The Ingenue: Jean Seberg

When I was quite young, I saw an entertaining little satire called “The Mouse That Roared” which starred Peter Sellers as Tully Bascombe, a bumbling but good-hearted soldier who was placed in charge of the army of the ridiculously tiny Grand Duchy of Fenwick when the conniving prime-minister realized that every country ever defeated by the United States became the recipient of scads of foreign aid.

The Grand Duchy of Fenwick thereby declared war on the United States– hoping and expecting to lose.

Tully led his troupes over to America– by commercial ocean liner– dressed in chain mail and armed with long bows, where they inadvertently captured the eccentric scientist in charge of developing a new type of atomic bomb, and his lovely daughter, and a working prototype of the bomb. (The scientist figured he was safer working inconspicuously in an apartment in an obscure area of New York than in a secure compound guarded by conspicuous soldiers.)

There was a funny scene when he returned to Fenwick to announce that he had won, arousing the fury of the Prime Minister.

There was also a scene with the daughter, Helen. For the sake of the safety of the world, her father urged her to try to seduce Tully. Tully was unmoved, mainly because he was quite seasick at the moment. In the end, though, Tully got the girl, and the new bomb went into a dungeon on a bed of straw, for safe-keeping.

The girl was Jean Seberg.

Jean Seberg was seventeen and wholly unprepared for Hollywood when she was chosen from among 3,000 girls to play Joan of Arc for Otto Preminger. The movie was a failure and Seberg’s performance was panned, but she went on to star in “Breathless”, one of the most influential films (among presumptive auteurs)  of the 1960’s. She became a kind of icon of the 1960’s, as unlike Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, and Doris Day as Bob Dylan was unlike Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr.. She was the real thing, one of the first post-modern celebrities. She was her own girl.

She held strong political views which led her to support the Black Panthers.

The FBI took note and spied on her and decided to plant a story about her in the press. They persuaded the L.A. Times and Newsweek to publish the rumour that she was pregnant with the child of an un-named member of the Black Panther party. Seberg, devastated, took an overdose of sleeping pills and lost the baby. She showed the stillborn body to the press, to prove that it was not mixed race.

She married and divorced, married and divorced. One of her husbands sold her Paris apartment out from under her and took the money to Spain to open a restaurant. Romain Gary insulted her and told the press he was going to teach this ignorant American girl all about real culture. Almost made me want to shred my “Brothers Karamazov”. You look at this guy’s washed out, oily face and you look at Seberg’s mesmerizing eyes and you think of Bob Dylan’s cryptic “The Man in the Long Black Coat”:

Gary abandoned her, after finding out she had cheated on him with Clint Eastwood.

Every year on the anniversary of her baby’s stillbirth, she tried to commit suicide, and finally succeeded in September, 1979, with barbiturates and alcohol.

There are no mistakes in life some people say
It is true sometimes you can see it that way
But people don’t live or die people just float
She went with the man in the long black coat.

or “What’s a Sweetheart Like You Doing in a Dump Like This”.

In order to deal in this game,
got to make the queen disappear,
It’s done with a flick of the wrist.
What’s a sweetheart like you
doin’ in a dump like this?

Her body was found in the back seat of her car where it had rested for 11 days.

Apparently, nobody had missed her. That seems inconceivable, but I read it somewhere: her absence had not been noted.

Her husband, Romain Gary, whom she was divorcing at the time of the rumour of her inter-racial baby, committed suicide himself a year later.

Was he haunted?

The FBI admitted their role in Jean Seberg’s disintegration, and said they were very, very sorry, and it won’t happen again.

I read somewhere that J. Edgar Hoover discouraged the attack on Seberg. Then why didn’t he order it stopped?

I don’t know if it’s true or not that Hoover didn’t approve. It seems out of character for the voyeur-in-chief of the nation. He didn’t discourage spying on her or prying into the lives of people who held unpopular views– just this particular attack.

The entrancing mystery girl herself.

Everybody wants them but they don’t want themselves. They frequently suffer abuse and manipulation and frustration with men, and end up living alone. When they die, through suicide or neglect, the first thing you think is, if I had only been there, maybe I could have saved her.

In later interviews (see link in left column), Seberg looked as though she had had her fill of cheaters and liars and the disappointment of life. And that is saddest of all because the young Seberg was so full of cheerful embrace, ambition, and innocence.

More on the “ingenue” or “naif”.

