I’m not planning on seeing the Lone Ranger any time soon. It’s not that I don’t love me some Johnny Depp – but the genre of Western escapes me in the same way I just can’t quite get Country music. Both have boots. Maybe that’s my issue?
I have, however, been following some of the storyline behind the storyline: Depp’s stating that he based his face-paint and headpiece on extant documentation; the use of mechanical horses in certain scenes due to the danger posed to the actual critters; and of course, the violence. The rallying cry is that the original series (radio and tv) didn’t feature any of the blood, guts and heart-eating moments that this newest spin incorporates.
Now, before we as a society nod our communal heads at that notion and tsk-tsk at the shame of the loss of ‘good family entertainment’, consider for a minute the other ‘story behind the story’. The original series may have been a heart-warming (as opposed to heart-eating) good tale, but it sanitized the Wild West. It didn’t display the anarchy of the times. It didn’t show the massacre of indigenous peoples. In a sadly ironic way, the original series “Disneyfied” the time period in a way that recent Disney film did not.
I’m not claiming the new film is authentic in any way, shape or form. I am suggesting that if you’re looking for a family film, perhaps it might be wise to avoid anything that glamorizes or sanitizes a time period that is marked with violence. Any treatment of such a story that attempts to portray it as other than it was is a dis-service to those who died during that time.
Yesterday, three people were shot in my community. The details are unknown. The violence is heart-wrenching. I pray that as time passes and the present becomes the past, no one will think to write a fun family film or series about the violence in our streets. Whether it glorifies or sanitizes the violence, it would be unjust to those who continue to bury their dead.