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“I’ll go make you a sandwich.”
Celebrating the Trad Wife in Emmerich’s Midway

1,012 words

The best present I’ve given myself over this holiday season was the two hours and thirteen minutes I sat in a mostly empty theater on a rainy afternoon watching Midway (2019) the latest epic film by the great Roland Emmerich. Thanks to Robert Hampton for his insightful review which steered me to the film. There are many things to like in this nearly perfect film but I’d like to focus on a single line of dialogue.

The scene: It’s a few months after Pearl Harbor, and a harried and overworked senior intelligence officer (Patrick Wilson) has a rare night at home with his wife. The naval chess match for control of the Pacific is at full pitch. As he sits down to study his latest intel, his cute wife grabs his eyeglasses off his desk and walks away with them. “I’m kidnapping these tonight,” she says. The Intelligence Officer looks up at her and asks for just thirty minutes more to look over his papers. The wife says something like, “I’m sure the war won’t be won or lost tonight.” The Intelligence officer, in a pleasant but firm tone of voice, explains to her that men will die if he doesn’t do his work. That men have already died because he and his colleagues did not properly anticipate Pearl Harbor. In a little more dialogue, he makes her (and us) understand the finality of war, the duty of the soldier, the intense loyalty he feels to his men. The wife listens to his words, understands their seriousness, and says to him: “I’ll go make you a sandwich.”

“I’ll go make you a sandwich.”

She actually says that. Those exact words. She says this without irony. She says this without bitterness. It’s not a joke. She’s not making a point.

“I’ll go make you a sandwich.”

We know by her tone that she’s really going to do it.  She’s really going to make him a sandwich.  And when she returns with that sandwich, she’s not going to contemptuously shove the plate in front of him. The bread won’t be smushed, and there will be more than a single slice of bologna. This will not be a resentment sandwich, it will be a real sandwich. Made with love. Made with intention. Because she understands her husband has to save his men. It’s probably going to be a very good sandwich. It will probably be his favorite kind of sandwich. The making of the sandwich will itself be an act of patriotism, not quite as important as breaking the code of secret Japanese communications, but in matters of life and death, there are no unimportant jobs.

Nowadays people call their spouse or boyfriend their “partner.”  They do this to signal to others that “equality” is a primary component of their relationship. Every act of kindness is kept track of and compensated for. Every act of sexual gratification is returned in kind. Neither partner is allowed to assume authority over the other. And, naturally, everyone must make their own sandwich.

But in Emmerich’s 1942 America, “partnership” goes beyond keeping track of who did the dishes last. When aircraft carriers are involved, there’s no time to worry about the position of the toilet seat. The value of the senior intelligence officer’s time and attention is different and unequal to the desires of his wife. It doesn’t matter that she needs some cuddle-time with her husband. He needs to save the United States Navy. These two “needs” are not equal.

But miraculously—at least to those of us in the current age—the senior intelligence officer’s wife understands this discrepancy. She is a true “partner,” objectively grasping the situation, seeing what her role is within it, and adjusting herself accordingly. She maximizes her own usefulness by doing the thing she can do well, at the precise time it needs to be done. She makes him a sandwich . . . and he will win a pivotal battle of World War Two.

What a nearly perfect alternative world I was transported to watching this exchange. Imagine a culture, a society, where everyone is on the same team. How grounded and secure you would feel. Imagine living in a nation that wasn’t bedeviled and bifurcated by endless rancor and squabbling, where Howard Zinn wasn’t teaching envy and resentment to children, where wives weren’t instructed by the ubiquitous media to defy their husbands and their own biology in order to pursue cubicle careers and advanced degrees in Grievance Studies. Imagine a world where your wife would actually help you before you asked, where she would actually go into the kitchen, open the refrigerator, take out the various ingredients and utensils, and make you a sandwich. Imagine a world where you could then eat that sandwich, without guilt, without misgivings about your patriarchal privilege.  You could savor each bite, lick your fingers, and then get back to saving your country.

When Heartiste teaches us the primacy of truth and beauty, Midway’s sandwich scene is what he’s talking about. This one simple utterance is the very definition of reason, symmetry, proportion, and taste. “I’ll go make you a sandwich.” With these words we are given a respite from our Clown World existence: a tradwife who understands the world, understands her place in it, who knows what to do, when to do it, how to do it. This we recognize in our hearts is how things should be. This is the world we are striving for. I’ll go make you a sandwich.

