December 17, 2003


A talk with the stars of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: John Rhys-Davies (Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer)

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli): [...] I'm burying my career so substantially in these interviews that it's painful. But I think that there are some questions that demand honest answers.

I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged. And if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization. That does have a real resonance with me.

I have had the ideal background for being an actor. I have always been an outsider. I grew up in colonial Africa. And I remember in 1955, it would have to be somewhere between July the 25th when the school holiday started and September the 18th when the holidays ended. My father took me down to the quayside in Dar-Es-Salaam harbor. And he pointed out a dhow in the harbor and he said, "You see that dhow there? Twice a year it comes down from Aden. It stops here and goes down [South]. On the way down it's got boxes of machinery and goods. On the way back up it's got two or three little black boys on it. Now, those boys are slaves. And the United Nations will not let me do anything about it."

The conversation went on. "Look, boy. There is not going to be a World War between Russia and the United. The next World War will be between Islam and the West."

This is 1955! I said to him, "Dad, you're nuts! The Crusades have been over for hundreds of years!"

And he said, "Well, I know, but militant Islam is on the rise again. And you will see it in your lifetime."

He's been dead some years now. But there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of him and think, 'God, I wish you were here, just so I could tell you that you were right.'

What is unconscionable is that too many of your fellow journalists do not understand how precarious Western civilization is and what a jewel it is.

How did we get the sort of real democracy, how did we get the level of tolerance that allows me to propound something that may be completely alien to you around this table, and yet you will take it and you will think about it and you'll say no you're wrong because of this and this and this. And I'll listen and I'll say, 'Well, actually, maybe I am wrong because of this and this.'

[He points at a female reporter and adopts an authoritarian voice, to play a militant-Islam character:] "You should not be in this room. Because your husband or your father is not hear to guide you. You could only be here in this room with these strange men for immoral purposes."

I mean--the abolition of slavery comes from Western democracy. True Democracy comes form our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world.

And there is a demographic catastrophe happening in Europe that nobody wants to talk about, that we daren't bring up because we are so cagey about not offending people racially. And rightly we should be. But there is a cultural thing as well.

By 2020, 50% of the children in Holland under the age of 18 will be of Muslim descent. You look and see what your founding fathers thought of the Dutch. They are constantly looking at the rise of democracy and Dutch values as being the very foundation of American Democracy. If by the mid-century the bulk of Holland is Muslim--and don't forget, coupled with this there is this collapse of numbers ... Western Europeans are not having any babies. The population of Germany at the end of the century is going to be 56% of what it is now. The populations of France, 52% of what it is now. The population of Italy is going to be down 7 million people. There is a change happening in the very complexion of Western civilization in Europe that we should think about at least and argue about. If it just means the replacement of one genetic stock with another genetic stock, that doesn't matter too much. But if it involves the replacement of Western civilization with a different civilization with different cultural values, then it is something we really ought to discuss--because, g**dammit, I am for dead white male culture.

We saw the shorter version last week, but in its entirety this interview is even better. It goes well with the story from below and reminds us that the expansion of access to our culture has not just afforded opportunities to those who were denied them--sometimes unjustly--in the past, but has unleashed secularists, feminists, multiculturalists, etc., who not only aren't thankful for the opportunity but who hate the culture precisely because it is the product, in the main, of dead white men of faith. They seem to labor under the delusion that they can continue to enjoy the benefits of this unique culture even if they deny, or hopefully destroy, its foundations. The time is long since past to stop letting such squander our patrimony.

MORE (via Jeff Guinn):
Wimps and Barbarians: The Sons of Murphy Brown (Terrence O. Moore, December 8, 2003,

More than a decade ago the nation was in a stir over the birth of a fictional boy. The boy was Avery, son of Murphy Brown. Television's Murphy Brown, played by Candice Bergen, was a successful news commentator who, after an unsuccessful relationship with a man that left her alone and pregnant, bore a son out of wedlock. The event, popular enough in its own right, became the center of political controversy when then Vice President Dan Quayle in a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California lamented that the show was "mocking the importance of a father." Suddenly the nation polarized over this question of "family values." But the controversy over Murphy Brown's childbearing soon died down. The characters on the show became more interested in Murphy's hairstyle than her baby, as did perhaps Murphy, who eventually found a suitable nanny in her painter so she could pursue her career without abatement. The show was off the air before Murphy's son would have been seven. Vice President Quayle was not reelected. Eleven years later, it is worth pondering what might have happened to Avery had this story not been just a television show. More to the point, what is happening today to our boys and young men who come from "families" not unlike Murphy's and who find the nation as divided now as it was then over the "values" by which we ought to raise them?

