Thursday, June 4, 2009

New B&C History Feature-- "Controversial" Quotes

As there "never" seems to be a shortage of controversial quotes re: B&C-- I thought I would take some of these quotes (from various sources)-- and open them up for comment. No authorship will be revealed-- just the quotes.

So I encourage all of you, who are so passionate about the history of B&C-- to lace up your Everlasts-- and come out swinging. I hope this feature will inspire comment from both pro and con points of view. I would prefer decorum please re: your choice of language in responding. So please keep it smart, and keep it clean. Click on the comments button, within the white box just below to respond. Thanks. So here we go with the inaugural quote, as taken from You Tube --

B&C Quote: "Bonnie and Clyde were a reaction to what was happening around them at the times. They never foreclosed on any families or any farms.  The poverty of those times killed more than Bonnie and Clyde. Banks, greedy speculators, and the government caused much more misery."


Anonymous said...

this may be true to some extent,but clyde barrow was a man driven by hatred, not greed. a hatred that grew from the violent and sadistic treatment he and other inmate's had to endure at eastham. as ralph fults said, "i watched clyde turn from schoolboy to a rattlesnake". when clyde said he wanted to get out, get a gang together, come back, and turn everybody loose, and shoot every one of these guard's it was not just talk. it took awhile, but he delivered on his threat. even if it was scaled down. i would not want to know how it would be to live with that kind of anger.while the hard economical times of the 1930's didn't help matters, i think that clyde's criminal career was mostly born out of hatred.and sadly, for the most part, clyde could only blame himself for his and bonnie's short, violent life.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Jim Knight sent me his comment re: this "Controversial" Quote--


I still don't know how to access anything on your blog except the stuff down the side, but I'll take a stab at the quote.

I doubt that they were that much a reaction to their times, but Bonnie and Clyde certainly reacted to their times and their situation. Who doesn't?
The rest of the quote seems to me to be at the same time true and irrelevant. They never foreclosed on families or farms, etc, etc, etc. All true. So what? The bankers did what they did - and many times they had even less choice than the outlaws - and the outlaws did what they did. Does that make the man who steals your money or kills a loved one with a gun somehow due more consideration than one that does it with an ink pen? Because we might somehow identify with them or think we understand them?

There's a great scene in the movie "Heat" starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pachino. DeNiro, the bank robber, is talking to Pachino, the cop, and he says "I do what I do. I take scores." Pachino the cop then says, "And I catch Bad Guys. I don't know how to do anything else," to which De Niro says, "Me neither." There may have come a time when Clyde decided that "This is what I am, and this is what I do." It may just be as simple as that.

As for being a "reaction to what was happening around them." Clyde Barrow was a thief and Bonnie Parker was a hopeless=2 0romantic before the Depression came along. A better economy might have made the odds of Clyde going straight when he came out of prison marginally better, but I doubt if they were ever very high in any case. Can you seriously see someone as hardened as Clyde being satisfied working 12 hours a day and bringing home $18 a week, even if there were jobs on every street corner? He could have married Bonnie and made ends meet someway - millions of others did - but I just don't see it. He liked new shirts and nice cars too much. John Phillips says that Clyde was a control freak, and he may be right. How better to feel in control than with a gun in your hand?

A. Winston Woodward said...

Jim Knight's comment (part 2)

There is an old adage called "Occam's Razor" that basically says that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. I think we often over analyze these things. We resist the simple explanation. We WANT these people to be somehow different - special. That not only makes what we do seem a little more important, but it also makes us more comfortable to think that these folks weren't like us. There must have been something different or wrong for them to do what they did. We don't want to think that we might have a lot in common with them and have the capability for the same sort of violence. No, we need them to be somehow special for our own peace of mind.

Here's what I think is the simple truth:
Clyde and Bonnie had a lot of empathy f or the poor folks - that's where they both came from, after all - but they weren't Robin Hood and Maid Marian by any stretch. The poor masses were the sea they swam in. They were equal opportunity thieves - Fat Cat bankers or Mom and Pop stores and gas stations - it made little difference. Same with the shooting. Anyone who threatened Clyde's life or freedom - and I mean anyone - did so at the peril of his life, be he lawman or young father or poor grocery clerk.
Clyde stole because he wanted the money. He killed because he wanted his freedom. They lived out of their car, washed in creeks, and treated each other's gunshot wounds because they had no other choice. They dragged others into their life of crime because they needed them. Bonnie stayed with Clyde because she loved him. She may have also found a perverse sort of glamour in the fatalistic, doomed star crossed lovers view of her life. Life with Clyde was often miserible, but, once in a while, it was thrilling and fun, and that seemed to have been enough.

Asking whether they were a reaction to the times or were reacting to them isn't very informative. They did what they did in the only times they ever knew. Would they have done any differently in different circumstances? What difference does it make? They were never going to have the chance. Speculating about it may say more about us than about them.