After a year or so of non-existence due to unforeseen circumstances, we are delighted to present you with the new-look Sixth Form magazine: HOWL. HOWL is written, produced, read, laughed at, and used as surprisingly absorbent toilet paper by Sixth Formers, and is a completely non-profit enterprise. This year, HOWL is taking a different approach from what youâ€™d expect to see in quality journals (such things as movie reviews and actual news stories), instead focussing on satirical articles which may or may not be grounded in truth, false rumours about teachers (which again may or may not be grounded in truth), and the odd serious political or current affairs discussion (weâ€™ll try to limit those as much as possible). Over the summer, I, as self-appointed media dictator of the school, have assembled a crack team of writers, editors, designers and Pete Morgan, to bring you this stunning first issue. However, with a busy year ahead of us and all of our ideas exhausted, HOWL would like to invite any new Year 12s and any returning Year 13s to get on board and contribute to the magazine, and of course anyone who wishes to submit an article, an idea, a poem, a response to any of the articles, a suggestion, an opinion, an Agony Aunt question, a compromising picture of Mr Gledhill, or just an abusive letter, should send it to email@example.com. As mentioned, HOWL is not-for-profit, and printing is paid by both ourselves and the school with no contribution from advertisers. As such, HOWL will be taking donations this year on a voluntary basis; please give whatever you can, as all takings will be ploughed back into massive editorial launch parties the costs of printing. We would like to thank, and direct your blame towards, Mr Timmins for publishing this issue.
Alex Garrido Alex Garrido, Editor
Disaster as Descartes Gets Revenge
haos struck S3 yesterday as several students simply ceased to exist midway through a philosophy lesson. Eye witness reports tell us that three young ‘truth seekers’ simply vanished from our plane of existence, terminating their sense of being.
The event marked the latest in a series of unfortunate incidents surrounding philosophy students, which begs the question: should the school put more money into health and safety procedure, or is the apparent ability to affect our metaphysical universe simply an illusion?
One such eye witness, Zunair Jaffery, commented, “It came to a dry point in the lesson, and some of the students stopped thinking. Unfortunately this rendered their existence meaningless; as they were no longer thinking, they no longer were.” The headmaster was quick to consider making a statement, but soon concluded that language limits the ability to convey true meaning and promptly gave up trying.
The question is deeply in line with current national debate, as philosophers ask questions such as: ‘are all politicians liars, or do they simply perceive reality differently?’ – A question which strikes right at the heart of what it means to be human.
At a recent press conference in Woking, philosophers and theologians alike were stumped by the seemingly innocent question, ‘what’s the The disappearances sparked a minor riot in the point in seeking answers to these questions, S corridor, as students questioned whether the when even if one is found, it will be impossible inherent authority of the staff present was in to prove, and not be beneficial to society in any accordance with agreed legitimacy or any kind of way?’ This question proved to be the final nail social contract. One student, when asked whether in the coffin for these aged scholars, each of he perceived his actions to be representative whom has opted to live the rest of their days as a of the student body, remarked, ‘perception, as recluse. The irony, of course, is that it was in fact a notion, is not as empirical as one may have a critique of pure reason that finished them off. initially conjectured.’
Green Party Proposes Economically-Viable Energy Policy
he Green party announced today a radical new approach to solving the country’s energy crisis. The party proposed the burning of money in order to generate energy.Key members of the party described the move as ‘revolutionary’ adding that currency combustion is ‘renewable, sustainable and cheaper than wind farms’. Not only is this true, but the policy also proves to be an excellent extended metaphor for the party’s role in British politics. However, this venture has not found favour with all seven of the party’s grassroots supporters (no pun intended). At a recent consultation between party leaders and supporters, one campaigner asked, “Have you forgotten what this party is about? What about the badgers?”
But the party defended its position, explaining, “Having carefully considered the role of the badger, it has been decided that it is simply not flammable enough for this task”. The party also made headlines recently with its policy to stop the unnecessary wastage of ballot paper by urging its supporters not to vote for it.
