Friday, April 13, 2018
A Response to an Analysis of John Boorman's EXCALIBUR, Further Right than Far Right by David Yorkshire - May 13, 2017
For David Yorkshire’s Analysis, Click Here: FILM REVIEW: EXCALIBUR, Further Right than Far Right
This split between man and Nature is at the heart of liberalism in which Western Man is considered as apart from and not a part of Nature.
There are many facets to liberalism. In some ways, liberalism was about the return of nature and sexuality. Liberals saw Conservatives, especially Christians, as the suppressors of natural energies, especially of sexuality. Liberal Boomers feel nostalgia about the 60s because it was about Return to Nature, or Back to the Garden. Rock Music, Sex, and Drugs were supposed to reconnect modern man with his natural energies.
But then, there is another side of Liberalism that fears nature as the aggressive warrior-side of man that tends toward tribalism based on racial differences. Liberals had a tough time with the neo-barbarism of Hell's Angels.
This foreshadows the land's decay and the birth of Arthur's unnatural son, Mordred, to his half-sister, Morgana (in a departure from the existing Arthurian canon and a move towards incestuous themes in Der Ring des Nibelungen).
I don't think the rise of Morgana & Mordred has anything to do with Nature vs Christianity. Morgana and Mordred represent the Malevolence of Power(any kind of power) misused for vanity and megalomania. Morgana represents the dark side of the Dragon, the demonic force. She also represents the Will to become god. She has powers like Merlin, who recognized something special in her. But if Merlin uses his special knowledge to guide man, Morgana is all about vanity(and vengeance). Merlin is like half-man/half-god who cares about mankind. Morgana is half-woman/half-god who wants to be full-god and give birth to a god-man. She seeks immortality. She is about the vanity of power, or the vanity of vanity.
This of course asks questions of the Grail, what it is and what it represents, for it is noticeable that it is never referred to as 'the Holy Grail' in the entire film.
As Boorman envisioned it, the Grail is the lost truth. The Grail is also a mirage and illusion. It doesn't exist yet exists only when people realize it doesn't exist. That's the paradox of the Grail. Arthur sent his knights to seek the Grail OUT THERE in a physical quest on horseback. They thought it's a physical object that can be found like lost treasure. Later, we discover the Grail is not a thing. It is a state-of-mind, a realization. It cannot be found OUT THERE. It can only be found WITHIN. Perceval finally grasps it when he realizes that it's really about hope and reconnecting with the roots of truth and honor. So, in a way, the Grail was always right there in the hearts of Arthur, Perceval, and all the knights. They just forgot it. It's like what Joel McCrea's character tells Randolph Scott's character at the end of RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. McCrea says goodness and honor were always there in Scott's heart, but he just forgot it, that's all.
Final Scene from RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY
This and Merlin's answer that "Good and evil, there never is one without the other" prompts Sir Gawain's outburst about Guinevere's lust for Sir Lancelot, an outburst that is made possible by Arthur's democratic leanings in creating the Round Table that gives a voice to all. Arthur's woes are compounded when he refuses to defend his wife's honour, as he must judge as king before fight as husband, much to the dismay of Guinevere. He therefore chooses civilization over barbarity, societal law over the Natural law of defending one's loved ones. Ultimately, Arthur has created these laws himself and they reveal a man who is increasingly willing to embrace the passivity of Christianity of his own volition. After all, why does there need to be a judge in a trial of combat?
It's not that simple. The Round Table is not democratic. It is aristocratic, solely the domain of the knights who'd been there with Arthur in the founding of Camelot. And there is hierarchy, with Arthur as King and with Lancelot as the greatest knight.
And Arthur's refusal to fight and defend Guinevere's honor makes sense because Gawain impugned not only Guinevere but Lancelot as well. His terse words dishonored both of them. So, even if Arthur were to condemn Gawain to death or fight him, Lancelot's honor would still be besmirched.
