maleghasty: (Default)
Via the "magic" of Facebook, I noticed that [ profile] hepstar posted about cycling and trains today (linky), and as well as making me sad for her and her plight, for good or ill it made me angry all over again that I cannot use my bike to get to and from work because of the crazy situation with South Eastern Trains.

So, in order to vent this feeling;

"South Eastern Trains, like many other UK train companies, are a bunch of ignorant, anti-cyclist, anti-green imbeciles who I would merrily boycott if it were not for my inescapable need for their monopolistic service. I AM NOT AMUSED!"

(I restrained the desire to use MUCH harsher language for the sake of hoping to retain a little of the high moral ground.)

Thanks, that is all
maleghasty: (Default)
I've come to a startling and yet satisfying conclusion. While a large proportion of my social circle will (I expect) take untold glee in bashing seven shades of shit out of the new Transformers film ("Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen"), I have come to a liberating realisation; it's not art, so I can just enjoy it.

I'm not afraid to admit that I like to read so-called "great" poetry, I enjoy (yes genuinely enjoy) watching Shakespeare, at least when his work is well staged I do, and I am well and widely read in what many would refer to as 'the classics'. I love attending the Opera, art exhibitions and quality live music across many genres. Bluntly I am cultured, and when I want the intellectual satisfaction of indulging in culture I am fitted for the task. There are times, nonetheless, when entertainment can be honestly and openly garnered from less subtle sources, and I feel duty bound to remind my peers that this may well be one of those times.

I have no desire to protect Michael Bay from his detractors - you are right he is the King of cliché visually and in terms of the way he directs actors - nor do I wish to make the case that his most recent film should in any way be discussed as though it were art. No, my desire is to encourage my friends and acquaintances that there is nothing so utterly self-defeating as holding a film like the new Transformers movie up to the harsh light of our shared intellectual scrutiny. You have two options; either watch it and revel in its banality and inconsistency, its sensationalism and it's accomplished superficiality, or don't watch it. There is no third option...

You may think that there is a third option. You may mistakenly think that there is a place in this world for you to watch this film and then turn your undeniable analytical skills to the task of dissecting it, attempting to put meat back onto the bones of this paper butterfly so that you can complain that it is poorly done. You may, as has so often been the case before, feel that there is something clever in pointing out what some of us had already taken as read; that this is mindless, unconvincing almost entirely plot-free drivel with little or no characterisation and the worst dialogue one might be able to imagine. You see there are those of us who knew that going in, who decided quite rationally that there is a place in our lives for the entertainment equivalent of candyfloss (cotton candy to our American friends), and we are OK WITH THAT!

Time after time after time I have been forced to put up with facetious, knowing critiques of entertainment, be it film, tv, books, comics or whatever, that I already knew were intellectually sub-standard, and been made to feel as though I am anything from an "easy to please doormat of taste" through to an outright imbecile for enjoying them and yet I am quite aware of the fact that I am neither of these things. When I don't like something I say so, and as for the imbecile thing... Oh what's the point, I __do__ know I'm not an imbecile.

If you want to look clever, give me a well rounded and stimulating discussion on the film π by Darren Aronofsky, or let's have a chat about why Citizen Kane may be a great film, but it has long since lost the title of 'the Greatest Film Ever Made". Let's hear why you think "American Psycho" is an over-rated pile of horse-shit, but you'd better know your onions about the American novel of the late 20th Century before we get going down that route, because I do...

Here's the bottom line; an end to all hackery, right here, right now. Until you've made your own multi-million dollar film you don't get the spotlight while you tell the rest of us the bleedingly obvious as to why a film about giant robots from outer space that can talk and turn into mundane forms of human transport turned out to be an intellectual and artistic failure. We know it's not Art, you don't look clever telling us why it's shit because it fails to be Art.

Quickly, before I finish, I think I ought to own up to the fact that until I was well into my late twenties I was just as much a part of this smug culture of armchair intellectual dilettantism for the middle classes as anyone else I know, and I want to say two things about that. One "I'm sorry; for every time I trespassed in this manner, and to everyone who won't get back the time they had to spend listening to me using big words to tell them shit they already knew and had already decided did not matter to them". Two; I'm pretty certain that what changed for me was genuinely trying to create something and realising that it's nowhere near as easy as it looks... Oh experience how thy fruits are naught but humility and peace...

