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Mythopoeika

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Netflix will be removing real-life disaster footage from their film Bird Box, due to protests.
What I find interesting is that this is being removed from a finished film, as well as from a film which I think only exists in streaming form. Similarly I wonder if unpopular people might disappear from streaming films, or be altered a la the mammy character from Tom & Jerry.
Eventually, they will find a way to edit real life in real time, so that life for everyone becomes suitably bland.
 

ShadyCavalier

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Netflix will be removing real-life disaster footage from their film Bird Box, due to protests.
What I find interesting is that this is being removed from a finished film, as well as from a film which I think only exists in streaming form. Similarly I wonder if unpopular people might disappear from streaming films, or be altered a la the mammy character from Tom & Jerry.
I don't know much about the Bird Box example but I feel the retroactive removal of controversial content from old programmes/films such as Tom & Jerry also removes an opportunity for discussion. Will the next generation even be aware of historic negative racial stereotypes in the entertainment industry, for example, if all of them are edited out?

How can society learn from its mistakes if it has no idea which ones it made in the first place?
 

Ermintruder

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Last year, there were international commemorations to mark the centenary of the end of WW1. Many people are oblivious to the fact that in many respects, that war really saw its end in 1919, making this year the actual 100th anniversary..especially with .the scuttling of the German Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow

In the lead-up to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Admiral Von Reuter of the German Fleet took it upon himself to order his sailors to sink their entire fleet, which resulted in one of the most significant incidents of the entire war.

At least fifty ships were sunk, and a recorded total of nine German sailors were shot (a casualty figure that could reasonably be queried, considering the sheer massive scale of what happened that day). The entire situation must've been horrific for all concerned, and whilst none of us can have a true insight as to the methods and mechanisms, it must be said that the episode was a disaster from every perspective.

It's horrifying to consider that German sailors who refused to turn-off their flooding valves were being shot out of hand, and yet inescapable to accept that the Royal Navy had a responsibility and authority to stop the whole episode taking place.

There is some mainstream media coverage and comment happening just now regarding the anniversary of the scuttling. Keep a lookout for it, and especially during the lead-in to the Treaty signing itself, which could be around late June 2019.

This BBC link from 2015 contains a fascinating letter home from a young Royal Navy Sub Lt Hugh David who witnessed the whole thing

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-33152438

(I think I've asked this question before- was the Scapa Flow incident, immediately followed by Versailles, the reason why a minority of UK war memorials are carved with the dates 1914-1919, rather than 1918?)
 

Krepostnoi

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I think I've asked this question before- was the Scapa Flow incident, immediately followed by Versailles, the reason why a minority of UK war memorials are carved with the dates 1914-1919, rather than 1918?
Not impossible that this refers to the poor sods who were sent over to Russia to support/"advise" the Whites during the Civil War, a proportion of whom would not have made it back home again. I don't know for sure when British troops were withdrawn, but I'd guess 1920 is the probably upper bound.
 

EnolaGaia

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maximus otter

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...a minority of UK war memorials are carved with the dates 1914-1919, rather than 1918?)
I’m guessing it’s just a technicality. For example the US was still technically at war with Germany until 19.10.1951. I suppose that, had a US GI been killed under certain circumstances between 1945 and then, his name would appear on war memorials.

maximus otter
 

Ermintruder

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Thanks for that link. Some fascinating perspectives emerge from this re WW2:
Wiki said:
The state of war was retained since it provided the U.S. with a legal basis for keeping troops in Western Germany
(noting that this is a simplified summary of circumstances, and therefore not fully-cited via references)

I've never heard this 'incompetant state' justification used with regard to the retention of British Forces Germany BFG (nee British Army Of the Rhine BAOR) ie that the constituency which was the German state at the outbreak of WW2 being so different from the immediate post-1945 corpus that it justified the continued occupation of the country until reunification in the early 1990s, but it does represent a logical excuse.

It's intriguing that I've never heard this openly-stated previously, either by historians or by friends & family that have served in BAOR/BFG up until....well, the present day, since BFG still exists as a small shadow of its former self. According to Wiki, it is meant to finally cease to exist this year (2019).

Perhaps I never registered this dimension, due to the overarching immediacy of what is called the Cold War, and it was somehow always lurking as part of British foreign policy.

On a related note, I did not know (until now, reading https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_reparations) that apparently following Yalta, Germany paid zero reparations to the UK or other Allied nations. This is actually a real surprise to me.

