Usually, people feel secure throughout their life - whether they travel, go to work, are at home or meeting friends. Yet, there are different aspects of security: the protection from hostile forces, the absence of harm, the resilience against potential damage or harm, containment (like a room) or as a state of mind. One might even say that in general, security makes people feel more secure. But how can that statement be applied to the the characters Jean Cabot and Lara Ruiz in Paul Haggis' movie Crash
? This question will be adressed in the following.
Jean Cabot is the wife of the L.A.-based district attorney Rick Cabot and is actually living a life of luxury, status and power. Although she does not seem to have anything to worry about, she feels particularly threatened by ethnic minorities which she also downplays at various times. Obviously, she does not want to be called a racist, even though she feels reassured about her fear of members of other races after she and her husband are attacked by two black men stealing their car. This makes her feel very insecure about every other aspect in her life. Yet, she hides behind a façade and always seems in control and put together when she is around people. When she is alone, though, she is exhausted and worn out from her constant need to look invulnerable and confident. Also, Jean is aware of the fact that she is mostly unhappy with her own life and that she vents her anger and frustration on other persons. After the attack, she does not feel protected by her own house or her husband anymore. Thus, she gets new locks for the front door, but when she realizes that the locksmith is of Hispanic origin, she gets really upset and believes that the locksmith will hand the keys to her house to his “gangbanger homies” and she also implies that he has been to prison. Here, it becomes evident that Jean is racially prejudiced. Due to that, she does not even feel safe within the boundaries of her own home, her property and space. In general, she avoids contact with non-whites, except for her Hispanic housekeeper Maria, whom she sometimes treats unfriendly as well. Her attitude only changes, when she falls down the stairs and has a nervous breakdown. Towards the end of the movie, she is physically safe - through adding the new locks -, but she feels completely alone since her friends are just shallow acquaintances who don't care about her accident and her husband is too busy with working to notice his wife's mental state. The housekeeper Maria drives her to the hospital and afterwards, Jean gets really emotional, hugging Maria and claiming that she is the best friend she has. One could thus say that Jean finds herself in a physically safe state, yet her emotional security suffers a great deal throughout the process.
Lara Ruiz - the daughter of the locksmith Daniel - can be considered the opposite of Jean Cabot. Her parents moved to another neighbourhood because of some shootings and Lara is thus afraid of gun shootings and violence. Because of that, Lara seeks shelter underneath her bed in the night and takes her stuffed animals with her for protection. She also talks to her father about her fears a lot. He then tells her a story about how he received an invisible cloak for protection when he was scared as a child. Since Daniel does not want his daughter to live in fear all the time, he symbolically hands that cloak over to Lara, the gesture of which instills security in her. This specific cloak makes her feel much more secure, but at the same time, she relies to heavily on it and doesn't trust her natural instincts anymore. So, in the face of real danger, she does not make smart choices: when she realizes that Farhad is about to shoot her father, she runs in front of him in order to protect him and block him from the bullet due to the impenetrability of her invisible cloak. Had Farhad's gun not been loaded with blanks, she would have been hit by the bullet and would have suffered from severe injuries.
In conclusion, one could say that security does not always entail that someone feels more secure. Jean is physically secure - she is not harmed by anyone and can even change the locks of her house - but she does not feel safe at all. In every person that is non-white, she sees a threat and is almost paranoid about being attacked again. This and the fact that she is in general unhappy with her life lead to a nervous breakdown. Psychologically speaking she is thus not safe at all. Lara instead faces real dangers because her parents can't afford living in a secure neighbourhood and even though they move to another house, she is scared of possible gun shootings. Yet, she feels more secure in a dangerous environment due to the protective cloak she is given. Considering those two examples, security does not necessarily make people feel more secure.
Find more information on the characters of L.A. Crash here.
In 2019, Great Britain will finally leave the European Union and will gain their long fought for sovereignty. This critically discussed topic has been on and off the media ever since the referendum in 2016 and even though the people in Great Britain first reacted enthusiastically towards the withdrawal from the EU, many concerns are voiced now that negotiations with the EU have taken place. The cartoonist Paresh Nath has put those ambiguous feelings towards the Brexit in a cartoon which will be analyzed and commented on in the following.
