Vanity

Cinematic Correctness

Sir Ian Fleming and Cubby Broccoli are probably rolling over in their graves. James Bond 007 has been a formula that has worked. It created a franchise around a suave, sophisticated, educated, debonair and witty womanizing British spy. Whether the dashing Sean Connery, the corny Sir Roger Moore, the rigid Jeremy Dalton, the one-trick pony George Lazenby, the slick Pierce Brosnan or the moody Daniel Craig – the formula has been a massive winner. The Bond franchise has grossed $14.7bn inflation-adjusted.

There are suggestions that James Bond will be replaced by actress Lashana Lynch. The first female Bond. There is probably absolutely nothing wrong with her acting at all. The question is will the producers flunk at the box office by ripping up the script of what has always worked? It is 100% their decision to toy with the tried and tested formula but as ever, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

To be honest, Idris Elba would make a good Bond. He fits all the stereotypes of the role and fans would watch it on his ability rather than his skin tone. The producers could celebrate being woke and the franchise would retain its (relative) believability quotient.

Political correctness seems to dominate Hollywood of late. Whether complaints that not enough actors of colour were represented in Dunkirk or JK Rowling copping flak from LGBT activists because Albus Dumbledore wasn’t openly gay enough in the Fantastic Beasts film, it seems there is a push to make writers and producers conform. Why can’t films just be those made as their writers intended without enforcing politically correct overtones? Surely if there is a market for “politically correct” movies, the champagne socialists of Hollywood will be the first to jump all over it.

Sadly, many of the Best Picture winners selected at the Oscars (with elements of political correctness) in the past decade have been flops with the paying customers. It is interesting that $100m+ box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004. Since 2004 it has been hit and miss. 10 films in the last 14 have failed to breach $75mn. Real-life stories – Argo, A Beautiful Mind, Titanic and The King’s Speech – all cleared $100m at the box office. Maybe audiences can gel to the real-life aspects?

Brokeback Mountain grossed $178m because it didn’t propose to be anything other than a story set around gay cowboys. Milk, grossed $55m because it was a factual story about known gay activist, Harvey Milk. A good film by the way. Bohemian Rhapsody, the story about Freddie Mercury, has raked in over $900m at the box office. It was a factual tale and representative of a period in time.

To keep up with the times, perhaps we should demand that Meryl Streep become the next Shaft and Samuel L. Jackson portray Hillary Clinton in a movie about the 2016 election? How about Jackie Chan portray Michael Jordan in a basketball film about the Chicago Bulls? Why not cast Charlize Theron as Adolf Hitler in the next WWII film and have Arnold Schwarzenegger roleplay her wife. At least he won’t struggle with language? Perhaps do a rerun of Star Trek with Capt. Jane T Kirk? The options to rewrite history or fantasy are endless.

Why did Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks, Gary Sinese and Bill Paxton rake in $350m but First Man starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong draw in only $45m in North America? Same space theme – two different results. Apollo 13 celebrated the pride in failure as American ingenuity was able to rescue the damaged spacecraft. Maybe home audiences repudiated Gosling’s film for deleting the pivotal moment the US flag was planted on the moon. Small stuff? Don’t play with audiences. They bite.

The lack of political correctness is a drawcard to the Bond franchise. We can laugh at the double entendre and innuendo. We can marvel at the spectacular car chases, death cheating moves, his Casanova-like charm and underdog victories against evil henchmen. Will audiences believe that a woman will be able to knock out a monster of a man 3 times her size with her fists? Will we want to see a poor defenseless woman stripped naked while tied to a chair while her privates are belted with a shipping rope by a Le Chiffre type character? Or will she be promiscuous to extract information from would-be villains? Perhaps she confronts Graham Norton as the villain this time?

Perhaps the new Mr. Moneypenny will have his heart skip a beat every time the new 007 tosses her Philip Treacy on the hatstand outside M’s office. Maybe Q will design a machine gun in a Hermes Kelly handbag? Perhaps a dart firing pump from Manolo Blahnik? Perhaps the Aston Martin will be replaced by a pink Tesla so we can tackle environmental issues as half of London is set ablaze?

