Getting all worked up over fictional film characters . . . and real-life scary people
In a week when the Middle East continues to resemble a medieval warzone and the Ebola virus begins to assume an even greater threat (when you have the health minister of Nigeria saying they've put a lid on it while a US spokesman describes it as the greatest danger to humanity since the HIV/AIDS virus, then we're in trouble) there were a few other things to keep the dark clouds at bay and help us all get to sleep at night.
David Fincher's excellent adult thriller Gone Girl opened in cinemas last weekend to great acclaim, but it still managed to generate considerable controversy. Leading the charge of the complaints was that Gillian Flynn's adaptation of her own best-seller was a misogynistic tract that showed women in a terribly bad light. For starters, the two central characters in the film - played by Ben Affleck and a wonderful Rosamund Pike - are pretty appalling people but, lest we forget, they're fictional characters. She. Made. Them. Up.
Not that a frivolous fact that they're a figment of someone's imagination stopped feminist academics going off on one. Perhaps best of all was Joan Smith who, in a column in The Guardian, declared herself appalled (appalled she was, I tells ya) at the portrayal of the female protagonist's behaviour and referenced a report by the Crown Prosecution Service last year that stated there were only 35 accounts of false allegations of rape over a 17-month period.
Not to be outdone in using stats, she declared she'd a good mind to send a copy of that report to Affleck and Pike. Not the author and screenwriter, the actors. God help us, but what do these people do to occupy their time every day?
There was plenty sports-wise too to keep us entertained. Sadly, supporters of the mighty Shamrock Rovers endured a long journey back to Dublin on Tuesday night following a 2-0 defeat in a cup semi-final replay to Derry City. Still, it probably wasn't as long as the trip back endured by the team, who had four windows on their bus broken as they left the ground. Honestly, the fact that the Brandywell is the only top-flight ground in Europe without a police presence remains a disgrace, and unless the FAI forces Derry City to get their act together and obey the rule of law like every other club, they should be banned from all competiton in our country.
And then there was Roy Keane. Whether the leaking of his new autobiography was accidental or not (if it was, then why didn't someone who 'bought' a copy put up a selfie on Twitter the minute they got their hands on a copy?), the fuss completely overshadowed the Republic of Ireland's preparations for a double-header against Gibraltar and Germany. As has been pointed out, were Keane manager of the Republic (if that ever happens I will cheer for any team that plays us - that's a promise), he'd go nuts over such a distraction in an international build-up.
Matters autobiographical also surrounded shy, retiring Sinead O'Connor. A spokesperson for Penguin Ireland announced that the singer had agreed a deal to write her memoirs, with a publication date set for March 2016. Initially we were told that O'Connor would be giving all her former lovers a rating, which was greeted with some hilarity by various she-columnists. They wouldn't be quite so chirpy if, say, Colin Farrell announced he was about to do the same, I reckon, but what really hit the spot was when the press release announced that O'Connor was "a great writer".
Have they read the pseudo-Jamaican patois drivel she posts on her website and via Twitter?
Still, a peek at an unproofed and unlegalled manuscript would be well worth it.