Preoccupied with his years-in-the-making documentary on the evils of capitalism Antony Loewenstein blogs only intermittently and Tim Lambert having gone to ground, Clementine Ford is the go-to lefty for reliable entertainment. She never fails to disappoint.
Fans of the BBC series Poldark have found themselves confronted with a moral quandary this past week. The historical drama’s most recent episode featured what can only be described as a shady rape scene, with the show’s eponymous character “compelling” his former lover Elizabeth to have sex with him after he storms into her house in a jealous rage.
The scene reads like a sexual assault. There is a struggle. He tries to kiss her even while she repeatedly says no. He then throws her onto the bed and pins her down. And it is here that she submits to him “willingly” and reciprocates his advances.
As if this perpetuation of rape mythology wasn’t bad enough (the idea being that women all secretly desire to be overpowered and “taken” by stronger men, and therefore are mostly just expressing some kind of moralistic regret when they “cry rape” afterwards), the scene itself has been completely rewritten from the book. In the 1953 series, written by Winston Graham, Poldark’s rape of Elizabeth is far more explicit.
No, the idea being that the man knows his lover and what she wants, no matter what she says. Ford goes on to selectively restate arguments asserted earlier in the Guardian, leaving out this crucial information.
But Poldark writer Debbie Horsfield said that in the original Poldark books, written by Winston Graham, the scene was left up to the reader’s imaginations. They consulted with Graham’s son Andrew, who described the moment as “consensual sex born of long-term love and longing”.
Horsfield added: “What you saw onscreen is consistent with what we believe those intentions to have been.”
As with all of Ford’s bleating, it’s much about about nothing. Sensible persons might well find more to get upset about in Ford’s Facebook promotion of this wrong-on-multiple-levels cartoon.
Finally, best-selling author Ford refers to Poldark as “swarthy” when he is anything but.