Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The childlike wonder of actors Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton

There's a cliche about kids being natural actors that I think has a lot of truth to it. Watch sprogs when they play; they have absolutely no problem believing totally in some fantastic scenario and will happily go along with it "until the wheels fall off".

It's this childlike wonder and credulity that adult actors are tapping into in their work. It's pretty much the first requirement of the gig. Obviously the audience won't suspend their disbelief and become involved in the world their characters inhabit unless they do first.

Perhaps this is why so many actors sympathise with the new religion of left-wing, deep green ferndamentalism? I mean, they are professionally required to access an infantile state of mind, while ferndies are stuck in one permanently.

If you accept this then Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton's disastrous involvement in what was surely one of the most brazenly dishonest, patronising and cringeworthy ads ever made becomes understandable. 

Full of childlike wonder and credulity, they surrender to the idea that they can "make the world a better place" with their activism. They believe completely and without question the hilariously puerile argument that the Australian Government can adjust the world's temperature by making people's power bills go through the roof. And then they dutifully read out their mind-numbingly stupid lines in a production that makes an episode of Play School seem mature and sophisticated.

The ad is broadcast and not surprisingly provokes a storm of derision and outrage directed at both of them, particularly "carbon Cate". Childlike, they wonder why people detest them so much.

Makes you feel kind of sorry for the poor little poppets ...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sex worker film festivals for Britain and USA; SlutWalks in Australia!

When it comes to stories about sex and politics in the media it never rains, it whores! Right now there's a veritable pornucopia of them. (Sorry, but they were there. I had to take them.)

Firstly there was some rather ribald discussion on Q&A featuring three dirty minded writers and a couple of feminists, including the world's leading anti-porn campaigner. I thought it was one of the most entertaining discussions the show's ever had. But my blogging nemesis Derek Sapphire found it all quite disappointing. Still, you'd expect that from such a tragic sap.

Over in the Old Dart, a sex worker film festival is to be held next month. It features the offering Every Ho I Know Says So, which seeks to destigmatize sex work and includes some words of advice for those intending to get into relationships with prostitutes. (I'd imagine "don't be the jealous type" might be among them.)

Then in San Francisco, there's a very similar festival on the way. And it must be said that it looks like a helluva lot more fun than the Pommy offering. Any shindig that boasts the "Roaming Hookerfest" and "The Stripping Granny" has gotta be worth a look, surely.

Meanwhile, back here in Oz, the "SlutWalk" phenomena is going gang bustiers. I sincerely hope that these sheilas are having a fine old time and that they ultimately deliver a knockout blow to the patriarchy (er, whoever they are).

I'm assuming that not unlike their arty sisters mentioned above they've been very creative and have chosen an apposite and entertaining theme song. But if they haven't? Well, personally I think "These SlutBoots Are Made For SlutWalking" could be the go.

Appropriate footwear can be bought online here (though they do seem to be out of stock right now; must be very popular!).

And here are some other classic songs to play with.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ken Loach's son Jim becomes filmmaker; directs Oranges and Sunshine

Of all the lefties in Artsville, those who work in the film industry are among the most annoying. Hollywood liberals are world leaders in flagrant hypocrisy. Paid squillions of dollars for a few days work on cliche-ridden blockbusters they then wring their hands about economic inequality. And being converts to the new deep green religion of climate change catastrophism the carbon spewing jet-setters just love to lecture everyone else about their addiction to fossil fuels.   

While certainly not in their league, Pommy film socialists are still a pretty po-faced and sanctimonious lot. Take Ken Loach. He's done very well indeed from whingeing about capitalism in his movies. And like so many of his fellow travellers he has a deep and abiding hatred of Israel. A couple of years ago he even pulled one of his films from a festival because of its Israeli funding. Amazingly petty stuff.

What's interesting is how his son Jim has turned out. You'd think that he would have been so bored by his father's endless yammering that he'd have become an investment banker and buggered off to Tel Aviv or something. But no, he's become a filmmaker as well - and one with a social conscience to boot, just like his dear ol' dad!

