7 August 2016

This Helped Me To Stand Up To A Racist

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Everybody has their moment to shine when it comes to standing up to a racist... well, except others racists, obviously. When leaving the cinema the other day I happened to bump into a chap who'd taken offence at somebody's “fucking dirty Muslim beard”. Apparently some white guy nearby had a beard that reminded this man of a 'Muslim beard' whatever that is (presumably he'd spotted some halal meat in it... or something), and as a result, said beard-owner needed to “fuck off out the country with those other Muslim bastards if he loves them so much”. I don't know what worried me more, the fact that I was now presented with the dilemma of either having to stand up to a drunken racist, or alternatively pretend to be one in order to avoid a confrontation.. or the fact that this chap clearly thought I had the look of somebody that might agree with his mad bastard views. Admittedly I don't have a “fucking dirty Muslim beard”, however that's less to do with the my ill-informed and bigoted xenophobia and more to do with the fact that I just can't grow a fucking beard.

This was all very coincidental too because the movie that I'd just been to see was Star Trek Beyond, and that had a pretty blunt message hiding unsubtly below the surface like a bone-on in a jacuzzi. To mis-quote the 1970's British pop band The Brotherhood Of Man, the film essentially wants us to think that 'united we stand and divided we fall'. As such, and to cut a brilliantly entertaining and reasonably lengthed story short, Kirk and his crew find themselves split into groups and stranded on a 'planet of the week' due to the bullshittery of a villain that looks like a goblin sculpted from white dog shit. The Federation-hating Krall has decided to donkey punch the Enterprise to death by fucking it with his swarm of ships and then knocking its head off. As a result, the crew need to track each other down and figure out a way of defeating him as he attempts to destroy that lovey-dovey, hand-holding, utopian 'peace' that he thinks make us all so weak. I mean, has he even heard Brotherhood Of Man and the catchy message they preach? He might be a mental space-crazy that looks like the offspring of a gorilla having once fucked a piranha, but can he claim to be the 1976 reigning champion of the Eurovision Song Contest? Because I'm pretty sure that I know of a band that can!

At its best, Star Trek will take a look at contemporary issues, wrap them up in some colourful sci-fi packaging, and then hand them over as a little metaphorical gift for you to think about. Considering I once got a dinner tray for Christmas off my Dad, I'll take any fucking gift I can get my hands on. Krall might not have the bleached anal-pube combover that Donald Trump balances above his swollen pig-dog face, and nor does he have the lead Brexiteer Nigel Farage's smug, Nazi-frog smile, but what Krall does have in common with those hate-mongering jizz-stanks is his bigoted belief that fighting over our differences is preferential to the power of our collective strength. Basically he'd rather fight and let the strong survive, as though taking a big old domineering dump in the ocean and then watching that superior turd float to the surface like an all powerful alpha-poo. This is the debate that runs throughout the entire movie, with the separated Enterprise crew presenting a counter-point by clearly being superior as a team, with their varied skills and appreciation of what everybody can bring to the table. Spaced's Tim Bisley once said that "the family of the 21st Century is made up of friends, not relatives”.. If Star Trek Beyond is anything to go by then it seems that this is true of our future too. It's just that now it seems as though some of our friends have developed some big heads and a pair of stupid fucking ears. If the company that I keep is anything to go by then I'll take some comfort in knowing that nothing will change for me.

As a result of this, Star Trek Beyond is much more of an ensemble affair than the previous two entries which were criticised for placing a stronger emphasis on the Spock/Kirk love-in. Although if everybody else became an intergalactic third wheel, it's still worth praising for being a well-functioning and multi-cultural third wheel that probably wouldn't approve of those walking amoebas that rant about any “dirty fucking Muslim beards” they've spotted. In all honesty, it's probably in this wife-swapping style of mis-match pairings that the film excels the most as we get to see character dynamics that have been previously neglected. With the original Shatner cast, Kirk might have been the big dick of the Enterprise, but it took both Spock and Bones to complete the package as his right and left testicles. One acting as his heart and the other his brain. In Into Darkness particularly, things were presented much more in a Hitler-esque one-bollock situation which left Bones looking hugely sidelined. In order to solve the situation, Beyond has gone down the same route that the infamous Mrs Bobbit once did by taking the dick out of the equation and leaving the two balls to cope on their own. As such, the highlight of the film isn't the obvious Kirk/Spock relationship of the previous two films but rather the Spock/Bones dynamic, as the two fight for survival by hiding their mutual respect behind their Odd Couple-style bickering.

