Friday, 22 July 2016

Feminist Films

After the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters opened with a modest starting weekend of $46million, its crazed cheerleaders have hailed it as a wild success. It was reasonably warmly received by critics, but seems to be decidedly lukewarm with actual viewers. Not to mention the fact that it actually seems to be a pretty low start for a film with a production budget of $144million and a further marketing budget of another $100million. The general response, far from the glorious triumph that the wannabes try to portray it as, seems to be: MEH. It is neither a runaway success, nor a flat-out failure.

Still, this hasn't stopped some over-exuberant third-wave feminists from listing which franchises they would like to feminise next. And it just makes me weep with laughter at some of them:
  • Indiana Jones. Yep, that's it - they want a female archaeologist to go around the world, having adventures in deep crypts and fighting bad guys. Apparently, because this hasn't been done before *cough cough* LARA CROFT *cough cough*;
  • Lord of the Rings. Clearly it isn't sufficient to just dick about with popular culture and try to foist feminised comic books on people, feminism now has it in for arguably the greatest work of fiction in the English language, possibly of all time. This would be cultural vandalism;
  • Star Wars. Even though Padme and Leia are two of the most influential and instrumental characters in the entire saga. I mean, come on. Daisy Ridley's acting in Episode VII was good - but the limitation was her character, which showed far too many parallels with Luke;
  • James Bond. Why? Why take an iconic character, whose brutal, borderline psychopathic disdain for just about everyone is his trademark, echoing back to a savage, primal masculinity, and feminise him? You kill everything about the character by turning him into a girl;
  • The Godfather. Again, Mario Puzo's definitive crime drama is made gritty and realistic, dark and foreboding by the unrelenting savagery and cold, calculating murderousness of the Corleone clan. An all-girl cast would lack the intensity, and look like a playground scrap.

I mean, seriously. I genuinely have no problem with films marketed at women - it'd be a stupid film studio who refused to appeal to 50% of all consumers. And if a film studio feels there's a market for women-only action films, then I'm generally minded to shrug my shoulders and think, 'well, let them get on with it.' I mean, it's not like I'm actually going to part with my hard-earned cash to see such things.

But what does piss me off is cultural Marxism - taking films, literature and other media which are well-loved, cornerstone lynchpins of popular culture, and then inverting them simply to make a political point. Okay, I'm not being frog-marched into the cinema to watch the damn things, but it casts a pall over the original, and is accompanied by a constant drip-drip of sly innuendo: you've got to agree with these things or you're a misogynist/racist/homophobe/whatever. It's just so fucking ludicrous that it makes your head spin.

To those who would make some such bleating about 'fragile masculinity', i.e. I'm just a cry-baby because my toys are being taken away, I'd respond as follows:
  1. I am allowed to complain about whatever the fuck I like. That's what living in a free society means. So I won't shut up, I'll moan all I like. Deal with it;
  2. My masculinity is actually none of your business, and I don't care about your wretched opinion. Maybe masculinity is being redefined, but it's not up to you to do it - it's up to us;
  3. Making new things for women doesn't mean you have to piss all over things that men like. By all means, make more women superheroes, spies, fantasy & sci-fi stars. But leave ours alone;
  4. Are you so devoid of creativity that the only thing you can come up with is endless reboots? All you're demonstrating is how utterly bankrupt you are in the marketplace of ideas;
  5. Think about how pathetic these things are. I mean, seriously - imagine there was an all-male reboot of Bridget Jones's Diary. Or a white remake of Roots. You're laughable.
The more you try to jam this shit down men's throats, the more we'll baulk at it. The more we'll disengage from your nonsense. This is a culture war, and you're losing.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Democracy

Since the Referendum on June 23rd, when the UK voted to leave the European Union, British politics has been in a state of upheaval. David Cameron announced his intention to resign, triggering a Tory leadership contest. Boris Johnson was positioned to be the frontrunner, but when Michael Gove failed to support him and instead announced his own leadership bid, Boris stood down. Gove was, in turn, defeated at the second-round vote, and today, Angela Leadsom has pulled out, leaving Theresa May as the only remaining candidate.

Labour MPs passed a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn, which has set the Labour Party on a path to civil war and possible break-up. Angela Eagle has announced her intention to run against Corbyn in a leadership contest - she commands enough support amongst Labour MPs, but possibly not within the wider Labour Party membership, which elected Corbyn with a big majority only 9 months ago.

And this has all been happening against the backdrop of people protesting against the result of the Referendum, and continuing to campaign to remain in the EU. One word seems to fill the air more than any other: democracy.

Remain campaigners say that it's not democratic for us the leave the EU, because less than 50% of the overall population voted for it. This is a fairly bizarre argument, because it seems to imply they favour giving the vote to children, criminals, the clinically insane and the peerage.

Now that Theresa May is set to be the next Prime Minister, people are arguing that she will be 'unelected'. This argument is even more ridiculous, because:

  • In the first two rounds of the Tory leadership contest, she had the overwhelming support of Tory MPs, who are ultimately the ones who will have to work with her on a day-to-day basis;
  • She will have to be confirmed by Parliament - the overriding qualification for being Prime Minister is that you have to command the confidence of the House of Commons. Obviously, as the Tories have a majority, it is highly likely that this will happen;
  • We do not directly elect the Prime Minister. We never have. Each constituency elects an individual MP, who then goes on to elect the PM. Most countries do not directly elect their head of state or government;
  • Once May is PM, there is very little to stop her from calling a General Election. OK, there's the issue of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which technically stops her from doing it, but there is provision in the Act for an election to be called early. Or, with the aforementioned Tory majority, she could simply repeal it.

What's the solution? You want to see Theresa May leading a united Tory Party into a General Election on a ticket to leave the EU (given that Leave just won a referendum on it - May backed Remain, but she has said that she's committed to Brexit) against a Labour Party which is bitterly divided on ideological fault lines, whose voters just ignored the party line and sided with UKIP?

In the last 2 years, we've voted for a majority Tory Government, and voted to Leave the EU. Nothing in the polls suggests that public opinion has shifted much on either of those 2 points (as far as you can trust the polls, anyway). That is the will of the people - that's what they want. And that, barring something highly unusual, is what they're going to get.