Well this isn’t going to be a popular post with some people but I’m going to write it anyway. There’s a lot of “huff and puff” going down lately with regards to immigration problems, racism, Nazism and the effect on the politics of various countries such as the USA, the United Kingdom and Germany.
First up let’s talk “Brexit”. The United Kingdom is a democratically led country with parliament elected to represent the wishes and desires of the majority vote that put said party into power, eg the “vox populi” and its wishes. The majority vote spoke out, people want Brexit and this may (or may not) be due to immigration into the country (I suspect it mostly is). The United Kingdom government has failed consistently to recognise its people’s wishes, consequently failing to do its job, which is to represent the people that voted for them. Time and time again we have been “stitched up” by governments who have done what they thought was the “right thing to do” for the populace without actually asking the public; the mere fact that the United Kingdom has had so few referendums is indicative of this. I appreciate that we can’t have a referendum to decide every single little thing but stuff like leaving the ERM (Exchange Rate Mechanism), leaving the EU, the Lisbon Treaty and more, should have ALL been subject to a referendum. It doesn’t matter how “thick” or “stupid” you may think “the public” the point is the party runs the country for the people and if the people’s wishes (no matter how stupid they may seem to you if you are a MP) are not followed then EVENTUALLY are going to get mightily pissed off. Can’t say as I blame them really.
As for Brexit, this is democracy in action, the majority said “out” so the moaning “remainers” should just keep quiet and live with it. I recall many years ago the despair I felt when Tony Blair got into power (we all know what a disaster he turned out to be) yet you didn’t see me campaigning outside the Houses Of Parliament demanding a new election, I just accepted it, after all the MAJORITY VOTE said “Labour”. Now I accept the system is a bit “naff” with the whole first past the post system but it’s the system that needs changing, if you didn’t like it then why didn’t everybody vote in the “alternative vote” referendum?
Then there’s Germany. I am fortunate to know a lot of Germans from my Commodore 64 and Amiga hacking days of the 1980s and 1990s and on the whole they’re all very nice guys, pretty normal, much the same as you and me, just German. Now even many Germans are starting to say “enough” towards immigration. Angela Merkel’s party has taken a major setback and now the Alternative For Germany party is set to enter the German Parliament for the first time ever. Why am I not surprised? It’s only a matter of time (in my opinion) before we have something similar in France.
Then there’s the USA. Boy is this a hotbed of spin and bullshit. Would Hillary Clinton be a good President? Damned if I know. Would Donald Trump be a good President? Again damned if I know, he might after all. The point is he is telling many people what they want to hear. Guess what if people are pissed off enough that works. Then you end with far right politics and all because the previous administrations/governments couldn’t be arsed to do WHAT the people that voted for them wanted. For my money the USA will get the President it wants, whether that’s Clinton or Trump and ultimately your country should be led by the people who represent what YOU want not by what they think is “best for you”.
Whoever runs a country would do well to remember this. Represent the wishes of the people who voted for you, that’s what a representative democracy is supposed to be, not some system for you further your political career and piss people off with a load of things they don’t want. We’re grown ups, we understand we need some austerity, tightening the belts and all that. But also many of us don’t want uncontrolled immigration. I myself have considered emigration and even with all my experience, qualifications and other “skills” (I speak more than one language) it’s a “no” from everywhere pretty much, why doesn’t the UK have immigration like that? Oh hang on it does, if you’re a surgeon from Australia or a rocket scientist from the USA. But once you’re in the EU block it seems to be a “free for all” and in a country the size of the United Kingdom this simply can’t carry on.
PS some figures:
The United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland) is (give or take a bit) 94,000 square miles and has around 65 million inhabitants (well the ones we know about). The USA is about 3,800,000 square miles and has a population of around 320 million. You don’t need to be a genius to see the problem …. And if you think “my that’s a lot less densely populated than the UK”, wait until you see this: Russia is about 17,100,000 square miles with 144 million inhabitants. Not only that but Russia is a lot closer to the Eastern European countries and Syria etc that people want to emigrate from ….
It’s time the lot of you grew some testicles. The vox populi has made it clear that the majority want us to leave the economic basket case that is the European Union (is Greece going to default on its re-payment in the next few days?) so you should "man up" (yes even the ladies) and get on with it.