Which leads to the question: is Roland Emmerich one of us? Supposedly he is Left-leaning, but he’s required to say that, to keep his job. The “I’ll go make you a sandwich” moment is given a prominent place in a movie replete with American traditionalism. But does he know the line is a popular Right-wing meme? Did he put this line into the movie specifically for us? To give us hope? To keep us fighting? It seems possible that he did. It seems likely even. It warms the heart to think so.

 

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24 Comments

  1. EuroCrash
    Posted January 15, 2020 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Emmerich is a flaming German homosexual, so was just keeping to the script, so not a stretch for him to show how to be subservient. He is as lefty as any Hollywood degenerate can be. Anton is what keeps me coming back to Counter Currents.

  2. rujv
    Posted January 5, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Roland Emmerich just made us all a sandwich.

  3. HungarianFashionista
    Posted December 29, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I started to write a list of what tradwives in my family did and lived through during WW2, but broke down in tears.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted December 29, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      I would love to see that list, to be honest.

    • Svea Svensson
      Posted December 29, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I started to write a list of what tradwives in my family did and lived through during WW2, but broke down in tears.

      I guess they did maximize their own usefulness just like the celebrated “tradwife” of this article:

      “She maximizes her own usefulness by doing the thing she can do well, at the precise time it needs to be done. She makes him a sandwich …”

      What more can we possibly expect of women?

  4. Sarah Soapovich
    Posted December 27, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only woman who read this article/film review and thought it was sweet?
    Full disclosure: i am married with children. A housewife in my 30s.

    Whenever a wife happily offers to make her husband a sandwich that means that the husband DESERVES a sandwich. He’s a husband deserving of a voluntary sandwich.

    It takes two to tango.

    Men blame women, women blame men. We’ve stopped complimenting each other and that’s very sad.

  5. Astra
    Posted December 27, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The phrase “make me a sandwich” is a meme and sadly with not so positive meaning. As we cannot anymore make a word “gay” mean youthful and cheerful (as it was just about one hundred years ago), so making a sandwich has long lost it’s literal meaning. Personally the situation I see, as in who asks for a sandwich is: a fat stoner gamer asks his lowly girlfriend (not even a wife) to get him something ultra fast and fatty, usually in a demeaning way. I had this image in my eye and I decided to investigate, what is exactly a sandwich, the history behind. To my surprise, my initial feeling/vision was not a far off: “The bread-enclosed convenience food known as the “sandwich” is attributed to John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), a British statesman and notorious profligate and gambler, who is said to be the inventor of this type of food so that he would not have to leave his gaming table to take supper. In fact, Montague was not the inventor of the sandwich; rather, during his excursions in the Eastern Mediterranean”. There is a history of open sandwich in mainland Europe, an enclosed one is actually… jewish. Or that is at least first recorded case of a closed sandwich: “The first recorded sandwich was by the famous rabbi, Hillel the Elder, who lived during the 1st century B.C. He started the Passover custom of sandwiching a mixture of chopped nuts, apples, spices, and wine between two matzohs to eat with bitter herbs. The filling between the matzahs served as a reminder of the suffering of the Jews before their deliverance from Egypt and represented the mortar used by the Jews in their forced labor of constructing Egyptian buildings.”
    Should I go even deeper and step into the world of gambling and who’s behind it? Well maybe not this time. Short conclusion: open sandwich-ok, closed one-not ok. At least my personal opinion about the case. And for gods sake, who again benefits by this idiotic gender division?
    One more sub topic from this article, that I long time wanted to discuss: what is “traditional” what does it mean? Traditional wife, traditional husband, traditional lifestyle. For one it does not mean a short time span of maybe two decades where men go to “to pursue cubicle careers” away from their families and wives make “food”, out of some food substitutes corporately mass-produced. Traditional is something deeper and much longer then that, something that lasts few thousand years, or at least few hundreds of years. I know that the history is being rewritten and “traditional” now means (at least for Americans, I see) few decades after WWII, after the old society was broken, after modernization of everything. What about traditional model where both father and mother are at home and ether work at home as producing something or work land. I am in no way opposed to making meals for husbands, meals made from scratch like hearty soup, what takes about 3 hours, or more. Or whatever real meal. What about asking older children to fetch ingredients for the meal from the garden? If you do not like my personal interpretation, ask yourselves what is traditional? For a woman it is very traditional to have many children, regardless of social standing/occupation. Husband (as the name indicates: housebound) mostly should stay at home. One does not need to look very far to find that, one of the few pre-requisites of a good wife is being “bossy” as any family of the past, that was “above poverty level” would have a maid and the richer they were the more workers they had (for land, industries, trainees, etc.). Wives managed them and a household (that is not just a house), that is equivalent of managing a small-medium enterprise nowadays. Even, and especially, nobility had to have those character features.
    Go and ask “make me a sandwich” (do you hear rubbing of hands and coins clinking behind it?), while I’ll go and cook some hearty dinner for my family.

