Cancel culture abounds at newly merged HBO, and Warner Bros isn’t immune either | Alex Clark

There is a wonderful novel by Japanese writer Yōko Ogawa called The memory policewhich portrays an island community that lives under a strange form of repression: from time to time something is taken from them -be it photographs, rose petals or hats- and not only the objects disappear but all the references, memories and language associated with them .

I was reminded of this last week, when reports circulated that streaming platform HBO Max had been removing titles from its catalog following a merger with Discovery+. If we were in a beautiful and suggestive allegory of cultural authoritarianism, the howls of anguish that have greeted the disappearance of shows like Vinyl, an American pickle Y The witches they themselves would have been silenced; As it is, this is just a business and some of them are even popping up elsewhere now.

No such luck for the stars of Bat girl, including Leslie Grace, Michael Keaton and Brendan Fraser, whose efforts were decisively rebuffed by Warner Bros, merged with Discovery+ in April. Artists vs. bean counters will only have one winner.

Coincidentally, I was reading about the Portuguese dictator António Salazar, who, before his death in 1970, had been severely incapacitated by illness for two years. Instead of telling him that he was no longer in charge, his inner circle upheld the fiction that his rule was upheld. Would he have killed Warner Bros to do the same thing?

downtrodden feline

Screenshot of Hector's House, with cat and dog puppets wearing aprons
Hector’s original house. Photography: undefined/BBC

I didn’t have a cat until I was over 50 years old and I went to live in the country and then it was by accident. A letter left to us by the previous owner of our house told us that a reddish-brown cat named Hector passed by from time to time and liked a dish that had been left for him. To make a long story short, Hector, a Norwegian Forest Cat, has been living with us for a few years now.

Not long before the pandemic hit, she was joined by ZsaZsa in black and white – those of a certain age will recognize the names from the old children’s TV show. Hector’s house, in which a dog, a cat and a frog walked together in a garden. Being French and inspired by Jacques Tati films, it was quite strange; Kiki the frog, for example, is a meteorologist.

We recently got our own Kiki, a tabby kitten, currently believed to be male. Hector, now completely blind, doesn’t bother; ZsaZsa, never the most beatable and currently made more irascible by a torn cruciate ligament, is somewhere between outraged betrayal and unrestrained aggression.

Every morning I must wrap blood pressure pills in ham for Hector, persuade ZsaZsa to drink a foul-tasting concoction to relieve his juvenile arthritis, and prevent the completely healthy kitty from taking either. “I’m not a cat person,” he mumbled.

One afternoon, while playing with my dahlias, I looked up to see Kiki dangling precariously on the sill of a narrow first-floor window, having escaped to the forbidden upstairs where she found an open window. “Much more of this and I’ll join you,” I told her as she went to find the ladder.

fever tone

Marcelo poses with the Champions League trophy on top of a fountain with confetti falling around him
Changes to the schedule of major soccer tournaments will leave players with less time to work on their tattoos. Above Real Madrid captain Marcelo with the trophy in May 2022. Photo: Sergio Pérez/EPA

Everyone in my world, apparently by a cascade of responses from outside the office, is on vacation, except the freelancers who pick up leftovers. And, curiously, professional soccer players. With the Qatar World Cup injected into the middle of the European season, its schedule starts earlier, with the Champions League pushed to the autumn and new rules for substitutes meaning more men will enter the field. Result: reduced time for golf tournaments, the launch of new clothing ranges and the inking of elaborate tattoo ‘sleeves’. Take note, struggling public sector workers: the fight is not yours alone.

Alex Clark is a columnist for the Observer and The Guardian.

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