CHEF’S CORNER: SWIRLS No idea how these are made, so buy them. First rule of swirls: you don’t talk about swirls, except to say how much you bloody love swirls. Second rule of swirls: if they ain’t Danish, they ain’t worth eating. Sainsbury’s do them good, but make sure they’re not in one of those plastic coffins, get two fresh out of the basket thing. Two for £1.20 as well, bloody bargain.
HOWL INVESTIGATES: THE SCHOOL NURSE Apparently we have a school nurse. News to me.
013 has been a busy year for the people of Egypt. Following two successive years of protests, crisis and political change, the Egyptian propensity for uprising has continued past the initial revolution and ousting of veteran dictator Hosni Mubarak. In June 2012, Egypt held its first presidential elections outside of the Mubarak era. The outright winner with over 51% of the vote was the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohamed Morsi. However, his presidency was short-lived after he was ousted from power in a military coup just a year after taking office. His ousting was seen as the culmination of mass protest against him, the Brotherhood and his administration. Since the tail end of the Mubarak era, the Egyptian economy had been failing; the former dictator Mubarak had moulded the economy to be dependent on foreign investment and tourism, and even with these sources of income he was reliant on foreign aid to keep the economy ticking over. These were all problems Morsi also encountered; however, they were amplified due to the drop in foreign investment and tourism as a result of the political turbulence that brought him to power. With no real economic ideology, or strategy, Morsi, just as Mubarak did, turned to the IMF in an attempt to negotiate a $5 billion loan. The conditions of this potential loan were hefty, a cut in government expenditure, particularly in fuel and food subsidies to the poorest of the nation. Predictably this led to a deprived nation with strong resentment for their leaders (just as austerity has in the UK). Morsi put the final nail in his coffin when in a declaration in late
2012 he effectively suspended the constitution and gave himself sweeping powers to control the country. These two factors combined to lead to justified mass protests against himself and his government. With the protests gaining momentum, Egypt’s most powerful and longest-standing political organisation, the military, saw an opportunity. The military had long been at the heart of Egyptian politics. Not only did they act as enforcers for the former dictator, generals within the army also had considerable political power before and after the Mubarak era. In fact it was the military that seized power from Mubarak when his reign was brought to an end. Following another set of mass protests in 2012 at the military granting themselves overarching powers, pending the result of the presidential election, the military did eventually take a back seat to the democratic process. However, their real presence and power never disappeared. It was in July 2013 that the military chose to oust Morsi in a military coup and establish themselves as the ultimate power in Egypt. It was claimed this coup was the military acting on behalf of the people, whilst protesters chanting “the military and the people are one” was almost painfully ironic as just a year ago many of the same protestors viewed the military as their oppressors, and just two years ago the military was taking an active role in aiding a 30-year-long corrupt and oppressive dictatorship. Following the coup, the military has led a brutal crackdown on the anti-coup alliance of protesters who have continued to protest at the destruction of Egypt’s democratic process.
