Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Bigelow & Berlin

Sunday, 14 March 2010

In my column today I’ve ranted about sexism and laughed about guns. Maybe it should have been the other way around?

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Chris Jefferson at 12:48 pm on March 14th, 2010

I was really suprised by the reporting about Kathryn Bigelow, it seemed like the only interesting thing about her was that she is female, there was no discussion about anything else.

On a slightly related note, I saw the new Alice in Wonderland film this week. It was quite good, although not great. What was really strange about it was that many of the major characters were females and they didn’t spend most of the film half-naked, or in skin tight clothes, or need a man to help save them.

That shouldn’t be a strange thing.

C scott at 1:37 pm on March 14th, 2010

Gah! My single New Year’s resolution this year was to NOT comment in CiF. Blown it thanks to your article today. Even worse, now I’ve commented both on and in CiF. Now stepping away from the computer…

Phil at 2:34 pm on March 14th, 2010

I love Kathryn Bigelow’s movies - always have done, but there is no way that The Hurt Locker was the best film produced last year. Basically a series of skillfully directed vignettes of varying degrees of tension, the films lacks cohesion and the script is simply not good enough for an oscar.
Bigleow has always made dumb action films better than most of the boys, and this is far more a profound point for feminism than a the tokenism of an oscar. Indeed I suspect the only reason she might have clinched it is that the Academy were protest voting against Cameron, with his most obvious “opponent” being the ex wife.
Sadly the truly incredible Inglorious Basterds lost out; a victim to partisan Hollywood politics,  it might seem.

Anyway sod all this; I’m off to watch Point Break with my mum

Victoria Coren at 2:37 pm on March 14th, 2010

Phil - I totally agree, Inglourious Basterds was by the far the best fillm of the nominated options. I was impressed by The Hurt Locker and don’t mind too much about its lack of cohesion (it’s a great mood piece, and maybe life out there itself lacks cohesion) but beating Inglourious Basterds in the script category was just ridiculous.

Phil at 3:05 pm on March 14th, 2010

Vicky, don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Hurt Locker, and was impressed by how Bigelow eschewed the standard Hollywood archetypes of excessive moralising and a sympathetic lead. Just simply didn’t think it was her best film
Haha its a fair point on much of the big bad world lacking cohesion; maybe that’s why I crave a strong story from my films…filling the gap.
If you’re a fan of a challenging narrative can I recommend the excellent Primer. Though you might need to take a valium afterwards

RomanticRecluse at 5:59 pm on March 14th, 2010

Vicky, in the Obs you wrote about human nature, saying it’s “naturally stoic, unhysterical, with a sense of perspective on coincidence”.  I wish I could believe that or any other description of human nature but I can’t because I don’t believe there is such a thing as “human nature”.  The idea that there are psychological characteristics that are common to all the people alive today and who have ever lived seems impossible to me, even without considering the extremes of human behaviour and history or how events can change societies or people.  Do you really believe that human nature exists?

(I apologise if I’ve disrupted the thread but I’ve had a weird weekend which included a small but odd discovery about my family so my mind’s gone back into deep mode)

The Tim at 9:22 pm on March 14th, 2010

I’ve just read the article - it’s interesting how you compalin about how the press has ‘gurgled about the great bodies of the Oscar-cougars’ and later on describe a certain German tennis player as ‘a vision of perfect physical fitness’.

Sentient at 10:29 pm on March 14th, 2010

Nice one for the reply about vanity/non-vanity, think pragmatism is a very close relation of keeping self-image to a sensible level . . I’m afraid I can’t really be doing with Tarantino scripts anymore, liked it in places but it (and KB 1 and definitely 2) feels too indulgent, and as irrelevant as it should be, I always find myself picturing him writing it, and marvelling at how fckin cool he is, though can’t remember doing that during Pulp Fiction.  Almost LOLd when I heard some Oscar commentator praising Kathryn Bigelow for her ‘ballsy’ film - in one Hollywood mind at least, the best a woman can do is be the best man she can be.  Is there a new Premier League any time soon?

Victoria Coren at 2:31 am on March 15th, 2010

Fair point Tim - though in my defence, I was making a joke about him sitting there with a doughnut and a cigarette. THAT sort of perfect physical fitness.

