Monday, August 29, 2011


How have I been spending my time while convalescing? I have been watching films, sleeping and reading.

I am still ploughing (plowing?) through the book on Bayesian statistics, but that has been a little heavy. I have also decided to attack 'A Game of Thrones' the first novel in George R. R. Martin's best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels. I believe it is being serialized on TV, but that is on one of the few TV channels I don't have. Still I have always preferred the book to the movie.

I did watch a spy thriller on BBC TV last night called 'Page 8'. For a thriller it was rather gentle but the cast was stellar. Perhaps it could have done with a real film director. David Hare's strong views about rendition failed to allow the equally valid view that fighting bad guys with one hand tied behind our back leads to the triumph of evil.

I finally got around to watching the movie "The time traveller's wife". I read the book some time ago and preferred it to the film. Brad Pitt owned the rights and his mate Eric Bana starred as the beefcake. It was less complicated than the book.

I have also watched The Apostle starring Robert Duvall and one to stand alongside Tender Mercies which I saw a long while ago.

Miss Pettigrew lives for a day is also a heartwarming RomCom starring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams and set in a London just before the second World War where night clubs and West End musicals are all that a young girl thinks about until she meets a couple of survivors from the first world war, who takes life a little more seriously.

Mrs Palfrey at The Claremont stars Joan Plowright as an elderly widow signed in as a long-term resident at a private hotel in London for the genteel poor. She expects her grandson to call but he never does. Instead after a fall she is adopted as a grandmother by a nice young busker on the London underground. As the friendship blossoms she finds she has more in common with him than with her own family.

Apart from the films, I have watched to football. Already after 3 games Manchester United are top of the league and Manchester City second. Both had big victories over London clubs at the weekend with United's drubbing or their closes competitors over the past 20 years, Arsenal, sensational. They won 8-2. I should h8-2 be an Arsenal supporter at present!


Wayne said...

Terry Terry,
In your reference to 'Page 8', which I have not seen, you comment: "David Hare's strong views about rendition failed to allow the equally valid view that fighting bad guys with one hand tied behind our back leads to the triumph of evil."

Rendition is the snatching of persons believed to be enemy to deliver them to a secret place for the explicit purpose of torture to elicit information. This policy was institutionalized in the US by the Bush administration.

The practice of torture whether conducted by US citizens or contracted by outsourcing to brutal dictatorships is in itself the "triumph of evil" When torture for whatever reason is made policy in a democracy and tolerated by its people it taints that society as a whole. Nations that employ torture have lost their moral footing to be the beacons of hope desparately needed for an increasingly savage world.

Few people fail to see beyond the despicable individuals who become the objects of torture to realize that innocents are often swept up and become victims too. Few who see only the enemy, fail to consider what torturing does to the individuals who practice torture. Once a culture embraces the POLICY of torture it begins to train and teach the techniques to its people.

There is a clear distinction to be made between the moral breakdown of an individual or group of individuals in the commission of brutal acts against other individuals, especially in war time. When societies condone and codify torture, evil is what gets institutionalized, casting its shadow upon the whole of its people.

I cannot imagine anything further from the teachings of Christ.

I have seen first hand the horrors of torture and it is not to be trivialized nor rationalized.


Terry Hamblin said...

Yes, I see all that. But the problem arises when the evidence is avaialble from torture, you can't refill Pandora's box. To say that nobody should be tortured is a fine and upright thing, but people are. Should evidence obtained this way be ignored or evaluated. To be sure it is tainted, but even tainted evidence must be evaluated not just ignored. If the evidence obtained by rendition were true, the authorities would be cupable if they ignored it. Just as we would be if we ignored the results on drowning obtained by NAZI toturers.

This was what Page 8 left unexplored. BY keeping MI5 out of it and taking personal responsibility for knowing where the intelligence came from, the prima minister could be ssid to be self-sacrificing and that is close to Christanity. David Hare was using "torture" as a cipher for everything evil. There are even circumstances when it is possible to justify torture - one man's suffering against the deaths of thousands - though we only have to look at Henry VIII to see how the innocents may suffer.