The Other Jean Sebergs:
Edie Sedgewick
Marilyn Monroe
Chan Marshall (Cat Power)
Frances Farmer
Marianne Faithful
Louise Brooks

Looks like One but Isn’t
Audrey Hepburn

The Not Jean Sebergs:
Princess Diana
Paris Hilton
Ally McBeal
Katie Perry
Justin Bieber

Why am I writing about this? I have no idea.

Saint Jean Clippings

Jean Seberg blew me away in “Breathless” by Jean-Luc Godard, made in 1960. If you had watched nothing but American films until you saw “Breathless”, you would feel as though you had been eating meatballs all your life and someone has just brought you a thick, juicy, t-bone steak.

Just one example: Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) casually says to Patricia (Seberg), in inelegant translation, “I have slept with two girls since you. They weren’t very much.” This is the hero of the story.

Jean Seberg is incandescent, short-hair, bright, naive. She says she’ll see him tonight anyway. She isn’t sure why. She can’t figure out if she loves him or not. He says things about American girls. She says things about the French. She sits on the bed in her striped shirt and makes faces and he keeps asking her to let him sleep with her that night.

No American film of this era could stand this kind of adult interaction, or this kind of amorphous waltz of feeling and not feeling and sex and no sex and certainty or doubt. We are spoon-fed our Hollywood romances and we believe in singing nuns and virtuous prostitutes and that Meg Ryan could be a surgeon or not be a surgeon but she will never not be in love with the big lug, even if he is Nicholas Cage.

Have you seen “Breathless”? It’s a bizarre film. Very clumsy at times, but ridiculously unconventional, by Hollywood standards. Street scenes are filmed on the streets. There are long, rambling, disconnected conversations in hotel rooms. Dialogue is cut into a million pieces and then stitched together.

Mostly, there is Jean Seberg’s entrancing face. The film ends with her gazing into the camera, after committing an inexplicable betrayal, a beautiful, absorbing mystery.

[Incidentally, that technique, the actor staring directly into the camera, appears to have originated in the Bergman film, “Summer With Monika” (1953). It will not ever be as startling again.]

Video for “Africa”  Unrelated gratuitous link to one of my songs

Ted Bundy and James Dobson: Cheek to Cheek

At some mystical level, the two deserve each other. One is a cold-blooded, heartless con man, a swindler, a deceiver on a grand scale. The other is Theodore Bundy, the man who may have killed 28 women.

You should read the interview. It has that kind of coy, self-deception of an interview with a politician conducted by a friendly “journalist”. The two know exactly what each other wants and needs, but they want to make sure they dip together, and don’t pump their elbows too energetically: this is not a polka.

Dobson wants a celebrity endorsement for his belief that all that ails America today is sexual liberation. Bundy wants to convince somebody, anybody that he is not as evil as, well, that man in the mirror. He carefully asserts, early in the interview, that he is not blaming pornography for his evil misdeeds. Oh no– that would be unseemly. That would be to expose himself (and Dobson, allegedly an expert on psychology) to ridicule. But, just a few paragraphs later, Bundy claims to have had a normal, healthy upbringing (including church attendance) until he encountered porn magazines at a corner store, which eventually drove him into a sexual frenzy. But, no, it wasn’t the porn.

Dobson generally looks foolish and tightly asinine at the best of times but he never looks more like an ass or a fool than here as he nods solemnly at Bundy while credulously affirming the “normal upbringing” shtick. The truth is known: Bundy was born out of wedlock in a home for unwed mothers at a time when society had nothing but contempt for such women. Some feel he may have been fathered by his maternal grandfather, who had a violent temper and “dared to discipline”, and was abusive to his grand mother and mother. He was raised as if he and his mother were brother and sister. He was active in a Methodist church and the Boy Scouts. In high school, he was a loner and an introvert and a thief. Dobson probably feels that the Boy Scout involvement was a positive indicator.

In spite of the fact that Ted Bundy was a ruthless serial rapist and killer and an extraordinarily good liar, Dobson attributes a kind of expertise and authority to him. It reminds me of when Canadian serial killer Clifford Olsen announced he was in favor of the death penalty and some conservatives cheered it as if this was an endorsement of some kind.

Dobson sounds a little thrilled. He points out that Bundy didn’t invite any other reporter, oh no, for his last interview. Even celebrity killers are celebrities, and Dobson is known to drop names and brag about his meetings and phone calls from powerful Republicans. Powerful Republicans and Ted Bundy.

