I came back from a week in Canada yesterday. I spent an exceptionally wonderful week with my teenager children there, we bonded in so many ways. Coming back, with no sleep for almost 36 hours yesterday evening, I was enthusiastically welcomed by my cat friend when he returned from his boarding place where he happily socialised with other cats. Most of the day today he is staying very close, and he can’t stop purring. Both experiences of bonding with loved beings, whether my children, or my animal friend, they create a deep feeling of gratitude. On those things, head over to my YouTube channel.
“Is it now? Good for you!“, you might say. “But why are you starting this text this way?“
May be because this is about tolerance, and peaceful attitude? Let’s see and let me get to work, writing this piece here.
I read an article in BBC this morning: “Sharon Stone says Basic Instinct role cost her custody of her son“. To remind on the 1992 movie “Basic Instinct” I am quoting Wikipedia: “Basic Instinct is a 1992 neo-noir erotic thriller film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas. The film follows San Francisco police detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) as he investigates the brutal murder of a wealthy rock star. During the course of the investigation, Curran becomes entangled in a passionate and intense relationship with Catherine Tramell(Sharon Stone), the prime suspect and an enigmatic writer.”
I won’t get into details about why this movie created a controversial discussion, including an explicit scene with Sharon Stone lasting, perhaps, less than one second. Nothing though, compared to what a simple Google Search with explicit terms would come up with, with millions of hits.
Remember Michael Douglas? Of course you do. Including every movie he is playing a role in until today, including in Marvel’s “Antman”-series. Would you associate your memory related to Michael Douglas with “Basic Instinct” to the same extent as you would associate the name “Sharon Stone” with it? Just take a second for asking yourself this question. On my side, I associate Sharon Stone more with that movie than I do associate Michael Douglas.
The BBC-article refers to a court hearing in 2004. Sharon Stone was about to be divorced from her then-husband Ron Bronstein. The judge had to decide about custodial issues on their joint son. The judge, according to this article, asked the then four-year-old son “Do you know your mother makes sex movies?”. Sharon Stone was denied custodial rights related to Ron, who was adopted by the couple.
2004. One second of explicit content in a provocative movie, a piece of art by then and with hindsight from today’s perspective. Not a porn movie made for backroom views, or in secrecy on a laptop. No, an A-movie. I bought it on my Apple TV-account a while ago, may be around 2016. Sharon Stone got nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her role in that movie. And by the way, the crowd in that room, according to the BBC article, reacted in a condescending manner to her nomination.
The brief article ends with Sharon Stone referring to a recent movie depicting the life of Jeffrey Dahmer. An actor in that movie played the role of this cannibal of contemporary times. Stone asks whether anyone would believe this actor, who is playing an extremely challenging role, would be a cannibal in real life. Implicitely she is meaning that, obviously, the same was not true for how people look at Sharon Stone.
What has this to do with that I came back from Canada, again?
I had a blast there. And one evening, one of my two children (I stay very neutral because under no circumstances I am exposing my children to my public writing) showed off the capabilities of their newly acquired PlayStation 5. So, Dad, who is a LOT into computers, but not at all into computer games, took his time and was introduced into the amazing virtual realities of those games which were on that PS5.
It started with a Hogwarts’ type game in which sorcerers could fly around, walk around, and use their wands to smash and kill a horde of goblins, monsters, and whatever. Or just walking around in Hogwarts wizardry classrooms and smash the tables of other class mates.
From what I saw, it clearly was a lot of fun for my children. And I could relate to the fantastic graphics, the scenery, and other stuff. My children know that I don’t relate much to smashing things, or killing goblins. But ultimately, as parents, we have adopted a position where we try to go along with something which is inevitable in the life of millions, or billions, of children. You can’t stop the tide. But you can explain values.
Next up: Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5). I know GTA from its earliest versions on. I never liked it. A digital version of Los Angeles. In character, you play a gangster. You move around. Walk around. Drive around. Fly around. Stealing cars, smashing them. Living a gangsta life. You have every gun under the sun, and more. You kill. Indiscriminately. Shootouts of gangs against gangs, gangs against cops. Or you just walk up to a car, beat up the driver, take the car, and kill every pedestrian in your local neighborhood. Car finally done? No prob. Next car, continue.
Being the father I am, I was interested, appreciative, and also clear on saying that this type of violence is not my thing. “It’s a game, Dad.” “I know. But I don’t like it in a game, neither in real world. Interesting, though. Fascinating graphics, yes.“
At one point we passed a virtual corner and my child explained that in that building there, there is some “explicit” stuff. My children are almost 15 years old, I should explain. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Do you mean there is a strip joint in GTA 5?“. Of course I knew beforehand that GTA5 also had these features. My child giggled. I said: “Show me! Let’s go in!“. My child refused. With blushed cheeks my child said: “Dad! Please! I can’t go into a place with hookers here with my Dad!!“.
I smiled and I replied “Of course not, that’s okay!” So we did not get into that virtual strip joint. My child happily continued of rob people from their cars, beating them up, and smashing pedestrians, with copious amounts of virtual blood over those crime scenes, in front of Dad.
I took a second for a serious parental discussion on that occasion: With both my children in the room, I said the following:
“I do fully respect your feelings here. And I know it is a game. And you know I am a very open-minded and tolerant person. You can, if and whenever you want, talk about anything to me. And if you’re feeling funny, that’s okay, too. I so much understand, there were things which I would have had a lot of hesitation to talk about to my parents, too. And I do understand there is a common notion to name a sex worker a “hooker”. That’s normal, often too, instead of saying sex-worker, or prostitute. But it also, often, is abrasive, abusive, and mean. Because it puts that person into a position of shame. Which that person does not deserve. I live in a country where sex-work is legal. And I truly believe that it is a fundamental right for any person to choose any profession. If this is about transactional sex, it is as okay and respectable like any other job (like creating violent computer games), and I want you to know that any such person is not a person of bad reputation, or second class. I want you to be very respectful, that’s why I say sex-worker, and not hooker.“
I almost left it there, because I only wanted to call for tolerance, compassion, open-mindedness. Of course I did not want to create curiosity for strip joints. Kids have that anyways, there is no way to “protect” them from that. But there are thousands of ways to help in making them aware that hypocrisy, male domination, bigotry, disrespectful behavior, xenophobia, resentment against LGBTQ+ identification and anything else has no place in a tolerant human society.
So I decided to end this with saying: “Some of my closest friends have personal histories including sex work. All of them are wonderful amazing people, and some are amazing parents. Many of those have scars on their souls. Perhaps less because of the choice of profession they made, for some time. Perhaps more because of all the incredibly stupid, and often very abusive and intolerant behavior of their clients. Because those clients, they use those services. And then, in total hypocrisy, they label the providers of those services second class. Please, never ever do that!“
I left this talk there and continued to unhappily watch the virtual killings in GTA 5. Now, the connection between Sharon Stone and what I wrote about, perhaps is becoming more visible.
I remain entirely baffled about a hypocrisy and puritanism which is outlawing any explicit sexual scene in movies, and otherwise I continue to see Denzel Washington on an extended revenge tour through “The Equalizer”- sequel, or I am waiting excitedly to continue watching Keanu Reeves in “John Wick 4” shooting hundreds, mildy put, with every gun under the sun.
I could say it is schizophrenic. But it is not. It tells me a lot about instruments of social control, applied by a still dominating male class, ruling the female principle into submission.
Not my world, though. Tremendously proud of my closest friends. I love them very much.