P.S. In case you were wondering (or worse still thinking of embedding the Kermode review in a comment) I've got a lot of respect for Mark Kermode, and I will admit that I found his "video review" for TROTF on the Kermode Blog genuinely funny, but then I know him to be a clever and insightful man and he did all of that to play to his audience. That being said, if he really wanted to impress me, he'd say something like my thoughts above to his 'devoted followers' if only to remind them that sometimes a movie is __JUST__ a movie...
maleghasty: (Default)
...but seeing as a lot of people only read LJ...

This story (which has not only been covered by the Daily Mail), has got my blood boiling:

Teacher faces disciplinary action after parent uncovers provocative lingerie photos online

Here's my objections to this horrific state of affairs, in no particular order:

1. There is no reason or logic that suggests that because a person works as a model as a second job that they are somehow a danger to either the company that they work for or the people (in this case children) in their care. Is the complaining parent seriously of the opinion that there is some kind of likelihood that this teacher will be unable to resist the advances of her pupils or worse still that she is clearly a deviant and is seducing her pupils left right and centre? If neither of those things are true (and I doubt very much that they are), then what on Earth is the problem?

2. Disciplining a member of staff for completely legal activities outside of work is an unacceptable imposition into people's freedoms and privacy, and there should be no situation under which anyone is subject to disciplinary action in this way. I mean to say, would the school be similarly moved to discipline a member of staff that performed in an amateur staging of "Hair" (for example)? Sure discipline away if arrested for drug abuse or sexual assault or even I might venture Driving Under the Influence, but for being a photographic model? This is the line that should not be crossed.

3. The Head Teacher in this particular case has been portrayed by The Daily Mail and The Telegraph as a narrow-minded idiot who is prepared to categorically state that the teacher in question will be brought to task. She is apparently away from work pending a fuller investigation of the situation, why is he even commenting on the matter? Does he not realise that he is unavoidably prejudicing the due process that she deserves and that we should all demand? I mean seriously, how hard is it to say "No Comment"?

4. I really hate the double standard that British 'prudism' seems to be blind to with regard to our society. What do I mean by that? Well, I doubt very much that the parent in question has any problem with the lingerie section of Kays Catalogue, or of the Point Of Sale materials in the M&S underwear section, so does he or she think that these images are created? Someone has to put the underwear on and let someone else take the picture(s) and they are often provocative, particularly if they are 'selling' the idea that this pair of panties or this bra will make you sexy. So why is it suddenly an unforgivable thing if a teacher is the person in that image? Is it really as simple and unimaginative / brain-dead as "Think of the children!", because I don't think that kids are traumatised by seeing an image of a sexy woman or man in their gender appropriate under garments, if they were, then there would not be such images up in M&S and the like; they would be banned. If it is that she will not be able to command respect from the children she is teaching because they have seen her in her undies, then again I feel this is over-simplified. Surely the only 'spin' required is that as a healthy, fit woman she has been able to augment her salary with a second job as a model, and seeing as her job is to encourage health and fitness then here is a real-world benefit to her job that is far more likely to appeal to young people than the rather untenable 'you will live longer'. But what if her being a lingerie model makes some of her pupils (of either gender) more self-conscious and self-critical of their bodies, leading to annorexia, bulemia and depression, even suicidal tendencies? Give me a break! Teenagers for the last fifty years have had much more important role models perpetuating the beauty myth and making them either feel validated or diminished than their teachers. I would argue that having one such role model that they can talk to, who can reassure them that looks really are not everything in this life has got to be more beneficial than leaving all of that image forming to celebrities and worlds of fantasy.

Bottom line; this woman should not have to have her career ruined for pursuing a side-career as a model, and I have the sneaking suspicion that if she were a life-model for a painter (or similar) and her identity could not be proved so completely as it can by a photograph then this would simply not have happened, despite the fact that she is not modeling in the nude at all.



Mar. 26th, 2009 09:02 am
maleghasty: (Default)
Before I say this, please let me make it clear that the vast majority of people who travel around London on their way to work or wherever in the morning and evening rush hours are decent, normal, considerate people...

To the incredibly fucking ignorant minority, please note:

The guy walking towards you with a CRUTCH is unlikely to be able to spring gazelle-like out of your way as you insist on ploughing on towards him regardless of the fact that your legs seem to be able to cope with the commute without a crutch, AND the fact that there is a shitload of space that you could be occupying instead of bearing down on a guy who is just about managing to go with the flow.


Honestly, what a bunch of graceless bastards!

There, I feel better now... Hope you all have a peaceful and pleasant Thursday :-)



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