The Lost Scribe: Where Is Brad?!

Bradscribe Has Vanished… 

UNBALANCED: "Why did he leave...?"
UNBALANCED: “Why did he leave…?”

Wake! For the Sun, who scatter’d into flight 

The Stars before him from the Field of Night, 

Drives Night along with them from Heav’n, and strike

The Sultan’s Turret with a Shaft of Light” – Omar Khayyam.

He was blogging along merrily as usual until – all of a sudden – readers drifted away and the Stats plummeted. It is hard to believe how one so cosmic – so totally with it – could have just upped and left… 

But Kismet decreed that if there were to be no readers, there would be no incitement to write. For the time being, at least. Thus, these unforeseen circumstances provided an ideal time to recharge his creative battery, and prepare for a stupendous comeback, when he would – like Ant-Manbecome bigger and better than before. 

And so, the past few weeks presented the opportunity for him, and his fabulous wife, to detach themselves – albeit briefly – from the technological trappings of the “modern age.” And escape, literally, into the Middle of Nowhere. To seek out the Centre of Knowledge. 

They “got away from it all” – yay, Mr. and Mrs. B got off the grid. 

No surprise, really. It’s as if he has completely fallen off this quadrant… 

Most likely, he skedaddled to the Outer Rim – even his ol’ mate: Maz said: “There, you can disappear…”

Some say there were rumours – nay, stories – of him traipsing off on some foolhardy pilgrimage across the galaxy to the Mojo Temple, to rediscover what he had lost…  

THE WANDERER: "Seeking out the poorer quarters Where the ragged people go, Looking for the places Only they would know."
THE WANDERER: “Seeking out the poorer quarters, Where the ragged people go, Looking for the places
Only they would know.”

“He probably enjoyed being a man of mystery. He embraced the allusions in his life just as much as those that appeared in the many stories he wrote” – J J Furie. 

STARDATE: 04.05.2559.

They left the land-speeder halfway up the mountain – the gradient seemed far too steep to climb. Sure, it was really hot, but still too early in the morning for the sun to have reached its searing zenith.

Out there – in the back of beyond – you would be lucky to have any electricity, let alone a reliable internet connection. Among a cluster of wooden chalets at the summit, the guru awaited their arrival. She had sought his counsel many moons ago; he had read several of his inspirational articles in the papers – this monk seemed like the right Ajarn [teacher] to visit at the right time… 

There was no time to linger and inhale the incense in the Inner Sanctum. 

All three talked for ages. The Scribe had countless questions on philosophy and spirituality – too many for that session – so promised to return one day soon… 

And before the westerner departed, the easterner asked him if he would – at some point – consider becoming a monk…

As the sun gradually diminished that evening, the world-weary wordsmith reclined to view the glorious blood-red and orange sky – it’s not every evening you can watch something as awesome as that back in the Western Regions.

And he beamed heartily at the Field of Night, safe in the knowledge that most of his stress had dissolved…

And all those pursuers were far, far away…

BRAD'S ARMY: He fights the dreaded Zandokan Shokk Troopers... so you don't have to.
BRAD’S ARMY: He fights the dreaded Zandokan Shokk Troopers… so you don’t have to.

“I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about” – Arthur C. Clarke.

Meanwhile, halfway across the galaxy… 

The elite division of Shokk Troopers stood aside, allowing the dreaded Dark Lord: Zegreatme to stride forth.

The denizens of that spaceport dared not look directly at his visor, for fear that – with one flick of his glistening bionic hand – he would order their instant execution… 

The Zandokans stopped outside the Ravenous Greedo Cantina – yeah, this looked like the sorta crummy dive that blogger would frequent. The Troopers burst in, laser-rifles at the ready; the Dark Lord drummed his talonic fingers on the hilt of his laser-sword impatiently as he surveyed a cluster of i-monitors along the far wall. 

His agents detected high levels of chocolate cream around one console, indicating that quite considerable cake consumption had occurred in this vicinity, very recently. 

And the nacho crumbs proved to be a dead giveaway…

Their sensors revealed a half-completed Captain America: Civil War review saved in the hard drive. The Dark Lord face-palmed, knowing only too well that the Scribe had fled not long before their Imperial Skorpion Kruiser had landed…

“Vhere ees Bred now?!” he growled.

