MANTECAL, Venezuela - Hugo Chavez is driving across the plains of Venezuela, raving about a Hollywood film in which the enslaved hero rises up to challenge the emperor of Rome.
"'Gladiator' — What a movie! I saw it three times," the president tells an Associated Press reporter traveling with him in a Toyota 4Runner, along with his daughter and a state governor. "It's confronting the empire, and confronting evil. ... And you end up relating to that gladiator."
The parallel is unstated but clear. To Chavez, the United States is the empire, and he is the protagonist waging an epic struggle to bring justice to the oppressed of Venezuela and the world.
Oh yeah. I can see the resemblance immediately.
Need I say more?
Nah, let's just gaze at Russell for awhile, shall we?