Archive for the ‘Political Correctness’ Category

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Books sample trigger warning labelSensitive snowflake students will soon need trigger warnings for some of the world’s most famous literature, an award winning author has claimed.

Julian Barnes was stunned to learn young university pupils had been critical of the behaviour of book character’s like Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Students in the US called the protagonist, Emma Bovary, a bad mother based on her affairs, her lifestyle longing to escape dull, provincial life.

The 72-year-old told those gathered at the celebration of the Booker’s half-century on Sunday:

I don’t know where to begin to unpick that.

As for students asking to hear in advance the bad things that happen in Titus Andronicus.

We might as well have a trigger warning on all great works of literature.

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slave montreal festival posterThe Montreal International Jazz Festival has explained its decision to censor a show featuring a white woman singing songs composed by black slaves.Festival CEO Jacques-Andre Dupont said the decision to abruptly cancel SLAV partway through its run was made for a mix of technical and human reasons, including security concerns raised by the escalating vitriol surrounding the show. He also said that the show’s star, Betty Bonifassi, had broken her ankle and indicated she was no longer able to continue.

He said that while many protesters were peaceful, the festival and the theatre where the show was performed were concerned by the aggression of some protesters and the rising division and anger surrounding the show. He said Bonifassi’s decision to not continue was prompted both by her injury and the criticism.

Dupont said the festival and the production company would absorb what he said would be hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses associated with cancelling the show, including paying the performers.

SLAV, one of the hottest tickets at this year’s jazz festival, was the subject of protests claiming ‘cultural appropriation’ of black culture and history. It was described as a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs and a journey through traditional Afro-American songs, from cotton fields to construction sites, railroads, from slave songs to prison songs.

Black activists denounced the show and its mostly-white cast, and U.S. musician Moses Sumney cancelled a gig at the festival in protest.

Amid a storm of international media attention, the festival announced Wednesday it was cancelling the remaining performances and apologizing to anybody who had been hurt.

The renowned Quebec playwright Robert Lepage who directed the show criticized the decision to cancel it, calling it a direct blow to artistic freedom. He said in a statement that actors pretending to be someone else is at the very heart of theatre:

When we are no longer allowed to step into someone else’s shoes, when it is forbidden to identify with someone else, theatre is denied its very nature, it is prevented from performing its primary function and is thus rendered meaningless.

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walkaway video A shock poll by Reuters/Ipsos reveals that the Democrats are shedding millennial votes, with support dropping by 9% since 2016. This shift is most pronounced among white millennial men, who now favour Republicans over Democrats by 11%.The Democratic Party seems to have adopted a rather toxic mix of identity politics and political correctness that blatantly sneers at white folk, especially men. So perhaps it is hardly surprising that the party has been losing support from white millennial men. But the party’s malaise seems more widespread than that, plenty from the minority communities are voicing their disquiet at being presented in a permanent state of victimhood, especially as the previous administration didn’t actually do anything to help them break out from such a state.

Anyway a passionate and eloquent YouTube video by Brandon Straka seems to have inspired a movement to #WalkAway from the Democratic Party. Straka notes of his original reason for aligning with the Democratic Party was his belief in free speech and equality for all. And then insightfully notes that as the party lurches towards identity politics and authoritarianism, then he cites exactly the same reason for walking away.

I suspect that Donald Trump has changed politics around the world for a few years yet to come. You may, or may not, agree with his policies, but he has been seen to be going out on a limb to do something positive for his electors. Maybe it is no longer enough for other parties just to utter fine words, and do little more. People now expect their representatives to do something that actually helps.

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king and i 2018 posterThe King and I is back in the West End, 67 years on from its Broadway debut.But its portrait of a white woman being both fascinated and repelled by a society depicted as both backward and barbarous is winding up a few PC critics.

The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish whinges The King and I one of the most problematic musicals of the 20th Century American canon. Michael Billington expresses similar sentiments in The Guardian , saying it seems to endorse the idea of the civilising influence of the west on the barbaric east.

The Independent’s Paul Taylor detects a smack of imperial condescension to this story of a widowed, well-bred Victorian governess who… gives a funny foreign despot… a stiff dose of Western values.

Time Out’s Andrzej Lukowski, meanwhile, calls the musical kind of racist … like an elderly relative who you make allowances for on grounds of age.

Director Bartlet Sher responds that the show remains resonant, powerful and extremely well-conceived. He also dismisses suggestions the piece has dated, saying its views on colonialism, gender equality and the conflict between modernity and tradition make it as timely and powerful as ever.

I wonder if these PC critics would have banned British cave rescuers from helping out in Thailand lest heroically saving children’s lives affirms ‘white saviour’ stereotypes.

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armstrongs war posterNew theatre audience advisories in Canada are warning about specific plot points that could trigger emotional trauma for those of a snowflake disposition.

