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I thought you all might like to see this article. I found it interesting, I thought I'd share.

Editor's Note by Richard Poe

Leftists Hate and Fear The Patriot

June 30, 2000

THERE ARE TWO KINDS of people: those who love Mel Gibson's new film The Patriot, and those who hate it.

The litmus test is your reaction to that now-famous scene in which the character played by Gibson arms his sons with muskets - ages 10 and 13 -- and leads them into the woods to ambush the British. Cyber-journalist Matt Drudge reports that audience members at an advance screening gasped in horror at the sight of children firing weapons.

For me, the scene had the opposite effect. It evoked the closeness and comfort of family. It conjured up long-forgotten yearnings from childhood. What boy has not dreamed of creeping through the woods, musket in hand, stalking the enemy, at his father's side, in defense of hearth and home?

Those people who gasped in horror at the screening are evidently strangers to such emotions. They are also strangers to American history and even to Hollywood, which has never hesitated to portray boys wielding firearms in historical dramas.

Dances with Wolves comes to mind. Remember the flashback scene, in which Kevin Costner's love interest suddenly recalls the Indian raid in which her family was killed? Her last memory is of her brother - a prepubescent boy - telling her to run for her life, as he readies his rifle to fire at the Indians.

No one gasped when they saw that. Nor does anyone seem shocked about children committing horrific acts of cinematic violence in gore fests such as the The Faculty and Scream I, II and III.

But children fighting for liberty in the American Revolution - that is true pornography, in some people's minds.

Leftists have always hated the Revolution. They hate it because it worked. It yielded so much freedom, prosperity and equality for Americans that, to this day, even the most skillful agitator has trouble persuading us that we need socialism.

So the left has counterattacked through the schools. Cynicism about our Revolution and Founding Fathers has been sown very deeply in our culture. Many film critics end up parroting the Marxist line without even knowing it.

"Don't mistake [The Patriot] for history," warns James Verniere in The Boston Herald. "It's a sales pitch for America."

"Overblown sanctimony and sentimalism," agrees Ann Hornaday in The Baltimore Sun, "as corny as the Fourth of July."

Verniere and Hornaday seem unaware that some of us still respect the Fourth of July, and see nothing wrong with "selling" America. The educational system has done its work well, with these two critics.

Hornaday attacks the filmmakers for failing to present a sufficiently ugly picture of white colonials.

The Gibson character Benjamin Martin is a wealthy planter whose farm is worked by black freedmen, not slaves. Hornaday calls this "comforting revisionism" that is "much more dishonest and damaging than anything that's sprung from Oliver Stone's imagination."

Damaging? To whom? To what? To the notion that America is an irredeemable racial hell? To the notion that every black person in colonial times was a slave? Neither of these beliefs would be accurate. Yet Hornaday implies it is Hollywood's duty to foist them on us anyway.

Jack Matthews of the Daily News objects to the movie's glorification of guns.

"In a scene that will put lead in the spine of Second Amendment fundamentalist Charlton Heston, Martin tears into his larder of unregistered muskets.. and wreaks havoc on those who would invade his home," writes Matthews acidly.

Yes, he does. And that is precisely why audiences cheer him. Viewers roar their approval each time Gibson dispatches a bad guy. It is driving the left crazy. They are enraged to see a "sales pitch for America" that actually sells.

Does The Patriot really falsify history? Not significantly. Its worst offense is to dress the Green Dragoons in red tunics when in fact they wore green. This annoyed me, throughout the film.

But more substantive accusations of historical inaccuracy fall flat. Critic Ben Steelman, for instance, says that The Patriot made the British too villainous. "The bloody British are credited with atrocities that would make the Serbian army retch," he writes. "This is anachonism. It would take later generations. to conceive of the notion of wars targeting civilians."

Mr. Steelman is wrong. Atrocities were common in the Revolutionary War. Patriotic mobs tarred and feathered loyalists, then set them aflame. Irregular bands of loyalist militia roved the countryside, slaughtering their rebel neighbors. The evil British dragoon played by Jason Isaacs is based upon a real villain, Col. Banastre Tarleton, notorious for massacring American civilians.

