The Lilac Pilgrim – Yet Another Blog

After doing a search for Paul Reubens on Google Images (good reasons, I assure you), I found a picture that led to a rather dodgy-looking plastic surgery promoting site (apparently affiliated with a suspicious clinic in Prague, but whether this is a real site or not isn’t really related to the post). Clicking on the image took me to an article about Reubens planning to make a comeback and asking its readers if he should have plastic surgery in order to make the Pee-Wee Herman image still palatable. Or something like that. Rather graciously it noted that he was still fairly slim but lamented his aging features. To my dismay, the three comments underneath the article insisted that he definitely needs a little surgery, perhaps around the eyes – the only female suggested a facelift. Personally, I feel that Reubens would look utterly terrifying if he had a facelift. His face hasn’t drooped all that much for it to warrant such drastic surgery!

Anyway, it got me thinking. I know that plastic surgery isn’t really in the spotlight any more and a lot of people have realised just how serious it is. Still, it’s quite unnerving to find articles discussing perfectly fine-looking celebrities (or even regular people) which ever so casually suggest that these people really need scarring, expensive surgery in order to look beautiful. Now, I was very aware of people criticising females, especially those celebrities who the public reckon have aged badly. There are conflicting cries of “She should get rid of those awful crow’s feet!” but also “How dare she have plastic surgery to remove those wrinkles??” I seem to remember the idea of such extreme vanity was limited to female celebrities who were even a day older than twenty-five. It got worse, as these things tend to, when men started getting procedures, though usually by way of hair transplants and eyelifts rather than tummy tucks. facelifts and botox. I couldn’t even begin to describe the reaction to the discovery that yes, some men get botox.

Now, it’s no new thing that people do talk about celebrities. I do it, my friends do it – my friend might want to squee about Orlando Bloom while I fangirl over Patrick Stewart but that’s besides the point. And ever since its sudden availability as elective procedures, people have been gaga over plastic (read: cosmetic) surgery. Even those of us who don’t like it, myself included, tend to talk about it, even if we’re wondering aloud why on earth you would let yourself be prodded, poked and knifed in order to look good. And of course the two subjects go hand in hand like chips and cheese. People will always be looking at the beautful people and thinking “she’s nice, but if she had a bigger rack/thinner frame/pointier face/plumper lips she’d be perfect.” It’s this part I don’t understand though. There’s a few things wrong with the scenario.

First of all, it’s not your body. A celebrity they may be and speculation happens whether they like it or not, but to suggest that someone you admit is already very good-looking needs surgery in order to be perfect for you, you’re not worth hanging around in he first place, not that they’d look at you twice in a crowd anyway.

Secondly, they already look good. Plastic surgery can have a devastating effect if botched or has any other outcome than “everything went better than expected”. Not only can it change that person’s appearance – it can have the opposite effect to what they were going for.

Thirdly, it really goes against the “we’re all beautiful” stand point that celebrities often go for in order to win a crowd. Their main audience can be hopelessly turned away from them if they have plastic surgery, because the notion is associated with vain perfectionists, the sort of people that well-adjusted normal folk can do without.

It rather bewilders me that some people discuss at great lengths how amazing it would be for people they don’t know to get surgery. Don’t get me wrong; it’s all well and good to say “Yikes, that mole that suddenly appeared on Glitzy McCoolperson’s neck needs looking at” since, you know, randomly appearing moles are bad news. It’s a lot less cool to say something along the lines of “I really like the tall, gorgeous Awesome O’Strongman but what is up with that slightly smaller ear on his left side?” Anyone who notices those tiny imperfections and has such a problem with them is clearly unwell.

I am aware, of course, that quite often it’s celebrities who are looking at other celebrities and commenting on how My Bestest Friend is oh so beautiful but she could be even more so! However, I just don’t understand the workings of the mind of an ordinary person who thinks of a celebrity “he’s awesome. he should be more awesome.”

Do we really need to hold them to such a high standard? I dread the day when Johnny Depp’s features finally fall foul of the aging process and people are yelling out for facelifts and tummy tucks. It’s as though celebrities, who are pretty much like the rest of us even with their quirks and riches, are not allowed to age or look normal. They have to be amazing and beautiful and have no imperfections. I wonder if it’s because people aspire to them, and our aspirations cannot be anything less than perfect. Or maybe it’s because people want the line between “us” and “them” to be as wide as it can be. I don’t know; maybe they like a challenge. Or is it because newspapers and glossy mags need constant gossip fodder? Whatever the case, I’ll always find it incredibly unnerving to open a gossip rag and see a column where a journalist is bashing this celeb or that celeb for not having the plastic surgery they need to be perfect.