To understand the reasons why Egypt’s military has so much power it’s important to look at their funding. The US gives around $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt each year. The vast majority of this goes straight to the military as the result of a longstanding agreement between the two, dating back to 1979 following the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Throughout the Mubarak years, the US supported the Egyptian military as a means of ensuring stability in a region that is of particular interest to the US and other Western administrations. The Suez Canal, oil-rich surroundings, and a border with Israel all make Egypt vitally important for the USA’s imperialist neoliberal foreign policy. It is no coincidence that the USA failed to call the military takeover a ‘coup’. When a military coup displaces a democratically elected government, the US automatically cuts all aid to that country; in Egypt that would be the aid that makes the military so powerful. While many have speculated as to whether the USA had a role in the coup itself, one thing is evidently clear: the US is the largest shareholder in the Egyptian military - funding from the US is the only thing that keeps the military afloat. There is no possible way that the military could have undertaken the action they did without at least the USA’s consent, if not their support. The reasons for this may be numerous; it’s possible the Obama administration saw Morsi as too rogue and unpredictable, or perhaps thought that the uprising against him meant he was no longer a tenable enforcer of US foreign policy. Most likely it was a number of different factors that made a military dictatorship slightly easier to manage. Alongside these reasons for consenting to the coup, America’s failure to label the military ‘coup’ as just that only reinforces and supports the idea that it had some hand in it. While the coup did initially enjoy relatively high levels of public support (which is now dwindling) the Muslim Brotherhood remains a group in which a substantial slice of the Egyptian people believe in. Having been outlawed by Mubarak, the Brotherhood went underground and emerged as the single most powerful group outside of the military in post-revolution Egypt. While its ideology is overtly religious, repressive, and in many areas radical, the Brotherhood was and are an improvement on both the Mubarak
and military dictatorships, purely as a result of them being democratically elected; however, the Brotherhood has long been the bogeyman of Egyptian politics due to the previous growth in Egypt’s secular and liberated middle class. With talk in Egypt of the Brotherhood being outlawed again there seems to be a distinct possibility that Egypt is not just regressing into its state before the 2012 elections, but back even further to 1981, when Mubarak took power. Questions must be raised over what banning the Brotherhood will do to it; might it come back again even stronger and with more support in a few years’ time? Could it become even more radicalised and take up arms in order to protect its existence? Whatever the answer, it is clear the military and their investors are now in pole position to establish themselves as either the controlling force of Egypt or the controlling force behind a puppet government in Egypt. This makes more bloodshed almost inevitable; the Egyptian population has had a taste of people power and democracy, something many of the old guard in Egypt fear more than anything.
PRIVATISATION: THE GREATEST HEIST IN HISTORY
hen we think of (in)famous robberies, we turn instinctively to colourful & daring episodes, the explosive culminations of months of planning, enacted in a matter of minutes or hours, leaving the perpetrators immensely wealthy on a tropical island of dubious tax arrangements, downing rum with Lord Ashdown, or incarcerated legends like Silvio Berlusconi (if he weren’t selectively deaf around judges). Foremost among ‘the greats’ in popular culture would surely be listed the Great Train Robbery 1963, and the Italian Job which, though fictional, has come for many to be the iconic organised crime with its Michael Caine-fuelled, Mini Cooper-driven jingoistic insanity. These lasting acts of grand thievery earned their ‘greatness’ largely through their audacity, scale and flagrantly high public visibility. The heist of which I now write takes all of these traits to the bastardly bourgeois extreme; it is the most audacious, largest-scale and most visible crime in the history of humanity, and it victimises none other than humanity itself. But one factor distinguishes it from the relatively amateur chicanery of petty mobsters and thieves: it won’t be seen on Crimewatch or the neo-fascist media. Despite its blindingly high visibility, despite the fact that all of us see it all around us every day of our lives, we as a human race have ceased to recognise it as the heinous, abominable crime against us, the great collective, it is, and so we not only readily suffer its perpetration but also
commit it without even first thought. This crime against nature has become nature, the defiled, disfigured, generally repulsive nature spewed forth from the furnaces of Capitalism. Of what other crime could I speak than Privatisation, and by extension, private property? The true state of nature, prior to the establishment of the first organised societies, was not the Hobbesian universal barbarism of nightmare but tribal communism, in which common ownership was the only ownership. In this scene we see the true, natural tendency of Humankind, to cooperation and pure socialism, coloured by the occasional dose of group hugging and U2. The mere concept of productive wealth, wealth with the capacity to significantly support the community, being privately owned for private benefit would not only have been reprehensible but utterly contrary to nature, just as hair below collar-length is viewed by AGSB’s very own bourgeois socially-conservative ruling class. The heinous crimes of private property are taken to their logical and insane extreme in the form of privatisation, where services and industries nationalised for the common good are sold as commodities. The reason these entities belong to the state is because they need to belong to all of us – to serve us, in a way that a commercial entity will never do. Our rail tickets are becoming more expensive and yet less valuable because of
are skyrocketing in an age of even better and more efficient transportation and resource prospecting; industries which once served the common good, owned by and for the people, now short-changing us and bleeding us dry for profit. This is the manifest evil of privatisation – corporate greed and the destruction of the working class dressed up as economic sensibility. Privatisation in the modern sense- floating publiclyowned industries such as Royal Mail, the Army or Oxygen on the stock market or selling them wholesale to a private interest- is, simply put, the highest form of thievery, a perverse reversal of the tale of
Privatisation, therefore, whatever specific style it assumes, shall remain at its corrupted soul, the great heist at the expense of all humankind. It violates humanity’s indivisible inheritance- the Earth and all its abundant wealth- by generating that most vile toxin, private property, the source of all destructive human difference and envy, greed and conflict in turn. The creation of private property is that rarest of phenomena: an absolute wrong. It is the root cause of social instability. It causes the alienation of humanity from its true material entitlement and in turn renders material equilibrium impracticable; and so conflict between those of property and those without it is guaranteed.
