Category Archives: Media

Does it matter if Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell is all wrong?

There is always a role for challenging the orthodoxies of history – what we have was written or recorded via the filter of the culture and prejudices of the author no matter how scrupulously they claim otherwise. These are fine books and the TV adaptation is excellent, but we need to remember they are a fictionalised account of what happened – written by a brilliant author at the peak of her powers – but still fiction based on one interpretation of the history.


Wolf Hall is filmed and acted in such a naturalistic style, you might be fooled into thinking it was true By Andrew M Brown 12:00PM GMT 31 Jan 2015

Poor Wolsey has gone. Jonathan Pryce was pale and blotchy enough by the end, with those nasty-looking pustules on his face. Wolf Hall is filmed and acted in such a naturalistic style, it is hard not to assume that you are watching the truth. Would it matter if the characterisation was all wrong, as the historian Suzannah Lipscomb claimed on the radio?

Take my father-in-law: he read Hilary Mantel’s novels when they came out and his view was completely changed. Until that point, the Thomas More of his imagination had been Paul Scofield in the Robert Bolt play and film: the man of conscience and high principle, but also popular and loved by his family. Wolf Hall’s More, on the other hand, as played by Anton Lesser, is a sour, sarcastic, desiccated prig who’s horrid to his wife.


Malignant toad

Meanwhile Thomas Cromwell, revealed in Holbein’s famous portrait to be a narrow-eyed, malignant schemer, sitting toad-like with his paperwork, is rendered by Mark Rylance as practically a saint. We experience with him the loss of his wife and daughters, his childhood suffering, and the death of his dear patron Wolsey. He is even kind to animals. Of course we empathise.

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Wonder Woman’s complex, contradictory origin story

2014+50 Wonder Womancrop

Wonder Woman is riddled with contradictions: sexless, yet sexy; strong, yet vulnerable; a feminist hero created by a man BY HELEN LEWIS PUBLISHED 22 DECEMBER, 2014 – 15:57

“A great movement is now under way – the growth in the power of women. Let that theme alone or we drop the project.” These stern words were written by William Moulton Marston in 1941 as he submitted his first script for a new superhero. Her name was Wonder Woman.

In the seventy-odd years since, successive editors, writers and directors have found it impossible to “let that theme alone”. A strong, independent, explicitly feminist action hero is still too radical for the business-minded comics industry.

It doesn’t help that Wonder Woman has quite the glass ceiling to smash with her Lasso of Truth. Although superhero movies now dominate the box office, there is still a dearth of female characters – even 2012’s The Avengers, directed by a geek feminist, Joss Whedon, had only Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow next to seven male leads. And she was the only one in the poster sticking her bum out. Despite a blizzard of comic adaptations, Wonder Woman will have to wait until at least 2017 to get her own feature film.

As Jill Lepore’s lovingly researched study demonstrates, Wonder Woman is used to such slights. The character soared in popularity when invited to join the “Justice Society” of superheroes during the Second World War. However, this bold traveller from the land of the Amazons, who had incredible strength and resourcefulness (as well as bullet-stopping bracelets), was promptly installed as . . . the Society’s secretary. She spent the war sighing about having been left at home while her male counterparts went off adventuring.


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The S*n brings back topless women days after apparent end of Page 3

 Warning this post contains things that some may find offensive – mostly the countries second worst vile rag doing what it does best – being childish and offensive

Thursday 22 January 2015 00.43 GMT

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Campaigners dismayed by tabloid’s decision after reports 44-year-old practice had been quietly dropped

Days after what looked like the end of its use of topless models on Page 3 sparked celebrations among campaigners, Thursday’s Sun seems to have reverted to type.

In what appears to be an attempt to regain control of the narrative surrounding the future of the newspaper’s Page 3, the paper again features a photograph of a topless model, which appears under a “Clarifications and Corrections” header and comes after a front-page panel announces: “We’ve had a mammary lapse.”

But others who have long regarded the 44-year-old practice as sexist, offensive and anachronistic were dismayed by the move.

“So it seems the fight might be back on,” tweeted Lucy-Anne Holmes, the founder of the No More Page 3 campaign, who added: “Thanks to @TheSunNewspaper for all the publicity they’ve given the campaign. See you tomorrow xxx”

The Labour MP, Stella Creasy, also offered her take: “So Sun going back to doing #page3? bit like drunken letchy uncle at a wedding who doesn’t get the message. Makes everyone uncomfortable.”

Another supporter of the campaign, Julia Churchill, added: “After #NoMorePage3 it felt like we were taking a good deep breath after being held under water, and now, a punch in the face.”

How to advertise your newspaper.....
How to advertise your newspaper…..

