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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/14/10

Robin Hood today

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Message Robert O'Connor
Robin Hood has gone through several changes over the centuries. But two of the most common plots associated with him have been foiling the tax-happy pretender-to-the-throne John and his stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

Ridley Scott's upcoming film has been criticized by progressives as a "love letter to the tea partiers." The tea partiers have dismissed these criticisms and focused on star Russel Crowe's comments about Wall Street and media consolidation.

The City Pages article which criticizes the film notes that Robin Hood rallies his merrymen by making vague speeches about liberty. Much like his earlier film "Gladiator," Scott has a main character (also played by Russel Crowe) who has the truth and will fight to the end to see it triumph. Personally, I think we could use more films like Scott's masterpiece "Blade Runner" - made 18 years before "Gladiator" - in which the main character questions and ultimately rejects the "truths" of his world and settles for the right, if not necessarily better, opinion.

Robin Hood in Scott's film, if City Pages is correct, emphasizes the anti-tax rhetoric of the typical Robin Hood story. Robin Hood in the film is described as coming from "humble" beginnings, which is a change from the Robin Hood of most recent media. Robin Hood has often been portrayed as a Lord who has lost his title and spends the story fighting to regain it from John. Tea partiers may recognize this comparison in their (wealthy) leaders saying they fight for the common man, but in fact have their own agendas.

But what about the Robin Hood who "stole from the rich and gave to the poor?" Now this is where things get interesting. While the Robin Hood who fought against tax-happy John could be a tea party hero, the Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor is a tea party (or at least a conservative) bogeyman.

Bill O'Reilly used the name pejoratively to both then-Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama when they were running for President. He was referring to a progressive income tax. O'Reilly has elsewhere described it, more crudely as "taking my money and giving it to people who don't deserve it."

Would Robin Hood be loved by tea partiers of today, or hated? Just like other famous figures, it depends on how you present them.
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Robert O'Connor is a journalist from St. Paul, Minnesota. His work has been published by the Chi-Town Daily News, Newcity Chicago, The New Indian Express, the Twin Cities Daily Planet and others. He's also worked in radio at Radio K (University of (more...)
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