I was, this indictment said, ‘a figure of hostility and hatred’. A young woman positioned herself in front of me, walking slowly backwards while holding up a home-made placard proclaiming ‘History will forget you’. Alas, she was walking backwards towards a large and prickly bush.She was so set on scorning me that she paid no heed when I warned her of her peril, and she duly reversed into it.
Our education system teaches the young what to think, not how to think.And if you ever wonder why so many things don’t work properly any more, or why you can’t get any sense out of so many organisations, this is one of the main reasons.I loathed the condescension and the legal restrictions still inflicted on women in the 1970s, and was personally and politically glad to see them swept away.And if that was all the film celebrated, I’d be content. Billie Jean’s husband is rightly shown as a thoughtful and generous man.Slim cigarettes, as far as I know, still kill those who smoke them, and this was no secret in the 1970s. Films about factual events, it seems to me, have a duty to stick as close to the truth as possible.
But perhaps most startling of all is the great match which is the climax of the film, when Billie Jean defeats the male-chauvinist braggart Bobby Riggs, so exploding his boasts of superiority. Dramatic licence is fine, but not when it puts the audience in the dark about what really happened.
No shrubs were hurt in the making of this protest, but it put her off her stride. And if on this occasion the first time was farce, the next time could be tragedy.
Such people will very soon be fanning out into politics, the law and the media.
Yet the girlfriend who introduced Billie Jean to same-sex love is more than slightly idealised.
And another great tennis player of the age, Margaret Court, is portrayed as a sour and crabbed person.
How long before they have the power to silence and punish me and you? Battle Of The Sexes, the new film about the great tennis player Billie Jean King, is a terrific watch – funny, dramatic, clever and morally satisfying.