As you’ll know from my review on Tuesday, I loved Jojo Rabbit. It was the funniest film I’ve seen in a long time. But since I watched it, I’ve read a lot of criticism about it. One of these was based around the fact that Taika Waititi’s portrayal of Hitler just came down to pulling silly faces. As if that didn’t make it enough of an anti-war film. Which is ridiculous. Waititi’s version of Hitler would be at home with any of the propaganda that the allied forces were putting out during the war. We have always been well aware that one of the best ways to take power away from a dictator is to turn them into a laughing stock. It’s been a tradition that has been handed down to us and that we should continue with. Look at America. Donald Trump is gaining support in many places in America but he’s basically a laughing stock around the world. Yes, it helps that he’s a fucking moron but it means he’ll never be a full figure to fear.
Autumn by Ali Smith might well have taken the title of “the first Brexit novel” but, really, ever since the result in 2016, we’ve just been waiting for every British writer to churn out there own. Machines Like Me introduced us to Ian McEwan’s anger about the decision to take the UK out of the EU. In his alternate 80s timeline, British Prime Minister Tony Benn decides to take the UK out of the European Union without a second referendum. The writer hasn’t hidden his feelings about the current state of politics in this country so it was clear this wouldn’t be the last we heard about it. And, lo and behold, a few weeks ago it was announced that McEwan was set to release a surprise new novella. The work would be a political satire of “an old tradition”. Now, I’ve had an odd relationship with McEwan over my lifetime. When I was a teenage I read everything he wrote with glee. I loved his works. Enduring Love, Atonement, Saturday, and his short story collections were regularly recommended to everyone I could find. But, over the years, I’ve found myself less inclined to try out his new stuff. I loved On Chesil Beach but, until this year, that was the last recent book of his I opened. And then, Machines Like Me wasn’t anywhere near as good as I was hoping. Still, this was a novella and its mustard yellow. I do so love yellow things. I decided it was worth a try.