Robin Hood. From its origins in tribal humanity, decimating a utopian existential equilibrium, privatisation has, through incessant brute force, achieved institutionalisation, becoming woven into the fabric of ‘advanced’ human society, much like the Monarchy & David Dimbleby’s election coverage.
This evil at the heart of private property and its proliferation is, therefore, buried far too deep for the needless debate on privatisation to operate on a case by case, technical basis. As we do not morally differentiate between shootings based on the calibre of ammunition used, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be deluded Even now, we see our Health Service, the pride and by the superficialities of privatisation into holding joy of our nation, one of the last bastions of human variable moral judgements. decency and co-operation, cut to ribbons by the government to serve their own financial interest, both Theft is theft, Ed Balls is Ed Balls, murder is murder, personal and national (the latter is debatable in the crime is crime; and privatisation is the greatest crime extreme). Mere years ago we would have thought in human history. the destruction of one of our national treasures like the NHS unthinkable – welcome for some, but even The remedy is obvious: for them, unthinkable. Now our health and wellbeing are being sold to the highest bidder, taken from us Hasta siempre la Victoria. without our consent, dressed up in the vicious lies and hollow re-assurances of this intolerably corrupt and destructive government. Barbarically conceived and barbarically sustained through successive generations, humanity has become convinced by time and impermanent failures to destroy it of the inevitability of private property’s enslavement of society. This grand theft now enjoys the patronage and protection of all Western governments, underpinned by ‘Liberal’ ideology that has the sheer nerve to list private property as a ‘Natural Right’ rather than a crime against all that is natural. It is, of course, no coincidence that those original theorists and all their adherents then and since have been of the propertied mafia class, and thus their grand ideology is nothing more than a smokescreen deployed by criminals to conceal their crimes from the mass of victims behind fabricated legality. Just because an idea is popular in the mainstream does not mean it should be taken on anything other than a merits; so used are we to the demons of privatisation they we no longer even notice as we sleepwalk to our doom.
Privatisation: Unapologetically successful and deservedly set to continue
rivatisation: the word that causes pandemonium across the United Kingdom; from Westminster to Edinburgh, it is the word that conjures grotesque apparitions of Margaret Thatcher. When the Government announced plans to privatise Royal Mail after the Etonian Old Boys Dinner Cabinet had discussed the matter at length, the usual hysterical hostility from the left wing press ensued. With the Guardian deciding that plans to privatise Royal Mail amounted to nothing less than a “land grab” and the Independent providing the usual chorus of illogical vitriol wildly accusing the Conservatives of “dogmatic faith” in a “failed idea”. Contrary to the colourful headlines in The Independent and Guardian privatisation in the UK has been extraordinarily successful. It is worth reminding ourselves of the turgid Britain that existed before privatisation.
from postwar Europe and Japan, the nationalised industries began to fail.
