Opinion: Ford v Ferrari... offensive?
The following might make some of you... UNCOMFORTABLE.
If you'll remember back to season 1 of "The Grand Tour" you'll no doubt recall the excellent piece James May did in episode 6 about Ford's problems with Ferrari and the subsequent hissy fit that brought about the Ford GT40. At the time I remember thinking that the story would make an excellent movie. It was a thought I dismissed because Hollywood doesn't do interesting anymore.
Fast forward to earlier this month when 20th Century Fox proved me wrong. The release of the movie was surprising to me since the idea of it seems to run counter to everything Hollywood stands for these days. A rough around the edges Texan (Carol Shelby played by Matt Damon) and a hard nosed English race car driver (Ken Miles played by Christian Bale) are characters that seem more apt for villains in modern Hollywood.
Nevertheless, we seem to have an authentic portrayal of events that happened over a half a century ago. Complete with live action car crashes, fist fights and misogynists.
Oh, I'm sorry. Did you miss the misogyny in the film? Don't worry I did too, but it's there apparently. You just have to look for it. Look really hard for it. In fact, I'd say no rational person would have been able to spot it on their own. Don't worry. I've found some irrational people that say it screams to them. It turns out a couple of activists have been able to pick it out with no problem...
This is a trap that so many movies that revolve around adventure-seeking men with big dreams have fallen into.
Sage Young's main problem seems to revolve around the fact that a movie about two guys building and racing a car, stars the two guys and the car. Sage's argument is that the movie doesn't develop the female character enough. To that I say: If the writers and the director of the movie felt that her character needed more screen time to tell the story they had set out to tell, then they would have done just that. Doing what Sage is asking would have changed the story. What would have been the point of doing that?
You'll notice by the strange looking link above that the next article is on a pay site. I noticed a handy little counter at the bottom of the screen telling me I've got 3 more times to visit the site this month before I'll have to pay. So don't click on it unless you want to waste one of your visits to the powerhouse of journalism that is Bloomberg.
Hanna Elliot's article is full of the type of writing that characterizes modern activist. By that I mean, she seems to be actively angry with people from the past.
"Picture this: During all 152 minutes of the film men dominate
the screen for 98% of the time, by my unofficial count
(And when I say men, I mean white, straight men.)"
-Hanna Elliot, from the 5th paragraph
"Other women waft through the film like smoke: Secretaries in
wood-paneled offices handing manila folders to men in navy suits
corporate wives smiling silently, always positioned one step behind
their husbands' shoulder; young racing fans that serve as pretty
décor on racing podiums. To the victor go the spoils."
-Hanna Elliot, from the 7th paragraph
"“Who are you?” is rich, coming from Shelby. We know what kind of man
he was. The type we all are better off no longer holding the keys
to any automotive kingdom."
-Hanna Elliot, from the 16th paragraph
"Ford v Ferrari puts in stark relief the stunted mentality of previous
generations. Carroll Shelby, crystallized by Hollywood like a mosquito
in amber, is its totem artifact of generations dead and gone. For those
who are serious about making brilliant, thrilling, innovative vehicles
in the modern age, he’s best left behind."
-Hanna Elliot, from the final paragraph
I have to admit that my intentions were to hold Hanna to task, but after reading these quotes, I honestly just feel sorry for her. Sorry that she can not see the past for what it is... The past. The past should be used to gauge how far we've come and to guide us so that we do not make the same mistakes as those that came before us.
Hanna Elliot does something in her review that a lot of modern activists do. She looks at the lives people have lived, through the lens of modernity, all the while forgetting that she has the luxury of 20/20 vision. Judging the past, with the morals of today, is an exercise in futility. The past will always come up short, it's one of the ways we know we are progressing.
In dismissing Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles as unworthy examples, Hanna is saying we should forget about their accomplishments. Luckily, Hanna doesn't get (or shouldn't get) to decide who we revere. The fact remains that the pair, along with many others, did an amazing thing. A thing that deserves to be remembered for some time to come.
A story of their own
I understand that pointing out that the world is too full of stories about straight white guys succeeding in life, is the sole reason why activist exists. I get it. I'm not even mad about it, really. It's just that I can't help but notice that they are good at tearing down, but not so good at building up. I'd love to see a multi-million dollar movie about a group of women making it in the world of Motorsports. I know it's happened before. How about praising a good movie and then lobbing for one of your own. That might work out better than the journalistic equivalent of holding your breath until you get your way. Make good things and people will enjoy them.
Keep on Cruisin'!
Art by: Chris Breeden
About the Author:
"Chris Breeden is a Social Media content creator for Custom & Hot Rod Life on DRIVETRIBE, YouTube and Facebook. After spending 5 years in Southern California, a.k.a. Hot Rod Heaven, while serving as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps, he moved back home to Tennessee with an even greater love for Hot Rodded Vintage Tin. Since then he has worked in retail sales and the transportation and logistics industry. In 2018, seeing a gap in Hot Rod and Custom Car coverage on DRIVETRIBE, Chris began advocating for their inclusion on the platform. During the summer months, he can be found all over the Tennessee region covering car shows, meets, and cruise-ins. During the winter months, he can be found in the garage working on his custom 1949 Ford two-door sedan and 1954 F100 truck."