From the olden
days of princesses and fire-breathing dragons, to the silent era's villains and
helpless maidens tied to railroad tracks—the men who rescued damsels in
distress served the code of chivalry with honor; honor was its own reward, in
Dragons now are
something of a scarcity it seems, and now more people fly than take the train;
these days danger comes in subtler forms than fire-breathing dragons. Yet
villains are still with us, as are damsels in distress. But chivalry, they say,
is dead, today.
Wars are fought,
perhaps, for honor and for country; the plight of damsels in distress still gives
rise to dragon tales. Men go off to war and die, perhaps, in honor of their
country; sometimes we're as foolish, as we are wise, at other times.
As if it were a
dark and inverse pageant, every year another maiden tears her dress and
conjures up a villain, or feigns distress and simply points a finger. We
read the story daily in the paper, we hear it every hour on the hour; we follow
every line as if possessed.
The press is like a pusher in feeding our obsession,
the networks base the movies on what makes it in the press; what started as a
maiden crying wolf becomes a maiden’s cry for help. We watch every movie, we
follow every line. And every year another damsel tears her skirts and feigns
distress—or burns her hair and calls it dragon-fire.
Each maiden in
this dark and inverse pageant has her own peculiar reasons, but there's a
grander and simpler explanation for everything they do. Damsels tear their skirts and feign distress, men go to war and die—
Because, we ask them to.