From Derb's Email Bag: Movie Masculinity, The Tallahatchie Bridge, And The Rain In Spokane, Etc.
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Just a few.

 Brainteaser.  There’s a worked solution to the one in my May Diary here


 Movie masculinity.  Also in my May Diary I passed some comments on the 1949 movie Twelve O’Clock High. I remarked that: 

This is, I think, the most male movie I’ve ever seen. Watching it, I started to think there were going to be no women in it at all. Then, about an hour and a half along, a nurse shows up for a brief walk-on part.

Several readers pointed out that war movies—especially submarine movies—are bound to be male-heavy, if not totally male. Many offered examples.

I went through the IMDb ”Full Cast & Crew” lists for Twelve O’Clock High and some of my readers’ examples. The numbers in brackets here are guys and gals, perfect accuracy in counting not guaranteed:

Twelve O’Clock High  (43, 1)
The Trench  (26, 1)
The Hunt for Red October  (63, 3)
Das Boot  (40, 3)
Master and Commander   (28, 0)

There are some ambiguities in there, mind. That lone female in The Trench is, I think, only shown as a photograph of someone’s wife.

For solid maleness, though, it looks as though Master and Commander is hard to beat. I really should watch that.

Heck, I’ve read the book

And with those ambiguities in mind, I can’t resist noting the ”Full Cast & Crew” list for Locke (2013):  8 guys, 4 gals. However, the only person to appear on screen is Tom Hardy in the title role. The other eleven are just voices heard on a phone. So screenwise, Locke is 100 percent male.


 Not the Golden Gate.  I signed off the June 7th Radio Derb with a clip of Bobbie Gentry’s country music classic Ode to Billie Joe, in which lovestruck Billie Joe hurls himself into oblivion by jumping off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Two listeners pointed out to me that while they liked the song, it doesn’t make sense. As one of them observed: ”The Tallahatchie Bridge and the river under it are wimps.” He supplied a supporting picture.

Billie Joe, after a very brief fall, would have found himself in a couple of feet of slow, muddy water.

The original Tallahatchie bridge was destroyed by fire in 1972. The 1976 movie was filmed at a similar bridge nearby:


 Literally crushed.  A listener to my May 31st podcast:

Dear Derb

Thanks for your comments on Hillary Clinton and her silly misuse of the word ”existential.” Well done.

It is unfortunate that the same misuse of the word is getting more and more common.  It happens frequently when climate change is the matter being discussed.  The word is being robbed of its meaning.

Like ”Incredible” and ”decimate,” which no longer mean incredible and decimate, ”existential” will soon no longer mean existential.

Thank you, Sir. I’d add to your list the word ”literally,” now too often used as a synonym for its opposite, ”metaphorically,” as when White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told us on May 22nd that some of the people who have taken out student loans are ”literally being crushed” by the obligation to repay them.   


 The rain in Spokane…  Following Friday’s podcast I should offer my apologies to the good people of Spokane. I really should know by now that the name of their noble city is pronounced to rhyme with ”bran,” ”can,” ”fan,” and ”valetudinarian,” not with ”brain,” ”chain,” ”drain,” and ”legerdemain.” I am sorry to have caused you pain.



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