It’s the little things.
You know when you’re watching a movie and you say to yourself, “that’s bullshit?” Because you know too much about the particular topic, and the director didn’t do his homework, so you’ve a guy shooting way more bullets than are in the gun etc.
Well, I’ve had a couple of those recently that all came together and makes me want to point them out.
The first is from the book I’m reading – Dan Brown’s Origin
Yea, I know, Dan Brown isn’t writing for accuracy.
But he could at least try.
Let’s leave aside straight away the fact that he’s put lots of detail into all his descriptions of the architecture (before you start reading the novel he states that all the locations and art etc. are real) but invents a parallel universe Spanish royal family. It’s actually quite funny to read how the king of Spain is so devout, when the former king is a notorious philanderer.
It’s the little things that catch a reader. Like when at the start of the novel two Irish football fans harass a Spanish Admiral in a bar. The fans have been watching a soccer match between Ireland and Spain or Portugal (it’s unclear where this takes place) and are drunk (that’s fine) when they enter the bar, empty but for the barmaid and the admiral. Now, not only would two Irish fans not harass a local to drink with them, being happy enough to be with themselves, they’d not be just two of them alone after a match. There’d be hordes of them. And when we read that the name of the bar is fucking Molly Malone, it’ just taking the fucking piss! What a crock of shit.
Just laziness. Perhaps what Brown considers Irish is what he sees in Boston, but he’s never watched footage of Irish fans after an international game on foreign soil, that’s for fucking sure.
I’m obviously not the first person to point this out...
Research. It’s what writers do. Getting people right is more important than how long the LCD screens in the Guggenheim are.
The second examples come from a movie I’m half way through.
Hold the Dark.
As a biologist and woof enthusiast, I stuck it right on when I signed up to Netflix!
I knew there’d be bullshit about wolves. They’re always cast in a bullshit light.
But that wasn’t the problem on the believability end.
I was at first impressed to see the local woman put masking tape on the tip of the gun barrel, to keep out snow and dirt. We do that in the bog, in case you fall and get peat and dirt stuck up there. You can’t shoot a rifle that’s obstructed like that. Well, you can, but do it far away from me.
But then, they go and make a point of the naturalist, played by Jeffry Wright, struggling to get the masking tape off the barrel so he can defend himself against the approaching wolf pack!
No! No and fucking NO!
You don’t take the tape off! You just fucking shoot! The pressure blows a hole in the tape before the bullet could even touch it! Any hunter knows that, or should.
But what most pisses me off about some movies, and it’s perhaps not a problem of doing research, but just society, is how much the actions of some characters differ from what I consider sensible and, given the state of our world right now, basically unacceptably stupid.
Wasting stuff, especially energy.
They’re in Alaska.
Not Anchorage, but way up north.
The biologist inexplicably turns up without decent footwear, like he’s never tracked a wolf in his life. The local gives him some boots more appropriate to the weather. And a good caribou skin.
But yet, she lives in a house that looks way under insulated for the clime. I’ve more cladding on my house in Spain, and that has foot-thick brick walls to boot.
And she goes around in cardigan open to the wind, and stands with the fucking door open looking out at the snow.
I know she’s a bit crazy, but such habits are ingrained. She’s not rich – her husband is off in the war and she says she can’t pay the naturalist.
So why is she wasting the heat?
I dunno if it’s just because I was always told to turn off the immersion heater and turn off the lights to save money, but I’m sure poor people the world over are pretty frugal when it comes to this kind of thing.
Also, the naturalist sleeps on the couch with just his long johns and a flimsy blanket. The fire is roaring, of course. But he’s a naturalist! Where’s the sleeping bag and less of the wasting firewood?
Climate change, Jeffry! Your character would be very aware of that, even if your host is not big on energy efficiency.
As I said, perhaps it’s just the state of society.
But, as I also said it’s not acceptable.
And we should stop showing such irresponsibility.
As Hollywood knows, art imitates life and life imitates art.
It’s time to start modelling good behaviour.
Just like few characters smoke in movies now compared to the chain-smoking of the fifties and sixties, movie makers can stop having characters do stupid shit that worsens climate breakdown and pollutes our planet. Hopefully it will happen a bit quicker than the change from smoking to not – this is more urgent.
