The ‘Black Lives Matters’ protests have well and truly supplanted the coronavirus as the current Big Thing. We can only hope that COVID-19 does not make a comeback over the next few weeks.
In my last post I predicted that the protests would soon die out and that nothing would change. Watching footage of mobs pull down statues does make one think that something more profound and long-lasting is happening but I am not going to abandon my prediction just yet.
This is because I believe that whatever future the protesters want to see, they won’t get it by staying on the street. Not in America, not in Britain. At some point they will have to enter the democratic system either directly or through those already there.
In fairness to the protesters, it is too early for them to have done that, but I think, ultimately, they will need to do so. Their only alternative would be to simply overthrow the current order by force of arms, and I don’t see that happening.
Statues: Stay Up or Come Down?
This question can only be answered one statue at a time. What can be said in general is that mobs should certainly not be involved in the decision making process. Those who pulled down the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol should be ashamed of themselves. Their actions were profoundly anti-democratic and anti-rule of law.
If Colston was that bad an individual then there should be no problem in either persuading the local council to remove it or seeking election with a promise to do so themselves.
I read on Twitter today (so a little pinch of salt, just in case) that Bristol Council has in the past debated removing the statue but been unable to come to a final decision. That’s not an excuse for mob action but an inspiration to get involved in politics in order to get the decision one wants.
The United Kingdom is a democracy. The only way she will remain so is by embracing democracy completely and utterly, not by allowing anyone or group retreat from it whenever they have the chance. A failed state and tyranny lies that way.
J. K. Rowling
The Harry Potter author caused a great deal of controversy with the tweet, below.
The reason why the website referred to people who menstruate is because people who are pro-transgender believe that transwomen can menstruate. But how can they if they were not born female? I found this post on Quora useful in terms of understanding. Perhaps predictably, the answer depends on how one defines the word ‘to menstruate’: does it refer to the discharge of blood or to the symptoms surrounding that discharge?
Depending on which definition one takes, J. K. Rowling is both right and wrong to believe that the website should have said ‘women’ instead of ‘people’.
Either way, Rowling is entitled to her view, as are those who believe the opposite. What is more important here is how the two sides talk to one another. Is it with respect? With a desire to inform or with a desire to put down?
Of course, it ought to be with respect, and with a desire to inform.
Unfortunately, public discourse around trans issues has become corrupted. Why? Perhaps because the two sides have become so utterly entrenched in their opinions/prejudices that they only see the bad in those on the opposite side, and speak accordingly. Why has this happened? Perhaps because supporters of trans people don’t want to be put down like they and/or their brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ movement were for so many years before finally achieving their breakthrough and so have decided to approach the issue aggressively? Perhaps because their opponents spoke aggressively towards them first? I don’t know the answer. I do know, though, that one day, the two sides will need to find peace in their disagreement (because there always will be disagreement). If they don’t, neither side will ever achieve justice for their cause.
The Bookshop (7.9/10)
Emily Mortimer plays Florence Green, a widow, who decides to open a bookshop in a small northern town in England. She does so despite opposition from Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkson), a rich local woman, who wants the premises for her own purposes.
Opening it, however, turns out to be only half the battle, and unfortunately for Florence, she loses the second half. Mrs Gamart gets the premises. But then… well, I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice to say, although Mrs Gamart wins the battle, she doesn’t wan the war.
The Booskhop isn’t a bad film but I struggled with it. For a long time it was just so plain; so kitchen-sink. Once again, the ending saved it.
Would I watch it again? Part of me thinks not but I have to remember that when I first saw Lost in Translation I thought it the most boring film ever. Like The Bookshop nothing seemed to happen in it; it was all so dull. Now, however, it is one of my most favourite pictures.
Corpse Bride (8/10)
Animation directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp as Victor, a young man who accidentally marries Emily, the corpse bride.
Once again, I struggled with this picture. Again, it wasn’t bad, but I suspect watching it during the coronavirus crisis possible wasn’t the best idea.
In truth, the film is very sweet love story. The puppets were beautifully made and the animation top-notch – I still can’t believe it wasn’t a digital production.