Olympics

If you’re going to do it then stop the damn subtlety

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What is the obsession Hollywood has of trying to either wipe history or work to overlay irrelevance to rewrite it? Quit the subtle overtones. Just explicitly state your intent and let the free market box office judge it. When it comes to factual recreations like Dunkirk what is the point of wailing there were not enough people of colour in it when history shows us 99% of those that served were white? What does this achieve? Why not complain that 50% of the cast weren’t women waiting for the boats in the film? Probably because 99.9% on Dunkirk were men.

The latest Star Wars film was all about social justice, equality and identity. It has been a flop. Why can’t we just see a movie with lasers and goodies vs baddies? Should we fear alienating the LGBT Ewok community? Perhaps the sand people are really misunderstood minorities not terrorists? Shouldn’t Jabba the Hut seek compensation for decades of fat shaming? It is insane. Funnily enough when studying the box office takings we don’t need to look far to see the winners of the “Best Picture” selected by Hollywood in recent times have far undershot records. $100m box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004 after which it has been hit and miss since. 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.

These are the Oscar stats. A 40% decline in viewers 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.

So Man on the Moon depicts the story of Neil Armstrong. The film leaves out the historic and defining moment of planting the flag (a sign of American exceptionalism) some 50 years ago in beating arch enemy Russia in the space race. In 1969, had a straw poll of Americans (and much of the world) been taken at that moment it would have undoubtedly reflected unbridled pride in achievement. Many around the world must have looked at America in awe. What on earth is wrong with that? It was a stunning achievement and feat of ingenuity, science and invention.

Canadian actor Ryan Gosling, who plays Armstrong, said the moon landing “transcended countries and borders.” To a degree he is right. The world stood still on that day. Walter Cronkite had tears in his eyes. Yert should Jamaicans feel guilty that Usain Bolt won the 100m & 200m finals in three consecutive Olympics? There is no doubt the world looked in awe of him grinning with shoelaces untied as he jogged to the finish line. Yet for Jamaicans it was an extra dollop of pride. Great!

However Gosling’s defence of leaving out the flag scene was to cast aspersions on America. It is part of this new breed of Hollywood loathing of everything good. Where globalism trumps national pride. If the producers of this film hate America so much why not make the movie about a conspiracy theory that the moon landing was faked? Alternatively make Armstrong a disabled, black, transgender Muslim to ensure enough PC boxes are ticked to please the apparatchiks?

CM only requests Hollywood quits with subtle jabs at success and openly embraces its quest for shared misery and the rewriting of history. Only then will they see their box office numbers judge their stupidity. Grow up! Understand that pride in one’s country, flag, job, study or whatever else is to be encouraged. We need more of it not Hollywood’s obsession with oppression.

Salma Hayek’s curves are an unfair advantage in a world striving for equality

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She has a point, but not why you think. It’s a bit confusing though. Did Salma talk to Benedict? Do the Hollywood set want women to get pay rises or men to get pay cuts? Will the sisterhood be annoyed that she’s undone Cumberbatch’s gesture to bump them higher? Or should actors be paid a flat unionized rate by the hour, including a one hour lunch break? Equal pay for equal work, right?

The laughable aspect is that Hollywood actors/actresses know full well that track record at the box office acts as a swing factor for pay determination. Kate Winslet was little known before Titanic but immediately after the phone didn’t stop ringing for her to star in new roles. The pay most certainly jumped significantly as she was well within her rights to command top dollar.

Let’s not forget that the movie star agents (mostly male) get paid on commission so it is absolutely in their best interests to get the best deals for female and male stars. In an industry dominated by sycophants it is highly doubtful they’re low balling to spite those striving for gender equality. Or should directors just cast women and save on production costs?

Yet it points back to the real world. Did you bust a gut to finish top of your 1st class honours degree in law to settle for the same pay as someone who didn’t? Surely you did so to get an advantage in life. Do Olympians train for 4 years in the hope of finishing outside the medals? Or should we dispense with medals entirely? Imagine how many records won’t get broken because there is no incentive to see the fastest, strongest or fittest. More and more schools have this “everyone’s a winner at St Barnabus’” mentality on sports days because the fat kid needs reassurance that he is just as worthy of winning a 100m dash as the 50lb stick insect is in the shot put. Differences are a part of life and we should embrace them rather than push to guarantee everyone gets the same outcome regardless of individual effort.

Isn’t the point of buying a nicer house in a nicer suburb all about an individual desire to achieve? Or will you be happy for the state to allot you a Soviet style 2 bedroom apartment in a crappy neighborhood?

No, let’s just listen to champagne socialists go out of their way conducting self promotion activities. Although in hindsight Salma Hayek may have a point on cutting back on male actor salaries as the total revenue performance of the US box office has dwindled back to 1993 levels.  Just like music has gone the way of Spotify, making a date in the diary to see a movie doesn’t cut it anymore. Video on demand is increasingly what matters.

But Salma, please, please, please! If you get roles that pay you more than your male costars based on your talents then all power to you. You won’t hear a peep here. In fact congratulations for being able to maximize the appeal of such genres to audiences that will shell out for them. Maybe you should beat up on the script writers more often for not writing stories that play up to the male dominating sultry voluptuous vixens you play so well! Be careful though, you may get complaints from the less well endowed actresses for having an unfair advantage but surely you’ve never used those differences or your beauty to get ahead in your career?

All or nothing

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The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games kicks off on April 4th and surprise, surprise the volunteer guidebook is requesting gender neutral language so as not to offend anyone. They shouldn’t use “ladies & gentlemen” or “boys & girls” but “everyone” to make the games more inclusive. Yet more surrender to politically correct nonsense. Never a truer heart than a volunteer. Yet even their goodwill must be indoctrinated to the grievance culture of the left.