The head of PR at the Sun, Dylan Sharpe, tweeted earlier in the evening: “I said that it was speculation and not to trust reports by people unconnected to the Sun. A lot of people are about to look very silly … ”

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Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite by George Monbiot

The Guardian Tuesday 20 January 2015 20.07 GMT

If you think the news is balanced, think again. Journalists who should challenge power are doing its dirty work

'Every weekday morning the BBC's Today programme grovels to business leaders.' Photograph: Graeme Robertson
‘Every weekday morning the BBC’s Today programme grovels to business leaders.’ Photograph: Graeme Robertson

When people say they have no politics, it means that their politics aligns with the status quo. None of us are unbiased, none removed from the question of power. We are social creatures who absorb the outlook and opinions of those with whom we associate, and unconciously echo them. Objectivity is impossible.

The illusion of neutrality is one of the reasons for the rotten state of journalism, as those who might have been expected to hold power to account drift thoughtlessly into its arms. But until I came across the scandal currently erupting in Canada, I hadn’t understood just how quickly standards are falling.

In 2013 reporters at CBC, Canada’s equivalent of the BBC, broke a major story. They discovered that RBC – Royal Bank of Canada – had done something cruel and unusual even by banking standards. It was obliging junior staff to train a group of temporary foreign workers, who would then be given the staff’s jobs. Just after the first report was aired, according to the website Canadaland, something odd happened: journalists preparing to expand on the investigation were summoned to a conference call with Amanda Lang, CBC’s senior business correspondent and a star presenter. The reporters she spoke to say she repeatedly attempted to scuttle the story, dismissing it as trivial and dull.

They were astonished. But not half as astonished as when they discovered the following, unpublished facts. First, that Lang had spoken at a series of events run or sponsored by RBC – for which she appears, on one occasion, to have been paid around 15,000 Canadian dollars. Second, that she was booked to speak at an event sponsored by the outsourcing company the bank had hired to implement the cruel practice exposed by her colleagues. Third, that her partner is a board member at RBC.

Lang then interviewed the bank’s chief executive on her own show. When he dismissed the story as unfair and misleading, she did not challenge him. That evening she uncritically repeated his talking points on CBC’s main current affairs programme. Her interests, again, were not revealed. Then she wrote a comment article for the Globe and Mail newspaper suggesting that her colleagues’ story arose from an outdated suspicion of business, was dangerous to Canada’s interests, and was nothing but “a sideshow”. Here’s what she said about the bank’s employment practices: “It’s called capitalism, and it isn’t a dirty word.”

Continue reading Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite by George Monbiot

Scarfolk – Somewhere in the north-west of England a town stuck in a hellish vision of the 1970s


“Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. “Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay.” For more information please reread.”


How to wash a child’s brain: Designer Richard Littler creates fictional world based on terrifying public service films
by SIMON USBORNE Wednesday 17 April 2013

Scarfolk, population unknown. Precise location: open to interpretation. Somewhere in the north-west of England, a town stuck in a hellish vision of the 1970s. Thought detector vans called “think tanks” roll through the streets and those who dare to speak to outsiders are handed black spot cards that require a human sacrifice. It’s a place of pagan rituals where the water is electrified and the fear of grisly death stalks every corner.

A tour of the town is in turns horrific and hilarious. It’s also, thankfully, a ride not around a real place but the brilliantly warped imagination of Scarfolk’s self-appointed mayor.

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Cut benefits? Yes, let’s start with our £85bn corporate welfare handout

The rise of TV programs and newspaper articles demonising those who claim benefits is a phenomena of the past couple of years. There is no question that this ‘new TV’ is inspired by those who want to make is more politically acceptable to cut benefits to the ‘undeserving poor’. It is a political strategy the US right wing has been using (very successfully) for many years.

What the media have not focused on is the far larger amount of money the government contributes in corporate subsidies, bailouts, tax cuts and tax not collected which enrich the Corporate world.

This is a society in which our government spends large amounts of time and money to make sure we don’t give poor people a penny more than they are entitled but at the same time funds a champagne lifestyle and huge profits for its friends.

It needs to change.


Children playing in street of the former mining town of Easington Co Durham UK




Billions of pounds of British public money has gone to business, with Disney getting £170m. They really are taking the Mickey by Aditya Chakrabortty Monday 6 October 2014 20.30 BST

‘Politicians and pundits talk about welfare as if it’s solely cash given to people. Hardly ever discussed is corporate welfare.’

Last October an article revealed that the British government had since 2007 handed Disney almost £170m to make films here. Last year alone the Californian giant took £50m in tax credits. By way of comparison, in April the government will scrap a £347m crisis fund that provides emergency cash for families on the verge of homelessness or starvation.

Benefits are what we grudgingly hand the poor; the rich are awarded tax breaks. Cut through the euphemisms and the Treasury accounting, however, and you’re left with two forms of welfare. Except that the hundreds given to people sleeping on the street has been deemed unaffordable. Those millions for $150bn Disney, on the other hand, that’s apparently money well spent –whoever coined the phrase “taking the Mickey” must have worked for HM Revenue.

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