Monday, November 12, 2012

A Mythological Slice of Braveheart

You can learn more from a good movie or even a good cartoon than you can from the shambling, twitchy, semi-autistic egghead/nerds that infest and corrupt Ivy League universities such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Someday, Ph.D.s will disappear, as will those those three colleges. Considering the horrors these reality-challenged nerdlings have visited on the U.S. -- and the world -- it will be for the better.

Think "Vietnam" and "the Best and the Brightest." Think "Iraq". . .maybe think "Iran."

Here's an example of what I mean about good movies: I used to think Mel Gibson was little more than a pretty boy with moderate acting ability. After seeing Braveheart some years ago I realized I was wrong, very wrong. He has a brain, and it's a good one, and he uses it. My opinion of him has done a 180 degree turn, and I now see him as the most impressive and culturally aware movie-maker out there.

I can't say the same for Ron Howard, not after The DaVinci Code.

Many people have complained Braveheart is in some ways historically inaccurate, and at times grossly so. The critics are right: it is. Here's one example of pure fantasy: in one scene the English send Irish conscripts charging the Scottish lines. As the Irish reach the lines, they stop, shake hands with the Scottish, then turn to face and fight the English. It never happened, and that's too bad, because the scene is one of the most important in the movie.


Because what really happened is this: the English used Welsh archers to try and mow down the Scottish.

Why did Gibson ignore what really happened and instead create a bit of mythology? Here is what I think is the answer: all tyrants use the strategy of "divide and conquer." It's why the English used Celtic Welsh archers to mow down their Celtic Scottish brothers.

What Gibson was showing us is this: in his version, while literally untrue but still showing us a higher and nobler truth, the Celtic Irish won't do England's bidding and kill their Celtic Scottish brothers. Instead, they join them to fight the English, who, being Anglo-Saxon, are German (the original British displaced by Germanic invaders now live on the coast of France, in a place called. . .guess what?. . .Brittany).

What's that old saying? "Either we hang together or we most certainly will hang separately." That's what Gibson is telling us: don't fight your brothers, stand with them against your common enemy -- or enemies. Be aware of the fact that all tyrants try to divide you so they can conquer you. Don't fall for it. Be aware of what's going on.

Gibson, who is of Celtic ancestry, clearly despises the English, even today (see his movie, The Patriot, if you want to see further proof of this). Why? Perhaps because the English king Oliver Cromwell killed or kicked out one-third of Ireland's population, almost all of them Catholic, because Cromwell thought Catholics were heretics. Gibson, as it is well-known, is a devout Catholic.

Then, of course, there were the Clearances in Scotland, in which many villages were burned to clear them of their people, leading many of them to leave Scotland and be scattered around the world. After these burnings and clearings, for many years, about six families owned most of Scotland.

Had everyone -- Welsh, Irish, Scottish -- hung together, would all three countries been conquered by Cromwell? Would the genocide have occurred? I doubt it. But they didn't, and so they hung separately.

That is Gibson's message: families (ethnic families), don't fight each other. Fight those trying to divide and conquer you. If you don't hang together, then you will hang separately.

Gibson also points out who the enemies are: corrupt government, as it always is, and the corrupt, treasonous and incompetent political, economic and intellectual "elites" -- be they named George Bush or Bill Gates or Wal-Mart or David Frum or Rush Limbaugh, or Bill and Hillary Clinton, or Ted Kennedy, or John Kerry, or Al Franken.

In Braveheart, the land-owning Scottish nobles, in another eye-opening scene, purposely leave the the field of battle, refusing to support Gibson's character, the Scottish hero, William Wallace. They were corrupted by their own self-interest (which they put above their nation, and their people) and their lust for money, land and power. Instead of sacrificing themselves for their country and their people, they sacrificed their people and their country for their own narrow, deluded, short-term selfish interests.

Only they didn't know this. Instead, they thought they were benefactors! As always, all tyrants think this, even today.

Nation, tribe and family, Gibson tells us, are above government and our backstabbing elites (even today, especially today) and those things are what we must rely on to repel that which threatens to destroy us. And what will destroy us are not "enemies" from the outside, but the inside.


Baloo said...

Wonderful review! It's reprinted here:

Enbrethiliel said...


I've never seen Braveheart, but Gibson did the exact same sort of mythmaking in Apocalypto, one of my favourite movies. To this day, I'm surprised at how many people pan it for its "inaccuracy" and totally fail "to see what he did there" instead.