Brooks sees Obama the way I do, as a mensch

David Brooks didn’t quite go all the way to calling President Obama a Michael Corleone (as opposed to a Sonny, which is more like what George W. Bush was), but he did everything else but say the name:

The key is his post-boomer leadership style. Critics are always saying that Obama is too cool and detached, arrogant and aloof. But the secret to his popularity through hard times is that he is not melodramatic, sensitive, vulnerable and changeable. Instead, he is self-disciplined, traditional and a bit formal. He is willing, with drones and other mechanisms, to use lethal force.

Normally, presidents look weak during periods of economic stagnation, overwhelmed by events. But Obama has displayed a kind of ESPN masculinity: postfeminist in his values, but also thoroughly traditional in style — hypercompetitive, restrained, not given to self-doubt, rarely self-indulgent. Administrations are undone by scandal and moments when they look pathetic, but this administration, guarded in all things, has rarely had those moments….

Brooks said that in the process of marveling at the fact that Obama even has a chance at re-election, since so many of the fundamentals are against him. He concludes that “In survey after survey, Obama is far more popular than his policies” because of what Americans think of him as a man. Not just as a person, but as a man.

Oh, and for those who are tired of me talking about “guy stuff” this week, don’t blame me on this one; Brooks brought it up.

I don’t think either of us has precisely hit the nail on the head. I keep saying “Michael Corleone” to describe his quiet, non-blustering toughness. But of course, the president is a better man than Michael Corleone. “Mensch” doesn’t quite say it either, but it points in that direction. As for Brooks’ reference to “ESPN masculinity” (a term so important to his piece that it’s his headline) — well, I don’t even know what he means by that. Maybe I don’t watch enough sports. (I’ll confess that I also get confused with what people mean when they say “postfeminist.” Some seem to use it to refer to feminism being over and done with, and therefore “NONfeminist.” Others seem to refer to a state in which feminism is taken for granted and no longer a movement, just part of life. So the word is unhelpful to me.)

Another way to say what Brooks is trying to say — “thoroughly traditional in style — hypercompetitive, restrained, not given to self-doubt, rarely self-indulgent” — is “Gary Cooper.”

But we all want to be Gary Cooper (in “High Noon,” specifically — “I’ve got to, that’s the whole thing.”). What Brooks is saying, in a way, is that Obama pulls it off.

85 thoughts on “Brooks sees Obama the way I do, as a mensch

  1. Brad

    By the way, I’m not the only one confused when people say “postfeminism.” Wikipedia notes that “The term post-feminism is ill-defined and is used in inconsistent ways,” and adds, “Post-feminism describes a range of viewpoints reacting to feminism.”

  2. Brad

    I could say the same thing, of course, about “post-boomer.” Also unclear, unless he’s saying that boomers were a generation that didn’t believe in the Gary Cooper ideal of a man, which could be right (even though it doesn’t describe me or Tony Soprano, and we’re boomers — Tony was always talking about Gary Cooper).

    I understand “postcolonial” and “postmodern” better. But only a little better. How about if we declare a moratorium on these terms? Then we’ll all be “post-post.”

  3. bud

    Interesting how Brad and I read the same article and focused on completely different aspects of it. I found Brooks observation that the fundamentals are working against Obama completely unfounded. Brooks specifically claims that the economy and his healthcare plan should be enough to make Obama a big underdog. I say, not so fast. The economy is improving and what’s important is the tragectory, not the snapshot of how it’s doing at any given point in time. Folks really are beginning to feel the positive effects of the improving economy and are very wary of a return the GOP policies that brought the house down in the first place. I would suggest that the fundamentals regarding the economy slightly favor the president.

    As for healthcare, the overall plan polls poorly but individual aspects of it are quite popular. Not sure that’s a negative for the president at all.

    Right now the polling is about even. Given the slowly improving economy and the complete dislike many folks have about Mitt Romney I’d have to make Obama about a 3-2 favorite at this point. That’s about what Intrade has him.

