I was tagged a racist and sexist a few days ago, by someone I've never met and who doesn't know me.
It wasn't personal, it was by default. I fell into a category they were defining and it started me on an investigation that I'm almost wishing I hadn't begun.
It began with the announcement that actress Lashana Lynch is to replace Daniel Craig and will be the new James Bond. Well actually no, James Bond is finished. She will be the new 007; so it will be a whole new genre, built on a fiction.
Bond movies are a business franchise, the owners of which are free to do with as they please. But to suggest that to be critical of a change of sex in a book and movie series built entirely around a male character is sexist, is absurd.
Equally so, the racist allegation because said female is, to employ what has become a phrase de jour, a woman of colour.
Frankly, it's dumb, and it's not without precedential warning. Coca-Cola learnt that the hard way. Changing the drink's winning formula in 1985 was a blunder of major proportions, costing the company tens of millions of dollars. That mistake has become known as the "biggest marketing blunder of all time".
Another warning may be even more relevant for it involves both books and movies. Lee Child published the first Jack Reacher book in 1997. I put up my hand to interview him on his first book tour in New Zealand. I thought the story fabulous but there was not much interest in Killing Floor at the time. The one comment I recall making was what a great movie it would make.
Since then the series, which now runs to 23 books, has been massively popular. Lee Child is very wealthy, but he made one very big mistake. There is a Jack Reacher formula; he stands 6ft 5in tall (196cm) with a 50in (127cm) chest. Every Reacher fan has their own image of him, none of which in any way resembles Tom Cruise.
Yet Tom Cruise, all 67in (170cm) of him, played Reacher in the only two Reacher movies made. They were flops and there will be no more. Lee Child confessed to what everyone knew, that Cruise did not have the physical presence of his creation. I've seen neither movie for that reason and for obvious reasons won't bother with the socially correct post-Daniel Craig 007 movie.
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Trina Parks, the first black "Bond Girl" when she featured in Diamonds are Forever also disapproves of a female 007. She must be a racist sexist.
There is another accusation trotted out when rationality is in short supply. "You can't cope/don't like/are afraid of change" or a similar variation. I like change. My life has been a constant change in various ways. If detrimental change is forced the chances are it won't be popular. If it's a self-induced positive change it might just be loved.
It's a case of being in charge of your life and calling your own shots.
Social change is frequently met with resistance, often with good reason. There is generational change; the uprooting of tradition, commonsense, experience and wisdom developed over lifetimes. Change just for change's sake is facile. For some, it's their purpose in life. Bureaucrats even get paid for it.
But the madness goes on. We have struggled through the liberation of sexual matters, placating the demands of an ever-growing number of subsets. Law changes and legal battles involving florists and bakers and others. It rolls on. In California, Berkeley Council is dropping gendered references. Soon it will be impossible to fall down a manhole. They will cease to exist. New York is eliminating all gender pronouns. He or she will become they.
Meanwhile, Canada seems to be competing for the mantle of most PC country on the planet. If you're not aware, gird your loins and read on. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has held hearings brought by Jessica Yaniv, a self-identified transgender woman. Over the past year, Yaniv has filed 16 complaints against various estheticians, claiming gender discrimination for refusal of service. The problem is that Yaniv has a full set of male "equipment" and is wanting a wax. The story, with much more detail, is spreading worldwide. It is unsavoury.
Barbara Kay, a writer at the National Post concluded: "A trouble with democracy is our complacency. We are too trusting. We think our liberties are well protected in law. We have no sense how easily and perniciously laws can be amended when ideologues infiltrate the law schools and populate the benches, the bar association and the law societies. The whole idea of human rights is being transmogrified before our eyes and we sit there watching, superannuated classical-liberal deer in the progressive headlights."
Is it bad law when granting rights to one group is at the expense of another? The answer is political rather than legal.