You seem to forget we live in a democracy and no matter how wrong you think the "Brexiters" were you have to follow the majority’s wish, that’s what democracy is, go look it up in the dictionary if you don’t believe me. Instead of whining about it or talking of voting against triggering article 50 and having a veto you should just get on and do it.
The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, because they are sick of you, the lot of you, you’re all hopelessly useless, you only join parliament as a "career move", what happened to "being in service to your country"? Remember you are, at the end of the day, still just glorified "civil servants". The clue is the job title, eg the "SERVANT" part. We give you power (or take it away) every general election so that you will represent the majority wish.
Think of this as a chance to show the disillusioned people that you can do what you’re told, you can be responsible and do what we wish and maybe, just maybe, we might have some respect for you in the future.
Reasons why we should leave the EU …. Ok, so I’ve written about this before and I know everybody’s sick of hearing about it but I’m sick of hearing the same old tired arguments about the economy. So, without further ado:
Now I’m no politics student (in my defence I do have a combined honours degree which is partly economics and also studied politics at college prior to entering university the second time) but I know what a democracy is supposed to be. The dictionary definition is pretty straight forward and goes along the lines of: “Democracy, or democratic government, is a system of government in which all the people of a state are involved in making decisions about its affairs, typically by voting to elect representatives to a parliament or similar assembly”. So in other words, being pragmatic about it, we can’t have a referendum for every single thing, so we elect a political party based on the idea that they will do what the vox populi (voice of the people) wants. Ok so it’s far from perfect, Cameron’s never done anything useful that I wanted but I suppose I can’t complain, I didn’t vote Conservative last time. The key point is the party is elected to power and if, heaven forbid, we screw it up we can just re-elect in a few years and boot them out.
However, EU laws are made by the EU Commission, whose members are appointed to their role, not elected. In other words major laws are made which affect UK citizens by somebody you’ve never heard of in an office building in Belgium or wherever. Did you also know the EU has five presidents? None are elected. It’s bad enough having an elected mendacious “spiv” like Cameron in charge but how annoyed would you be if he was simply Prime Minister because he was “given” the role? Of course, what the EU is therefore is “old boy’s network” of dodgy handshakes and elite university connections and “jobs for the boys” who probably don’t even deserve those jobs in the first place. Democracy isn’t perfect (especially not ours) but on the whole it’s probably the least offensive “workable” form of government we have in the world, whereas socialism and the like inevitably fail because somebody always abuses it. Do you want to live in a democracy or something else? Do you want people who you neither know nor elected to have power over you? I certainly don’t, I would much rather live in a democratic state like we have now, even though it is flawed, at least we can boot the Conservatives out in 3 or 4 years if we want for being ineffective, mendacious and incompetent.
Oh God here we go …. I just know somebody is going to call me out on racism here …. See, the thing is if most people want to emigrate to another country it’s tough, I mean really tough. I myself have looked at emigrating to Canada. I’m not stupid, I have a number of degrees, A levels, speak 4 languages and a number of useful workplace skills. BUT, even Canada, I don’t score enough points, nor Australia, nor New Zealand. Yet you want to come to the UK? Welcome in, with open arms etc ….
I have no issue with refugees, heck, if you’re trying to escape a war and so on then I don’t blame you and that’s fair enough. But coming here for a better way of life, the so called “economic migrants”, has to be a no. This isn’t racism, it simply is a question of space and resources. England is Europe’s most crowded country. Most of us (eg the real people, not the politicians and corporate CEOs) haven’t got over the 2008/2009 recession yet. Our resources are pretty much jammed solid, be they schools, hospitals or whatever. Realistically we simply can’t take any more. Let’s put it in perspective shall we? The United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland) is (give or take a bit) 94,000 square miles and has around 65 million inhabitants (well the ones we know about). The USA is about 3,800,000 square miles and has a population of around 320 million. You don’t need to be a genius to see the problem …. And if you think that’s “my that’s a lot less densely populated than the UK”, wait until you see this: Russia is about 17,100,000 square miles with 144 millions inhabitants. Not only that but Russia is a lot closer to the Eastern European countries and Syria etc that people want to immigrate from ….
UK Citizens don’t want to stop immigration, they want “controlled” immigration, like much of the rest of the world has in fact, this island is “full”.