His debut feature is called Oranges and Sunshine and stars the world's most annoying actress, Emily Watson. It looks like excruciatingly worthy fare; definitely not something you should see on a first date (er, unless you're both bolshie social workers, of course). 

Jim Loach's career choice (and path) raise a couple of thorny questions: One, there's the issue of talent and where it comes from. Doesn't it put a bit of a dent in that favourite lefty argument of denying the influence of genes? I mean, aren't they always saying that "society's to blame"; that artists are made, not born and other such guff? 

And speaking of society: As well as Jim's genetic inheritance, he's also had an undeniably privileged upbringing. His dad had won so many Baftas he used to use them as doorstops. Now, considering all those professional connections and influences, surely such a young bloke would have had a far easier run into his chosen profession. And isn't that just the kind of advantage socialists abhor?

Obviously I'm not the first to wonder about that. Still, it's an undeniable contradiction. I suppose it just has to go into the "some are more equal than others" basket with all the others ...

Anyhoo, Jim Loach arrived recently in Perth to promote his film. Here's a radio interview with him.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Art, pleasure and Tracey Emin's bed

Critic Peter Craven reminds us that quality art gives people pleasure, citing recent scientific research:

It was reported last week that Professor Semir Zeki of University College, London, took a group of human guinea pigs and discovered there was increased blood flow in the part of the brain associated with pleasure and desire when people liked a painting and that according to the measurements - the MRI scan - the increase was a bit like looking at someone you were in love with.

Many people - and particularly fusty ol' tory types like myself - certainly concur with this view. We believe that there should be some grace and (dare I say it) beauty in art.

But many of today's culture vultures hold a very different view. They think that the main point of art should be to shock and confront people, particularly those who are a tad squeamish. Hence the obsession with body fluids.

A classic example is Tracey Emin's My Bed. According to Wikipedia:

The artwork generated considerable media furore, particularly over the fact that the bedsheets were stained with body secretions and the floor had items from the artist's room (such as condoms, a pair of knickers with menstrual period stains, other detritus, and functional, everyday objects, including a pair of slippers). The bed was presented as it had been when Emin had not got up from it for several days due to suicidal depression brought on by relationship difficulties.

If you had any knowledge of Emin's art, particularly her 1995 piece Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, then it's pretty easy to see why she had such, er, relationship difficulties in the first place.

Also, the public and critical revulsion at the piece's grottiness is also understandable considering that its creation clearly required no skill. It's just kind of plonked there in front of you. Sure, it's poignant in a way. But that's about it. It sure doesn't have any real grace, beauty or aesthetic value.

Well, at least not in the eyes of most normal folk. Perhaps her numerous supporters find it beautiful and pleasurable in the way that Craven outlined. If that's the case then they are even sadder than the piece. (Hey, there's an idea! Maybe Emin should just round up some of her screwed up devotees and have them stand in the corner of the gallery. She could call this living, breathing installation My Fans.)

Still, you've got to hand it to those sad sacks. They are numerous and influential enough to give Emin an international reputation. So much so that her seminal (or should that be periodical?) artwork will soon be displayed in the Art Gallery of South Australia. Say what you want about My Bed, it certainly does have legs.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Peter Fonda's green passion compels his claim that Obama is a traitor

Without a doubt there are many influential lefties who are extremely disappointed with Barack Obama. As well as expecting him to save the planet, heal the sick and enrich the poor, they had high hopes that he was going to usher in a new and enduring era of world peace. But he's acted pragmatically instead. And he's even been downright hawkish in some ways such as joining the attacks on Libya and taking that very ballsy decision to terminate Osama bin Laden, among other things.

