Watched “Les Miserables” last night. Hugo described his novel as “a progress between good and evil, from injustice to justice…. Even after bad reviews when it first opened, the musical went on to become the 4th longest running Broadway musical. I’ve never been much of a musical buff and when I was a NY talent agent had to go to “Les Mis” several times to see clients. So I grudgingly sat down to watch it. But like every time, half way through I get sucked into the revolutionary fervor. The whole idea at the start of the musical of Valjean being imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family is unjust. Stealing by the nasty innkeeper is juxtaposed against stealing for someone else’s good. The film resonates also because of this fantasy of revolution and how the young and gorgeous take to the barricades to fight for justice.
But this particular revolution was largely forgotten until Hugo used it for his novel. When people talk on the blogs of “taking to the streets”, they have a vision of Liberty carrying the red flag amongst beautiful blondes. But in reality most revolutions are much more mundane. But an image is important and I now have a image of a brave young man, Aaron Swartz taking on the Bourbons and their Javerts of today. Right now there is an empty chair in the cafe where Aaron should be. But with people like Ian Welsh still at the table in the corner of that cafe talking about ways to right the wrongs, the mundane and ordinary work of revolution goes on.