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Whaleoil at the movies: Green Book

Too right!
A regular column by John Black.
Rightminds.nz

The late great screen writer William Goldman held that there was only one unerring rule of the movie business – ‘nobody knows anything’. Something that comes closest to disproving this dictum is the near certain knowledge that the Academy Awards always reward movies about race. Driving Miss Daisy and more recently 12 years a slave and Moonlight all took the best picture Oscar. Green Book in being contrived to win such plaudits is every bit as cynical as Goldman’s one liner.

The Green Book is basically Driving Miss Daisy redux. This time it’s Viggo Mortensen’s Tony, an Italian American goomba at the wheel with Mahershala Ali’s Dr Don Shirley, a black pianist in the passenger seat. It’s based on real events when cultured uptight musician Shirley undertook a tour of the Deep South in 1962. In need of someone a bit ‘handy’ to protect him from the racist thuggery he is sure to encounter he hires the bouncer Tony as his driver. Tony starting out as a minor racist is transformed through their shared adventures into a major racist. Not really. He is transformed into a colour blind paragon of liberal virtues. He may even have started voting democrat.

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Whaleoil at the movies: Vice

Too Right
A regular column by John Black
Rightminds.nz

Politics, they say, is just show business for ugly people. In this satire cum biopic liberal Hollywood attempts a character assassination of one they believe to be the ugliest (in the moral sense) of them all: former vice-president Dick Cheney. Trouble is writer-director Adam McKay is a rather ham-fisted hitman hitting his polemical and satirical targets with as much accuracy as a delirium tremens stricken Lee Harvey Oswald.

The centrepiece of the film and the only reason you should give it two hours of your summer holiday is the performance of Christian Bale as Cheney. All the prosthetics and make up can’t disguise the masterful acting – he’s got the thirty-Rothmans-a-day voice and the lop-sided grin down pat but somehow avoids making it a caricature, giving Cheney some real humanity not always there in the script. The other players – Sam Rockwell as George W and Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld – come much closer to dinner party imitations. Amy Adams plays Cheney’s loyal but tough wife Lynne, depicted as a lady Macbethish figure. She does what she can with feminist talking points compressed into dialogue and almost makes them sound like something a woman might say.

Almost.

This is the movie’s main problem. Partisan political agitation thinly disguised as comedy-drama makes for shitty entertainment.

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Whaleoil at the movies: A review of Fahrenheit 11/9

Too Right!

A regular column by John Black

Rightminds.nz


Michael Moore
Fahrenheit 11/9 premiere

He’s a fat, stinking rich, narcissistic loud mouth with a penchant for baseball caps and demagogy and he’s just made a movie about Donald Trump.

Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 ( the date of Trump’s victory confirmation and a nifty inversion of Moore’s earlier Fahrenheit 9/11) is a chronicle of the decline of left-wing politics in America, represented in Moore’s mind by the triumph of the Don.

The movie opened in Auckland last Thursday to much fanfare. There were three other solo men in the 16 seat theatre for the 9 pm showing. The bloke behind me slipped into a deep slumber thirty minutes in.

I sympathised.

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Your totalitarian future & how to avoid it

Too Right

A regular column by John Black.

Rightminds.nz


China’s whopping population of 1.4 billion will be monitored 24/7 if the government’s bold plan to introduce “Social Credit” by 2020 is successful. Picture: ABC’s Foreign Correspondent.Source: ABC

The term ‘social credit’, much in the political ether lately, may coax some dim recollections from older Whaleoilers. Something to do with a political party based on ‘funny money’ economic theory, briefly popular in the 70s and 80s, chiefly among bespectacled, toupee wearing, Morris minor driving men.

The new coinage is, I regret to inform you, even more sinister.

The crypto-communist/ crony capitalist state of China is in the middle of implementing a ‘social credit’ system to control its vast citizenry.

Through government ‘monitoring’ (spying on people) and a merit and demerit points system scarily similar to the one my standard one teacher used, blacklists are being created with real legal repercussions. Jaywalk, take your rubbish out too early or fart in a crowded elevator and one of the many paid government informants will add you to the list (one district of Beijing, Chaoyang, has 120,000 of the bastards). According to Chinese state media, the government has already used this blacklist to block 11.14 million people from flying and 4.25 million people from taking the train.

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Socialism: It’s back and it’s cool

Too Right

A regular column by John Black.

Rightminds.nz


I was a teenage communist.

For about a week.

One of my routine excavations of the local library had uncovered a copy of the Communist Manifesto by Messrs Engels and Marx. Its declarative confidence impressed my uncertain adolescent mind and before you could say Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin’s real name) I went red.

“The theory of Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”

I quoted this at my brother when he asked for his Metallica CD back.

‘’Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.” I quoted at my mother when she asked for a hand with the dishes.

This insufferableness came to an end when my wise and gentle father gave me another book.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Thus providing a first example of something I’ve always found to be true:

The best cure for bad ideas is exposure to better ones.

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A conservative defence of Halloween

Too Right

A regular column by John Black

Rightminds.nz


Halloween Party (1970s). It gets worse the longer you look at it. This would trigger A LOT of people today and send them off the deep end.