Casting our minds back to the latter half of the 20th century we are confronted with the stark truth, nationalised industries continued to make unimaginably large losses and the nation’s economic productivity was crippled by industrial action and an acute lack of investment. The 1964 election saw the return of Harold Wilson who, despite all advice to the contrary, decided to implement a raft of nationalisations. The steel industry was among the first to be renationalised. Beginning operations in 1967 the newly formed ‘British Steel Corporation’ plunged into losses almost immediately and by 1980 was posting an annual loss of £545 million. Woefully mismanaged, and plagued by cheaper competition
Perhaps the biggest sign that privatisation had been successful was the admission by Labour in 1995 when the party revised its constitution and removed Clause IV which had until then included a commitment to “the common ownership of the means of production”. This amounted to essentially dissolving the Labour party which had until then been the party of nationalised industry. Clement Attlee created the NHS and it was Labour that had nationalised the Coal and Steel industries. But such changes and ‘U-turns’ in the Labour Party’s ‘policy’ are to be expected. Labour is after all infamous for its populist policies that pander to the electorate and deliver remarkably little.
It was against this backdrop of impudent industrial action and catastrophic incompetence that Margaret Thatcher began her policy of Privatisation in 1979. Beginning with British Aerospace the policy widened, leading to Jaguar, British Telecom, Britoil and British Gas being privatised. They were promptly followed by a raft of publically owned corporations including British Steel, British Petroleum, Rolls Royce and British Airways. Privatisation proved to be a lucrative move for the Government raising £68 billion between 1980 and 1997 alone. Granted our crippling national debt, which currently stands at an eye-watering £1.2 trillion, and our budget deficit, the money raised from the privatisation of Royal Mail would provide welcome aid to our beleaguered Government.
Privatisation in the 1970s and 1980s wasn’t only lucrative for the government, the newly privatised companies generated huge interest and investors who bought shares in the newly floated companies have been richly rewarded for their foresight. Even before dividends are taken into account investors in British Gas have seen their investments, to date, increase twelvefold in value. British Gas is not the only privatised company to have delivered strong returns; privatisation also helped much smaller companies. Amersham International, a little known medical technology firm,
Furthermore, opponents of privatisation have argued that, if privatised, the quality of service will suffer. Crucially, this is what most people are concerned about; while investors may be flustered over potential profitability, most people simply seek an assurance that their birthday card will get to Auntie Marjorie quickly enough because they’ve been too lazy to plan ahead and send the card in good time. Again, we need only look to Europe to see that service has not suffered but has actually improved. In 2012 Deutsche Post managed to deliver 95% of all deliveries within Germany the next day. Incidentally not only is this substantially higher than the current speed of delivery was sold in 1982 for a relatively paltry £71 million, in Britain, Royal Mail actually missed its delivery since then the company, aided by international targets in no less than half of all UK postcodes in investment, has grown exponentially, to the tune of 2011 and subsequently in 2012. 2500% returns. Naturally, not all privatised companies have seen such vast growth, but certainly most have Finally, Royal Mail currently employs close to 150,000 grown in a manner that would’ve been impossible people and these jobs must be safeguarded; surely the had they not been able to harness the capital that best way to protect jobs is to ensure that the service private investment generates, and had they not been maintains its competitive edge and relevance? Royal able to avoid the gross mismanagement practices Mail therefore must continue to adapt with the times and terribly short-sighted decision making which is and in doing so guarantee its future. A company the inherent of both nationalised industry and indeed the size of Royal Mail simply needs access to substantial Labour party. capital in order to modernise and expand; capital which will only be forthcoming from the private Ironically despite the unfettered success of most sector. privatised businesses, the Government’s plans to privatise Royal Mail have faced determined opposition In conclusion, this is not a reform driven by the from all quarters. Frankly it is a mystery to me why dogmatic application of an irrelevant ideology as the this is the case. We should take note of the successes Independent disingenuously postures. Rather it is a of the Europeans on this matter, not something one move driven by commercial necessity and built upon hears often in Britain today, and accept that the the unequivocal successes of history. Privatisation ‘Universal Postage Service’ can only be maintained in is not the demon that the left-wing media would the long term through the private sector. Privatisation have us believe; rather, it is an engine of growth and in Germany and Belgium in particular has all but a protector of services otherwise doomed to poor ensured high levels of profitability; put simply, the service provision, public dissatisfaction, and the privatisation of Royal Mail must occur in order to hemorrhaging of taxpayers’ money. ensure both long term prosperity and the efficiency of the postal service in Britain, without having to burden taxpayers with the extortionate bill.
