A strong leader stands in an un-drained swamp.
“It’s so easy to laugh,
It’s so easy to hate,
It takes guts to be gentle and kind”
Lyrics by Morrissey to ‘I Know It’s Over’ by The Smiths
A recent survey carried out by the newspaper La Repubblica found that 80% of Italians think the country needs to be run by “un uomo forte” (a strong man). In 2006, only 55% of the populace subscribed to this view while 60% held this belief in 2010.
This rising trend is worrying and depressing on many counts. It indicates that more and more voters are willing to be represented by leaders solely on the basis that they adopt strong opinions and maintain a posture of decisiveness.
On the surface this may seem logical and uncontroversial. After all, who would want a leader to be weak and indecisive? The problem lies with what exactly is meant by the word ‘strong’. Continue reading
THE LEATHER BOYS directed by Sidney J. Furie (UK, 1964)
The sixties might have swung for many but cinema’s representation of sexuality in this era was often anything but liberated.
The notion that sexual intercourse necessitates the removal of clothing is just one of the taboos filmmakers were reluctant to challenge.
An honest visual display of carnal lust and desire is controversial enough in straight relationships and is still more taboo when it comes to homosexuality.
Even in our supposedly more enlightened 21st century, coming to terms with being gay can be unnecessarily traumatic. Ellen Page’s emotionally charged coming out speech is proof that this is still too often the “love that dare not speak its name”.
Mainstream cinema perpetuates negative attitudes by rarely treating same-sex relationships in an open or mature fashion.
The Leather Boys is regarded as an early example of ‘Queer Cinema’ and is unusual in that it tentatively tries to ‘normalise’ homosexuality instead of showing it as a threat to the moral wellbeing of society. Continue reading
“It’s not natural, normal or kind – the flesh you so fancifully fry is murder” . Morrissey’s words to The Smiths’ Meat Is Murder still speak for vegetarians the world over.
I am one of them, not having eaten meat or fish for the best part of 40 years, most of my adult life.
The arguments for a vegetarian diet are environmental as well as ethical:
- Global meat demand is estimated to increase by 73% by 2050. But we already use 70% of farm land for livestock
- Livestock farming for meat is responsible for ~18% of all greenhouse emissions, more than all global transport combined
This is why scientists have invented a meat product that is not natural and normal but is kind in that no animal is ‘murdered’.
Cultured beef takes the muscle cells from a living cow, grows them in a lab to produce muscle tissue, the main component of the meat carnivores consume. Continue reading