February 25th, 2005

"He Loved Big Brother"

In Peter Mullan's terrific movie about institutionalised abuse, The Magdalene Sisters, an archbishop treats the imprisoned girls to a Christmas showing of The Bells of St Mary's and the sadistic, power-mad sister in charge stands up and gives a cooing and ingratiating little speech about how she used to go to the movies with her father and how she liked the westerns best.

And the realisation dawns that not only does this terrible woman believe that God is on her side, she also, God help us, believes that she's cute.

Monsters never think of themselves as monstrous. Stalin loved drinking games. Hitler was fond of children and dogs. Mao went among his people with a great big silly grin on his face.

I won't (because I'm a bit of a fraidy cat) mention the names of any grinners, smirkers and jokers who are still alive and in power.

Sister makes her twee little jokes and the girls laugh at them.

The self-delusion of the ruler is perfectly matched to the self-abasement of the ruled.