Therefore, the proper thing is for Lancelot to defend Guinevere's honor. And if not him, one of the other knights who have faith him Lancelot and Guinevere. Also, another reason why it must be Lancelot or one of the knights is that the Arthurian World is a world of magic. As Arthur says, in a duel of honor, the wrong cannot win over the right. And this is why none of the knights will come forward to defend Guinevere. They too suspect, along with Gawain, that there are certain dark feelings between Lancelot and Guinevere. And Lancelot too is uncertain about what action to take because, as he says, they(he and the queen) are innocent of body but not of heart. So, Lancelot is anxious about championing the queen because he may lose. He may be the greatest knight, but the Magic of the Arthurian World will favor the righteous over the false in a duel of honor. So, he has to purge himself of his wrongful feelings before finally arriving to defend the queen. But in his self-purging, he has seriously wounded himself. He wins the duel but with a cloud of uncertainty. Gawain begs for mercy and says the queen is innocent. Lancelot still tries to kill him, but the Magic prevents him from doing so, and Lancelot himself collapses.
Also, Arthur's action cannot be called 'passivity'. If anything, he sticks to the law because he is sincerely committed to being a just and noble king. Also, the pagan 'karma' of the Arthurian universe disfavors the rash and barbaric. Uther was rough-and-tumble, but he didn't last very long. He was not The One, and the Dragon let him die.
Equally, Guinevere is correct when she states that "In the idleness of peace, I see that gossip has spread its own evil." This is an eternal truth. As the True Right has always known, without real struggle, the human mind will artificially create struggle, hence the rise of the Social Justice Warrior from the creamy all-too-comfortable bourgeoisie and their crusades against all manner of invented abstractions that boil down to a struggle against Nature herself.
Actually, Guinevere is being disingenuous. The 'struggle' wasn't artificially created. It was always there. Indeed, when Guinevere and Lancelot first saw each other, they instantly fell in love. But they couldn't be lovers since Guinevere promised herself to Arthur, who is also Lancelot's best friend. So, Guinevere married Arthur, and they all pretended everything was hunky dory. But in fact, Guinevere and Lancelot were lovesick for one another. So, the tension that flows forth from this repressed love is not due to some idle chatter but the eventual emergence of the hidden passionate truth.
Arthur never suspected it because he loved Guinevere too much and trusted Lancelot. But others did notice it(if in silence), and Morgana exploited it to drive a wedge among the knights. The sexual dynamics are profoundly important in the Arthurian Universe since it is a world of warriors, and top alpha women go with the best knights. Arthur, as king, is the leader of knights. So, it is natural that he should have Guinevere. But there is a certain unease because Lancelot is actually the better warrior. And unbeknownst to Lancelot, he wasn't really beaten by Arthur. Arthur cheated and drew power from Excalibur to defeat Lancelot. But Lancelot thinks Arthur beat him fair and square, and that is why he pledged allegiance to Arthur. So, their friendship, beautiful as it is, was founded on a falsehood. The superior warrior Lancelot submitted to Arthur on the belief that Arthur beat him in combat.
By rule of nature, the top woman wants to go with the toughest man. But in civilization, power is gained not only through fighting but through statecraft, wit, and talent. And Arthur has those qualities, of course with the help of Merlin. So, he is king, and Guinevere went with him. But her natural womanly side still lusts after Lancelot, the greater warrior.
This is relevant to the Modern West because black men are tougher, more muscular, and more athletic than white males. This is why John Boorman appreciates THE BIRTH OF A NATION, which is about sexual anxiety, very much like Arthurian Legend. White men long ago feared the Negro man who is stronger, more muscular, and bigger-donged.
In nature, the strongest and toughest warrior-hunter gets the most desirable women.
In civilization, men can gain power with smarts and skills. So, best women often go with successful men who may not be the strongest or most attractive. That is the tension of the Modern West. White men, having higher intelligence, do better than black men economically. So, successful white men get top white women. But then, white people watch sports and watch pop culture and see the Negro Man kicking the white boy's ass. This leads to Cuck Mentality.
In a way, there is a certain logic as to why the Negro is often featured in the role of Lancelot in these new Hollywood tellings. In the Modern West, black males dominate sports and sex culture. So, they possess the Top Warrior archetype. And that is why increasing numbers of white women are into jungle fever, betraying white men, and offering their wombs to be Afro-colonized. They see black men as the superior warrior and stud. Look at Sports Illustrated. The top male athletes are black, and the bikini models are white. Look at athletes and cheerleaders in NFL and NBA. Mostly black male players and white cheerleaders.
