Druids Bringing in the Mistletoe, Glasgow Boys, Kelvingrove Museum, Detail

Jean Paul Lemieux

Jean Paul Lemieux, Nineteen Ten Remembered, detail

1910 Remembered, Detail

James Guthrie
The Glasgow Boys

James Guthrie, Highland Funeral, detail

Highland Funeral

A prince can mak' a belted knight,
  A marquis, duke, and a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might,
  Guid faith he mauna fa' that!

           Robert Burns
For a' that and a' that


Feininger, Birdcloud

Introduction Dear Frankie

If I Ruled the World

If I ruled the world, children of all ages and sexes would be shown Dear Frankie, preferably in three slices.  The first forty-five minutes would be preceded by well-meaning blather:— about parents bringing up children without the presence of an opposite partner;  about the tendency of children to yearn after a missing parent;  about the peril of lies and deception as a means of coping with life (and the occasional merit);  about the effect on children of the necessity of constant moving;  about disability;  about finding and keeping friends.

The second slice would show the entrance of The Stranger and the chain of events culminating in his departure.  At this point, I as Dear Ruler would speak for the first time:— And this, my children, is what it is to be a man.

I'd show the third and final part speeded up, and permit the children to do the talking.  Only if they insisted would I give my opinion:— The real reason for family breakdown is not what other people do to us.  It's what they make of us — someone we don't like and don't wish to be, someone whose worst qualities have been brought to the forefront for all the world and his brother to see.

All this as opposed to those people we admire, whose affection makes us better than we are.


It won't do, of course.   No matter how absolute a ruler, no matter how honourable the intention, there are certain things that mustn't be permitted, and I've crossed the line in suggesting children be forced to watch a film demonstrating with offhand directness the consequences of domestic violence.   Lucifer was kicked out of heaven for less, and I would be booted from the face of the earth, and justifiably so, since I can hardly plead ignorance of the time-honoured channels for sublimating the horrors of such a subject:— Fairy Tale.   Myth.   Art.

As for the first and the last, it's almost worth growing up to be able to watch safely Charles Laughton's 1955 filmed artistic masterpiece The Night of the Hunter, a beautiful but terrifying adult Fairy Tale with innocent children hunted down by a crazed killer in the disguise of a predatory stepfather.   Dear Frankie is neither beautiful nor a Fairy Tale, and there is no sublimation of the blood relationship with the violent father.

And no, we're not on the road to the dreadful and disgusting Myth of Cronus devouring his children, mainly because the filmmakers have chosen a different route to the end of their story, which turns out to be about benevolence, the diametric opposite of Myth.


[June 2006 text only]
    [WebPage last amended March 19th, 2012]


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