Sheena Macfarlane at 12:25 pm on March 15th, 2010

This is the first time EVER that I have commented on a blog, but then again, I have never seen Top Gun (short men fear), so make of it what you will and doubtless reach the conclusion that there are rules against too much personal details and honesty when posting a, er, post.

Anyway, re the article. Splendid - as always - and it was another Sunday when laughing over some points resulted in the spluttering of a mouthful of cereal over my chin/table.

Thank you!

Sparkly at 12:52 pm on March 15th, 2010

Firstly, an apology for hijacking this thread as it’s not related to the original post, but I just wanted to thank you for the advice you gave me last week for the Blackbelt Live event at the weekend. Considering I had on my table Seat 1- Keith Hawkins, 2, Tristan Macdonald, 3 Rory Liffey, 8 Jamie Roberts and 9 James Akenhead, who have combined tournament winnings in excess of $4,00,000,000 and to 20/30 WSOP cashes between them, to out last all but Jamie Roberts and finish 34 out of 300 and cash for $300 is not too bad.

Generally very pleased with my play (apart from one horrendously bad decision when I should have called) I went out with my QQ v AA. I was short stacked at time so no way of avoiding that; pretty sick to miss out on you railing though and not getting to play with the Sweep – how bloody cool would that have been! I’m going to by pass APAT and try a UKIPT event next. I nearly bumped into you on Friday night outside the cash desk at the VIC but you were on the phone so I couldn’t say hello; one day.

gaverne at 10:43 pm on March 15th, 2010

Dear Victoria,
My name is Gaverne and I helped put together the poster celebrating International Women’s Day in The Guardian last week.
I read your article about Kathryn Bigelow and the Oscars. I think you captured all the misgivings I had watching it - the over self congratulation for an act that showed how behind the rest of society Hollywood is; the focus on the way Kathryn Bigelow and women over 40 look.
Also, it is noticeable that Bigelow has gained her greatest success in films that focus on male relationships and bonding e.g. Point Break and Hurtlocker.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for chrystalising really clearly and cogently some of the thoughts that crossed my mind while watching the Oscars.
Best Wishes

Kevin at 11:47 pm on March 15th, 2010

Wow! there were some tough questions on Only Connect this evening. I watched it a second time online and I still didn’t get any answers right.

However, not to be outdone, I have come up with my own super-mega-tricky-difficult connections, which I believe is even more difficult than any on tonights edition.

Invarious   /  ?  /  ?  /  ?

PS. I would also like to apologise to Victoria, for the overfamiliarity of some of my posts on recent threads. Sorry.

despondent monorchid at 3:34 pm on March 16th, 2010

what’s so funny about a ‘hairy ball’..

(last night’s OC)

Paul C at 7:28 pm on March 16th, 2010

victoria you are without a doubt the best woman on tv at the moment, you should be on a lot more programmes.

you’re witty, down to earth and you actually know a lot of stuff, not like most women on tv who just smile and giggle on request

somewhere bbc should sit up and take notice get victoria on more tv shows

Kevin at 11:36 pm on March 16th, 2010

2 Become 1 ?
A fiendish trap lies elsewhere, this evening.

adam at 1:12 am on March 17th, 2010

Somebody must have done research into how organisations lag behind individuals in accepting societal change. It has struck me that women could compete with men in a number of sports such as golf, snooker or darts. While the competitors may not mind, the governing bodies would never allow it. Then there is cameron’s obsession with marriage when over half the couples in the country have rejected it.

seven2off at 2:02 am on March 17th, 2010

Going to take advantage of this thread to mention my favourite film of recent years, a South Korean gem called ” I’m a Cyborg, but that’s OK.”

It’s wonderfully unique Vicky, and very uplifting, don’t let the title put you off. If you haven’t seen this film please take a chance and order a copy, then light a cone or open a bottle of wine, eat a box of chocolates, do whatever it is you do to relax and press play. Am sure you will love it, it’s just a perfect example of truly imaginative film making, I promise.
God I love that film, had to mention it, of course if you don’t want to dip in to your millions you can always watch it free on YouTube, hope you find a spare ninety minutes to check it out sometime.


