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

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More
World

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More
Elections

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
PC Culture

Merciless Sympathy

Jussie Smollett’s phony hate-crime story could have been taken apart in 24 hours, except for one thing: Nobody wanted to be the first to call bullsh**. Who will bell the cat? Not the police, and I don’t blame them. Smollett is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump who checks two protected-category ... Read More