I'm a civil servant; they talk a lot about diversity here.
I love it; I wandered Westminster in battered trainers and am currently at my desk wearing a twelve year old t-shirt with a dragon on it.
One of the things we were taught at the (compulsory) diversity course was that there are lots of ways to discriminate.
A ruling against long hair, for example, could be a quiet way of discriminating against Sikhs. Refusal to accomodate part-time work or job sharing could be a way of discriminating against women or single parents. No jewellery? Well, there's a lot of religions that wear jewellery, even if it's not stricturally 'required' the way the Sikh bangle is. I've seen remarks like "there are plenty of other places for her to express her faith" and there are - at the moment. But if you tell a girl she can't wear what she feels is a religious symbol, on pain of expulsion, well, you've either thrown her out of the school, forcing her to find another, or you've forced her to give up what she views as part of her faith. Neither's good, and if more schools take up this uniform policy, where can she go? It's the kind of policy that leads to ghettoization - it was hugely damaging to the Sikh community in Britain, back when males had to cut their hair to find work.
The worm drives helically through the wood
And does not know the dust left in the bore
Once made the table integral and good;
And suddenly the crystal hits the floor.
Electrons find their paths in subtle ways,
A massless eddy in a trail of smoke;
The names of lovers, light of other days --
Perhaps you will not miss them. That's the joke.
The universe winds down. That's how it's made.
But memory is everything to lose;
Although some of the colors have to fade,
Do not believe you'll get the chance to choose.
Regret, by definition, comes too late;
Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate.
John M Ford
The first, say, four-fifths of this movie were pretty much awesome. Then the plot fell over and died. Silver Surfer so very very cool. Effects all very snazzy and don't overwhelm the plot.
Fairly sexist, but not abysmal.
Had a lengthy debate with Fluff on the way home; he wondered why I didn't care that there were virtually no women on screen (in general) that were anything other than an accessory/motivator for men. It was a question that foxed me.
I don't know, why should the movie world reflect the real world, where half the population are women? Why should I get to see someone like me blow shit up and be awesome? Why do I feel I have some kind of right to identify with the heroines and their struggles, instead of staring at them in bemusement and wondering what motivations these ciphers could possibly have?
Only men get to be represented, it seems.* And when people ask why I have a problem with that, my only answer is 'Jesus Christ, are you a moron? You appear to be functioning on a level of idiot naivete I cannot comprehend.'
This does not usually add to the debate; but I can't comprehend how people cannot see that, yes, it would make a difference if some of the supporting character were female *even though* the plot did not demand it. It would make a difference if the default wasn't male. It's not like it matters to you, does it? That's what Fluff said - it doesn't matter if this supporting character is male or female. So, I asked, they could have made him female, to balance the genders? Oh no, that would be silly, because it doesn't matter what gender they are.
Guess what? It matters to me.
Also, do strong, intelligent, ass-kicking heroines detract from the movie? Oh yeah, Mystique totally dragged the X-men films down. Ha ha. I loved her. I loved her with a passionate love, for her selfishness and her loyalty, her rapid thinking, her iron nerve, her ruthlessness, her willingness to use every resource she had, the way she put her trust in Magneto and he put his trust in her. She was gifted, and she was flawed. She was a person. I really loved that. Guess what? Making your female characters people can only add value to your film.
*Usually white, straight, able-bodied men. An issue for another day.
Apparently the planned US Embassy in Iraq will be bigger than the Vatican.