What The Duke Said

“A man’s gotta to what a man’s gotta do”

John Wayne, in his movie “Stagecoach” is credited with making that line famous. But what he actually said was:

“Well, there’s just some things a man can’t run away from.”


Charlton Heston, in his 1956 movie, “Three Violent People” had this line:

“A man must do what he must do”

Steinbeck, in his novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” wrote this:

“I know this man—a man got to do what he got to do.”

By 1962, the line had found its way into pop culture and was used in an episode of “The Jetsons.” George said,

“Ha, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”

And So?

Regardless of who said, what does it mean? Is it about determination or fate? Or is it a cliché justifying doing something bad because sometimes a man has to do bad things? I’m sure it has positive and negative applications, but mostly it seems to be negative. 

From Jesus

“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No,’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

From James

“but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” James 3:9-10

The Things We Do

Almost daily I’m confronted with double sided speech, half-truths, and situational ethics. To be dodgy we spin our words, craft our story, and offer free-falling gossip like water over a dam.

Men will praise you and curse you. They will tell the story one way and then tell it a different way. They evade culpability by shaping their words with slanted intent.

To Close

It shouldn’t be like that. But it is and most of us are guilty.

If we are talking about being virtuous, then yes, we have to tighten our belts and step up to what’s right, regardless of the cost.

If we are talking about the other things, and justifying them, well, then it’s just wrong.

“sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”

Yep, we get it.


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