Marianne. 20-something Sapphic reprobate; computer programmer and part-time adventuress by day, nerd heroine by night. Blog contains 100% Les Misérables and Les Mis-adjacent history geeking by volume. For Marvel, Doctor Who, other fandoms, and eye candy of various kinds, see my everything-but-Les-Mis sideblog, shinelikethunder.
Probably would need tell the brocialists to stfu. I may not follow them to revolution but I might follow them to other places… … … You know like a bed… Because I want to sleep with like 3 of them… … … yeppp.
Creeping myself out.
The only survivor then goes on to embrace his upper class life
“is this simply a game for rich young boys to play?”
…um yeah looks like, sry.
*reaches through time and space to punch Herbert Kretzmer for writing that line into the libretto*
See also: “Do we fight for the right to a night at the opera now?” “They were schoolboys, never held a gun,” “don’t ask me what your sacrifice was for,” etc etc etc. (Even “Do you hear the people sing?” is annoying because…wtf? what are you trying to accomplish?) There is plenty to criticize about Victor Hugo’s original ideas about class and revolutionary action, but he’s super clear that his revolutionaries 1) know what they’re doing 2) are on the right side of history and 3) do have a significant amount of working class coordination/support. They’re not playing a game - they’re consciously giving up their lives, and since they’re well-off and unmarried, they actually have more freedom to engage in symbolic self-sacrifice than most since they don’t have anyone depending on their wages to survive.
“Brocialist” might be a decent descriptor for the guys in the musical, but that’s one way the musical makes me twitch despite my love for it.
ETA: I was super pleased with how the film changed the above line to “Is this simply a game for a rich young boy to play?” because it turns the general question into Enjolras specifically calling out Marius. And yeah, if anyone is the rich kid who don’t know exactly what he’s trying to accomplish here, it’s Marius.
OK I was curious. Because this seems to really mess with bookfans reading of the musical, which sans book is almost impossible to read as fully sincere.
Huh. Did the musical writers just do what musical/movie writers do and oversimplify so much as to gut the thing they were using, or…?
I think there’s actually an extent to which the musical intentionally tries to make the revolutionaries less, ya know, revolutionary and more just tragic idealistic kids. see the lines like “they were schoolboys, never held a gun / fighting for a new world that would rise up like the sun / where’s that new world now the fighting’s done?”, “don’t ask me what your sacrifice was for,” etc. Like, I think it was mostly oversimplification, but with the implicit agenda of downplaying the glorification of all-out street battles against the police.
I am pretty sure the place this actually comes from is that the original French musical was written in 1980—Boublil & Schönberg were of the generation that produced the May 1968 student uprising, which really WAS a bunch of hippie students getting in over their heads and fighting for they-knew-not-what. So the musical, twelve years on, is written with the same vaguely condescending affection we’d reserve for, IDK, a bunch of starry-eyed idealists circa Y2K talking about how the information superhighway was going to end censorship and surveillance the world over. Now transpose that condescending affection onto a musical about, say, a failed attempt to invent a practical printing press, and voilà—a recipe for INSTANT RAGE from anyone whose frame of reference is the original event rather than the one the author is disillusioned about.