The Berserker: When “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson”

His life’s story has been the subject of one Cecil B. DeMille theatrical film, 1949’s Samson and Delilah starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr in the title roles, which was remade twice on TV, the first in 1984 (with Mature doing a cameo as Samson’s father) and another in 1996 (which featured Dennis Hopper, Michael Gambon and Elizabeth Hurley); Delilah tends to get more screen time in the films than she does in the original story. There’s also an operatic version by French composer Camille Saint Sa (the source of the popular concert piece “Bacchanal”), and an oratorio by George Frederic Handel. And not just him. Sadly, a whole heap of Biblical Israel’s heroes and leaders turn out to have their own terrible flaws. Badass Israeli: The most badass of them all. Batman Gambit: As he didn’t start out a paragon of virtue, one could see God blessing Samson with super strength as this. A super strong skirt chaser could do some damage. However, God being omniscient, already knew it would pan out to His advantage. The Berserker: When “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson”, massive body counts ensued. Bitter Sweet Ending: Samson himself died, but at least his Heroic Sacrifice freed his people by breaking the Philistines. Bond One Liner: “With the jawbone of a jackass, I have made jackasses out of them.” In the original Hebrew, Samson is making a pun on the similar sound of the words for “donkey” and “heap” (of bodies); a closer translation might be “With the jawbone of an ass, I have heaped them in a mass.” The DeMille film specifies that donkeys’ skulls and jawbones were used by court jesters. One is present at Samson’s arrest at Etam to mock his “defeat”. Samson uses his donkey skull. Lots of “ass” jokes in these scenes as the Saran of Gaza realizes how this is going to make his empire look to the rest of the world. Saran. Lord Athur! Military Governor of Dan! Prince of Philistia! Emir of Armies! Beaten with the jawbone of an ”’ASS!”’. Are you a soldier, or a clown commanding fools?

Discworld: Before Ridcully became Archchancellor of Unseen University, wizardry worked on a Klingon Promotion system: Wizards only moved up in by defeating one of greater rank, while also fending off attacks from rivals at their own level and from wizards of lower rank (with the Archchancellor being chosen by the most powerful wizards). Ridcully, being younger, more savvy and simply impossible to kill, changed the system so wizards now write passive aggressive memoes to each other; just as fun, and less dangerous, than waiting around the corner with a loaded fireball. Mab’s Professional Killer), he encounters a number of difficulties. He already knew he was in for a hard time dealing with Mab’s Deadly Decadent Court (if there’s one thing the faeries enjoy, it’s court intrigue) but in Cold Days Mab tries to kill him over seventy times while he’s going through physical therapy (okay, it’s Mab’s idea of Training from Hell, but still), and he later discovers that the Winter Knight’s powers don’t increase the damage his body can take so much as make him not realize he’s taking it.

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