Cult of celebrity set in the 1800’s.
The phrase about Robert Ford being a coward strikes me as odd. Everyone in this movie is paranoid. I don’t know if that makes them cowards or not, but every shoulder is being looked over, every person is suspecting and suspected. Paranoia is the key word to the whole world portrayed here. Paranoia and obsession, though what the difference is between those two is hard to decipher. Paranoia is one part of the larger category of obsession. When I prop this movie up beside All About Eve, a classic we just watched last week, I can’t help but notice the fear that many are faced with, 'whether to keep their celebrity or to keep their life'. What do I cling to, to the point of paranoia? Is that only for those in high places?
This “true” story of the murder of Jesse James, tells us that society’s infatuation with crime and criminals is not new. The movie does not really portray Robert Ford to be a coward, I don’t think. He’s more portrayed as an obsessed fan, a glory hound who wants to be someone, anyone.
The word “assassination” is used in the title, and though the word is used to mean killing of a ranking person, here it’s used for the killing of a killer. This was not an accident as the public outcry is also demonstrated to be as though they mourned for a friend, not an uncommon robber and murderer. Robert Ford is not portrayed as much more honourable, but Jesse James turns his back, surrendering life like a coward and lets Ford take him out the “easy way”. Ford gets the label, James the glory.
I was reading in 2 Timothy this week, Paul’s last letter in the New Testament. He is not clinging to his position, he is not holding onto his power, his glory. He desperately wants others to carry the truth on of what he was saying, to the point of even getting Timothy ready for the end of his life to ensure that he was giving to other faithful people the message and ensuring that they all took its continuation as seriously as Paul himself did. And there’s the rub. Holding onto something bigger than “me” keep us from an unnatural fear of everyone is out to get us.