THAT is the greatest threat facing the white race: ACOWW, or Afro-Colonization of White Wombs. White guys want to believe that it's all about blacks raping white women, but in fact, tons of white women Go Negro because they got jungle fever for the superior stud.
Anyway, what happens among Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot was anticipated by Merlin who told Arthur that, yes he will marry Guinevere but will be betrayed by his best friend.
So, it goes to show that even a temperate man like Arthur can become blind to the bigger picture because of the hypnotic power of love. Even so, I think what Arthur and Guinevere feel for one another is love whereas the feelings between Guinevere and Lancelot are much stronger: it is lust.
And deep inside every woman is a desire to be saved by a hero, no matter how much she rails against 'the patriarchy'.
Yeah, but the problem is that Guinevere wants to be 'saved' from Arthur by Lancelot. In a way, the problem is that Guinevere feels 'oppressed' by the security offered by Arthur. It provides her with privilege, wealth, safety, and nice things. But what she wants most sexually is to be taken by Lancelot. In a way, she wants to be 'unsaved' from civilization and be taken by barbarism of lust. So, it's not so much that a woman wants to be 'saved' by 'patriarchy'. She wants to be swept away by the top lover-boy. This is why many Romance novels are about women being abducted and conquered by the superior man, the 'bad boys'. This is why Helen of Troy doesn't want to be saved. She finds Paris to be more dashing and desirable than her humdrum husband. She collaborated in the 'abduction'. A woman wants to be saved ONLY IF the savior is the superior man. But if the would-be-savior is the inferior man, she prefers to be taken by the superior pirate, thief, or lover-boy.
Indeed, women prove to be rather problematic in the film, which no doubt will please the Manosphere types who love to point to women as 'the enemy'. Morgana is indeed a representation of evil, but Guinevere is all too human, and her betrayal of Arthur is seen equally as stemming from Arthur's betrayal of her in the scene we have explored.
Everyone is problematic in EXCALIBUR, but things get complicated with women because their power is subtler and more mysterious. Men are problematic, but their conflicts are settled with brain or brawn. In contrast, some women have beauty-and-allure, the mysterious power of which is difficult to measure or figure out. Also, it's not just about looks. Guinevere is attractive but not the most beautiful woman. But she enchants men because of her personality. She has a special touch, a sparkle.
Also, Guinevere's betrayal of Arthur has nothing to do with his supposed 'betrayal' of her. She had subconsciously betrayed Arthur in her heart from the moment when her eyes met Lancelot's. On that wedding day, even though she was betrothed to Arthur, she was besotted with Lancelot. And when she saw the wounded Lancelot on the bed nude after the duel, the combination her lust and her compassion was just too much, and she couldn't hold it back anymore. She was caught in a conundrum. If she went off to make love to Lancelot, she would be betraying her husband and duty as queen. But if she didn't run off to Lancelot, she would be betraying her heart that wants to run off to him.
As for Morgana, she is not a simple character at all. She is the most complicated character after Merlin. In a way, we can understand her rage and bitterness. After all, Merlin conspired with Uther to have her father, the Duke of Cornwall, killed. This was especially unjust because it was Uther who'd broken the peace. Merlin was angry with Uther, but he decided to salvage the situation by having Uther 'rape' and impregnate Igraine. Merlin foresaw the death of Uther but also a new order arising from Arthur, son of Uther. But there was collateral damage in this plot. Though Merlin did this for the greater good, he had to commit an evil. He had to help Uther 'rape' Igraine and kill Duke of Cornwall. Thus, Morgana lost her father and witnessed her mother being raped by Uther. In a way, she is loyal to her father. She is avenging what was done to her family. It's like Lady Kaeda the avenger in Kurosawa's RAN. She is justified in her rage and hatred.
But Morgana is about more than vengeance. She is special, like Merlin. She has the vision, and she is consumed with vanity of power. She justifies her action on revenge for what was done to her family, but she goes way beyond vengeance because lust for power has its own logic. She can't say no power & vanity just like Guinevere cannot say no to lust.
