Monday, July 04, 2005

Polemical Art

I saw the movie classic "The Adventures of Robin Hood" again on TV the other day. It's a perfect movie. Everything about it-- casting, acting, color, costumes, score, photography-- is wonderful. What gives the film its strength is its powerfully polemical voice. The spine of the movie is in the scenes of redress against cruelty and in the impassioned speeches Robin (Errol Flynn) makes against injustice. Robin gives up everything-- his lands and name-- to live like an "animal in the forest," in order to fight against oppression and corruption, and for the underdog. Robin Hood's attitude is rigid-- there's not a hint of a moment of compromise in him and his friends. In this case polemics works, beautifully, maybe because they're embedded in a production and storyline of such unparalled joy-- the excitement of having a cause.

1 comment:

the MP said...

That the movie came out in 1938, during the heighth of the Depression (tho the New Deal was going strong too) explains alot about its characteristics and qualities. One should therefore consider the new "Batman" movie in this light. And both in the context of the Middle Ages feudal system from which the "broadside"
popular narrative poem of Robin Hood arose (with more than a little folklore/mythology of the megalithic character of the "Greenman"),out of the grassroots peasant imaginations of their poets and writers.
Not unlike the underground heroes, anti-heroes, and foremost Tricksters, that inhabit the ULA.
As the Masked Perfesser all I get is heartache and headaches cow towing to the Literary Academic Military Duplex, at least the ULA offers me the opptunity to imbibe in those other more vital aspects of life: wine, women, and song AND the chance to roast upstart crows like "The Student" in all my pretentious unmerciful glory!






Flame retardant whippoorwills
flutter at every breeze,
clad in paper feathers and cellophane beaks
acid rains dominate when it rains at all
abuse by profit motive brought the world to its knees
we’re the ones who blow
the embers up to have our shadow play:
Welcome babes in Toyland to the second and final Fall,
the squeeze is on now no time to think
what precious fetish would work best
atop the gallery of broken TVs
bit by bit some decision’s got to be reached
and despite condolences from lost alphabets
I turn toward those who no longer exist.


1989.