Especially when I know the very next day they’ll be scoffing at some poor sucker whose surgery didn’t take.

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In Glasgow nowadays, it’s common to walk down any street in the city centre and be faced by THE END IN NIGH wonkily splattered onto sandwich boards. You can walk down (or up, if you prefer) any busy street and have abuse hurled at you by people who pay to rent a space in the middle of town for the sole purpose of preaching the same old nonsense. Better yet, each street preacher is almost an exact carbon copy of the last. You can always predict what they’re going to say and what tactics they’re going to use. Now, I could go into detail about the guilt-trips they try to put regular people on so that they get more of those people to listen. I could moan about how annoying it is to be faced with one of these shouting at the top of their lungs about how wrong it is to lie/steal/be gay. I could talk about why they are evil for trying to trick innocent passersby into feeling guilty for being human. Despite all of the above being true, I’m not annoyed about that so much right now. No, I’m more upset at they way they hoard perfectly good spaces from street performers.

I’ve always liked street performers. When I was little I would see them all the time, and not necessarily just confined to the busy city centre. You might, if you were lucky, have seen them in your local park; jugglers, firebreathers, living statues, mimes. Visiting Amsterdam a few years ago, it was so very difficult not to shriek with glee and chase after the mime who was terrorising the locals. Likewise, a couple of years back, I remember grinning widely as I passed by a group of living statues on a break, eating crisps. If I hadn’t been busy I would have waited to watch them all day; they were simply amazing. And of course, you find plenty of such performers in Edinburgh. It’s incredibly frustrating that such art forms are being steadily overtaken by preachers, shouting at people to repent OR ELSE!

Before anyone who happens to live in the city says it, yes, I’m aware of the people and their accordions and the guitarists who wail their own renditions of such classics as Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and, er, Yellow, and yes I know that there are occasionally good musicians on the street, and that’s nice. And yes, I’ve seen the breakdancers that show up every half a year or so, and the other occasional awesome performers. But there’s the problem; these things are only occasional and are being driven out by protests by PeTA and religious nuts who want to shout at you all day.

If you’re out there, street performers, please come back. Whether for the art or as buskers, people really do appreciate you guys. There are certain types of performance art that are slowly dying off. Bring them back to us! Take to the streets of Glasgow and dazzle us with your mime, your magic, your music. Enough of this guilt-trippy, shouty, religious nonsense.

In retrospect, this sounds like a much better idea for a novel, rather than the circus-themed one I’m doing for this year’s NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Enjoyed by writers and non-writers all over the world, NaNoWriMo helps to motivate those who are writers to finally finish just one novel, or helps the non-writers to get over their fears of writing in order for them to get that idea that’s been floating around out of their heads. It’s a challenge, it’s a community and it’s, overall, fun. However, as we’ve seen over the years, not everyone is as appreciative of the idea as faithful ‘nanoers’ are. “Oh no!” they cry, “Bad novels will be written by the truckload!” They run in circles and panic as we rejoice in our impressive word counts and congratulate one another on a job well done so far. They don’t want us to write! How awful is that? People being productive for an entire month and meeting new people! The horror!

It sounds awfully melodramatic, doesn’t it? People being terrified that other people might possibly be writing novels. But this does seem to be the opinion of one Laura Miller, ‘senior writer at Salon.com’. Her article, titled Better yet – DON’T write that novel (encouraging, no?) deems the much-celebrated writing marathon “a waste of time and energy”. Already that seems harsh. But she doesn’t stop there, oh no. She goes on to claim that there is “no reason to cheer [aspiring writers] on” and insists that rather than write, we all quit and read some books instead. Hmm. Like her own, I wonder?

As a woman who has been reading and writing since she was very little, I have to wonder what makes someone who is being paid to write actively discourage people from writing? We should all read, sure, I agree. I don’t agree that, for one month of the year, we should be allowed to put aside all our worries and barriers and force ourselves to write. So let’s take a look at this article, shall we?

“For me, the end of October is always slightly tinged with dread — provoked not by Halloween spooks, not even by election season, but by the advent of something called NaNoWriMo.”