It would at this point be prudent to dispel an important myth, propagated by none other than the odious Mr. Miliband and his colleagues. It has been argued wrongly that any increase in the profitability of Royal Mail would come about as the result of increases in the cost of services. Currently the price of stamps is not determined by the government; rather, they are set by the independent regulatory body Ofcom, and the government has guaranteed that this will remain the case, which means that their cost will not rise unduly due to privatisation.
GOVERNMENT ISSUES OFFICIAL APOLOGY FOR DETENTION OF DAVID MIRANDA: “WE GOT THE WRONG GUY”
n a stunning turn of events this week, Her Majesty’s Government has issued an official apology for the recent detention of Guardian journalistic assistant David Miranda at Heathrow Airport, admitting that they had originally meant to arrest well-known comedienne Miranda Hart.
A statement released yesterday morning announced “due to a colossal mistake in resource management that absolutely definitely is 100% nothing to do with the government’s recent privatisation of literally everything, UK border agencies were mistakenly directed to detain David Miranda, when in actuality the real target was Miranda Hart.” According to government sources, the mistake is yet to be rectified, and Ms. Hart is still at large. The Metropolitan Police are asking everyone to be on the lookout for a ‘moderatelyamusing female comedian who appears regularly in a mediocre television comedy”.
Miranda Hart, the real target of the operation, has once again evaded capture, after being accused of framing two innocent civilians of trafficking drugs into Peru, facing international condemnation of her use of chemical weapons in Syria, and following her recent claims to sovereignty over
Gibraltar. She is believed to be in the ‘Europe’ area, The governmental cock-up is compounded by the and her capture is an imminent priority with recent alscale of the media storm surrounding the detention of legations of her hosting of ‘Have I Got News for You’ David Miranda, and the revelations that a number of being ‘criminally bad’. his personal possessions were ‘confiscated’ (definitely not ‘stolen’), including his laptop, a spare hard drive, some memory sticks, his games console, a wristwatch, some Batman underwear, a New York Yankees baseball cap, a bonsai tree, a box of paperclips, and a small teddy bear named ‘Gerald’. The Metropolitan Police said the items will be returned to Mr. Miranda “as soon as it is deemed safe to do so”, presumably as his Xbox poses a grave threat to national security and his Mickey Mouse watch is part of a conspiracy to bring down the global financial system.
‘RASCAL’ PRINCE PREFERS PIMMS AND BOMBS
espite increased bloodshed and carnage in the Middle East, more highly questionable ‘democratic’ elections in Africa, and the continued violent persecution of homosexuals in Russia, it has been poor sweet little dearest Prince George of Cambridge who has captivated British audiences this past month. Perched aloft his diamond- and velvet-clad throne, located in the western lawns of Kensington Palace, the Duke of Cambridge (in his first interview since the birth of his son) discussed the trials and hardships of bringing up Prince George. In a sickeningly sentimental gush, Prince William revealed that his son “reminds me of my brother [Prince Harry]”. In the hours after this interview was released, tabloid and Daily Mail reporters were seen avidly waiting outside a Las Vegas hotel, in the hope that Prince George will soon be making a drunken nude appearance. Prince William also stated that the Prince of Cambridge is proving to be “a little bit of a rascal”, following reports that the little scoundrel has been having a little too much fun with the Trident nuclear operating system located in his nursery. Although the obliteration of a number of Philippine islands was dismissed by William as “boys just wanting to have fun”, it has been suggested by a number of unwashed servants working in the Palace kitchens that the operating system be relocated to a “more appropriate” area. Rest assured, these plebians have since been executed. Despite the multi-million pound Foreign Office operation required to clean up George’s mess, the ‘Cambridge’ family still found the time and the taxpayers’ money necessary for a charming photo shoot in the Middleton family gardens in Bucklebury, Berkshire. The photographs, some of the most amateur and worthless images ever created, were taken by Kate’s proud father Michael Middleton. As the little Prince continues to grow, and the rest
of the world waits eagerly for his assassination, the British public continues to shower this “modern monarchy” with adulation and taxes, as we boldly continue in our mission to name George as our most spoiled and genetically disfigured Head of State yet.
