No Doubt, No Benefit

Every­thing you nev­er knew about Clint East­wood’s invis­i­ble tiara.

I’m a suck­er for tear-jerk­er chick flicks.

Like Clint East­wood’s Unfor­giv­en, for instance.

I’m a typ­i­cal guy in many ways, of course. I got misty-eyed with joy when Clint East­wood killed Gene Hack­man right in the face.1 And I got down­right lachry­mose when Gene Hack­man took Richard Har­ris’ gor­geous nick­el-plat­ed, pearl-han­dled plat­ed Colt .45 Peace­mak­er and bent the bar­rel into a horseshoe.

But that’s not the tear-jerk­ing part.

Cuts Like a Knife

If you’ve nev­er seen Unfor­giv­en, here’s the Clif­f’s Notes:

Delilah, a pros­ti­tute in the old West, makes the mis­take of gig­gling at a clien­t’s minus­cule man­hood, so he proves to her it’s big­ger than she thought by carv­ing her face up with a Bowie knife. Because Hum­mers haven’t been invent­ed yet.

Delilah’s pros­ti­tute friends pool their mon­ey and put out the word that they’ll pay $1,000 to any­one who kills Big Dick Lit­tle­john­son, or what­ev­er the bad guy’s name is.

Said word even­tu­al­ly gets to William Munny, one-time train rob­ber and Killer of Women and Chil­dren.2 Munny’s been on the wag­on ever since his dear depart­ed wife got him to join AMWOA3 and change his evil ways, baby. But stay­ing on the straight and nar­row isn’t feed­ing Munny’s kids, so Munny and his friends decide maybe a cou­ple cow­boys with their brains in their dicks don’t have any use for either, and maybe they just ough­ta be put down.

Munny and two friends get to town just in time for the sher­iff to beat Munny half to death and near­ly shoot his friends. They hide out on a ranch out­side of town while Munny heals up.

One morn­ing Delilah brings her sliced-up face out to the ranch with some gro­ceries to feed Munny’s beat­en-up face. And she broach­es the sub­ject of Munny’s friends get­ting free ones.

Free whats? Munny wants to know (jump ahead to :50):

We just met and this is crazy, but here’s some beef jerky. Call me maybe?

Would you like a free one?” Delilah asks shyly.

No. I guess not,” stam­mers William Munny, Killer of Women and Children™.

Delilah has­tens to add, “Oh, I did­n’t mean with me. Alice and Silky (two of the oth­er pros­ti­tutes) would be glad to give you a free one if you want.”

Munny final­ly real­izes there’s more than a clum­sy propo­si­tion going on here and says, “I did­n’t mean I did­n’t want a free one on account of you bein’ cut up. What I said before, how I might look like you, I did­n’t mean you was ugly like me. I only meant how we both got scars.

You’re a beau­ti­ful woman, an’ if I was to want a free one, I guess I’d want you more than them oth­er two. It’s just I can’t on account of my wife.” She’s back home watch­ing the kids, he explains.

Why are all the good ones gay or mar­ried? Delilah thinks. “I admire you for that, bein’ true to your wife,” she says. “I’ve known a lot of men…” — she trails off and they care­ful­ly look away from each oth­er — “…who weren’t.”

Now, what Munny hon­est­ly means, but does­n’t pre­cise­ly say, is that his dead wife’s spir­it is back home watch­ing over his kids — and bed­ding a hook­er just would­n’t hon­or her mem­o­ry. He says just that to some­one else ear­li­er in the movie.

An hon­est mis­take, but so what? Let’s get to the killin’!

Kill Bill. And Skinny and Ned and Andy and Fatty…

And so we do. But part­way through the killin’,  Delilah remarks on Munny’s stay­ing faith­ful to his wife, and Alice replies, “What wife? He ain’t got no wife.”

And Delilah says, “There must be a mistake.”

No, wait — Delilah says, “He looked awful sin­cere. Are you sure?”

