Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Centurian Is The Celtic Apocalypto
In the lawless jungle town where I live, an old woman was raped, tortured and murdered by guerillas last night. I didn't like her much. She sat on a certain corner everyday, jabbing her open hand into my face each time I passed, demanding with a bitter, entitled manner and hoarse, croaky voice "Ayudame cabron!" (Give me money asshole!) Still, I longed to see her face as I walked by today. The idea of even a nasty elder spending her final moments like that is horrific.
In beautiful, peaceful Canada (my favorite of all the places I've lived), there's a lot of smugness toward soldiers. There's a naive tendancy to overlook that the good ones get involved in a bloody business, so elders and children at home do not. Was Canada the only country bordering the Soviet Union not annexed because it was a de facto outpost of the American empire? We'll never know. What I do know is that few of my Canadian friends would salute the guts-and-glory Philistines of the U.S. Marine Corp even if this theory was proven. Brutish soldiers are often despised by those they bleed to defend.
Quintus Dias was a centurian holding the Roman empire's frontier in icy mist-shrouded Celtic lands around 117 A.D. Duty and honor were sacred to him. He embraced a world where animal and human blood greased the gears of life as much as petroleum does today. Most Roman citizens didn't know he existed. Most that did would consider him unsophisticated if not repulsive. Historical legend tells us that Rome's famed 9th Legion marched North at this time to battle primordial Celts known as Picts. These painted guerilla-fighters were distinguished by their use of female shaman and women warriors. The 9th Legion completely vanished. Though Quintus Dias survived the Pict ambush that ended this celebrated fighting unit, he still had to flee ferocious trackers thru vast wilderness back to Roman lines.
The film Centurian is greatly reminiscent of Mel Gibson's Apocalypto: the Mayan chase epic from his pro-gentile period between his pro-Jesus and pro-skank phases. It even has a comparable waterfall scene. Early-first-millenium Celts and Maya do show similarities. This fact has been overlooked as Europeans and Native Americans have each in turn portrayed the other as amoral barbarians. Viewing the two movies together offers a global glimpse into primal instincts that transcend civilization.
Even the message of Centurian duplicates that of Apocalypto. From ancient Romans and Maya to modern Brits and Americans, all empires reach too far and ultimately fall. In Washington today, right-wingers fantasize they can micro-police all rogue states with the U.S. military, while left-wingers fantasize they can breast-feed all dysfunctional citizens from the U.S. treasury. Meanwhile, the U.S. Titanic lurches toward a bankruptcy iceberg.
When the mothership sinks, let's hope there's enough money left for on-deck violinists to calm us by playing "Nearer, My God, To Thee." Those who prefer the R.E.M. tune: "It's The End Of The World As We Know It And I Feel Fine" should wait to see if our children fare better under the imperial shadow of dehumanizing and totalitarian Cousin China rather than cocky and annoying Uncle Sam. If the Dalai Lama's comments this week on Chinese government hold any wisdom, we may someday recall Washington and Rome with fondness.