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Gross Indecency: New Film an Insult to the Life of Alan Turing

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Dr. Alan Turing may have saved his country from the horrors of a Nazi occupation. At the very least he saved untold thousands from starvation and drowning during the height of the U-Boat attacks on allied shipping during World War II by cracking the Enigma code which had allowed their movements to remain a secret for the greater part of the war. In what can only be described as true cruelty and injustice, his lifesaving efforts cost him his own at the hands of his government.turing

Turing was many things. A brilliant scientist, a mathematician, the grandfather of artificial intelligence, a spy, and most certainly a hero. He was also gay. That simple fact led to his classification as a sexual deviant and a sentence that included chemical castration, government surveillance, and expulsion from the highly classified projects he was working on to safeguard the very country whose actions eventually drove him to suicide.

One of the terms used by police when arresting Dr. Turing was “gross indecency.” I will use that phrase now to describe the efforts of a new film which not only fails to tell the true and heartbreaking story of Dr. Turing but also sanitizes it and transforms it into a love story set in Bletchley Park, a place Dr. Turing described as a “sexual desert.” The movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Turing and Keira Knightly as fellow code-breaker Joan Clarke. Turing was briefly engaged to Joan Clarke but broke of the engagement saying that he refused to live a lie. Hollywood seems anxious to embrace the lie for the film entitled The Imitation Game.

While life may imitate art, in the case of the life of Dr. Turing injustice is being imitated as a perverse form of flattery. By not embracing one of the most important aspects of the doctor’s life the filmmakers are obfuscating the political nature of his life and his death. He was a man convicted by his government, a government that is at present discussing righting the terrible wrong it committed with a posthumous pardon. In choosing not to show the persecution onscreen the filmmakers are whitewashing history and again ignoring the injustice while hoping to profit from Dr. Turing’s life. One cannot be ethically separated from the other, especially in today’s climate of scrutiny on bullying and LGBT youth suicides.

Dr. Turing created a test which bears his name. It is one of the first thought experiments on machine intelligence and the nature of personhood. He came up with the test at a time when his own personhood was being challenged. If we cannot acknowledge the entire man that he was in a filmic adaption of his life, then Hollywood has truly failed the Turing Test. A Gross Indecency indeed.

 

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About Gabe_Canada

Gabrial is a native Hoosier. He is a blogger for the grassroots media literacy organization Racebending.com and a member of the team at Kind of Epic Show. A weekly pop culture news podcast http://www.podomatic.com/kindofepicshow whose hosts may or may not form a giant fighting robot.
  • bliffle

    Turing was driven to suicide by prigs.

  • Christina Halasz

    I’m certain many homosexuals were left in peace in this era provided their efforts did not obstruct the U.S. government’s Nazi economic objectives. Hitler himself was gay. Sexual orientation was used as an excuse by a predominantly gay church. There are good gays, evil gays, closet gays and when we indiscriminately support all members of a given community based on sexual orientation, we fail to differentiate. I think that should be obvious. It’s none of my business what you do in the privacy of your bedroom… it is my business what your leadership policies are.

    • donjuannebulon

      There is not a single shred of evidence that Hitler was gay. Not one. You have been mal-informed. The Hitler was gay lie is propegated for no other reason than to defame gay people. It’s a vicious, sick, hateful lie created by sub-human monsters that wish to gain public support to persecute sexual minorities. I’m not saying the original poster is one of these people, but spreading defamation and misinformation like she does in the previous post is harmful and ignorant.

      By all accounts Hitler loved his wife. They committed suicide together. Hitler described himself as a Christian, and the Nazi persecution of gays and Jews stems directly from his Christian belief system:

      “I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty
      Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”

      [Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936]

      “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a
      fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded
      by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and
      summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest
      not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian
      and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord
      at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the
      Temple the brood of vipers and adders….”

      [Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich on April 12, 1922, countering a
      political opponent, Count Lerchenfeld, who opposed antisemitism on
      his personal Christian feelings. Published in “My New Order”, quoted
      in Freethought Today April 1990]

      “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of
      the Almighty Creator.”

      [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 46]

  • 030891

    Official statement of The Imitation Game’s producers about the criticism aimed at their Alan Turing film http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/08/19/producers-of-alan-turing-film-reject-criticism-of-project/

  • 030891

    From the producers of the film sent directly to Pink News http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/08/19/producers-of-alan-turing-film-reject-criticism-of-project/

    The Imitation Game is a dramatic portrayal of the life and work of Alan Turing, whose achievements in cryptography and mathematics pioneered our understanding and development of what has become known in modern terms as computer science. He and his team at Bletchley Park also cracked the German Enigma code, which by all reports substantially shortened World War II.

    We understand Turing’s importance, and the main intention of the film is to ensure his tremendous achievements and yet tragic and unjust treatment becomes more widely recognised.

    Our preparation has involved extensive research on Turing, consulting directly with Bletchley Park, biographers, historians, members of the Turing family, members of the Alan Turing Centenary Committee, as well as living friends and colleagues of Turing.

    We are making the film independently of the “Hollywood” studio system to retain complete creative control, and we have cast BAFTA and Academy Award® nominated actors in our lead roles.

    This on-going dialogue is greatly appreciated as it demonstrates the passion that exists for Turing’s achievements and the legacy of a man we intend to honour. There is not – and never has been – a version of our script where Alan Turing is anything other than homosexual, nor have we included fictitious sex scenes, and we have responded to any and every email and Twitter message to the contrary so as to quash these unsubstantiated rumours. We only wish this misinformation hadn’t arisen, and in the spirit of openness we intend to communicate all production updates regularly through our social media channels.

    We have never been contacted by Julia Turing.

  • 030891

    You can read the script yourself and end such premature judgement to the film http://writetoreel.com/forum/showthread.php?1863-The-Imitation-Game.

  • 030891
    • ThreeofAKind

      Those script reviews are more than a year old. Who knows what kind of rewrites it went through already.