[i do hereby affirm this
is not some goofy paid-for,
but — warning — a small
spoiler alert, here, for fans.]
as i sat with mrs. nolo, and the children
in the midnight opening of “pirates:
at world’s end” last night, i
only expected some escapist fare,
with some witty repartee, and
great action-scenes. . . what i got,
on the other hand, for at least the
opening four minutes, was an
eloquent, and immensely
ironic allegory to 2007,
and the geneva-convention-
violative treatment of
under dick cheney’s and
george bush’s and alberto
rendition and gitmo detention” policies. . .
i cannot find a clip — yet — of the opening scene, but as a seemingly-endless-single-file row of “pirates” and “pirate sympathizers” and “pirate associators” are marched, in chains, to their 10-at-a-time date with the gallows, a little boy’s voice — luminous, and yet clear — begins a half-whispered song of
p r o t e s t. . .
it is a pirates’-code song, we learn. . . and soon, all of the hundreds in line are singing it — rattling manacles in-time. . .
but as the chorus rises from mere whispers, to a thundering harmony, we hear culter beckett, the official face of the east india trading company, and the de-facto corporate-run government on these islands, as british possessions, intone:
“in this time of war. . .
the right of habeas corpus — suspended.
the right to freely associate with
those of ones’ choosing — suspended.
the right to a trial
by jury — suspended. . .”
and still, the condemned
men and women sing — they
sing an old pirates’
song — right up until
the little boy, placed
upon a barrel to reach
the noose. . .
s w i n g s.
i will admit to tears of
recognition, in the theatre,
at that moment.
and again, now, as i type this.
go see this movie. yes, it
is — in the main — silly,
escapist, witty, swash-buck-
lingly good-fun. . .
but do not miss the opening four minutes.
the “corporate-run government” of dick cheney’s
bears a striking resemblance to the east-india-
trading-co.-by-british-rule system. . .
and call me old-fashioned, but it also
provided an excellent “teaching moment“
with my young-adult children about
just how precious our liberties are,
and just how fragile — yet central — is
their relation to our continuing
notions of ordered liberty, and life
under the rule of law. we too,
america, must respect and obey the
very same rules we say we seek to
propigate in others’ chosen-forms
of government. . .
UPDATED: inmymind’seye, a reader
over at firedoglake, points out
that culter beckett’s final scene
also rings an echo. . . as does
jack sparrow’s “shoulder-massage”
of the astonished-asian-woman-
pirate-captain, at the fourth
council. . . but i’ll stop now.
no more spoilers. . .
[the button in the upper
left corner of the pirates window,
below, loads a host of videos, now.
choose “jack is taken”! my fav
of those available — perhaps, one
day, the opening scene will appear.]