Jackie Chan to receive an Honorary Oscar

Jackie Chan in The Forbidden Kingdom
Jackie Chan in The Forbidden Kingdom
The BBC Reports that Jackie Chan is to be given an honorary Academy Award for his extraordinary achievements in film.

This Governors Awards step away from the endless marketing that surrounds the main Oscar ceremony and, instead, allow the board of governors to simply acknowledge the people whose contributions to the film industry deserve recognition. And Chan’s contributions have been exceptional.

No-one else comes close to his unique blend of action-comedy which blends genuinely death-defying stunts with raucously funny – all in the same scene. But rather than going full-on fanboy, I thought I’d ask the boys which is their favourite Jackie Chan film.

And the choices, in no particular order, are:

The Spy Next Door in which three kids discover that their mum’s boyfriend is a lot more exciting that any of them had imagined.

The Forbidden Kingdom in which an American teenager is thrown through time and space to find himself in Feudal China. Here, he meets both Jackie Chan and Jet Li, who help him return the staff of the Monkey King to its rightful owner while teaching him the discipline of Kung Fu along the way.

Shanghai Knights, the sequel to Shanghai Noon, in which Sheriff Chon Wang (played by Jackie Chan – and this film has a lot of fun with names) and his unreliable sidekick (Owen Wilson) travel from the Wild West to Victorian London to avenge a murder, uncover a dastardly plot and save the Queen.

Obviously, being aged between six and nine, none of the boys has seen anything near the full range of Chan’s output (yet) but the many DVDs we do have have all been watched many, many times.

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Stupid never learns

From the terms of use of the London 2012 Olympic website (handily archived for posterity by Index on Censorship):

Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner. The use of our logo or any other Olympic or London 2012 Mark(s) as a link to the Site is not permitted. View our guidelines on Use of the Games’ Marks.

In other words, they didn’t want anyone linking to them unless they were going to say something nice.

This time around, ESPN (via Gizmodo) reports that it’s the turn of the United States Olympic Committee to fire up the stupid with a letter to companies that sponsor athlete but don’t have a commercial relationship with the USOC or International Olympic Committee.

“Commercial entities may not post about the Trials or Games on their corporate social media accounts,” reads the letter written by USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird. “This restriction includes the use of USOC’s trademarks in hashtags such as #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA.”

The USOC owns the trademarks to “Olympic,” “Olympian” and “Go For The Gold,” among many other words and phrases.

No-one has claimed a trademark for the hashtag #Facepalm2016 or the phrase “Grab for Cash”.

The letter further stipulates that a company whose primary mission is not media-related cannot reference any Olympic results, cannot share or repost anything from the official Olympic account and cannot use any pictures taken at the Olympics.

At this rate, the 2020 Olympics are going to be remarkably quiet when someone tries to prevent any coverage of the event by anyone.

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The Treasury takes over

Writing in Politico, Tim King looks at the turf wars behind Boris Johnson’s appointment as Foreign Secretary. He concludes:

May has set in train a curious institutional competition: On the one hand, a venerable government department, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, headed by an inexperienced minister, Boris Johnson. On the other hand, a neophyte government department for Brexit, headed by a battle-hardened veteran, David Davis.

From the outset, the competition looks fixed: The winner will be the Treasury.

This chimes with my own view that Johnson’s appointment only makes sense when considered in the context of the now three foreign facing departments: Brexit, headed by a serious politician; Foreign Trade, headed by a serious politician; and Everything Else, headed by Boris Johnson.

Theresa May is concerned about trade and Britain’s future relationship with the EU, but Britain is no longer a world power and May sees the country’s relationship with the rest of the world solely in terms of trade.

Whether you see this attitude as realistic or lacking in ambitions will probably depend on how you already view the country, but one conclusion is unavoidable. The Treasury – and, by extension, the markets – are now very firmly in charge.

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On Brexit: It’s personal

Stephen Tall something that resonates very strongly with my own situation:

It’s not pretty, I know. But I can’t apologise, I’m afraid: if you voted Leave you’re diminished in my eyes.

Because for me it’s personal. My partner is Spanish. She first came to England on an Erasmus scholarship. She later returned to work as a teaching assistant in Oxford, where we met. In a parallel Brexit universe we would never have got together. In the Brexit universe to come, we will have to queue separately in the airport, she with our son who (thankfully) also has a Spanish passport.

In my case, I’m English. I live in Belgium with a Frenchwoman (who also benefited from the Erasmus programme) and our three sons, who are more Belgian than either of us. For over a decade, nationality has not been something that we have need to give much though to, and now it’s a problem.

I realise that there are plenty of people facing a far more difficult position than I am, but I cannot bring myself to sympathise with or even respect the people who lined up with the likes of Farage and Galloway to throw everything in the air in pursuit of wishful thinking, political fantasies and outright nastiness.

And for what?

My kids have dual nationality and will be able to study, work and live wherever they choose. For most citizens of the UK, though, your kids have had these opportunities taken away from them.

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