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Monday 18 December 2017

Sinead Ryan: Why Hollywood always puts good looks before a good story

What's the betting that we're going to see some glamorous but entirely unsuitable Hollywood leading lady like Keira Knightley or Angelina Jolie featuring in the forthcoming remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo?

I went to see the Swedish version this week after thoroughly enjoying the Stieg Larsson trilogy and, once you get over the subtitles, you concentrate on the grittiness of the superb film.

Most refreshing however, is that the actresses were not chosen for their glossy hair, perfect teeth and stunning figures. Instead, they were true to the book, making it more realistic. Actresses frequently whinge that leading roles are predominantly given to gorgeous young girls, irrespective of how it is written. After reading other adaptations, such as The Bone Collector, you know Angelina was wholly inappropriate for the part of the studious Amelia. Likewise, Keira was far too pretty and winsome to have played the serious and bookish Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice. Let's hope the producers aren't tempted to cast beauty over reality and do the memory of Larsson some justice.

How FitzPatrick made my day, just by getting himself arrested

Schadenfreude: the satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.

We don't even have a word for it in English, but it's precisely the feeling that came over me when I heard about the arrest and detention of Sean FitzPatrick and now Willie McAteer, both late of the basket case that is Anglo Irish Bank.

I know it's unworthy of me, but I definitely know I'm not the only one.

Hundreds of texts and tweets were flying round with the news when it broke.

I even got a "Happy FitzPatrick's Day", given the timing of the arrest, the day after the other Paddy's Day we celebrate.

Irrespective of what happens to either man, or any others of their ilk, and bearing in mind that in any event it will not change anything even one whit, I confess to the small leap of delight at the news.

And especially after reading my colleague PJ Browne's wonderfully graphic piece about how every arrest is dealt with by gardai.

He said all suspects are treated exactly the same from the minute the guards show up at their door and escort them to the garda station. From handcuffs to shoelaces being removed to the 10ft x 8ft cell with its single grey blanket and metal bed, I supped my celebratory coffee with a big grin on my face. Does that make me a bad person?

Now listen, I'm not under the slightest illusion that those with negative equity, job losses or wiped-out pensions won't still have them, without being in even the tiniest better position as a result.

But don't we all feel a little bit gratified that gardai are now very obviously being seen to be taking the whole thing seriously? It restores our faith in the "establishment" that we all love to bash, assuming those in authority are generally engaged in digging each other out and not treating all of us the same.

Well, it turns out that helping the gardai with their inquiries (as we say in the trade) over a white collar crime is no different than helping them with a blue collar one. There were no hidden tunnels, no secret exits out a back door, and no change of clothes. That's precisely as it should be.

It annoys people intensely when they feel that those who have harmed our country are seen to 'get away with it', whether they be politicians, bankers or clergy -- traditionally the more 'upstanding' citizens. Well, no more. The mantle has fallen, exposing the many so-called pillars of the community for what they are.

We can't jail them all and, in some cases, can't even pin a crime on them, but we'll certainly take our small guilty pleasures where we can.

Seanie -- you made my day. Thanks.

Stump up more for dentists ... or we'll be sorry

As if going to the dentist wasn't already a traumatic enough experience, it seems that, for medical card patients, it's about to get a whole lot worse. Budgets have been pulled and dentists have said that where they're faced with a decision to repair or extract a tooth they'll have to get the pliers out -- because it's cheaper.

There's no doubt that our oral health has improved immensely over the years.

To knock back all that good work to somewhere in the 1950s seems to defy common sense. Now basic procedures that prevent bad teeth are being limited to "emergency circumstances" only. You have to qualify by being pregnant or having diabetes. It seems nobody else will be entitled, even if it means their mouth will go to pot. Well, instead of extracting teeth it's a pity that dentists can't extract more money from the HSE.

How proud will we be in another 30 years if today's children have gappy, diseased mouths when they're older because we back-tracked on all the good work done so far?

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