The best advice I can give you is to ignore the critics and see the movie for yourself. It is less great than Braveheart. But every scene is vibrant with passion and manhood, qualities as alien to leftwing scribblers as patriotism itself.

Richard Poe is editor of For more information about Poe and his work, visit

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, July 08, 2000


"THERE ARE TWO KINDS of people: those who love Mel Gibson's new film The Patriot, and those who hate it."

Don't forget the third kind of people, LBF. The "I'm not interested in another Mel Gibson bang,bang, shoot-em-up movie" type of people. Faced with the choice of Patriot or Perfect Storm, I chose the latter. I was ready for a good sea yarn. Although, Mel Gibson's voice characterization in Chicken Run was excellent, also. Good family entertainment, minus the gore. The Patriot movie? Well, some day, but I'm in no rush.


-- Craig Miller (, July 09, 2000.

Little Bit, I always enjoy your posts. I haven't seen the movie yet, but intend to. I have been hearing alot of reviews and cant believe what people get bent out of shape over. This movie is a drama not a documentary, so why do people want to pick on it for historical accuracy? Butto THEM the accurate items such as young boys using guns isn't acceptable either.They're never happy. One of the reasons we homeschool is so that our kids can think for themselves and not believe what the revised history and opinions that some will believe because everyone else does.I t is amazing to me how my oldest daughter's way of thinking changed once she left the public school environment. I appreciate your stand on freedom and our rights. Thanks!

-- Denise (, July 09, 2000.

Well Craig, I think it would be terrible to learn some history from an entertainment form. I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but sheesh, the disinterested are generally off watching the sport du jour and swallowing whatever light beer has the best ad of the week.

I haven't seen the movie, but I will when I can, as I think it is high time patriotic people get behind something and make a statement of sorts.

War is not pretty..... and history isn't made by folks sitting on their couches watching TV or surfing the internet for that matter. So I'm off to work in the heat!(Won't be making history there either!) Thanks for the review LilBit.

-- Doreen (, July 09, 2000.

Speaking about truth and accuracy in the school system, my mother always told me to tell them what they want to hear but know the truth. I'm decended from Indians who escaped the Trail of Tears, and we have kept many of the traditions even though our percentage of pure blood is to low to do us any 'good'. One of the things that pissed me off in school was the 'white solders gave indians blankets'. Nothing was said about the fact the blakets were full of small pox virus and that it was an attempt at biological warfare. Few people are willing to put out a public statement that all will see (such as a movie) that tells the truth, even if it offends the squemish and the politically correct.

-- annette (, July 09, 2000.

My husband and I saw Patriot its first night out in Houston on our "date night". I loved it! Forget the guns the kids had, damn the hatchet to death scene even made me squirm. Not as bad as the blood and guts of Saving Private Ryan which I also throughly enjoyed, but a great night of entertainment. I had read on the internet folks distain for the movie based on the fact the kids were killing these men with guns. These men who had just shot and killed their other brother and who were taking the oldest brother to be hung? It never even occured to me! The real value of this movie came later when all the family had seen it and we realized to our horror how little our kids knew of history. Husband is somewhat of a history buff and it sparked lots of nice conversation, in fact I got a history lesson the hour and a half home. Now if movies like this were around when I was in school, I wouldn't have had to cheat through History to make A's! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, July 10, 2000.

I read the book some 20 years ago (remember the bicentennial - it wasn't corny to be patriotic then!). I haven't decided whether to see the movie - but . . . speaking historically, it's my understanding that freed blacks would not remain and work a plantation (not a farm). They'd head to the city. So if Mel Gibson's got a plantation, this part would be historically inaccurate (if irrelevant). History buffs - is my information true?

-- Deborah (, July 10, 2000.

We saw the Patriot last weekend and it left us with much on our mind. We enjoyed it a great deal and I'm very glad to see the message it carried and how it carried it out.

After seeing the Patriot, and having seen the Gladiator, it is interesting to think about the underlying themes and put them into the perspective of our time now. I almost have the feeling _someone_ is trying to get a 'message to the masses'.

Thanks for a great post.


-- j (, July 10, 2000.

My opinion of the Mel Gibson movie "The Patriot"

I had wavered on whether to go see this movie or not, but the review above prompted me to make the decision to go.

