Table of contents

The boondock saints 2

Some notes on the divine origin of law

When they decide to kill evil men, the boys say a prayer it seems they learned from their father. (Their mother taught them many languages, which helps them keep secrets.) When first they meet their father, a firefight ensues. He later saves them & leads them. […]

The boondock saints 1

Varieties of latter-day heroes Some notes on justice as the proper work of man

Two Irish boys learn the famous lie about Kitty Genovese from their priest & approve the exhortation to shepherd God’s flock. They are not the kind of people who use a murder to make a point. But one day, organized […]

Battle Creek i.1

What progress can do for you

Milton Chamberlain looks like Mr. America, but is ceremoniously thrown out of his FBI office in Detroit & sent to Battle Creek, which has nothing but the name to recommend it, & therefore disappoints. This man specializes in being nice to everyone whom he needs. He does not […]

Backstrom i.2

What this nation needs is the right kind of bullying

This story shows, very cautiously, different forms of abuse of the public trust. Why should we care? One reason is, free gov’t depends on people putting public service above private interest in certain cases–our private lives depend on other people taking care of our […]

Backstrom i.1

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Everett Backstrom was once a detective of some import. He has ended up weak, fat, diseased. Why does he care to make this public knowledge? He needs a doctor to approve his body for work. His mind is reliable, says a former partner, current boss. This somebody reaches down […]


On man & city

Backstrom is an exceptionally gifted detective in Portland, Oregon, a dying man with a broken body. He has not got long to live & he wants to live doing justice, even if it kills him, although he seems to take crime as a personal insult–perhaps he believes that God is […]

Heartbreak ridge 3

A view of redemption Some notes on manliness with a view to education

The movie starts with our hero Gunnery Sgt. Tom Highway telling a few kids in jail stories about his life in the Marine Corps. It’s whoring & sexual diseases that we hear about at this point. I think he means to […]

Heartbreak ridge 2

A view of the hero Some notes on the possibility of going beyond law into kingship

There is only one joking political reference. When Highway tells them to order the squad bay, they vote against it. He makes fun of democracy & has them run. He’s not going to beat the democrat’s love of […]

Heartbreak ridge 1

A view of American manliness Some notes on the excellence specific to the Marine

The movie starts with a montage of soldiers from WWII. That is the most glorious moment of American war history, because unlike the great American wars, it is not fratricidal. The nation for once sent million after million of men […]