The Eurozone is in dangerous decline, basically it’s a sinking ship. Unemployment is around 24% in Greece, 20% in Spain, 12% in Italy and so on. The European continent is littered with massive debt (Greece springs to mind) and stagnant economies. Did you know that Europe is the only continent in the world (well aside from Antarctica if you want to nit pick) that is not growing? How can jobs thrive in such an environment? The only thing that “thrives” is the people at the top because they can impose more on the workers and get away with it. Zero hours contracts, poor increases in minimum wage, discriminatory hiring policy and so on. You’ve heard of “trickle down economics” right? The only people benefiting right now are the recipients of the “flow upwards” economics structure. Which bring us nicely onto ….
The EU favours big business. EU rules on tax enable large multinational global corporations (Amazon, Google and so on) to select and relocate to different legal jurisdictions and tax regimes. Why do you think eBay and Amazon are registered in Luxembourg? Cheaper tax. Worse still the EU “system” allows these companies to abuse things even further by not closing loopholes where monies are moved from country to country to minimise tax (Double Dutch & Irish or whatever the latest “fiddle” is). Politicians have always been mendacious and disreputable but nowadays they are worse than ever, taking corporate back handers, hiding money offshore, lining up director of the board jobs and all the rest of it. Who suffers? We all do, it’s “flow upwards” economics again. Small businesses are demolished by the behemoth that is online retail and supermarkets and all the rest of it. To top it all most small businesses in the UK are swimming in paperwork, petty bureaucracy and red tape, all EU imposed. Not to mention the industries the EU effectively demolished, such as the UK fishing industry. Want to know why cod and chips is so expensive down the chip shop? Blame the EU fishing quotas.
Ok, go out. Seriously, go pop yourself in a lay-by someplace and watch cars go by. How many are German, French, Italian? (mostly German) Trade with the EU isn’t going to stop if we leave the EU, do you think BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes will say “go boil your head you silly British we can’t sell cars to you anymore”? Of course not. The shops are littered with European products, cheese from France, beer from Germany, salami from Italy and so on. This stuff is still going to be on the shelves, French cheese manufacturers aren’t stupid, they will still sell it to the British, trade agreement or no trade agreement.
Besides trade agreements are irrelevant. “Stuff” comes from all over the world. My house is littered with things made in China, there’s New Zealand lamb in the freezer, Australian beer in the fridge and so on. Heck there’s even some American chocolate here someplace (nasty stuff!) As far as trade is concerned the EU is irrelevant, we live in a “global village” now, we don’t need special “clubs” to negotiate our trade.
As has been well advertised, the United Kingdom currently contributes £350,000,000 a week to the EU in “funds”. Ok, I hear the “remain” campaigners cry “but we get a rebate” etc. Even so we are still basically “giving” the EU £161,000,000 a week and getting very little in return (plus the rebate amount will go down in time). To add insult to injury the “rebate funds” have to be spent where the EU directs us to, which of course gives the EU the chance to say “look how generous we are, this money came from the EU”. Now think about it carefully, you give your neighbour £350 a week and they give you £189 back, insist on how you spend that £189 and then tell you how generous they are. I know we’re not all Mathematics geniuses but come on I don’t need my (largely redundant) A Level in Mathematics to see that’s just a load of crap. I’d rather just tell the neighbours to sod off.
Have you ever been a management consultant? I worked for one of those firms who come into a business in their Armani suits with their laptops and spreadsheets and then leave telling you what you already knew! One of the things they often advise is either fragmentation, or the opposite which is centralisation, neither tend to work particularly well. You can’t centralise all the countries into one giant federal super-state, it simply won’t work, there’s just too many differing cultures, economies and opinions. Greece will never be like England or Germany in terms of economy or culture, they just don’t work our way. Why do you think the world has so many countries? Because each country tends to be a neat(ish) divide of cultures, beliefs and so on. China is next to Russia but they’ve not got a lot in common really (well failed communism I guess), they’re not likely to join up. Japan doesn’t want to be part of China, they don’t need to be, same as we don’t need to be part of Europe. So why give away what power this country does have?