I agree that the most powerful scene in the entire movie for me was where Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) puts the guns in the hands of his two youngest sons and takes them with him to rescue their oldest brother. That was the main thrust of the entire revolutionary war - to fight injustice, whether it is found in taxation without representation, unlawful search, entry, or seizure, or any of the myriad other things that our ancestors believed was not right and set in motion a chain of events that were to grant citizens freedoms that no other people on earth had ever experienced.

I had heard some rather disparaging things about the movie in the media especially that the British are portrayed as vicious, child killing murderers. I don't agree with this at all. One man, in his role as the movie's antagonist, villain and all around bad guy is portrayed as such. The fact that he happens to be a British officer is secondary to his role as antagonist. At any rate, for the most part, it is not this man who actually does the dirty work. He has a colonialist do it for him. In order for the hero to look good, he has to have an enemy. The meaner the enemy, the better the hero. In this case it becomes personal between the hero and villain. It has nothing to do with the British in general.

Contrary to disparaging remarks, I thought the portrayal of General Cornwallis as well as some of the other British soldiers to be sympathetic. Cornwallis doesn't like the villain either, and you get the feeling that neither do many of the other British soldiers. Cornwallis works with the villain because he has to and because they both want the same thing - Bejamin Martin. Cornwallis is a brillian strategist, and you know he is going to lose anyway. You almost have to feel sorry for him. After all, at that time there was not a USA, only the King's government which he was fighting to maintain. But at the same time you strive for the colonials who wanted a better life for their children. The history of the world is written in the blood of parents who wanted a better life for their children.

I believe the disparaging remarks in the media are meant to discourage people from going to see the movie, because this is a "feel good" movie. And liberals do not want people to feel good about their country. I think even the British who go see this movie can come out with a "feel good" feeling because you root for the good guy and boo the bad guy and rejoice when the good guy wins. I.e. not the colonialists or British, but the hero and antagonist.

Although I found a few concessions for modern audiences, in general I thought this was a rather conservative based story line. Of course, there was much that was not shown on screen about those times, or shown in depth. This is the nature of drama. It is a movie after all, which has to have a narrow focus in order to get a story (one main and one or two side) started and finished within a certain timeframe. This is only one story of many that could be told of that time frame. It is the spirit of the movie that I enjoyed. And it is a wonderful way to celebrate July, the USA's anniversary month.

And where else can you see the same Aussie win the revolutionary war who helped free the Scots, too!

-- R. (, July 12, 2000.

Heavens R. did you enjoy the movie or not? :) Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, July 13, 2000.

Of course I liked the movie. And by the way Deborah (, who is the author and what is the title of the book that this movie is based on?

-- R. (, July 13, 2000.

My husband and I also saw this as our "date night". Of course, we went at bragain time! ;-) I enjoyed the movie and I agree that the most touching part is when Mel arms his children in order to save their brother. That just really speaks to your soul on some base level. One thing to consider is that children weren't as young then as they are now. Consider that the oldest son was barely "of age" by modern standards and was ready to marry, etc. Heck, if you were a girl past 16 you best be from a wealthy family or seriously looking for man! Now most folks don't marry till their mid twenties and that's going up all the time. I think these critics are in a frenzy because of things like Columbine, etc. I lived 8 blocks from Columbine when that went down & still work in that area. You should hear the things people are still saying. Blaming the weapons, movies, video games, music, anything they can rather than face the facts that these were 2 kids from 'good families' who went off the deep end. It just really chaps my hide that nobody has to take personal responsibility for their actions anymore. Want to shoot somebody, don't worry it's not your fault - the gun just leaped into your hand and pulled it's own trigger. Of course, this is all coming from a young lady who's father taught ALL his kids how to handle a gun, hunted to put meat on the table, slaughtered bunnies right before our eyes... It's a wonder that none of us ending up in jail for some horrid crime! haha

-- Elle (, July 15, 2000.

I must be totally politically incorrect. I didn't think a thing about the children being given guns to help defend their brother. I didn't realize this was an issue until reading this forum! If someone was threatening my family I would gladly hand guns to the most qualified shooters available, adults or children.

-- D. K. Newman (, July 18, 2000.

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