Wednesday 13 January 2021

Mass media and the subversion of noble death

In the past 20 years, it seems that Hollywood and mainstream TV has decided that noble death is not something that they want to show. 

If there is a noble death depicted in a novel, then we can be sure that the modern adaptation will wreck it by some kind a desperate pleading and hysterics from the one left behind. 

The third Hobbit movie (which is an almost complete shambles anyway) manages to ruin the death of Thorin - which is the emotional high point of the book and a really beautiful piece of writing:

There lay Thorin Oakenshield, wounded with many wounds, and his rent armour and notched axe were cast upon the floor. He looked up as Bilbo came beside him. 

 “Farewell, good thief,” he said. “I go now to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed. Since I leave now all gold and silver, and go where it is of little worth, I wish to part in friendship from you, and I would take back my words and deeds at the Gate.” 

Bilbo knelt on one knee filled with sorrow. “Farewell, King under the Mountain!” he said. “This is a bitter adventure, if it must end so; and not a mountain of gold can amend it. Yet I am glad that I have shared in your perils— that has been more than any Baggins deserves.” 

“No!” said Thorin. “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!”

Beautiful! - and noble. 

Contrast (if you can bear it) this horrible subversion, which I think of as an exemplification of the 'Say with me!" trope:

In a deep sense, this kind of travesty is a simple consequence of the Modern spirit - atheist, materialist and Leftist. They can't help themselves - and that is very revealing. 

Even an heroic death by willing self-sacrifice is nowadays ruined by gibbering and emoting - or even fighting to prevent it; as in this horribly absurd anti-heroic scene from Avengers Endgame (2019). 

One thing seems clear. Modernity has a real problem with death - in general and specifically. Since death is seen as having no meaning and leading to nothing; it must be resisted - tooth and nail, second by second, no-holds-barred. 

Or else death is seen purely in terms of avoiding suffering - the 'peaceful' death of euthanasia, being killed by a state official; as if we were all veterinary patients. Better to die now, perhaps; or never to have been born...

Metaphysics will out! A self-fulfilling prophecy, it seems. 


jonofthemeadowaustralis said...

It's funny Bruce, I was just the other day ranting to my family in response to a birdemic news item, (we rarely watch the MSM now, but occasionally I find I need to reconnect to the matrix to monitor the insanity). Death is now something so feared that most people will agree to anything to avoid it as long as possible. I quite honestly can say that the last 12 months has substantially lessened any latent fear of death I might have had. I've always had a deep sense of purpose and destiny due to my knowing that there is more to this life than the material.
Call it a warrior spirit or an innate knowledge of the divine, whatever it is, if a noble death awaits me i'm all in.
Of course I pray that I will be guided to make the right decisions at the right time, I love my wife and 3 sons like any man should.
Onward Christian soldiers!

Bruce Charlton said...

@jon - Yes, that is what we should aspire to. Since all must die, a noble death is a great destiny.

It is not the only great destiny, of course; but one of them, for sure.