Friday, July 17, 2015

In Retrospect, I Kind of Blame the People of the Mountain

So many years ago, back in the halcyon age before the Internet (and computers for that matter...) I had a grade school teacher who was a bit of a hippie. 

Regularly at school assemblies he would bring his guitar and we would all sing songs along the line of 'If I Had a Hammer', and 'Leaving on a Jet Plane', with the lyrics written on huge sheets of white paper in the front of the school gymnasium. 

One of Mr. Case (for that was his name)'s standards was 'One Tin Soldier'. For those unfamiliar with the song in question, you can review it here*

*As presented in The Legend of Billy Jack**

**I'm not going to even attempt to explain The Legend of Billy Jack

Now, the song is a pretty straightforward 70s peace anthem swaddled in vaguely Tolkien-esque middle-ages village imagery*

*If you could fit the entire 70s into a giant stock pot and let it boil for a very long time, it would eventually reduce to something not unlike the song 'One Tin Soldier'

So the basic story is this - We have the Mountain people who supposedly have a 'treasure'. We also have the Valley people who live next door and would very much like to swing by and borrow a cup of treasure. The Valley people send a polite note requesting the treasure, the mountain people send a deliberately vague note back, and so the valley people slaughter the mountain people and discover that the treasure is, in actual point of fact, the words 'Peace on Earth', which are for some reason know only to the mountain people hidden under a rock.

Now, as a kid I readily accepted that this was a story about bad valley people who killed their neighbors, but looking back on it now I can't help but think that the Mountain people have to take at least some of the blame for the whole situation. I mean, I don't want to blame the victim here, but let's take a look at how easily the whole situation could have been cleared up by having the following simple conversation-

 Hey, we've heard you have a bunch of treasure. 
The 411 is that it's tons of gold. We'd like you to give it to us.
 FYI, we're totes willing to kill for it.

I'm sorry, what?  We couldn't hear you over our enormous beards

Your tons of golden treasure.  Please give it to us. 

Oh... I totally see where the miscommunication here is.  
We don't actually have literal treasure like gold or silver or anything like that.  
When we say treasure we're talking about a 
metaphoric representation of peaceful coexistence.  

You what now?

 We wrote the words 'Peace on Earth' under a rock. See?  Look, you can totally see it.

Why would you even do that?

It's ... like.. a metaphor.

Why did you put it under a rock?

Because shut up, that's why.

Why are we even a part of this conversation?

Oh CHRIST, not them again.  Screw this, we're going home.

See?  Totally cleared the situation up and nobody had to get slaughtered even a little bit.

Honestly, it's like the Mountain People wanted to get wiped out.

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