#women

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.

Lenny lectures on the ladies

There is no question there are/have been some disastrous male leaders in politics – in no particular order – The North Korean Kims, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Amin, Saddam, Juncker, Chamberlain, Rudd, Turnbull, Hoxha, Trudeau, Obama, Carter, Bush Jr, Yeltsin, Erdogan, Chavez, Maduro, Macron and so on. Many would be well within their rights to demand Trump be included too. It’s all subjective of course. The list above will undoubtedly trigger some complaint.

However does Lenny Kravitz honestly believe that genitalia is the key determinant for success in world leadership? Or is this a cynical virtue signaling hijack of a well publicized cause (International Women’s Day) which might help resurrect dwindling industry-wide revenue in a music streaming world? Then again Lenny has first hand experience in letting it all hang out to get media attention when his wardrobe failure exposed his Prince Albert in 2015.

Did Lenny forget Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was given a 12 year sentence for money laundering and corruption? Or former South Korean President Park Gyun-hye who was locked away for 24 years for her abuse of power, coercion and bribery? Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko received a 7 years jail term for embezzlement. Elena Ceausescu was executed by the Romanian Armed Forces for heinous crimes against her people.

Let’s not go near the toxic trail of disaster left behind Hillary Clinton. Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s $93 trillion Green New Deal thought bubble the type of leadership the world is craving? Do we want the shoot from the hip without facts style of Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris or Maxine Waters? Or does Lenny think we should channel the moral high ground calibre of Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib to run international diplomacy?

This is not to cast aspersions on the huge number of successful and capable women that exist in world politics. Do we really think the following women want constituents to judge them on the basis of gender or hope they look to their track records first and foremost?

Exhibit A – former US Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. Sign CM up. She is intelligent, strong, articulate and just happens to be a woman. CM sincerely hopes she runs for POTUS. She’d be fantastic.

Exhibit B – Australian Senator Linda Reynolds. She gave an incredibly powerful speech about lived experience with respect to people smuggling. Principled and earnest. Just happens to be female.

Exhibit C – Former Canadian Interim Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose regularly tore strips off Justin Trudeau through reasoned logic and sensible argument. Just happens to have XX chromosomes.

Exhibit D – Australian Labor Party Senator Kimberley Kitching appears another impressive politician. CM shares little in the way of political ideology with her but once again she appears intelligent, measured and confident in her own skin.

We could go on and on.

On the other hand CM wonders what is this obsession with gender and identity taking a premium to merit and ability?

In the upcoming federal election in Australia the parties are chest-beating about their relative diversity. Parties preselect candidates on their ability to win seats. No point putting up women (or men for that matter) on the ticket on the basis of their gender if the talents won’t garner a tick at the polling booth.

Social media is likely to lavish praise on Lenny Kravitz for being so ‘woke’. Best check his ranking on iTunes next week to see if his little stunt paid real dividends thanks to a bump of “Always on the run” downloads.

Maybe our Lenny needs to play the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin tune, “Sisters are doing it for themselves“, on a loop. They believed they could stand on their own two feet back in 1985. Far easier in 2019 to do so.

Stupid is as stupid does

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That’s one small backward step for man. One giant backward step for women. What a foreign concept that some women might be smarter than men? Surely pursuing best in class healthcare means striving to grade students based on merit. Not so in Japan. The Tokyo Medical University was found to have deliberately marked down women in entrance exams to limit their numbers.

The scandal broke during an investigation into the admission of a ministry official’s son, who essentially bought his way in. He was given 20 extra points after failing the exam multiple times so he could pass. What a proud moment to know one has to buy influence to make up for a lack of ability.

It has been revealed that the share of female doctors passing Japan’s national medical exam has remained at about 30% for the last two decades.

Sadly class actions don’t produce much other than a token slap on the wrist. Of course all Japanese women just want to marry, become housewives and raise kids for their salarymen husbands. None should have ambition other than to serve their men. No wonder maid cafes do so well in Japan  – the girls say, “yes, my master!” in order to allow men with inferiority complexes to have fantasies of being dominant.

Germans celebrating the Dutch election result are kidding themselves

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Fact. Geert Wilders’ PVV did worse than polls (then again how much faith can you put in their accuracy these days) suggested but still won far more seats (19, but below the peak of 24) than the previous election (15) amidst the highest voter turnout in over 30 years. Somehow this was a rout? The media naturally went into group think mode lambasting the platinum haired demagogue. The German Foreign Ministry followed up tweeting “The Dutch have rejected the anti-European populist. Good for that. We need you for a strong Europe in 2017.”  In what way have the people rejected Wilders? Rutte’s party lost a quarter of the seats they held. The Labour Party imploded. The Green-Left Trudeau wannabe was a large winner. Which part of selective journalism did I miss? If anything the German Foreign Ministry just exposed how afraid it is of the instability (which it is indeed a major factor) within Europe. Moreover, the Dutch are speaking for the Dutch not the Deutsche. In fact the Dutch have experienced the foreign policies of the Deutsche in the past and they would play absolutely zero part in their decision making process.

