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Tuesday 30 March 2010
Letters: Digital 3D
Digital 3D is a massive hit, and it's here to stay
The curmudgeonly article by Jonathan Brown and Kevin Rawlinson about digital 3D cinema (23 March) was a miserable attempt to rubbish one of the most exciting and popular developments in modern entertainment. Digital 3D cinema has proved a massive hit with audiences in the UK and across the world.
Attempts to draw parallels between this and previous incarnations of 3D cinema are misplaced. First, the advent of digital technology means that matching the right and left eye images, necessary for a full stereoscopic image, is now as near perfect as makes no difference, eradicating the problems of eye-strain and nausea which were a feature of previous versions.
Second, contrary to the inference in the article, digital 3D is not a response to a downturn in cinema audiences nor in people's appetite for the big screen experience.
In fact, we are experiencing a 25-year upturn in UK cinema audiences, with a seven-year high in admissions and an all-time high in UK box office last year. Competition is fierce for people's leisure time and disposable income, but UK cinema is in fine health. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, digital 3D is being taken forward by the foremost creative film talents of our time. Not just James Cameron, but Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton.
Does 3D make a bad film good? Absolutely not. But it makes a great film better. And more than two dozen 3D features are coming to UK cinemas this year. No amount of sniffy commentary can detract from this huge entertainment and technological success.
Chief Executive, Cinema Exhibitors' Association, London W1
A vicious, dishonest Cameron campaign
History repeats itself. Some people and some organisations never learn. In a given set of circumstances they will do exactly the same as they have in the past. I refer here to the Conservative election hoardings launched this weekend.
How personally vicious and thoroughly dishonest can you get? Still the same old very nasty approach to politics, aggressively attacking an opponent. Not a grain of change to the demonising of Blair back in 1997. This time the personal attack is on Brown, "I doubled the national debt – Vote for me".
How grossly dishonest when the world knows we are all going through the worst global recession since the 1930s. As if "one" politician can be blamed, a politician who has taken the gravest decisions for Britain in more than half a century.
And, "I took billions from pensioners – Vote for me" when it is Labour that launched pension credit, ensuring that everyone aged over 60 has a guaranteed living income and winter fuel allowances.
In all, a vicious campaign from the Tories, straight out of the Sarah Palin manual of deep thought and understanding. In a decently run campaign, the £400,000 spent on personal attacks would have been used to explain Conservative policy.
Politicians keep saying that they will protect "front-line services" from cuts. I think they should be challenged to be more precise. How far back, as it were, does the front line go?
You can keep all your front-line soldiers, but if there's nobody left to provide them with weapons and ammunition, cook their meals, treat their injuries, post their letters home, tell them who to shoot and give them their pay, they're not going to be very effective. Similar principles must surely apply in the case of "front-line" doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, police officers etc.
All those disgraced politicians who have made an absolute mockery of our so-called democratic system will be retiring with lump sums and pensions provided by the people they have so disgracefully betrayed. Would this happen in any other sphere of life? They will also use their political experience to obtain rich pickings from the commercial sector, who will perhaps feel less sensitive than the general public about questionable ethics.
We are about to have another general election, and the power of the people will be limited to voting for what they regard as the the least reprehensible party. What is really and urgently needed is a complete overhaul of our system of governance, but how are we to bring this about? Turkeys do not vote for Christmas.
Among issues that must be addressed are the lobbying system, the Royal Prerogative, the whip system, the absence of a written Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the lack of any power of the electorate to hold politicians to account for policies pushed through between elections for which they have no mandate from the people, such as the erosion of our civil liberties and human rights.
How can we vote for a Prime Minister who has a poor memory? Mr Brown seemed to have "forgotten" he cut, twice, the funding for our troops but later admitted it after being reminded by the media.
He also seems to be deaf to questions asked of him at PMQs and on TV, instead rambling on about his far-away memories when he was not in government. Then he cons the likes of my wife who, being over 65, is eligible for the higher rate of her tax-free state pension, but at the same time will now get a smaller amount from the company pension, into which she paid the maximum permitted and taxed at the same time.
Now she is forced to be taxed a second time on her "own money" which she "invested in the company pension scheme" before she retired through ill health. So she gets less than before from her company pension because of Labour's stealth taxes.
Bridlington, East Yorkshire
I agree with many of the sentiments in David Cook's letter (22 March) concerning the benefits of a hung Parliament, but I wish he had not perpetuated the myth that Gordon Brown is an "unelected" Prime Minister.
Gordon Brown was elected by the people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath as their MP and it was the Labour Party that chose him as their leader. So, since Labour is the party in power, he is automatically our Prime Minister. We do not (yet) elect a president in this country.
