JAMES LILEKS REVIEWS THE NEW NETFLIX MOVIE, THE HIGHWAYMEN, a look at the lawmen who put bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde out of business in 1934, three decades before Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway made them radical chic superstars in 1967. In a 2008 interview with Reason magazine to promote his then-new book Nixonland, Rick Perlstein, the leftwing author and former JournoList member, said that he viewed [the movie] Bonnie and Clyde as “the most important text” of the ‘60s era New Left:
Reason: You like to mix cultural history with political history. Bonnie and Clyde is one of the central texts in the book.
Perlstein: My theory is that Bonnie and Clyde was the most important text of the New Left, much more important than anything written by Paul Goodman or C. Wright Mills or Regis Debray. It made an argument about vitality and virtue vs. staidness and morality that was completely new, that resonated with young people in a way that made no sense to old people. Just the idea that the outlaws were the good guys and the bourgeois householders were the bad guys—you cannot underestimate [sic] how strange and fresh that was.
As Lileks writes in response to another leftwing critic who similarly wants to believe that Bonnie and Clyde were cool:
Well, they weren’t. They were sociopathic assholes. Random Wikipedia moment: “Bonnie and Clyde’s next brush with the law arose from their generally suspicious— and conspicuous — behavior, not because they had been identified. The group ran loud, alcohol-fueled card games late into the night in the quiet neighborhood. The men came and went noisily at all hours, and Clyde discharged a Browning Automatic Rifle in the apartment while cleaning it.”
Read the whole thing.
Related: Kevin Costner Rehabilitates a True American Hero in ‘The Highwaymen’ — and the Social Justice Warriors are Furious.