One of the stupidest stories ever covered in the news is, alas, in the news again. And yet again the point is missed. Ashers bakers refused to decorate a cake with a picture of two characters from Sesame Street because they objected to wording which was to go with it: ‘Support Gay marriage’. Their barrister told Ireland’s ‘supreme court’:
“They would equally have refused to provide that cake with the slogan to a heterosexual customer. Their difficulty was the content of the cake, not the characteristic of the customer.” The customer, Gareth Lees, is an ‘activist’ who perhaps chose the prominently Christian business by mistake. I have no doubt he’s a thoroughly nice person. Continue reading
A Minor Tour through some ‘interpretations’ of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’
‘People can misinterpret almost anything so that it coincides with views they already hold. They take from art what they already believe.’
‘It’s really all going on in his head – Jack’s head.’
‘Interpretation’ is a word many use when they mean ‘imagination’. When somebody tells you that the first Friday the 13th is ‘a post-feminist reaction by the misogynist collective mind to the rise of women in the 1970s in the context of latent-homosexual self-loathing’ the qualifier ‘well, that’s my interpretation of it’ won’t be far behind. At least it better not. It’s possible the film in question isn’t a ‘post-feminist’ reaction, but rather the person claiming it is obsessed with feminism and misogyny and latent-homosexuality and therefore sees these things everywhere. Not only that, and I think more importantly, to refer to the movie in terms which are interpretative rather than imaginative allows the person to believe some intellectual process was going on in their heads: that their opinion is the conclusion to some real intellectual effort, not just a load of crap they’ve imagined into existence or the symptom of their underlying preoccupations. This sort of thing happens all the time. We’ve all heard someone say ‘well, that’s my interpretation’. Unless that person is translating a language, and arguing for a specific meaning as compared to another, I think it’s likely the person has just imagined that the movie is ‘about’ whatever they want it to be about. Some critics reveal nothing but their preoccupations. It is on this point that a few warnings about criticism present themselves.
Earlier this month, elsewhere online, I was following and sometimes entering a discussion about poppies. There had been a story or two about why celebrities or politicians were not wearing them, or were wearing them, and someone in one of the lefty papers typed a piece saying that poppies were racist now. Or something like that. I have one or two minor opinions about poppies and Armistice Day itself, so I joined the discussion.
On the treatment of women, in terms of pay and other matters, I think women today should understand the pay gap isn’t motivated by ‘sexism’ and should shut up.
I recommend to anyone interested the collected letters of Valeria Belletti.
These are published in the book ‘Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary: Her Private Letters from inside the Studios of the 1920s’ (Yes, I know, the title’s awful.) This fine lady got herself a job as Sam Goldwyn’s secretary, and sent many letters back East to her friend Irma. Continue reading
My mother told the A and E receptionist ‘He’s sustained a bad a cut.’ I leant in to the window and corrected her. ‘Actually, I’ve been stabbed,’ I said. It’s possible I sounded irritated, but I was speaking the truth. My sister had stabbed me in the upper left arm with a long, white-handled kitchen-knife. I had a small towel wrapped around the wound to soak up the blood. Continue reading