Friday, April 29, 2005

Our Official Movement Flick


I have been told on several occasions that a large part of our problem is that I am confronting a functionally illiterate people, in my e-mails and newsletters, with texts. With fixed words in black and white when they want color and motion to seize that short attention span.

I am asking them to read blocks of type, sometimes quite long ones, for content. This was the way it was done in Europe a hundred years ago, to be sure, but this is America in 2004 and the palefaces must see pictures containing a lot of action, physical motion, noise, explosions, etc. We no longer respond to print, we respond to Hollywood.

Okay, fine. I believe I have found a Hollywood movie that conveys to a large extent what I am trying to say.

A couple of weeks ago I finally got to see the movie Michael Collins on television, unfortunately a cut-down version interrupted by innumerable ads. I immediately went out the next day and searched the video stores until I located and purchased the DVD.

I cannot overemphasize the importance for our Northwest movement of seeing this movie and internalizing the two lessons it conveys from Irish history. First, the absolute necessity of physical struggle and physical courage as the only way to overthrow tyranny, and secondly the terrible price that a revolutionary movement can pay for personality conflicts between people who should be fighting together against a common enemy.

In this movie you will, for a very rare change, be confronted with the image of White men fighting for freedom with (more or less) modern weapons in their hands against a mighty empire. The image of the White rebel or of any kind of strong White male character is one that is very seldom seen on the silver screen, so seldom that the rare exceptions like Michael Collins and Braveheart are notable--and, significantly I think, they are always very good box office draws.

There are no nigger sidekicks in Michael Collins, no Mexican girlfriends, no smart-ass little Jews explaining it all to the big dumb blond hero, or anything like that. There is not a single black or brown or yellow face in the whole movie.

That alone makes it worth it. I personally would have preferred an Irish or British actress for the role of Kitty Kiernan to Julia Roberts, but I have to admit she does it very well. You would have to have lived in Ireland to fully appreciate Liam Neeson's magnificent and distinctive West Cork dialect; you can actually hear the differences between that and Belfast and Dublin.

Some people have recommended that Return of the King become our official Movement Flick. I haven't seen the third movie yet, since I can't afford a theater ticket (never mind the popcorn) and must wait for DVD, but I am told it's superb.

But I have one objection to that idea, and that is that Tolkien's epic is a fantasy--and white people live way, way too much in a fantasy world as it is.We need to get out of fantasy and back into the real world.

Some people have recommended Braveheart which I think is a little closer to the mark and much more political, a truly mighty cinematic accomplishment, all the greater now that we have some idea of Mel Gibson's private political views. But the year 1300 is a bit too far back. We're not trying to revive the Middle Ages.

Michael Collins is close enough in time. I remember seeing the old men on their canes wearing the Old IRA badge and beret on the streets of Dublin, and I've seen the bullet and shrapnel scars in Boland's Bakery and the Four Courts. It also deals with a colonial revolt by White males against a mighty world empire. The parallels are clear.

For our official Movement Flick, until Mel Gibson takes me up on my offer to film The Hill of the Ravens, I nominate Michael Collins.


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