Good to see that sanity has returned to the University of Michigan following a decision to cancel Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper (2014). The U had caved to a group complaining that it offended certain sensibilities such as those of Muslim students. According to the Detroit Free Press the campaign against the film was led by one Lamees Mekkaoui who said she felt “uncomfortable” when she saw it the first time. “As a student who identifies as an Arab and Middle Eastern student, I feel that ‘American Sniper’ condones a lot of anti- Middle Eastern and North African propaganda,” Mekkaoui said. The sophomore should realize that this isn’t a film literally or figuratively attacking Arabs but terrorists or enemies of the United States. Do German students feel offended if a World War II movie is shown on campus? Japanese students? etc. etc. Word was the movie would be replaced by the inoffensive Paddington (Paul King 2014), about as touchy feeling or as you can get. (Is this a prestigious university or a kindergarten? The whole episode begs for laughs.) Though, who knows, maybe someone will be offended by how bears are depicted as not fierce and intimidating. U of M’s VP of student life E. Royster Harper (now that sounds like a university official’s name, doesn’t it?) called the decision “a mistake.” But to make sure there is an “alternative” to when American Sniper is being screened dear old Paddington will be shown “at that same time.” One writer on the Muslins students’ Facebook page said she would not even be attending Paddington “out of principle.”
Back from two months in the southern U.S. - and viewing voluminous amounts of Turner Classic Movies (TCM) - I’m having withdrawal symptoms without the network. I don’t subscribe to cable TV but have been considering resuming my cable package if I could somehow gain access to TCM. But here in Canada that’s an expensive proposition. I subscribe to Cogeco cable for phone and Internet (and formerly TV - I long ago cut the cord). Cogeco doesn’t offer TCM at all, though it has other movie channels. I’m told by a company rep Cogeco is still trying to acquire TCM. Meanwhile Bell offers TCM as part of a package over satellite but it means anteing up at least $56.95 a month plus 13 per cent sales tax (this is Canada) after the three month promotion ends. That’s a lot of moolah to get just one channel. Meanwhile I’m looking forward to “pick-and-play” after Canada’s broadcast regulator last month ordered service providers to allow basic $25 packages and customers can pick individual channels on top of that. The deadline for companies to offer this new consumer freedom is still almost two years sway. But the Cogeco rep told me it could be a reality at her company before the year is out.