  4. Brad

    Of course, not everybody sees Obama as a tough guy. Jeffrey Goldberg over at Bloomberg, in a piece headlined “Obama Hits Syria With Brutal Blast of Adverbs,” writes:

    Some critics say the U.S. has shamed itself by not intervening aggressively on behalf of Syria’s rebels and dissidents.

    They’re wrong. The Obama administration hasn’t helped to arm the rebels, nor has it created safe havens for persecuted dissidents. But it has done something far more important: It has provided the Syrian opposition with very strong language to describe Assad’s various atrocities.

    The administration’s unprecedented verbal and written sorties against the Assad regime have included some of the most powerful adjectives, adjectival intensifiers and adverbs ever aimed at an American foe. This campaign has helped Syrians understand, among other things, that the English language contains many synonyms for “repulsive.”

    But a crisis is fast approaching: America’s stockpile of vivid adjectives is being depleted rapidly. Some linguists of the realist camp are now arguing for restraint in the use of condemnatory word combinations. They note that the administration, in its effort to shock and awe the Assad regime with the power of its official statements and the stridency of its State Department briefings, has prematurely stripped bare its thesaurus, leaving the U.S. powerless to come to the symbolic aid of the Syrian people…

  5. Brad

    But, thanks for bringing it back to the topic at hand. I was in danger of free-associating completely off the subject, all by myself, before anyone else had even commented.

    I need people to keep me on-task and on-point. Always have.

  6. Silence

    Mensch isn’t the Yiddish word I’d use.

    I’m sure that I can think of a few choicer ones too.

  7. `Kathryn Fenner

    I don’t think “mensch” describes the kind of cool, yet competitive person Brooks speaks of. A mensch does the right, decent thing, which POTUS Obama surely does, but it was his relentless sangfroid in the face of adversity that Brooks praised.

    “Postfeminist” in the sense Brooks used it means “since feminism raised (most) people’s consciousness.”

  8. Bryan Caskey

    “ESPN masculinity”? I have no idea what Brooks is trying to say here, but I’m pretty sure that Brooks doesn’t know what he’s trying to say either.

  9. Silence

    @ SDII – The Internets is your friend.

    Mensch is a Yiddish term for a good/honorable man.

    Yiddish is a language based on high German, with a little bit of Slavic thrown in, that uses Hebrew letters. IT was spoken by the Jews of Eastern and Central Europe. It is still spoken today by some of their descendants, mostly in NYC. At one point, there was a thriving Yiddish language community including theatres, newspapers, etc.

    It’s sort of dying out now, but it almost became the official language of the (then new) Jewish state of Israel, instead of modern Hebrew, which almost nobody actually spoke at the time.

  10. Phillip

    ESPN masculinity:

    Guys who fundamentally are not jocks but maybe play or played a little bit of sports, who grew up as men in a generation (and culture) that was profoundly affected positively by the feminist movement, but who follow sports avidly enough to participate comfortably in water-cooler discussions of same, across cultural/political divides, often as one of the only points of commonality across those barriers. Tend to be into the geekier aspects of sports as viewers/analyzers than participants. Prefer the erudition of columnists-turned-commentators like Tony Kornheiser or the nerdier-half of the nationally syndicated ESPN morning radio show, “Mike and Mike,” to the rants of ex-jocks. Have at least one ESPN RSS feed bookmarked on their blog tabs at all times on laptop. Are often accused of stealing glances at ESPN on large-screens at restaurants when they’re supposed to be paying attention to what spouse is saying (this proves they are, after all, STILL guys when you get right down to it).

    (Any similarity between the above description and any commenter on this blog is purely coincidental.)

  11. `Kathryn Fenner

    ESPN masculinity is the kind of sports fan/jock “regular guy” masculinity–the ethos is gamesmanship, upbeat, positive thinking, self-actualizing, calm and polite, yet competitive. Yes, we can (win the game)….I know in part because my peer when I first practiced law was a varsity runner for Georgetown, and my mentor was a basketball player for Princeton (and erstwhile friend and neighbor of POTUS and FLOTUS). They were calm, tough, resilient, self-reliant. I, on the other hand, was a drama nerd–very in-touch with my feelings, eager to please, creative. An old-school Bravo femme.