But then, this was true of communism and Nazism. Communism justified itself as revenge of the oppressed working class, but its power-lust led to greater evils. And Nazism was initially justified on Germany's humiliation in WWI and Versailles Treaty. Hitler rose to power speaking of national justice and restoration. But he was consumed with power-lust and didn't know when to stop. Power has its own logic, like fire that always threatens to burn out of control.
Jews and Negroes also gained power in the name of righting historical wrongs, but they too became engulfed with power for power's sake. Today, black rappers are into thug power, and Jews are mad about globalist domination. Jews went from Holocaust-remembrance to acting like Judeo-Nazis.
Arthur's passivity leads to his problems with both his men and with women. His cuckolding and sexual assault leads to his impotence. In turn, this leads to the land decaying.
It's not his passivity that leads to the fall. Rather, it's his reneging on his duty as king due to personal angst. When he discovers that Guinevere and Lancelot betrayed him, the proper thing is, by the codes of that particular order, to kill them both. And indeed, he goes off to kill them.
But he just couldn't do it. He still felt too much love for them. And because he is a wise man, he can read their hearts. He understands why it happened. Merlin once said that Uther could't look into the hearts of men. Arthur can look into the hearts of others, and he realizes that Lancelot and Guinevere are not evil and didn't meant to hurt him, Arthur. It's just this crazy thing called lust/love.
Arthur could have done two things: The proper thing as king to kill them both as they slept. Or, he could have walked away with Excalibur and returned to being King.
Instead, he abandons Excalibur, Merlin's special gift to him. Merlin led Arthur to the Sword of Power to be savior and leader. A king must rise above his personal angst and think of the good of society. But Arthur, distraught over Guinevere and Lancelot, just abandons the sword and returns to his castle to wallow in misery. He forgets what Merlin told him: 'You and the Land are one.' Arthur's abandonment of Excalibur was like a betrayal of Merlin. When Arthur drives the sword into the ground and walks away, we see the sword striking into the back of Merlin, and he too becomes disoriented.
I think the idea of 'you and the land are one' has multiple meanings. It means the relation between leader and the land, but it also means the connection between mind/soul and body.
Yet for all this, the film received mixed reviews from the critics. This is largely because critics of the time all hailed from the same middle-brow liberal clique.
Actually, Ebert's criticism made some good points. Even at 2 hrs and 20 min, there is a lot of material that isn't sufficiently developed. It's a film that should have been epic in scope: one more hour would have fleshed out more details. Still, many critics were blind to the film's undeniable virtues.
Ebert, Siskel, and many critics also devalued BLADE RUNNER for the same reason. They focused so much on plot and characters that they overlooked the real stylistic and visionary aspects of the film.
I don't think Ebert's lack of appreciation had to do with politics. After all, Ebert later recommended CONAN THE BARBARIAN, RED DAWN, and RAMBO, more blatantly 'right-wing' movies. I think he focused on the wrong things: story and characters. He felt there was too many things happening without proper development, and he was right in a way.
Maverick Liberal Jewess Pauline Kael, an admirer of Boorman and who wrote a mostly glowing review, also noted that the movie has problems of continuity and characterization. Incidentally, Kael's review of the film is one of the best in film criticism. It's in the volume TAKING IT ALL IN. A snippet: http://www.geocities.ws/paulinekaelreviews/e3.html
I think EXCALIBUR is one of the greatest films ever. THE 13TH WARRIOR is one of the few films of similar theme & setting that is comparable in beauty and power, but it tragically bombed at the box office... whereas a totally worthless pile of crap like LOTR raked in big bucks. It goes to show what a dumb-dumb world we are living in.
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With one movie, Boorman conveyed more ideas and poetry than all the STAR WARS movies combined. Boorman also made a fascinating sci-fi film with ZARDOZ, one of the most relevant films given what is happening in the world.
Boorman presented Big Ideas with poetics, romance, grandeur. And he took inspiration not only from Arthurian legends but from Germanic mythology, especially as revitalized by Wagner. And the relationship between Merlin and Arthur is among the richest on screen.
