Comcast OnDemand is running Blown Away
in the free movie section this month. As cheesy and full of plot holes as that movie is, I have a soft spot in my heart for it. Once upon a time, in my previous life, I lived on a sailboat in the Charlestown Navy Yard. One day someone towed a rickety old Russian fishing trawler into one of the abandoned dry docks and proceeded to tear down the superstructure straight down to the bare hull. One drunken night early in the retrofitting Marty and I snuck onto it. It was pretty disappointing, there was nothing to see. Eventually there would be something to see. The boat was rebuilt as a hollow balsawood and aluminum shell full of alcohol and dynamite and finally towed across the harbor to where they eventually blew it up.
Boston was abuzz with motion picture magic all summer. It was no secret that eventually that boat would be blown up for the movie. At first rumors were that it would be towed out of the harbor for the final scene. Luckily those rumors were less accurate then a drunk in a bar. One Friday after work, I came home and there were all these helicopters buzzing around the mouth of the Mystic. I knew it was going to be the day and I knew they were waiting for magic hour
. I called my girlfriend
and we waited at the end of the dock, less then 100 yards from ground zero. A horn went off then silence. Then fire 100 feet high, the water in the harbor flattened out we heard it at the exact moment we felt the heat and shock.
Blown Away, despite it's hokey story and plot holes and location anomalies* works because not too long ago the IRA really did make bombs out of their own urine in an attempt to drive the English out of Ireland. For much of the 70's and 80's the Irish engaged in terrorist activities against an oppressive occupying foreign army. Unlike the Middle East, they were right next door and close enough to bring their terrorist bombs into sleepy English towns like Ulster, Manchester and London. What did those smarmy Brits do about it? Maggie Thatcher tried to use them as an excuse to scare her subjects into submission and when that didn't work she sent double agents into the IRA to step up the terror. (Try Googling for "Stakeknife")
The thing is, those common Brits didn't just bend over and cry like a French woman in a Merchant Ivory film on The Hallmark Channel. They did the only clear and sane thing to do. They ignored it. They went about their lives like a bomb wasn't going to explode and kill dozens or hundreds of them at random. The terror didn't work. Maggie never quite got the rise out of her populace that she craved.
I wish we had the balls that those every day, ordinary Brits did. Maybe then we wouldn't be so easy to push around.
Maybe then we'd demand less nanny-state and more Liberty. Or maybe we really do deserve neither Liberty or Safety.
(*Why would the Boston Bomb Squad respond to a call in Cambridge? They are two separate cities with their own police forces.)