” which is currently running on Encore’s Western Channel. An earlier female saloon owner on the program was a killer who was able to get away with her crimes until the Lawman convinced the judge to seat an all female jury. She decided to plead guilty.

Women appeared in various roles on other westerns including operating stage lines, owning ranches and even participating in trail drives. “Timmy’s mom” June Lockhart appeared in a couple of episodes of “Have Gun Will Travel” (also on the Western channel) as a frontier doctor.

Characters like those played by Dale Evans and Amanda Blake provided girls growing up in the 50’s with female role models who weren’t wives and mothers.

In a previous post I criticized the new “Charlie’s Angels” which has now been cancelled. I wasn’t the only one who recognized it was a bad show.

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Democrats Need a Bobby Kennedy Now

October 13, 2011

If Democrats want to win next year’s presidential election, they need a new candidate. President Barack Obama has very little chance of being reelected in the current economic situation because he is clueless about how to deal with the economy.

His so-called “jobs bill” is just more of the same approach that hasn’t worked. Then there is the ticking time bomb in the deficit proposal he foolishly agreed to.

The election laws in 1968 allowed potential presidential challengers to wait until the primary season had begun to enter the race. Sen. Robert Kennedy had the opportunity to reconsider his decision to not run for president in 1968 after it became obvious that fellow Democrat President Lyndon Johnson was unlikely to win reelection. Kennedy decided to run after Johnson’s poor showing in the New Hampshire primary running against largely unknown Sen. Eugene McCarthy. Many of those who voted for McCarthy falsely believed that McCarthy, who opposed the War in Vietnam, wanted a stronger war effort

Two weeks after Kennedy announced he would run, Johnson dropped out of the race because of the situation in Vietnam.

Kennedy was well on the way to winning the nomination when he was stopped by an assassin’s bullet. Had he won the nomination, it is very likely he would have defeated Republican candidate Richard Nixon. The assassination of Kennedy caused the Democrats to nominate Vice President Hubert Humphrey instead.

Obama’s consistently low approval ratings indicate he has little chance of reelection. Democrats shouldn’t let themselves be misled by worthless public opinion polls showing how he would supposedly do against potential Republican candidates. Most voters aren’t paying close attention to those running for the Republican nomination and their final decisions may be influenced by whatever ads the Republican candidate and private groups run next fall.

Democrats need a dynamic candidate who knows how to appeal to independent voters. Considering the low opinion voters have of Congress, the strongest candidate would be someone from outside of Washington.

Palestinian U.N. Membership a Very Bad Precedent

October 4, 2011

Granting United Nations membership to the Palestinians would create a vary dangerous precedent. The Palestinians aren’t the only ethnic group that desire to have their own country independent of the one in which they live. Nor are they the only group that has used violence to try to gain independence.

The Kurds have long desired to set up a country they would call Kurdistan including land currently a part of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. If the U.N. grants membership to the Palestinians, shouldn’t it also grant membership to Kurdistan? The Kurds have their own culture and language.

The Palestinians are a collection of Arab peoples who happen to live within the boundaries of the nation of Israel. They are called Palestinians not because they have a unique culture like the Kurds, but because they aren’t Jewish. The term “Palestine” was used by the Romans to refer to a geographic region rather than any specific ethnic group.

Might the area of Chechnya also qualify for U.N. membership? What about the Basque region of Spain? Could Tibetans argue that they should have U.N. membership even though the Chinese currently occupy the country?

If the Palestinians should get their own country because they are Muslims, what about the Uighur Muslims in China?

Many other countries have groups that might want their own country if they thought it were possible, particularly in those areas of the world where European nations arbitrarily forced different ethnic groups to live in the same country. Granting U.N. membership to the Palestinians would encourage members of these groups to develop nationalist aspirations.

There is nothing special about the Palestinians. Many groups of people would like to have their own nations. The U.N. cannot arbitrarily grant membership to the Palestinians and ignore the aspirations of the Kurds, Basques, etc.

Nations that are considering voting for Palestinian membership should make sure they don’t have groups that might make a similar request.

Over the last several thousand years regions of the Middle East have been controlled by whatever ethnic groups have been strongest at the time. Some groups such as the Persians and Assyrians have established empires. Others such as the Israelites have been content to control only small areas. The current situation in Israel has been occurred many times in the past and will likely to be repeated in one country or another in the future.

The U.N. should not attempt to arbitrarily adjust national boundaries or decide which groups should have their own countries. Many of the ethnic problems in Asia and Africa are due in part to the arbitrary national boundaries imposed by imperialistic European nations If the Palestinians, Kurds or other groups want their own nations they should handle their own situations rather having the U.N. impose a solution from outside.