At some point during Shoot Your Heroes Week here at PFC, I had an exchange with Eric Baker in our incestuous comments section that led me to remember the time I crossed the Rann of Kutch in a rickety van in search of the secret temple sacred to the hijras, the notorious eunuchs of India.
Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton became the one and only hero I’d ever had around page one hundred of Edward Rice’s superlative best-selling biography of him, which I read when it first came out in the early 90s. This is the kind of man I would have tried to become had I been a Victorian with the sort of linguistic and scholarly brilliance with which he was blessed. Burton was a character far more extraordinary than his contemporary Rudyard Kipling in many respects; he didn’t just dream of the Indian subcontinent and the British Raj in poems and novels, he lived it, playing the Great Game to the very edge of brinksmanship with a level of chutzpah I aspire to.
This isn’t another review of The Avengers, but it is part of our impromptu Shoot Your Heroes Week here at PFC. While I’m not sure exactly what that means, I think it sounds rather dramatic and subversive enough to be one of our themes. Perhaps it will one of many, or perhaps this will be the first and last.
‘Shoot Your Heroes’ comes from the fact I’ve only had two heroes in my life, one of whom—a producer I admired more than any other in the business—I ended up wanting to kill after she tried unsuccessfully to fuck me over by poaching my investors on a film. The other, Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, died in 1890, but I’m pretty sure I would have want to shoot him, too, at some point.