Daily Archives: October 22, 2010

Politically incorrect film reviews – There is none so blind that can PeeCee.

The Blind Side

128 minutes

Main cast: Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Kathy |Bates, Jae Head, Lily Collins

Director John Lee Hancock

If you require a primer on the white liberal mentality in general and their perception of blacks in particular this is your film,

“The Blind Side” ploughs the same rescuing-the-black-underclass furrow as “Precious” . But where “Precious” depicts the central character in the context of her day-to-day ghetto life and allows her to have some distinctly rough and unappealing edges, her equivalent in “The Blind Side” is a paragon, albeit one so bloodless as to be next to transparent. , Both films are fairy stories:  “Precious“ is one by the  Brothers Grimm, “The Blind Side”  a  white liberal version of  “And  they all lived happily ever after“.

So off we go. Once upon a time there was a  rich white family consisting of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw), a son of about eight known as SJ (Jae Head) and a teenage daughter who decide to take in a homeless black adolescent named Michael Oyers (Quinton Aaron)  despite being (shock, horror!) Republicans, Christians and Southerners.

As befits a fairy story, Michael is a truly fabulous creature.  At the beginning of the film he is sixteen or seventeen. We are told that his mother is a hopeless crack addict who has borne  “ twelve children… or maybe more”  to  many of  whom she cannot  put a father  (when the mother fleetingly   appears she is the healthiest looking long  term crack user and  high-volume producer of offspring you ever did see.)

Michael’s childhood has supposedly been a mixture of physical, material and emotional insecurity in a classic  black ghetto – a violent, drug infested world – , glimpses of which were are shown as he occasionally  revisits the projects where he grew up.  At the beginning of the film we are told that his  education has been next to non-existent and  his IQ has tested as a lowly 80. .  However, Michael has two things going for him: he is very large and very athletic. This gets him  into a decent private school where he encounters the Tuohys, whose children attend the school,  and eventually to university and a professional American football career.

Despite his upbringing  Michael is conscientiously non-violent, won’t look at a drug, finds alcohol distasteful and, Heaven forefend,  shows no apparent sexual interest in girls, despite being a teenager  with presumably raging hormones.   Even more amazing he has perfect manners. After his first  night at the Tuohys,   he immaculately  folds the bedclothes he has been given before leaving the house.  A little later there is an unintentionally hilarious scene when the family celebrates Thanksgiving. While  the Tuohys  take their plates and sit around the television, Michael, bless his ghetto etiquette educated heart, takes his plate to eat from the dining table.  Leigh Anne sees this and the  Tuohys are  immediately shepherded  to the dining table to follow the superior manners of  their remarkable  guest.

The family are equally unbelievable in their reception of Michael.  Leigh Anne is a veritable modern Mrs Jellaby, the terminally disagreeable character in Dickens’ Bleak House  who is  deeply concerned with the benighted natives of Africa and  negligent  of her own children.  She does not go to Africa for her benighted native, she finds him on her doorstep, the boy being  invited into the house  in the most casual way when she encounters him walking along a road,  never having previously spoken to the boy . From that  wildly  implausible start, Michael becomes a permanent fixture in the home without any meaningful discussion amongst the family as to whether he should do so.  Not only does no  word of protest about this gross intrusion into their lives fall  from the lips of the husband or children,  the family  immediately re-orients their lives to make Michael the focus of their family and  fall over themselves to be nice to him – the son SJ does this in an extravagantly  precocious manner which would incline one to forgive Herod if the wretched child  had been included in the slaughter of the first-born.   Most wondrously, the  children  show no resentment or jealously  no matter how extravagantly their parents pander to Michael and, boy, do they pander.

Michael  is given his own newly furnished room, fed and clothed, provided with a private tutor (Kathy Bates) to help him get the grades he needs to take up a football scholarship, is taught to drive  and on his birthday receives as a present from the family a brand-new sports-utility vehicle.

