August 27, 2015

"So what’s behind TV’s Reaganaissance?"

Asks Jeremy Egner in The NYT, noting Ronald Reagan characters on “Narcos,” "Deutschland 83,” “The Americans,” “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” and “Fargo.”
Children of the 1980s are making television now....

But Bruce Campbell, the cult star of the “Evil Dead” films, who will play Reagan in “Fargo,” suspects that in a time terrorized by nebulous militant groups and other hazily defined enemies, there’s a certain nostalgia for “a commander in chief who says, ‘I’m gonna bomb your ass,’ ” he said.

“Nobody talks like that now,” he said. “Obama’s like: ‘Hey let’s hold a summit. Let’s take a consensus.’ ”
Did Reagan talk like that? I don't remember him using language like "ass," nor do I remember him threatening violence like that (other than the joke — "We begin bombing in five minutes" — that we weren't supposed to hear). I remember "Tear down this wall!" I remember Reagan's mocked belief that we could defend ourselves from bombs. But I don't remember him as an "I’m gonna bomb your ass" kind of guy.

And as for Campbell's "Nobody talks like that now." How can you not say: Trump! But what does "like that" even mean? I don't think Reagan actually talked like that, but he talked in a way that made us (some of us) feel that he was talking like that. I don't think Trump is now saying anything like "I’m gonna bomb your ass." He's actually quite circumspect in speaking about anything relating to the military, but he gives people a feeling that could be expressed as saying things like "I’m gonna bomb your ass."

49 comments:

Wilbur said...

Do you really expect the court jester - he who entertains others for a living - to know anything except "show business"?

Fandor said...

Actions speak louder than words.
Reagan was action with meaningful rhetoric.
Today people think their words are actions.
Obama is all talk and no action.

clint said...

We've come to the point where the caricatures the left created to attack Reagan actually look good compared to the reality of Obama.

Bobby said...

Wilbur,

Hey, Ash Williams saved the world at least three times! And what did he get for defeating the Deadites? A job working at S-Mart... And let's not forget- let's not forget!- that Sam Axe is one of the most well-connected intelligence operatives ever- he has friends in everything from the NSA to the DMV. I have to imagine he's pretty well-informed on this one.

damikesc said...

It's like how Progs are CONVINCED Bush called them unpatriotic for disagreeing with him.

gerry said...

Iran held the hostages until Reagan was elected. I think that says it all.

traditionalguy said...

"Keeping all options on the table"is a threat in a moderate tone.

Reince Preibus and the Bush Dynasty has wanted Trump too take a third party option off the table since Fox News cornered him.

But Trump says that is always an option if he is knifed by et to Brutus.

exhelodrvr1 said...

The difference is that then, our enemies thought that Reagan would bomb them if they went too far. Today, our enemies laugh at the concept of Obama bombing them.

Brando said...

We usually project our own feelings onto public figures, both negative and positive. If you think Obama is some pro-Muslim softie, you'll ignore his drone warfare and beefing up of our Afghan War. If you think Reagan is all about "bombing the bastards" you'll forget that after the big terror attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon, he actually pulled our forces out of there.

Nuance gets lost when we have political opinions to stroke!

Bobby said...

Brando,

Oh, so true, my friend.

Anonymous said...

"(other than the joke — "We begin bombing in five minutes" — that we weren't supposed to hear)."

Really?

Sean Gleeson said...

No, I cannot imagine Reagan ever saying "I'm gonna bomb your ass," or even the word 'ass' in any context. But I remember his vice president, GHW Bush, elicited a chorus of disapproval for saying he planned to "kick a little ass" in their 1984 reelection campaign. (And the disapproval was specifically because the opposing running mate was a woman.)

Robert Cook said...

"Reagan" was a fiction when alive, and is mythical now.

Robert Cook said...

"The difference is that then, our enemies thought that Reagan would bomb them if they went too far. Today, our enemies laugh at the concept of Obama bombing them."

Hmmm...even as Obama continues the bombing and killing in several middle eastern states that his predecessor began. It is our continued presence and killing in the region that adds fuel to the fire of Islamic radicalism. Americans, tied to our myths of being the "exceptional country," the "indispensable" country, as well as to our childish ideas of cowboys and injuns, cops and robbers, believe that all it takes to make an enemy fold is a good ass-kicking. Rather, the more violence one party visits on another, the more resentment and hatred is generated, the more determined for the recipients of violence to strike back.

Michael K said...

"other than the joke — "We begin bombing in five minutes" — that we weren't supposed to hear)"

Actually, the Russians were supposed to hear it and wonder. That and firing the air traffic controllers were two moves to enforce his stand as the anti-Carter who dithered and refused to consider the Joint Chiefs' advice to seize Kharg Island when Iran took the hostages. Had he done so, the Iranians would have starved.

Cookie is still convince of the lefty myth that Reagan wasn't real.

Peter said...


I'd assume there's no Reaganaissance at the New York Times. The view promoted by NYT when he was president was that he was a stupid old man, a former grade B actor who nodded off at important meetings only to wake up as "Ray-Gun" and say things that threatened to trigger nuclear war.