Here is the full breakdown of the 13 parties that will comprise the new Dutch parliament:

VVD (Liberal Party, Prime Minister Mark Rutte) 31 seats vs 41 seats in 2012 elections (24% DOWN)

PvdA (Labor Party, Lodewijk Asscher)  9 seats vs 38 seats in 2012 elections. The party is current government partner with Liberal Party (75% DOWN)

PVV (Freedom Party, Geert Wilders) 19 seats vs 15 seats in 2012 elections (27% UP)

SP (Socialist Party, Emile Roemer)  14 seats vs 15 seats in 2012 elections (7% DOWN)

CDA (Christian Democrats, Sybrand Buma) 19 seats, vs 13 seats in 2012 elections (46% UP)

D66 (Democrats 66, Alexander Pechtold) 19 seats vs 12 seats in 2012 elections (58% UP)

CU (Christian Union, Gert-Jan Segers) 6 seats vs 5 seats in 2012 elections (20% UP)

GL (Green Party, Jesse Klaver) 16 seats vs 4 seats in 2012 elections (400% UP)

SGP (Reformed Party, Kees van der Staaij) recieves 3 seats (NEW)

PvdD (Party for the Animals, Marianne Thieme) recieves 5 seats (NEW)

50+ (50 Plus Party, Henk Krol) recieves 4 seats (NEW)

Denk recieves 3 seats (NEW)

Forum for Democracy gets 2 seats (NEW)

5 parties that had no seats in the 2012 parliament took 17 this time. The average time to form a government in Holland is 75 days. Now that the combinations to form a government become even more complex because Rutte and Asscher suffered huge blows means that may take longer. A minimum of 4 parties is required.

So here is Germany celebrating more political gridlock and compromise, the last thing that any voter wants. As written prior to the election, the PVV was never likely to form a government because most of the other parties vowed to spurn it. Wilders had to win at least 70 seats on his own and hope on a few other’s to take the PM’s role. An unlikely feat.

The extrapolations are that this is likely to dent Marine Le Pen’s chances in the French Presidential elections. The parallels are farcical. Brexit showed that the Brits wanted nothing more to do with the EU, the Italians turned a referendum into a choice to boot out PM Renzi to usher change in favour of Italexit and we don’t even have to mention the Greeks. Yet the Germans and EU officialdom think that this is a precious victory and vote of confidence in the EU.

The idea that PVV was a party for racists and bigoted whites, note that 14% of Dutch-Surinamese voted for Wilders. The majority of them like PvDA but still it puts paid the notion that Wilders was running on the campaign outlined by the biased media. Most Hindus in The Hague voted PVV ostensibly because of its anti-Islam ticket, DENK garnered a lion’s share of Turkish and Moroccan immigrant votes because it opposed PVV.

The most important sign from the Dutch elections is that people stepped up to vote in greater numbers. What we got was even more fragmented politics when some of the silent majority that has stayed on the sidelines stepped up. German politicians should think far more deeply about what might happen if angry Germans who have seen their leaders turn their country turned into a doormat decide to show up at the polling booths.

The Dutch have not had the type of terrorist incidents that have afflicted France and Germany. It is on another level. Having said that, even if Le Pen is defeated there can be no doubt that her success has to date been nothing short of stellar. So much so that the EU, responding to a request from the French judiciary, caused EU MEPs in the legal affairs committee to vote to lift her immunity. How stupid do they take the citizens of the members states for? That she NOW risks being prosecuted for posting pictures of ISIS beheadings in 2015, something that provides proof as to why she pushes the platform she does. If it was such a terrible crime why did they choose to do nothing at the time (i.e. 2015) ? Could it be they finally see her taking the French presidency and with that her anti-EU stance.

In summary there is an irony with regards to the EU and Germany celebrating this way about the Dutch election. It shows they have learnt nothing. Even worse is they fail to see that Europe’s history has always been fractured by cultural, language and nationalist lines.  No different over 100s of years. The idea of one Europe is an impossibility. The attitudes of those who believe in the pipe dream like the German Foreign Ministry are exactly the reason the EU will fail – the Dutch result is signal that the supranational body has to rapidly reform to prevent its implosion. Yet they continue to be a ship of fools. The Dutch are with themselves.

