Thursday, October 04, 2007

Jesse James: Man of God?

In Dust to Dust, as I've said before, Jesse James isn't a nice guy. He's no "Robin Hood of the West" as portrayed in American Outlaws. We've taken the more historically accurate interpretation that he was an abusive bigot and speculated what might have happened if, after his "death," he found religion.

Alex Ness, my co-writer, and I are both Christians, so we're not trying to point fingers at Christianity as it's supposed to be practiced. But we are painfully and embarrassingly aware that a lot of evil is done in the name of religion and we thought it might be interesting to see how much more dangerous Jesse might've been had he thought he had God on his side.

As it turns out, we're still not far from historical fact. At least, not according to Gene Edward Veith, Culture Editor of WORLD Magazine and the Executive Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary. Veith paints Jesse as "a Bible-reading choir director who just happened to make his living robbing trains, sticking up banks, and murdering some 17 men. But he was a man of principle, refusing to rob preachers and widows. He would write letters to newspapers about how God will continue to protect him as long as he continues to serve Him." Veith goes on to call Jesse "a study in false piety. He seemed to rationalize his predations with a defeated-confederate loyalty, a modern Democrat's hostility to corporations, and--above all--a sense that the world disrespects him and so deserves every blow he can give it."

Though Veith's post if the most interesting bit of Jesse news to me, the big Jesse story this week is about a Missouri lawyer who recently discovered documents describing a lawsuit against Jesse for stealing a horse during a bank robbery getaway. Jesse never showed up for trial and unsuccessfully tried twice to kill the lawyer bringing the suit. The lawyer, Henry McDougal, went on to become president of the Kansas City and Missouri bar associations.

And that's pretty much it for your Dust to Dust-related news. Except maybe for this interview with Assassination of Jesse James' director Andrew Dominik. I'm off to finish up a couple of last minute things for FallCon.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails