Dumbass Quote of the Day

Dumbass Quote of the Day May 24, 2012

Phyllis Schlafly continues her improbably perfect record for being wrong on everything with her latest radio commentary, wherein she laments the loss of “real men” who went to war and saved damsels in distress. You know, like John Wayne, the draft dodging wife beater.

If American women want to know where all the manly men have gone, they can blame the feminists. Not only can men no longer hold the door open for women, they can’t even save a woman’s life and get a gracious thank you. Feminists have destroyed the relationship between men and woman. Most women like big, strong, John-Wayne-type men. They want men who bravely put out fires, fight in combat, protect their wives and children against intruders, and save damsels in distress. But feminists have made a lot of men afraid to be manly. It’s time to say, we love manly men.

Except, of course, John Wayne didn’t do any of those things. He played characters that did them, but he exhibited nothing even remotely approaching those traits in his real life. In real life, he dodged the draft so he could keep making big money in the movies, even while many of his fellow stars in entertainment volunteered to fight. John Wayne was the Rush Limbaugh of his day, a multiple divorcee with a history of drunken debauchery and adultery. But he talked tough, and that appears to be all Schlafly cares about.

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  • You know, my wife is somewhat conservative, but she seems to prefer men who can cook, clean, help out with the kid, remember to put dirty socks in the hamper and not snore. I don’t recall her ever questioning my manhood because I’m not big and burly, belch loudly and be manly (I suspect if I tried to be “manly” she’d kick me right in the source of the manlihood).

  • Not only can men no longer hold the door open for women, they can’t even save a woman’s life and get a gracious thank you.

    Yeah, this really chaps my hide. I used to save the lives of five or six women a week, and they’d all express their gratitude, and I’d nod curtly and say, “No problem ma’am”, and quickly make my exit. Now I’m lucky if I save two or three women a month, and they just stand there and stare at me, with a look on their faces like, “What, you just saved my life. Big deal.” It’s such an unfair blow to my manly manhood manliness.

  • d cwilson

    John Wayne may be the best symbol for the modern conservative movement: Put on the tough guy act, but would rather other people do the fighting and make sacrifices.

  • Chiroptera

    But he talked tough, and that appears to be all Schlafly cares about.

    Well, we are talking about a movement that values image over substance. Every. Single. Time.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    Appearance is all the conservatives have ever cared about. Affairs are fine… as long as you keep them quiet. Being gay is acceptable… as long as you get married to a beard who procreates a couple of times. Atheism is just dandy… as long as you remain a regular church-goer and raise your kids in the faith. You can be as kinky in the privacy of your own home as you want… as long as you vocally support the right of government to perform morality inspections of American bedrooms. You can be as corrupt and dirty as you want behind your mask, as long as that mask never, ever drops.

    That is what right wing hypocricy is all about.

  • tbp1

    Yes, compare John Wayne with another conservative movie star, Jimmy Stewart. I couldn’t disagree more with his politics, but he put his money where his mouth was, being an actual combat pilot in WWII. He was also best friends with notorious liberal Henry Fonda.

  • edmundog

    To be fair, Wayne was 34 when the war started, and had a family, and therefore was exempt from the draft. He was still a chickenhawk who loved going around telling everyone he was going to join the army real soon I swear but I just have to finish this movie, and I got contracts, and I have to be in John Ford’s unit, and hey you guys are great oh whoops, started another movie.

  • Phillip IV

    Most women like big, strong, John-Wayne-type men.

    [citation needed]

    But while it pains me to defend somebody like John Wayne, I still feel like I have to point out that he didn’t “dodge” the draft. He availed himself of exemptions (family and profession) that had been put in place, but he did not become an actor or marry for that purpose – which is what would constitute draft-dodging. Given that he was already 34 when the war broke out, and not exactly the picture of health, he would probably not have been called up for service even if drafted. Naturally, he could have volunteered, but a failure to do that doesn’t really qualify as a dodge in my opinion.

