Thoughts on the EU Referendum & Scotland

I am writing this post as I have already directly met with the question of whether I support Scottish Independence multiple times since the results of the EU referendum and I would like to succinctly state the reasons for my answer, which is no, in one place. I don’t hate you if you support independence, that would be ridiculous, so please respectfully consider my own feelings on the matter.

I appreciate the kind place in your heart that any condolences for Scotland are coming from and your assurances that you support Scottish independence but here is why those direct tweets and youtube comments don’t make me feel better.

Look at what this EU referendum has done to the UK – it is a divided nation where almost as many people as are happy with the decision to leave are devastated. We face a new struggle, our economy is precarious and our movement and freedom to work in this world is about to be further restricted.

The last thing I want right now is another referendum. A referendum which divides my country and pits friend against friend. A referendum which has people shouting the same things as were shouted in England during the EU referendum: ‘Take back our country’, ‘they get too much of our money’, ‘we are better alone’.

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How will men be able to respect you?

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My boyfriend and I recently watched 17 Again: a film where Zac Efron plays the part of a middle age man who through divine janitorial intervention is transformed back into his 17 year old self and has to attend high school with his two teenage children.  The film was fine, made me laugh, nothing out of this world. This is not a film review.

During the film Zac Efron’s character delivered an instructional speech to three girls who finding him attractive, decide to get their flirt on and let him know they are interested. His words (I’m quoting from memory here) were:

Girls! ‘If you don’t respect yourselves, how will men ever be able to respect you.’

Stop right there Zac Efron, or more accurately the screenwriters of 17 Again! Please, this is enough. This is another phrase I hear constantly especially in films and television. And it is seemingly portrayed as empowering message to young women… does no one else see the problem here?

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Factual Freedom, an Epidemic?

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Left image from BBC’s Atlantis; right image from Xena: Warrior Princess.

A couple of years ago British television and computer screens were abuzz with the BBC’s own addition to the horde of classical adaptations and reinterpretations to make it onto the ‘little’ screen. If you have been living under a rock, or perhaps actually living, you might not yet have heard of Atlantis; the epic saga of Jason, born in 2013 only to find himself in the yet to be submerged city of Atlantis living in a flat-share with Pythagoras and Hercules (or Heracles) during some unspecified period of ancient Greek history all because his submarine accidently stumbled into what was presumable a wormhole in the fabric of time, and reality, under the sea.

This show took ancient philosophers and mythological heroes, however questionably heroic they may be represented, and blends them together against a factually uncomfortably backdrop. The abandoned facts need not be historical; no objections to the show have insinuated Jason and Hercules were genuine historical figures but that does not mean ancient writers have given us any less established (f variable) stories of their lives. As television screenwriter’s everywhere run in fear from the confines of the original tales offended historians and classicists have crawled back out of the woodwork to once again object on the behalf of antiquity.

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Naked Women Sell Things…

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Above you will bare witness to but a small selection of the titles published by Hard Case Crimes and their rather ‘stimulating’ cover designs. And it is their covers that are the topic of this post. Other than their retro feel and bold type-face there is one thing in particular that appears to bind each of these covers together, regardless of the plot or author, and, it seems silly for me to have to point this out, that is the adornment of an either scantily clad or entirely naked woman on each.

Now, I feel like it won’t come as a surprise to most of you that these covers make me a little uncomfortable. My first exposure to these cover designs was with an advanced readers’ copy of Joyland by Stephen King very kindly sent to me by the publishers who knew I was interested in reading some of King’s work. I cannot tell you that I was not a little shocked by the cover, which bore a women all but naked except for a cleverly positioned towel. Not  aware of the rest of this line’s cover designs I took it to be a cover carefully chosen for this book, which fitted with the plot and although seemingly objectified women’s bodies had another purpose unbeknownst to me. When I first saw these covers in a group such as this, however, I had to check my calendar. It is 2016 right? OK, so it may not have been 2016 for long but regardless, it is the 21st century.

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