Finally, why we should leave:
Business will have the chance to thrive (remember there are far more small and medium businesses in this country than there are big multinationals) because they will be freed from EU bureaucracy, red tape and interference. Trade with the EU will continue, we’ll still be able to buy BMWs, brie, salami and sauerkraut. We won’t be giving the EU £350,000,000 a year, we can spend that on something else and whilst I am not naïve enough to think it would get spent on the NHS it’s a heck of a lot of money that can be spent right here on our own people.
We will retain our democracy, be able to elect who we choose to govern us and be able to boot them out if they’re rubbish a few years later. Immigration will continue but it will become harder, we won’t be seen as such a “soft touch”. As for elitism, have you not noticed who has tends to have the loudest voices when shouting “better off in”? The big corporations, the CEO fat cats, the “top” 5% when it comes to wealth, if you vote out you are giving them a metaphorical boot in the gonads. They want to stay in simply because it’s better for THEM, not for the people as whole.
We have many things to our advantage, London is still the most important city in the world financially acting as a large “hub” of all matters financial, we have some of the greatest scientists and scientific advances and some of the world’s greatest products come from right here. Let’s keep it that way and vote out. You know it makes sense, don’t take my word for it, listen to Daniel Hannan on the video clip below ….
So, an EU referendum. I’m a little tired of hearing most of the “better off in” merchants shouting about how we should stay in because of the economy, jobs or cheap olive oil or whatever. Also, I am sick and tired of the way the “better off inners” constantly seem to imply that the leavers are bigoted, ignorant xenophobes. One of the things we constantly hear from the “inners” is “where’s your evidence” when we put forward one of the reasons why we want “out”. To that I say: “where’s YOUR evidence?” See, thing is we don’t know what will happen either way we go. The inners have no better idea than the outers do. The world is a complex system, in politics, economies, cultures and so on. Nobody really knows what will happen if we leave, nobody knows what will happen if we stay in, ultimately it’s all speculation from either perspective.
However, thing is we live in a democracy and whilst I accept we elect our politicians to govern us in our best interests the reality is the vox populi’s interests aren’t particularly well represented and when we do get the chance to vote democratically we get skewed information and bias; for example the government leaflet sent to every British household at a cost of £9,000,000 Way to go Conservatives, where’s the leaflet telling people the reasons we’d be better off in?
Myself I want out. I was too young to vote for the Common Market back in the 1970s and therefore never had any say in the matter whatsoever and later we were dragged into “Europe” deeper and deeper, again without any input from the likes of me or indeed anyone else of the vox populi, whether they thought it was a good idea or not. Myself, I think the common market was a good idea. Free trade, what’s not to like? But we never saw what was going to happen in the future, we all thought that human beings had got beyond bickering, cheating and all the rest of it. But it seems not, we have countries such as Greece, lying about their economy in order to enter the EU and pestered about a currency few people seem to want here. The problem as I see it, is intrinsically we are all too different. Europe has a very eclectic range of nations and their cultures which doesn’t seem to allow for homogeny into a union. In my opinion we have more in common with Americans, Australians, Canadians and so on and not just the common language.
Way I see it, if we leave we face a lot of problems, but there again we’re facing a different set of problems if we stay in. I can’t see the EU ever working, as I said we don’t have much in common. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against other Europeans and am lucky to have friends in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland and Germany plus family in Italy.
Ultimately the people of this country will be asked a question that nobody has asked them for 42 years: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?” The arguments “for” are much the same as they were in 1975 that we will be a poor, racist and lonely little island and can’t survive without the rest of Europe. Of course the reality is we don’t know if any of this would happen.
Ultimately I think the EU is a big disaster waiting to happen, a sinking ship if you will and being purely selfish I think we should make like rats and abandon now. Of course leaving is going to be fraught with problems as well but this is, in my opinion, the lesser evil, in the long run. I don’t want to see British sovereignty just “given away” to a federal European Union, which in my opinion will never work. As for the free trade? Even if we didn’t sign a free-trade deal with the EU, we would have to pay, at most, £7.5 billion a year in tariffs for access to EU markets and compared to what we pay to be members that’s a drop in the Atlantic.
Was perusing an old hard drive last night when I came across some MP3s I didn’t recognise. They turned out to be a selection of comedy sketches, some Ben Elton for example, Eddie Izzard and Derek and Clive …. I’d forgotten about Derek and Clive, although of course it’s all a “bit before my time” whereas Ben Elton was at his height when I was in my late teens.
