marksmanship, etc.rnThe club’s halcvon years were shorthvcd.rnBy the late 1880’s membershiprnhad dwindled, and the summer picnicsrnwere no longer needed as other forms ofrnentertainment emerged. The club couldrnnot afford rented meeting rooms andrngave its books to the public library. Yet, itrnrallied for funerals of its members, sometimesrnraising funds for their widows. Itrnpurchased four cemctcrv plots and usedrntwo of them. It sent an ill young Scotrnhome to his mother in Peterhead, to herrneternal gratitude. For two decades thernBurns Club teetered on the brink ofrndissolution. One member even suggestedrnthat the annual Burns banquet be discontinued.rnBut each year as January 2 “5rna]3proached, often in just a few das, therncore membership would make the necessaryrnarrangements, and the memory ofrnBurns would be publicly honored.rnBy the turn of the century the club’srnactive members numbered no more thanrna dozen or so, and the only meetingsrnheld were the annual gatherings to planrnthe Burns supper. Then an influx ofrnScottish immigrants to Rockford aboutrn1909 brought new interest in the Burnsrntradition. The membership increased,rnand the January banquets drew up to 300rnguests. Regular appearances by the locallyrnorganized Clan MacAlpine PipernBand added to the colorful pageantry.rnThe Rockford Burns Club experiencedrnlean years during the Great Depression,rnbut was rejuvenated in the yearsrnafter World War II. A new generationrnof postwar leaders expanded the club’srnactivities with the inauguration of arnnewsletter, occasional educational programs,rnand participation in local internationalrnfestivals. A new indirect dimensionrnof the club’s identitv came with thernorganization in 194″5 of the Pipe Band ofrnthe Rockford Scottish Educational Societ”,rnseen as a resurrection of the ClanrnMacAlpine band, which had disbandedrna few vears before. The centennial banquetrnof Januarv 1958 was an extraordinaryrnevent, with speeches, dancing, andrnmusic by the pipe band and invited performers;rnBy the 1970’s, a “Tartan Ball”rnhad become one of the club’s principalrnactivities, and the “Highland Games,”rnwhich had attracted little interest in thernRockford area in the late 1970’s, werernsuccessfully revived this summer.rnFormal membership in the BurnsrnClub was always somewhat amorphous.rnDues were no longer collected by thernend of the 19th centurv, and it is unclearrnwhen the practice resumed. The officersrnhonored the restriction of membershiprnto native Scots and their sons and grandsonsrnmore in the breach, and membershiprnwas usually considered to includernthose who attended Burns Club activities.rnThis changed in 1974, when clubrnofficers amended their constitution tornread: “Membership is open to all personsrninterested in retaining the Scottish Heritagernand the Immortal Memory ofrnRobert Burns.”rnA common custom at Burns banquetsrnaround the world is to begin the activitiesrnby “piping in the haggis” and then recitingrnBurns’ poetic address to this “GreatrnChieftain o’ the Pudden-race.” Almostrnall the Rockford celebrations includedrnthis practice until shortly after WorldrnWir II, when there was a hiatus of severalrnyears. Resumed in 1962, United StatesrnCustoms officials jeopardized the practicernwhen they seized the ordered shipmentrnof the exotic “delicacy” at IdlewildrnAirport on the eve of the January banquet.rnA hurriedly devised substitute hadrnto be prepared, but the challenge ofrnmaking haggis domestically suspendedrnits inclusion until 1983, when it wasrnagain “piped in,” as it has been everrnsince.rnAt the first Rockford Burns Club banquet,rnlocal Judge Anson Miller predictedrnthat the club would celebrate RobertrnBurns’ 2Q0th birthday. His prophecyrncame to pass in 1959, and by that timernthe Burns Club was Rockford’s oldestrnsocial organization in continuous operation.rnNow a few decades into its secondrncentury, local Scots and “would-bernScots” still rally every January to honorrn”the immortal memory” of the bard andrnto enjoy the distinctive pageantry of thisrnScottish tradition. For many it is also arntime to remember their sentimentalrn”hame,” as did Burns himself:rnMy heart’s in the Highlands, myrnheart is not here;rnMy heart’s in the Highlandsrna-chasing the deer;rnA-chasing the wild deer, andrnfollowing the roe—rnMy heart’s in the Highlandsrnwherever I go.rnG. Douglas Nicull is Emeritus CorlisrnProfessor of History at Beloit Collegernand the author of To the ImmortalrnMemory, a history of the RockfordrnBurns Club. He now lives inrnMcMinnrille, Oregon.rnF I L MrnAngry White Malesrnby Michael HillrnBraveheartrnProduced by Mel GibsonrnDirected by Mel GibsonrnScreenplay by Randall WallacernReleased by Paramount PicturesrnIn recent films, “angry white males” arerngenerally portrayed as psychopaths,rnand it is, therefore, almost astonishingrnthat even a good conservative like MelrnGibson should have chosen to make arnmovie on the life of William Wallace.rnWallace in the late 13th century displayedrnall the characteristics deplored byrnour prevailing anti-European, anti-heterosexualrnmale culture. The movie hasrnevoked harsh criticism in New York becausernit appeals to all the things thatrnNew York despises, namely Christian devotion,rnpopulism, patriotism, home rule,rnself-defense, well-defined sex roles, traditionalrnmorality, and self-sacrifice forrna noble cause. Hollywood’s usual condescendingrntreatment of these virtues isrnrefreshingly absent from Braveheart.rnRather, Gibson presents Wallace and thernScots he led as old-fashioned and devoutrnmen. They formed a common, organicrnculture (a “nation” in the Biblical andrnhistorical sense) fighting for kin, community,rnand country against an imperialistrnaggressor (Edward I, played by PatrickrnMcGoohan) and the twin scourges ofrnpolitical centralization and culturalrngenocide. At question was whether Scotlandrnwould be forcibly merged into arnmulticultural Plantagenet empire. It is arnsimple case of good against evil.rnBraveheart is for the most part a historicallyrnaccurate portrayal of Wallace’srnquest for Scottish liberty; however, itrndoes have its fictions: his romance withrnPrincess Isabel of France, the lovestarvedrnwife of the homosexual Prince ofrnWales, the future Edward II; the omissionrnof Andrew de Moray (Murray) andrnseveral other of Wallace’s notable compatriots;rnand the mischaracterization ofrnRobert Bruce as a weakling. Other inac-rnNOVEMBER 1995/45rnrnrn