There was a great line spoken by Lee Marvin in “The Professionals” (1966):
“Some women have the ability to turn boys into men, while other women have the ability to turn men into boys.”
Note the date, 1966, because it was three years before Jonah Goldberg was born.
It was also the time that I hitchhiked during spring break from my university in Kentucky to Juarez in search of the fair Lt Chiquita, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, from that same film.
I learned a lot from that trip that I could never have found in books.
At that time my father was a subscriber to “National Review” and although I was rarely home after 1964, I read many of those issues, and finally began my own subscription in 1976 when I returned to the States after an Army tour in the Far East.
I subscribed until 1991, when I went to the still-Soviet Union. I was there when the Hammer & Sickle came down over Red Square (January, 1992) and in those three months I met only one US government official, an old Army MI pal attached to the Embassy in Moscow. There was a lot of fear and uncertainty in those early but I was a Gringoski who blended in.
I spent that entire period in small factories, with farmers from collectives, even a few days with a member of the Soviet Central Committee, representing Gorkiy. His interest was insatiable about American small manufacturing business, and I had a lot of knowledge in old-school manufacturing to give him. One of my best memories.
When I returned to the US I shared some of my observations and concerns with WFB, namely that US business seemed too laid back in their approach to the new Russia and Ukraine, noting that we, Amerika, were the people they most wanted to copy and partner with. It didn’t work out that way, for six months later Bill Clinton became president, and instead of Russia getting our business culture, we got their crime culture.
I was 47 then, nearly the same age as Jonah Goldberg today.
I never considered myself a writer then, (some say I’m still not) so took down my shingle near Cincinnati, and took up a residence in a small apartment, running back and forth, mostly to the Balkans, first from Cincinnati, then later Richmond, which provided easier air access to Central Europe. I got to know some of the most uncommon common people you can imagine, even publishing a small book (in much need to editing, with added chapters) Famous Common People I Have I Known. I quit traveling in 2010 and began writing, first at TownHall and then RedState.com, and finally, after I became allergic to frat boys, I set up shop at UnifiedPatriots.com and VassarBushmills.com (which is my legacy website, so that my son, after I die, can read what I had been doing the past 30 years, and that I really wasn’t all that stupid.)
I re-subscribed to “National Review” around 2002 and was especially fond of Florence King’s venom, which was sort of like subscribing to “Playboy” just for the articles. The religion editors Michael Novak and Richard John Neuhaus were also favorites as well as Buckley’s column. I was never very interested in current events politics, but some of the thinking pieces were very edifying[…]
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