No interest paid on charity account
I am secretary of a small charity, the Arts & Youth Trust for Eastleigh. About three years ago, I discovered that our deposit account with Lloyds TSB was no longer receiving interest. On enquiring, I was told I had been sent a letter months before informing me that the bank would no longer be paying interest on deposits held by charities, which letter I had never received. No explanation of the bank's decision was offered.
After much searching for alternatives we found a bank which would pay us interest: CAF. Of course, the trustees quickly transferred our (quite modest) funds. The rate of interest may be small, but it's better than zero per cent.
When running a very small, local charity, every penny counts and we needed to earn something on our deposit. Why I should be able to get interest on my personal account with the same bank but not on the funds I deposited with them on behalf of my charity, I do not know.
Chandler's Ford, Hampshire
Church damaged by abuse scandal
Being a Humanist, I have long held the view that religion, although once the bond that kept communities together, has now become obsolete. Civil law and human rights laws have taken over from canon law but the Catholic Church hierarchy has not been able to accept this.
The Pope believes himself to be a supreme being chosen by God, but this is complete nonsense, and this debacle about sexual abuse of minors just highlights how pompous he and his cronies are. I believe this scandal will break the spell that religion has held over so many people in this world for so long, and not before time.
No evidence of expulsion of Jews
C Cameron (letters, 27 March) is right to debunk the enduring myth of the "Jewish People", a tale perpetuated by anti-Semites as well as Zionists. The "Wandering Jew", expelled from his land, left stateless for centuries and waiting for his return to the promised land of his ancestors, is purely imaginary. There is no historical evidence of forced expulsion of the Judeans, and the overwhelming majority of Jews are descendants of converts.
Israel is a legitimate state because it was sanctioned by the UN in 1947. It should always remain a safe haven for persecuted Jews, but I don't see why an assimilated European or American Jew should have any right to settle in Israel while denying that right to a poor Palestinian refugee whose grandparents were expelled from their own house 50 years ago.
The rebuttal of pro-Zionist arguments is a necessary service to the truth but a fruitless task. No sooner have the arguments been fully rebutted than they are dusted off and paraded again. Zionism (Jewish and Christian) rests on a fundamentalist belief in Israel's divine destiny to possess the land between the two rivers and the sea. This belief, held in sincerity or self-interest is, like every other fundamentalism, beyond argument.
In this scenario, ways need to be found that offer hope of progress, ways of mobilising the non-extremist Jewish and Palestinian elements in Israel so that the democratic process can be prised from the grasp of Zionist fundamentalists.
There can be no prospect of peace in Palestine while those who control Israel's policies and practices hold the irrational belief that no matter what anyone else may say, they have it in writing from God that the land is wholly theirs for ever.
Colin V Smith
St Helens, Merseyside
Prime Minister Netanyahu has made it crystal clear that he intends to defy the UN, the US and the "internat-ional community" and will continue to build Jewish homes in east Jerusalem, and anywhere else he pleases. Will we see that "international community" adopting measures similar to those taken against Iran: trade sanctions, travel bans on politicians, arms embargoes etc, etc?
I doubt it. While the EU is paralysed by Germany's Holocaust guilt, US Middle East policy is driven by a powerful Jewish lobby, and the Arab world is sundered by division and animosities, Israel has total impunity. And Netanyahu knows it.
The Hague, Netherlands
My pleasure on learning that the BBC is to broadcast a programme about Wagner (letters, 29 March) was cancelled out by frustration because the presenter was the ubiquitous Stephen Fry. Would it be too much to ask for a straightforward programme about the composer and his music, not one dominated by the personality of Mr Fry?
A taxing question
Would it not be best if all contributions to political parties, from companies and private individuals, had to be paid through HM Revenue & Customs? Only after a tax inspector was satisfied that the donor was resident and domiciled in the UK for tax purposes, that all their tax affairs were in order, and that the money came from a fund of UK-taxed income, would it be forwarded to the party. The Revenue could also be given the right to seize any assets of political parties which had resulted from an evasion of these principles.
All at sea
Amy Jenkins, in praising D H Lawrence (27 March), states that, "You feel Lawrence would have loved our world of therapy and self-help – of endless naval gazing". Those of us living a long way from the sea often find naval gazing a fruitless activity, even in a world of therapy and self-help.
In praise of 'pop-ups'
Rhiannon Harries is looking forward to the demise of "pop-up" shops in London (Urban Notebook, 26 March), but in some parts of the country they appear to be an almost essential feature.
What was the point of listing those science experiments ("Do try this at home", 26 March)? Almost none can be done at home, and some are positively dangerous. What kid can produce chlorine at home? Which one might decide the car battery is a good source of electricity for electrolysis? What does "plug the flask" mean? Who is going to buy a Geiger counter?
A pint to ponder
It is unfortunate that the Rowlandson illustration of a Regency tavern in your article on the history of cask ale (27 March) shows all the customers drinking gin.
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