Instead of his pointy-eared boyfriend, Kirk instead actually finds himself coupled with new character Jaylah. Written by Simon Pegg, based on Jennifer Lawrence's character in Winter's Bone, played by that legless bitch from Kingsman: The Secret Service, and looking like Darth Mauls albino sister, it goes without saying that she's clearly as cool as fuck and another one of the film's many highlights. Into Darkness has gone down in a lot of people's opinions over the last couple of years and so in many ways hiring Pegg to write this film was an act of genius. As a fan, it's obvious that he's gone back to basics by removing the nihilistic third act of the previous movie by replacing it with the optimistic outlook of the original show. And like the original show, this film involves the crew finding a new planet, meeting a local such as Jaylah, fighting a villain, and then pissing off having restored harmony and learnt a couple of life lessons. It might not be absolutely perfect but I'd argue that it's one of the best films of the year and certainly one of the best of the franchise. Credit should also go to Pegg and his co-writer for managing to brilliantly balance the amount of work each character has to do to ensure everybody has a decent enough role without overshadowing anybody else. Considering he's in the movie too, if I was Pegg, I'd have probably had most of the crew die off in the initial attack leaving just Scotty alive to save the day and continue the franchise alone.

In terms of the things that the film doesn't get quite perfect, I guess it'd have to be the action, which is ironic. Fresh off the Fast And Furious franchise, director Justin Lin has basically made his name from filming brilliantly choreographed fight scenes and yet here it's occasionally hard to see what's actually going on. All of the spaceship explosioney stuff is great, and there's a motorbike rescue that was particularly well done. But when it came to punching Krall in his stupid, angry-shrimp face, things became bizarrely incomprehensible at times. Krall too is an interesting villain in theory, but is a little under-developed in terms of execution. He might be better than Eric Bana's Nero McBlandson from the first of the re-boots, but he's not quite as intriguing as Cumberbatch's Khan, who in turn wasn't as intriguing as Ricardo Montalban's vastly superior Khan. Many people criticised Cumberbatch's white-washing of Montalban's original character, and so it's nice to see that the filmmakers have listened to the criticism by simply white-washing Idris Elba instead. There's a strange catch 22 here in which the character clearly isn't worthy of Elba's talents and yet it's the power of his performance that keeps Krall as watchable as he is. Even if his motives, end-game, and even the reason for his appearance are about as muddled and confused as a drunken racist that wants to debate the ethnic support of a strangers facial hair.

And speaking of that stupid fuck-head, you'll be glad to know that I did stand up to him. He realised that I wasn't quite on board with his small-minded hate and so presented me with the argument that “all Muslims were evil bastards”. Perhaps as a result of having just loved the all-inclusive message of Star Trek Beyond, or perhaps due to the fact that I've been going the gym a lot recently and had concluded that I could probably beat this tit in a fight if I had to.. or at the very least I could definitely out-run him, I decided to rise to the challenge. “Well that's just not true is it?!” I said, “because if all Muslims were evil bastards then quite clearly we'd be fucked. It wouldn't be one bomb now and again from a small minority of brainwashed psychopaths. It'd be hundreds of bombs on a daily basis. Because believe it or not.. there are quite a lot of Muslims in the world”. He looked at me with an expression on his face that suggested he was just now popping his 'having a thought-cherry' and I tried to decide how far and how fast I was about to have to run. At which point he said, “you're right aren't you?! If they all hated us.. we would be fucked. That's such a simple way of looking at it”. And just like that he was converted... I kid you fucking not. That one stupid, 'should go without saying point' was all it took to have this man re-evaluate his dickhead way of seeing the world .

Star Trek Beyond might have a fairly simple message about the benefits of living together, but with our society in its current situation, it's clearly a message that we need to hear. The movie opens with a spectacular scene in which the Enterprise is destroyed, and yet by the time of the credits it's the variety of characters and their various interactions that will linger for the longest. Sure, the bit in which the crew blast the Beastie Boys at their enemies is amazing.. and trust me, I can go into why I loved that scene for much longer than anybody will want me to. It justifies the random use of that song in Star Trek as being a piece of 'classical music' whilst simultaneously building on Kirks anxiety of growing older and also reminding him of his fatherless childhood. Plus it's both a fucking cool scene and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. However in a world in which we still haven't reached an absolute level of equality, it's moments such as the casual revelation and nonchalant genius of Sulu's same sex partnership that raises Star Trek Beyond higher above the majority of other summer blockbusters that are out now. Obviously it's stupid to label an entire group of people as evil and as I learnt from my encounter that's true of racists as well. If they're all like this man then racists aren't born as bad people. They just turn out that way after being born as fucking idiots. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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