Bundy claims a conversion experience but it has been noted that he never came clean about all the killings or revealed the location of any more bodies after his “conversion”. There are good reasons to believe the “conversion” was a last-ditch effort to try to win clemency. There are good reasons to believe that a genuinely repentant Bundy would have had some news for the cops: these are the other women I murdered. Here is where their bodies are located. These families will now know the truth of what happened to their children. So either you believe that the police had a perfect record in Bundy’s case and correctly attributed every last victim (I doubt the police themselves believe that), or Bundy’s conversion was just one more con.

I believe that Bundy, by the time his execution was imminent, was not going to dispute any of the facts– he knew that would not further his only aim at that point– to save his own life.

A converted Bundy might have accepted that what he did was deserving of death. But this Bundy coyly invites the families of the victims to forgive him, because his death won’t bring any of the victims back. He claims he is on a mission to do some good: to teach America that porn turns otherwise morally healthy young men into frenzied sex killers.

Either way, it doesn’t surprise me that James Dobson is utterly credulous.

He must have the same expression on his face when George Bush tells him that his real agenda is to restore America to Godly virtues, stop abortion, and affirm traditional marriage.

Impure Intimacy: Dobson
Interviews Bundy

Oh, we are so glib, so ready to believe…. Kimberly Leach disappeared from her school on February 9, 1978. Bundy was charged with her murder, pled not guilty by reason of insanity, lost, and was convicted of her murder in 1980 and executed January 24, 1989.

Only one witness, Clarence Anderson, “saw” Bundy take Kimberly, and he only recalled seeing it in July, 1978, after the enormous publicity of the missing girl, and after seeing Bundy on TV identified as a suspect. The only other evidence? The infamous matching fibers!

If you are convinced by this, I can get you a job as a prosecutor in pretty well any state in the union.

His memory of the event was extremely thin. Given what we now know about wrongful convictions, it is rather chilling to read that according to some reports, he could not recall any specific details about the man he saw, his age, whether he had a beard or a sports shirt, and so forth. However, after hypnosis (!), provided, helpfully, by the police, he was able to recall such details, and even the exact date of the event. This testimony was actually allowed in court.

This conviction was a joke.

The Florida Supreme Court said that Anderson’s testimony was crucial to the case for the prosecution– the only evidence that linked Bundy directly to the kidnapping of Kimberly Leach.

Okay– maybe you believe in hypnosis. I don’t. Burden of proof? You will not find any scientific evidence anywhere that hypnosis works. You might as well tell me they consulted an astrologer.

The Florida Supreme Court, by the way, agreed with me about the value of hypnosis, but then ruled, bizarrely, that the error of using hypnosis didn’t matter.  They pretty well said, “We think it would be very satisfying to execute him anyway.”

Well, this is the American injustice system.

Anderson did not have any specific details that would have made his testimony convincing without the hypnosis. So, magically, he acquires those details and a jury is convinced. The main problem here is that there was wide publicity about both the crime and the suspect before Anderson came forward– his “enhanced” testimony lacked the one element that could have made it even remotely convincing: the disclosure of new facts that could be independently verified.

The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the evidence given by Anderson before hypnosis was probably compelling enough to convict Bundy without the crucial details.

If you still think the Supreme Court is comprised of the most astute legal minds in the country…. well, I don’t know. Maybe you’re right. Maybe they’re just like anybody else: occasionally really stupid.

Everybody, by then, wanted Bundy executed.

The only other evidence in the Leach case was the infamous “matching fibers” for which forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist is now so famous. Do they match? Do you want them to match? By golly, yes they do.

Anyway, did Bundy actually kill Kimberly Leach? I doubt we’ll ever know for sure. Bundy allegedly “confessed” near the end of his life, but his confession was conspicuous for the fact that he did not identify any victims the police did not already know about, and conspicuous for the way they served the only possible purpose from Bundy’s point of view: to try to win a stay of execution.

I would have voted “not guilty” because of the hypnosis, but also because Bundy had never been known to target girls that young (Leach was 12– no other known victim was younger than 17). There was a reasonable doubt. It didn’t matter to the jury or the police by then. It was part of the ceremony, that someone should pay, so everyone could give their speeches, raise money for their campaigns, indulge in hypocritical outrage and apoplectic fury.

Write Your Own (self-serving) History: Richard Neuhaus

Richard Neuhaus was on the CBC last night with Michael Enright defending his support of the war on Iraq. The astounding chutzpah of conservative commentators! He announced that, before the invasion, there was complete consensus, even among our European allies, that Iraq had or was about to have weapons of mass destruction. Even all those critics of war agreed….