Then maybe readers and viewers won’t get be so let down by the stories we’re told.
On the other hand, if real people keep acting like these characters, then our children won’t have much time, money, or inclination, to “Netflix and chill.”
I am delighted to read that Top Gear have dropped Jeremy Clarkson.
I know that Jeremy, deep down, as Russell Brand says of such people, is a beautiful soul, but is just misguided, yet I don’t think I could spend much time in the same room as the guy. Apart from his obviously reprehensible behaviour of late (and of not so late, as I talked about before)
, his program (and I say his because that’s the way most people consider it) is just not my cup of tea.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Jeremy.
But of course, it’s a revolving door. He’ll be back, grinning, on some other channel soon enough.
But it’s still a great day. An important day.
I’ll tell you.
But first, full disclosure: I am not a top gear fan.
I am also very happy that “fellow presenter James May has hinted that Clarkson, Richard Hammond and he “came as a package”.” I truly hope that it is indeed, the “end of an era.”
A better, brighter, more just less bigoted era might just replace it. One with fewer fucking cars, too, wouldn’t be half bad.
Aside from the fact that glorifying cars is not necessarily the best way to change society the way it needs to be changed, I just don’t see the draw/ appeal of a program talking about cars.
Cars are boring.
I mean, I have a car.
I need the car.
Not every day.
For most of my commuting, I have the lovely bike you see in the photo. It is proudly sporting the new 2015 membership sticker of WWF, my favourite charity helping keep some species from falling over the bring of the Sixth Extinction that climate change among other things (caused by cars among other things) is causing.
It’s a nice car. A Honda Civic.
But one of the things that galls me about Top Gear is the way they take the piss out of small cars with more fuel-efficient engines…
My daughter laughed the other day when she saw a Smart Car. “Look at the little car, Daddy. It’s funny.” she said. But she’s three. She knows nothing of energy conservation and traffic congestion. Grown men should know better.
Of course, grown men should also know not to be racist. Whether they are on the television before millions worldwide or not.
But getting back to cars being boring…
What most car enthusiasts don’t seem to understand is that cars are not cool.
Not even fast ones.
Only to other car geeks.
Yes, car enthusiasts are just another kind of geek.
And I can tell you, I know about geeks.
I write poetry, for god’s sake.
I have always loved reading and writing.
I used to keep budgies (that’s parakeets to you yanks.)
I used to show said birds in competitions.
Train spotting is no different to car spotting, really. The guys who think rockets are cool, and spacecraft, and astronomy, and comics, and science fiction movies, are more or less of the same ilk as those who bore me talking about how fast a car goes, how many cylinders it has, what the difference between horsepower and torque is…
I’d rather watch a gardening show. That’s my kind of geek.
Nevertheless, there are millions of car geeks. Who watch this programme.
So here’s why this is important news….
Over the last few weeks a lot of people said it would not happen.
But it fucking did…
And that’s important because the reason those people would have bet money on Clarkson getting away with it yet again is because the franchise was worth so much. Too much money involved. Can’t afford to lose the cash cow that is Top Gear and its syndication throughout the globe.
But the BBC, or whoever it is there who’s important enough to make these decisions decided that the money wasn’t as important as the moral right. Clarkson might make the BBC a load of dough, but sometimes money can’t justify things that we know are wrong – even though we see examples everyday.
So… if we can potentially lose money by doing the right thing in this instance, why not do the right thing in other instances?
The US could make lots of money from the Keystone Pipeline. But they don’t need it so bad they want to deal with the potential disaster of a leak, or the global climate change it will help intensify.
Fracking is a big source of revenue for states and towns, and the big powerful fossil fuel companies that do it, but having water we can drink without dying is more important.
Exxon Mobil and other such companies make billions in profits and hand over some of that to the politicians that grease the wheels. But reducing climate change is going to affect negatively millions more people than the few fat cats who will use their money to buy up real estate in Greenland while we all boil (or freeze in Europe, when the gulf stream stops).
There is no good reason we can’t do the right thing in these cases.
In some cases they already are. Because people clamoured for it.
We just need to keep clamouring.