I suppose it might be instructive to new journalism hires at the Times to review this old coverage and prepare an action plan on how to avoid doing something similar in their own work. Just at it might be instructive for new Duke students and faculty at Duke University to read "Until Proven Innocent."

And for similar reasons, neither will happen.

MayBee said...

"I'm going to kick your boy's ass"


- Barack Obama to....Marc Rubio's aide

Wilbur said...

Bobby, you'll have to educate me on who Ash Williams and Sam Axe are.

Bobby said...

Wilbur,

Ah, joke fail... Ash Williams is the character played by Bruce Campbell in the ridiculous "Evil Dead" series; Sam Axe is his character from the equally ridiculous "Burn Notice" cable series... And it was a lame joke, anyway, so double fail. I blame my coffee deficiency this morning.

Dr Weevil said...

No, I don't think Reagan said "ass" in public. More tastefully, he said "I've had it up to my keister with these leaks" (January 10, 1983).

Google's autocomplete for 'keister' includes 'keister Reagan'. Also Keister Elementary School in Harrisonburg, VA (I've driven by many times) and Keisterville, PA (never been there).

Wilbur said...

Bobby, thanks. I'm sure your joke resonated with most readers here.
I'm a TV and movie Know-Nothing when it comes to fictional presentations or reality shows. I haven't watched a network show since I split from Wife Number One in 1988. Except The Simpsons.
And I did see the Beavis and Butthead movie.

hombre said...

Reagan's "Star Wars" initiative was a necessary component of his offensive strategy against the USSR whether he believed in it or not.

Lefties never understood that. The only strategic thinking of which they are capable relates to the Marxist/Social Revolution, which they pursue with single-minded stupidity.

William said...

When governor of California he said of the students protesting there, that "If they want a bloodbath, we'll give them a bloodbath".........Reagan, in fitting with his status as a B actor, had the most melodramatically successful presidency of all time. He survived that assassination attempt. Other assassination attempts had been tragic. His was melodramatic........I remember inflation as an implacable force like gravity. But it was tamed during his presidency. That was also big. He gave America a happy ending..........It has taken liberals years, centuries even, to recognize that some of their heroes like Jefferson, Jackson, and Wilson were deeply flawed men. I wonder how many years it will take for liberals to recognize that Reagan was a great president.

holdfast said...

@Brando - my recollection is that after he pulled the Marines out of Lebannon, the US Navy did a little 16" Hank Aaron Medley on Beruit.

The Marines were in a stupid place on a stupid non-mission. Reagan was right not to double-down on stupid.

Reagan didn't get every call right, but he had a consistent and generally correct world view. He also had a degree in economics - the only such President if I recall correctly. If he were alive today I think he's be appalled by the curret state of the Union, and how badly his tax reform has been undone. I don't think he'd have a huge issue with gay marriage, being from Hollywood and all, but he'd probably have a good politically incorrect joke or two about it.

Rick said...

my recollection is that after he pulled the Marines out of Lebannon, the US Navy did a little 16" Hank Aaron Medley on Beruit.

The USS New Jersey shelled Beirut before the barracks bombing.

Rick said...

Not one mention of Reagan bombing Libya? There's one thing more convincing than credibly saying "I'll bomb your ass" and that's bombing their ass.

So I suspect Bruce is referring to the action as a statement.

By the way, good character in Burn Notice.

Bay Area Guy said...

Q: "So what’s behind TV’s Reaganaissance?"

A: People yearn for leadership, and Reagan was a leader. In contrast, our current President is more of a passing fad.

furious_a said...

Did Reagan talk like that?

He DID sign legislation outlawing the Soviet Union, remember?

furious_a said...

Rather, the more violence one party visits on another, the more resentment and hatred is generated, the more determined for the recipients of violence to strike back.

Yes, we have to buy all of Japan's cars.

Brando said...

"The Marines were in a stupid place on a stupid non-mission. Reagan was right not to double-down on stupid."

I don't disagree with the decision--I'm just pointing out that the historical record has a lot more nuance than critics or proponents are willing to give it. Reagan showed excellent judgment when he could just as easily decided to beef up our presence in Lebanon and treated the bombing as a cassus belli for a longer engagement.

Christopher B said...

"Bomb Iran" (to the tune of the Beach Boy's "Barbra Ann") was John McCain's line from 2007 though it did harken back to similar parodies done during 1978-79. Our diplomats were released as Regan was taking office so it became a moot point back then.

But us old white guys all look the same, dontchaknow.

Bobby said...

Brando,

But that's the thing, right? You can find lots of conservative pundits who claimed that Al Qaeda was emboldened to strike us on 9/11 because of Clinton's withdrawal of troops from Somalia after the casualties taken in the Battle of Mogadishu... But they pretend as if Reagan withdrawing troops from Libya would somehow not provoke the same reaction from the same aspiring terrorists?

