I don't understand about
Diamonds and why men buy them
What's so impressive about a diamond
Except the mining
~ Red Red Red by Fiona Apple
Monday afternoon My Man with Gills and I watched Blood Diamond.
I enjoyed it quite a bit - and know so because I would be happy to see it again in spite of the questionable inclusion of a very brief scene with a young chimp. Any movie with Djimon Hounsou is a movie I am happy to sit through! Leo gives a good performance too - especially the few scenes he speaks Creole. It reminded me of listening to the guys in Belize speaking it. The subtitles were nice, but not totally necessary. The action was intense - the street fighting scenes were appropriately chaotic. I really liked that the diamond they were after was pink, as if it was already tinged by the blood shed over it.
I also liked that the producers/director/DP did not include a love scene between Jennifer Connelly and Leonardo DiCaprio. I wondered why they didn't. The movie was violent enough to warrant an R rating, so it seemed like a given to include a sex scene, and there was indeed a place midway through the movie where one could have been included. Maybe it was filmed but got edited out. Anyhow, I think if they had included one it would have been pandering. I appreciated that the story was appropriately morally legitimate which is to say all of the bad guys more or less get what's coming to them, even McSmuggler.
The only thing that has kept me scratching my head is the inclusion of a juvenile chimp sitting in a tree in the juggle. First, a chimp that young would never just be quietly sitting there all alone. Second, chimps are very rare in West Africa - they are almost extinct save for a few tiny isolated populations. The chimp was not a wild chimp but rather one rented for the hours it took to shoot the scene. There are a number of Hollywood animal providers who rent out exotic animals for movies. I don't think chimps should be used this way, and wondered why the decided to include it.
My stab - perhaps it will make people think about the effect of the illegal diamond trade/civil war on the habitat and livelihood of chimpanzees. There's no doubt that civil war, really any war, is disastrous for the environment. People flee their homes, forests burn down, chimps get eaten as bushmeat. In the Congo when coltan (highly valuable mineral used in electronics, especially cell phones and computers) was discovered, chaos ensued. Gorillas and bonobos who live anywhere near the mining camps suffer. Can cell phones be certified conflict free too?
What's the point of certification anyway besides some vain hope that consumer behavior will actually change corporate policies or international politics? Sure, you can refuse to buy dirty gold and conflict diamonds, but really, are you achieving any more than someone who prays diligently for their relative to be cured from a glialblastoma brain tumor?
What's so impressive about a diamond except the mining?
Why do men buy them?
In an EP nutshell, a diamond is an expensive courtship gift that is a difficult signal to fake, thus, it is an honest signal of a man's commitment, level of investment, and willingness and ability to provide. This assumes a woman who doubts her mate's honesty is smart enough to take her shiny new ring to a jeweler to find out whether it's a diamond before she commits to him.
"Two generations ago, Japanese couples did not bother buying diamond engagement rings. Then the De Beers diamond cartel, through an intensive advertising campaign in the 1970s, convinced Japanese women that they deserved a ring just like Western women. A new standard was imposed: Japanese men must spend at least two months’ salary on a colourless lump of carbon to demonstrate their romantic commitment. Japanese marriages are probably no happier than a generation ago, but De Beers is richer," says Geoffrey Miller in his award winning essay Waste: A Sexual Critique of Consumerism.