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Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

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I've always liked Ben Elton without ever being his biggest fan but in this book, he genuinely spoke to me. This is relentlessly bubbly, irreverent (of course) and often very funny. No target is safe in this very-near-future world of Elton's and he fires shots seemingly indiscriminately. While most politicians have made up names it's obvious who is being sent up, for example, Bunter Jollye and Plantagenet Greased-Hogg - can't imagine who they are modelled on . . . With the view that all this right wing “hate” somehow drives up the desire of the stupid, racist, uneducated English to want to vote for English to leave the UK (???!!). But we’re so easily manipulated. Sigh. Sometimes, however, it seems that it is a dizzying forest of hash tags driving the novel forward. If one moral or political position is acceptable this week, the death of another marginalised group member or the exposure of another predator changes the conversation next week. It’s all too easy to find oneself on the wrong side of history or to become toxic. And it’s not just the perpetrators (alleged or real) who suffer. There’s quite a touching story somewhere in the middle of the novel of Cassie Trinder, a hopeful actress who finally lands her dream position playing the young Princess Elizabeth in a movie, The Royal Closet. She even undergoes the humiliating casting couch charade of a final reading with Harvey Weinstein to land the role, just before Weinstein is exposed as a sexual predator and the whole project becomes too ‘toxic’ to proceed. Years later, with her career yet to take off, a new production of The Royal Closet is announced, except she’s now deemed too old to play the part. Cassie fights for a role in the production, yet her success is once again frustrated when Rodney Watson (a serial predator himself who has revived his career by playing the role of the ‘woke’ male) is exposed. Cassie ‘s career seems to be once more stalled when the production is cancelled a second time.

A movement against the sexual harrassment and exploitation of women. The movement gained momentum after the revelations that Hollywood executive, Harvey Weinstein, had used his position f power to take advantage of women for many years. Reading is a good time to get a break from politics, and there are so many big hitting subjects here, I couldn’t fathom how they could all be written so well within one standard length piece. a heterosexual man, usually of the city, who enjoys some pursuits traditionally attributed to women.

But my insight, the one I had but didn’t express, was that although we live in an era of instant communication, the world Elton describes is one in which we are no more accurately informed than the French citizens who overthrew a king. Greer was once on the right side of history and like her fictional counterpart, Giffard, could not have foreseen the ground shifting beneath her feet. Many French citizens who lost their heads during the French Revolution may have been equally surprised when what started as a revolution for equality became a bloodbath at the foot of the guillotine. In Elton’s novel, time and again, chronicles the same process of the shifting tides of opinion, and the variable fortunes of protagonists, some horrible, some of whom are moral, well-intentioned people. Yet both can be deemed toxic and find themselves on the wrong side of history in the combative arena of social media. That was my insight. How is it possible to be so trenchant and angry when we know that history alone will judge us? If Elton’s novel is about anything it is this: the need for perspective and conversation, not abuse. Stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, asexual, pansexual and kink. The term adds to the more common LGBTQ+ and also denotes the wide range of human sexuality, and people who fall outside traditional male/female heterosexual binarism

Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. The term is used to describe feminists who do not support trans-sexuals, particularly biologically male females, and advocate excluding them from areas designated for women.

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The plot not only includes contemporary technology but actually leverages it! Crime fiction at large is appallingly guilty of avoiding modern technology which might otherwise be 'plot breakers' but this book not only embraces it but manages to make it key to the whole story in a way that feels authentic.

A later wave of feminism that advocates the use of internet tools like social media to help advocate gender equality and an equal voice for all The book is certainly up-to-date and despite some slightly dodgy accents Ben's performance was good and made me want to keep going. The funny part is that I'm not sure whether he was highlighting the issues and problems with today's 'social media' world or bolstering (some of) the ideas presented. There is plenty of well-thought view and perspectives from the side of those considered snowflakes as well as the dinosaurs (like me apparently) that think there is a massive movement toward being over sensitive because nobody ever died of being offended. I'd love to sit and chat with him about it to try and find out where he, Ben, himself falls on opinions offered because the story is woven so well I can't tell... Which I assume has been done on purpose but also adds to the entertainment.Incel is a conflation of the term Involuntary Celebate. An Incel is not necessarily someone who is celebate without wanting to be, but those men who publically express their frustration against women, often in threatening ways. Some radical Incels have called for rape to be legalised. Someone who does not identify with traditional gender distinctions but may identify with neither, both or a combination of genders I found this book to be remarkably contemporary in a way very few authors even attempt. Ben Elton navigates the convolutions of modern society quite adeptly. I applaud Ben Elton for his sincerity, wit and insight into contemporary society and am flabbergasted that the twisting plot remained solid and intact the whole way through to a satisfying conclusion.

A conflation of feminist and Nazi, used as a pejorative against feminist perceived to be too radical. It’s easy to laugh at the contortions language is forced to perform in the service of saying the right thing, and that is certainly an aspect of this novel. But Elton intends not just to call out the loony leftist latte-drinking feminazi orthodoxy. The very vehemence of this appellation suggests that the problem is about conversation: that in a world in which the conversation takes place across relatively anonymous social networks involving a multiplicity of views and identities, that the possibility of a civil conversation is tenuous.A powerful Hollywood executive whose sexual predation on women for many years was the main catalyst for the #MeToo movement.



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