The Dirt Locker

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“The Dirt Locker” is probably the most apt title for this election and especially  tonight’s debate. It was a case of who could dig more dirt on who? Trump was clearly the underdog so soon after the “tapes” were released but he managed to stay relatively mild mannered (wished he didn’t sniff into the mic so much) and Clinton never really capitalized. This time he didn’t hold back. HRC always speaks more eloquently but Trump had her on the ropes a lot. When throwing mud it only really works if there is nothing for your opposition to dish on you.

No one in their right mind with any sense of civility would condone Trump’s vulgarity in that tape. Interesting that NBC released it when it did in 2016 and not 2005. None-the-less Trump turned the world’s must unbelievable “no one respects women more than I do” apology into her record defending her husband Bill Clinton (his face went white) and his actual mistreatment of women where she had no real comeback. He also talked of a 12yo girl that HRC had laughed at despite being raped. It is hardly the last focal point of the debate for most Americans but the double standard was obvious.

Trump’s biggest hits were:

1) to promise a special inquiry on her scandals, post-subpoena email deletions and shenanigans over the years if he became POTUS. I think many would have rooted for that and the crowd erupted in cheer and laughed when he said “because you’d be in jail!”

2) why hasn’t she used her own multi-millions to help fund her campaign like he had?

3) he happily admitted he used legal loopholes on his taxes that she never voted down because most of her foundation benefactors use the same scheme so shut down that argument.

All Trump had to do was draw at worst and he did that pretty comfortably. The sad part for Clinton was he was rehearsed and she played his game. He raised every reason to despise her – deleting  emails after a subpoena, ignoring 600 requests pleading for help in Benghazi, Bill’s treatment of women and how she is just 4 more years of the same stuff. She never landed a stiff uppercut and her eyes showed it again and putting on a cheesy grin never helped

Clinton will always win a debate on delivery but Trump was himself. Totally self absorbed and full of hyperbole but Trump. Clinton did better than debate 1 but she failed to show authenticity and that is one of the main reasons she isn’t streaking away with what should be an unlosable election.

She made some good points with more authority but nothing to really decisively put Trump out of his misery. Her best comment was actually to praise Trump’s kids because she sounded convincing even if that suggested he raised them right. Yes she is a fighter but she’ll need to hit it out of the park if she is to decisively win on Nov 8 and the third debate hosted by Fox.

People are sick and tired of this election campaign. The main issues really weren’t discussed. The economy is dying yet the debate moderators focused on zeitgeist rather than reality. Paul Ryan was booed this week for (understandably) taking the politically correct option to drop support of Trump. That is the mood  – people sick of politics.

Saving for something so obscene to be released on Trump he is not out of this election by a long shot. Growing poverty which I’ve argued from the beginning is most at stake. If you’ve been brushed aside for decades because no one in the establishment is listening to your pleas, you’re likely to want change from that at almost any cost. If you are struggling to feed your family because you’re working 3 jobs and the guy that’s a chauvinistic pig offers you hope to get you out of that situation, the choice isn’t hard.

Argue all you like about the reason why a 30 year career politician hasn’t thumped Trump and you only need to know one truth. A growing number of the population is fed up with career politicians.

Await another round of The Dirt Locker. Surely Wikileaks will uncover more IEDs.

If Japanese women get so many golds @ Olympics why wont corporates see their true value?

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I love reading non mainstream press. To get a feel of how locals consume their news. This is an article in the Niigata Nippo talking about how 47.4% of Japanese housewives with high school kids want to have proper full time jobs but only 8.7% have them.

Only 10% want to remain housewives but 52% stay so. It is a conundrum the government faces. It wants to encourage more women into the workforce to offset the declining legions of salarymen retiring but if companies don’t want to take on FT workers because of the extra costs associated with doing so this will be hard to achieve.

Around 60% of the total female workforce is part time. Please see page 17 of this report.

The way to get more women back into the workforce is a simpler affair. Japanese companies must shed the decades of rusted on biases. Many companies hired smart girls from the best universities to turn them into tea servers for less qualified men. Companies had internal dating services (something that Western companies wouldn’t dare to do given the risk of lawsuits) with the hope they’d marry their salaryman boyfriends, quit and become a housewife so hubbies would become enslaved to  80 hour weeks for their paymasters.

Until Japanese politicians free up labour laws to make it easier to hire and fire this won’t change. Laws still favour employees and this makes it harder to fire full timers.

Still the underutilization of intelligent, educated and smart women is an attitude issue. Now that we have a female Tokyo Governor who is likely to smash out of the park perhaps the old guard will see that women in Japan aren’t dainty little creatures that walk three steps behind the men. This has nothing to do with gender balance but plain common sense. Just think of all the golds Japan’s women won in judo and wrestling. They’re tough as nails under the surface. I guess they’d have to be to put up being second class citizens for so long.