If you’ve not heard Derek and Clive (Peter Cook & Dudley Moore) you might on first hearing consider this to be simply puerile and offensive drivel but I don’t know I find something humorous about it, but I’m a bloke so puerile and lavatory humour, well you get the idea. So anyway, Derek and Clive (according to my wife, she being significanlty older than me and remembering it so much better from the time) caused merry hell at the time and the complaints came streaming in, although I guess it wouldn’t cause so much outrage now as it did then. However, one sketch might, due to the fact that many people object to word “cunt.” This of course is called the “cunt Sketch” (how appropriate I guess.) Puerile? Offensive? Sure, but still funny and superb in its austere minimalism and at least they were funny unlike that total cunt Frankie Boyle 😉
Here it is, in it’s glory:
Dud: I tell you, the other day, some bloke came up to me, I dunno who it was, an’ he said, “You cunt.”
Dud: I said, “Wot?” ‘E said: “You cunt.”
Pete: Yeah, and you replied, “You fuckin’ cunt.”
Dud: I said … well, no, not straight away … I said: “You cunt,” I said …
Pete: Yeah, yeah …
Dud: … An’ then ‘e said …
Pete: … What’d he come back with?
Dud: ‘E come back, ‘e says, ‘e said “You fuckin’ cunt.”
Pete: You’re jokin’!
Dud: ‘E said, “You call me a …”
Pete: ‘E said “You fuckin’ cunt”?
Dud: ‘E said, “You call me a cunt? You fuckin’ cunt! …” I said, “You f—,” I said, “You fuckin’ cunt.”
Pete: I should ‘ope so. “You fuckin’ cunt …”
Dud: I said, “You fuckin’ cunt.” I said, “You fuckin’ come ‘ere an’ call me a fuckin’ cunt …”
Pete: I should say so.
Dud: I said, “You f—,” I said, “You cunt.” I said, “You fuckin’ cunt.” I said, “‘Oo are you fuckin’ callin’ cunt, cunt?”
Pete: Yeah, what’d ‘e say, cunt?
Dud: ‘E said, “You fuckin’ cunt!”
Pete: Well, you fuckin’ cunt! ‘Oo are you to say to ‘im that ‘e was a fuckin’ cunt?
Dud: Well, what d’you f—, what d’you fuckin’ think, mate? I’m fuckin’ defendin’ my fuckin’ self, aren’t I?
Pete: Well no. ‘E come up to you, call you “cunt,” that’s fair enough, or ‘e said, “You fuckin’ cunt,” an’ you said back to ‘im, “You fuckin’ fuckin’ cunt,” …
Dud: I said, well …
Pete: … well, what d’you expect ‘im to say back, apart from, “You fuckin’ stupid fuckin’ cunt”?
Dud: Well, I don’t … I don’t expect nothin’, do I?
Pete: No …
Dud: But the cunt come back with, “You fuckin’ cunt, cunt.”
Pete: Oh Christ.
Dud: I said, “You cunt?” I said, “You callin’ me a fuckin’ cunt? You fuckin’ …” I said, “You fuckin’ cunt.”
Pete: Jesus Christ, yeah.
Dud: I said, “You …,” I said, “You … you fuckin’ cunt!” …
Pete: Yeah …
Dud: … I said, like that.
Pete: Yeah. You said it, like that, did you? To ‘im.
Pete: Or was ‘e gone by then?
Dud: No, ‘e fuckin’ ‘it me. F— …
Pete: ‘It you, did ‘e?
Dud: Yeah, fuckin’ cunt.
Pete: Killed you dead, did ‘e?
Dud: No, ‘e … ‘e fuckin’ ‘it me.
Pete: Yeah, …
Dud: I said …
Pete: … well …
Dud: I said …
Pete: … you can’t blame ‘im, can you?
Dud: I said, “You … you rotter.”
Dud: An’ ‘e … ‘e went off.
Pete: Did ‘e?
Dud: An’ ‘e said, “You cunt,” again.
Pete: Well, that’s the only way to deal with ‘im, isn’t it?
Dud: Yeah, well, I showed ‘im, didn’t I?
Pete: Yeah, well, you ‘ad to, didn’t you? You ‘ad to stand up for what you stood for, didn’t you?