When Michael celebrates his new car by taking the Tuohys’ son for a ride he crashes due to his wilful  inattention and injures SJ.  Leigh Anne far from being in a rage about the injury to her only son is all concern for Michael’s feelings and rushes to assure him it wasn’t his fault. The rest of the family don’t refer to the accident. The final cherry on the let’s-be-nice-to-Michael-at-any-cost-cake is the Tuoys offering to be Michael’s guardian, something which is met with universal  hyperbolic family joy.
This eerily unreal air of ecstatic jubilation at Michael’s very existence exuded by the Touhys seeps over into the parade of university reps who come to try to persuade Michael to  attend their university. 

The  white liberal guilt trip rises to a crescendo when Michael is interviewed by a public official about why he wants to go to a certain university. The official is a black woman who is concerned that ol’ whitey is up to his evil ways by trying to emotionally capture black boys with athletic talent  who they can then direct to their own satisfaction. . She suggests to Michael that the only reason the Tuohys have done all that they have done for him is because they wish to direct his athletic  prowess to their old university. Notwithstanding the preternatural generosity shown him, Michael immediately becomes outraged at this shocking thought and  turns on Leigh Anne before going missing. Cue for  Leigh Anne  agonising about whether she and her family  have been trying to make choices for him, She frantically seeks Michael out and, wait for it, apologises for  even suggesting that he might want to go to a university for which she had affection.

But the  liberal  desire to wallow in guilt is a form of masochism, and like all masochists they wish to control the pain. They are happy to humiliate themselves only on their terms,   This means Apart from a few snatches of ghetto life “The Blind Side” takes place in a remarkably white world  of white home, white school, white tutor, white football coach. If there is an abuse of Michael it is his almost complete removal from people of his own race.  What the Tuohys want is a Michael  made in their image. .

There are three important  sub-plots. The first concerns anyone Leigh Anne knows or meets who makes any suggestion which can be interpreted as racist, a word which in the strange world liberals have foisted upon us can mean virtually any expression of opinion which is other than wildly enthusiastic about the joy of diversity. Leigh Anne’s lunching club  female friends who have the temerity to suggest that she might be biting off more than she can chew or that this is just her latest worthy cause,  are first reprimanded then cast into the outer darkness after one of them is rash enough to suggest there might be just a hint of danger in having a large black male adolescent in their house when they have an attractive  teenage daughter. This, of course, panders to another primary white liberal trait, an intense desire to play the role of the morally superior being.;

The second involves Michael’s education.  As already mentioned,  his IQ is   a “tested 80“ , a surprising intrusion of realism into the film because  the average IQ of American blacks is 85 .  However, that is where the realism ends about Michael’s intellectual ability  because he then proceeds with the help of a special tutor to gain the necessary grades for university entrance.

 The film does not actually say so, but the clear implication is that those pesky old IQ tests which are always showing blacks with a substantially lower average IQ than whites or Far East Asians such as the Chinese are really just indicators of social circumstances. (Interestingly, “Precious”  uses the same device with the central character making a mess of an IQ test early in the film).  This is an unpersuasive argument because ,despite the vast amount of money and manpower put into schemes such as Head Start, there has never been a proven case of IQ being substantially and permanently raised by teaching.  There is also the glaring fact that if it were possible to raise IQ substantially and permanently by teaching  the rich would long ago have purchased the privilege for their children. They have not because no such teaching exists. 

The upshot is we are left with the startling idea that someone with an IQ of 80 can handle a degree course, startling because an IQ of 80 is the point at which most psychologists working in the field of intelligence testing think that an individual begins to struggle to live an independent life in a developed economy such as the USA.  Just to add to the wonder of it all, Michael, someone who supposedly has had no meaningful education until he is sixteen or thereabouts, is writing  fluently about his life not long after we first  meet him  and before he has a personal tutor.

The third  sub-plot is the absurd portrayal of  Leigh Anne as a dominant woman.  The white men she meets throughout the film are wet in the extreme, an amazing fact as the main white male characters are all southerners, folk not generally noted for their subservience to the gentler sex.  .  Leigh Anne  addresses them as if they were naughty schoolboys in the manner of  a dominatrix with  the type of  shouty all purpose  “Southern” accent that is the American equivalent of the English “Mummerset“, To this  abuse  these Southern males merely bow their heads meekly and gaze in wonder at the marvel of the woman.  The nonsense reaches its apogee when at the end of the film she is searching for the missing Michael and ventures into the ghetto from which Michael has supposedly come. Here she harangues  a distinctly nasty looking gang of “rude boys“ who cringe before her threats.  In the real world she would most probably have ended up dead or raped or both.

