|The exceptional lead cast of Foyle's war.|
The message is different, though, elsewhere. Recently, I have been watching the delightful Foyle's War -- a wonderful BBC mystery series centered around Detective Chief Inspector Foyle (Michael Kitchen). The show is set in Hastings during WWII. Foyle, a WWI vet, is, as NPR TV critic David Bianculli put it, "so square you could play checkers on him" -- which Bianculli goes on to explain is meant as a compliment. And you see what he means as you watch Foyle operate with unwavering ethical standards and a with complete commitment to being the quintessential gentleman. But Foyle is clear on one thing in particular: commitment to the war effort. Very different than Hawkeye Pierce; but, of course, his circumstances were very different as well.
America has never been in that position: threatened from across a channel; a channel over which, at certain times, on clear days, one could actually see France, which was occupied by Hitler's forces. America never suffered routine nightly bombings of its most important city. American children never sat in a field and watch dogfights off of their coast. (The closest we came to anything like that was to have been walking obliviously on boardwalks at the Jersey shore as German U-boats night-patrolled the coast like sleepy sharks. We know because we have found wrecks.)
Of course, when Pearl Harbor happened, we jumped into the conflict. Because we were hit.
When I watch Foyle and when I think of my relatives who stepped up to fight in America's defense, I
|Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda)|
Is there any merit in watching an enemy roll over one's home in the name of a philosophy? I don't think so. The only conclusion I can draw is that sometimes violence is the noble thing to do.
It even occurred to me that violence can be profoundly uplifting. Ever see one of those viral videos of a kid being bullied and then throwing-down and beating the living stuffing out of the bully? Is there anything that feels more just and right than that? I'm tempted to call it "beautiful violence," but...I guess that sounds weird.
This is just all me being honest. Maybe it is proof that no philosophy is absolute, especially when one is threatened. Maybe the Bard was right that "there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."