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American Gangster

I agree with Lew.

It’s funny. I like both Russel Crow and Denzel Washington, most of the time. I think this would be the first time where I’d like to have seen Crow get a bullet in the head. He was the "good guy," as defined by the state; whereas, Washington was the "bad guy" by the same definition. Problem is, Crow was a thief and thug; whereas, Washington was an honest — albeit ruthless — businessman.

I was talking with Bea afterwards, and she just couldn’t grok my 180-out perspective on the thing. But it’s really simple. Just imagine the whole scenario with the pretense and outrageous presumption of the authority of the state and the law stripped away. Just think in terms of mutual agreement between people, conscience, honesty, the golden rule. From where I sat, Washington was a man of his word, never stole a dime, and delivered the highest quality value at the lowest price.

According to the pre-credits factoids about real-life Frank Lucas at the end of the film, the state stole $250 million of money he’s earned honestly, jailed him for 15 years, and jailed 30 of his family members.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

5 Comments

  1. Richard Nikoley on November 13, 2007 at 11:55

    Perhaps you ought to see the movie; or, if you have, read and understand what I wrote.

    Alternatively, go find an entry about the film on a blog somewhere that actually advocates what you're arguing against.

  2. Richard Nikoley on November 13, 2007 at 15:59

    I guess the question is: why let something and somebody stand in their way of doing business?

    Huh? Why?

    In the specific case, the somebody was an established gangster who didn't want Lucas on "his turf," but recognizing Lucas was doing profitable business, simply demanded 20%. America exists because once upon a time, people would kill for far less than 20% (they'd kill a thief who demanded 1 or 2). Now they just sit around and figure on how to reduce their "tax liability."

    So, I don't know whether Lucas would have just settled on a few percent and left the American Revolutionaries to their extra virtue, that that'd kill a thief over pennies, but he exercised virtue enough for me. I also loved his honesty about it. Bullet through the thief's head, right out in the open; right out in front of everyone.

    Cool.

    I also think Lucas was exercising another virtue as well. Seeing as how he is a "gangster," he lives by that code, which is really none of anyone's business. It's why I don't care whether Mafia figures kill one another. They have their code of ethics and choose to participate. It's none of my business, not the state's, not "the people." None of your business. But other gangsters would have gladly killed him or his family members, had he not agreed to cut them in on his profits, for doing nothing but making a threat. He knew that he either had to pay, or he or a family member would be dead. He killed first.

    Lucas also operated honestly and with great virtue with respect to his competition. He didn't try to bully them into a cut he didn't deserve. Didn't try to knock them off. He didn't cheat his customers. Rather, he got a higher quality product (dutifully and honestly paying both the supplier and the military shippers), processed it in superior quality than his competition, and sold it to willing buyers for a lower price. It's the American way.

    So, now, tell me again why Lucas should have stood by waiting for another thug to steal 20% of his income, or worse? Perhaps he should have gone to the cops and courts, right? Asked them to protect his consensual business activities.

  3. Kyle Bennett on November 13, 2007 at 10:49

    funny, I haven't seen the movie yet (plan to, eventually), but I got that same hunch from just the previews.

  4. Lute Nikoley on November 13, 2007 at 11:40

    Wow, don't like your competition, just shoot'em. I agree with Bea.

  5. Lute Nikoley on November 13, 2007 at 12:23

    I saw the movie, I simply don't agree with glorifying gangsters who will let nothing and nobody stand in their way of doing business. You see, I am just not an anarchist, never will be. As far as the drug issue I agree with you, but getting your way by killing people, just doesn't sit well with me. And, I did read your what you wrote. A bullet in his head?

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