There are other problems with the film. The Tuohy family seem to live in a world of  not only almost perpetual circumstantial light, but of light which is dazzling. Nothing but nothing brings gloom and doom, not even SJ’s injury.   The characterisation is one-dimensional with Michael being  little more than a looming physical presence who acts as a  reflecting board for the white liberal mentality. 

The screenplay has been written by numbers with frequent exchanges of brute sentimentality.  The writers fondly imagine that they have been subtle in putting in the odd scene which clashes with the general air of undiluted worship of Michael, for example, on  the boy’s  first night in the Tuohys’ house  Leigh Anne makes a show of wondering if he is going to steal form them or wreck the place.  However, when such scenes arise, and they are very occasional, the non-pc thought is immediately squashed by a another scene which shows how ridiculous and racist is the very idea of Michael behaving badly .

 The screenplay’s cringe-making quality  is epitomised by the   exchange when Michael is asked whether he wants the Tuohys to become his guardians: “Would you like to become part of the family, Michael?”. Michael: “I thought I already was”. There are plenty of other saccharine gems like that so those diligent enough to see the film are advised not to eat anything before viewing.

That this ridiculous piece of  political correct agitprop should have not only been an Oscar contender,  but landed Sandra Bullock the Oscar for best actress (no pc whining about gender specific awards when it suits the feminists note) demonstrates the grip which political correctness has on the US elite. . Unlike “Precious” which was a powerful film, this is simply feeble failing on every important  criterion by which a film is judged: plot, screenplay,  characterisation, and  acting. If you must see it, go as a duty to see what the multicultural  enemy is up to  not for recreation. 

Why do white liberals behave in this grotesquely patronising fashion?  Simple, blacks are their clients not their friends. Liberals do not see blacks as equals or even as fully fledged human beings. They relate to  them in much the same way they might view an exotic animal which has become a fashionable pet.

 The problem with being a client of those with power and influence is that fashions change. In Britain forty years ago the role of liberal client  was played by the white working class, now the position is filled by a growing army of ethnic minorities.  The white working class lost their position by  disgracing  themselves in white liberal eyes through their failure to accept that they should  remain as pristine proletarians jealously guarding their working class culture without any aspiration to become middle class and  because of their growing hostility to the consequences of the white liberal policy of mass immigration, consequences which those who promoted the immigration ensured they avoided.  

What would an interesting film involving white liberals acting as Lady Bountiful  to the black underclass be like in these pc times? How about this, a white liberal  family  takes in an adolescent  black ghetto gang member  who is heavily into drugs and guns, is functionally illiterate, has no inclination to be educated and  is sexually incontinent. 

The white family then go on one of those  “journeys”  beloved of  progressives,  from liberal fantasists to  race realists as the erstwhile gang member introduces the children to drugs, gets the teenage daughter pregnant, robs the family, beats up the parents and reduces the family home to ashes in an act of arson before being gunned down after re-joining his  ghetto  gang , I am not saying that would represent everyday reality, but it would be a good deal more plausible than “The  Blind Side.”

Somehow I doubt whether that film will ever see the light of day.
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Film recommendations

Young Victoria – I have very belatedly seen this, but better late than never for it is the best costume drama I have seen fin years. The casting is immaculate, from Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend as Victoria and Albert (Friend is the most impressive young British actor to appear for some time) to cameos by the likes of Jim Broadbent (a most amusing William IV, albeit sadly without his renowned quarterdeck language) ) and Julian Glover (Wellington with a most impressive prosthetic nose.). Mark Strong is first rate  as Sir John Conroy, the Svengali controlling Victoria’s mother.  I have seen Strong in two other  films in the year, Rock’N’Roller (where he played a London villain) and  Body of Lies (where he played a Jordanian prince who was head of Jordanian security). He is a most impressive and versatile actor, with a fine ear for accents. 
 