Well it’s time to bring this back to your attention as someone I know has been “suckered” by them. There’s a company going around that basically promises to give you cheaper gas, electricity, internet and telephone, they are called Utility Whorehouse Shithouse Warehouse. It all sounds good but it’s a lie, a big fat lie at that.
First of all this is how it works: They give you a quote for what your bills will be and it’s always better than what you’re paying currently paying so off you go and sign up and the bills come in and they are cheaper BUT later on you suddenly find these bills are basically all “estimated” and you owe them a load of money and then when you sit down and work it all out it’s actually more expensive. Don’t be suckered by this, they are just a reseller of another company’s services, so how can they be cheaper? It’s not possible, they don’t buy gas and electricity “wholesale” like British Gas, Scottish Power and all the others who are REAL energy companies, this company is just a reseller so they can NEVER be cheaper.
Then there’s the pyramid scheme …. You can be more than just a customer, you can sign up and get a commission on all the suckers who become customers that you sign up, worse still (for them, maybe not for you) you can sign up other people to be sellers as well and you get a commission of their commission, bla la bla and so on. They call it “network marketing” but essentially it’s a pyramid scheme or multi level marketing and that means 99.9% of the people who sign up will fail to make any money and get ripped off. Because that’s the BUSINESS MODEL is: you pay the £200 (or whatever it is now, it was £200) and 99.9% of those £200 pound “joining fees” will end up lining the pockets of Utility Warehouse and you’ll make squat. Fortunately most people have common sense if someone knocks on their door and says you can get the cheapest gas or electricity etc and tells (as I would) them to go “boil your head” (or in my case something a lot less polite.)
When I signed up I should have known better, I’d been burned before (Herbalife), you had to get a minimum of 6 customers and then you started earning your monthly commissions. Trouble is it’s hard just to get that. People don’t believe you and rightly so. They say it’s easy but in reality if, like me, you’re the sort of person who can’t even sell £10 notes for £5 and not a natural sales-person you’re buggered. If you are a natural sales-person then yes you can make it work BUT if you were that person there’s far better ways to make far better money selling something more ethical.
The bastards never paid me my commission, despite getting the arbitrary “6 customers” and frankly the people who signed me up were no help at all and couldn’t give a shit about me. I was in desperate straits at the time, I had been suicidal and lost my home and business due to the recession and nobody gave a flying sh*t. Do you really want to deal with such a business?
MLM companies, bastards the lot of them, I hope you all burn in hell and I wouldn’t urinate on Utility Warehouse if they were on fire, I’d chuck some petrol on instead.
“Such is the laborious nature of making puff pastry from scratch, Mary Berry admits that even she and Paul Hollywood opt for the ready-made version. But that did not stop the two Great British Bake Off judges setting it as a challenge on last night’s show – with disastrous results. Viewers saw several of the remaining contestants buckle under the pressure when asked to bake 48 filled vol-au-vents using puff pastry they had made themselves.” Many struggled to get to grips with the notoriously tricky technique, which requires rolling thin buttery layers and then having enough patience to chill the dough.”
Allow me to let you into a secret, as a former pastry chef myself (City & Guilds 706/3 thank you very much) who has worked in two top London restaurants, chefs very rarely make it either. There’s just no point, it’s a pain in the butt, and the bought stuff (presumably made by some sort of rolling and pressing machine) is more even than even the best chef can make it without a lot of time going “spare.” Time, which is needed elsewhere making mousses or syllabubs or gateaus or whatever. I’ve worked in restaurants, hotels, airline catering, pub kitchens and all sorts and I’ve never ever seen anyone make puff pastry.
However, the point of the Great British Bake Off is to set challenges for the budding bakers so yes it was a suitable “challenge.” Have I made puff pastry? Sure, in Catering college over 30 years ago, probably the only and only time and I can’t imagine bothering to make it again, too much effort for too little reward.
Spotted this a number of times over the years, albeit not usually with cows or the Greece part added. Anyway, decided to repost it here. NewsTalkZB is presumably the people who created the pictures so credit goes to them for that.