Already we can see that this is probably going to be greatly exaggerated, anecdotal, and somewhat melodramatic. But why are you scared, Ms Miller? No-one’s tying you to a chair, holding your eyelids open and making you read their books.

“NaNoWriMo was started back in 1999 as a motivational stunt for a small group of writer friends. It’s since become a nonprofit organization with staff, sponsors, a fundraising gala and, last year, nearly 120,000 contestants. Participants agree to start and complete a novel of 50,000 words or more during the month of November. To “win,” all you have do is meet that goal, however wretched the result. Last year’s NaNoWriMo had 21,683 such winners.”

She doesn’t actually ever say what’s wrong with motivation. She doesn’t also note that NaNoWriMo encourages young people to explore their own creativity through their Young Writers Program. Also, after writing this post I took another look around. Seems she also missed out NaNoWriMo’s partnership with international children’s literacy program Room To Read. She also points out, rather fairly, that it doesn’t matter how good or bad the novel is once it has reached the 50,000 word goal; as long as you’re there, you’ve won. Interestingly, however, she says nothing about the sense of accomplishment one can feel once they’ve reached that goal, or how many of the writers go back to edit their novel, or how a lot of those winners achieved nearly double (if not more) the necessary word count, or even how small a number compared to the amount of participants that 21,683 actually is.

She goes on to talk about what NaNo is, in her own negative terms. Then we get this gem, likely spawned from the site’s FAQ which reassures the perfectionist writer whose nature constantly defeats them that it’s absolutely fine to write crap. For November only. It does actually encourage you to go back and edit if you’re serious about it.

“I am not the first person to point out that “writing a lot of crap” doesn’t sound like a particularly fruitful way to spend an entire month, even if itis November.”

I don’t like the idea of writing a lot of crap within a month or so either, but hey, Twilight got published, and that wasn’t even a NaNo novel.  Me, I write NaNo novels because I would like to actually get through one of my novels. I’ve been reading since I was one and a half and writing since I was maybe four. I’ve finished one novel since, and no, it’s never even been a hard copy, never mind sending it to publishers. I set up obstacles for myself all the time, preventing me from writing. November is one of those months during which I can knock down those obstacles and force myself to write. That’s why most people do it.

“And from rumblings in the Twitterverse, it’s clear that NaNoWriMo winners frequently ignore official advice about the importance of revision; editors and agents are already flinching in anticipation of the slapdash manuscripts they’ll shortly receive.”

If you’re going to use Twitter as a source of information, frankly you don’t deserve your ‘senior writer’ title. And of course people are going to ignore revision. Even those who don’t do NaNo will ignore revision. But the editors tweeting about how horrible there manuscripts are going to be should likely be doing something better with their time than moaning about it on Twitter, and secondly probably don’t have to read them. I wouldn’t be surprised, really, if most of the modern slush-piles were full of unread NaNos from years gone by.

“As someone who doesn’t write novels, but does read rather a lot of them, I share their trepidation.”

Why? Do you get sent the manuscripts, too? As far as I can see, Ms Miller, all you do is read books and tell people how to feel about them.

“The last thing the world needs is more bad books. But even if every one of these 30-day novelists prudently slipped his or her manuscript into a drawer, all the time, energy and resources that go into the enterprise strike me as misplaced.”

You’re absolutely correct. Unfortunately, bad books do slip through the net every now and then – go through the romance section in a library or read Twilight – but if these editors from the previous paragraphs don’t like the NaNos, they won’t publish them. You will never have to read them. Now, some people might point out that I have moaned about things that I did not have to read, but did anyway. The difference here is that I can get access to pretty bad fan fiction while trying to reach good fiction. Ms Miller will likely never have to see these bad NaNo novels – and unless the author posts them on a website and drags her there, she’ll never gain access to them either.

“NaNoWriMo is an event geared entirely toward writers, which means it’s largely unnecessary.”

She claims much later on in the article that writers will keep on writing whether people like it or not, and that’s why this is unnecessary. She sounds like the annoying kind of woman who has never suffered writer’s block or had a cold in her life. The sort of person who has no empathy because they’ve never experienced hardships and they poop rainbows. Now, I’m sure this isn’t the case. I’m sure she’s had what she may call hardships and difficulties before, but the lack of empathy for other writers astounds me.

“It was yet another depressing sign that the cultural spaces once dedicated to the selfless art of reading are being taken over by the narcissistic commerce of writing.”