Sex and Drugs and Rock-and-Roll – Biopic of Ian Drury. This completes a trio of first rate biopics of rock stars in the past three years, the others being Control and Nowhere Boy.

Why have the bankers escaped punishment?

 The fragility of the belief in laissez faire economics can be seen by the readiness of almost all of the supposedly  big bad free marketeers  to rush for the support of the State when things go wrong. As the Government almost invariably steps in when it is a bank going bust, being a  banker  is a one way bet:  the bank makes money you get the vast remuneration: the bank fails the taxpayer steps in and you do not  suffer any punishment such as summary dismissal, the removal of limited liability if you are a director or  criminal proceedings, but are dismissed with a massive pay-off at worst and continue to be   employed on the same outrageous remuneration terms as  you were before the taxpayer had to bail out the banks.

 There is existing law which could be applied to culpable bank directors but never is.  Section 174 of the 2006 Companies Act details the duties of the directors as follows :

 (1) A director of a company must exercise reasonable care, skill and

diligence.

(2) This means the care, skill and diligence that would be exercised by a

reasonably diligent person with—

(a) the general knowledge, skill and experience that may reasonably be

expected of a person carrying out the functions carried out by the director

in relation to the company, and

(b) the general knowledge, skill and experience that the director has.

 How can the directors of RBS, HBOS, Lloyds TSB and Northern Rock be said to have met these requirements? Lloyds TSB have even admitted that inadequate due diligence was done before the takeover of HBOS.

There is also the question of general competence. The alarming truth is that  the executive directors of banks almost certainly did not understand the complex financial packages being devised by their investment arms which led to the crisis.  On 10 February 2009 the recently removed executive directors of the RBS and the HBOS appeared before the Commons Treasury Select Committee: Sir Fred Goodwin  (ex-RBS chief executive) and Sir Tom McKillop (ex-RBS Chairman),e Andy Hornby  (ex-HBOS chief executive) and Lord Steveson of Conandsham  (ex-HBOS  Chairman).

During their examination by the committee, each of the four directors on show was asked to detail their formal banking qualifications. All four had to admit that they had none. I am generally an enemy of credentialitis, but in this case technical qualifications are necessary to ensure that the directors understand the very complex financial instruments being used and  the exotic accounting practices employed  by large corporations. If failure to understand such things does not amount to gross negligence what does?

The  Companies Act allows shareholders, subject to the agreement of a court,  to sue directors for  negligence, default, breach of duty or breach of trust. No attempt has been made to removed their limited liability to allow this to happen. Nor, as far as I can discover,  has any attempt has been made to get bank directors banned from holding directorships in the future.   Why have the institutional shareholders not started such legal action to remove limited liability from directors so they can be sued?  Why has no politician raised the possibility of banning ex-bank directors from being directors in the future? The only plausible reason is the  tacit class interest encompassing  politicians, bankers and large institutional investors, the  last being the  only  non-governmental  people generally  with the financial muscle to fund  actions to remove the limited liability of directors. There is a simple legal way to stop them enjoying the fruits of their ill-gotten gains:  remove their limited liability and ban them from holding directorships for life.

As for criminal charges, I wonder if something could not be done under the laws relating to fraud. There must come a point where  recklessness behaviour becomes fraud because the director knows they are taking chances which will most probably not come off.  For the future we need a law of reckless endangerment which would make any director who endangered a bank or allied institution through their criminally reckless behaviour to be punished by the criminal law.

 The culpable bankers should be punished both from common decency and to deter others in the future. Those who are saying “we must move on” are  arguing a nonsense. Let’s try that argument with a few other scenarios: X murdered Y but there is no point in recriminations: we must move forward; X stole £50 million from his employer but that was in the past: we must move on.  Doesn’t really work does it? The argument politicians and bankers both employ promiscuously that to concentrate on bankers’ pay is to distract from the real issue of what is to be done about the economy is simply special pleading: reforming  bankers’ pay is part of dealing with the economic mess because if they have the same incentives to misbehave in the future and no penalty is paid by those who have misbehaved in the past there will be no reason not to misbehave once more. . 

