Friday, 4 May 2018

May the 4th be with you! And other cultural celebation stuff.

Today is May the 4th. A friend of mine has been wishing everyone Happy Star Trek Day today. Intrigued, I looked it up. I admit to becoming a little obsessed with this DAYS business. Anyway, it turns put that today is not Star TREK Day but Star WARS Day. You have to getvyour Stars films and series sorted out.

Real Star Wars fans enjoying the play on words (“May the Force / May the 4th be with you” for those who don’t get.) make today their DAY!

Star Trek Day, by the way is September 8th because the first episode was broadcast on that date in 1966. Being Star Trek, it has a much more logical reason for its DAY. I missed that first episode, probably because I was busy going off the university. There is a whole lot of television stuff between 1996 and 1970 that just passed me by.

Here’s another one: Star Trek First Contact Day is April 5th to celebrate first contact between humans and Klingons in 2063. So, to probably misquote Sprinsteen, “we’re living in the future and none of this has happened yet”. But dedicated trekkies celebrate it anyway.

I wonder how fans will feel when 2063 comes around, assuming there are still Star Trek fans in 2063. It’s always a bit problematical putting an apparently far-distant date on something. 1984 and 2001 once seemed impossibly remote in time but now they have come and gone.

In the world of celebration of films all is not quiet and peaceful. The Cannes Film Festival is being criticised for accepting Lars Von Triers back into fold after he was excluded for making nazi jokes in 2011 and then more recently being accused of sexual harassment. On top of that critics are cross because only three of the films at the festival are directed by women. “Last year, before the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns took hold, only three women were in competition: Sofia Coppola, Lynne Ramsay and Naomi Kawase. Twelve months later, out of 21 films in the competition, and after so much upheaval and uproar … again, three: Nadine Labaki, Eva Husson and Alice Rohrwacher.” They have set up a sexual harassment helpline but are deemed not be doing enough in this post-Weinstein era.

Oh dear!

Also suffering is the committee for the Nobel Prize for Literature. They already upset some people by awarding a prize to Bob Dylan but this year there will be no award at all. You might think that so austere an organisation would not get involved in sexual harassment or sexual violence scandals but that is not the case. One of the members of the Academy, the poet Katarina Frostenson, is married to a French photographer, Jean-Claude Arnault. He has been accused of sexual assault and also, unrelatedly one imagines, of leaking the names of seven former Nobel winners.

He denies both claims but after the allegations were made public three members of the committee to select the literature prize winner wanted Katarina Frostenson expelled from the Academy. When a decision was taken not to do so the three protesting members resigned.

Consequently the committee feels that they are unable to make a decision until those three have been replaced and the scandal has died down.

There will be two prizes for literature next year. Phew!

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