Setting the Stage for a Damn Good Brawl

Robot Painting by Eric Joyner

Robot Painting by Eric Joyner

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.  

Bull Feeney's Irish Pub - Portland, MaineDuring 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.

Director John Ford - 1946 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.

Victor McLaglen as Squire "Red Will" DanaherVictor McLaglen as Top Sgt. Quincannon

So let’s shake hands and come out fighting. And remember gentlemen, The Marquess of Queensberry rules will be observed on all occasions.  

John Wayne and Victor McLaglen in The Quiet Man

Posted by: Chris Poh

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