It's not logical, but it doesn't have to be. It's all about, as you noted earlier, stroking political opinions.

Drago said...

Robert Cook: "Reagan" was a fiction when alive, and is mythical now"

Your soul mates in the Kremlin knew better..as you secretly do as well.

But go ahead, keep on chattering "October Surprise" boy. It's entertaining to revisit all the warmed-over 70's/80's era hilarity from the stalinist left.

James said...

Reagan bombed Qadaffy. Reagan pushed the Cubans out of Grenada. He wasn't the war-monger people who didn't like him thought he was. But he didn't confuse talking with doing something.

Michael K said...

Reagan and Thatcher are both hated by the left, although the present day lefties like Cookie try to pretend he is Obama, because they did what was needed and saw excellent results.

Obama does what is in his head and sees disaster but pretends it's success.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

Reagan never said, "I'm gonna bomb your ass," but, in the minds of many, Reagan said far worse. Remember: He was, according to Country Joe (of Country Joe and the Fish), "Ronald Raaay GunzzzzZAP!" And that bit of mythology started at Woodstock (and was included in the recorded record of the event-- the double Woodstock album), and was one of the more popular performances due to the "Fish Cheer."

Don't you remember all the hippies quaking with fear at the prospect of Ronald Reagan "having his finger on the nuclear button?" He may not have said anything as radical as "I'm gonna bomb your ass," but in the fevered dreams of the folks who tried to derail his candidacy, his cavalier attitude was going to result in the immolation of the entire planet.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

Correction, maybe: Coulda been Jeffrey Shurtleff who identified Reagan as "Ronald Ray-Gun." He was up onstage with Joan Baez. Shurtleff was part of an organization started by Baez's husband, David Harris, that encouraged young men to ignore their draft notices.

Quaestor said...

“Obama’s like: ‘Hey let’s hold a summit. Let’s take a consensus.’ ”

Obama has talked like that either. He's never attended a summit, nor has he ever sought a consensus that extended beyond himself and Valerie Jarrett.

What the American people are missing the current Administration, and are nostalgic for in memories of Ronald Reagan is the certainty that the American president seeks to preserve, protect, and defend the nation and the Constitution.

Sebastian said...

"he talked in a way that made us (some of us) feel that he was talking like that."

"In a way that made us" --right, it was his fault, he should have talked a different "way." And who might the "some" have been? Why did they "feel" that way?

I remember Reagan and understood him perfectly well. I also remember Progs talking about him in a way that made me feel nothing but contempt.

"but he gives people a feeling that could be expressed as saying things like "I’m gonna bomb your ass.""

Ah, "people," "could be expressed." Weasel words for Prog weasels.

Æthelflæd said...

The thing about Reagan was that you never wondered if Americans were who he was interested in protecting.

Quaestor said...

"he talked in a way that made us (some of us) feel that he was talking like that."

I never thought Althouse was one of the who confuse "feel" and "think."

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Unknown said...

---The USS New Jersey shelled Beirut before the barracks bombing.

No.

It wasn't until December 14 that the New Jersey finally joined the fray and fired 11 projectiles from her 16-inch guns at hostile targets near Beirut. "This was the first time 16-inch shells were fired for effect anywhere in the world since the New Jersey ended her time on the gunline in Vietnam in 1969


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Beirut_barracks_bombing

Unknown said...

Reagan was a man. Enough said.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"I never thought Althouse was one of the who confuse "feel" and "think."'

You think Freud conjured up, oh let's say "projection," as a recognition that only thought drives that type of response that, let's not forget, wasn't all Freudian slips?

So what happens when you "feel?"

You would have to be using your mind to "think" in order to have any type of idea about potential recollections you may have when you were, according to your snark, feeling, in stark contradiction to thinking, hence can't your feelings do the same to your thoughts when your feelings supercede to your litmus test of whatever origins?

Guildofcannonballs said...

Ludicrous begins to describe the need to separate feelings and thoughts.

Once the definitions begin the entertainment wanes.

Unless you get paid to advocate for one definition in order to fulfill some goal of someone somewhere.

Then, full of a passion Shakespear lacked, the most mundane topics one could ever imagine become surreal sources of passion. Especially about how evil capitalism is, and those who practice it.

Do you have any idea how much good people out there could do if you just shut off your internet and go walk around?

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Reagan was a man. Enough said."

Hey thanks for saying that man, that was super cool.

I couldn't imagine any galaxy or universe where anything more could be said, and you were the guy to let everyone know.

Way to go.

Rusty said...


"Then, full of a passion Shakespear lacked, the most mundane topics one could ever imagine become surreal sources of passion. Especially about how evil capitalism is, and those who practice it.

Do you have any idea how much good people out there could do if you just shut off your internet and go walk around?"

I'd probably be practicing capitalism. So from a leftist point of view me being on the internet is a good thing.

gadfly said...

So the inference here is that The Donald is emulating Dutch. Reminds me of Don McLean's classic:

Now for ten years we've been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin' stone
But that's not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me
Oh, and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned