this and why I watched every episode ofrnMiami Vice at least twiee.) Don neededrna break and got one in Paradise. I le andrnwife Melanie don’t embarrass themseK’es.rn(Which would have been easyrnenough plaving against their accustomedrngrain and alongside two quite capablernchildren.) Thev make a credible troubledrncouple. You can believe they’rernmarried and that they’ve fought. I thinkrnboth kinds of critics agreed on this, sornI’m not going out on a limb.rnBut it’s time to finish. The theaterrnwas full, and even if half the people inrnthere happened to be extras in thernmovie, that doesn’t change the fact thatrnthis was going to be at least a modestrnbox-office success. And why? Well, Paradisernmay have been plodding and coldbloodedlyrnsentimental, but it was targetedrnat women and children and menrnwho spend time with their families.rn(Just like Don did in the movie.) Also,rnthere were no decapitations in thisrnmovie. No car chases, hi some shelteredrncorners of real-life America we can gorncenturies without a decapitation andrndecades without a car chase. And herernwe are at the crux of the matter—therndreaded imitative fallacy. If real life isrnmade up of unspoken tragedies andrnsmall moments of joy and men don’trnemote any more than Don Johnsonrn(plenty don’t emote at all) and real-lifernwomen go without makeup and have sillyrnlisps like Melanie Griffith and childrenrnare quietlv wise beyond their yearsrn(that’s “natural piety,” to you and me)—rnand if this simpleness is the stuff of realrnlife, then why would anyone want to gornto the movies to sec it? Because it’s notrnthe stuff of real life anymore.rnNow, there’s a frightening thought.rnT’lie uneventful pastoral is now^ the truernescapism? Is that much car chasing andrnmayhem actually taking place in urbanrnAmerica? The young hero of the moviernseemed to imply this, for when the girlrnbrags of seeing the dead at funerals, herntops her by saying he passes them on therncity streets all the time. Wait a minute.rnYou don’t suppose Paradise is anotherrnthinly veiled attack on New York City?rnWell, I guess it could be, but at least thernmovie didn’t show them praying. True,rnDon and Melanie attended church. Irnwon’t deny that. But he sat with armsrnfolded and she fell asleep. They didn’trnpray. Thank God for small mercies.rnWilliam P. Baldwin writes fromrnMcClellauville. South Carolina.rnLetter From thernLower Rightrnby John Shelton ReedrnRace Politics: Part OnernYes, I know I promised to write aboutrnthe Georgia state flag controversy, butrnthat prospect was too depressing. Letrnme address instead a couple of more entertainingrntopics, namely the 43rd annualrnMountain Dew Southern 500rnNASCAR Winston Cup Series Racernand the recent presidential election. Byrnthe time you read this you’ll know whornwon the election, and it’s a matter ofrnrecord that Darrell Waltrip won thernSouthern 500, but there’s a connectionrnhere that vou may not be aware of. Itrnwas at the Darlington Raceway on Sunday,rnlast September 6, that I finally realizedrnthat George Bush was in seriousrntrouble.rnAlthough 1 grew up twenty milesrnfrom the NASCAR track in Bristol, thisrnwas the first race I’d ever been to.rnWhen I was a lad stockcar racing hadrnan image problem—and not just an imagernproblem. A very funny novel calledrnStand On It describes the drivers of myrnyouth:rnFact of life: southern stock carrndrivers are mean bastards andrnthey have dirt under their fingernailsrnand chickens—t on the bottomsrnof their boots. The backs ofrntheir necks are red. They race allrnday and drink all night. . . . Plus arnlot of interpreti’e fighting withrntire irons. It’s their form of ballet.rnAnd fans were cut from the same cloth:rn”Every other one has a wooden matchrnin the corner of his mouth and a bottlernin a brown paper bag between his feet.rnThey are fine when the race starts—Irnsuppose. By maybe the 250-mile markrnthey are all liquored up and the safestrnplace to be is upside down out there onrnthe g—dam track.”rnA chubby, bespectacled teenager sur-rnN’ives by knowing where not to go, so Irnreached mid-life familiar with racing onlyrnat second hand—from more adventurousrnfriends, from forgettable drive-inrnmovies with titles like Red Line 7,000rnand Thunder Over Carolina, and fromrnTom Wolfe’s classic 1965 article aboutrnJunior Johnson, the “Last AmericanrnHero” (which, incidentally, introducedrnthe Southern phrase “good old boy” tornthe rest of the wodd). Besides, the sportrnitself didn’t interest me much. Fromrntime to time I ran across race coveragernon the radio, but listening to it seemedrnabout as pointless as listening to bowling.rnAnd racing wasn’t much better onrntelevision: round and around andrnaround and around we go, as ChubbyrnChecker puts it.rnAmericanismrnRevolutionary Order and SocietalrnSelf-Interpretation in the AmericanrnRepublicrnJiirgen GebhardtrnTranslated by Ruth HeinrnGebhardt’s Americanism analyzes the originsrnof the American public philosophy.rnThrough careful scrutiny of the writings ofrnthe Founding Fathers—and with a specialrnemphasis on those of John Adams—rnGebhardt studies the philosophical and _rnChristian roots of the American ideas ofrnrepublicanism and revolution. The keen and observant eye he casts on thernstructure of the American republic makes this a first-rate work.rn$59.95rnt. Louisiana State f University PressrnBaton Rouge 70893rnJANUARY 1993/39rnrnrn