Another week, another hearie confronts cinema subtitles

Before you read on, I’d like to say I was alerted to this Peter Hitchens blog for the Daily Mail automatically, through Google Alert. His brother’s alright, but I’m not a fan of his, nor am I a regular reader of his stuff. Glad we made that clear.

Hitchens went to see Harry Potter at the cinema last week, only to discover – as Sarah Cox did last month, that the screening would have subtitles. You’ll get an idea of the usual slant of his writing with his response – “Baffled, I asked if these would be in Polish, which is, after all, the first language of many citizens of my home town these days.”

You do have to give Hitchens more credit than Cox for realising before he reached the screen – and before sparking off a deaf outcry on Twitter – who they were for. “No, they would be in English. What could be the point of that in Britain? Apparently they had been brought in to help the deaf.”

Hitchens then goes on to remark on how (despite having perfect hearing) the subtitles helped him understand the Potter universe, giving him character names and descriptive sound effects. (Btw, if you’ve ever wondered what the difference between ‘English’ subtitles and ‘English for the hard of hearing’ subtitles are on DVDs, this is it). By the end of the film, he wondered how he’d ever have got by without them. Great!

Just a shame he had to spoil it with his final line – ” I just hope they haven’t been introduced to punish cheapskates like me for not paying the heavy premium to watch in 3D.”

Riiiight. I’m not sure I’ve ever known someone describe something they benefited from as “a punishment,” but there’s a first time for everything I guess.

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