This spring, Western Canada Theatre attached a warning to Children of God, a musical about residential schools, that indicates the production’s mature and potentially triggering scenes involving residential schools and sexual abuse.

A subsequent production, Armstrong’s War , a play about an Afghan War vet, came with the following advisory:

This hard-hitting yet inspiring drama about bravery and survival contains some potentially triggering content about the horrors of war and mental illness.

And unsurprisingly the trigger warnings have sparked a bit of a debate.

James MacDonald, artistic director of Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, B.C., is in favour of using trigger warnings where the material justifies it.

I think if we inform the audience beforehand, and they’re not blindsided by it, then they don’t have a negative reaction to it.

MacDonald said he saw a need for trigger warnings after his company staged a play that featured a scene of a daughter being sexually abused by her father. He said:

Even though we had put a content warning on the play to say that there was adult content and scenes which may disturb people, that particular scene evoked many reactions and responses from the audience, and they felt like they were blindsided by it.

For other theatre professionals, trigger warnings are the very antithesis of what theatre is designed to do: provoke reactions.

Montreal’s Imago Theatre specializes in English-language plays written from women’s perspectives and often features plays about challenging subject matter, like rape and violence against women. But there isn’t a trigger warning anywhere in sight. Imago’s artistic director Micheline Chevrier explains:

I think we have to be careful with trigger warnings. I’m not a fan of wanting to tell somebody exactly everything they’re about to experience.

She worries trigger warnings are the first step toward avoidance of difficult material altogether, a slide into self-censorship by playwrights and directors afraid of offending patrons.

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Zulu DVD More than 12,000 people have hit out at 28 complainers who tried to get a screening of classic movie Zulu scrapped.The 28 who signed the anti-Zulu petition – accusing it of being racist – have been attacked by thousands of angry fans.

Organisers are standing by their decision to screen the beloved 1964 classic which will be shown at Folkestone’s Silver Screen Cinema on Saturday to raise aid for armed forces charity SSAFA.

A poll on this website attracted an astonishing 13,000 votes – with 92% voting in favour of showing the film.

kentonline.co.uk writes:

Whilst the film has caused some discussion in more recent times, it is important not to gloss over parts of our history that make us feel uncomfortable. Rather than censoring a subject, a viewing could form a basis for discussion about the deeper themes in the film.

Despite detractors claiming the film is racist, there are only three slight racial epithets used in the entire 130-minute-long show – and one is directed against the Irish. Another slur was quickly slapped down by another character, while the third was a soldier being called a dozy Welshman because he forgot his rifle.

The classic movie portrays the Zulu warriors as honourable combatants, whose overwhelming numbers are only narrowly defeated by the indefatigable British Empire forces.

The film has a bit of a history of being censored and banned. BBFC cuts were required for the original ‘U’ rated cinema release in 1964. Then when released in Apartheid South Africa in 1964 the film was banned for black audiences (as the government feared that its scenes of blacks killing whites might incite them to violence), apart from a few special screenings for its Zulu extras in Durban and some smaller Kwazulu towns.

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google news logoFor its updated news application, Google is claiming it is using artificial intelligence as part of an effort to weed out disinformation and feed users with viewpoints beyond their own filter bubble.Google chief Sundar Pichai, who unveiled the updated Google News earlier this month, said the app now surfaces the news you care about from trusted sources while still giving you a full range of perspectives on events. It marks Google’s latest effort to be at the centre of online news and includes a new push to help publishers get paid subscribers through the tech giant’s platform.

In reality Google has just banned news from the likes of the Daily Mail whilst all the ‘trusted sources’ are just the likes of the politically correct papers such as the Guardian and Independent.

According to product chief Trystan Upstill, the news app uses the best of artificial intelligence to find the best of human intelligence – the great reporting done by journalists around the globe. While the app will enable users to get personalised news, it will also include top stories for all readers, aiming to break the so-called filter bubble of information designed to reinforce people’s biases.

Nicholas Diakopoulos, a Northwestern University professor specialising in computational and data journalism, said the impact of Google’s changes remain to be seen. Diakopoulos said algorithmic and personalised news can be positive for engagement but may only benefit a handful of news organisations.  His research found that Google concentrates its attention on a relatively small number of publishers, it’s quite concentrated. Google’s effort to identify and prioritise trusted news sources may also be problematic, according to Diakopoulos. Maybe it’s good for the big guys, or the (publishers) who have figured out how to game the algorithm, he said. But what about the local news sites, what about the new news sites that don’t have a long track record?

I tried it out and no matter how many times I asked it not to provide stories about the royal wedding and the cup final, it just served up more of the same. And indeed as Diakopoulos said, all it wants to do is push news stories from the politically correct papers, most notably the Guardian. I can’t see it proving very popular. I’d rather have an app that feeds me what I actually like, not what I should like.