Pirates, and Robin Hood by
I am wrapped up in some old cowboy movie, in my favorite position on the couch
when my beloved says to me: "You know, those were hard times."
So, I snap
back with……"What, who are you talking about?"
"These cowboy movies, it
was tough on people back in those days."
To which I respond….."Naw, those
guys had air-conditioned trailers, good food, medical attention, good hotels to
spend the night in after they shot the film for the day…these guys had a walk
in the park."
Well, you can imagine I didn't get much of a response out
of her, just some bad looks and comments under her breath that I can't hear.
you know it got me to thinking how deceived we are by either the media or advertising
in this country. Most of us have grown up thinking pirates look like Captain Hook
or Long John Silver. I suppose the youngsters of today think Johnny Depp is the
true picture of a real pirate, but in reality it just ain't so. Pirates didn't
make folks walk the plank. They plundered more grain, wheat and other stuff a
lot more often than gold and silver. Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure
Island had never even been on a ship when he wrote his first book. Most of the
stuff he and others wrote were just made up in their heads and taken to be the
truth by the public. Being a pirate wasn't a high old adventure, it was a hard
Same thing about the wagon trains going West in the late 1800's.
You and I have seen countless western movies where the Virginia Mayo character
rides in the wagon, wearing lots of petticoats, long dresses and is always shown
with her hair styled just so along with lots of lipstick and makeup. Yeah, right.
The women wore sensible clothing, almost never rode and certainly didn't wear
makeup or have a hair stylist to help them look beautiful. That's in the movies.
Last week when I was in Germany, I heard about a guy who wrote over 70 western
novels about a character named "Old Shatterhand". The author wrote all of these
fantastic best selling novels before ever coming to the United States. The books
themselves are filled with errors, but still sell even today and are wildly popular.
As one person said "A lot of Germans have never read the Bible, but they all have
read about Old Shatterhand".
Last week, we saw some movie about Robin
Hood….you guessed it, everyone has rotten teeth, walking in ankle deep mud, wearing
clothes that look like they came out of flour sacks. No color, everyone seems
to be suffering from scurvy. Again, movie stuff. The truth was that during the
Middle Ages, most people were in fairly good health since they were eating fairly
decent healthy food. They were about the same sizes as we are today and they had
color woven into fairly decent clothing. It wasn't until the 1600's and the growth
of the cities that the health of those living in the cities began to decline and
people began to get smaller due to poor nutrition. So much for the media. We are
so easily fooled.
But, think about it. It isn't just us. Look at the commercials
for dog and cat food. In one cat food commercial I just saw, the food is being
cooked and looks like it is being served at some five star restaurant. Then it
gets set down on the floor and a little silver bell causes Fluffy to rush into
the room to dine on the gourmet presentation.
Consider this. If animals
are color blind, then why do we make their meals look like red meat or fresh fish?
Why do we pass out bags of tuna shaped or bone shaped dry food? Do we think they
can look at this and say to themselves…"Hum, this looks like a bone so it must
be one. Or hey this piece of tuna tastes kind of dry. What's this about?" No,
I bet you could dye your cat and dog food green or yellow and they wouldn't know
the difference or even care. They just want something to eat. The advertising
people know that unless it looks like something we humans would eat, it won't
I suppose the point of all of this is to say you really can't trust
everything you see or hear to be the truth, but then we all know that's a fact.
It's a hard world out there, isn't it?
© Peary Perry
From North America >
September 7, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers