Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wallace Doesn't Vote For Independence, He Swings

The William Wallace of Braveheart was shorter and weirder and more charismatic than the real one, to be sure, and he probably didn't actually seduce the English princess (who was played by an actress far more attractive than any of the real inbred Slytherins who've occupied Buckingham since it was built), but who cares, because it picks on the right people. You might as well turn Robocop or Rambo loose on London, while you're at it.

It really discomfits us, though, doesn't it, to imagine that big, oafish, ignorant people who just get mad might be as morally correct, in a world-historical sense, as handsome, charismatic people who understand the geopolitical significance of their conflict? That William Wallace would still be as valuable--would be more valuable--to the world if he were nothing more than an angry big fieldhand who fell into leading a revolution because he'd had a little too much to drink one night? In our fetishizing of battles against tyranny, we shouldn't limit ourselves to good looking people in extraordinary circumstances, although we can certainly understand why Hollywood wants good revolutions to appear that way.

What'll they put out for the 2200 version of Braveheart? Deepak Gibson plays a dazzlingly handsome Timothy McVeigh who, horrified by being tricked into killing Iraqi civilians under the pretense that he was saving the world from the expansionist Republican Guard (true story), comes home and meets a beautiful girl (played by breakout sensation Beyoncé Clooney), has a quick romance, then finds out she got killed in Waco. He starts a revolution, seduces the First Lady at an illogical meeting at the White House (not a true story), then leads an army of orphans (all of whom look like extras from The Hunger Games) to attack a heavily fortified Murrah Federal Building defended by Uruk-hai in star-spangled riot gear. After much bravery and derring-do, McVeigh is captured by the enemy general (Christopher Lee's clone), and publicly executed by lethal injection while shouting, "Freedom!"

The basic historical elements are all there, and no doubt, 2200s holiday movie-going audiences will cheer the experience, then download the inexplicably-Celtic soundtrack to their iBrains. But why does William Wallace have to be handsome and charismatic? Why does it have to be his bride that is killed by the English scum to motivate him? Isn't it sufficient that he realizes that prima nocta is prima facie wrong?

1 comment:

  1. Only tangentially relevant, but good question (and a bad answer):

    "Why do americans hate beheadings, but love drone killings?"