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COMMUNICATION: Media, Arts, & Society | May 15, 2000


An Unpublished Letter to

Calendar Letters, in Los Angeles Times

In "Et Tu, You Brute", Stephen Farber comments that "one can't help feeling slightly queasy about the rather simplistic values these guy films [such as U-571 and Gladiator] so bullishly celebrate."

Although it is true that the success of such films could inspire "far more jingoistic movies" and that "the notion of honor...has often helped rationalize appalling slaughter", how can any of that bother us...unless, of course, we first acknowledge the existence of honor, which only then allows us to condemn such outcomes as dishonorable.

And as for Falstaff's sardonic dismissal of "honor", remember what Shakespeare later wrote, in Othello:

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,

Is the immediate jewel of their souls:

Who steals my purse steals trash;

'tis something, nothing;

'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him

And makes me poor indeed.

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