Merlin is an ambiguous character. Always anxious because he sees MORE. So, if humans are rejoicing over some victory and celebrating like it’s the End of History and their side won, Merlin foresees dangers ahead and knows that all glories are fleeting. Even at the worst of times, he sees glimmers of hope. Even at best of times, he sees disasters looming up ahead. He is like a less amoral Indrid Cold in MOTHMAN PROPHECIES. His vision is from a higher plane. He can look further over the horizon. Thus, he’s never content with apparent stability in the here-and-now. He’s always worried because to know more is to be aware that everything is fleeting, no matter how 'permanent' it may appear for the time being.
But there’s also a detached & aloof quality about him. Despite his involvement with humans, he is not of any particular world. And he’s seen it all — the cycles of rise and fall — before in other worlds. And there are other worlds after THIS ONE. This detachment is an advantage but also a sadness. Because he isn’t attached to a single time and place, he can continue in other worlds even if the current world falls into ruin. But because he isn’t loyal to a single realm, he doesn’t really belong to any one or any people. He's like a professor, not unlike Kingsfield in THE PAPER CHASE, who can't feel lasting attachment to any one class or student.
In the end, he is a wanderer, a stranger to all. Ben Kenobi and Yoda are supposed to be like Merlin figures in STAR WARS, but Kenobi is too goody-goody, and Yoda is a muppet.
Merlin tried to help Uther, but it proved hopeless because Uther was too impulsive and primal. He couldn’t control his anger, his lust. As Merlin says, Uther couldn’t look into the hearts of other men. Everything was about himself and his immediate desires. He risked everything for a romp with Igraine because he couldn't control his lust. Because he fails to look into the hearts of other men, he alienates them and makes too many enemies and falls in the end.
But the great irony is Arthur is created by Uther’s most foolhardly deed, the sexual conquest of Igraine. Merlin realizes that his failure with Uther was part of the ‘plan’ because the failure fertilized the success(if limited) with Arthur.
Arthur is smarter and more sensible than Uther. Arthur is cautious, like Michael Corleone in contrast to hotheaded Sonny Corleone. And with the aid of Merlin, he learns to look into the hearts of others. He has empathy, he has understanding. He not only battles the knights who oppose his kingship but reaches out to them in understanding. Ultimately, he wins over Euryens not by force of arms but display of virtue.
He is also capable of self-criticism. When the sword breaks in his duel with Lancelot, he confesses that his pride broke it. He was supposed to use Excalibur to unite all men, but he used it for personal vanity and vendetta. This wisdom is an advantage, and the Lady of the Lake forgives him and restores Excalibur.
But the world of EXCALIBUR Is fraught with contradictions and paradoxes. It’s like Merlin says everything has its opposites. Also, the opposite of something may actually be nearest to it or hiding within it.
It’s like Michael remembering his father’s advice in THE GODFATHER PART 2: Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. In EXCALIBUR, Arthur asks where evil is, and Merlin says it is always where you least expect it. Evil isn’t necessarily OUT THERE SOMEWHERE but just around the corner, in your own domain, right behind you, or even right in front of you. It’s like the biggest enemy of the white race is not Russia, China, or Iran, some foreign nations far away. It is the PC virus within the very core of the West. An external enemy can be fought with sword or gun. But the evil virus can be within you.
Just as evil could be right in front of you or within you without you noticing, so can the truth & redemption. The biggest truth could be invisible because it’s hidden within one’s soul or standing right in front, thus out of focus. After all, the knights who went on the quest for the Holy Grail were misguided in thinking it was out there somewhere. Perceval discovers that the truth is actually within his own soul, indeed it’s always been there. He just forgot it, as did Arthur.
Again, it's like the scene in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY where the dying hero tells his partner that there was good within him all along: he just forgot it, that’s all. (Given the out-of-control sexual politics among youth today, RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY offers some sobering lessons about impulsive behavior among the youth, but also how excessive puritanism — like with Elsa’s father — can make things worse.) The ‘holy grail’ was within Arthur himself. He just forgot what Merlin had taught him.
