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Monday, January 25, 2016
Charlotte Rampling And Michael Caine Are Criminals
By Alexander Boot
Don't get me wrong: they neither stole anything nor killed anyone. Their crime is much worse. They’ve committed an egregious, mortal sin against the very essence of modernity.
In his Invitation to a Beheading, Nabokov gave a prophetic intimation of their crime. His protagonist, Cincinnatus C., was about to be executed because everyone around him was transparent while he was opaque.
Nabokov knew that modernity finds it easier to overlook theft or murder than to forgive divergence from the dominant ethos. A criminal attacks only a few individuals; a sane person in a mad society attacks everyone.
Rampling and Caine did just that by voicing dissenting views against the sanctimonious clamour around this year’s Oscar nominations. Many prominent actors and directors are going to boycott the ceremony because no black actor or actress has been nominated.
Modernity has neither mind nor morality, but it has the actuarial sense of a CPA with half a century’s experience under his belt. This is applied to flushing out and punishing perpetrators of modernity’s worst crime: discrimination.
The word has two meanings, one positive, one negative, but both are equally reprehensible to today’s lot.
In its positive sense, the word means exercising qualified judgement, which, though not criminal by itself, hints at another, slightly lesser crime: elitism. In its negative sense, the word means preferential treatment of one group at the expense of another, than which no worse crime exists.
The reasons for preferential treatment are immaterial, especially if the discrimination in question is perceived to be aimed against any group seen at the moment as being a downtrodden minority: off-white races, homosexuals, cripples, Muslims or – defying simple arithmetic – women.
Hence if a Muslim is denied the post of bishop, a woman is overlooked as a candidate for leading a bayonet charge, or a one-legged man doesn't win a dancing contest, no rational explanation will be accepted. The crime of discrimination has been committed. Off with the offender’s head.
Every group must faithfully reflect the demographic makeup of the population at large, and any deviation is allowable only to favour a group perceived to be underprivileged.
Specifically in matters racial, if blacks constitute about 10 per cent of the US population, that must be their proportion in any random sample of humanity, except the prison population, where they are demonstrably overrepresented (about 40 per cent).
This lamentable fact can only be put down to the visceral racism built into the US judicial system, not to the possibility that, for whatever social, economic or cultural reasons, blacks tend to commit more than their statistically predictable share of crimes.
By the same token, if no blacks appear on the roster of Oscar nominees, it’s only because the Academy members are all bigots and, quite possibly, secret members of the Ku Klux Klan. No other explanation will be accepted, such as that this year no black gave an outstanding performance.
By offering that very explanation, Miss Rampling and Mr Caine put themselves so far beyond the pale that they might as well be on Mars – even if regrettably we’re not yet so advanced as to clap them in prison.
“One can never really know,” said Charlotte Rampling, “but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list.” Oh yeah? Perhaps, Charlotte? You think it possible? Why don’t you go back to France where you come from. Well, where you belong at any rate.
Michael Caine saw fit to put in his penny’s worth too: “In the end you can’t vote for an actor because he’s black.” You can’t what, Michael?!? Maybe you can’t, but everyone else can and henceforth will.
Piers Morgan, who faithfully upholds British journalism’s recent but burgeoning tradition of idiocy, delivered what he doubtless saw as a devastatingly witty line: “MISSING: A set of marbles. If found, please return to Charlotte Rampling.”
If I were Miss Rampling, rather than just someone who has been having impure thoughts about her for decades, I’d be wiping sweat off my brow. At least she has only been accused of loopiness, not charged with a felony.
I’m sorry about only being sarcastic about this, rather than analytical. It’s just that, unless one is a professionally qualified psychiatrist, it’s impossible to discuss madness seriously, and modernity is certifiably mad.
In a different mood, one could point out that blacks have fewer chances of winning Oscars because they get fewer roles, reflecting their proportion in the population. One could also cite a long list of outstanding black actors who have won Oscars, from Sidney Poitier to Denzel Washington (who won it twice).
By way of a practical suggestion, one could even moot the possibility of assuaging the prevailing thirst for racial justice by introducing a separate category of the best performance by a black actor.
Why not? Women, another oppressed minority, have their own category, so why not blacks? If discrimination is good for the goose, it must also be good for the gander.
Oh well, never mind. Instead of making such subversive suggestions, I’m off to start a campaign for increasing the number of mutes among voiceover actors.