Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Through the miracle of Netflix streaming, I'm watching Shaka Zulu for the first time since it was first broadcast on television in the '80's. Aside from the inherent racism in the fact that bare African breasts were acceptable on network television when bare European breasts most certainly were not, I'm thinking about how many of my most admired heroes are military men willing to do anything and everything to achieve their goals.

I love war movies; I've recently obsessed on Toshiro Mifune as the unstoppable samurai. Years ago, I went through a Civil War period, reading memoirs and biographies of men like John Mosby, Stonewall Jackson, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and William Tecumseh Sherman, men who were willing to break the rules in order to win.

I'm currently watching the episode where Shaka defies the general who tells him that warfare is fought at 50 paces, with long spears and small shields, with little chance and no intention of killing or dying. Shaka remakes the tools of war, and the strategies, and in doing so creates an empire to rival Napoleon's, or Alexander's.

Odd that these are my heroes, since I am as far from a military man as one could possibly get, and I can't commit to losing 50 pounds, let alone commit to sacrificing everything for the sake of a principle, such as honor, or pride, or God, or country.

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