Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Zorro has come to save our village! ...

My favorite television show when I was seven years-old -- seen on a black-and-white set shared by most of the neighborhood where I lived in Havana, Cuba -- was "The Adventures of Zorro."

I was conviced that this profound drama was easily superior to any other work of art because it featured a horse, sword fights and a pretty blond lady who always kissed Zorro at the end of each episode. It still seems to me that these are the most important ingredients of the good life, especially the horse.

I decided then that, when I grew up (an event which is bound to happen some day!), I would become Zorro. I even acquired an outfit for the role. However, I have since come to accept that this cannot be. Not that I won't grow up, but that I'll get to be Zorro. For one thing, my glasses are difficult to wear under a mask. Besides, I suffer from allergies. Zorro often cannot pause to use an inhaler or take medication. Neither Woody Allen nor I will ever be hired to play Zorro. I consider this yet another example of cosmic injustice.

There is a boyish side to most men. The unhealthiest reaction to this aspect of our natures is the overcompensation of some super-macho types who decide -- in what must be the most childish behavior of all -- to destroy what they cannot control. This often leads to violence against women and powerless people around them. The ability to laugh at oneself, being comfortable with our emotions and enthusiasms, is what allows for genuine maturity and adult behavior when it is needed.

Jon Stewart's wit and charm should not cause anyone to doubt than Mr. Stewart feels what I feel about Nazis. If either of us were placed in a situation where conflict with Nazi-like figures were necessary, neither of us would hesitate to do what is necessary -- even if we would find something to laugh about afterwards. I bet Jon Stewart likes Zorro movies.

I am a fan of Zorro movies and all sword fight adventure stories. I also love the great Hollywood Biblical costume dramas that Gore Vidal describes, uncharitably, as "tits and sand" movies. And he ought to know, since he wrote "Ben Hur." (I was working on a sequel to be called, "Ben Him.")
The latest Zorro movie is in previews this week. I plan to see it, eventually, so I tuned in to the "Hollywood Extra" show where the stars appeared for the preview. Antonio Banderas -- who does a great job as Zorro -- was there with his wife, the alluring Melanie Griffith (who is even more beautiful, to me, than Catherine Zeta-Jones). Ms. Griffith was asked whether Antonio ever came home wearing the Zorro costume from the movie set.

Ms. Griffith smiled and said in that wonderful, kittenish voice of hers: "... I'll never tell."

My guess is that she wins the sword fights in that family.


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