  • doktorzoom

    On the other hand, there’s the late critic and essayist Paul Fussell, who died yesterday at the age of 88. A real manly man who fought in WWII (He was one of the frequent onscreen fac3es/voices in Ken Burns’ The War), he would have nothing but scorn for the romanticization of war by idiots like Schlafly. His amazing 1989 Atlantic article, “The Real War 1939-1945” should be read by anyone who wants a tonic against the notion that war is a matter of manly derring-do. He expanded the piece into a book, Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War, which is one of the best, no-illusions treatments of the realities of war that I’ve read (with the HUGE caveat that I am a lifelong civilian–I’m basing my “best” label on the basis of my own reading and what combat veterans have said about Fussell).

  • slc1

    Re Phillip IV @ #8

    It should also be pointed out that Mr. Wayne had bad knees and, even if he had volunteered, it would have been very unlikely that he would have been assigned to a combat unit.

  • So, yesterday I read about a conservative whining that life isn’t like bland ’50s sitcoms, and now one’s whining that men aren’t manly like some fictional characters played by a particular actor. I’m beginning to wonder if these people were raised by television sets instead of their parents.

  • slc1

    Re tbp1 @ #6

    On the other hand, Mr. Wayne had difficulty getting along with Hollywood liberals. In one movie set, he and actor Robert Ryan almost had a punchout over their radically different politics. He also couldn’t get along with actor Kirk Douglas. Somehow he and director John Ford, another Hollywood liberal, managed to get along with each other, collaborating on a number of classic westerns.

  • lofgren

    Sometimes I wonder if kind of chapped Jimmy’s hide that he was cast as the man who shot Liberty Valance because nobody would ever expect him to shoot anybody, when in reality he probably shot a lot more people than John Wayne ever did. Sort of like the way Dolph Lundgren feels when he has to throw yet another fight to Sylvester Stallone.

    Anyway I think the death of the manly man has been significantly overblown. In my experience feminists still appreciate most of the qualities of a manly man – steadfastness, directness, honesty, loyalty, diligence, bravery – they just resent the idea that these are characteristics possessed only by men.

  • Not only can men no longer hold the door open for women…

    Lies! I do it all the time. I’m so damn chivalrous that I don’t even wait for them to approach. I just rush out and grab them, and push them through the nearest door. Sometimes I don’t even open it first.

    I have issues.

  • beezlebubby

    I can’t recall which of Hunter S. Thompson’s books covered the incident, nor can I vouch for the veracity of the account, but Wayne was reportedly confronted by a phalanx of disabled Veterans from Viet Nam, who were trying to just have a few words with him in order to garner his support for their cause (not sure if it was to protest the ongoing war, or to get more help from the VA). He rudely brushed them off with some shitty comments about their political views, but not exactly to their faces. If the account is even half true, he’s a despicable coward and class-A asswipe.

  • beezlebubby

    This wasn’t what I was talking about above, but just for shits and giggles:

    This country is so basically rotten that a vicious, bigoted pig like John Wayne is a great national hero. Thomas Jefferson would have been horrified by a monster like Wayne——and Wayne, given a shot across the time-span, would be proud to pistol-whip a “radical punk” like Jefferson.

    John Wayne is a final, rotten symbol of everything that went wrong with the American Dream——he is our Frankenstein monster, a hero to millions… He beats the mortal shit out of anything he can’t understand. The brainwaves of “The Duke” are like those of the Hammerhead Shark——a beast so stupid and irrationally vicious that scientists have abandoned all hope of dealing with it, except as an unexplainable “throwback.” The Hammerhead, they say, is no different today than he was in One Million B.C. He is a ruthless, stupid beast with only one instinct——to attack, to hurt & cripple & kill (436).

  • Stevarious

    “Not only can men no longer hold the door open for women,”

    I’ve held a lot of doors for a lot of people. But that’s the point – holding a door open for the next person, male OR female, is just plain common courtesy. I’ve never once received a rude response to this.

    It’s when you go out of your way to run up to a door to open it for a woman, or make a big damned show of it (“Oh, let me get that door for you, Ma’am”), acting like it’s just too much trouble for that poor little lady to get it and she needs a big strong man to do it for her and aren’t I just the manliest man ever to open a door for you – that’s what gets feminists peeved. And rightly so – it’s amazing how demeaning such a simple gesture can be.

    “they can’t even save a woman’s life and get a gracious thank you.”

