Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Irony, sadness and political correctness in the modern world.

In one of the odd ironies of the Coronavirus crisis situation, Donald Trump’s Scottish golf courses are expected to get a tax rebate of nearly £1m as part of a government bailout for tourism businesses hit by the coronavirus crisis. Before the crisis, the Trump Organisation’s golf resorts in Scotland should have been paying a large amount of money in property tax but now they qualify for 100% relief and won’t have to pay anything.


A largish number of people have expressed the view that the very rich should not benefit from such schemes as this or from government grants to pay their furloughed staff during the crisis. I would say that sounds very reasonable.

In the case of the Trump Organisation some Democrats are asking whether it is even lawful for his companies to accept benefits from the UK and Scottish government. There are rules and regulations about what the president can and cannot accept as gifts. But of course he might have cannily got round this by making his companies into trusts since he became president.

Clever folk, these rich guys! Or they have clever advisors!

Also clever, and something of a master of irony, is the columnist John Crace. Here is his take on our Minister of Education and his handling of the back-to-school question. Well worth reading!

Meanwhile there are more and more calls for proper planning for what education will be like after the crisis.

In Italy a new post-virus problem has cropped up. At the point when Italian hospitals and morgues were being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of coronavirus victims, in Milan victims whose bodies were unclaimed by family members were buried in Campo 87, a section of the Maggiore cemetery. The graves are marked with a simple cross bearing only the names of the victims. In some cases though the bodies went unclaimed simply because their family was also overcome by the virus and people were unable to get in touch with the hospitals until they recovered. By then their deceased relatives had been buried in Campo 87. Now they want to reclaim them and give them a proper family funeral and bury them in a cemetery of their own choosing. The problem is the law that says that bodies of people who died of a contagious disease cannot be disinterred until two years have gone by. A further sorrow for families who have lost loved ones.

While many of our cities’s mayors and councillors are running around being very politically correct looking at all the statues to assess whether they have links to slavery and should therefore be removed, the Independent reports that the film “Gone with the Wind” has been removed from the HBO Max streaming service over concerns of its racist depiction of black characters. An HBO Max representative said, “Gone With The Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society.
 These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.”

They continued: “These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”

Well, at least it seems not not to be permanently banned!

I have seen the film a fair few times. Indeed I have also read the book a fair few times. My copy of the book is old and dog-eared. Now, I had never thought of the portrayal of Mammy and other slaves as particularly racist but rather that the film depicted the society of the time. I recognise that saying “that’s how society was” does not justify slavery but showing society as it was does not necessarily make a film racist. Shall we condemn all the films about World War II as anti-German? Is every film that does not portray an ideal world to be condemned as anti-something?

That way lies serious censorship! Think of all the books and films we could have nothing to do with! 

2020 has not been a kind year so far.

But life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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