04 July 2005

More on Mrs Peel and something on Sartre

Rusty left a comment on the previous post about fond childhood and even adult memories of Mrs Peel. That reminded me of when I was on study leave in the seventh form and they played the Avengers on the telly late at night. Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale and Diana Rigg as Emma Peel were the first feminist (it could even be argued post-feminist) characters on the telly. There were a couple of examples in episodes I watched yesterday. In 'The Correct Way to Kill' we see the Russians files on Steed and Mrs Peel. For Steed they say 'Dangerous - handle with care', but for Mrs Peel they say 'Highly dangerous - do not handle at all'. And that's the state of it. The other one I watched yesterday - 'The Superlative Seven' (guest starring Donald Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, and Brian Blessed no less) - was one of many in which she rescues Steed.

That's just one of the attractions. There's many others, but I won't bore you with them now.

I haven't been watching 'em today though. I drew up a couple more ink drawings to go with the other one (the one Stephen liked). I think three in a row will be the go.

I spent most of the day reading Philosophers Behaving Badly, which I'm afraid is patchy. It did get me quite keen to do some more reading and thinking about existentialism. I think it has quite a bit of relevance for today, what with the American Right trying to redefine the term 'freedom' to suit its purposes. From the chapter on Sartre:

'Faced with a life that is contingent (in the sense of being limited, always liable to change and vulnerable to the actions of others) and futile, there can be no ultimate justification of anything: no absolute right or wrong to be read from a rule book. Through fear we may be tempted to refuse to accept responsibility for our actions and choices - and to fall back on an explanation of them in terms of outside influences, to accept a role that others would give us. And that ... is ... bad faith ... In particular, bad faith is acting a part, not being true to oneself ...

'Central to his thinking is the contrast between two types of being: the active, self-aware, thinking questioning for-itself and the impersonal material in-itself of encountered objects ... We have responsibility for thinking and choosing - that is what makes our being for-itself. But that can be threatening, because the for-itself is also a nothingness: it does not have the solid, physical reality of the objective in-itself world. There is therefore always a temptation to escape from the threat of nothingness by accepting an impersonal, stereotypical image of the self, making it an object rather than a thinking subject [this bit reminds me of Philip K Dick, who reckoned some people turn themselves into objects - 'reflex machines' he calls them]. To understand oneself simply as trying to be 'a waiter' or even 'a philosopher' [or 'an artist'] is to deny one's individual, thinking, choosing self. This is what Sartre calls acting in bad faith, the opposite of his existentialist ideal of acting authentically.'

And on that note I suppose I should go to bed, ready to play my inauthentic and bad faith role as senior editor tomorrow. Might have a cigarette first but.

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