Recently I have “rediscovered” Thomas Harris, and more specifically Hannibal Lecter. Thomas Harris, as you may well know wrote four books with the character of Hannibal Lecter in (aka Hannibal The Cannibal) which have been made into films. They are: Hannibal Rising, Red Dragon, Silence Of The Lambs and Hannibal (not the order they were written but the correct “reading order” so to speak.) If I remember correctly it was seeing the film version of Silence Of The Lambs which prompted me to read the books, and before Hannibal (the second film) came out as a film I had read Silence Of The Lambs, Red Dragon and Hannibal already. So having liked the Silence Of The Lambs film I was of course interested to see the “sequel” of Hannibal.
Oh dear. Now it’s easy to criticise a film and even easier to criticise a film based on a book, as in “it’s not as good as the book” or “they left Tom Bombadil out” (Lord Of The Rings, although leaving him out was a actually a pretty good idea, shame Tolkien didn’t leave him out of the book if you ask me.) However, the makers of the Hannibal film have basically “screwed it up”, so to speak. Part of the reason Silence Of The Lambs was good was the casting, let’s be honest. Anthony Hopkins was outstanding and ask anyone to name an actor who has played a serial killer in a film and he is probably the first person people mention. Anthony Hopkins was the ideal Hannibal Lecter, just like David Suchet was the definitive Hercule Poirot (who on earth thought Peter Ustinov was a good idea for Poirot?) Then of course we have Jodie Foster who plays Clarice Starling, the FBI trainee sent into the asylum to interview Lecter. The whole point of Starling to my mind was her social “standing”, her position in the greater scheme of things, she was from a poor background, an orphan, one who had fought our vain and shallow social system and “pecking order” to be in the FBI, she wasn’t from an expensive well connected social background and an elite university, she was a regular “plain Jane” who whilst attractive was not in the “beautiful people” circles of society.
What makes Silence Of The Lambs (and Hannibal) is the role which Starling and Lecter played to EACH OTHER. They have this scenario where Lecter asks her for personal information in order to help her track down a serial killer on a “quid pro quo” basis. Yet as the stories evolve you will see Lecter has a genuine interest in Starling and desires her, not in a sexual way, almost as a replacement to his dead sister Mischa (in Hannibal Rising.) The relationship between them in Silence Of The Lambs evolves from purely professional to one of mutual respect, even though Starling is trying to later catch Lecter after his escape (in Hannibal.) In Hannibal (the book) we see clearly that Starling, even if only subconsciously, has respect for Lecter and even concern. Despite trying to catch him (profiling etc) when she realises he has been kidnapped so he can be tortured and ultimately murdered she goes out of her way, risking her career and even her life in order to save him from such a fate. Just because he was seen as “evil” she still respected and cared about him.
As you probably know in the Hannibal film she is shot by one of Lecter’s kidnappers and Lecter carries her to safety and heals her wounds, drugs her (beneficially?) and treats her like a lady. Then Lecter captures the man who has made Starling’s career a misery and feeds her parts of this man’s brain etc. So with all this respect and care we are led to believe (by the film) that she does everything in her power to escape and manages to call the police and handcuff herself to Lecter in the kitchen (where Lecter chops his own hand off rather than Starling’s) and escapes to the sound of police cars arriving en masses with sirens blaring and Hannibal escaping and leaving the country yadda yadda and so on. The book of course differs. Now I’ve read several “articles” and comments and the like online about this different ending. Some will say “she would never done that, she was FBI” or quite simply “what a load of bullshit” and the like. But I’ve yet to see the reason that I postulate for Starling’s actions in the book.
For those who don’t know. In the book she is shot, Lecter carries her to safety, removes the bullet and helps her come to terms with her demons, by means conventional and unconventional, including her dislike for the man who made her career a misery because she refused to sleep with him years before (Paul Krendler) by cooking him for dinner for her. To my mind she comes to accept Lecter, desire him as a partner (again this is not purely sexual) and she knows that if they were together they could fill the gaps in each other’s lives, become the ideal coupling and of course if they achieve that Lecter will no longer need to kill and/or eat anyone. Simple eh?