This is referring to a bookstore that encouraged NaNoers by setting up a space for them. I don;t really care where people write their novels. I write mine at home but I can understand why people do so in bookstores, surrounding themselves with inspiration. However, Ms Miller writes that writing is narcissistic, whereas reading is selfless, almost heroic. I don’t understand how, exactly, it’s such a frightening challenge to read, but then I’m one of those insufferable bitches who can read a novel in a day or so (or less, depending) and move quickly onto the next. And is it just be, or is it somewhat hypocritical for a writer to say that writing is narcissistic? Especially one with her own book. Okay, it may be a non-fiction endeavour, but that doesn’t make it any less of a book.

“Frankly, there are already more than enough novels out there — more than those of us who still read novels could ever get around to poking our noses into, even when it’s our job to do so.”

No-one ever asked you, Ms Miller, to read every book on the planet. That would be impossible. I haven’t read every new book there ever was. I’m willing to bet that you haven’t either. I’m sorry if the idea of new books is frightening to you but they’ll happen with or without NaNo. Even without NaNo, there would still be writers’ communities, competing to finish novels in small amounts of time. For you, it just seems like a lose/lose situation.

“This is not to say that I don’t hope that more novels will be written, particularly by the two dozen-odd authors whose new books I invariably snatch up with a suppressed squeal of excitement.”

Everyone has their favourites, nothing wrong with that. But it does seem awfully narrow-minded to only be excited by a couple dozen authors.

“Yet while there’s no shortage of good novels out there, there is a shortage of readers for these books.”

How exactly? There are lots of writers who also read. Yes, there are some people who take up too much of their own time writing far too much instead of reading but there will always be plenty of readers. No, we are not an endangered species. We are not in need of money from sponsors to keep us alive in zoos and sanctuaries. People don’t crowd around to have a look at the Huxley fan squabbling with the Orwell fan for precious paper.

“Rather than squandering our applause on writers — who, let’s face it, will keep on pounding the keyboards whether we support them or not — why not direct more attention, more pep talks, more nonprofit booster groups, more benefit galas and more huzzahs to readers?”

Yeah! Great idea! Goodness knows we don’t have any festivals or book clubs, right? Or reading challenges, or tv shows about book clubs!

“They are the bedrock on which any literary culture must be built. After all, there’s not much glory in finally writing that novel if it turns out there’s no one left to read it.”

And I can use your logic to point out that, if everyone’s reading, who’ll be left to write for them? People will be reading and going “Oh no, I wish there was a novel about something I just thought of, but sadly, I must read. Whoever will write this novel for me?” See, I can use rubbish logic, too.

“In her victory-lap blog post, Klug writes of discovering new favorite authors she might otherwise never have encountered, and of her sadness on being reminded that “most Americans don’t read ANY books in a given year, or just one or two.” Instead of locking herself up in a room to crank out 50,000 words of crap, she learned new things and “expanded my reading world.” So let me be the first to say it: Melissa and Kalen, you are the heroes.”

That’s fantastic. I cannot stress enough how important it is to expand your horizons. I have learned so much while researching my novels — whoops! I forgot, that doesn’t count for anything in Miller’s world.

Seriously though, yes, reading is great. Reading allows you to take a trip into another person’s world, to learn new things and escape from reality. For me, writing is the same thing. Except it’s in a world that I created and control. I’m not saying everyone should quit reading and write instead. I still read as well as write. But why shouldn’t there be something like NaNoWriMo?

Miller insists that bad novels will be written and we should all be terrified. People should stop writing their NaNo novels, because it’s pointless and no-one’s allowed to have fun ever. Unless you read. And then  write about it somewhere.  Like Ms Miller, for example.

My opinion? I enjoy writing for NaNo. It helps spur me on when I see that gauge fill up the more I write. I like procrastinating with other writers on the forums and helping others in their research. It’s a community, it’s fun, it’s escapism. I’m still not entirely sure why Ms Miller is intimidated by it really, but it smacks of Stop Having Fun Guys. (Only click that link if you have a day or two to spare.) Maybe she should, I don’t know, give it a try? Actually talk to these writers? Stop writing herself? You know, since she wishes everyone would just read more.

Yesterday I went out to see Kick-Ass with my younger sister. Today I found the Daily Mail’s review of the film. The first thing that comes to mind for me when I see a film is usually “OMGIMUSTREVIEWIT” and onto the internet a review eventually goes. Upon seeing this review by the Daily Mail I figured I would kill two birds with one stone (not literally of course, Daily Mail) and pick apart the Daily Mail’s review while also pointing out why it is wrong and giving my own thoughts on the film.