    What is she talking about? Is this a specific incident she’s referring to? Did some big strong man save some poor helpless woman, and she responded by kneeing him in the groin and calling him a sexist pig? What is this, bizarro world?

    I’ve seen more than a couple lives saved in my time, too, and the only time I’ve ever seen the savee not react with gender-independent gratitude is when they’ve been in shock and unable to respond at all.

  • dean

    “Naturally, he could have volunteered, but a failure to do that doesn’t really qualify as a dodge in my opinion.”

    He had the movie company lobby to keep him out of the armed forces.

    “In 1944, Wayne received a 2-A classification, “deferred in support of [the] national . . . interest.” A month later the Selective Service decided to revoke many previous deferments and reclassified him 1-A. But Wayne’s studio appealed and got his 2-A status reinstated until after the war ended.”

    That more than qualifies as draft dodging. It’s also a little hard to match the “bad knees” bit with his doing so many of his own stunts, but that may indeed be true. And, note that Jimmy Stewart was 37 when he volunteered for service, and was accepted. The fact that Wayne was 34 is immaterial.

  • I don’t think the object of derision here should be John Wayne, but rather Phyllis Schlafly, who incorrectly used John Wayne as the exemplary manly man who fought in combat. In case anyone isn’t familiar with Schlafly, she’s possibly the most comically inept conservative when it comes to getting basic facts right. And there’s a lot of competition for that title.

  • This says much about Phyllis’s state of mind. By dwelling on make-believe men she indicates a high degree of frustration, or, put otherwise, a lack of satisfaction. Isn’t she married? If so, where is her husband? Probably out chasing cows into the sunset.

  • I didn’t know Paul Fussell died. Great writer.

  • Who Knows?

    They want men who bravely put out fires, fight in combat, protect their wives and children against intruders, and save damsels in distress.

    This makes me wonder what George Zimmerman’s wife thinks of his defending entire neighborhoods from intruders?

  • arakasi

    The BBC did a documentary on WWII back in the early 70’s called The World at War and it was done early enough that they were able to get a lot of 1st hand accounts. One of the interviews was with a US tank crewman who fought in North Africa & Italy.

    He told of one time during a lull when John Wayne came out to entertain them. Wayne came out on stage in full cowboy gear in front of thousands of US servicemen who just spent months in combat. He barely got his act started before he was booed off the stage for being a poser

  • tbp1

    #19. Actually I agree with you, although I did make a comment about John Wayne.

    I try not to judge anyone by their delivery, given that I have a sort of funny, high-pitched speaking voice myself, but have you ever heard her radio commentaries? Aside from getting the facts wrong, and have loathsome opinions, she basically shrieks non-stop. I can’t imagine being around that voice for any length of time, even if I agreed with every word she said.

  • tbp1

    @17 on the door opening thing: yes, if there is someone close behind me going through a door, I will hold it for him/her, or if I see someone with armful of stuff that makes it hard for him to open it, ditto. And plenty of women have held a door open for me. As you suggest, it’s just common courtesy, an everyday nicety.

  • Most women like big, strong, John-Wayne-type men.

    Women are, of course, a hive mind with no individual preferences. One word: Yaoi.

    And, yes, wingnuts are all about appearances. They even justify it: “Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.”

  • pacal

    Well just remember that Schlafly is liar. for years she shricked about the “Gay Agenda”, while having a Gay son and inviting the Gay son and his partner over for family dinner. Obviously her “outrage” over “the Gay” was a pose to manipulate the proles. Hey but then in the 1970s and early 1980s Schlafly would tour around with Roy Cohn hysterically denouncing “the Gay”, all the while Schlafly knew Roy was Gay.

  • All I want to know is… What are Area Man’s superpowers and how does he use them to save the day?

  • ArtK

    Phyllis is building a strawman (“women want … “, “a man can’t …”) and using myth and fiction as the straws. Probably because she couldn’t beat down even a strawman if it contained a few actual facts.

    Phyllis and her ilk are terrified by the real world, so they retreat into the safety of myth and illusion. There’s either a satisfying ending or they can walk out and criticize the movie or TV show as being “just fiction” if it makes them uncomfortable.