Halloween is not big with the conservatively minded. It is seen as a primer in paganism, an anti-Christian gateway drug, leading to an adulthood of excessive mascara application, dressing in black and taking Aleister Crowley seriously. Others becry its American confection, viewing it as an overly commercialised import to these islands; in the same class as Hip Hop, Starbucks or caring about Kim Kardashian.

Yet, with a little effort, much can be found in this festival to please the conservative soul.

For starters, the patrimony of Halloween is not American at all but Irish. Modern candy and costume Halloween is the bastard child of the Catholic All Saints Eve and the pagan festival of Samhain brought to the US by Paddy migrants. The ancient Celts marked the end of summer good times with bonfires and feasts, steeling themselves for the long nights of winter misery ahead.  Guinness was later invented to serve a similar purpose. So, if you are an O’Rourke or a Regan or descended from one (as around 60,000 kiwis are), observing Halloween is keeping an honourable ancestral tradition alive. Although we should be wary of emulating these particular contributors to our collective genetic code too closely – they were also rather keen on human sacrifice.

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Madam President Jacinda Ardern

Too Right

A regular column by John Black

Rightminds.nz


Photoshopped image credit: Pixy

Last week, 1ZB carried a report on possums infesting the walls of the prime minister’s residence, Premier House. Of course, it didn’t take the possums’ side. Taking the marsupial’s point of view, the pests are our prime minister and her male companion. Oh, how the poor little buggers must suffer. The earnest discussions about feminism or the environment coming through the walls. The dance music. The complete lack of loosely tied supermarket plastic bags full of food scraps dumped outside for them to scavenge.

The title of this deeply-biased-against-possum-kind report was: ‘Noisy Intruders keeping the First Family Awake.’

First Family?

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Collectivism: The last refuge of the scoundrel

Too Right!

A regular column by John Black

Rightminds.nz


Prostitutes wait for business outside a brothel in Phnom Penh. AFP

Many moons ago, before hair loss, divorce and cheap scotch had reduced me to my current pitiful state, I did my O.E on the cheap, backpacking around South East Asia. In Cambodia, between manning the girly bars at night and frequenting the (perfectly legal…honestly, mum) marijuana pizza joints in the day, I somehow found myself in a ‘Cultural village’.

It was a curious place.

A museum of sorts with grand waxwork dioramas telling, in exquisite detail and in vivid colour, the story of that benighted nation. The scenes tended to the gory and the palette to a Santa suit shade of red, for the years when the khymer Rouge really got going. The last but one display summarised post Pol Pot Cambodia – a U.N ‘blue hat’ with his arms around a Cambodian ‘lady of easy virtue’.

According to W.H.O estimates, in 1991 there were 6000 prostitutes in the country. In 1992 a year after U.N peacekeepers arrived, there were well over 20,000. The legacy of the U.N in Cambodia can be measured by the number of H.I.V infections. In 1995, three years after the arrival of their U.N saviours there were between 50,000 – 90,000 people with H.I.V.

I skipped the girly bars after that.

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Why can’t we handle the truth?

Too Right!

A regular column by John Black

Rightminds.nz


In a speech delivered to students, Fraser High School principal Virginia Crawford said she didn’t want her students to become statistics.

Last week saw a truly stunning event in New Zealand Education. A lone voice in a profession known for its bloviating bullshitters actually decided to tell the truth. No impenetrable teacherly jargon, nothing wrapped in political theory slightly left of Pol Pot, just some facts.

And she got nailed for it.

Hamilton Principal Virginia Crawford of Fraser High school told students at a school assembly that the more they were truant the more they ran the risk of a string of unfortunate life outcomes – among them imprisonment, illiteracy, decreased life expectancy, drug problems and rape. RAPE. Needles scratched across records, pearls were collectively clutched, and gobs were collectively smacked.

‘RAPE doesn’t ‘discriminate!’ It’s ‘disgusting’ to tell students they will get raped if they wag school.

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Wanker word of the week: Decolonisation

Too Right!

A regular column by John Black

Rightminds.nz


Cartoon by Behrendt on decolonisation in Africa (January 1960)

The annual government enforced Te Reo week has prompted the usual high-minded musings from media and academic worthies. Some made sense – Te reo as taonga that needs some protection from government much like the Kiwi or the kakapo – others did not. These invoked the concept of ‘decolonisation’.

Reminiscent of a shady medical practice involving rubber tubing and being spread eagled on a medical table, your correspondent Dr Black was perplexed. Faced with a left-wing term of nebulous meaning, I of course made for the online version of the popular ‘yoof’ magazine ‘Teen Vogue’. I find it an invaluable lexical resource when defining such terms as they seem to be created and used most frequently by teenage girls. According to ‘Tina’ (or was it ‘Becca’? I forget), decolonisation is ‘reclaiming what was taken and honouring what we still have’.

Tina/Becca goes on to define colonisation (which she thinks we should be decolonising from) as ‘the stealing of lands; the raping of women; the taking of slaves; the breaking of bodies through fighting, labor, imprisonment, and genocide; the stealing of children; the enforcement of religion; the destruction (of) spiritual ways of life’. Struth. I’m guessing it was all bad then, right? Well only in the Tina/Becca thirteen-year old girl view of the world. Trouble is this is pretty much also the adult lefty view of the world. Marama Davidson for example. So, Tina/Becca/Marama may I proffer an alternative list?

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