December 2021

Interesting, the things we've learned--and haven't learned--in the past 100 years. I can't help wondering whether we'll have learned some lessons, or most, or all, in the next 100. Or perhaps none? OMG.

We seem to be in the middle of vigilantism--so we had better understand it. Robin Hood, sure--but the Ku Klux Klan? Batman, yeah! But the Irish paramilitary army? The resemblance isn't limited to pointy hats and face masks. That 13th Century folklore outlaw supposedly stole from the rich and gave to the poor. But he's folklore, and likely was an ordinary thief escaped to the greensward, his merry men a bunch of drunken louts, and Maid Marian an enabler. But there they are, Hollywood's anti-heroes: Superman, Batman (and Robin too), almost every role Clint Eastwood ever played, Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver," right up to today's hit TV series, "Dexter," about a lovable, boyish vigilante--who's a serial killer. The vigilante ethos existed long before the word was introduced into English from Latin via Spanish. The concept can be found throughout the Bible, for example in Genesis 34, in the account of...