Friday, August 28, 2009

Post-Modern American Honor (B.R. Merrick)

B.R. Merrick prefers the honor of Samwise Gamgee over the "honor" invoked by those who romanticize violence and fail to question authority:

James Bowman is a stereotypical modern-day conservative. The only exception is that he’s not only very smart, but his take on mass media and present-day culture is thought-provoking and poignant. I very much enjoy reading his movie reviews. He’s definitely a throw-back to a previous era. One of the main ideas with which he is concerned is the loss in today’s culture of what is generally referred to as “honor.” If I understand the essence of his argument, the loss of an ancient phenomenon such as honor corresponds to the degradation of modern living, and the emasculation of men. Furthermore, honor is not defined in purely righteous terms, but is instead oftentimes, and most certainly in “post-modern” times, associated with attitude, reputation, or what could be considered a fa├žade. Therefore, this phenomenon can be exhibited by both God-fearing Christians and street thugs. He even goes so far as to say, “Honor is not one among the other virtues,” and that it has the tendency to be “hypocritical.” In fact, there is so much of this in his many other articles on honor, that the reader begins to wonder whether such a phenomenon is good, right, or necessary any longer.

Until I encountered Bowman’s writings on the subject, I had always thought that honor, having the same Latin root as “honesty,” was about something more than just saving face among the clan to which one belongs. I’ve always seen it the way it is portrayed in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, where at the end of the first film, Samwise tells Frodo that he made a promise to look after him, and he intends to keep it. Honor was as simple as that.

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