Braveheart Mutates

Saturday, April 16th, 2011 03:09 pm
robinturner: First lesson: stick them with the pointy end (pointyend)
Braveheart-bashing is kind of last century, but I couldn't resist sharing this article from the wonderfully nutty Covenant News.

The news from England about a father going to court in an attempt to save his unborn child from abortion has gained worldwide attention. The British court temporarily postponed the abortion to make sure all the proper forms were filled out, but, made it absolutely clear that British fathers have no legal rights to protect their children as long as their children are unborn.

This situation reminded me of a scene in Mel Gibson's movie Brave Heart [sic]. People who have seen it will remember that the pagan King, Edward the [sic] Longshanks, had given his English Noblemen land in Scotland, and then granted them the right of "Prima Nocta" (Latin for "First Night") stating, "When any common girl inhabiting their lands is married, our Nobles shall have sexual rights to her on the night of her wedding."

All of you Brave Heart fans know that the King's civil decree against the institution of marriage in Scotland is what led to the rebellion and their subsequent freedom from English tyranny. For those of you who did not see the movie, Prima Nocta was used by heathen feudal governments as a means to control the population of countries they ruled by bastardizing the first born males and therefore cutting them off from any lawful claim of inheritance.

I am used to people treating Braveheart as history rather than the latest and most outlandish cycle of the Wallace legend. Gibson gave us a William Wallace who spoke Australian Scots English (rather than Norman French) was a Scottish peasant rather than a knight whose father moved to Scotland from Wales (as the epithet Wallace implies) and who painted his face like a football fan. But now the legend, as legends are wont, is mutating further and even more bizarrely. The droit de seigneur or prima nocta nookie rights written into the film are a medievalisation of customs mentioned by pagan historians and bards, and there is very little evidence that this was a legal right in any medieval kingdom. Perhaps by some twisted logic our author has reasoned from this that Edward I was a pagan, though given that his knowledge of history evidently owes more to Gibson than Gibbon, this is unlikely. Now that Braveheart is copulating with The Patriot in conservative American meme-space, I expect to hear that Edward Longshanks was also a liberal and a feminist. After all, his son was gay, right?

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Robin Turner

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