I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.
It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.
It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.
- John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776
Instapundit leads me to a post on “The Top 10 Manly Movie Deaths of All Time,” a great idea which pretty much sucks in execution because the person who wrote the post must be about 22 (#9 is the cartoon Optimus in the 1986 ‘Transformers’ movie!!)
10 – Leon in The Professional (1994)
9 – Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Movie (1986)
8 – Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)
7 – The Terminator in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
6 – Bill in Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
5 – Goose in Top Gun (1986)
4 – Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars (1977)
3 – Nick in The Deer Hunter (1978)
2 – William Wallace in Braveheart (1995)
1 – Apollo Creed in Rocky IV (1985)
Here’s my list, which shares one with theirs:
10 – Val Kilmer in Tombstone
9 – Nick Nolte in Who’ll Stop The Rain
8 – Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino
7 – Toshiro Mifune in Throne of Blood
6 – Burt Lancaster in The Killers
5 – David Carradine in Kill Bill
4 – Robert DiNiro in Heat
3 – Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner
2 – Jimmy Cagney in White Heat
1 – John Wayne in The Shootist
It’s amusing to mine our memories of films to talk about lists like this, but lists like this matter, because in part they embody our models for behavior – good and bad – into iconic moments that we all carry around as a part of our culture.
That’s why images like this are so powerful:
Because they embody idealized behavior.
In the list I posted, all of the characters embody an idealized masculine attitude toward death – for better or worse.
Update: It’s interesting how – in retrospect – my list is all about violent death; some senseless, some deeply meaningful. Because I certainly don;t envision my life ending in a hail of bullets (or arrows); I was planning something like a peaceful death surrounded by a large and loving family for whom I have provided and cared much of my adult life. Hmmm.
Me, June 21:
So I’m glad that the NY Times and journalists could sit on an exciting story to help save one of their own. In the future, will they do this to save some random civilian, or some US soldier?
NYT, today, July 2:
KABUL (AP) — An American soldier, who disappeared after walking off his base in eastern Afghanistan with three Afghan counterparts, is believed captured, officials said Thursday.
Spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said the soldier disappeared Tuesday.
Now it’s not clear that the military even asked the press for silence. But the contrast is worth noting, dontcha think?