Skip to main content

Starter's Pistol, Pistorius' End

Have you seen many murderers in public?  I hadn't, until I saw Oscar Pistorius run, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London.  At the time, like almost everyone else in the stadium and by extension the world, I stood and cheered, marvelling at his speed, grace, courage and physical charisma.  He was the great blade runner, a hero to children and adults, and one of the major sporting figures of the age.  That was then - six months ago more or less.  Half a year makes a big difference.

Now, the day after Valentine's Day, and the cruel irony is not lost on anyone, at only 26 years of age, he stands accused of murdering his girlfriend.  Given that she was a beautiful swimwear model and covergirl, and he a millionaire icon of the new South Africa, it is hard to imagine a more swift or cruel fall from national and international grace in terms of celebrity infamy - the fall is truly Olympian.  With four shots to the head and body, Oscar has gone from a great to a hateful figure - just another brutal selfish man taking out his narcissistic rage against a lovely woman.  He joins a few superstars who have murdered their partners - William S. Burroughs and OJ Simpson come to mind.  Hero to Zero comes to mind.

Less than zero, though - because the more we read, the more we realise that Oscar was a time bomb - and a victim himself of the violent gun culture at the heart of his time and place.  It turns out this self-styled "bullet" would often wake at night and fire off clips in the dark.  That he had a machine gun in his home.  That he was obsessed with security.  And that, rich and privileged from birth, despite his disability, he was a man prone to domestic abuse, perhaps a "womaniser" as some sources have suggested.  All we saw, or wanted to see, was a handsome para-athlete.

To paraphrase a famous phrase from last year: is it okay to hate a disabled person?  Is it okay to say they are stupid, or perhaps even wicked?  Is it okay to look squarely at someone with a disability and see what was really always there - a spoiled, petulant, angry, alpha male.  Who could snuff a life out faster than he could run 100 metres.
3 comments

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…