Book Reviews from an airplane into sub-zero weather to analyze a conflict among cultures completely foreign to him. White argues that this is evidence of Rogers'a substantive credentials as an American "ambassador without a portfolio." Skeptics, however, can hardly be convinced by Will Rogers's own dispatches on the matter: "Those Japanese! Now, here is something I better tell you right off the reel: Don't ever call a Japanese a `Jap' . . . this Jap business is a serious matter with them . . . Then, too, the word `Jap' is short, and they are very sensitive about their size anyhow, and `Jap' makes 'em sound shorter still" (203). While White argues that Rogers was an active political force, he overlooks the possibility that Rogers was perhaps being used by powerful men in order to coalesce their own power. It seems likely that many leaders found it in their best political interest to cultivate--and even flatter-- this leading celebrity who symbolized America's common folk. In the end, Rogers's essential contributions to political developments may be less consequential than White claims. It seems just as likely that he was a gadfly, albeit one with a large following. With his
Southwestern Historical Quarterly – Texas State Historical Association
Published: Sep 18, 2013
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