People fell in love with Star Wars because it was all about lasers and space ships. Not because it ticked the diversity (although the Star Wars Bar was as diverse as one could imagine) and inclusion boxes. How dare the poor harmless Jawas or Ewoks be murdered by white supremacists aboard Imperial Battlecruisers. Were the Sand People just misunderstood? What about the animal cruelty that was inflicted on the poor tauntauns on Hoth?

Maybe the franchise is testing the waters by proposing Lynch. We’ve already had Halle Berry play Jinx, the NSA agent in Die Another Day. There have been countless female villains throughout the franchise too – Rosa Kleb, Xenia Onnatop, Miranda Frost, Elektra King, Fiona Volpe, Helga Brandt, Mayday, Bambi & Thumper. All added their own spice. Yet it was always James Bond that was the drawcard.

Ultimately the box office will tell the story. Die-hard Bond fans will likely be cringing at the thought. Maybe CM is just too much of a purist and detests change for the sake of it, especially if it is just about appeasing activism.

Ryde Council declares a Climate Emergency

The real purpose of a local council is to dispose of household waste, keep local parks tidy and ensure toilet paper is installed in public lavatories. Outside of that, there is little local residents require from local councils other than on-street parking permits or onerous red tape when seeking housing renovation approvals. Maybe maintain the local library.

It was reported yesterday that the Ryde Council declared a “climate emergency“. As we can quickly work out, this is nothing more than joining the global Extinction Rebellion style virtue signalling with zero substance. Will Ryde ratepayers be asked to sponsor Greta Thunberg or Al Gore to lecture the council on climate matters?

Referring to the Annual Report 2018 financials section one can see that it spends on what it terms “Environmental Programs” a grand sum of $547,000, down from $556,000 the previous year. To put that in context of budget expenditure, this climate fearing council spends, wait for it, 0.34% of the total annual revenue. Put your money where your mouth is Ryde! Unfortunately, that was down from a slightly less pithy fraction.  Nonetheless, it grandstanded with,

This includes a commitment to divest its investment portfolio from fossil fuel-aligned financial institutions, supporting renewable and clean energy solutions and becoming one of the first councils to phase out single-use plastics.

Was this requested by ratepayers? Sadly the council will never be able to phase out single-use plastics as the overwhelming majority of household waste is disposed of in single-use plastic bags because the supermarkets caved in allowing residents to reuse plastic shopping bags.

CM shudders to think how huge the investment portfolio of Ryde Council could be? Yet why pick on financial institutions? It sounds as if it believes it carries the might of some massive sovereign wealth fund that can rattle the cages of capitalism via its activism! It is unlikely that even if it sold those investments ‘at market’ that the present liquidity would absorb it in a heartbeat.

In the “Our Vision for Ryde 2028” piece, “climate” is mentioned 7 times. “Emergency” is mentioned zero times. “Sustainable” 18 times. “Environment” 20 times. Run of the mill council stuff. Many of the ‘environment’ words are not actually related to climate in any way. Still, for a 2019 document, where was the climate emergency?

The same report cites under the heading of ‘Climate Change‘, with absolutely no proof to substantiate it,

Over the coming decade, natural hazards such as heatwaves, increased overnight temperatures and increased “hot” days during the year, as well as the frequency of extreme rainfall events and high-intensity storms are expected to accelerate as the climate changes.”

In a never-ending push to make the local council more relevant, Mayor Jerome Laxale profile of the Annual Report proudly notes, “He also initiated Council’s entry into social media, its partnership with Australia’s Racism it stops with me! campaign led a national push against changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.”

Racism? 19.2% of Ryde’s population is of Chinese ethnicity according to the Census 2016. As a migrant city, 48.5% were born in Australia. So by definition, 51.5% weren’t. Stands to reason that the mayor is chasing a problem that probably doesn’t exist. 12.5% were born in China (excluding HK or Taiwan) which is 4x the NSW average, 3.9% born in Korea (5x the NSW average), 3.6% born in India (2x the NSW average), HK born at 2.4% (4x NSW average).

