07 April 2012

A Magnum is a period piece

One of the constants in my somewhat protean political affiliations has been a siding with what Europeans conceive of as an American form of justice--which is to say, something that approximates the criminal justice standards prevailing in late nineteenth-century Texas. The less-famous monologue from Dirty Harry expresses this pretty well:
[Harry is getting a dressing-down for his most recent arrest
District Attorney Rothko: You're lucky I'm not indicting you for assault with intent to commit murder. 
Harry Callahan: What? 
District Attorney Rothko: Where the hell does it say that you've got a right to kick down doors, torture suspects, deny medical attention and legal counsel? Where have you been? Does Escobedo ring a bell? Miranda? I mean, you must have heard of the Fourth Amendment. What I'm saying is that man had rights.
Harry Callahan: Well, I'm all broken up over that man's rights! (Source)
So, yes, I like Dirty Harry even as I recognize that this pretty much makes me side with some fairly far right-wing affections. Of course, the world of Dirty Harry is right-wing pornography, in which "git tuff" policies actually work and criminality is a consquence of a diet low in moral fiber.

Now, that being said, it is a great work of right-wing pornography. And that is why I'm delighted to find Dirty Harry Filming Locations, which puts the film into real perspective.

Update: I'm following Dirty Harry with The Hunt for Red October, which is a similarly inflected film about honor, duty, and misguided liberal social systems. That's a joke. But the opening few minutes--with the "Hymn to Red October"--kind of makes me yearn for the bad old days.

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