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Bermondsey Rednecks and Why. 1.

Bermondsey Master Race
I live in the Bermondsey area and perhaps the most terrifying thing I've seen in the last ten years in London was the sight of little old ladies giving fascist salutes from the balconies of tower blocks to a passing BNP march. Some were old enough to have experienced the Blitz. Many were old enough to be grandparents.


I was walking home with an Asian man who was lost, and sure enough, within five minutes we were attacked by a gang of local teenagers. We had obviously been part of the counter-demonstration, and they took great offence to us walking 'their' streets. Which happen also to be my streets. We were 'jostled', abused and spat at, and just managed to escape into a cab office.
That night an Asian man was stabbed within 300 yards of the Bermondsey South station, it was a matter of luck it wasn't the man I met and was attacked with. The infamous Osprey Estate is not that far away. The culture of redneck, white-trash blackshirt bigotry therefore is well established in Bermondsey as it is in other parts of South London, such as Welling and Eltham, where the name Stephen Lawrence is not a sensible conversation starter in the local pubs.
 The typical, Millwall supporting, Bermondsey teenage racist has absolutely no hope of growing up any different. Parents? What if they are to blame, what's the solution then? That sterile old beef. 'It's not the environment - it's those awful parents' ? You go into the Osprey Estate and tell the parents how lousy they are at bringing up their kids and see what happens.
And why are the PARENTS the way they are? Why - because of THEIR parents of course, and their embicility was caused inevitably by THEIR parents, until you end up with eugenicists in white coats deciding who can and who can’t be allowed to reproduce.
Times like this are a nightmare for black people i
n the area. But there is a historical precedent. Bermondsey does have a tradition of whiteness.  The old saying in Southwark goes:
'Peckham's Black, Bermondsey's White, and Dulwich is Rich'.
The point being that poverty, and a succession of feeble local politicians, created segregation in the borough, and that has created racism. The same story was probably repeated all over the country during the late 50's and early 60's. Ward councillors and members of the housing committees would have been told emphatically not to put black families in white neighbourhoods, or else. The result is the informal segregation of communities at the housing and schoolslevel which has been so damaging down the years.
It would be interesting to trawl through the minutes of the thousands of housing committee meetings of the decade 1956-66 to see ifthere were any proposals for cross-party agreements not to exploit race in local elections or concede to racist demands for segregated housing - and who made them and who refused them.
Then we might be a step closer to understanding why so much race hate has been conserved in our cities.


London 7/7 The Morning After.

The feeling here is quite bizarre today.
Pure and utter defiance is the most economic way of decribing it.
It has given Britain an entirely new global identity. One it has been long searching for.
What role goes with that identity we have yet to see, but the direction we take will depend on who gains control of this new identity, the nostalgics who would use it to re-enact a Battle Of Britain fantasy of the past and invoke and impose their version of the Dunkirk Spirit, or those who would try to direct this momentum in a progressive direction.
Bob Geldof Vs Rupert Murdoch, if you like.
As for yesterday, it's becoming clear that the bombers got it so so wrong.
The bombs went off at the wrong psychological moment, when London was at it's warmest and most unified. As a consequence, yesterday's bombs were seen as particularly spiteful, fun-hating act. An attempt to snatch away innocent joy as well as lives.
The reaction has therefore been a loud 'How dare you.'
It wasn't their fault, but if on Wednesday, Paris had been awarded the Olympic Games, London would not be on the high it is today. The bombers have failed. Partly because of 4 votes of the Olympic committe, and partly because of Mayor Ken Livingstone's historic speech, which surgically triggered exactly the right emotions, but mostly because London is the most inclusive, welcoming city in the world. In London you can call yourself a Londoner after living here a year. Nowhere else. Yesterday was a gross betrayal, and the reaction is genuine and loud and we mean it.
The pay-off is that London is now the capital of the world. Britain's long search for a new multi-cultural, post-imperial identity is over. 'We Are All Londoners Now'. We are the senior member of The Black Ribbon Club. New York, Madrid and Istanbul and Bali were more bloody, but only in London was the very spirit of the city felt to be under attack. And that was partly down to pure dumb luck.
The next 7 years will see London's international profile grow even more. Culminating in Lord Blair, Sir Ken Livingstone, Lord Geldof, prime Minister Brown and King Charles seated next to each other at the 2012 opening ceremony.
We seem to have become the icon of resistance to global jihad, and we love it. Making these games happen will be portrayed as throwing down the gauntlet to the anti-materialist froces of evil. It will bring us a lot of attention and a lot of commerce but it will make us a target for further terrorism.
Gallant Little Britain is a noble thing to be, but what's the plan exactly? How long do we have to man this post?
Might it not be better to harness the international wave of goodwill to a constructive path forward, rather than use it as a justification of further ... what exactly? Who do we bomb? Tell me - I'm tempted to say I'll bomb them myself if it means and end to this horror.
The West blew the same sort of opportunity after 9/11, is this a second chance. By chance.