Did Ryde really require this leftist mayor to push against changes to the Racial Discrimination Act? Was it a burning issue where the majority were born outside the country? Do ratepayers that fork our $83.4m of rates each year want Laxale to focus on this nonsense?

This is just additional part of the growing trend of radicalised councils acting outside of their remits Remember the two councils (Yarra and Darebin) in Melbourne who went out of their way to ask their own activist groups to rig polls to cancel Australia Day. Forgetting the 220,000 residents across the two cities, a handful of people who were bound to give the desired response were targeted. Even then it wasn’t a slam dunk. One mayor said they made the decision because their constituents are too ignorant of history so they were going to educate them without their opinion. When breaking down the composition of the councillors in these two cities it wasn’t a surprise. Both Greens led with a smattering of Labor, Socialist and left-leaning independents. The perfect cocktail for the totalitarian.

Just like those Melbourne local councils banning Australia Day, we now have Ryde looking to join the likes of Newcastle and the Inner West which think they are the axe on climate change based on what one Clr Christopher Gordon said,

We have scientists telling that us in the next 20 years, we’ll be facing even more extreme climate problems as rising sea levels are estimated to displace tens of millions of people around the world.

This isn’t self researched conviction but flopping to the cause of activists and their echo chamber. Merely rattling off their empty rhetoric which has in the overwhelming majority of cases found to be false.

Perhaps if Clr Gordon called up those evil fossil-fuel aligned financial institutions he would quickly work out they are still lending to new property sites on the shoreline and that climate refugees are as has long been the case, a figment of their imagination.

The voices of local councils have always been largely irrelevant. Now they are merely an irritant.

CM blocked by Alex Turnbull

Must have hit a nerve to say the Turnbulls are hurting more than the vanquished Bill Shorten. Former PM’s son Alex Turnbull has banned CM from reading his Twitter feed today. CM was never a follower which must make it a double blow for Alex.

PM Scott Morrison managed to unite a party his father couldn’t. CM has criticized Alex Turnbull for his unhinged rants well after his father’s ousting. He’s only proved CM’s point. Thank you.

Betting agency’s kiss of death?

History repeats? In the 2016 presidential election Paddy Power paid out on an expected Hillary Clinton win two weeks early. How wrong the betting agency was. How funny to watch the one sided mainstream media switch from 90% chance for Clinton to 98% for Trump. Expensive mistake.

CM has never forgotten watching a Bloomberg screen updating tallied Brexit votes and seeing the betting agencies scramble to cover their completely wrong odds as the count swept through the Midlands.

Now SportsBet has paid out early on a Bill Shorten win over PM Scott “ScoMo” Morrison. $1.3mn in total. A great stunt but this election is about cost of living, not climate change or refugees. Labor is no slam dunk as much as we were led to believe from the string of negative polls.

To be fair this election is so hard to call. The Coalition has been terrible since the Turnbull years but Shorten, for all of the easy ride into the Lodge, has hardly shown himself to be a clear winner. What on earth made him think ScoMo’s thoughts on whether gays would go to hell was even an issue? Now his Treasurer Chris Bowen is telling people not to worry if their largest asset falls into negative equity.

ScoMo has performed very well. Strong on numbers and content. Bill Shorten couldn’t count to save himself. CM only this morning pointed out the ridiculous claims made by Labor MP Richard Marles.

SportBet May yet prove correct but history has been a poor guide in recent years.

Folau’s religious beliefs not for sale

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How pathetic is Rugby Australia’s (RA) “peace offering” to buy off Israel Folau for $1mn? Good on Folau for rejecting it. It only proves his religious beliefs aren’t for sale.

It is becoming more and more typical of boards to yield to trolls on social media which ends up in knee-jerk decisions that often end up backfiring. This week The Australian conducted a poll of c.27,000 people which showed 89% support for keeping Folau in the Wallabies team.