That's why I wasn't surprised when I saw a headline about notable Hollywood liberal Peter Fonda calling Obama a "traitor". I was sure this had something to do with the American President's recent military activities. But no. The accusation was actually related to the BP oil spill. Fonda, a passionate greenie, was incensed about what he saw as a White House gag on reporting of the disaster, interpreting it as an invasion of the United States! Said Fonda:

"I sent an email to President Obama saying, 'You are a f------ traitor,' using those words... 'You're a traitor, you allowed foreign boots on our soil telling our military - in this case the coastguard - what they can and could not do, and telling us, the citizens of the United States, what we could or could not do'."

Like so many privileged liberal performers, his views are driven far more by ego and emotion than reason. Hence the bizarre angle. Still, you have to admit, they are pretty entertaining.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Singer Salman Ahmad on Islam, Osama and his killing

Hearteningly some denizens of Artsville, Orstraya have not kowtowed to the hand-wringers' line on the killing of OBL. Take this excellent contribution from writer John Birmingham.

Still, I suspect that most arty types are publicly (and socially) hating on the Great McSatan for offing poor ol' Osama, even if privately they're glad the sucker copped one right between above the eyes. I do hope those people who are in that particular boat listen to the inner, authentic voice instead of the self censoring one from now on. Our arts scene could definitely get a lot more interesting if that happens.

One guy who has done this big time, and repeatedly, is Pakistani rock singer Salman Ahmad. Unlike so many western performers who maintain they're suffering persecution but aren't he has actually had his music banned in his country, and surely made many vicious enemies by bravely speaking out against the creeping Talibanization of Pakistan.

He also expressed his great relief at the killing of the al Qaida leader and sledged the Pakistani military for helping him hide from the Yanks. His criticisms included this

On 9/11, those terrorists who flew the planes into the buildings overnight hijacked Islam so that anything that has to do with Islam, anything that has to do with Muslim culture, would be equated now with the face of Osama bin Laden. So his being taken out in a military operation I think is a great thing for the Muslim world as well as the planet.

Imagine the courage it took to say that in a country with literally millions of people who idolized the late scumbag and who are now crazy with rage at his assassination.

Now that's an artist speaking truth to power.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The OBL killing and double standards regarding due legal process

This is a quick post because I'm in a rush. But I've been thinking about the reaction to the offing of OBL.

Now, I'm definitely coming from prejudice here (though it's not nearly as extreme as the navy seal who terminated the scumbag) but I'll bet that most arty types are now echoing the official PC line on the killing. They'll be in a frenzy of handwringing and tutt-tutting, saying that while Osama was a bad, bad man he should still have been accorded due legal process.

Of course they're entitled to this opinion. Still, it seems odd because so many of these people are openly disdainful of the law in many ways, such as on the issue of drug use. Pretty ironic that such stoners happily suckle their bongs knowing full well that what they're doing is illegal. But they suddenly become po faced, pettifogging champions of the law when a malignant mass murderer of innocents cops some not-so-instant karma. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cash Brown's use of Henson snaps reveals disdain for skill and hard work

Bill Henson is involved in another brouhaha. But this time the issue of whether he's a creepy ol' perve or not are peripheral. (Although they might become central again if the story keeps developing.)

See, some of his shots (along with ones by other photographers) have been used without his permission in the work of another artist, Cash Brown. They are not too happy about it.

What's interesting is Ms Brown's candour about her lack of skill as a creative artist, admitting that she's "a shithouse photographer" and adding:

''I'm terrible at it apart from documenting works. As far as making art through a lens, no way. I leave it to people far more gifted and tenacious.''

So she went and nicked a couple of ready made snaps and whopped them into her montage, followed by a price tag of close to half a grand. The fact that initially she had no compunctions about doing this reveals much about the art scene today. Skill and hard work are certainly not valued highly, if at all.

You really can build a career even if you have little or no ability to draw, paint or take photos in a unique and skillful way. You just need to do something that certain groups (eg Christians) find offensive using only what's out there already. If you generate enough publicity, the squitterati will often think you're a "great artist" with an "uncompromising vision" or some such rubbish. But chances are you're just a lazy fraud who can't by arsed doing your own work!

Well, at least the artist in this case was honest. Quite refreshing, actually.