    Contrast to Lifetime femininity, say–melodrama, hyperemotionalism, victimhood–although triumphing over adversity, as well.

    HBO masculinity is trash talking violence, maybe. Fox News masculinity is chicken hawks and HGTV masculinity is fixing up your house yourself…I dunno..

  12. Silence

    @ SDII – Cause it’s part of popular culture. Some Shmuck called Obama a “Mensch” and then ‘Kathryn and David and some of the other Goyim started kvelling and kibbitzing, doing a whole Shpiel about it and getting all verklempt. That’s the ganze zach (or the whole Megilla!) Oy gevalt!

  13. Steven Davis II

    What would be the definition of BET masculinity or OWN masculinity? I think of myself as kind of more of a TVLand masculine guy.

    I like the 3rd generation removed name dropping you used though. My uncle once lived three blocks away from the kid who mowed Gus Grissom’s landlord’s lawn.

  14. Brad

    Interesting definitions. I wonder how close they are to Brooks’?

    I have to ask because I’m not that much of a sports enthusiast. I appreciate sports, but am not a typical fan type. And I find people talking about sports (which is what I think of when you say ESPN) mightily boring… with one exception: I do like hearing the guys in the booth chatting and reminiscing during a baseball game. Something very soothing and comfortable about that.

  15. Brad

    The thing that gets me about entire channels devoted to sports is that it seems a case of misguided priorities to me. I like sports fine, just not that much.

    Chalk that up to a guy who has spent a long career in the newspaper business, watching sports hog valuable resources…

  16. Steven Davis II

    “The thing that gets me about entire channels devoted to sports is that it seems a case of misguided priorities to me.”

    I feel the same way about C-SPAN and yes C-SPAN2. Which is why I love DirecTV, you can whittle the guide down from 270 channels to the 10 that you actually watch.

  17. Doug Ross

    There is no difference between appreciating the skills of Phillip on the piano and those of any high level athlete. Each makes use of his particular talents combined with hard work to attain excellence in their chosen endeavor. That said, I’ll take Larry Bird over Beethoven any day of the week.

    The fact that more people choose to watch sports over editorials is about demand, not supply. Surely as a communitarian, you can appreciate the collective mindset that creates Gamecock football fans.

  18. `Kathryn Fenner

    Well, how about contrasting to Bill Clinton–cries easily, feels your pain, charms you, great personal warmth, plays the saxophone in Wayfarers to show he’s a regular guy—or Barack Obama who shoots hoops to show he’s a regular guy, but who has never shed a public tear, so far as I recall, may say he feels your pain, but seems to “think” your pain, personally cool….

    and, yeah, Phillip seems to have that ESPN masculinity. Professor Fenner does not, nor do you, Brad. Doug has a bit of it, but is mostly a gearhead guy. It’s all good.

    How about sports bar vs. bistro?

  19. `Kathryn Fenner

    and I think The State needs to keep ALL sports news in the daily Sports section–the only 7 day section other than the news section.

  20. Mark Stewart

    What is “self-actualizing”? Mumbo jumbo… and I don’t want to even get near hyperemotionalism in a woman. Yikes! That’s why guys keep a beer fridge in the garage.

  21. Brad

    Beer fridge! Now THAT is worth a high-five, bro’.

    So much to react to…

    Thank GOD Obama has not shed a public tear. I like no-drama Obama. Not that I’ve never shed a tear, but… OK, everybody’s going to get on my case about me being such a warmonger, but I actually got sort of misty-eyed reading about Spec. Sabo and the guys he’d saved without hesitation, and his widowed bride. I have been known to cry REAL tears at the end of “Saving Private Ryan” (fortunately, when I was watching it by myself). You know that scene in “You’ve Got Mail” when Tom Hanks and another guy joke about getting choked up when Jim Brown gets machine-gunned in “The Dirty Dozen”? Well, that IS a joke, because you can’t really get invested in that movie or its characters. It’s fun, but cartoony (and not nearly as good as the novel), like so many war flicks in the 60s (by that time, America was misremembering WWII as some sort of a lark, with wisecracking Americans just whupping up on hapless Germans). But “Private Ryan” speaks powerfully to real humanity and the nobility of sacrifice for others, and that gets me. Superb emotional engineering, as Helmholtz Watson would say.