Far from being punished, bankers who have left the banks they have helped ruin have received   gigantic pay-offs to reward them for their incompetence. The  case best known to the public is that of Sir Fred Goodwin of RBS who originally was to receive an immediately payable pension of more than £700,000 per annum,(since reduced to a more modest £400,000 odd )  but he does not stand alone. To take a couple of other examples, according to the Telegraph  (27 Feb 2009) “Eric Daniels, the chief executive of Lloyds Bank, which has accepted tens of billions of pounds from the Government, could receive almost £10 million in pay, perks and bonuses this year”,  while Adam Applegarth, the chief executive of Northern Rock when it failed,  a bank so badly damaged  that it is now wholly owned by the British taxpayer, reportedly   trousered  £760.000 (Northern Rock boss to get £760,000 payoff Telegraph Tony Undercastle 31/03/2008).

 Nor is it only bankers who have been so lucky. viz:   “Clive Briault, the official in charge of supervising Northern Rock when it collapsed, received a payoff of almost £530,000 after parting ways with the Financial Services Authority, it emerged yesterday. The payoff took Mr Briault’s total remuneration for the year to almost £884,000. FSA chief executive Hectors Sants collected cash, bonuses and other benefits totalling £662,000, compared with the £652,577 received by his predecessor John Tiner, despite the FSA’s own critical report into regulatory failings that culminated in the Northern Rock fiasco. “ (£530,000 farewell for FSA official who watched over Northern Rock  Peter Taylor  Telegraph 01/07/2008).

 As for politicians. not a single person  responsible for the mess has taken any responsibility. The person most at fault is of course Gordon Brown, who in more then ten years as chancellor debauched the British economy through massively expanded public spending and his role as cheerleader-in-chief  for the excesses of the financial sector.

Since the development of this economic crisis the Government has been advocating what they  represent as a  Keynsian solution.  The problem is that they  are only giving us half of  Keynes,. There  are two parts to his theory: the prudence of government in reducing public debt in good economic times and the use of public money to boost aggregate consumption in bad economic times. In fact, even that does not do Keynes justice,  because he advocated public spending to boost demand only as a very last resort after time had shown that the self-righting corrective of the market had failed. Gordon Brown as Chancellor neglected the prudent part of Keynes with the consequence that we arrived at the credit crunch is unprepared to carry out the second part of Keynes.

As for the independent  economic “experts” who supported laissez faire , have they suffered from  their failure to predict what was happening? Not a bit of it. They still occupy their posts in the media, think tanks, private consultancies  and academia, drawing their pay and pontificating as if their misjudgement and misunderstanding of economics  had never happened.

There is no excuse for the failure to predict the financial collapse.  It was  of course impossible to predict the detail of the crash but it really wasn’t that difficult to see what was coming in general terms. Some of us, myself included, picked the disaster before it happened, in my case in July 2007 before  even Northern Rock had collapsed. My decision to make such a prediction came when the housing bubble which was driving the economic boom became so extreme that first time buyers  on average earnings could not afford to buy a property in most parts of  Britain, despite mortgages of five and six times earnings and up to 125% of the value of the property being on offer. As first time buyers support the entire housing market, that could only have one result: a severe fall in  house prices which in turn would topple the boom into bust.  It was not, as they say, rocket science.   

The cost of the current banking failure

The extent of the obligations which the taxpayer has taken on is impossible to  calculate with any precision for two reasons. First,  it is not known how much of the money pushed into British banks  (RBS, HBOS, Northern Rock, Bradford and Bingley)  will be recouped when and if they are sold.  Second, the extent  to which  the  loans guaranteed by the taxpayer (both for the banks which are now part owned by the taxpayer and those which are still technically impendent like HBSC and Barclays)  are subject to default is not known.  That the  “experts” are groping in the dark can be seen from the fact that the Governor of the Bank of England has refused to even estimate how much money will have to be put into the banks. (Mervyn King: ‘Impossible to say’ how much capital needed to shore up banking system By James Kirkup, Telegraph 26 Feb 2009)

There is also the possibility  that if  the Lloyds Group  is successfully sued by institutional shareholders on the grounds that  they were misled by the management before the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB or because of Lloyds TSB e failure to do due diligence  before completing the deal,  then the taxpayer might have to foot at further colossal bill, especially if the company is still part-state owned when a suit is successful.

