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Opening Arguments

John and Johnny

Kathleen Quilligan, who recently left The News-Sentinel, has landed at The Times of Northwest Indiana with an interesing feature about the coming movie about John Dillinger -- "Public Enemies," starring Johnny Depp -- which will be shot partly in Crown Point:

Depp aside, part of the fascination with the movie is the attraction Americans have to crimes and the people who commit them. While there are some who resent movies such as "Public Enemies" that potentially glorify criminals, Purdue University history professor Randy Roberts said to ignore this fascination would be like saying crime doesn't exist.

"Do we glorify lawlessness? Maybe," he said. "But does it accurately reflect America's fascination with lawlessness? Yes."

Roberts said America always has admired the outlaw hero, and this was especially true in the era of the Great Depression, when the government structure seemed impotent and people applauded those who took matters into their own hands.

We have always secretly admired those who, unlike us, live outside society's boundaries, so it'sprobably  futile to spend too much energy worrying about whether we glorify outlaws -- we always have and always will. The larger problem -- which it is worth fighting against -- is the glorifying of lawlessness in general and our numbness to the effects of violence on society. At least, Dillinger got the end he deserved. Let's see if Depp tries to make him into some kind of "victim" of Depression-era patriarchal capitalist ruthlessness.


Mon, 03/24/2008 - 11:59am

To quote the Simpsons:

Bart: What do you like about him? He's just a good-looking rebel
who plays by his own rules.

Lisa+Laura: [wistful sigh]

Kevin Knuth
Tue, 03/25/2008 - 6:56am

Two things:

1. Depp will not make Dillinger into anything- the director and the script will set the tone!

2. There is something about the criminals of that time. My Grandmother knew a member of Dillinger's gang. He was raised in Fort Wayne, down around Barthold street. Since no banks were robbed in Allen County, he often came home, and was treated like a hero! Go figure!

Leo Morris
Tue, 03/25/2008 - 8:52am

t's the Jesse James Syndrome. He was treated the same way and became a cult hero. But he was just a vicious bastard who would shoot you for no reason at all.