If RA’s board acted rationally, it could have simply made a public statement saying it deeply disapproved of what Folau wrote on Twitter yet his words are protected under the Constitution of Australia.

Instead, the board panicked and revealed its own shortcomings in dealing with the crisis. Management’s behaviour seems to have filtered down to the players too. Several Wallabies made comments suggesting they may boycott the team if Folau stays. It is almost guaranteed they won’t sacrifice their lucrative contracts to virtue signal. Pure vanity at its worst.

Why hasn’t the RA board removed the coach for poor real world performance? The board is there to build a team that can win. That’s what sells tickets and brings fans.  Coach Michael Cheika’s record is the worst of any Wallabies coach period. Yet he remains.

He has a 43% overall win record at the helm. With the All Blacks its 17%. England 13%. Ireland 20%.  Even Scotland is 50%.

Bob Dwyer – 64% win record

Alan Jones – 68%

Greg Smith – 63%

Rod Macqueen – 79%

Eddie Jones – 58%

John Connolly- 59%

Robbie Deans – 58%

Ewen Mackenzie- 50%

Maybe the board should consider Cheika’s actual performance rather than his views on Folau’s social media engagement. Clearly political correctness is a bigger priority at RA.

Please spare us the “inclusivity & diversity” babble. By explicitly trying to exclude Folau for his religious beliefs, RA clearly acts how it proclaims it does not. Furthermore to offer $1m shows that the RA has little case to answer for. Whatever ‘code of conduct or inclusion’ clauses in his contract may exist, they do not supersede the Constitution.

CM does not think highly of what Folau said but defends his right to say it.

RA’s board should be focused on what matters (winning)  rather than wasting countless time and money trying to restore their tarnished reputation to a tiny cabal of social justice warriors.

Desperate Housewife exposes the utter hypocrisy of the liberal elite

The admissions scandal rolls on. Nothing shouts “elitism” more than these champagne socialists cheating to get their kids into top colleges. How ironic that the very people that push liberal values of equality and fairness to the point of nose bleed. get outed like this. The same people that bang the drum of progressivism in acceptance speeches and pontificate their sanctimony at any public appearance. Hypocrisy in the extreme.

Desperate Housewives (now there is a pun) star Felicity Huffman, along with 13 others are likely to plead guilty in cheating their way into top schools for their kids. These 14 are among 50 who paid bribes of $25m to cheat college exams and ensure they got into elite schools. While the media is busy taking their pound of flesh, perhaps we might want to consider the actions of the vendors of such nefarious schemes. Little mentioned about that. Do admissions departments of the elite colleges need an independent audit?

Whatever the outcome, how little faith could Hollywood have in the progeny to have to do this? We all want the best for our kids. Surely those millions earned from Hollywood could hire the best tutors to help little Jimmy or Jenny get there on their own steam. How could they not instil the very values they spend so much time lecturing Main Street on to their own kids? What a slap in the face of the children to have their parents do this behind their back. How many kids of famous stars have we seen struggle to live under the limelight of their parents? CM wouldn’t be surprised if many of these kids end up with issues having to wear this stigma, not of their own making.

Will Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris return the generous donations she received from Huffman? Harris has been exceptionally quiet post Jussie Smollett too. Double standards go hand in hand with liberal values.

If only they could be tried by Chicago’s Cook County SA’s office like Jussie Smollett. Call in a few favors and have all charges dropped! Jussie is guilty as charged according to the SA even though his verdict is one of innocence.

TDS – Turnbull Delusion Syndrome

How absolutely true to form. Consistency is much coveted in politics. Sadly not when it comes to reflection about reality. Former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull was interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Neil and put it to viewers that the Liberal Party didn’t want to win the next election. When Neil questioned 40 straight losses in the polls he still believed he’d have beaten Bill Shorten. Which political party would overthrow a leader that would offer electoral victory? Turnbull Delusion Syndrome at its finest. Can’t wait to see Alex Turnbull’s tweets.