The Conformist’s Adventures in the West
970, director Berndardo Bertolucci releases his seminal film, The Conformist. It was a boxoffice and critical success, marking Bertolucci as an inventive and talented director. The film was nominated for an Academy Award and gained a wide audience internationally. It now stands as one of the most accomplished films in the history of the medium, a measuring stick against which any other film of its niche is gauged and an experience I would recommend to anyone.
himself an untapped genius. He never behaves like the hero he is sold as; he cares for no-one but himself and will do whatever he can to achieve normality. He is a useless spy, being caught out almost immediately, and a useless assassin, awkwardly distancing himself from his assignment in the hope that someone else will take care of it.
The film follows Doctor Marcello Clerici, a weakwilled Italian intellectual living in Mussolini’s Italy, who fears for his safety. He is an atheistic, socialist, latent homosexual, he embodies everything Mussolini despises. So, in the interests of self-preservation, he decides “to gain the impression of normality.” He becomes engaged to a naïve, bourgeois girl, wishing to marry her in a Catholic service, and joins the Italian Political Police. Clerici’s first assignment is to travel to Paris and assassinate his former college lecturer, Professor Quadri. But once there, Clerici must confront his ambivalence, along with the connection he draws between sex and violence, a theme introduced during an arresting sequence from Clerici’s childhood. The Conformist piquantly realises Fascist Rome, from the imposing, echoing, Bauhaus chambers of the “Ministry” (formerly the OVRA), to the stark, clinical white of a lunatic asylum. And Paris is brought vividly to life with elegant, art deco flair. The visuals are of the best I have ever seen, and despite the film’s age, they still leaving a searing impression on the audience. This is primarily due to the cinematography, which pulls off shots of an unimaginable complexity with such ease that, for the most part, they are hardly noticed, leaving the audience with a vague feeling of dream-like abnormality, which makes the complex travelling through time to significant events in Clerici’s life easier to accept, even when three different time periods are spliced together to play out simultaneously. Of course, it helps that Clerici is an interesting protagonist. Desensitised by childhood trauma and a detached, upper-class upbringing, Clerici is an amoral nihilist, deluded into believing
Our ‘hero’s’ journey takes us on a whistle-stop tour of fascism, communism, idealism and fatalism. The film explores moral ambiguity and how far people will tolerate an ‘immoral reality’ in an attempt to live out one’s days in peace. We see the effects of sexual violence on a person’s life and the consequences of Fascism on a country’s collective consciousness. Ultimately, The Conformist proves that the film of tension and excitement can also be a film of ideas. However, 43 years after it’s release, there are few people I meet who have even heard of the film, not to mention seen it. I do hope that, like me when I first read about this film, at least a few of you will now be
interested in seeing it. But I think I know why many people aren’t. That’s because it contains one of the most hated elements of cinema in the 21st century, something that, in the minds of many, completely nullifies a film’s attraction. Subtitles.