The cartoon is split up into two panels bearing the subtitles “Project Fantasy” and “The Realities”. The left panel shows something like an unidentified flying object that is labelled “Brexit”. A male figure is sitting on it - holding the Union Jack - and is apparently leaving the dark planet or Earth behind, soaring upwards into a bright, mostly unclouded sky. The man seems to have a pretty positive attitude and appears to be enthusiastic; he is also singing a song. The scene is shown from below. The right panel pictures a tiny island called “Brexit”, the Union Jack is planted on it and a small rowing boat sits on the shore. Four sharks are surrounding the island symbolizing issues such as trade issues, economic uncertainty, job confusion or chaos. The man on the island looks terrified or disheartened and might have the feeling of being trapped. The viewer looks downwards on the scene. Comparing both the pictures, one can clearly see that both figures are pretty isolated with no other human being around. They are also detached from other countries or the rest of the world. In both cases, the man faces dangerous situations, although he is unaware of that fact in the right panel.
The cartoonist Nath obviously tries to convey the message that the British population as well as their government picture the Brexit in a much brighter picture than it actually is. The subtitles emphasize that fact, claiming that the Brexit is a project fantasy while, in fact, it is a threatening situation. Of course, the British people pictured a utopia when thinking about the Brexit. They would gain sovereignty, meaning that Britain would have more control of its laws and regulations without the risk of having counterintuitive policies forcefully imposed. There would be no more EU-regulated laws in areas such as agriculture or home affairs. A further advantage would be to regain the control of Britain's border. Closing the borders to everyone will on the one side entail a higher level of security; on the other side, it means that less immigrants will get to Great Britain, resulting in more jobs for the people already living there. Also, the withdrawal of the EU would also save costs since the membership costs billions of pounds. Another disadvantage of the membership is that it keeps Britain from capitalising on trade with major worldwide economies such as Japan, India and the United Arab Emirates. Considering all of these arguments, it is just natural that Britain would want to leave the EU - consequently, Britain would have more freedom in choices and would be independent from the restrictions the EU imposes upon it.
However, those arguments picture the Brexit as a fantasy and ignore the downsides of leaving the EU. I agree with the cartoonist: chaos will erupt, trade issues will come up, economic uncertainty will prevail and job confusion will frustrate the residents. Chaos in the form of rises in prices of consumer goods and services (which used to be facilitated by the EU), cuts in subsidies for agricultural concerns or the loss of billions of pounds' worth of investment each year are just a few consequences to begin with. Equally adverse in my opinion is the fact that the European arrest warrant will no longer be available. The fight against cross border crimes will be harder since Britain would be forced to go back to drawn-out extradition procedures in order to bring criminals to justice. Also, the EU will no longer grant the exchange of criminal records or passangers to Britain - Britain will be mostly on its own on the hunt for criminals with close to no help. I consider the job confusion as Nath calls it a real danger as well. A lot of jobs will no longer be available due to their link to trade with the EU; British workers who wanted to work in the EU aren't able to do so any longer. The possible decrease in the amount of immigrants coming to Britain will also result in negative net effects as well as in a skills shortage. Yet, the worst consequence will surely be the loss of the option for free trade between EU-countries. As a member of the EU, no tariffs will be imposed on imports and exports to other EU-countries, thus, the costs will be kept low for trade business - smaller businesses will no longer be able to afford trade with other countries and will have to shut down. Hence, I believe that the Brexit will have far more negative consequences than the British residents or at least those who were in favor of the Brexit expected to be.
In conclusion, I completely agree with the cartoonist. The Britains have pictured a utopia with the Brexit-scenario. As everybody knows, utopias pretty much don't exist - not even in literature. The creators imagine them to be perfect but oftentimes, they turn out as a living hell. I fear that this will happen to Great Britain as well. Even worse, they plunge into their misfortune knowingly and they can't reverse the outcome anymore. They can only soften it a little, which I hope they will do.