#F1

#SpareMe & #ThankYou

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They say pictures speak a thousand words. One wonders whether there are a thousand threads in these pictures at the Cannes Film Festival. For all of the sanctimony we hear from celebrities about how important the #MeToo movement is, what better opportunity to let down the side than to minimize cloth to skin ratios. These ladies know they are walking billboards, overtly flaunting their assets to gain attention in the hope they are short listed on the next blockbuster given the likelihood of widespread media coverage. Why else would they wear the equivalent of postage stamps held together by dental floss? Who can blame them? Where are the male actors strutting in sequin g-strings? Hardly fair that only women get to show off the flesh!

By all means, these ladies who graze on lentils and alfalfa while completing grueling gym sessions 6 hours a day, have every right to dress as they please given they work so hard cultivating those figures. Isn’t objectification the intention? Appreciating beauty is certainly not a crime and it does not border on harassment. Should red-blooded males be shamed for seeing protruding nipples and exposed cleavage fall into their peripheral vision? Can we honestly say hand on heart that some in the Hollywood set didn’t/don’t willingly trade flesh for a $5mn role? It is not to condone the behavior rather to say that if in the end a budding actor/actress is willing to ‘pay in kind’ to nail a big role that is still consensual. Jokes about Weinstein’s sexual antics were made for years at award ceremonies before he was finally outed. If he is convicted of sexual assault/harassment then may the full extent of the law deal with the crime. However #SpareMe the sanctimony about how none of them knew. Staying on the lucrative gravy train and buying more global property was more way addictive than doing the right thing by standing up for the true victims.

It is surprising that the feminists haven’t been up in arms about Cannes. They managed to take down the F-1 grid girls effectively enough. Isn’t it ironic that the people most upset by the ban were the grid girls themselves. They liked what they did, got paid handsomely to flaunt figures they no doubt work so hard to maintain and welcomed the attention. Now they are out of a job! Yet it’s is we who must get in step with the times. Perhaps the F-1 teams could have been asked to pay a grid-girl tax and donate the funds to promote charitable causes that the girls themselves felt passionately about. It will be interesting to see whether the MotoGP franchise owners, Dorna, go the same route as F-1 which will be pretty hypocritical given the web pages dedicated to the brolley dollies at each round.

Maybe the bigger laugh was the Israeli 2018 Eurovision song winner, Netti Barzilai. She said that in the auditioning process that she overheard whispers about whether they could field someone prettier or skinnier. So sex appeal was preferable to ability? When was the last time we truly heard a properly decent song that didn’t have some singer surrounded by scantily clad women twerking?

Still the virtue signaling continues. Cate Blanchett was on the stairs at Cannes demanding equal pay, when she herself is one of the higher paid actresses in town. Her mate Benedict Cumberbatch is refusing to star in movies unless there is equal pay.  Such actions are nothing but self-indulgent attempts to create free publicity. Say he is offered $25mn for a role and his never seen before female sidekick is not granted the same? Will he protest, divide his own pot or star anyway? One wonders.

Here is an idea for celebrities. CM thinks that Hollywood should be run by a government agency which will ensure equality in all outcomes. Movie roles will be distributed evenly. Each movie will have exactly the same budget. It will have equal numbers of men, women, LGBT, races, religious representation and sexual orientation regardless of how factually incorrect a true story may seem. Movie directors will have no say in who is cast for each part. Box office revenues will be evenly distributed at the end of each calendar year to ensure that flops will get subsidized by the hits. The actors who star in blockbusters will receive exactly the same outcome as those whose films end up almost immediately on Netflix.

All actors and actresses will be required to work exactly the same hours, have the same contract terms and be required to attend the awards ceremony in exactly the same garb. No makeup will be permissible, no eyebrow stylists flown around the world at last minute and no speech longer than 10 seconds. As there is to be equality at all costs, there will no longer be gender based awards at the Oscars. Or alternatively Best Actor – male, female and the 63 other gender categories. “The winner of the Best Actor in the hermaphrodite category is….”

So Benedict and Cate, will you join a union which levels the playing field and calls for equality or do you still prefer that your acting skills determine how the free market sets your prices? If you choose the former, just don’t speak to Jack Nicholson. He is still collecting royalties from Batman. Just what I thought.

These are the Oscar stats. A 40% decline over 5 years. Is this a sign of a format that is no longer sustainable? Is the disintermediation/disruption caused by video on demand such that making a ‘date’ to go to the cinema is no longer a priority? Cinema attendance in the domestic US market is back at 1993 levels. In the 1990s Hollywood made 400-500 films annually. It now pumps out more than 700. The average revenue per film continues to head south. The strategy seems to throw more at audiences and hope it sticks. Are the movies the industry rates itself on actually reflected in the box office? Out of touch with the audience? It would seem so. 9 films in the last 13 have failed to breach $75mn. So instead of Hollywood being so preoccupied with espousing politics, perhaps it should look to the audience it ‘preaches’ to and starts ‘reaching’ them instead otherwise many of them will be staring at massive pay cuts. Or will that mean it is every man and woman for themselves again!?

