In recent months and especially since the latest California terror incident, I have noticed that John Wayne’s image keeps popping up on Facebook ( sometimes just in references to movies, which have enormously enduring appeal) but also attached to all sorts of other posts…
Wayne’s life was full of contradictions. He is the biggest “War Movie” star in American history, and never served in the military ( in World War II, they granted him a deferment for age and being married. He was browbeaten by Director John Ford to actually enlist, but kept saying ” after one or two more movies.” When he DID decide to join the newly formed OSS, he was accepted but the acceptance letter from “Wild Bill” Donovan went to one of his estranged wives who kept him from knowing about it).
He was a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian by ancestry who played an archteypal Irish fighter in “the Quiet Man” ( the IRA would not have approved, but wisely probably said nothing– “The Duke” was just too popular with the average Irish American)– and his taste in wives was for Hispanic women first and foremost, which later led to him taking the side of the Panamanians in the Canal debate that came along ( the first time he ever got hate mail and was accused of being a traitor).
Because maybe that was what John Wayne was all about: he was the embodiment of the Patriotic American, my country right or wrong, including whole hearted support for the Vietnam War and some statements such as this one in 1971, well after the death of Martin Luther King and the passage of the Civil Rights Act. (Playboy Interview)”
The “country right or wrong” attitude led him to say this:
I believe in white supremacy, until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people … I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from