Either you live under a rock, or you’re well aware that Russell Crowe is the latest leading man to squeeze his gelatinous rump into the green tights of Robin Hood. No he doesn’t sport the mean ‘stache of Errol Flynn, and no he doesn’t quite have the high-pitch, feminine squeal of Kevin Costner that we’ve all come to know and hate. The one constant between all three films however, is that Hollywood never fails in pointing to the tale of Robin Hood as a parable for modern socialism.
“Steal from the rich, and give to the poor!” is the rhetoric you’ll undoubtedly hear. The only problem with that… Is that Robin Hood never “stole from the rich.” He instead stole from an oppressive government that had taxed its citizens into poverty, and returned the wealth back to its rightful owners. Essentially, Robin Hood put a smackdown on the medieval equivalent of the IRS.
As the quintessential anti-government revolutionary, the Prince of Thieves would have more in common with the likes of our Founding Fathers than that of Marx, Stalin or Sean “Spicoli” Penn. If he were alive today, he’d most likely be coupling a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt along with his trademarked green hosiery. Don’t expect Hollywood to even think of drawing comparisons to modern Tea Partiers though.
“No no,… That would not be good,” says Brian Helgeland (the film’s writer). That wouldn’t fit in with what Tinseltown calls “being thematically contemporary.” Confused? You should be. Let’s break down the original story for a second.
– Members of the monarchy are born into positions of power despite having never been elected.
– Peasants are born into a life of poverty, with all of their acquisitions being stolen from them by aforementioned monarchy.
– Robin Hood sees injustice in hard-workers living in squalor while corrupt government officials “be livin’ likes pimps” – quoted from the original text for authenticity –
– Robin Hood reaches his breaking point and begins to lead an uprising of the people.
– Government loses control in elaborate swordfight.
– Somebody gets hit with a falling chandelier.
– The people take back what they’d rightfully earned in the first place.
Hmmm… I’m still not seeing this as any sort of anti-capitalist crusade. Where in the story does Mr. Hood steal from small business owners or local entrepreneurs? If there’s a sub-plot where Robin Hood professes the necessity of “equal outcomes,” I certainly haven’t read it. Maybe it’s my mere fourth-grade reading equivalency getting the best of me, but nowhere in the book do I see the Prince of Thieves even suggest any sort of higher or additional taxes.
Have leftists even read the story, or did they just opt to rent the Disney version instead? Come to think of it, I thought it was kind of weird when Sean Pennbegan quoting “Robin Hood, the little red fox.”