Zip It or be Zapped

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It seems that everywhere we turn these days someone else is raising a flag to suggest “we need to move with the times.”  What are “the times?” Whose times are we required to move for? Mine? Yours? Theirs? A chat on social media the other day raised the conversation of an HR director saying that he would not sign off on a hire who didn’t agree with his subjective view over a trivial subject. He argued that it was for the best interests of diversity and inclusion not to hire someone who wasn’t offended by said subject. CM retorted “so if I don’t agree with your thinking on a topic which is completely unrelated to the job task that I might be hypothetically the most qualified for, you’ll sink it on that alone…sounds like a totalitarian power trip.” This confirmed the ‘unconscious bias, conscious bias‘ piece on HR last week.’ 2+2=5. HR departments are becoming all powerful autocrats.

It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry! The conversation went further to suggest that I simply must accept change on the grounds of diversity. That word is chucked around as loosely as a Casanova saying “I love you” to his multiple conquests. It simply seeks to force compliance. Surely all things work better when there is mutual buy-in rather than threatening to burn people at the stake. Why is my subjectivity any more or less valuable than someone else’s?

The idea of forcing conformity is dangerous ground. As long as one’s views don’t openly impact others why should it matter? Why should HR apparatchiks use bullying behaviour which goes against the grain of every appropriate workplace behaviour training seminar staff are required to take? Well it is only “some” behaviour. So much for equality in the workplace.

Just like the same sex marriage (SSM) debate. Anyone with a rainbow screen saver could proudly display it in the office without attracting a whimper because they were ‘on message’. Anyone that didn’t believe it and had a “Vote NO” as a computer screen background would have been summoned before HR for hate speech and reprimanded or worse, sacked. Is that freedom of opinion? Is that diversity? Or inclusion? Accept or face the consequences is hardly a way to encourage it. Diversity and inclusion only creates division and exclusion because only some people are allowed to voice free speech.  When the government funded Diversity Council tells Australian workers that the use of the word ‘guys’ is offensive then just how far are we willing to trade everyday freedoms and cultural norms? If one is triggered by the use of the word ‘guys’ or a preferred pronoun then they need a shrink not an HR department to help them.

The sad reality is that diversity should be won on the grounds of the argument rather than legislation. Just like the F1 race queen ban from this year. It doesn’t much matter to CM personally on what the F1 wants to do. Go on the MotoGP website and there is a “Paddock GirlssectionTo suddenly reverse a decision it so actively promotes would be utter hypocrisy. While the need to halt the objectification of women argument is bandied about, the women who do it are clearly happy to be objectified for a price. Instead of viewers being told to “get with the times” shouldn’t they be hammering the message to the umbrella girls to tell them they’re letting down their own side? Could it be they can exploit their beauty for some decent coin because they don’t share offense over the issue? Their looks are a virtue in their eyes. Are they wrong to use it their advantage? Would a Harvard MBA graduate apply to McDonalds for a cash register role so as to check his or her privelege to those that weren’t so lucky to study there?

Whether one likes it or not why not let sponsors decide how they want to spend their ad dollars and let consumers bury them if they find the use of advertising across a cleavage as “not with the times”? Why state control? Casey Stoner ended up marrying his pit girl and has a wonderful family now. If 10% of teams decided to keep pit girls but got 75% of the TV coverage before the start of the race could you blame them? Advertising is literally all about ‘exposure’. Or would race control demand the camera operators avoid them?

Further to that, perhaps F1 should ban the popular cockpit radio transmissions of drivers like Kimi Raikkonen who drop the F-bomb every other lap. Or is profanity now ‘in with the times’?

Should the forthcoming Tokyo Motor Show ban the use of scantily clad women standing next to cars? Last year Porsche, VW and Audi had several slick cut male models parading their products. Ladies were lining up to take selfies with these foreign himbos. If not for objectification, then what? Girls could be heard saying “cho kakkoi” (so handsome). As a male was I feeling insulted and triggered? No. I figured it was time to sign up for the gym, visit Hugo Boss for a sharp suit and book an appointment at a $300 hair stylist after I got back in shape. If I had made a song and dance about feeling uncomfortable at handsome men being treated like slabs of meat would I be granted the same rights to being offended? Not for a second.

Should pretty women be banned from starring in adverts?  Cosmetics companies have products that are pitched pretty much solely toward women but no one bats an eyelid when Giselle pouts a lipstick. Luxury goods stores also cater predominantly to women. No shortage of flesh showing off shoes, handbags or miniskirts. Why no outrage? Should Subaru be raked over coals for targeting same sex couples in its adverts? No. If it feels that is a market it wishes to tap then it should feel free to push for it. If I was offended then I could simply refuse to buy an Impreza WRX. I shouldn’t have a right to tell Subaru who it can and can’t sell to. That’s accepting diversity. Not enforcing my view of the world on others with respect to Subaru. Choice.

Put simply why should the subjective opinions of people (within reason) be such that we must comfort the wowsers at all times? Yarra Council is telling it’s 1,000 staff it mustn’t use the word “Australia Day” to refer to Janury 26, a Day celebrated since 1815! Aussie nurses and midwives are being told to check their white privelege and admit their colonial roots should a patient demand so. Shouldn’t the safe delivery of children be the only priority than have a “code of conduct” to force behaviours that have probably never if ever been an issue in decades? Bad bedside manner for healthcarers is one thing less likely to do with race, gender or sexual orientation than individual attitudes.

Still the message is zip it or be zapped. Next time you’re being told it is for diversity start running for the hills. Your subjective opinion is as equal as anyone elses provided you don’t disagree with the Marxist’s definition of ‘with the times