The partly state owned banks are in theory to be sold reasonably quickly, probably  within the next five years, but  that assumes they will be in a state which will attract buyers and the world economy will have recovered enough in that time to create circumstances in which plausible buyers  will come forward.  There is a further fly in the ointment. The EU competition commissioner has already insisted that subsidiary parts of  RBS and Lloyds are sold off, with the added proviso that they must not be sold to buyers who would then have too large a market share in Britain. If that ruling is extended to the sale of the main bank assets it would create very grave difficulties because no British bank would be able to make such a purchase and the number of foreign banks able to do so would be very limited. That could result in the banks being broken up clumsily just for the sake of reducing size rather than for good commercial reasons or sold for a song.

In addition to the problem of finding buyers,  there is a very real possibility that  nothing like the full extent of  sub-prime debt has  been admitted to by the banks, whatever their ownership status, and only a fool would bank on both Britain and the world’s economy recovering fully within five years. The fact that RBS  had to be bailed out  again with mind-boggling sums so soon after the first gigantic cash injection is strong indicator of  the massive hidden bad debt still lurking within banks.

The hard figures for taxpayer’s cash being spent to prop up the banks are mind boggling. To date  RBS has received £45.5 billion – with another £8 billion earmarked if it is needed. Of that approximately £27 billion has already disappeared through the toxic debt trapdoor (as at November 2009). .  Through a series of complicated loans and repayments,   Lloyds Banking Group has received £14.7 billion net. Northern Rock received £27 billion in September 2007, although this has been reduced as the less toxic mortgages have been   redeemed  (Daily Telegraph High Risk gambling in record bank bailout 4 11 2009).

As for estimates of future obligations, even the government anticipate a  long term cost to the taxpayer of the bailout to be £20-50 billion,  but it could rise to  over £1 trillion if all the government insurance and other guarantees are called in – the amount underwritten in the governments Asset Protection Scheme  currently stands at £282 billion (ibib). In  July 2009 the IMF estimated the cost of  British taxpayer support for the banks to that date as £1,227 billion (IMF puts UK banking bail-outs at £1,227bn Telegraph 31 Jul 2009 Edmund Conway).

Then there is the  national debt. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) projects a  national debt of £792 billion by the end of the 2009/10 financial year  with another possible £1.5 trillion being added before the crisis is over. (Independent 5 11 2009 1.5 trillion  could be added to national debt). This would leave Britain with a national debt of  £2.3 trillion, substantially more than current GDP which is around £1.5 trillion. Before Northern Rock was nationalised, the National Debt was officially less than £600 billion. ( It should also be borne in mind that the National Debt is substantially larger than the current official figure because Brown’s Enron-style accounting has kept the true cost of PPP and PFI off the books, most of the ongoing debt not being included in the National Debt.)

In addition to the direct costs of this banking fiasco, there are the vast sums of money, loss of expertise and human misery caused  by a severe recession to be set against the politicians and bankers’ account.  There is now, as there has always been,  a signal failure amongst the laissez faire believers to acknowledge the true  economic costs of their  religion in terms of lost wages, lost tax, higher benefit payments and increased  anti-social behaviour when people are put out of work. A prime example of such  behaviour  was that of Margaret Thatcher when she  exulted in the destruction of  Britain’s heavy engineering and extractive industries without seemingly having any concern about the structural unemployment she was causing or its human and economic costs. .

There obviously have to be limits to  public service employment,  but it is clearly better, for both moral and economic reasons,  having people employed in useful – and I stress the useful – public service than unemployed, provided their wages can be met without radically destabilising the economy.  At least that provides people with purposeful lives and the public with something for their taxes.  Moreover where enterprises such as coal mining and the railways  and the  energy utilities are in public hands strategically important economic capacity is being maintained. Nor is it simply a case of defending public service provision for important private industries can be defended through protectionist measures. This mixture of public and private protection of employment opportunities could be further bolstered by a refusal to permit further mass immigration.

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