Mirren vs Mendes vs News

Soooo… this blog was originally intended to be the refuge for less angry thoughts. A place to throw up my efforts in the WordPress community’s ever thriving competition of the written word, and for me to make observations about the non-political. It hasn’t quite worked out that way, but I can still make a distinction, just more on content than on tone. As indeed today something has riled me that has little to do with government or the affairs international.

It has a lot to do with Helen Mirren and Sam Mendes though. If you didn’t catch it, Mirren stirred up the recent Empire awards with a dash of girl power, calling out the fact that when Mendes gave praise to his inspirations, they were all men. Now “Grrrrrr,” goes the reactionary me, what unrighteous feminism is this? What business is it of anyone’s to criticise a person for being inspired by a group of people that happens to be all male?

Apart from not having previously heard of Truffaut, I’m sure he is a worthy contender amongst the fine company of Anderson, Scorcese and Bergman. And absolutely, if these are the people that Mendes chooses as those who spiritually guided him to his current successes then bully for him. Of course it turns out that this whole “sexism row” is nothing of the sort and I was nearly caught out on a classic case of media misrepresentation.

Frankly not my fault. When the Guardian posts the article as “Sexism Row: Mirren vs Mendes” I could be forgiven for unduly entering the fray with false impressions. Just as Mirren was probably hoping she wouldn’t unduly be judged for not wanting to “unduly” pick on Mendes for his references. What she was touching on was the fact that historically the industry as not allowed or not adequately enabled women to potentially be on that list.

Or perhaps even that women haven’t done enough to put themselves on that list. I’m actually not sure what her specific meaning was beyond that she hoped in a number of years time things would be different. I’m simply sure that her meaning wasn’t to accuse Mendes of being a sexist and her sentiment is likely precisely the same as mine two paragraphs ago. I think she was just hoping for a bit a progress, and I hope the likes of Katherine Bigelow and herself will continue to oblige.

There is the smaller question of the etiquette of Mirren’s actions, as I can imagine Mendes wasn’t expecting to draw attention with his selection of respected auteurs. But this is small fry. I’m raging against the papers right now and the false path they nearly led me down. It’s a prime example of the media generating its own intrigue and I despise it. Instead of focussing on the rational of what Mirren said, they distorted it into this nonsense battle.

From this I remind myself of that most important feature of my discussion of Hilary Mantel and her words regarding Kate Middleton. READ THE WHOLE STORY FIRST.


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