FIE ON FOPPISHNESS

Look here, I wish to passionately protest the return, in movies such as "Braveheart" and others, of the depiction of Englishmen as spineless wankers and despots. I mean, I'm not going to boycott anything or march and carry placards, but I am writing this letter and for an Englishman that's pretty bloody passionate.

I had thought that Hugh Grant had re-established the Englishman onscreen as, yes, essentially spineless, but nonetheless charming and a damned good chap.

There was a time when an Englishman on the silver screen was a dashing and full-blooded fellow. King Henry II in "The Lion in Winter," Robin Hood and James Bond come to mind. Granted, they were played by an Irishman, an Australian and a Scotsman, but dammit, that's not the point.

Every so often a Mel Gibson or a Jim Sheridan ("In the Name of the Father") or a Richard Attenborough ("Gandhi") comes along wanting to make some kind of tedious point about how the English raped and pillaged the Scots, Irish or Indians and robbed them of their freedom. I'm sorry, all right?

But that's no excuse for the vicious stereotyping of Englishmen as foppish swines. I may have gone up a mountain here only to climb down a molehill, but if this sort of stuff continues I shall be forced to write another letter.

RAY BENNETT

Los Angeles

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