Thursday, May 10, 2012

Braveheart and Sudan: An Objective Political Analysis

I watched Mel Gibson’s epic William Wallace biopic Braveheart with my housemates last night. Here is how I see Wallace’s political development. (In the movie, not real history, about which I know very little).

Wallace: “They killed my wife. Now I’ll get a scrappy band of freedom fighters together and liberate my hometown!”

Me: Oh, man, this is awesome! FREEDOM!!!

Wallace: “We’re gonna fight out of uniform, execute prisoners and burn people alive!”

Me: Er – okay, those are technically war crimes, but the English are the bloody occupiers who started it, so we’ll cut you some slack. FREEDOM!

 Wallace: “You may take our lives, but ye’ll never take our freeeeeedommm!”

Me: You are the personification of Liberty! FREEDOM!

Wallace: “These are Scotland’s terms.”

Me: Ok, that’s a little presumptuous, but you did start this revolution, so I guess you’re entitled to…

Wallace: “I’m going to invade England!”

Me: FREEDO-wait, what?

Wallace: “You heard me. We ‘ave to take the fight to them. Otherwise they’ll be back.”

Me: Okaaayy…so why not just stay in Scotland, build up your army, create some legitimate political institutions, maybe start to provide some basic services…

Wallace: “Too late. I’m laying siege to York.”

Me: All right, fine, but what’s your end goal here? You could conquer England, but then you’d simply have reversed Scotland and England’s roles in this inherently poisonous political relationship. You could kill Evil King Longshanks, but who would replace him? You could destroy England’s military might, but you’d only be sowing the seeds of resentment for future conflicts. Short of all-out genocide of Englishmen, I don’t really see how this accomplishes –

Wallace: “I just sacked a peaceful city and executed its governor.”

Me: DUDE. What the hey?

French Princess: “DUDE. What the hey? Also, Evil King Longshanks is offering you peace, and a heck of a lot of gold and land, which you could surely use to improve Scotland’s condition, if you’ll stop this war of aggression.”

Wallace: “When I was a kid, I saw a whole bunch of Scottish nobles who had been hung by Evil King Longshanks. Therefore, no peace.”

French Princess: “I can already feel myself falling hopelessly in love with you.”

Me: DUDE. What the hey?

French Princess [to Evil King Longshanks]: “William Wallace is 100% man, and refuses your offer of peace."

Evil King Longshanks: “No matter. Because I am So Very Evil, I have asked some allies to come here to help me repel Wallace’s senseless war of aggression against England.”

French Princess: “[gasp] How could you be so evil?”

Me: Okay, Longshanks is definitely no Thomas Jefferson, but what is he supposed to do otherwise?

Scottish Nobles [to Wallace]: “Longshanks offered us peace, land and gold if we turn you over to him to be tried for your crimes, but after consulting with each other, we’ve decided the best thing to do is fight with you against overwhelming odds and the prospect of slavery and cultural destruction if we’re defeated.”

William Wallace: “All right, let’s do this!”

Scottish Nobles: “Jk.”

William Wallace: “I am going to do the only rational thing and start bludgeoning you all to death in your beds.”

Robert the Bruce: “I am wracked with guilt, because I am so clearly in the wrong, and Wallace is so clearly in the right.”

Me: I am so confused by Scottish ethics right now.

English lords: “We captured and killed Wallace, and Evil King Longshanks is dead. Robert the Bruce, we’ll let you be king of all Scotland (which, you’ll recall, was occupied at the beginning of this movie, and is now FREE ENOUGH ALREADY) if you’ll just make peace with us.”

Robert the Bruce: “I fling my sword at you in defiance!”

[Unseen battle in which thousands of Scottish and English die for…why again?]

William Wallace: “They fought like warrior-poets. They fought like Scotsmen.”

Me: Warrior-poets? What the heck is a warrior-poet? Did any Scotsman recite any poetry at all in this entire three-hour movie? And how does Wallace know what happened? He’s dead!

This would be funnier if I could stop thinking about how much Wallace resembles the SPLM, Longshanks resembles Omar al-Bashir, and York resembles Heglig.

For Bob and Matt: “Revolution is the great and only legitimate and just war, the war of the oppressed against the oppressors.”

- V. I. Lenin


  1. For those who want glorious revolution, where the oppressed throw off the shackles of the oppressor, I have only the age old maxim:
    "Don't ask how the sausage is made."


  2. Indeed, Tron Man, indeed.

    (Have we met in real life?)