Okay, you know a review is going to be extremely promising when the reviewer gives the film one star and the verdict is “evil”, and later the reviewer also says that the one star they gave the film was “overgenerous”.

It begins:

“Millions are being spent to persuade you that Kick-Ass is harmless, comic-book entertainment suitable for 15-year-olds. “
Um… no, millions are being spent to persuade people who may be interested in the film to go see it. This is calledadvertising and is a common consequence of the aftermath of making a movie. Anyone who takes their 15-year-old to see it or lets them go has not done their research and is very irresponsible. (That said, while I was still bad with movie gore at fifteen my younger sister was most certainly not.)

“It deliberately sells a perniciously sexualised view of children and glorifies violence, especially knife and gun crime, in a way that makes it one of the most deeply cynical, shamelessly irresponsible films ever.”
Emphasis mine, by the way. At no point during the film did I feel that the character of Mindy/Hit Girl was sexualised, as this reporter claims. She was a small girl completely covered from head to toe in a clunky, protective outfit. She shows no other skin than her face in her costume. What part of this is sexual? It also does not glorify violence. Knife crime in the film is harshly punished (anyone who is seen using a knife is obviously a bad guy – Kick-Ass uses batons) and at least one “good” character we see who could be seen to be advocating guns is clearly batshit crazy. Okay, the truly evil guys are brought to “justice” using violence, but there is no point within the film where I would think ‘Yeah, that looks like a good idea – dressing up like a superhero and getting the shit kicked out of me or killed for trying to beat up some really dangerous people.’

The next part I’ll skip because it just goes on to say that the main character is Dave Lizewski who has no superpowers, no money but later acquires by unfortunate accident nerve damage (lessens pain received) and metal plates through him. Very unfortunate accident.

“The plot is an unimaginative clone of Spider-Man 2”
What? If this is the case, you will need to complain to the comic-book writers.

Blah blah blah, rip off of other movies, blah. I wonder if the Mail know this is a British film?

It then goes on to say that it turns the real world into a foolish, smug kind of comic strip. Huh. I think this speaks for itself really. It also goes on to comment that the hero learns nothing “extreme violence against criminals is cool, which is something he thought in the first place”. So… he learned nothing then? Seriously though, he did learn something. Something of a spoiler if you haven’t seen it, but he does learn that he isn’t a hero, he cannot continue trying to be something he’s not (something Spider-Man said, before going back to crime-fighting) and he stops. It might be after Hit-Girl’s mission is done but life goes on after that. Sorry Daily Mail, but if you don’t like that life can go on you have issues.

“The reason the movie is sick, as well as thick, is that it breaks one of the last cinematic taboos by making the most violent, foul-mouthed and sexually aggressive character, Hit-Girl, an 11-year-old.”
AHAHA, as well as thick, oh that’s a good one. Wait, no it isn’t. Anyway, Mindy is aggressive, but not sexually. It’s all too obvious that a man wrote this article. Are women not allowed to be violent? I know she’s a little girl, but she has essentially been brainwashed by her obviously mentally ill father, that is one of the key plot points. Also, no kid of 11 is an angel. I could swear at 11. My first words included a swear word.

“Played with enormous confidence by Chloe Moretz, she’s the most charismatic character in the movie. She may not realise it, but she has been systematically abused by her father, brainwashed and turned into a pint-sized…”
…Pint-sized what? Also yes, Moretz deserves every award under the sun for that performance. And oh, so you dounderstand that she was conditioned by her vengeful father. Odd then that you don’t understand the rest of the film or why it is important to the plot.

“She believes that her vigilante dad (played, simplistically, for laughs by Nicolas Cage) is a hero just as much at the end as she did at the beginning.”
Nicolas Cage really did blow me away; he was fantastic in this role. Also, a tip – he treats her relatively well. Other than all the brainwashing, that is. She idolises him because of that – every little kid loves their parental figure. I still love my mother, even if she does swear and shout and act like a teenager every now and then. Even if now I do know her flaws. When I was a kid, she knew everything and she could do anything. Hit Girl feels the same about her father. I don’t really see the issue. What was she supposed to do? Kick him and run?