Kevin at 11:11 am on March 17th, 2010

Damn! I see my dastardly ruse elsewhere has been kyboshed. However, unlike German hoods, I expect I will live to try another day. Don’t shoot the messenger.

I would have thought that what with Journalism, TV, Radio & Poker Stars, VC is already far too busy to take on much more in the way of TV commitments, etc, although I expect this ’ The more Vicky the better ’ outlook is not uncommon.

PS. When I wrote ” 2 Become 1 ” I was referring to Gaverne’s apparent endorsement of VC’s feminist article. It was not more bad behaviour.

Ginger Pogue at 11:21 am on March 17th, 2010

Adam I can honestly say I’ve never thought about societal change and accepting Women into Male dominated sports in that way.  Reading that comment was most enlightening.  Personally I always thought that Women couldn’t compete against Men in such things as Golf, Snooker or Darts because their figures get in the way.  Shows how much I know eh!!

Andrew B at 9:15 pm on March 18th, 2010

Adam - there is a large professional women’s golf tour… some of the top women have competed a few times in men’s events, and have been outclassed. Similarly, the top women players of snooker and darts have competed with the top men - without much success.

I’m all for women’s equality, and would be delighted if (say) Reanne Evans became World Snooker Champion - but you’re setting up a false straw man here.

oo03sjw at 4:29 pm on March 19th, 2010

If you are not too busy on the 24th April and fancy a trip to Peterborugh, we are holding a poker tourney, 50 people invite only, £30 per head. Prize money for top table, other proceeds will go to the local childrens cricket club.
Rebuys for the 1st hour and an add on at the break. I am sure we could squeeze you in if you could make it.

Victoria Coren at 7:55 pm on March 19th, 2010

Hmm. My brother’s getting married on 24th April. I think….

... no. I think I really ought to go. He might be miffed.

But thanks very much for the invitation.

adam at 10:41 pm on March 19th, 2010

that is very interesting Andrew, i was not aware of that. i suppose the argument would go that the type of obsessive practice required is a male trait. then again without being able to compete in the big money/prestige competitions, there is less incentive for women.
however, my point was really about the governing bodies and why they feel they need to bar female participation. if, as you say, they wouldn’t make the cut then there is no need for a rule to ban the little darlings.
horse racing and poker manage to include women and though many people say they are disadvantaged they do manage to win on occasion.

oo03sjw at 10:49 am on March 20th, 2010

Oh well, maybe next time…....?

Kevin at 11:26 am on March 20th, 2010

” the little darlings ” ? How patronising.
I see Philip is not the only villain, in these here parts.
(only joking, Philip)

It would seem that Adam has no idea how much money there now is in some women’s sports, Tennis, for example.

Obviously, sport was invented for men, by men.
Clearly, some women are more than capable of taking on the men, in some endeavours.
Vicky, at the poker table, is a prime example of this.

Victoria Coren at 12:13 pm on March 20th, 2010

Kevin - I think Adam was using that phrase ironically… I may be wrong, but I don’t think you’re disagreeing with each other. This debate is starting to eat itself a bit, my fault entirely for not putting up a new blog this week. Sorry, I should and will. Tomorrow I’ll put the new column up, anyway - it involves a shocking twist to an old tale…

The Tim at 9:30 pm on March 20th, 2010

‘Shocking twist to an old tale’ - that sounds intriguing.

A Quite Interesting fact I found out from Stephen Fry is that the top female tennis players are richer than their male counterparts since they are more likely to play in doubles due to their shorter games. They also get far more from endorsements.

RomanticRecluse at 11:05 pm on March 20th, 2010

A shocking twist to an old tale?

I bet it doesn’t shock me.

David Bodycombe at 3:37 am on March 21st, 2010

What’s also unfair is that the winner of the match can quite easily be the person who won the fewer games, because of the ‘sets’ system used in the scoring.

This troubled Lewis Carroll so much he released a pamphlet about it to improve the system.

P.Hobson at 10:40 pm on March 21st, 2010

I believe you mis-quoted Benjamin Franklin in the column. I’ve always understood the quote to be, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Victoria Coren

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