Sunday 18 August 2019

Is Sleeping Beauty facing a classroom ban?

Question of consent: Disney's 1959 film
Question of consent: Disney's 1959 film

So, what will we ban next?

There's no doubt that we're never going to see repeats of anything Kevin Spacey has appeared in. Similarly, it looks like Louis CK is merely the most high-profile comedian who shall be excised from public memory.

Lena Dunham has become a most unlikely victim of the current culture, but for someone who has been as loud as she has about always believing the victim, her decision to support a colleague who had been accused of rape was a leap of hypocrisy astounding even for her.

But should we simply remove all our books, DVDs, albums and comedy records that were made by people who lived less than noble private lives.

A piece in The Guardian recently accused people who still laugh at Louis CK's jokes of "supporting his world view towards women".

Does this mean that Richard Pryor will no longer be mentioned in the list of all-time great comedians? After all, Pryor was arguably the most important stand-up who ever lived (I say 'arguably' because I have constant arguments with my friends over who was the greatest), but should be consigned to the dust heap of history because of his appalling behaviour towards women?

I'm only asking rhetorically because I simply don't know the answer. After all, many movie fans who were appalled by Roman Polanski's degenerate drugging and sexual assault of a child could still enjoy the masterpiece that was The Pianist.

The problem with this approach is that it is completely scatter gun, utterly devoid of context and seems to show an increasing Philistinism, where we expect our creative artists to pass some sort of morality test before they are allowed to take part in the public sphere.

For some people, they are motivated by a genuine revulsion at the private behaviour of these public stars. For others, it's simply a way to show how much more 'woke' they are than everybody else.

But some gripers really take the biscuit.

A mother in England has demanded that her six-year-old son's school stop reading Sleeping Beauty in class, because "the specific issue in Sleeping Beauty is (about) sexual behaviour and consent".

Leaving aside the fact that such Mittel-European fairy tales invariably included dark themes of rape, incest and infanticide, can these constant complainers just move on with their life?

What do they want? Do they want to rinse everything through today's morality?

Do they want a cultural Year Zero, where they will be the sole arbiters of what is acceptable and what is not?

I genuinely don't know.

The problem is, neither do they.

Indo Review

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