Friday, March 4, 2011

OSCAR robbery and bad medicine

They were robbed. Thats right, the Oscar for Best Picture at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards should have gone to The Social Network. Instead The King's Speech, another very good movie won. The Fighter was also a very good movie, and I'm sure Inception (did not yet see) was as well. My problem is I really don't have much respect for the monarchy or monarchists in general.
Yes, the The King's Speech was about overcoming stuttering, a real problem (especially for a King), and certainly I was sympathetic and even moved by the acting.....I get it. Maybe Colin Firth even deserved Best Actor, but a movie that portrayed how an elitist overcame a problem so that he could fulfil the job which he received by right of inherited entitlement, well, I have a problem with glorifying and celebrating that. So I'm prejudiced against arbitrary rule. What else is new?
The Social Network is a different kind of movie and I remember after watching it that the writing (adapted screenplay) was wonderful, and so was the editing, and each of the actors together did a fabulous and convincing job. It was amazing to me that such a great movie was made about what could be a very dry topic.
A column in the National Post last week said it best for me. Shaun Francis wrote this before Oscar night: "The Facebook story proves that a great idea, combined with good timing and an evangelical founder, can flourish in a system that allows it to quickly attract money, resources and talent. That system is, of course, the free market, capitalist, forprofit economy." He continues by adding: "...I am most struck by what was not part of the Facebook story: government. The Social Network doesn't include a cast credit for "faceless bureaucrat." Nor did the screenplay include any lines about statesponsored venture funds. No science and research tax credits. No federal regulations stipulating who could own Zuckerberg's company, or specifying the language or disclaimers for his home page." Mr. Francis continues by speculating about what would have happened if government were involved (disaster) in creating Facebook and then compares it to the Canadian and Ontario government's "bungled attempts to create electronic medical records."
Mr. Francis adds: "Mainstream political parties and academics claim for-profit medicine will make health care more expensive. Yet despite governments spending bigger and bigger budgets on health care, wait times lengthen and services are delisted. Clearly, taxpayers are not getting value for their money in our monopoly-payer system." 
Facebook has 500-million voluntary users, produces scads of money, and has absolutely nothing to do with government. Mr. Francis concludes that the film The Social Network: "teaches us to value the individual and the free market as agents of change. It proves it's possible to transform the world without a tax credit. It shows that you can make money and make a difference.
"I'm from the government," the man says. "And I'm here to help." When we hear those words, The Social Network suggests we should run in the opposite direction."
Absolutely right!

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