It’s as if Hans Blix never even existed. It’s as if the United States had to use all of it’s power of persuasion to hold back the U.N. from authorizing an invasion so it could check just one more time to see if the rumours were true.

And he didn’t read me, of course.  And more me.

If you believe Neuhaus, a subscription to National Review is awaiting your check, in U.S. dollars.

It’s telling– the only way the conservatives can try to exculpate themselves from the sordid mess that is Iraq is to accomplish one of two things: 1) prove that the idea was good, but George W. Bush Jr. executed it badly. George W. Bush: you are no longer my friend. Or, 2), prove that nobody else knew any better at the time.

The Democrats did not help matters by largely voting in favor resolutions in favor of the war, even if Bush now says that Congress has no right to say anything about how or when he conducts a war.

Global Warming

For the past few years, I have been playing a little game with myself on the issue of global warming. I would read whatever I could about it, from any source at all, and then try to find out if the writer was funded, in any way, directly or indirectly, by the oil industry.

This was an easy task, for the most part. Virtually every scientist who denied global warming was employed by Exxon, Mobil, or another oil or coal company, or a foundation or Institute funded by them.

Conservatives will tell you that the people who believe in global warming, like Al Gore, are funded by the “climate-change industry”. I leave it to you decide if a voluntary group of concerned citizens is more “self-interested” and more likely to lie about the subject than Exxon and Mobil and the coal companies. It’s a clever approach, though, I give you that. A little earlier in history, they might have tried to convince you that Mother Theresa was running an “industry” of vagrant nuns looking for a handout and that poverty in India doesn’t really exist. It’s all just a scam to provide for Mother Theresa’s lavish memorials.

For the past year or so, I thought the game was over. Seemed to me that a tight consensus had grown up in the field, that global warming was real, that it was caused by humans, and that it was going to cause some severe environmental problems. Not so. Or so. I don’t know. But one has to be amazed at the capacity for humans of all political and social stripes to delude themselves into believing that any particular piece of knowledge is a “slam-dunk”.

In an article in Discover Magazine, a scientist not employed by the oil industry, named John Christy, of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, asserts that all the scientists who say the globe is warming are wrong. I wish I could give you a number of how many exactly are wrong, and how many are for and how many are against, and how many don’t know but wish everyone else would make up their minds….

Wouldn’t it be nice if facts could be decided by a majority.

Anyway, they are wrong and he is right, because he looked at temperatures in a different way, and got data from different sources, and his data shows that, in fact, there is a bit of cooling going on– not warming. And the Arctic is actually freezing, so forget all those images you saw on TV and in National Geographic. It’s all the result of sun spots, and a Danish scientist named Henrik Svensmark has proven it.

Okay– that last part is my deductive conclusion based on Mr. Christy’s reasoning. If we are not warming, I’m not sure why the ice is melting. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it just a fluke, an inversion of some kind. Who knows?

We have always known that hot summers are not the result, directly, of global warming. Weather in any particular location on any particular day is not cut and dried and linear. We know there will be oddities and anomalies, so Christy should stop pretending that people noticed the hot weather and immediately jumped to the conclusion that the entire globe was heating up.

Christy thinks that Africa could be saved from dire poverty if only every hut had an electric light bulb and microwave. And there was a Walmart in the neighborhood. Okay– I’m making up the Walmart part. But surely Christy is making up the microwave part. He believes America is a grand force for good in the world– we export “freedom”, you see.

Not sure why the people in Darfur haven’t lined up to buy it yet.

Conservatives have been very clever at leveraging dissent:

If 1000 scientists say that global warming is real and 1 scientist says it’s not, they announce that there is no consensus and Public Television is now obliged to present “both sides” of the issue.

I believe this ratio could also be used to justify presenting “both sides” on the issue of witchcraft. After all, a fair number of people really believe in witches.

Please— please Mr. Christy, give us all one tiny little insignificant little break and don’t take a job with the coal or gas or oil companies. Be the only light, the soul beacon of potential unconflicted evidence on the subject of global warming– at least from the skeptic side.

(Sorry Mr. Christy: I don’t regard foundations that raise money from people concerned about climate change to be as “interested” as the oil industry, even as the oil industry keeps trying to convince us that those greedy environmentalists will stop at nothing to continue to have an excuse to protest….)

Christy, by the way, is a Baptist. So, just because he is not employed directly by the oil industry, does not mean he doesn’t belong to a group that has an axe to grind: Baptists in the Southern U.S. are overwhelming politically and socially conservative. Climate change is a liberal, European issue.

