Wednesday, December 03, 2008
For some reason Harrison Ford movies produce memorable lines. There was, of course, Blade Runner and Roy Batty's dying speech. There was also the brilliant exchange with Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive - Ford: 'I didn't kill my wife', Jones: 'I don't care.' Tom Stoppard once admitted to me that he found that line as thrilling as I do. But there's also also a line in Witness when Ford confronts an armed bad guy and says simply, 'It's over.' The bad guy capitulates. He has been overwhelmed by the logic of his situation. There's no longer any point in being bad. Why, one wonders, does this never happen to Robert Mugabe? He is surrounded by evidence of his abject failure and wickedness and yet still he clings on. In fact, you don't even have to seek out such extreme examples. I've known - and still know - petty tyrants who are plainly doing nothing but harm and yet they persist. This preoccupies me because I keep wondering what I would do if I were such a failed tyrant. I think I would capitulate, not because I am especially virtuous but because my mind is easily changed and I have little sense of my own importance to anybody but myself. This makes me amazed and usually appalled at the spectacle of the 'strong' leader - or, perhaps, any leader. How, on earth, do they do it? What do they think they know that gives them any expertise in running the lives of others? Sorry, strange stuff, but that's the way I am this morning.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:56 am