So the film. The film was basically given the Hollywood “makeover”, from a purely commercial perspective. Jodie Foster had allegedly declined to take the role of Starling again as she objected to the ending of the book and claimed it to be out of character for Starling (yeah right, to my mind that’s exactly the way she would have gone in that scenario) so Julianne Moore became Starling. Remember I said above “she was a regular “plain Jane” who whilst attractive was not in the “beautiful people” circles of society.” Look at Jodie Foster down in the asylum dungeon, that’s exactly what she was, and whilst she could “scrub up” (as the expression goes) she certainly was not one of what I’ve termed “the beautiful people.” You know the type, good family background, good university, well connected and attractive enough not to be looked over all the time, the type sort of looks more like, oh I don’t know, Julianne Moore perhaps? Don’t get me wrong, I think Julianne Moore is rather gorgeous and a good actress but Clarice Starling she isn’t and never was going to be, just the same as Julia Mackenzie is a rubbish Miss Marple (yet more awful casting.)
I suspect the real reason the film ending was changed was to make a sequel “viable”, if they’d kept to the book’s ending they’d probably have found a sequel a lot harder to make (as it happens there isn’t one unless Thomas Harris writes another book, as Hannibal Rising is about Lecter’s childhood and written AFTER the other three books; plus I suspect Thomas Harris thinks the ending of the Hannibal film is as crap as I think it is.) Now the big problem with Hollywood, to my mind, is they basically think people are idiots, they create movies to make money sure, but in doing so there is a tendency to “dumb down” to the lowest common denominator in the target audience market. Hence, we get awful films like Redline (seriously, having watched that it’s a part of my life wasted, I want that time back) and the Matrix sequels (although the third film, if you understand postmodernism and the futility of seeking absolute truths is actually quite reasonable in parts.)
So there it is, my take on why the book ending is better than the film’s. I am well aware that some of you will consider me to be talking out of my derriere on this but that’s how I see it, and let’s face it there are no absolutes ….
– Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly says Kate is a 16th-century throwback
– She said: ‘It fascinates me that the Duchess of Cambridge is doing exactly the same kind of things that a queen consort would have done from 1500′
– Professor of German literature also finds the Duchess culturally lacking
With her middle-class background and penchant for thigh-skimming skirts, the Duchess of Cambridge has been credited with modernising the Royal Family. Not according to one Oxford academic, however, who has said Prince William’s Berkshire-born wife is a 16th-century throwback, but lacking the cultural influence of her predecessors. ‘It fascinates me that the Duchess of Cambridge is doing exactly the same kind of things that a queen consort would have done at any time from 1500 on,’ sniffs Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, Emeritus Fellow of Exeter College, suggesting that their foremost duty is to provide an heir and spare.
‘The role has not changed at all, even though the Duchess is middle-class and British.’ Watanabe-O’Kelly’s disparaging remarks echo Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel, who once called the Duchess a ‘shop window mannequin, with no personality of her own’, whose only purpose is ‘to give birth’. The professor of German literature, who is researching the cultural role of foreign consorts, also finds Kate Middleton culturally lacking.
Obviously I’m no fashion guru (I have very little dress sense but in my defence it’s at least better than my father’s was) but even I can detect differences between eras when it comes to ladies’ fashions. To my eye she seem to be something of a throwback to the 1950s or 1960s. She has that sort of lean “little black dress” Audrey Hepburn sense style to my eye. Having said that there’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion, it’s certainly an improvement on the so called “dress” she wore which allegedly “stunned” William when he first met her.
Is she culturally lacking? I don’t think so, I think she’s simply lacking in “alternative input” in the Royal structure. She’s too “right” for the part in my opinion. That’s why I liked Sarah Ferguson, as a “Royal” she rocked the boat, she was fun and had metaphorical “balls” and even to this day I kind of admire the woman. Personally I feel Kate is just going through the motions, doing the “royal duty” by looking the part, keeping her trap shut and producing heirs to the throne, and if your idea of monarchy fits into the idea of royals being there to serve a “part” then it’s all very admirable. I just can’t help thinking it’s all very “safe” though, like semi skimmed homogenised milk, it’s ok but nothing to get excited about. So in many respects she is a plastic princess, an animated mannequin fulfilling her part but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just all a bit “Stepford Wives.”
So to me, simply going by what I see in the media, yes she is plastic and homogenised, a bit “generic” and slightly “bland”; but like I say that’s only going by what the media shows us, she could be an absolute hoot for all I know 😀 Myself? Personally I prefer someone with a bit more “oomph.”