I can’t resist posting this.
There are a lot of after market gizmos and gadgets that one can use to bling-up?… pimp?… one’s 1911 (“Nineteen-Eleven”), that classic, US military issue pistol to which so many (I am not one of them) are dedicated even today.
At War History Online I saw a post about “sweetheart grips” for those 1911s.
The piece begins with the observation that for all time soldiers have tweaked and personalized their gear, such as the sculpted body armor of the Romans.
Soldiers have always carried with them images of their loved ones, whether painted, sketched, silhouettes, miniatures, engraved, photographic. They’d tuck them in here and there.
It seems that during WW2, with the advent of plexiglas, GI Joe made custom grips for his 1911 with photos of his sweetheart back home. Here is a closeup of pistol handle with a photo of Lt. John Ernser’s girlfriend. He, 26, was an officer engaged in attacks on German fortification positions at the Italian front.
The article has quite a few photos of these grips. They could use pieces of broken plastic windows from bombers, gun turrets, vehicles, etc. Plexiglas was invented in 1928 and marketed in 1933.
The piece says that in the movie Fury, Brad Pitt has a 1911 with a sweetheart grip. A little touch of authenticity.
Speaking of movies, what popped into my mind was the clever gun bling used in the extremely strange, postmodern movie version of Romeo + Juliet (UK HERE) by the extremely strange Bas Luhrmann (whose cell should be faaaaarrrr down the hall, far far from Tarantino’s). In a modern Mexico City like setting, Luhrmann used Shakespeare’s texts without a lot of changes. From the opening scene you know you are in for a bizarre ride. Shakespeare writes merely that there is a fight. Zeffirelli turned it into 10 minutes of total city riot. Luhrmann puts it at an exploding gas station. Updating. Right?
Back to gun bling. When it comes time for Benvolio to tell Tybalt to “put up thy sword”, he is talking about his 9mm made by Sword. There are 9mm Daggers and Rapiers, too. Montague calls for his “Longsword”, obviously a rifle. Obviously, this is Shakespeare. They are all carrying swords, daggers and rapiers, right?
Some of the weapons they all carry (like Latino gang members) are rather spiffed up. It is pretty clever naming them to match the original text. Another example of clever is when meddling Friar Lawrence tries in vain to send word to exiled Romeo about his Blackadder-worthy “cunning plan”: he goes to the office of Post Haste Dispatch where he fills out the necessary forms and label. There is even a Post Haste truck and driver trying in vain to make a delivery to the star-crossed lover in the dusty outback of Mantua. He left notices on the door of Romeo’s trash-trailer.
As you know Balthasar beats the delivery guy, who just barely misses his chance to put the missive into Romeo’s hand before he jumps into his dusty junker and roars back to fair Verona. Ah, the pathos.
Zeffirelli used a pate-shaved friar with a donkey against Balthasar’s swift steed.
You see, improved technology doesn’t help in tragedies. As Lady Philosophy suggests to Boethius, when Fortune’s wheel turns, you are pretty much screwed.
Romeo himself cries out after killing Tybalt, “I am fortune’s fool!” The Bard knew all too well about the well-established trope of Fortune and her wheel, and would have known Boethius, too. Lady Philosophy explained that, well, of course we are screwed, for its the nature of Fortune to be fickle. We can’t count on it. However, she also explains that the goods of fortune are not true goods. HAH! Tell that to hormone-addled Romeo. Shakespeare employs the Wheel of Fortune several times. If memory serves, in King Lear Kent gripes about it when he is in the stocks and Bardolph whines about it in Henry V. And there’s
Paul VI … Hamlet who mopes around about the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. But I digress.
There are lots of other clever things in the Luhrmann version. For example, when Balthasar tells the Capulets that he saw Romeo “underneath the grove of sycamore”, in the film we find the post-modern R at the mostly ruined old beach-side bandshell called “Sycamore Grove”. There’s all sorts of stuff like this. Does it counterbalance the weirdness? You decide. I am still a little taken aback at the cross-dressing Mercutio. I can say that the way Luhrmann ended his version, in the Capulet vault, was particularly horrifying.
I am not quite sure how I got to this point. But…
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are surely complaining. “You don’t get it. This is the age of post-reason and post-faith! It is the Springtime that we’ve worked for for so many years. This is what we have to do to everything! All the documents of the institutional church have to be reread and deconstructed so that they can more clearly resemble our ever changing times and needs. Look at Amoris chapter 8 as the equivalent of Luhrmann’s revisioning of Shakespeare. Do you get it yet? Look at this post-modern romp as if it were the doctrinal development in CCC 2267. But, no. Cross-dressing is entirely acceptable now. James Martin says so. Who are you to judge?!? You don’t understand any of this, with your backward ways, because clearly YOU HATE VATICAN II!”
C’mon. Get a grip.
Get “sweetheart grips”!
If I had a 1911, I probably would, though I’m not sure what image I’d use. Some of you might complain if I chose the Immaculate Heart, like the character in the movie. Those of you who have 1911s might chime in on your choice for customized grips… and your favorite version of Romeo and Juliet.