"Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the thundering hoof beats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again!"
This antiseptic version of how the West was won came to me every Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. It sustained me throughout my childhood and many times, at the insistence of my parents, I would have to glue my ear to the radio because I tended to raise the volume when Rossini's William Tell Overture and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture played in the background to the introduction above. The little appreciation I have for classical music I owe to the Lone Ranger. My moral code was also developed during those half-hour episodes. To this day, I have no problem identifying the bad guys — namely those that don't agree with me!
Religious inferences appeared throughout the episodes. The Ranger himself assumed a divine nature as he glared over the empty landscape mythefied by the landscape painters of the early 1830s. Always impeccably dressed and squeaky clean even after wallowing in the mud, the Ranger with his white hat and white horse are reminiscent of other biblical connotations. Not surprising since the executive producer, once aspired to become a minister. In the 40s the U.S. was fighting an ideological battle with the "godless" communists.
The West became the Promised Land of the Old Testament. The Pilgrims, who arrived in 1620 viewed the land as their special gift from God. They were God's chosen people and this land belonged to them. This was "their" home to which they were returning. And so began the myth of "how the West was won" — kept alive only by the tourist industry and until the recent Disney movie, by Hollywood.
Enter Gore Verbinski's version of the Lone Ranger now playing in your local cinemas. This Disney film, would you believe, is not recommended for children given its extremely violent graphics. Told from Tonto's point of view (after all, he was there) the story peels away one myth after another, starting with the "white man's burden", bringing the Anglo-Saxon's "gift for governing" to the barbarians of the world. Tonto is no longer the servile "apprentice white man". The Ranger, although politically correct for its time is inherently racist in that natives are seen as not capable of surviving without the assistance of the Euro-Americans. White supremacy at its height, reflecting the Freemasonry Republican leanings of the first executive producer.
I can't blame many of my friends who refuse to see this film because of the violence or who want to maintain their "innocence". Most of my friends are educated people and I'm sure they understand reality as opposed to pop culture. I think Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski have done more to influence public opinion than any of the revisionist historians that Republicans love to hate. As for me, I have only one question: "who was that masked man?"