This is what in Hollywood they call “Oscar bait”, and it is no wonder that The Imitation Game, a new film based on the life of British mathematician Alan Turing, has been nominated for no less than eight Academy Awards. The standard recipe for “Oscar bait” is as follows: a pack of good actors, a plot in which one super-hero single-handedly saves the world (don’t settle for less!), and a political “message” that conforms to the taste of Hollywood’s juste milieu.
In the case of “The Imitation Game”, that message is that Alan Turing was a homosexual who, despite his outstanding accomplishments as an academic, as a pioneer of computer technology, and and as the man who, being a lead figure in cracking the German Enigma code, had helped win WWII for the Allies, received a criminal sentence for gross indecency in the 1950. He later committed suicide, and the thesis promoted by the film is that this was because, having been given the choice between a jail sentence and reparative therapy (i.e. a therapy that was intended to help him get rid of his homosexual proclivities), he opted for the latter and, as a result, lost his appetite for life. In other words, he died as a victim of the rampant “homophobia” of this time.
What a tragedy! What injustice! And of course it was clear from the outset that this “therapy” could not work out, wasn’t it? Obviously, it was a particularly mean way, invented by homophobic reactionaries, to let the man die a slow and unpleasant death – him, who had saved 14 million lives according to the off-span. So it is good that we today live in a more tolerant environment where sodomites can “marry” and “homophobia” is outlawed…
This is certainly the right message for an Oscar-winning movie in 2015, the year when (as we have reason to expect), the US Supreme Court will bring the Cultural Revolution to its culmination point by re-defining marriage so as to include same-sex relationships, thus outlawing the traditional notion of marriage.
In other words, this film is “gay-rights” propaganda, and as such it belongs into the same category as, say, Milk, Brokeback Mountain, or A Single Man.
The pattern is well known, and it is part of a greater strategy. In Marshall Kirk’s and Hunter Madsen’s seminal book After the Ball, which 25 years ago provided the script for the “gay rights” propaganda campaign to re-educate America on sodomy, one can read the following:
“Make Gays Look Good
In order to make a Gay Victim sympathetic to straights, you have to portray him as Everyman. But an additional theme of the campaign will be more aggressive and upbeat: … strongly favourable images of gays must be set before the public. The campaign should paint gay men and lesbians as superior – veritable pillars of society”
“Famous historical figures are especially useful to us for two reasons: first, they are invariably dead as a doornail, hence in no position to deny the truth and sue for libel. Second, and more serious, the virtues and accomplishments that make these historic gay figures admirable cannot be gainsaid or dismissed by the public, since high school history textbooks have already set them in incontrovertible cement. By casting its violet spotlight on such revered heroes, in no time a skilful media campaign could have the gay community looking like the veritable fairy godmother to Western civilization”
Now it is certainly a historical truth that Alan Turing indeed was a genius mathematician, that indeed, he did play a major role in cracking the Enigma code, and that indeed he was homosexual. It also is true that he did receive a conviction for gross indecency with a man 20 years younger than himself, and that instead of being sent to jail he did follow a therapy in which he was treated with hormones.
By contrast, while it is a fact that he died of poison, it is not certain whether he committed suicide or whether his poisoning was the result of an accident.
Apart from this, the story told by the film is to a large extent pure invention to dramatize and “embellish” a story that otherwise would not have made a good movie plot. Although Turing was an eccentric, he certainly was not the social misfit as which he is represented in The Imitation Game. Although he certainly did play a key role in breaking the enigma code, he actually was part of a larger team and did not find the solution all by himself.
In actual fact, he did not find out any secret code. What really happened was that some Polish spies managed to steal one of the Enigma cipher machines used by the Wehrmacht and bring it to Britain. The Brits found out how it worked through reverse-engineering – but the problem was that there were 158,962,555,217,826,360,000 (158 quintillion) different settings, and the setting was changed every day. Thus, the challenge for Turing was not to find the right code, but to find a way to try out 158 quintillion of different codes within one day (or, if at all possible, within a shorter period of time), so as to become able to decode the coded messages of that day. They solved this problem by building a machine that could do just that. However, in the end it was decisive that they became aware that some parts of the intercepted messages remained always the same (according to the film, the words “Heil Hitler”), which allowed them to discard a huge part of the 158 quintillion possibilities from the outset.
It is not true that Turing was blackmailed by a Soviet spy who threatened to reveal his homosexuality. This is pure invention and would, if true, have made Turing guilty of High Treason.
Concerning Turing’s condemnation for gross indecency, the situation might be represented in a somewhat less judgmental way than the film does. Even today sex offenders can be, and in fact are, offered to undergo therapies – usually not as an alternative to, but in addition to, a criminal sanction. This is the case e.g. for rapists (and, as one can see from this post, there are even offenders who complain about not being offered sufficient therapy…), or for pedophiles. The man with whom Turing was found guilty of having committed gross indecency was aged 19 – less than half his own age. The Sexual Offences Act did de-criminalize sexual conduct between consenting adults – but it set the age of consent at 21, which means that the acts Alan Turing had been found guilty of remained a crime even then. Only in 2000 was the age of consent reduced to 16 for both homosexual and heterosexual behaviours throughout the UK. Moreover, Section 47 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it an offence to pay for or promise payment for sexual services of a person under 18. Thus, the gross indecency for which Turing was convicted actually was not that far away from what would be a punishable crime even today.
Besides that, it must be noted that Turing’s decision to undergo therapy rather than spending two years in jail was his own. Many convicted paedophiles today would want to have that choice, rather than getting both a prison term and a therapy. Also, if the makers of The Imitation Game – like so many other supporters and believers of the “gay agenda” – seem to assume that a therapy against homosexuality cannot work, would they then assume that a therapy against pedophile inclinations cannot work either? That would be pretty bad news for many people who have pedophile proclivities, but who want to get rid of them. Is there any way out for them? Or should society accept them as they are, because they are “born that way”?
Be that as it may, while the propagandistic purpose of The Imitation Game is clear at a first glance, upon more critical scrutiny it becomes far less clear what the makers of the film actually want to tell us.
If one sodomite is a genius, does that mean that all are (cf. Kirk/Madsen’s theory about gay superiority, quoted above)? But what about the many other persons involved in cracking the Enigma code, most of whom were not homosexual? What about other genius mathematicians, such as Ptolemy, Archimedes, Leonhard Euler, Carl Friedrich Gauss?
If someone is a genius mathematician, or a great artist, does that mean that he stands above the law? Is there one law for geniuses and Übermenschen, and another one for everyone else?
What do we make of the fact that Caravaggio committed manslaughter, or that Jusepe de Ribera hired a contract killer to get rid of a competitor, or that Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe (among many others who might be quoted here) were addicted to drugs, or that Maxim Gorki was chummy with Stalin, or that Knut Hamsun co-operated with the Nazis? No doubt they all were great artists – but does that mean that everything else they did was just great?
The secret aim of propaganda is to make you stop thinking.