Mark Longden

Steel departure

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I read with interest Alex Callinicos's review of Mark Steel's latest book (Books, Socialist Review, September 2008). As a fan of his comedy and previous books, I bought it immediately on its release.

The overwhelming response to the book is one of sadness - sadness at the rather unhappy life Mark appears to have led in recent years, and sadness at his disassociation from working class politics.

If there's one thing that sets apart people who've given up on the class - from someone like David Aaronovitch at the worst end to someone like Mark Steel, with whom we'd still agree on a number of issues, at the other - it's variations on the phrase, "What the left must understand is..."

Ugly Beautiful

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Saying, as Nick Grant does (Letters, July/August SR), that all violence in films constitutes a drip-drip effect making us inured to the real violence inflicted on us every day by the ruling class is a rather weak argument.

I'll provide some examples:

(1) The ending of Easy Rider, where our two heroes are gunned down by a car full of rednecks.

(2) Brad Pitt getting a beating from the owner of the bar in Fight Club.

(3) Restaurant fight from Once Upon a Time in China.

(4) Many, many scenes from the brilliant anti-Stalinist animations of Jan Svankmajer.

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