Marchessini Blog & Forum

The Pope

With reference to a letter in the Times from Father Timothy Radcliffe of Las Casas Institute, I must draw to his attention the fact that throughout my lifetime, and long before, Popes did not comment on political matters. Furthermore, the present Pope has not only commented on politics, he has talked about climate change, which is a scientific matter, of which he knows nothing. Is this what our Pontiff should be doing?

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Beaux’ Stratagem

I walked out of National Theatre’s production of The Beaux’ Stratagem last week, although it is one of my favourite plays. The heroine, Dorinda, is meant to be a lovely English rose, as well as an heiress from an upper-class family. Imagine my amazement, therefore, when I saw her being played by a black girl – not even an attractive black girl, but a black girl who looks like a ‘daily’.

Since the beginning of time, actors have tried to look as much as possible like the characters they play. That is what the theatre is all about. No one would ask an old woman to play the part of Ophelia, or a Chinese girl to play Juliet. Yet for some reason it was decided to destroy the pleasure of the audience in the play.

As there is presumably no lack of pretty white actresses, it is clear that the National Theatre deliberately put in a black girl for political reasons of its own, and has no interest in the audience. Certainly, no commercial theatre would have done such a thing, but being government supported, the National clearly feels that audience reaction is irrelevant.

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Tim Hunt

Despite the tsunami of publicity about Sir Tim Hunt’s faux pas in Korea, the English press does not seem to have grasped the point. Let us suppose that Sir Tim was talking about secretaries instead of lady scientists, and suppose he had said that secretaries fall in love, and their bosses fall in love, and that secretaries cry when they are criticised. Would anyone have objected to that? Clearly not. Secretaries are always falling in love with their bosses, and vice versa, and everyone knows that women of any age cry a lot. So what are the Feminists and their lackeys objecting to in his comments? What they are objecting to is that they pretend that women who are well educated, and/or hold important positions, are different in character and emotions from ordinary women. They want to pretend that women in such positions change their characters and emotions from those of ordinary women, and instead become men. That is, of course, absurd. Does a science professor have different emotions from a secretary or a housewife? Is their nature as a woman any different? Sir Tim’s “sin” was to suggest that all women have the same characteristics and emotions. For this he was pilloried worldwide, and sacked from his position at University College London.

There is a story from the recent past, which puts this matter into perspective. In 2001, Japan appointed for the first time a lady as Foreign Minister. This was widely applauded at the time. Furthermore, she was not just any lady, she was the daughter of a Prime Minister, and she had been active in politics all her life. She had been “First Lady” to her father, because her mother was very ill, and she was a member of the Japanese Lower House. But after only a few weeks in office, a civil servant was rude to her, and she burst out crying. She had to be quietly removed.

It is perfectly obvious human behaviour, but it seems that Feminists must be reminded that women’s nature, characters and emotions do not change because of how educated they are, or what job they are doing.

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Chauvinism

In my opinion, Peter Brookes, of the Times, is the best cartoonist working today, but, with respect, he went off track in his recent cartoon about the “Nobel Prize for Chauvinism”. The point is that, unless you think that Sir Tim Hunt, the Nobel Prize winner, would deliberately lie to the world, you have to accept that the things he alleges actually happened to him. The only question, therefore, is whether this is general experience, or has he just been unlucky? But that is a question, with respect, that journalists without scientific experience are in no position to decide, or even to comment on.

In addition, according to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of “chauvinism” is “bellicose patriotism”. What does that have to do with Tim Hunt?

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EU Referendum

In all the publicity recently given to David Cameron’s words on the EU referendum, I have not seen anyone who has stressed the most important point. What Cameron said was “If you want to be part of the Government, you have to take the view that we are engaged in an exercise of renegotiation, to have a referendum, and that will lead to a successful outcome”. In other words, it is clear that Mr Cameron does not wish to leave the EU, and does not foresee that we will leave the EU.

How, then, can he possibly negotiate with the EU? He has refused to state what changes he will ask for, and has refused to threaten to leave the EU if he is not successful. How then can we expect him to negotiate seriously? How can one negotiate believably if everyone knows that he does not want to leave? This whole exercise is a farce.

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Flirting

I was amused by a recent article in the Telegraph, about Susanna Reid’s (Good Morning Britain) problems with “flirting”. It seems that she is not aware of the very marked difference between England and the Continent on this matter. All European women flirt automatically, without thinking about it. It is part of a woman’s nature. But English women do not flirt, and they think that Continental women are all tarts because they do. Perhaps Miss Reid should move to the Continent.

In addition, English women also resent Continental women for being better dressed – they consider that an “unfair advantage”.

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Why do men do it?

In an interesting article by Lucy Cavendish in the Telegraph, about “stray-at-home dads”, the question that is neither asked, nor answered, is why do the men do it? Do they have so little pride? Are they incapable of having, and holding a job? I suggest that is the interesting question that should be asked.

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Women and Science

With reference to recent articles in both the Times and the Telegraph regarding Sir Paul Nurse, who may have won the Nobel Prize, but it certainly was not for logic. He accuses Sir Tim Hunt of “damaging the pursuit of science”. In fact, the comments by Hunt that were objected to, were not about science at all – they were about women.

If Hunt had made the same statements about, say, secretaries, no one could have made any objection. We all know that secretaries often fall in love with their bosses and vice versa, and that they often bolt together. As for crying, again everyone knows that women often cry. What in effect Hunt is being attacked for is suggesting that lady scientists are no different from ordinary women, and have the same nature and characteristics. Feminists and, it seems, Paul Nurse, want to pretend that women who have had a good education, and are in important jobs have a different nature from ordinary women. That is nonsense.

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Religion

With respect to Stephen Pollard’s recent column in the Telegraph, about religious education, I would suggest that he is mistaken when he says that the “law of the land must always take precedent over the requirements of any faith”. The law of the land is decided by men – most of them incompetent – while the laws of religion have been decided by God and Christ, at least to those to believe in Christianity.

Similarly, it is religious schools which are much better places to teach children, both morality and academic courses. Although I am not a Catholic, I went to a Catholic school, and when I went to university, I was two years ahead of my classmates who had not been to a religious school.

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A letter to The Telegraph

Mr Stephen Pollard, The Telegraph

Dear Mr Pollard,

With respect to your column over the weekend, about religious education, I would suggest that you are mistaken when you say that the “law of the land must always take precedent over the requirements of any faith”. The law of the land is decided by men – most of them incompetent – while the laws of religion have been decided by God and Christ, at least to those to believe in Christianity.

Similarly, it is religious schools which are much better places to teach children, both morality and academic courses. Although I am not a Catholic, I went to a Catholic school, and when I went to university, I was two years ahead of my classmates who had not been to a religious school.

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