Whether this was influenced by Germany still paying reparations to recipients arising from WW1 until 2010 (almost a century of payback) or, some gargantuan knock-for-knock reconcilliation (which I have NEVER seen stated in writing) so when I say was Dresden perhaps considered to be a cancellation/equivalency for Coventry and the London Blitz, I mean no offence to be taken on either side.

Amazing stuff (well, it is for olds who were young-enough to be born after it all)
 

Yossarian

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I don't know much about the Bird Box example but I feel the retroactive removal of controversial content from old programmes/films such as Tom & Jerry also removes an opportunity for discussion. Will the next generation even be aware of historic negative racial stereotypes in the entertainment industry, for example, if all of them are edited out?

How can society learn from its mistakes if it has no idea which ones it made in the first place?

I believe there are some old Looney Tunes cartoons that were released on DVD with a disclaimer, and a recorded piece to camera explaining, along the lines of, "this cartoon reflects values which are unacceptable now, and were unacceptable then, however...", in order to frame them in a historical context.

Mammy is an interesting example in that she has been edited back and forth many times over the decades.

I would generally veer towards the "public consumption" version (i.e., the cartoon shown on a Saturday morning) to remove the offensive content, while retaining it elsewhere - as an option on DVDs, in library collections, etc., so long as the disclaimer remained in place.

But it's an inexact science, to say the least.
 

JamesWhitehead

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Here's a sidebar to recording history.

The September-October 2004 issue of "Antique Phonograph News" reported that a copy of "Vecchia Zimarra" (the "Coat Song") sung by Enrico Caruso had been offered on Ebay with an opening bid of $20,000.

The linked page reveals why this rarity was probably worth no more than about $25. Yet the story of how the renowned tenor came to make a record of the bass aria is well worth reading.

Even better, to hear the story from the lips of Frances Alda, who was there, followed by the aria itself as recorded in 1916. Alda recorded her introduction in the late 1940s, when she would have been about seventy. Her beautiful diction is very typical of the period and shows little sign of her New Zealand/Australian background or her long residence in the United States. A double time-capsule and free to enjoy! :clap:

More about the Christchurch-born singer here.
 

ShadyCavalier

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I believe there are some old Looney Tunes cartoons that were released on DVD with a disclaimer, and a recorded piece to camera explaining, along the lines of, "this cartoon reflects values which are unacceptable now, and were unacceptable then, however...", in order to frame them in a historical context.

Mammy is an interesting example in that she has been edited back and forth many times over the decades.

I would generally veer towards the "public consumption" version (i.e., the cartoon shown on a Saturday morning) to remove the offensive content, while retaining it elsewhere - as an option on DVDs, in library collections, etc., so long as the disclaimer remained in place.

But it's an inexact science, to say the least.
The DVD is a dying format. The benefit of watching offensive programmes today, unedited, is that we have a modern lens to view them through - as well as a much more balanced and varied representation of people of a different ethnicity &c.

As a sidenote, I grew up as part of a mixed race family, so seeing how racist previous generations had been in the name of entertainment gave me an idea of what my mother/uncle/grandfather had to face. I remember asking what the "w" word meant as a result of the Major saying it in Fawlty Towers. It's not a word you hear much nowadays, granted, but I read an article recently that complained that the show had no place in the 2010s - completely missing the fact that the whole point of the character was to show an ageing colonialist who didn't know any better. If everything offensive is censored because it causes offence, how will we know what is offensive?
 
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maximus otter

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If everything offensive is censored because it causes offence, how will we know what is offensive?
Quite. l’ll make my own mind up about what l find “offensive”, ta.

lf l want to read about Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer; if l want to watch Fawlty Towers, lt Ain’t Half Hot, Mum or Curry and Chips; if l want to listen to Wagner...etc. etc. l shall bloody well do it, and if some purse-lipped, prodnosed regime censor doesn’t like it, he can kiss my broad and hairy arse.

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

maximus otter
 

ShadyCavalier

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Quite. l’ll make my own mind up about what l find “offensive”, ta.

lf l want to read about Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer; if l want to watch Fawlty Towers, lt Ain’t Half Hot, Mum or Curry and Chips; if l want to listen to Wagner...etc. etc. l shall bloody well do it, and if some purse-lipped, prodnosed regime censor doesn’t like it, he can kiss my broad and hairy arse.

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

maximus otter
What is it with this forum and graphic descriptions of intimate hair levels? :Givingup:

Anyway, I have no idea what could be deemed offensive by Wagner - is there a certain key he favours that's also code for something unbelievably racist?