Not so fast! She does­n’t say that either. She says noth­ing, in fact, but her face falls, in much the same way Warn­er Broth­ers car­toon char­ac­ters fall through the side­walk when a safe lands on their heads.

I knew it, you can see Delilah think. At least he tried to be polite about it. And she kicks her­self for buy­ing his schtick.

But it was­n’t schtick, and that’s why watch­ing it always breaks my heart.

Munny was lucky enough to have been loved by a good woman, and she changed him. So much so that he learned beau­ty is much more than flaw­less skin or any oth­er arbi­trary phys­i­cal stan­dard. They both had scars, as he said; hers did­n’t make her ugly. When he told Delilah she was beau­ti­ful, he meant it. He was­n’t shin­ing her on.

He’d been lucky, and he knew it. And he could­n’t believe he might actu­al­ly meet some­one else some day. He would­n’t be replac­ing or dis­hon­or­ing his dear depart­ed wife; if he’d thought about it, he would have known she would want him to be hap­py and not mourn her forever.

But he did­n’t think about it. He thought he’d already had all the hap­pi­ness he’d ever have; more than his fair share.

Delilah, on the oth­er hand, dared to believe for just a lit­tle while that maybe Munny was dif­fer­ent from all the men she’d seen come and go.4 In the long run, though, it did­n’t mat­ter. She could­n’t have him; she could­n’t have anyone.

Munny and Delilah both missed the chance to find a soul­mate because they believed the worst about them­selves: Delilah believed no one could love her because she had scars. And Munny’s scars kept him from con­sid­er­ing whether he deserved a chance to ever be hap­py again.

Munny was right, though — Delilah was indeed a beau­ti­ful woman. Big Dick McLit­tle­john­son, or what­ev­er his name was, could­n’t steal it. The only per­son who could steal Delilah’s beau­ty was Delilah her­self. And Delilah saw the beau­ty in in Munny, too.

You can’t give your­self the ben­e­fit of the doubt if you don’t have any doubts. No doubt, no ben­e­fit. Delilah and William Munny, Killer of Women and Chil­dren™, had no doubts that they were ugly and unlove­able and worth­less, and it stole their chance at happiness.

Death to All Marketers

Do me a favor: Go look at your­self in a mir­ror.5 Now, take a deep breath and GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.

Instead of hat­ing what you see, stop and think a moment: Out there is a vast, multi­bil­lion-dol­lar mar­ket­ing indus­try that buries you in an avalanche of shit — all day, every day.

And that indus­try has one goal: To make you unhap­py. All day their mes­sage to you is You’re not attrac­tive enough. You don’t make enough mon­ey. You’re not wear­ing the right clothes. You’re not dri­ving the right car. You are ugly and inadequate.

Not only that, they’re real­ly, real­ly good at slip­ping under your skin into your sub­con­scious­ness and get­ting you to say all these nasty, untrue things to your­self. They’ve spent decade and tril­lions of dol­lars learn­ing how to do it and they get bet­ter all the time.

So today, when you look in the mir­ror, try this — just this once: Look your­self right in the eyes and give that vast mar­ket­ing indus­try a some feed­back. Tell all those ass­hole mar­keters that you’re beau­ti­ful, that you’re not bro­ken, that there’s noth­ing wrong with you and you’re hap­py with your­self just the way you are right now.

Hoist a mid­dle fin­ger at those ass­hole mar­keters and tell ’em: “Not today, motherfuckers!”

You deserve bet­ter. You are bet­ter. Don’t let any­one tell you dif­fer­ent — not even you.

Footnotes

  1. Don’t you love it when you can use stu­pid con­tem­po­rary slang literally?
  2. He gets called that so many times in the movie it sounds like his offi­cial title.
  3. Alco­holic Mur­der­ing Wom­an­iz­er Out­laws Anonymous.
  4. Pun not orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed, but I could­n’t let it pass by once I saw it.
  5. For you younger read­ers, a “mir­ror” is what old farts like me used to use before they invent­ed selfies.