The screenwriter Russell T. Davies has said that only gay actors should be cast in gay parts, believing this leads to greater authenticity. The obvious question here is how would Russell know who is gay and who is not gay when he comes to casting? It is not always obvious, surely. Do all gay actors who attend casting sessions enter the room humming hits from Mamma Mia! before enthusing over the decor? Perhaps Russell just guesses, like I do when I’m watching the BBC weathermen flouncing around.
The other obvious question is that if it’s authenticity you’re after, surely gay men must never be cast in straight roles? For reasons never properly explained, authenticity doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to straight roles. Unless it is a straight black role: then authenticity becomes even more important. Or, to double down, a trans-gendered black role: then this ectoplasmic concept of authenticity is the only thing that really counts. If they were to shoot another remake of True Grit and decided to cast in the role of Marshall Rooster Cogburn a blind, transgendered paraplegic dwarf, such casting would be warmly applauded by the progressive left.
In other words, authenticity has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue. In a sense, the more inauthentic the better, because in their strange, monomaniacal view of the world, such inauthenticities chip away at the horrible straight, white hegemony under which oppressed people like the millionaire Russell T. Davies OBE live their undoubtedly difficult lives.
Russell is most famous for having written many episodes of Doctor Who, as well as many plays and screenplays about the lives of hedonistic gay folk (which would have been improved greatly by the arrival halfway through of several Daleks screaming ‘exterminate’ and going after the cast right, left and centre from that egg whisk thing they have). It is not the slightest use explaining to Russell and the rest of the woke crew that the job of acting is to pretend to be something you are not for a bit. That kind of argument has no purchase in Russell’s post-rational world.
While Russell was making his statement about gay actors, presumably in the hope of winning the coveted Deranged Woke Idiot of the Week award, the National Trust revealed that it had been inviting teams of children into its properties to lecture staff volunteers about the horrors of colonialism, thus snatching the award away from Russell at the very last moment. Employees and volunteers were ‘reverse mentored’ by ‘child advisory boards’ in a scheme which sounds a little bit like the kind of thing Pol Pot might have come up with. Or John Wyndham. One of the two.
This was part of the ‘Colonial Countryside’ programme directed by Leicester University professor Corinne Fowler. Corinne’s love and pride in Great Britain can be gauged by the title of her recent book: Green Unpleasant Land — ideal for the NT, then. For four years the Trust has been shrieking about slavery and racism when, in truth, its largely elderly members simply want to look at pleasant old things and flower beds, have a nice cup of tea and use toilets with one of those gentle disabled access ramps.
Conservative MPs have attacked the Trust, calling it hopelessly out of touch with its members. Its members have attacked it too, for climbing on a woke bandwagon and displaying a ‘biased’ view of British colonialism. Even the Charity Commissioner has suggested gently that the Trust might serve its members a little better by concentrating on the upkeep of stately homes and not being ‘drawn into the culture wars’.
The trouble is they haven’t been drawn in: they were ardent volunteers. Gathering employees together to be lectured by children about their vile involvement in racism and how awful Britain is seems to me a tad humiliating, even if the Trust insists that these re-education sessions were not compulsory. I sometimes comment that this jubilant disembowelment of our history is part of the progressive’s left commitment towards self-flagellation. But of course it is not. Lionel Shriver is quite right when she points out that the people running these sorts of programmes are not self-flagellating at all — they are committed instead to flagellating the rest of us. They feel themselves pristine and above the fray, a tiny proportion of the electorate who are in sole possession of the Truth and that their job is to dispense this Truth to the pig-ignorant, the lumpenproles, the lowly, the elderly, the irredeemably white. In this they are a little like the members of the quasi-religious sect to which a relative of mine belongs, shrieking that Covid does not exist and it’s all a conspiracy got up by the Jews and the commies. Except that the scions of wokedom have power. Power, if not hegemony.
I would have liked to listen to some of those children’s essays. It would have been fun disabusing the kids of the simplistic and warped idiocies pumped into them over the years by a teaching profession which can show you racism in a handful of dust and manages to shoehorn its political agenda into almost every subject the students study. Literature, history, geography, religious studies, all seen through the prism of gender and race, devoid of nuance and thus real truth.
And worst of all, PSHE — personal, social, health and economic education, which now takes up at least two hours of teaching time per week in state secondary schools, and in which the poor children are simultaneously indoctrinated and indulged in their manifest teenage fantasies. You just hope that in the end some, out of intellectual curiosity, will rebel. But intellectual curiosity, when it is pointed in the wrong direction, can get you suspended from schools these days. We’re losing a generation to the post-rationalists of Russell T. Davies and the National Trust.
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