30 December 2008

Robin Hood

I've been thinking about reading Ivanhoe again. I think now would be a pretty good time considering all of the problems the world seems to be facing.

As I'm sure everyone has heard, at least once, that there are some tragedies in the world that have more to do with money and greed than anything else. There are the riots in Greece, Bernard Madoff and his $50Bn, Blagojevich and the Senate Seat, AIG, pretty much any story you want about Wall Street and bonuses, Banks, Detroit 3, Newspapers...The list could probably go on, but it makes me dizzy to try to remember all of the bad news.

The thing that I have been noticing is the comments sections websites offer after each of these stories. The strings are full of hate, loathing, and annoyance that we shouldn't feel any empathy towards the rich or the well-to-do.

This is a complete turn around from even a few months ago. At the beginning of the year all we could consume was books, TV shows, and movies about stories of the uber wealthy. We had to know where they went on vacation; how much they paid a night for a room; what a private island looked like; how many houses they had; what a social gala looked like; what kind of car they drive; where they shopped; what a fashion showed looked like; what were the top chefs cooking; and pretty much anything else you could ever ask.

I watched friends and read stories about people who would buy more than they could afford. You couldn't have a pair of Target sunglasses-NO! You had to have a pair of Fendi's or Gucci's. Why buy a Jeep or a Ford, when you could get a Land Rover or a Lexus and look fashionable.

And then the bottom fell out.

People started having repossessions, foreclosures and bankruptcies at an alarming rate. Layoffs happened around the country-and around the world-and it was simply due to poor management of "Fortune 500" companies.

Now, we are faced with a growing "Haves" vs. "Have Nots". I can think of a couple of examples in which this didn't turn out to be good for the "Haves"-the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution.

So, Ivanhoe seems like it might be a good read at this time. It's a great Medieval story that also introduces us to Robin of Locksley or Robin Hood.

Robin Hood is a personal hero of mine. Not because of his stealing and general "merriment", but rather because he did what was right. When good people are starving because wealth is being horded-not equally earned-then something has to give. Robin Hood is an ideal. He is something that cannot end. I'm reminded of the movie "V for Vendetta" and a couple of quotes given by the titular character, and for purposes of this blog I will edit for coherency.

Symbols are given power by people. Alone, a symbol is meaningless, but with
enough people, [a symbol] can change the world.

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.

I'm not condoning a complete Socialist society. History has proven that doesn't work. But the Common Man needs a hero; someone it can look up to and Hope that the World will get better. And that is just what Robin Hood did for the English during a very difficult time, not much unlike ours now.

So, I think I'll be dusting off my paperback version of Ivanhoe very soon to be reintroduced to a hero we should could use a lot of right now.

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