    • Svea Svensson
      Posted December 28, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      One more sub topic from this article, that I long time wanted to discuss: what is “traditional” what does it mean? Traditional wife, traditional husband, traditional lifestyle. For one it does not mean a short time span of maybe two decades where men go to “to pursue cubicle careers” away from their families and wives make “food”, out of some food substitutes corporately mass-produced.

      Absolutely, from a historical point of view the mid twentieth century family norm and sex roles are abnormal and untraditional. But I guess that they appeal to many people, mostly males, who prefer them to the contemporary ideal of gender equality.

      Most of these people seem less interested in returning to a more traditional lifestyle, where men and women, often with the help of their children and extended family, work together on their farms or in their family businesses in connection to their homes.

      Traditional is something deeper and much longer then that, something that lasts few thousand years, or at least few hundreds of years. I know that the history is being rewritten and “traditional” now means (at least for Americans, I see) few decades after WWII, after the old society was broken, after modernization of everything.

      This seems to be a cultural difference between Europe and America. We Europeans are more surrounded by our history and “a traditional lifestyle” is rather associated with something that at least precedes the large-scale urbanization and industrialization of the 20th century.

      So obviously we have to make a distinction between the genuine tradition and what has been branded as “traditional” or “trad” by the Alt-right and similar movements. The use of “tradwife” to refer to “a wife who fulfills a traditional gender role based on Western middle-class femininity of the mid twentieth century” is only one example of that.

      • Stronza
        Posted January 2, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        So obviously we have to make a distinction between the genuine tradition and what has been branded as “traditional” or “trad” by the Alt-right and similar movements. The use of “tradwife” to refer to “a wife who fulfills a traditional gender role based on Western middle-class femininity of the mid twentieth century” is only one example of that.

        Yes, indeed. It curls my toes to hear talk of “traditional” this or that. The term “tradition” is borderline meaningless because things are changing so fast. Time frames are contracting, i.e., it’s becoming all relative.

        If I were a young woman wanting to get married, knowing what I do today, I’d avoid too-smart-by-half alt-right/white identitarian etc. fellows who say they are looking for a “traditional” wife. Probably what they really want is a woman who’ll just do as she’s told without ever complaining.

  6. Another Ghost
    Posted December 26, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Anton, your articles here are always so goofy. I understand the point but you may turn people away who read it too literally.

    I did however, enjoy the roast beef:

    “Imagine a culture, a society, where everyone is on the same team. How grounded and secure you would feel.”

    Will we ever have this sandwich again? Even the most patriarchal and nationalistic countries in Asia are losing this sandwich. How can we expect to have it when everyone is trying to create a new sandwich jamming ice cream, peanut butter and pickles onto it, and even we are participating as we constantly chase new ingredients because we have the chef’s ego.

    I’ll never be too good for roast beef.

    • Lord Shang
      Posted December 28, 2019 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      Man are you tone deaf. The post was nice; it is your response that truly is “goofy”.

  7. Mike Ricci
    Posted December 26, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s doubtful there is any intentional significance to the dialogue, it’s probably in there because the scene calls for it.

    On top of that, there were plenty of military men back then who had unpleasant wives just like now there are plenty of young women who support their men.

    • Lord Shang
      Posted December 28, 2019 at 2:00 am | Permalink

      Are there plenty of young white women who support their men (by “support” do you mean emotional or financial?)? Not so much in Blue State America, at least in my experience (which has always and only been of Blue States, alas).

  8. Svea Svensson
    Posted December 26, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    “I’ll go make you a sandwich.” With these words we are given a respite from our Clown World existence: a tradwife who understands the world, understands her place in it, who knows what to do, when to do it, how to do it. This we recognize in our hearts is how things should be. This is the world we are striving for.

