Magazine | May 17, 2010, Issue

Letters

Standing Up for Crockett’s Stand

It was appalling to read the description of Davy Crockett, a defender of the Alamo, as a “gaudy self-promoter” in your commemoration of Fess Parker (“The Week,” April 19).

The founder and longtime editor of National Review, William F. Buckley Jr., defended the memory and history of Davy Crockett and the Alamo. Jay Winik quoted Buckley’s comments in his review of A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory, by Randy Roberts and James S. Olson, in NR in 2001. Winik wrote: “By the late 1960s, the authors tell us, the Alamo, like so many other hallowed institutions, had fallen on hard times, an early casualty of the culture wars. The men of the Alamo, once revered, suddenly became, in the words of revisionist historian Jeff Long, ‘ignorant trigger-pulling white trash,’ while budding history scholars likened them to Nazis. Even the venerable Crockett, long regarded as a freedom fighter, public servant (a former congressman, he was once talked about as a Whig presidential candidate), backwoods philosopher, and prototypical American frontiersman, abruptly became a ‘phony’ (Arthur Schlesinger’s word); ‘barely literate’ (E. J. Kahn Jr., writing in The New Yorker); and ‘purchasable for no more than a drink’ (Murray Kempton). (William F. Buckley Jr. was one of the few to rise to Crockett’s defense, exclaiming that this was in part a ‘traditional debunking campaign’ by ‘liberal publicists. . . . He’ll survive the carpers.’)”

Winik also wrote: “Is there a final verdict on the Alamo? Perhaps one need look no further than John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1960. After speaking at the Alamo, JFK had hoped to avoid the gridlocked courtyard. Turning to his host, a Daughter of the Republic of Texas, he asked for the Alamo’s back door. ‘Senator,’ she returned, ‘there are no back doors at the Alamo. Only heroes.’”

Carol L. Crockett

Harbor, Ore.

The Editors reply: Davy Crockett died a hero’s death, alongside all the other defenders of the Alamo. But he was also an ambitious politician and a gaudy self-promoter. History is as simple as humanity.

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Governor Freeze

Last month, Bergen County Education Association officials sent out a memo that closed with a jokey prayer for New Jersey governor Chris Christie to die. What raised the ire of the ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Supreme Arrogation

The Supreme Court has for decades claimed to be the final arbiter of the meaning of the Constitution — asserting a “judicial supremacist” understanding of the Constitution’s distribution of interpretive ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

The Original Sin

Nakba, the Arabic word for “catastrophe,” has entered the English language in reference to the Arab–Israeli conflict. As defined by the anti-Israel website The Electronic Intifada, Nakba means “the expulsion ...
Politics & Policy

Child Misuse

The parents of Chloe Moretz, the cute-as-a-button child star of the new action movie Kick-Ass, are an Atlanta plastic surgeon named McCoy Moretz and his wife, Teri. Remember those names: ...
The Straggler

The Voice of the Derg

Science-fiction writer Robert Sheckley wrote a story titled “Protection,” whose first-person protagonist acquires a guardian angel. The angel is actually a validusian derg — an invisible, immaterial being from another ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Standing Up for Crockett’s Stand It was appalling to read the description of Davy Crockett, a defender of the Alamo, as a “gaudy self-promoter” in your commemoration of Fess Parker (“The ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Even if the new law does not work against illegals, maybe it will keep liberals out of Arizona. ‐ Is the new Arizona immigration law more like the March on ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

CONSIDERING DOLPHINS A dolphin of a kind, I contemplate Their constant noising by some click or whistle Too high for human ears: that sonar missile With which, obscure and sleek, they navigate; And how, through ...
Happy Warrior

That Personal Touch

The British election campaign didn’t do much to catch the attention of Americans, but one little item feels pertinent — although it attracted remarkably little attention even across the pond. ...

Most Popular

Culture

The Hedges of the Garden of Liberty

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including Emmett Flood, who won’t stop attending my meetings), Let’s say for the sake of argument that Joe Blow (not his real name) ... Read More
PC Culture

Political Correctness at Stanford Law

Nestled in the heart of what is now Silicon Valley, the Leland Stanford Junior University was, for much of its hundred-plus-year history, lightly regarded as a playground for the idle rich. To the extent that Stanford bore any resemblance to its aspirational cousins on the East Coast, it was to their previous ... Read More