“Her attitude towards him doesn’t mature, which makes her pathetic, rather than cool. The fact that many people who see the film are going to think she is cool is one of its most depressing aspects.”
No matter what you would like out of such a film, she isn’t going to become a Conservative or a hippy tree-hugger. I hardly know what to say about calling a child pathetic so soon after calling her sexual.

“The movie’s writers want us to see Hit-Girl not only as cool, but also sexy, like an even younger version of the baby- faced Oriental assassin in Tarantino’s Kill Bill 1. Paedophiles are going to adore her. “
And if she was the sweet little girl you want her to be, paedophiles were still going to love her. Probably more so. Incidentally, I doubt paedophiles will love her, considering paedophilia concerns dominance for the most part and there is no way in hell any paedophile in the world is going to be able to dominate Hit Girl. I don’t know what to say about “Oriental assassin”, but it is unrelated. The writers do not want us to see Hit Girl as sexy. Dangerous, sure. Forced to mature beyond her years, yes. Brainwashed, maybe. Sexy? You must have been looking at her pretty hard to see “sex” in that little girl.

“One of the film’s creepiest aspects is that she’s made to look as seductive as possible”
I am… concerned. Are you trying to say that Mindy was seductive to you? You were seduced by an 11-year-old character? My goodness, man, GET HELP.

“She’s fetishised in precisely the same way as Angelina Jolie in the Lara Croft movies, and Halle Berry in Catwoman”
No she isn’t. Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry wear tight-fitting, thin material outfits showing loads of skin. Hit Girl’s outfit is protective padding that is practical for the activity in the movie.

“As if that isn’t exploitative enough, she’s also shown in a classic schoolgirl pose, in a short plaid-skirt with her hair in bunches, but carrying a big gun.”
Umm… she’s a girl of school age. The outfit was put to good use – making her look like a poor, lost little sweetheart. Up until the point at which she pulls the gun. Then we shouldn’t be focused on the outfit at all.

“And she makes comments unprintable in a family newspaper, that reveal a sexual knowledge hugely inappropriate to her years.”
And yet at eleven or twelve you are usually taught about the basics of sexual intercourse in high school science. I was taught in my classes, though everyone already knew. Kids will find out these things one way or another. Especially young girls who will be going through puberty at that age or even younger.

From here on in, Tookey goes on a very bizarre and pretty offensive tangent. I won’t copy and paste all of it; you can read it at the link above and see for yourself.

“Underage sex isn’t a laugh. Recent government figures revealed that in this country more than 8,000 children under the age of 16 conceive every year.”
Where the hell did you get that statistic? I fact-checked this, and in 2007, according to the Office of National Statistics, the 8,000 figure is correct, but only for that year. Not only that, but I’m confused as to where exactly Hit Girl got pregnant in the film. I don’t remember any pregnancies in the film.

Worldwide child pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. In and South America, brutalised youngsters who kill and rape are rightly feared as members of feral gangs or child soldiers. “

Once again, where in the film did Hit Girl get raped? Where was she exploited for pornography? And Hit Girl was feared, so I’m not quite sure what Tookey’s point is here.

Do we really want to live, for instance, in a culture when the torture and killing of a James Bulger or Damilola Taylor is re-enacted by child actors for laughs?”

This is the most awful and offensive part of the review. First off, in no part of the movie was a child tortured and killed for laughs. In Hit Girl’s big fight scene against a man more than twice the size of her, no-one was laughing. We could all see that she was just a little girl and it was a tense, frightening scene but that’s why it was effective. It’s shocking to watch; she has no ammo now; she’s just a small girl. And yet it made the film no less brilliant. Also, of the people in the film who were killed, maybe one was truly innocent, if the impersonator was even innocent. None of them were Bulgers or Taylors. I feel the entire plot has been misunderstood terribly.


The rest of the review reiterates the erroneous perception that Hit Girl was somehow OMGsexeh and that the film totally glorifies children growing up to be vigilantes and to kill at a young age. It doesn’t. And even if it did suggest to children somehow that they should absolutely imitate the dangerous stunts performed in the movie, these suggestible kids aren’t going to see it, it is rated 15. Responsible parents will not let their kids see it, and for good reason. It is violent, bloody, crude. I wouldn’t let a girl the age of Hit Girl see it. I wouldn’t let my 13-year-old cousin see it. That said, my cousin knows a lot more than the Daily Mail thinks she should, but she is a responsible young girl with responsible parents and she is not as suggestible as this trashy rag thinks she might be. If you are interested in an action-packed, slightly twisted but altogether fun movie and you are over the age of 15, by all means, go see it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the cinema to see a film where the entire audience is genuinely enjoying it.