    Where was I? Oh, yeah. Actually, Doug, I wish I could feel what Gamecock fans feel, but I can’t, and tend to think of that kind of community as being more what Vonnegut would have called a “granfalloon.” And my hard-news prejudice causes me to think that some of the brainpower spent on thinking about the Gamecocks might be better spent on changing this state so that we don’t lag behind the rest of the nation. And I believe that we have a First Amendment not so front pages can be filled with frameable pictures of football players (although it guarantees newspapers are FREE to do so), but to better inform the citizenry.

    But I DO appreciate that it takes all kinds to make a world, or even a well-rounded community. (And you’d be surprised at how high readership of the editorial page is, or was. I was — I had thought we were more of an enclave of elites until I saw some research telling me otherwise.) We all have our enthusiasms.

    Steven, I knew a girl in high school (so did Burl — her name was Priscilla Gummerson) who had lived just down the street from Charlie Watts of the Stones in England.

  22. Doug Ross

    Movie scenes that will bring me to tears every time:

    The end of It’s A Wonderful Life when all of George Bailey’s friends start throwing money on the table.

    The end of Mr. Holland’s Opus when he enters the auditorium to find all of his former students on stage

    Marley and Me. Forget it. You want the waterworks, show me a dog dying.

    An obscure movie – Everbody’s All American – Dennis Quaid plays a college football hero whose pro career fails and takes his marriage and his personal relationships down with it. At the end, he makes a speech at benefit talking about his mistakes and what he really valued.

    Backdraft – when Kurt Russell is riding in the ambulance with his brother (Billy? Baldwin).

    Mamma Mia – when I realized I paid $10 to hear Pierce Bronson sing.

  23. Doug Ross


    “Doug has a bit of it”…

    More than a bit. My life revolved around sports for the first 30 years. Then it revolved around my kids playing sports for the next 20. I bet I’m one of a very few of Brad’s commenters who has ever dunked a basketball in a game.

    I watch far more ESPN than anything else.

  24. Brad

    I’m the same way with It’s a Wonderful Life. And yeah, the prospect of having to see Mamma Mia again (I took my wife to see it at the $1.50 theater on St. Andrew’s) would at least make me WANT to cry.

    Of course, George Bailey is about the same thing as “Private Ryan” — a good man who lays down his whole life for others. George just does it in dribs and drabs, paying it out every day of his adult life, instead of in a brief burst of violence. He’s still as much of a hero as his brother who wins the Medal of Honor as a naval aviator.

    Another non-war movie that choked me up the one or two times I saw it: “Places in the Heart.” It was the ending that got me, in the church. I’m not going to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but wow… talk about forgiveness and reconciliation, and for that matter communitarianism. I was totally unprepared for that.

  25. Brad

    I followed the link, but quickly lost interest.

    I THOUGHT I was going to be interested, but then I realized it said, “organismic,” when I thought it had said something more interesting…

  26. Steven Davis II

    @Doug – “Marley and Me. Forget it. You want the waterworks, show me a dog dying.”

    Which is why I’ve never been able to get myself to watch the movie. Listening to the book on tape was rough enough, I’m surprised I didn’t drive off a bridge at the end.

  27. Steven Davis II

    @Doug – “I bet I’m one of a very few of Brad’s commenters who has ever dunked a basketball in a game.”

    Does a failed attempt count? My most embarrassing basketball moment in high school. On a steal and break away about two minutes into the game, I tried what I’d done successfully in practice hundreds of times. I went up too early and pinned it on the rim and landed on my ass in front of about 200 people. I caught hell from damn near everyone the rest of the game and never even attempted to do it again.

  28. Mark Stewart


    So you mean being able to spot BS and call people on it. Is this not a widespread talent?