And yet, there is a paradox to Arthur’s decline. It was precisely because he was wise and could read the hearts of other men. Everything has its opposites. The source of wisdom and duty could also lead to weakness and doubt. When he discovers that Lancelot, his best friend, had betrayed him(by taking Guinevere), he wants to kill Lancelot and his wife. But he can’t make himself do it because he has too much empathy. He can look into the hearts of Lancelot & Guinevere. Despite his rage, he is also understanding. So, he hesitates and finds it impossible to kill his friend and wife. His wisdom makes him understand more but also renders him ‘weak’ and lacking in resolve to carry out the execution.
But there is the tragedy. He surrenders Excalibur, the greatest gift bestowed to him by Merlin and Lady of the Lake. In doing so, he abandons his role as king. A king is supposed to serve something bigger than his ego and self. Whatever his personal foibles, he is supposed to rise higher and rule for the good of the people. But Arthur, so depressed over the Lancelot/Guinevere affair, withdraws into self-pity and becomes despondent like Scottie in VERTIGO. He just tunes out and drops out. If he were a private individual, it wouldn’t have mattered to others. But as leader, he has a kingdom to rule and must never renege on his duty and responsibility. Whatever his personal setback, he must rise higher and rule for the good of all. But he just surrenders Excalibur and walks away to hide from the world. And the moment when he drives Excalibur into the ground proves most vulnerable for Merlin who feels the blade strike into his back. His gift to Arthur has been abandoned, Arthur has violated his covenant with the sword, and there is disturbance in the Dragon. It is in that moment of confusion and distress that Morgana gains control of Merlin’s dazed wits and uses his magic against him.
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The mythic themes of EXCALIBUR, much like those found in Greek mythology, give us a clue as to why the West broke through the 'sound barrier' of progress in ways that never occurred to non-Western cultures. It wasn't just about rise of reason and science but the heroic individual will to strive further and reach higher. It was the visionary audacity to steal fire from the gods.
PC accuses white people of having stolen from other peoples. But man-stealing-from-man has been the rule of history just like animal-stealing-from-animal is the rule of nature. Clans stole from clans, tribes stole from tribes, kingdoms stole from kingdoms, and empires stole from empires. Whether it was the Zulus, Mongols, Huns, or the Vikings, the story of mankind has been stealing from other peoples, just like wolves and hyenas steal from other animals. So, if whites had done only like the other races and only stolen from others, they couldn't have broken through the 'sound barrier' of history.
So, what set the white race apart from others? What did white individuals do that other races failed to do?
They stole the secrets of the gods in Promethean manner & unlocked the mysteries of the universe.
Whites unlocked the secrets of micro-organisms and how diseases happen.
Whites gazed into distant space and discovered galaxies and black holes.
Whites discovered the mechanism of atoms and harnessed nuclear energy.
Whites solved the secret of flight and gained mastery of the sky.
Whites cracked the secret codes of higher morality and envisioned a world of order & liberty.
So, white people stole the secrets, ideas, and values that had once belonged only to the gods. Whites stole the keys to unlock countless mysteries that had baffled, mystified, or frightened the rest of humanity.
And by unlocking the secrets known only to the gods, white people attained and then spread the higher & deeper truth to all of mankind. If not for whites, would any race be flying through the skies or probing the secrets of viruses?
That is Power. It began when Prometheus stole fire from the gods.
The real secret of white power is not that whites stole from non-whites. Whites ‘stole’ only crude rudiments like land and labor from non-whites. Every people stole such from other peoples since the beginning of time.
What set whites apart from other races is that they, in the spirit of individuality and heroism, mastered the art of picking the locks of the gods & the cosmos and walked away with priceless treasures of knowledge.
You can steal land from red savages and labor from black savages. It takes no genius to conquer territory or enslave others. All peoples could do that and did that.
But the art of navigation, art of medicine, art of flight, and the art of nuclear power can be stolen only from the gods. And only individuals of vision, dream, or genius could pull it off. After all, like William F. Buckley said, "You cannot paint the Mona Lisa by assigning one dab each to a thousand painters."
Other peoples merely feared or served the gods. Only whites dared to access the vault of the gods holding the secrets of everything from the smallest atoms to the biggest stars.
That is the true source of white power. White stole everything… from the gods.