I'm sure there's a minority of people out there who watch old shows and sigh at the thought of "the good old days" when (white) men could be men and everyone else could be subordinate. They'll die out soon enough, leaving the rest of us to guiltily chuckle at dodgy Spanish accents and deaf old ladies.
 

JamesWhitehead

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I don't think Wagner poses much threat to today's yoof.

They are unlikely to be mainlining two music-dramas a day, as I did, at the height of my teenage addiction.

I was curiously insulated from the politics - not highlighted in the notes to the LPs. It never occured to me that the evil characters were
meant to be Jews!

Cosima Wagner is [dis]credited with encouraging her husband's anti-semitism. Her father, Liszt, was not the source of it.

It can probably be seen as an aspect of RW's ambition - he could moderate it, when Jewish artists were useful to him.

The real Wagner problem is the hypnotic quality of his music. Time was when the expected thing was to swoon at performances of Tristan.

It is music which seems to demand submission. :roll:

IIRC Nietzsche rebelled against this demand, deciding that Carmen was altogether a healthier kind of opera. He went mad after that. :thought:
 
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maximus otter

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I'm sure there's a minority of people out there who watch old shows and sigh at the thought of "the good old days" when (white) men could be men and everyone else could be subordinate. They'll die out soon enough, leaving the rest of us to guiltily chuckle at dodgy Spanish accents and deaf old ladies.
"And now the party they call the Angka will provide everything for us.
He says Angka has identified...
...and proclaims the existence...
...of a bad new disease...
...a memory sickness diagnosed
as thinking too much about life...
...in prerevolutionary [Britain].

He says we are surrounded by enemies.
The enemy is inside us.
No one can be trusted.
We must be like the ox...
...and have no thought
except for the Party.
No love but for the Angka.

People starve...
...but we must not grow food.
We must honor the comrade children...
...whose minds are not corrupted
by the past
."

(With apologies to Haing Ngor as Dith Pran in The Killing Fields).

maximus otter
 

Yossarian

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I remember asking what the "w" word meant as a result of the Major saying it in Fawlty Towers. It's not a word you hear much nowadays, granted, but I read an article recently that complained that the show had no place in the 2010s - completely missing the fact that the whole point of the character was to show an ageing colonialist who didn't know any better. If everything offensive is censored because it causes offence, how will we know what is offensive?
It's an interesting one - I actually rather like that joke, because it sets you up to think that the Major is being uncharacteristically PC, only for the punchline to be not that he objects to the racial slur, but that he's nit-picking the specificity of it. It's very clear that the Major is the butt of the joke.

That said, there's definitely far too many people out there who miss the nuance of racially charged humour, and just want to hear racial slurs on the telly. Much of the "you couldn't make Blazing Saddles today!" brigade seem to think that the movie's sole source of humour was in white people saying the "n word", rather than on its excellent satire of contemporary racism, and of a dying film genre.

Nuance is key, but is inevitably lost when a joke is broadcast to such a large audience.

I'm also from a bi-racial family, and honestly I would rather err on the side of my younger black relatives not having to hear racial slurs in the context of a children's cartoon or a light entertainment programme. Times change, tastes change, and what is deemed appropriate changes, and I don't think there's anything wrong in being sensitive to those who, for decades, never got a say and were more often than not left to be the butt of the joke with no recourse to a comeback - the reference to Curry and Chips being a perfectly good example!
 

ShadyCavalier

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The German composer Richard Wagner was a controversial figure during his lifetime, and has continued to be so after his death.[1] Even today he is associated in the minds of many with Nazism and his operas are often thought to extol the virtues of German nationalism.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_controversies
Thanks for that. It's an interesting counterpoint to what I said - that your views can live on after your death (or after your relevance has faded, even), through that of others who take you as an inspiration.
 

ShadyCavalier

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It's an interesting one - I actually rather like that joke, because it sets you up to think that the Major is being uncharacteristically PC, only for the punchline to be not that he objects to the racial slur, but that he's nit-picking the specificity of it. It's very clear that the Major is the butt of the joke.

That said, there's definitely far too many people out there who miss the nuance of racially charged humour, and just want to hear racial slurs on the telly. Much of the "you couldn't make Blazing Saddles today!" brigade seem to think that the movie's sole source of humour was in white people saying the "n word", rather than on its excellent satire of contemporary racism, and of a dying film genre.

Nuance is key, but is inevitably lost when a joke is broadcast to such a large audience.