    Like today’s news about Senator Peeler objecting to adding new judge positions in our court system when we have the most over-burdened system in the nation (when there is money to pa for the positions). And then, when it sounds like some people objected to his objection, he says he just wants to make sure that the positions don’t go to Greenville, Columbia and Charleston but are instead distributed across the rural areas. As if judges aren’t most needed where most of the people live. So that’s something I would call BS on. Am I self-actualizing now?

  29. `Kathryn Fenner

    and Doug–didn’t mean to diss you–you just don’t give off that sports TV vibe. Would POTUS carry a backpack, I mean?

  30. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Mark–look at the link on Maslow I just posted. It’s brief and has a nice pyramid graph.

    I think you are indeed self-actualizing–even more than most on this blog.

  31. Mark Stewart


    I see that I would appear to be self-actualized. So that’s great; what does one do with that label?

    Back to work…

  32. Brad

    Is there money in it? I could use me some of that…

    What level does that put me on?

    I worry that self-actualization is like what Twain’s Connecticut Yankee said about questing for the Holy Grail: “There was worlds of reputation in it, but no money. Why, they actually wanted ME to put in! Well, I should smile.”

  33. Brad

    Wait; I’ve got to quote that a bit more completely:

    “You see, it was just the Northwest Passage of that day, as you may say; that was all. Every year expeditions went out holy grailing, and next year relief expeditions went out to hunt for THEM. There was worlds of reputation in it, but no money. Why, they actually wanted ME to put in! Well, I should smile.”

    Twain is so awesome.

  34. `Kathryn Fenner

    Well, Mark, it says you are at the top of the heap. Go with God. So many others are not, and it might be nice to try to lift them up, too, but…

    It’s just a tool to help understand ourselves better, especially to help those who aren’t self-actualized figure out what to deal with next….

  35. bud

    Titanic, It’s a Wonderful Life and Casablanca are the weepy icons. Pvt. Ryan, not so much. It just didn’t tug at my heartstrings the way the others did. Probably the whole war thing is more of a sickening experience than one of sadness. Pvt. Ryan was a good anti-war movie but beyond that it was an overrated film with an excessive amount of gratuitous violence. How many times can you watch people get blown up before something becomes a turnoff? Pvt. Ryan way crossed that line before Tom Hanks character bought the farm.

  36. Steven Davis II

    Saving Private Ryan was an “anti-war movie”? Huh… I guess you do learn something new everyday.

    “but beyond that it was an overrated film with an excessive amount of gratuitous violence”

    That statement alone would get you banned on most forums I read.

    So I’m going to go out on a limb and say bud didn’t really care for Band of Brothers either. I’m shocked that he allowed his son to join the military.

  37. Brad

    Good analogy, Silence.

    Instead, it’s the best spaceflight movie. And “Saving Private Ryan” is the best war picture ever made. (And of course, both have wonderfully communitarian themes. Guys working together with tremendous dedication toward a common end.)

    In fact, “Ryan” is one of the best pictures ever made. Definitely in my Top Ten, possibly Top Five.

    There most assuredly was not too much violence in it. It was realistic, not one of those slam-bam “action” movies that show all sorts of impossible things happening. With THOSE flicks, you DO get sick of the explosions, because they aren’t showing you anything that bears resemblance to reality.

    With “Saving Private Ryan,” veterans had flashbacks. The violence was too disturbingly real to them. And yes, the same can be said of “Band of Brothers.”

  38. Brad

    What “Ryan” was was the first really true, high-production-values movie made about WWII — and perhaps any war.

    The movies I grew up on — “The Great Escape,” “The Dirty Dozen” — just can’t compare. And “The Great Escape” was my favorite movie, bar none, from my childhood (and we all know what I thought was the coolest part). I thought it was awesome. And it’s still great, for its era. But that was a bad movie-making era.

    I didn’t realize its weaknesses until my oldest daughter was watching it with me, and crushed me by pointing out the flaws that were so obvious to her. The sprightly background music, the way we are invited to laugh at Steve McQueen’s cocky bravado in the face of being sent to the “cooler” for weeks at a time.

