Bill Whittle: Danger! Danger!

erIn his latest FIREWALL, Bill Whittle talks about fathers and sons, heroes and cowards, as seen from the viewing port of the Jupiter 2. See the video and transcript below:



Hi everybody: I’m Bill Whittle and this is the Firewall!

Hey, you know what we old timers like best about living in an age where everything that ever happened is available on the internet? You get to back and visit your youth. I recently went back and revisited the one classic science-fiction TV show that had the most profound influence on me growing up as a boy in the early sixties…


No, not this one.


This one.

Now I know, I know what you’re thinking: Lost in Space maybe the worst show ever made. I don’t remember it being as bad as it was, and that’s because when I first saw Lost in Space, it wasn’t that bad.

The first ten episodes or so were really solid TV science-fiction, and at five years old I was hooked: There were spacesuits and suspended animation and spacewalks and massive derelict shipwrecks; there were meteor storms, and alien Cyclopses, and jet packs, and the Chariot. And way past all of that was The Jupiter 2, just my all-time favorite piece of science-fiction hardware ever.

Just beautiful, with the landing gear and the awesome propulsion noise… They built a life-sized prop for the third season. One day, if I make enough money, I’m going to have that rebuilt, put it out back, and live in that.

By myself, obviously.

But there is a larger point to all this, because in the 40 years since Lost in Space first lit up my imagination, a lot has changed in America, especially the way we view the family: especially the way we view fathers and sons.

John Robinson was not a man-child; not an overweight adult idiot sitting around watching TV while his wife balances the books. And he wasn’t some weak, sensitive life partner who had to call the exterminator if he found a spider in the shower, either. He wasn’t a coward, and he wasn’t a brute: he was a astrophysicist, an explorer, a husband and a father. He was strong, quiet, calm, confident and firm.

But nothing has changed since this lost future nearly so much as how we look at children – and especially how we look at boys. Because the center of this show, for me and millions and millions of boys my age, was my friend, Will Robinson. He wasn’t a rebel, he didn’t have SWAG, and he was very, very not cool. Will was brilliant, adventurous, brave, decent, kind and responsible. How did he get to be this way? Well, he had a dad that loved him, showed him he loved him, and encouraged his ingenuity. He punished him when he misbehaved, and praised him when he didn’t. And most of all, he rewarded that sense of responsibility with autonomy and trust, and more than once this little brave, smart, resourceful little boy used a weapon! – that bad-ass laser pistol — to save his father and the rest of his family. That kind of boy is just unimaginable on TV today. But back then, this was the kind of we wanted our sons to be.

And one other things seems to have changed, and not for the better. It goes to our entire idea of manhood today.

On one hand, you have the ship’s pilot: Major Don West, hotheaded, strong, loyal, honorable, brave, competent and hardworking. On the other hand, Dr. Zachary Smith: Reptile cold, weak, treasonous, lying, cowardly, incompetent shirker and goldbricker.

Don is making it with awesome space-babe Judy; Dr. Smith hangs out with a boy.

Smith is selfish, vain, and narcissistic, and considers his greatest attribute to be his vast intelligence. He’s a man of letters, who thinks the military Major is a dim-witted brute. Smith is a product of the faculty lounge. Dr. Smith is an intellectual.

But intellectualism is not intelligence. Intelligence is the ability to process new data, spot patterns, and make predictions. Intellectualism is the ability to drop witty observations and occasional insights about things that have already happened. Intellectualism is intelligence that has been left in the back of the fridge for seven months.

Smith, the self-centered intellectual, can’t open a jackknife and sells out the major, and the entire family, for personal gain pretty much every week. West, the so-called brute, is a pilot, mechanic, engineer, astrophysicist who can assemble force field components from the space stove. West, parenthetically, repeatedly risks his life to save Smith and the family. West is not only far more intelligent than Dr. Smith, he’s a better person – a better man – in every way.

See, these are not just two different men. They are two different kinds of men.

But the single greatest danger I see in the world today is the result of the leftist intellectual sophistry that started taking root in America right about the time Lost in Space went off the air in 1968.

Because to the realist Conservative, like Major West, the opposite of courage is cowardice. But to the intellectual Progressive, like Dr. Smith, the opposite of courage is intelligence. You know: the idea that the military is only good for those kids too stupid to get a decent job; the idea that other people’s kids can go and die to protect us so long as my brilliant gender-studies major doesn’t have to. This idea of cowardice being masked by the fig leaf of so-called intelligence –the lie told by these guys over the last four decades…

…well, that’s going to get us into real trouble, the way it always has, when real dangers have gone the way of the Jupiter 2, leaving us here, on earth, surrounded by rabbits where men used to be.

Oh the pain! The pain!