Christy’s social and religious background are not helpful in determining whether he is telling the truth or not. As a Christian, you might hope that he would tell what he believes to be the truth, but that he also might express some distaste for some of the character assassination and oil industry lobbying that is going on behind the scenes.

No such luck.  Did he say he was a Christian?

We do know that the Republicans– who hate the idea of reducing carbon emissions– have carefully cultivated the support of Evangelical Christians since the 1970’s.  Unfortunately, the fact that Christy is a Christian makes it more likely that he is more loyal to the Republican Party than he is to independent research.

It is more likely that he is just a partisan hack and a liar.

Does that seem crude and judgmental?  I don’t ask that Christy agree with 99% of the climate scientists that the earth warming and it is due to human activity and carbon emissions.  I just ask that he show that he has principles, and, if he has principles, that he disagrees with Exxon’s blatant advocacy of fake science in order to protect their fossil fuel business investments.

Details From Discover Magazine

Christy’s Testimony to Congress on the Impact of CO2 Emissions that might come from More Coal-fired Plants

Just in– apparently Christy now acknowledges that climate change is real. His earlier data was flawed. Okay. That is a bit of a shock. I thought I’d found that hold-out independent scientist…. but no. BUT…. Christy believes that global warming will be a good thing for the planet. You can’t keep a good man down! Tune in again in five years…

Christy further undermines his own credibility by attacking “extremists”. If Christy is acting like a scientist, he wants you to know that his information is accurate and unbiased. But Christy is not being asked for his emotional judgment of a dissenting movement in politics. He has no expertise on what “extremism” is. He should only have addressed any particular facts and figures presented by any group– including those who are tools of the oil industry.

Author Michael Crichton has chimed in with his own propaganda on behalf of the skeptics. He has also testified to congress and given several public speeches on the global warming “scam”. Once again, it is odd that a skeptic seems more interested in political attacks on the climate change lobby than on disputing the facts. Most of us feel a speaker or writer is most credible when he is the least emotionally involved, and when it is clear that he isn’t just out to try to humiliate or insult or marginalize people he just doesn’t seem to like very much. It would have done wonders for Crichton’s credibility if he would acknowledge that the science is being “corrupted” by oil companies as well as by scientists who crave peer approval and don’t think for themselves.

Think about it– if you have a fire department with 12 members and they are sitting in the fire hall waiting around and a garbled message suddenly came through on the telephone and half the men thought it said there was a fire at city hall and the other half said they heard no such thing. What would anyone with common sense do? They’d drive the fire truck out to city hall with a crew to find out for sure. But the climate change skeptics, including Crichton and Christie, are trying to take away the keys to prevent the other six firemen from going anywhere. When that fails, they slash the tires. They accuse the other six firemen of being in the pocket of the Fire Prevention Industry.

The only explanation that could account for this behavior? The six skeptics are allied with the people who have set fire to city hall.

Mr. Crichton and company would be far more believable if they would merely take the trouble to point out that the skeptic “industry” is far more lavishly funded and “interested” than Al Gore and the majority of climatologists. If they really believe that the fact that many people make a living advocating reductions in carbon emissions invalidates their “science”, they would be quick to admit that the “science” of the skeptics is even more compromised. (At least the believers have an overtly beneficial purpose: to save mankind from immense suffering and economic hardship.) Then they might get back to the point: what are the facts? How can we find out more about what is really going on?

Crichton talks about the “religion” of environmentalism. All fair and good– there’s some truth to that. But it is absolutely ridiculous of him to ignore the “religion” of economic growth and capitalism which, like environmentalism, bears an irrational, unscientific adherence to a set of values and assumptions that colour it’s “scientific” conclusions about a global warming. The motive of the skeptic “industry” is increased consumption, bigger profits for corporations, and more pollution.


I’ll bet that the real origin of drama and music in human culture was in the need for society to recognize the complete absurdity of a particular repetitive dynamic and thus to ritualize and formalize it as a substitute for the real thing in order to diminish the destructive consequences of it’s enactment.

So we have the G8 meeting in Germany. The protestors march in. The police march in. The organizers put up huge fences; the protestors block the streets. The police fire water cannons, the protestors flee, and try to return through open fields, only to be driven back again, and so on.

