Monday, December 26, 2011

It’s not only the religious who are brainwashed (for want of a better word) into bizarre beliefs but superstitious folk who are not necessarily religious in the orthodox sense. I am thinking of the death of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and the belief and reporting of strange natural phenomena. On a famous lake ice cracked so loud it seemed to shake both heaven and earth and a mysterious glow was seen on a revered mountain top. Boy oh boy, this is ancient Rome when divine or near divine status was bestowed on her Emperors. The 69-year-old had led North Korea since the death of his father in 1994 and an elaborate personality cult, involving multiple stories of alleged miracles or astonishing deeds, has been built up around him. Even nature is mourning, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday. A snowstorm hit as Mr. Kim died and ice on the volcanic Chon Lake near his reported birthplace at Mount Paektu cracked, it said. Following the storm's sudden end at dawn on Tuesday, a message carved in rock - "Mount Paektu, Holy Mountain of revolution. Kim Jong-il" - glowed brightly, it said. It remained there until sunset. On the same day, a Manchurian crane also apparently adopted a posture of grief at a statue of the late leader's father in the northern city of Hamhung. "Even the crane seemed to mourn the demise of Kim Jong-il, born of Heaven, after flying down there at dead of cold night, unable to forget him," KCNA reported officials as saying. On Wednesday state media said more than five million people had already turned out to pay their respects to Kim Jong-il. State media have called on North Koreans to unite behind his designated heir, youngest son Kim Jong-un, who is being called the "Great Successor". Looking at photographs of the 27 year old Kim Jong-un he looks like a rather fat gormless young man so who knows how long he will last or will there be a dynastic struggle? He does have older brothers who have been overlooked.

Thinking of the siege of the Paris theatre by the religious, I wonder what would happen if my play “Twilight of Aunt Edna” ever did get put on. Would there be riots on Shaftsbury Avenue, or the South Bank, or even further afield? It has got close to a production half a dozen times but always failed at the last hurdle. Cold feet? I wrote it at the height of the phenomenon that was Mary Whitehouse and, although I say it myself (well no one else is going to, are they?) it is quite brilliant in a Joe Orton kind of way, so there. Of course it is not the only work regarding this intrepid relic of a woman; the BBC did a play titled “Filth, The Mary Whitehouse Story” starring Julie Walters. The difference between that and Twilight of Aunt Edna is that Filth was based evidently on fact and Twilight is pure fiction. I wonder what Mary Whitehouse would think of the media if she were alive today to hear famous film actresses using the c word and the f word on television chat shows let alone the boring over use of the f word in film. Her campaign was obviously a lost cause from the very beginning. The floodgates had to be opened and that is all there is to it. I still would like to see my play produced. Maybe it is time to send it out again.

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