For more than a decade I have been in a position to see young men in the making. As a Marine, college professor, and now principal of a K-12 charter school, I have deliberately tried to figure out whether the nation through its most important institutions of moral instruction—its families and schools—is turning boys into responsible young men. Young women, always the natural judges of the male character, say emphatically "No." In my experience, many young women are upset, but not about an elusive Prince Charming or even the shortage of "cute guys" around. Rather, they have very specific complaints against how they have been treated in shopping malls or on college campuses by immature and uncouth males, and even more pointed complaints against their boyfriends or other male acquaintances who fail to protect them. At times, they appear desperately hopeless. They say matter-of-factly that the males around them do not know how to act like either men or gentlemen. It appears to them that, except for a few lucky members of their sex, most women today must choose between males who are whiny, incapable of making decisions, and in general of "acting like men," or those who treat women roughly and are unreliable, unmannerly, and usually stupid.

The young men, for their part, are not a little embarrassed when they hear these charges but can't wholly deny them. Indeed, when asked the simple question, "When have you ever been taught what it means to be a man?" they are typically speechless and somewhat ashamed.

The question for teachers, professors, and others in positions of moral influence is what to do about young women's growing dissatisfaction and young men's increasing confusion and embarrassment. Teachers cannot become their students' parents, but they can give direction to those who have ears to hear. Two lessons are essential. First, a clear challenge must be issued to young males urging them to become the men their grandfathers and great-grandfathers were. This challenge must be clear, uncompromising, engaging, somewhat humorous, and inspiring. It cannot seem like a tired, fusty, chicken-little lament on the part of the old and boring, but must be seen as the truly revolutionary and cutting-edge effort to recover authentic manliness. Second, a new generation of scholars must tell the tale of how men used to become men and act manfully, and how we as a nation have lost our sense of true manliness. The spirit of this inquiry cannot be that of an autopsy but rather that of the Renaissance humanists, who sought to recover and to borrow the wisdom of the past in order to ennoble their own lives.

-REVIEW: of The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity By Leon J. Podles (Loredana Vuoto, Townhall)

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 17, 2003 3:33 PM

Well,OJ can take comfort from the fact that attempts to introduce GLBT themes to chicano studies have been a resounding flop to date.

As for poor Mr. Rhys-Davies,he'll be lucky if he's not to stoned when he returns to jolly old.....well,it's not the Unite Kingdom any more,what do they call it now?

Posted by: M. at December 17, 2003 3:51 PM

The Dutch (and Europe) wouldn't have as much to worry about, if they believed in the worth of their own traditions enough to require their muslim immigrants to hew to them.

But in many placed I bet they won't have the nerve to do it until serious unrest is unavoidable.

Posted by: Twn at December 17, 2003 4:32 PM

Twn,the problem isn't that the dutch don't belive in their culture,it's that the elites don't believe,and are frightened by those that do.
The muslims,of course,believe passionately in their culture and will tolerate no one who disagrees.

Posted by: M. at December 17, 2003 4:49 PM

I have yet to see a convincing evidence that Muslims can be assimilated in large numbers into Christian (however tenuously) cultures. Absent conversion the thing has not been done. And even the great Saint Francis hardly put a dent in the Saracens during the Crusades.

Posted by: Paul Cella at December 17, 2003 5:07 PM


We are the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Posted by: Brit at December 18, 2003 5:32 AM

Should Northern Ireland fall off, whatever happens, don't take the Former Soviet Union as your model.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at December 18, 2003 5:55 PM