result, the ratio of explosions to lines of dialogue has had to have been altered in favour of the explosions, as big stunts are more overtly visually appealing. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, are subtitles, which have the double handicap of both requiring the viewer to pay enough attention to read the dialogue Yes, if you haven’t already guessed, this is an Italian and taking their eyes away from the explosions for a film. Now I expect that this will be marked against the precious few seconds. film by many people, but why does it have to be that way? If a film is interesting in English, why can’t it But now, we, as a culture, are missing out on such be equally respected if one has to do a little reading? a wealth of stories and experiences. I often use the example of Carl Dreyer’s phenomenal film Ordet. I have been told that it is the culture of cinema these A film about religion and the nature of miracles that days that promotes Hollywood blockbusters at the serves one of the biggest sucker-punch endings I have expense of giving these smaller, yet arguably better, ever witnessed, one that left my reeling for hours films any exposure. But that is not a cause of this after. However, it’s in Danish, and so I am yet to meet decline, in fact quite the opposite. It is the vacuum another person who has seen it. I know they exist, left by the waning interest in international cinema but I don’t know them, I can’t talk to them about it that has led to Hollywood escapism swelling to the and that, to me, is a sad thought. From a medium that behemoth it has now become. Were more people to thrives on discussion of its output, the directors who discover the legitimacy of foreign language films as still dare to take risks, are often rewarded only with both entertainment and art, it is only natural that the an audience who simply won’t put in the effort to see industry would respond in kind. if the risk paid off. I have also heard that reading subtitles causes the audience to stare at the bottom quarter of the screen for the entire film, missing any action on screen and taking them out of the drama. But who are these people who read at talking speed? It takes a couple of seconds to read one or two lines of subtitles, yet about five or ten seconds to say them and so people aren’t really missing as much as they think they are. Even if this is the case, how can films such as The Passion of the Christ, which is spoken entirely in dead languages, rake in $84,000,000 in its first weekend alone? Because, crucially, they are American produced. The problem, in my opinion, is lethargy. Before I explain, I do understand that not everyone will share my particular interest in films; I merely wish to address the disdain with which subtitles are held by the mass western audience, which is not to say “all westerners who watch films,” just a significant number of them. In this day and age, the importance of the film has diminished. The cinema used to be a place of excitement and drama, yet we now use it to pass the time, “let’s go watch a movie, that’ll kill a couple of hours.” However, this naturally leads audiences towards films that require as little active engagement as possible, preferring to sit in the dark as voyeurs looking in from outside rather than allowing themselves to be carried along with the film. As a
So, if the first half of this article interested you at all, go and find The Conformist, watch it, and then make judgements on its quality as a film, rather than dismissing it on a whim. Who knows, you may even enjoy yourself.
Absent Athletikophobics Lose Again After a promising start following their creation after the Paralympics, the only registered athletikophobic team have once again lost a match as they failed to appear against local pub side, Greyhound ‘We’re Not’ Athletic. This is the sixth match in a row that the team have missed and are showing no signs of improving their record. Maestro Misplaces Mythical Spleen
As Stockport County fall lower down through the nonleague leagues, they have sunk to signing Stockport council employed bin man, Jeff. When asked about his new role, in his first media appearance, he said “Can’t talk noo, poppin’ doon Greyhoond f ’pint.” Gadeiro’s Grievance
Bareth Garry suffered a severe case of Misplaced Spleen Syndrome as doctors have no idea what it is or what it looks like, making it difficult to determine Gary’s return date.
Argentinian football star Gadeiro has once again been side-lined for at least seven months with his latest injury. After having surgery on two broken bones, four pulled muscles, a breached skull, six discontinuous ligaments, a mutilated kidney, a severed salivary Right-Back Requests Transfer gland, a misaligned chest, a fractured ear, and therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after being in Altrincham player David Copper wants to leave the the wall for a Roberto Carlos free kick, Gadeiro was club, as he has realised that over the last six years at prepared to make his comeback for footballing giants the club he has actually been paying to play instead of Telford United, but suffered a clenched groin whilst being paid. Altrincham are said to be reluctant to let standing in the tunnel. him go, with ten years remaining on his contract. Criminal Called Up By Country A dangerous fugitive has been given the chance to play for Scotland against England later this month. Joe Lungs has been given the promise that if he plays well, he will be granted asylum by Scotland when they become independent.
Published on Nov 10, 2013