Sadly the very events run completely contrary to that ideology. Events are openly segregated by gender – male and female only. Will the Men’s 100m be called that? Will the Women’s 200m medley be called something else? So while spectators will be encouraged to suck in the political correct fanfare, the athletes will run, jump, swim and wrestle in the name of their gender.

Seriously if the games organizers are so wanting to have volunteers pretend to treat certain people who subjectively identify as something they’re biologically not, why not remove gender and have women and men and any others compete in the same events? Then if men clean up 90% of the events that will be promoting equality. It has been suggested before to give handicaps to certain athletes to even it out. So a female could technically run faster than Usain Bolt if given the right weightings. CM wrote about this stupidity  here.

Alternatively why not accommodate events for all 63 genders. That way an athlete competing in the Feminine Bisexual Hermaphromale 100m maybe by (sorry I don’t know the correct pronoun)-self, therefore guaranteed to get the world and commonwealth records and a gold medal. In fact if by (xie?)self xie (?) could smash all records held by the likes of Michael Phelps in a single games by being the sole athlete. That is the only fair way to hold games if true progressive ideology is to be forced upon us. Everyone competes in their own race.

Finally how could the Commonwealth Games even be held given all member states are former colonies of the British Empire? How about a smothering of white privilege layered on top to truly make the games “inclusive”. Yet more proof the left apparatchiks can’t even get the grievance manual right. Let’s hope they don’t read this because it will call for an emergency reprint requiring more trees to be cut down.

Sport was so much more fun to watch when it was amateur

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Australia’s  medal haul at the 2016 Rio Olympics looks to be on the same trajectory since the 2000 Sydney games. Down. Since the 58 medal haul in 2000, subsequent games have netted 50, 46, 35 to the 22 so far.  Gold went from 16 -> 17 -> 14 -> 8 to the current 6. Sure there were over 600 athletes in 2000 which has steadily declined to over 400 but it seems the growth in social media has been inversely correlated with medals.

It ain’t over til it’s over but what is it with so many athletes today? It seems less love of country and more love of self. Social media fuels it. How many hits can one get for saying or doing something “out there”. Social media fuels the thirst for the absurdly irrelevant. The whinging at the pool over drug cheats became a contest between one Aussie swimmer Mack Horton and 50 million angry Chinese. Had he focused solely on his 1500m final rather than muck around getting embroiled in media speculation over whether he’d apologize or not perhaps he might have done better. If I ran the Aussie Olympic team I’d shut them out of all social media. Check your phone in at the door til all your events are over before getting caught up   in media irrelevance and Tinder searches. It’s an unnecessary distraction. Did the Campbell sisters  really choke or were they merely beaten by better competition who put in more effort? It just seems a lack of discipline that the Aussies spent $40mn over 4 years for 10 medals in the pool.

The Olympics have always tried to appeal to  the spirit of “good sportsmanship” and “putting differences aside” but now almost seem a platform for personal political or personal attention getting stunts. Whether it be as banal as refusing to ride on the same bus as Israelis, refusing to shake their hand or forfeiting 4 years of hard work because you draw a Jew in a bout the grandstanding shows how intolerant the world has become. I remember watching a movie “One day in September” which documented the attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich games. One of the Israeli fencing coaches Andre Spitzer told his new wife Anke that he was going to talk to a group of  Lebanese athletes. She warned against it given the war going on with Lebanon. He returned after talking with them with a big smile on his face saying “this is what the Olympics is all about”

I was listening to a post dinner speech made by recently retired legendary cricket umpire Dicky Bird. His observation of the game was that professionalism has rid the sport of the true “characters” who played for the “love” of it. In the past the players used to play pranks on eachother and in one game the English team put Dicky Bird’s car on bricks and stole the wheels, after they’d wished him good night. Bird took the practical joke for what it was. No malice. Today the players would be slapped with politically correct fines, sponsors would cancel contracts and fake apologies would be made at the same time 5,000,000 people would put their outrage on social media over a trivial matter done in good spirit.

Even Olympics legends Phelps and Bolt are splashing social media commentary for little other reason than self promotion. I don’t doubt their dedication to their respective talents and I don’t begrudge any success they get but the only real winners are those who appear so happy to compete and show their pride and tears on the dais even at a bronze medal.

The most impressive athletes of the games have been the Fijian Rugby 7s gold medalists. First medal ever and these people paid respects to Princess Anne by kneeling to accept their prize. These are the highlights of the games to me not the 23rd gold for Phelps or the 3rd consecutive golds for Usain Bolt.

Maybe I’m showing my age but I miss the good old days. Give me more James Hunts in F1, Barry Sheene’s in MotoGP, Ray Price’s in Rugby League, Dennis Lillee’s in cricket, John McEnroe’s in tennis, George Best’s in soccer and Brian Clough’s in coaching. Bring back the fun. The larrikins. The ones who aren’t putting on fake smiles for corporate sponsors endorsing products they have no belief in. Sadly the last time I went to watch rugby at my old high school it seems the sponsors have already arrived.

Perhaps the Aussie government should look at the young guns from 2016 Rio games, grant citizenship and pay them millions of they win gold in 2020. Cut out the middle man. Buying glory seems acceptable in today’s world rather than earning it through toil. Most gold medals are won by those that have funding which allows 24-7 training capability. Wouldn’t it be great if the playing field was levelled such that Olympians were capped out on funding. Then we’d see whose heart was really in it.