Gesturing manically to his minions to get back outside and question each and every passerby, stopping any denizen to ask them THAT question proved to be a futile move.

For the frightened locals just stared in bewilderment and uttered the same response:

Bradscribe…?! I thought he was a myth…”

NOT AS BRAD AS IT SEEMS...: "And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up..."
NOT AS BRAD AS IT SEEMS…: “And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up…”

“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life” – Marcus Aurelius.

Bradscribe will return…

 

………………………………?? 

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It’s Only a Movie

Posted: 21 February 2014

Historical accuracy or entertaining inaccuracy: which is best?
Historical accuracy or entertaining inaccuracy: which is best?

“Film-makers have a great responsibility. How they present the past is how it gets remembered” – Kate Williams.

Movies cannot be treated as historical records; no matter how much attention to period detail goes into a feature film, as a seasoned historian myself, it should be my duty to point out those glaring discrepancies that litter some epic movies, not just lie back, enjoy a fantastical dramatisation and let blissful miscomprehension, or downright ignorance, of actual past events prevail.

This year, with a slew of big historical movies nominated for Oscars, it becomes imperative that a higher standard of care and attention should be put into such productions.

Yet some directors believe they still have every right to change – even distort – historical facts to provide a faster, leaner – dare one say it – more awesome spectacle. Should they be permitted to do so? 

Winner of Best Ways to Irritate Historians
Winner of Best Ways to Irritate Historians

“Creative artists need to be granted some poetic license, but that should not be a permit for the wholesale disregard of facts in historical fiction” – Allen Ward.   

Here are a couple of examples most relevant to this post. They are fine, classic bodies of work, but when analysed from a historical perspective, they flounder miserably.

One notorious example is Gladiator (2000), which won 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but none, it seems, for historical accuracy. Bradscribe hates to say this (as it’s one of his faves), but the collection of inaccuracies on show here are… legion.  

Despite the vow of the renowned director: Ridley Scott to uphold high standards of historical research throughout, one advisor resigned and another requested to go unmentioned in the credits because those standards were simply not met.

Such extensive use of ballistae and catapults in the opening battle would not have been used in a forest-setting; both Roman and Germanian costumes are extremely questionable; stirrups were never used by the Roman cavalry despite being on show here… and so on. 

There is no way one can link this celluloid Commodus to the real-life emperor (hey Joaquin, where’s your beard?); he certainly did not commit patricide, and he lasted 12 years before being assassinated, not 3 hours. And the factual errors which beset the character of Marcus Aurelius are compounded by the inexplicable casting.

Nice helmet, shame about the historical inaccuracies
Nice helmet, shame about the historical inaccuracies

“I didn’t think they had guns then… in the days of Kirk Douglas” – Bunny Warren.

To show that this is not just a problem of modern cinema, enter: The Vikings (1958). Kirk Douglas! Tony Curtis! Ernest Borgnine! How could it possibly go wrong? Well, on several different counts in actual fact.

Kirk Douglas looks fab, yet anything but a Viking. No matter how big a star, if there’s no beard, there’s no credibility. He wears such a cool helmet but – let’s be honest – it was more a product of Hollywood imagination rather than Norse craftsmanship.   

One of the best scenes in the film is also one of its most annoying. The Viking siege of the castle is theoretically absurd; castles were not built until after the Norman Conquest, by which time Norsemens’ raids on the English coast had long since finished. After all the excitement, the drama, not to mention that stirring music score, no one can escape the fact that this whole charade centres around two immigrant boys from the Lower East Side gallivanting around in fancy dress…

Bradscribe will always love this film, but then again, it will always wrestle with his academic sensibilities.  

In conclusion then, movies should not be used as the source material for history essays. These movies can inspire a greater appreciation for history which a lot of books and uninspiring schoolteachers could never do, but the poor research in some productions suggests that not only a greater awareness of the value of history is needed, but the general attitude towards historical knowledge deserves a thorough revision.

This writer is left bemoaning the fact that instead of nitpicking the factual errors of others’ work, he could be working on such storylines, ready to prove that history in itself produced some stirring and dramatic events, packing more punches than any CGI can muster.