Pastor Mason Beecroft, 03/07/2010
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
I enjoy Westerns. I especially love those “Man with No Name,” spaghetti westerns of the mid-sixties, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and, my personal favorite, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. These were all directed by the Italian Sergio Leone, thus the term “spaghetti western,” and starred a young, very cool Clint Eastwood. If I happen by one of these movies on the television, everything else stops. As much as I like these films, however, they marked a significant change in western movies. Before these films, the good guys and the bad guys were easily distinguished and clearly known. The good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats. There was little doubt that Randolph Scott was the good guy. But the cultural revolution of the sixties influenced the genre. Clint Eastwood’s characters were morally ambiguous. They were anti-heroes. They were dark, quiet loners. They were not the bad guy, but they were not good either. They were definitely not Randolph Scott. Now such anti-heroes have become normal in our culture. They are both good and bad. They are flawed. They are likable, and yet contemptible at the same time. It is difficult to know how one should feel about such characters. One might argue that this shift in westerns reflected a certain loss of innocence in our culture, and so those great fathers of the church, the Oak Ridge Boys, lamented, “Whatever happened to Randolph Scott?”
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