    As serious as it was, and even though it was telling about a real, event (although highly, highly fictionalized) with a horrific ending, the makers of the film couldn’t shake off that “WWII was fun!” tone that marked war films in that period.

    “Ryan” told the story of the way it really was. And did it magnificently.

  39. bud

    I thought the whole jiggly camera thing on Omaha Beach was just plain silly. Especially when it showed the guy carrying his arm that had just been shot off.

  40. Mark Stewart


    I wasn’t taking issue with your evaluation of my character; my issue was with pyramid structure. Now if the modes of life were instead written as a mobius strip, then I would find more credibility in the theory. We are all all of those modes to varying degrees.


  41. Mark Stewart

    Revisualizing and articulating new, more nuanced and informed viewpoints on and of society and social order is something we should all strive for. Saving Private Ryan did that across generations. It was both a depiction of courage, honor, selfless devotion and, at the same time, I would agree it is an antiwar movie. It is that because it was realistic. However, it is also about the necessity of committing 100% to change; in this case to right the wrongs of a European militaristic society that had lost touch with humanity. That’s what the movie did in beginning on the beach with the drop of the ramp. It said this is the time to stand and be counted; to overcome and to lead on.

  42. Brad

    It was that, yes. But it was always about the thing that soldiers actually fight for in real life: Each other. We can talk all we want about courage and sacrifice in the service of one’s country, and there’s much truth in it. But men stand and fight when every fiber of their being says “run” because of the guys beside them.

    “Ryan” illustrated that. And one of the strengths of “Black Hawk Down” is that one of the men just comes out and explains it.

  43. Silence

    @ Brad – Have you watched “The Thin Red Line?” I haven’t vidied it since it came out (1998), but I really thought it was great at the time. I remember thinking that it was better than “Saving Private Ryan” but maybe it wasn’t.

    @ bud – that scene was parodied on South Park during their “Imaginationland” story arc: The good imaginary creatures/characters are attacked by the bad ones, and Ronald McDonald ends up getting his arm blown off in the attack. He goes back to get it, picks it up and carries it off. It was hilarious!

  44. Steven Davis II

    “Instead, it’s the best spaceflight movie.”

    As much as I like Apollo 13, I don’t put it above The Right Stuff.

  45. Brad

    OK, I LOVE “The Right Stuff.” But I actually think of that as more of a… I don’t know… test pilot movie.

    There was no real space flight in it. Whereas “Apollo 13” had scene after scene with real weightlessness.

  46. Steven Davis II

    “Especially when it showed the guy carrying his arm that had just been shot off.”

    Yeah I bet that was just a regular knee-slapper wasn’t it bud.

    Good thing you didn’t see this movie in a theater, because instead of a lump in your throat I believe you would have left with a lump on your head.

  47. Brad

    I don’t know how they did that. Well, I know how — they shot the scenes in a plane flying parabolic arcs. But that only gives you a VERY brief period of weightlessness. How they shot all those extended scenes, I don’t know. And how the actors got into character and shot the scene without getting rattled in those brief windows, I also don’t know.

  48. Brad

    Silence, I hate to say it, but I was deeply disappointed by “The Thin Red Line.” I wrote about it in a column, and pretty much trashed it. I had recently read the book, and I hated (among other things) the way it romanticized the character Witt — making him into some kind of dreamy hippy — whereas in the book he was a guy with a burning desire to “kill Japs.”

  49. Steven Davis II

    The Thin Red Line… OMG, that was torture to sit through. I view it as horrible to Saving Private Ryan as The Pacific was compared to Band of Brothers.

  50. Steven Davis II

    I’m no military psychologist, but isn’t the instinct when getting your arm blown off to pick it up? Same as any other instinct to grab and hold any other injury?

  51. Silence

    @ Brad – Well, I dunno then. As far as ACTUAL anti-war movies go: “Born on the Fourth of July” was probably the best one I’ve seen.

    My favorite WW2 movie would be “The Longest Day” cause I like all of the different actors in it.

  52. Steven Davis II

    We Were Soldiers would have been a good movie had they cut out all of the “home” scenes.

  53. Silence

    “Pearl Harbor” was also really good. I give it 5/5. My expectations for the new “Battleship” movie starring Rihanna are very high too! We all know about my love for battleships!

  54. bud

    The jiggly camera was really effective in Blair Witch Hunt. It’s been used in other movies and shows including The Office. Seems rather pointless to me. We all know this was a stagged event and no one was really running along filming the troops as they stormed the beach. Why not just use cameras mounted on tracks to follow along with the actors in a smooth arc that everyone can properly follow. That part of Ryan really was very pretentious.

    But that’s not to say there weren’t some good scenes in Ryan. Aside from some of the obvious problems it had it probably did depict the horrors of war realistically. Just not enough good to make it above about the 80th best movie. It’s certainly not in the same league with Apocalpyse Now.

  55. Steven Davis II

    “We all know this was a stagged event and no one was really running along filming the troops as they stormed the beach.”

    Yeah, like Blair Witch wasn’t staged.

    The scene was shot as if you were there running along side them, not viewing it through a set of binoculars.

    bud, there’s a famous line in Good Morning Vietnam that comes to mind when I read your posts.

  56. `Kathryn Fenner

    @Mark–Indeed, that is the greatest critique of the hierarchy–that it isn’t a pyramid or hierarchy–people who are starving still have social needs, say.

  57. Mark Stewart

    Courtesy of a friend who worked on Madison Ave., I got to attend the NYC premiere of Saving Private Ryan on the largest movie screen I have still ever seen. It was clear from the audience reaction that most of us had no idea how the movie was going to unfold.

    I would choose the word harrowing, even if that’s a bit overdramatic, to describe that scene.

    The crescendo scene of We Were Soldiers Once was what ruined it for me; after relentless realism, the movie suddenly shifted to triumphalism in the last attack. That just rang false.

    Pearl Harbor was a dislike. Sappy dreck.

  58. Steven Davis II

    ““Battleship” movie starring Rihanna”

    That should tell you right there that it’s going to suck.

  59. Scout

    My memory of the term “self actualizing” was that it describes a person who is more intrinsically motivated towards self growth and self awareness and reaches a higher level of maturity than others who don’t have those qualities. Could be I remember wrong, or could be different sides of the same coin ??

  60. Ralph Hightower

    I think that Kathryn nails it with with a number of points. 1) He, Obama, did things right; he played his poker hand right and didn’t reveal his moves. He sent an elite team into Pakistan to take out bin Laden. Clinton just lobbed a few cruise missiles into Afghanistan; but that was pre 9-11. 2) Obama is a fierce competitor. I’ve read that he is a competitive basketball player; that is the way he likes to unwind.

    Beer fridge! Now THAT is worth a high-five, bro’.

    Some of the space in my beer fridge is occupied with 35mm film to use; okay, the film just takes up the space of a six-pack.

    Apollo 13 was a great demonstration of Yankee ingenuity of bringing astronauts back home safely after AHBL (All Hell Breaks Loose) happened. I would have to say that like the world triumphed with Apollo 11, the world was on the edge of their seats with Apollo 13, whether it was 1970, or they were watching the Tom Hanks movie. My wife and I heard Jim Lovell speak at Lexington Medical Center Foundation a few years ago.

  61. Mark Stewart

    Silence, you may be pleased to hear that I thought Battleship was awesome! It is what it is, but it did it well.

    If you like ships, you’ll get a kick out of the flick. And Rianna is no Madonna (though this may not make her an actress).

  62. Mark Stewart


    That’s why these structures irritate me; every person needs all five sectors of this social scientist’s construct. One is not more than the other.

    The best leader I have ever encountered in life was a young father with a 9th grade education. I used to pick him up from work release at the county jail to take him to a landscaping job. This was at a summer college job. Had he been able to handle his personal impulses, he could have been absolutely anything. I still use what I learned from him.


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