I'm also from a bi-racial family, and honestly I would rather err on the side of my younger black relatives not having to hear racial slurs in the context of a children's cartoon or a light entertainment programme. Times change, tastes change, and what is deemed appropriate changes, and I don't think there's anything wrong in being sensitive to those who, for decades, never got a say and were more often than not left to be the butt of the joke with no recourse to a comeback - the reference to Curry and Chips being a perfectly good example!
I haven't watched Fawlty Towers for years, so I can only half-remember the scene - something to do with the Major saying "no they weren't ***s, they were Indians", or somesuch. In my mind's eye I agree - he was the one being laughed at.

Nuance is just the right word, and when this is lost along with "context" we get a lot of modern outrage - a lot of which, I tend to find, come from white middle class people who want to be insulted on behalf of a minority. (Dare I mention the recent concept of "white saviours" or is that too political?)

I wouldn't say there is anything wrong with current sensibilities, but I feel the focus needs to be on created stronger, better black characters and black-led films/shows to give a good balance of representation. Same with women, gay people, Asians &c.

I'd not heard of Curry and Chips until someone mentioned it earlier in the thread, so I Googled it. Apparently Spike Milligan was annoyed/upset that the channel cancelled it after one series, as he felt they didn't understand that he was trying to satirise racism, rather than propagate it. Why the satire needed to come under the guise of blackface (which he did in later shows, apparently), I don't know.
 

Austin Popper

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An astonishing number of people just don't understand satire, or even the concept of it, no matter how well or how often it is explained to them. It's mind boggling how often something like a story from The Onion is taken as factual reporting.

Mel Brooks obviously loves to make Nazis look like morons. Fortunately, he is amazingly good at it. Of course the modern ones don't need any help from anyone.
 

GNC

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I'd not heard of Curry and Chips until someone mentioned it earlier in the thread, so I Googled it. Apparently Spike Milligan was annoyed/upset that the channel cancelled it after one series, as he felt they didn't understand that he was trying to satirise racism, rather than propagate it. Why the satire needed to come under the guise of blackface (which he did in later shows, apparently), I don't know.
Curry & Chips was written by Johnny Speight as a game of one-upmanship - with himself - after Till Death Us Do Part was embraced by the right wing he hated. He made everything more extreme, including the racism, to try and get his left wing points across, but everyone (critics, viewers) thought he'd totally lost it. It does look like the result of a nervous breakdown to modern eyes.

Spike Milligan loved India and Ireland, so much so that he blacked up as an Irish Pakistani for the series. Sometimes the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
 
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Books lost forever but we have echoes of them.

It sounds like something from Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind and his The Cemetery of Forgotten Books: a huge volume containing thousands of summaries of books from 500 years ago, many of which no longer exist. But the real deal has been found in Copenhagen, where it has lain untouched for more than 350 years.

The Libro de los Epítomes manuscript, which is more than a foot thick, contains more than 2,000 pages and summaries from the library of Hernando Colón, the illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus who made it his life’s work to create the biggest library the world had ever known in the early part of the 16th century. Running to around 15,000 volumes, the library was put together during Colón’s extensive travels. Today, only around a quarter of the books in the collection survive and have been housed in Seville Cathedral since 1552.

The discovery in the Arnamagnæan Collection in Copenhagen is “extraordinary”, and a window into a “lost world of 16th-century books”, said Cambridge academic Dr Edward Wilson-Lee, author of the recent biography of Colón, The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2...eals-books-lost-to-time-libro-de-los-epitomes
 

Coal

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I don't know if this is forgotten or well known, but I'd never heard of it.

Once Upon a Time, Exploding Billiard Balls Were An Everyday Thing
It was a side effect of no longer making them from ivory

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smar...billiard-balls-were-everyday-thing-180962751/
I knew that but:
Although it later came to be associated with film (where its combustibility was also famously an issue), celluloid, like many other early plastics,
Did you know that during the Cyprus troubles EOKA used to make cartridge propellant by cutting old cellulose film up into very small pieces...
 

maximus otter

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Did you know that during the Cyprus troubles EOKA used to make cartridge propellant by cutting old cellulose film up into very small pieces...
The Pathans used to do the same on the Northwest Frontier. l’m sure that l read that in either David Niven’s The Moon’s a Balloon or John Masters’ excellent military memoir Bugles and a Tiger.

maximus otter
 

Coal

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The Pathans used to do the same on the Northwest Frontier. l’m sure that l read that in either David Niven’s The Moon’s a Balloon or John Masters’ excellent military memoir Bugles and a Tiger.

maximus otter
It was explained to me by an MP who was showing us round a kind of 'museum' for such things in Dekalia. There were also cut-down .303 cartridges reloaded as .45 revolver rounds. The bullets for those were really rough casting.
 
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