Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Lone Star had a Clint Eastwood marathon on Christmas day. And of course "The good, the bad and the ugly" was a prime time attraction. My husband is a huge fan of this movie. Huge. Never misses an opportunity to watch it, yet again. So I sat through the first 45 minutes with him and then I commented that I really really don't get this movie. I mean, why is it called "The good, the bad and the ugly"? since all three protagonists are bad. They are all greedy, villainous, conniving criminals. A more accurate title would have been: "The bad, the worse, and the worst". Of course it doesn't quite have the same poetic appeal of its given title. But it does make an ironic case for moral relativism, doesn't it? In the land of the bad, the scoundrel who manages, despite his greed, to keep his word to other villains, is considered good.

It's the same type of relativism we find in such proverbs as:

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed person is king.


Even a fool, who keeps his silence, may be considered wise.


The king's dog is king among dogs.

Man With No Name: You may run the risks, my friend, but I do the cutting. We cut down my percentage - uh, cigar? - liable to interfere with my aim.

Tuco: But if you miss you had better miss very well. Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Tuco.

From: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, 1966.

PS. Interesting that in the Italian title, the ugly precedes the bad. It might indicate a certain awareness of the gradation in lack of virtue that I pointed to.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home