Even before the 111th Congress was done packing their valises and war chests to head home for the Christmas break, the pundits and pols were already checking their fight cards and placing their wagers on the next match between the red and the blue. Like most Americans I’m tired of the incessant political donnybrooks at our expense; but still there is a certain measure of gratuitous satisfaction one gets from watching a good scuffle now and then.
It isn’t so much the landed blows that I take pleasure in, as it is the strategy and fancy footwork beforehand. A well staged brawl can truly be considered an impressive bit of handiwork. And before returning to Washington, both Democrats and Republicans might want to take a few cues from the masters of this art form.
During a recent journey along the Maine Coast, American Public House Review staff editor David McBride visited Bull Feeney’s in Portland, Maine. This fine Irish Pub is named in honor of John Martin Feeney, the son of John Augustine Feeney, a well-respected saloonkeeper that established several taverns throughout the city during the late 1800s. His son was nicknamed “Bull” because of his aggressive headfirst charges into the opposing line while playing fullback at Portland High School. This spirited rugged nature would serve him well in later years while working on location in the harsh terrain of Utah’s Monument Valley.
In July of 1914, John Martin Feeney headed west to California to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Francis, who had established himself as both an actor and director in the early years of Hollywood. And like his elder brother, John would change his last name from Feeney to Ford.
This future iconic American director would eventually go on to redefine the craft of film making and cinematography. Few in the industry could match his skill for storytelling, or for being able to stage a good fight. Since Ford had a habit of socializing and professionally collaborating with the rough and tumble types, those classic onscreen contests to determine who was the better man came easy. Amongst the combatants was the pugnacious Victor McLaglen, who actually at one time went six rounds against then Heavyweight Champion of the World Jack Johnson.
So before we convene the next Congress, I suggest that all members of the House, Senate and Executive Branch make a careful study of the bravado, bluster and style of Top Sgt. Quincannon in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and that of one Squire ‘Red Will” Danaher in The Quiet Man.
Posted by: Chris Poh