Light your torch! (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)
Columnist

An angry mob, having learned that a Beast lives near their village in rural France, 18th century

GASTON AND VILLAGERS: We’re not safe until he’s dead.

First off, there are many ways to die that are not directly related to beast attacks! (See chart.) But it is an observed fact that rates of beast attacks approach zero as the number of beasts approaches zero. So there is a factual basis for this approach.

He’ll come stalking us at night. Set to sacrifice our children to his monstrous appetite.

Although the Beast has not been spotted “stalking” anyone around the village, he is more nocturnally and crepuscularly active than diurnally. There are no recorded instances of him sacrificing children to his monstrous appetite, however, making this claim somewhat direr than the situation warrants.

He’ll wreak havoc on our village if we let him wander free! So it’s time to take some action, boys! It’s time to follow me.

This is a prescriptive rather than a descriptive statement. There are many times when taking action could be appropriate. However, based on the Beast’s habits, night would be a more appropriate time than otherwise to make an attack on his redoubt, thus making this not entirely incorrect.

Through the mist, through the woods, through the darkness and the shadows, it’s a nightmare, but it’s one exciting ride. Say a prayer, then we’re there at the drawbridge of a castle and there’s something truly terrible inside.

Slightly misleading. A lot depends on the length of the prayer. The Lord’s Prayer takes less than a minute to say, an unrealistic length of time for a party of this size to arrive at the Beast’s Castle. However, a longer prayer — for instance, the Nicene Creed — if said at a slow rate with responses, might actually last for the duration of the journey.

It’s a beast! He’s got fangs, razor-sharp ones! Massive paws, killer claws for the feast.

Based on grind angle and hardness (on the Rockwell scale) alone, razors are actually much sharper than the fangs of any beast, simply based on the angle. So this claim is somewhat misleading.

Hear him roar, see him foam, but we’re not coming home till he’s dead! (Good and dead!) Kill the Beast!

That being dead is good is a claim made by many philosophers (“Call no man happy until he dies,” Herodotus), so this checks out.

Light your torch, mount your horse, screw your courage to the sticking place; we’re counting on Gaston to lead the way!

Gaston knows the way to the castle.

Call it war, call it threat. You can bet they all will follow, for in times like this, they’ll do just as I say.

Historically, this has been substantiated! (See chart.)

There’s a beast running wild, there’s no question. But I fear the wrong monster’s released. Sally forth! Tally ho! Grab your sword, grab your bow! Praise the Lord and here we go! We don’t like what we don’t understand; in fact it scares us.

Studies show this to be accurate.

And this monster is mysterious at least.

Is the monster so mysterious? We have information about his fangs, habits and residence. However, he is still surrounded by a great deal of speculation. Mostly true.

Bring your guns, bring your knives. Save your children and your wives!

Some villagers are childless or lack spouses, making this statement — although not untrue — not entirely comprehensive.

We’ll save our village and our lives! We’ll kill the Beast! Hearts ablaze, banners high —

We can see from footage that banners are raised high.

We go marching into battle unafraid although the danger’s just increased. Raise the flag, sing the song. Here we come: We’re 50 strong, and 50 Frenchmen can’t be wrong.

At first blush, the statement that “50 Frenchmen can’t be wrong” seems obviously untrue. However, going through historical French missteps — the Maginot Line, the French Revolution, Louis XIV — one quickly notices that the number of Frenchmen involved was greater or fewer than 50, making this claim hard to rate.

Let’s kill the Beast! Kill the Beast! Kill the Beast!

This is the chorus again.

The Bottom Line: In this stirring speech, Gaston and the villagers paint perhaps an unduly bleak portrait of what the village faces, including some claims that, while factual, are insufficiently comprehensive, and others that are substantially inaccurate, but on the whole they correctly articulate a strategy for combating the identified threat. TWO TORCHES 🔥🔥

Belle, a villager, responding to the angry mob, 18th century

BELLE: No, you can’t! I won’t let you do this!

Belle has no authority to permit or prevent this from happening.

The Bottom Line: This claim is misleading. EIGHT TORCHES 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

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