    Well, then you also have to pay for it. Unfortunately, tradwifes are not for free. Their husbands have to pay for their living, including their food, clothes and hobbies. The intelligence officer in this film actually paid a high price for this delicious sandwich.

    I’m sure there are many women who would prefer to be middleclass tradwifes instead of having boring jobs. So instead of complaining about our “Clown World existence” – get yourself a well-paid job and try to make yourself attractive to these aspiring tradwifes!

    • Lexi
      Posted December 26, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Their husbands have to pay for their living, including their food, clothes and hobbies.

      Hobbies? Why ever would we be entitled to those? We exist for the pleasure and convenience of our men. Didn’t you get the memo?

      So instead of complaining about our “Clown World existence” – get yourself a well-paid job and try to make yourself attractive to these aspiring tradwifes!

      I’ll say. They’re going to need a very good job if they expect to have more than one child and a wife who never gets too tired and cranky to make sandwiches with a smile on demand. Unless they’re planning on hiring a part-time nanny and/or housekeeper, they’re going to be lucky if the fridge is stocked and the dishes are washed so they can make their own damned sandwich.

      I suspect this is the real reason birthrates are so low. Men don’t want large families with a harried and exhausted wife. They want a life of ease, comfort, and pleasure.

      • Svea Svensson
        Posted December 26, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Hobbies? Why ever would we be entitled to those? We exist for the pleasure and convenience of our men. Didn’t you get the memo?

        My bad. What made me think about hobbies was that Anton’s ideal woman actually isn’t a tradwife, but rather a luxury housewife. What he celebrates is a woman who is dedicated to her husband, not to any children or household. And, well, idle luxury housewives of the upper classes are sometimes allowed to pursue hobbies when their husbands are away.

        I suspect this is the real reason birthrates are so low. Men don’t want large families with a harried and exhausted wife. They want a life of ease, comfort, and pleasure.

        Definitely. The fact is that the offer of this delicious sandwich could as well have been made by a faithful butler who understood his master’s needs. This “tradwife” is celebrated as servant rather than as a partner for building a family.

      • Another Ghost
        Posted December 26, 2019 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        I think you’re both taking this a bit too literally.

        • Vehmgericht
          Posted December 27, 2019 at 1:42 am | Permalink

          Anarcho-Feminist thinker Laurie Penny has repeatedly made the case that women receive financial compensation owed for ’emotional labour’.

          On the other hand I can confirm that some women actively keep their man ‘out of the kitchen’ for reasons of health and safety …

          • Another Ghost
            Posted December 27, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            You mean that Jewish Feminist Ms Penny? The same one who is up-in-arms about women’s rights in Poland simply because it is a white country but turns a blind eye to women’s rights anywhere else?

            To think every white woman is a Jewish Feminist is absurd.
            And to the women here, to think every white guy is Anton MGTOW memer . . . .

      • Lord Shang
        Posted December 28, 2019 at 2:10 am | Permalink

        What utter nonsense!

        Birthrates are so low because a) most white women don’t feel like having very many children (and they have access to birth control), and b) even those couples who would like to have large families often cannot afford them due to all the taxes, fees, regulatory burdens and other socialist hardships (as well as painful measures to negotiate “diversity”, like living far from your work in order that your children can avoid going to public schools filled with feral nonwhites) that Greg Johnson and some other nationalists tell us white people don’t mind (note: it’s overwhelmingly whites who are the voters behind anti-tax initiatives, and who want reductions in the burdens of big socialistic government – which makes sense, as we are mostly the race who bears these burdens).

  9. John Wilkinson
    Posted December 26, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Women despise men who make their own sandwich, and they’ll go screw a man who won’t while their partner isn’t looking.

    • Mike Ricci
      Posted December 26, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Sandwich game is the ultimate game.

    • Lexi
      Posted December 27, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Women despise men who make their own sandwich, and they’ll go screw a man who won’t while their partner isn’t looking.

      Attention BannedHipster: This is misogyny!

  10. Stronza
    Posted December 26, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    This is the world we are striving for. I’ll go make you a sandwich.

    Most men today apparently aren’t interested in having a dependent wife who’ll say, “Honey, I’ll make you a sandwich.”

    They don’t care if the little woman who’s hanging around will happily offer them meals and snacks. What they really want is a woman who earns her own money, buys her own beer, and has a body that just won’t quit.

    That is what I am told and hear about, anyway. Times have changed. It’s unfortunate.

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