I was, as my custom is, doing not much purposefully, when I stumbled across the end of an exciting film on TV. It was called Safari (1956). It seemed to have everything: a rugged, intelligent hero – a white hunter – Victor Mature, and a pretty female lead, Janet Leigh who wore a variety of glamorous costumes; elephants, lions, giraffes, crocodiles and hippos; and, of course a murderous cad with a blackly beautiful alcoholic mistress. A terrific adventure. The whole panoply of the Masai Mara before my very eyes.
I pressed the information button on the TV remote to find out a few more details. These were helpfully supplied. There was also a health warning: This film shows scenes of hunting and colonial attitudes.
And a useful warning it was too! Who, turning up a film from sixty years ago about a white hunter in deepest Africa would have expected to come across hunting and colonial attitudes emanating from colonisers! I could easily have been offended. In fact, we are all these days at risk of being offended all day long and so we require the provision of “safe spaces” – hermetically-sealed cultural hideouts where we can be assured no one will upset us
What a wonderful civilising innovation is the concept of the safe space – quite the best thing to happen since the invention of health and safety and universal political correctness!
It is particularly important that our elite – the university students – should never have their ideas and prejudices challenged. They could easily burst into tears , for instance, if a speaker turned up to suggest that global warming is not going to bring about the end of the world, and very soon. Or, if some evil, insensitive chauvinist came along and declared that gentlemen who have their willies cut off and pump themselves full of oestrogen do not thereby turn into ladies – why, it would be more than enough to produce a panic attack in our young people, or to bring on an episode of their fashionable eating disorder.
On no account must our universities become places for the exchange of ideas.
But back to Safari. There is no reason at all why a film about a white hunter should actually feature hunting. And there is no excuse for showing wild animals on the Masai Mara – which ought to be revealed only in its full vegetarian splendour. They could have done without the cad. The femme fatale was an example of sexism at its worst. And to cast her as an alcoholic might encourage viewers to exceed their permitted daily allowance.
Persuaded of these principles and their extension to cover all aspects of our lives would improve our quality of life immeasurably. Anything by Ken Loach, for example, might carry the warning: Beware: scenes of excessive mawkishness. Or the European Song Contest: Consists of limitless puerility. Or Strictly Come Dancing: Caution: relentless vulgarity
Won’t you join me in my task of trying to create a better world in which can all enjoy our infantilisation from the cradle to the grave?