    John Wayne movies are satisfying to the frightened. You know exactly who the good guys are and who the bad ones are, and you know that the good guys will win in the end. No uncertainty at all.

    I’d be interested in a study that looks at any correlation between the authoritarian mindset and the emotional response to ambiguity in a story. Give a group of people a set of stories that range from clear-cut to ambiguous (say where a character does something horrific in one situation, but heroic in another) and assess their responses and compare that to a psychological measure of their authoritarian leanings.

  • spamamander, hellmart survivor

    .. and with that one word, Ms Daisy Cutter manages to make me give up my entire afternoon’s plans of housework. 😉

  • pacal “Hey but then in the 1970s and early 1980s Schlafly would tour around with Roy Cohn hysterically denouncing ‘the Gay’, all the while Schlafly knew Roy was Gay.”

    Lies! He was simply seeing if homogay mansex was still wrong. Over and over a again.

    And it still was!

  • woolonwire

    Not to defend the indefensible, but wasn’t there a story about (postcedant a Bircher death-threat) Robert Ryan getting home to find Wayne guarding his house for him with a loaded weapon of gun?

    Just an interested Brit – hey, it’s your culture.

  • All I want to know is… What are Area Man’s superpowers and how does he use them to save the day?

    My superpower is MANHOOD. And my secret attack is the ability to shoot Y chromosomes out of my eyeballs at bad guys. I can also draw upon the combined manliness of John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and Jonah Goldberg when I am facing a particularly large and dangerous gang of bad guys, or if I need to cut taxes on the rich.

  • FossilFishy (Lobed-finned Killer of Threads)

    This sort of thing seems to have tie-ins with the rescue fantasies that the gun-totin’ NRA types harbour. My advice to those folks is to carry a multi-tool like a Leatherman rather than a gun.

    The gratitude I’ve gotten from strangers of both genders on fixing windscreen wipers, pram wheels, radio antennas, cupboard doors, eyeglasses and the like is very gratifying. As a practice it also comes with the bonus of being very unlikely to kill anyone if you stuff it up.

  • dan4

    “…they can’t even save a woman’s life and get a gracious thank you.”

    WTF is she talking about? Is there some feminist movement out there to get women whose lives have been saved by men to not thank them for doing so? Was there a specific case of a woman who refused to thank a man who prevented her from dying in some way? This kind of comment seems to come from nowhere.

  • dan4

    Yikes, I see SteveR @17 beat me to the punch regarding my last comment. My apologies.

  • csrster

    arakasi – yes, and Jimmy Stewart was one of the zillion-or-so participants in the War interviewed for that series.

    But comparing Wayne to Limbaugh is a low blow. At least Wayne had some talent.

  • Stevarious


    No need to apologize – it turns out, however, that the answer to the question is at the link provided in the OP.

    An English woman named Laurie Penny was crossing Sixth Avenue in New York and looking the wrong way. A taxi was headed directly toward her when, lo and behold, heartthrob Ryan Gosling came to her rescue, grabbing Penny and pulling her out of harm’s way. It was a classic “man saves woman” event.

    But Penny is a self-described feminist and her response shows one of the things that’s so wrong about feminism. Penny portrayed herself as insulted by the media coverage of the event. She posted online: “I really do object to being framed as the ditzy damsel in distress. I do not mean any disrespect to Ryan Gosling, who is an excellent actor and, by all accounts, a personable and decent chap …. but as a feminist, a writer, and a gentlewoman of fortune, I refuse to be cast in any sort of boring supporting female role.”

    Of course, what the article does NOT mention is that at the time, the woman DID thank Mr. Gosling. It was only after the internet made her out to be a pink-haired ditzy damsel in distress (or worse, calling her a liar) that she started complaining about it. She wasn’t upset about having her life saved. She was upset at the internet for making such a big damned deal about it.

  • Stevarious

    But comparing Wayne to Limbaugh is a low blow. At least Wayne had some talent.

    Limbaugh DOES have a talent – getting terrible people really upset over incredibly stupid things.

  • Stevarious, I’d phrase it as “Keeping white males angry while they drive to lunch”.

    It’s a critical job. The country wouldn’t fall apart without it.