All in all, the film is funny. It is also violent and a bit twisted. It is not, however, sexy. Not in the way the Daily Mail are actively trying to find the evidence for. Even when one of the boys in the film acknowledges an attraction (it’s obviously intended as a joke by the filmmakers, and we laughed) to hit Girl after seeing her literally kick ass, he is immediately criticised by his friends for even thinking it. Not more than a second later the character says that he would wait for her. There is no indication that this character will ever meet Hit Girl or that they will actually have sex, before she reaches legal age or otherwise. One has to wonder what Tookey thought of Charlotte LaBouff in The Princess And The Frog saying she could wait for Prince Naveen’s underaged brother before she married him? Was that cartoon boy sexualised too?


TL;DR: The Daily Mail’s Chris Tookey, who appears to know nothing about movies or at least is unable to separate his ridiculous, ill-informed Conservative beliefs separate from the films he watches and analyses badly said that Kick-Ass is a bad movie because it apparently glorifies childhood violence and sexualises a girl of 11. I argued that it bloody doesn’t and he must have been looking pretty hard to callously claim to be able to link the murders of James Bulger and Damilola Taylor to the violence in this film, and also that he was definitely looking far too much into the padded-for-protection, unrevealing outfit that Hit Girl wears and that his claims of her knowing too much for her age are ridiculous, because she’s bloody ELEVEN, not five. Children can and will swear, children will find out about sex eventually, girls of eleven might already be experiencing puberty and therefore need to know these things early. I was “blooming” at NINE. I agreed that the film was violent, but it definitely does not glorify violence because no-one in their right minds would watch this film and think that they would want to die fighting guys who were tougher and bigger than them.

Heard the news? Dr Andrew Wakefield has finally been kicked off the medical register for serious professional misconduct. About time, too. For those of you not affected by autism or who’ve just been living under rocks, Wakefield performed pretty dodgy studies concerning the MMR vaccine and autism. Shortly after his paper was published linking the MMR vaccine to a condition he claimed to have discovered (named autistic enterocolitis), the UK panicked and the rest of the world followed. Measles and mumps incidences rose.

In February, The Lancet finally retracted his paper. Not soon enough, I’d say; the damage is done. Still, it’s a start.

More on this story:

At the Guardian
At the BBC
At the GMC (pdf)

And if none of the above links are good enough for you, dear reader, you are on the internet. Do a search or something.

Today I looked in my Junk Mail folder. Apparently Gordon Brown and David Miliband want to give me two million pounds. Shame that I’m not allowed to talk to any other government officials or foreign affairs peoples from anywhere in the world. Sorry Vladimir and Dmitri; gotta wait til that money gets through. Barack, we need to reschedule that basketball game. Silvio… yeah, never talked to you much anyway. Still, I’m sure Gordon and David are fun to talk to. And they’re sending me a shiny new VISA to replace the one they mentioned in the e-mail. Oddly none of the numbers matched my card number… but that was probably just a typo.

In all seriousness, though, don’t ever send out your personal details in e-mails, no matter how promising they look. I can’t believe people still fall for these hoaxes. No-one wants to give you money, if you didn’t enter a foreign lottery you haven’t won any money from it and seriously, your prime minister probably barely knows his own e-mail address, never mind yours.

Over and out. Or just ‘out’. No-one really says over and out. Yeah.

Yes, the lovely, politically inclined Russian director is not dead, which makes me a very happy bunny. Though trivial, I can’t help but notice his accent when he speaks in English is more and more… well… English. It’s sort of endearing. He looks healthy enough and his new documentary, Russian Lessons, looks to be a promising, thought-provoking movie, much like Rebellion was. I don’t have much else to add, except that I need to see this film. More info at the url he gives you 😛

Click here to go to the video of Andrei Nekrasov answering his questions in the snow.


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  • HoistTheColours: Dear author, I full-heartedly and absolutely agree with your above statements. I just thought I would let you know, since I don't quite understand w
  • richclark: I covered this in my blog too. Found your post on one of Wordpress' random (associated posts). Has Ask really made the impact it needed to from
  • The Lilac Pilgrim: I couldn't go anywhere without someone mentioning it. It was incredibly obvious and yet people were still arguing about it. Absolutely ridiculous.