This has been going on for twenty years or so now. The leaders of the G8 don’t do anything that the protestors want, and the protestors don’t get anywhere near the leaders. This cries out to be made into a ballet, in which the tragic lovers, (G8 leaders and protestors) finally do meet and embrace and hurl each other across the stage in frenzied adulation until, exhausted and bruised, they fall into each other’s arms and die.


William Wallace: Braveheart

The irrational affection with which the movie “Braveheart” is embraced by it’s fans deserves some consideration. (The film is rated #82 in the IMDB top 250.)

All right. I’ve considered it.

These fans are idiots.

How on earth could any sane person like this film? It’s completely, wildly, insanely inaccurate. It glorifies violent behavior that makes the hero of “Patton” look like Gandhi. It indulges in the most offensively masochistic scene of torture and dismemberment ever filmed. And to top it all off, it tries to convince you that it was all about “freedom”, as if William Wallace, had he won, would have imposed democracy and and freedom of conscience and a free press on Scotland. When he screams “freedom” at the British at the top of his lungs, he means, “freedom for you peons to work for me instead of them”.

But it’s a great shtick. Soldiers then and now buy it entirely, every time. “I’m fighting for freedom”. Not for Exxon or Boeing or the Bush family connections to Saudi Arabia– no, no, no: “Freedom”. Freedom. That heart-gushingly platitudinous everything and nothing that we feel every time they run our flag up a pole or sing the national anthem in a sports stadium in front of 15,723 advertisements.

It brings everyone together. We don’t all agree that George Bush Jr. should make sure the Saudi’s don’t lose control of their vast oil wealth, but we all agree on “freedom”. Freedom is everything. That is precisely because, as it used by our leaders, and William Wallace in “Braveheart”, it means nothing.

People should not make the mistake of believing that the inaccuracies imposed on the story by the author, Randall Wallace (a descendent, allegedly, of the hero) serve the purpose of improving the story. In fact, the story, what little we know of it, was better without the improvements. (Gibson dispensed with the famous bridge at Stirling and filmed the battle on a plain instead, because it was too difficult to recreate those stirring scenes of head-to-head confrontations that never happened. What happened was, Wallace’s army waited until a large chunk of the British army had crossed the narrow bridge, and then cut them off and slaughtered them, and then simply slaughtered each new group of soldiers as they rushed over the bridge to aid their comrades. Not as glorious, quite, is it?) The real purpose of the alterations are to convince you that what was, in fact, tawdry, violent, and complicated, was actually pure and noble, inspiring, and lovely. How many men died, leaving their families impoverished, starving, because of this romantic delusion that somehow their lives would be fantastically better if they were exploited and oppressed by their own upper classes, instead of the Barons and Lords of England?

Both sides killed and tortured and maimed. The leaders of the Scots would rouse their followers with great speeches, and then sell them out to cut side deals with King Edward, hoping to outflank competing Scottish interests and seize real power. To his credit, Wallace did not– from what little we know. But he was sold out instead by other Scots. His sin was the delusion he presented to his followers, that they could trust their own leaders. The lie in “Braveheart” is that there was something noble about Wallace’s delusion.

Wallace was, in truth– though you wouldn’t know it from the film– a member of the Scottish nobility.

You must watch this film and then join the army, and you will look at George W. Bush and Stephen Harper and wonder how any fool could fail to see that they have nothing in their minds and hearts except the immortal welfare of the souls of young American and Canadian men and woman who wish to die in glory in the service of Walmart and Boeing.

When the Americans withdraw from Iraq, as they inevitably shall, they will, perhaps, leave a little Arabic William Wallace behind, who will be sold out and captured and tortured, and will scream from his tiny little filthy cell somewhere, “freedom!”

How much of “Braveheart” is made up? Pretty well all of it. There is no real historical record of Wallace– just a wildly inventive 15th Century poem by “Henry the Minstrel”. Could it have been real? Yes, if you believe in fairies, and boogey men, and the international communist conspiracy to poison our drinking water with fluoride.

The point is, that the events in the film are not even likely, or, in many cases, possible. The Scots did not paint themselves blue or wear kilts (at least, not in this era, not remotely). The English did not exercise the droit de seigneur (first rights to deflower a new bride) anywhere in the British Isles, Robert the Bruce– of whom we do know plenty– was the real hero of the Scottish fight for independence, and so on and so on and so on. So it’s not the case that Gibson merely fudged a few facts to make a better story: he simply completely and ruthlessly ignored every possible fact about the entire historical era– because he doesn’t care about facts: he is promoting patriotism and religion.

And he does adore flagellation, blood-letting, and eviscerations.

Oh heck, just read THIS.