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  • Prof. L. Wessell

    Some memories inspired by the Whittle video:

    Last night (German time) I watched a show on tv on “Famous Photos” and their historical context. One photo and filming had to do with the famous planting of the American flag on Mt. Souribachi (?) during the battle for Iwo Jima (the only battle where Americans had more casualties than the Japanese–and made the use of the A-bomb a welcome possiblity). Scenes of the battle were ferocious, bravery keen, admiration great. The Marine camera man who filmed in color the raising had his story told. He died soon thereafter. A fine man and a fine model for manhood. Later last night, in a nostalgic mood, I wacthed the John Wayne film “The Sands of Iwo Jima” (1949) (I was 10 for the first viewing). Not much blood and guts in the battle scenes, sort of corney, but what an image of manhood. The soldier played by Wayne in his dying breath remembers his family and laments not being a good enough father. Boy did it feel good to be an American in 1949. An image of an upright man and praise for the family!!! Then came Whittle’s video into my vision and, well, this comment is the result.

    Whittle laments the vision of manhood dominating the “broad” seeking “heroes” (sic) in most shows today (at the time we just spoke of “shacking up” and today its is called “Castle”). Heck, Hop-along-Cassidy and the Lone Ranger were my first models, often enough only in radio. I do remember Whittle’s examples. What happened? I, being a generation or so older than Whittle, would like to offer some background information personally lived through for any reader too young to remember those days of “manhood”.

    Literally, I felt a break in cultural continuity sometime in the 1960s, in the US and in Germany. What Whittle remembers as a kid, I lived through as a young adult with family. The source for the break in cultural continuity is identifiable. I suggest that the reader consult YOUTube for the ca. 23 min. video “The History of Cultural Marxism” (or turn to Whittle with a video of the same title). The heart of cultural Marxism (which was first evident for me as a finishing grad. student in America and a Fulbright scholar in Germany) stems from the Frankfurt School. The marxists there lost faith in a proletarian revolution and sought, in its place, to penetrate and change culture at all levels. Three points are particularly important. 1. What is the cultrual source of the bourgeois world to be destroyed. The family based upon heterosexual sex as a normative paradign. The cult. marx.s set out to “liberate” sex from a family context (with its demands of manhood reposibility for males) and turn it into sex, any type of sex, for pleasure >> indeed, the beginning of what I call “pansexualism”, i.e, any sexual acts of any type is socially to be accepted as normative >> homosexual marriage as a wedge issue. The pill in the 60s was the mechanical means of separation, but it was cultural marxist ideology that metamorphized the separation into a new cultural force, a new normality, one damaging the Wayne vision. 2. Along with the destruction of marriage came the destruction of the self-understanding that enabled Americans to feel good about themselves, e.g., gender studies, critical theory, etc. replaced Western Culture courses. Whereas the 60s constitute the moment of penetration it was only in the 80s did it take place, i.e., “The Closing of the American Mind” (a title of a book by Prof. Allan Bloom — a must reading to understand the 80s -> a time that drove me out of American universities into European ones). Critical theory replaced Western studies. 3. Finally the denigration of the miliarty by leftists and MSM due to the Vietnam War. All these factors contributed to the destruction of the John Wayne model of manhood.

    I hope that I have not been too pedantic. I have experienced directly something that most of the younger readers have not and probably never will experience. My comments are but an attempt to cast some abstract insight into what affect my life. As a kid unto a young adult it felt good, manily, family positive to be an American. And now, we have Obama (and I prefer Germany to Obamamerica.. As Images Wayne to Obama is a rvealing contrast. It was great until the 60s. So my personal experience. I thank Whittle for the memories!

    P.S. Pardon any spelling errors. I old eyes just does not see things as they once did.

  • Prof. L. Wessell

    What is going on with Frontpage? I wrote twice the same LONG comment on Whittle’s find video seeking to give a larger historical perspective. Once the comment did appear and now it is gone. If Frontpage cannot get its act together (or if I cannot figure the system out), I shall cease any comments.

    • truebearing

      It happens to all of us. The best way to counter it is to copy your comment after you’re finished writing it. Then you can re-post it if the moderator censors it. Also, watch for a warning at the top of your comment when first posting. The moderators have some extremely odd criteria for censoring comments. Most of the time it is one word that they detect that gets you “moderated.” It is very annoying.

      • Chavi Beck

        Better yet, write your best comments in Notepad in the first place. Copy-paste. Save.

  • VarshaMoretoniss

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  • theoprinse

    I thank mr. Whittle for his article. Nothing in the fantasy of mr. Whittle has changed. Everything is still there. But something new and evil has appeared.
    In the Netherlands prof Ronald Hanson of the Kavli Institute (Technical University of Delft) are setting up a quantum entanglement experiment ranging 1.300 meters.
    This caused me to develop a theory to travel 10.000 times the speed of light with this QE phenomena.
    Other in the Netherlands surrounding Prof Gerard ‘t Hoofd and Bas Lansdorp are in negotiation with US space corporations for a one way voyage to Mars.
    But then there was a fathwa form a muslim against it.
    Obama is one of them. The enemies of western dreaming

  • Sassy Serf

    Thanks! I’ll be contemplating the opposite of cowardice being intelligence. It’s a good insight to have and I appreciate having it articulated because it will tidy up my thinking. I tweeted and shared the transcript, btw.

  • GSR

    Entertaining but also true. I grew up watching John Robinson, Major West, Will Robinson, Captain Kirk, Steve Austin, etc. Fictional characters can have an effect on young boy growing up. We live in a feminized/ homosexualized society today. Sad.