Monthly Archives: January 2012

W/E

I have just seen Madonna’s new film on Wallis Simpson and her lover, the King who abdicated. strangely, without knowing about this essay of Madonna’s, I researched the British Royals and watched another film on the couple last year. I also saw the King’s Speech again and Bertie and Elizabeth  – making four films on the subject. I still like the 2005 TV film Wallis and Edward, by a British writer, Sarah Williams, the best. Interestingly her and Madonna’s portrait often concur which suggests shared sources but also corroboration. Bringing a more recent woman in for us to relate and compare with gives a new angle, but not an entirely necessary one, as I didn’t relate to Abbie Cornish’s character, although I totally understand how a historical figure can mean much and be someone real and significant in one’s life. What lacked in the new film is that the royal romance is not fully established. The fulcrum of the tale is a love so powerful that the King would give up throne and country, and almost family, to be with her – and as Madonna makes clear – for which Wallis made her own sacrifices. But I didn’t get a sense of the importance of that love, especially in its beginnings, of the  from the film, not sufficiently that I believed in all the effects of the affair.

You can read my earlier article here

https://elspethr.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/wallis-and-edward/

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Filed under cinema, history

Dickens’ Christmas Carol

I feel sorry for Scrooge.

His workspace is intruded on by presumptive, manipulative money grabbers.

Christmas cheer is an irritating concept and to many, salutations can be cloying, especially if said without meaning, and if your season is anything but merry.

Scrooge, as the Muppets point out, is alone and has been for many years. It is pointed out that he thinks of no-one, but who thinks of him? His partner is long dead and he since youth has never had any of the romantic kind; friendless, his business is all he has to focus on.

His cruelty is stuff of pantomimes, throwing people out of homes and jobs at Christmas and almost relishing it.

I enjoyed the insight into Scrooge’s past – a lonely boy sent to school by a volatile father. What really turned him so nasty?  Love of money does not seem suffice.

Scrooge makes an interesting point: he gives to a system – why should he give again to charity canvassers? Does he mean through taxes, or is he referring to private gifts?

Such an attitude to workhouses and prisons for the poor is not at all far from government and right wing thinking – work or starve… it is very close to how we think about animals, including those in ‘rescue shelters’. It is frightening that an old story often filmed, dramatised and even Muppetised feels so fresh.

Dickens’ Christmas Carol feels very apt this year especially. It is easy to update Scrooge. But he seems more complex than the villain who has given his name to meanness, who goes from hard master to a giddy weak character, enjoying silly games. His is not a religious conversion and if he finds a true meaning in Christmas it is a surfacey one, having little to do with the Nativity and more to do with fear of death, loneliness and being reviled. He gives into Christmas by buying large carnivorous gifts, joining in party games, and smirking benignly at all he meets, by making a large donation to the poor, and drinking. That sounds like commercial festivities rather than anything profound.

Scrooge is a charismatic man, who we enjoy booing but don’t really hate, although our modern real Scrooges incite a different reaction.

It is right that a change of heart is what Scrooge most needs and an understanding of what people really think and what his decisions do to poorer people. But the twee, unspiritual end of conforming to a false jollity is not a satisfactory wrap. What then instead? Perhaps a question for the Occupy camps as well as the literary adapters and analysts.

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Filed under literature, society, theatre

Who called the Fat Police?

Seeing that the Independent has a picture of a large person with a healthy eating campaign on its cover today, I feel the need to post this link:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1457205/in_defence_of_obesity.html also inspired by a newspaper campaign.

No, I didn’t buy the paper.

 

 

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