Don’t take it personally, it just ain’t your story

I grew up roughly during the last dozen years of Apartheid, in a country that lived up to its tradition of supposed neutrality covering up business connections to an unsavoury regime. I faintly remember people boycotting Granny Smith apples and, somewhat less faintly, Eddy Grant’s song “Gimme Hope Jo’anna”. What I remember most from those times, though, is Cry Freedom, a 1987 film that zeroed in on the human cost of Apartheid: the exile of a liberal, middle-class white journalist and his family from their chosen home of South Africa.

Oh, and there was also something a corrupt, racist police apparatus torturing and killing the black activist and community leader Steve Biko.

Selma isn’t like that.

Selma

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WAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLTTTTT!

Heh. Okay, I lied, if only by implication. This update is not about Lost – it’s about Evil Uncle Disney. Cracked has a fun (though somewhat crude) look at the most violent deaths in recent(ish) Disney films. While I like some of these films, the hypocrisy is quite striking: in most of these cases the good guy is allowed to defeat but not kill the bad guy because, after all, he’s good – but the villain still has to be punished horribly, ideally by dying. Mercy’s all fine and dandy, as long as the baddie gets the horrible, painful death he deserves! Kill! Kill!

Click here to be reminded of just how gruesome your childhood favourites were. Somewhere the Brothers Grimm are shaking their skulls in envy. (And check out some of the other features – such as the best instances of racism in Walt Disney’s oeuvre. It’s almost as if Cracked has it in for the Waltster!)

Putting them darkie centaurs in their place, one hoof at a time

And now… a political broadcast

Those of you who are Swiss or live in Switzerland already know what I’m going to say. Those of you who aren’t, or don’t, won’t get it. But it has to be said anyway.

Hooray!

Christoph Blocher is no longer in the Federal Council. Who is Christoph Blocher? He’s one of the big names of the SVP, the Swiss People’s Party. They’re part of the political system, but their right-wingedness has turned more and more into out-and-out racism, misogyny and political bullying. Their ads imply that foreigners, more often than not, are parasites, as are those receiving a pension for invalidity. Their implication has been that they are Switzerland and that they alone give voice to the Swiss people, cows, cheese’n’all. (No cuckoo clocks – that’s an invention of Harry Lime.)

Ding dong, the Christoph’s gone!

So, what happened? The Swiss parliament voted on the seven Federal Councillors, which Blocher was one of for the last four years. Since the SVP is successful with voters, they’ve been accorded two seats. But, oh no! The parliament voted two SVP members into the Council, but neither of them is CB. Instead – listen to this! – they voted for… a woman!

Putting it somewhat bluntly, the SVP is the sort of party that thinks proper women should be mothers and should be at home, looking after the kids, because otherwise you get broken families, youth violence, high school shootings and the like. And now an SVP woman is voted to one of the seven highest positions in the country. What a slap in the face for the old, white buggers… (Note for linguistically interested non-German speakers: her name is Widmer-Schlumpf, “Schlumpf” being the German word for “Smurf”.)

No Smurf she!

Irony of ironies, the demonstrators on the federal square in Bern, 99% of them on the political left, cheered when Widmer-Schlumpf, an SVP politician, accepted the election.

Now, what did the old fuddy-duddies do? They chucked both W-S and her other SVP colleague on the Federal Council from the party, so now there’s no one from the SVP on the Council. And then they went on to announce that “this was a black day for Swiss democracy” and that they’d been forced to go into opposition, because after all the rest of the kids didn’t want to play with them.

Okay, realistically speaking I don’t expect anything much to change. But still, it’s oh so satisfying to see the xenophobic old fogeys from the SVP end up with egg on their faces and stomping out of the sandpit because they think the others are being mean…