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On a cold day in March 1314 in front of the
Notre Dame Cathedral, Templar Grand Master Jacques De Molay was slowly burned
alive at the behest of the Holy Mother Church under pressure from King Philippe
IV. He refused to confess to any crime or heresy, even to spare his own life.
It is said that as the flames engulfed his body, he laid a curse upon the
family of King Philippe IV. He swore the king would be called to stand before
God before the year was out, and so it was that Philippe died within that same
In the 16th century, the Valois dynasty of
France, descendants of Philippe, were nearly completely wiped from history over
the course of 30 years by a series of mysterious deaths, murders and
assassinations. Many remembered the legend of De Molay and his curse. Centuries
later in 1789, Louis XVI—the last living descendent of Philippe—was put to the
guillotine. Just as the blade fell and parted the disgraced monarch’s head from
his body, it is said a strange man leapt upon the scaffold, swept up a handful
of the king’s blood and flung it upon the crowd. As he did so, he is said to
have announced: “Jacques De Molay, thou art avenged!”
This is what the history books tell us. Or
at least the kind of history books that people who consider Dan Brown
nonfiction might read.
So too has the vengeance of Bandito Video
come to the Blockbuster dynasty.
In September 2011, Blockbuster Canada shut
its doors for the last time. The once-mighty empire that ground all in its path
under its marching jackboots fell to the poison pill all those it conquered had
planted inside it. Consumers thought they wanted all that convenience, but just
like the Templars, there was a cabal of consumers who would reject the
Blockbuster model and drive the market in the direction that would inevitably
lead to the collapse of the giant. People who wanted what they had before the
homogeny of the Blockbuster experience.
So permit me to officially scatter some
popcorn at the assembled virtual crowd and shout, “Bandito Video, thou art
Video store of my coming of age, video
store that made me love movies (see my previous blog here)…your
enemy is finally put to the sword.
The Toronto Star did a wonderful photo
essay on the end of Blockbuster, which you can see here.
http://photogallery.thestar.com/1058698 I said I wouldn’t celebrate, and I
won’t, but I can’t suppress a sense of satisfaction on behalf of Bandito and a
thousand other video outlets, on behalf of the dreams of the people who owned
them. The bastards got a taste of their own for once. Thou art avenged.
To celebrate apocalyptic endings and the
growth of new beginnings this week, I’d like to present New Zealand filmmaker
Rowan Strang’s THE END. I love the TWILIGHT ZONE vibe of this one. I think it
sums up my feelings on the death of Blockbuster very nicely: Out of death can
come new life. From the corpse of the media giant, the New Flesh is nourished.
Bloody Blogs -
Long Live the New Flesh
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