Ken Livingstone, mayor of London 8/7/05
"Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow, look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."

London 7/7

London will heal this wound as readily as a jellyfish or ants nest. There will be a period of Dunkirk Spirit and international idolisation. London this week feels like the centre of the universe, the world is saying 'We Are All Londoners Now'.
 So perversely, today could actually benefit the tourist industry in the long term. The long lost sense of British identity is being refurbished, again in the trappings of war. And this media creation, mixed with the gathering climax of the Olympics, will create a very marketable cocktail. London's image has never been higher. It will be the coolest place to be for the next few years at least.
 It must be very strange to try and maintain a belief in the military solution after today. The strategy obviously hasn't worked, and shows no sign of working. So the answer must either be much more of the same and fast, or go back to the drawing board.
 More of the Same implies two things.
Either that London has now had its big attack, and that the murder will move on to Rome or Paris like some latter day Curse of the Firstborn. The suspense is over. New York, Istanbul, Bali, Madrid all paid their forfeit in the War against Terror, and today London did the same and is now, like the rest, in some way immunised from further attack. And so, employing a failed strategy doesn't really matter in our case.
Or that this is a permanent state of affairs which we will have to learn to like. In which case, employing a failed strategy is all we can do to even begin to control the situation. Which in turn means that there are so many people out there who hate us that we are condemned to live in fear and constant suspicion of anyone we don't know. In Terror even. Which means, presumably, that the Terrorists have won.
Which will be a terrible insult to the real heroism of real Londoners today.
 'Resolution' until we 'Prevail' is not a viable strategy. Hopefully, the G8 leaders will now begin to realise that an industrial bureacracy like Britain cannot fight a mystical sect like Neo Islamicism. The purposes of the two barely intersect. It is like trying to kill a swarm of mosquitoes with a chainsaw.


The Curiously Engaging Mark Steel

Mark Steel Lectures
If you want a vision of light entertainment in a future socialist society, look no further. And a wonderful vision it is. Intelligent, funny, fascinating. Ordinary words for Lord Reith's Brief.

The challenge for the BBC is to see off those jackals like Murdoch and the rest of the pillagers of our cultural heritage for good and return to us, the British people, some of the family silver which has been pawned over the years.
British TV is in trouble, sliding towards Tennessee trailer trash prolefeed with every line of coke snorted by the contemptuous programmers. The suburban squealers about the licence fee are being conned by the commercial sector not the BBC. Most of the national sporting events, for instance, which I took for granted as a boy are now exclusive delicacies available only to those willing to make Rupert Murdoch richer.
The paltry whingeing about 'the iniquity of the illegal licence fee... taking the bread out of pensioners mouths..' and all the rest of it completely fails to address the fact that without the BBC setting some sort of standards in this country, we would have american TV. Anyone who's ever watched American TV will know. It's simply not TV as we know it. It is a Kay's catalogue in comparison with our (flawed) Encyclopaedia Brittanica.
And yet, the people who objected strongly to BBC2 when it was launched are still out there it seems. And always the same whinges: 'Total waste of the licence fee.' 'Trendy left wing nonsense.' 'The end of civilisation as we know it.' Whereas in fact, BBC2 was one of the things which helped save British culture from the sabotage of the Thatcher years, fighting a rearguard action (with channel4) for stimulating, imaginative television in the face of the overwhelming Pap pressure exerted by the Tunbridge Wells Militia who thought their day had come and that Vera Lynn and Fanny Cradock would return to dominate our screens forever and ever. That Mary Whitehouse would be made DG.

Commercial TV is undoubtedly a constant lie. The act of cutting a film - or even a 20 minute masterpiece like The Simpsons - into tripes in order to sell cheap toasters or reconstituted animal fat in its many forms, is an appalling act of Philistinism, and positively harmful to any growing mind. The purveyors of Mary Whitehouse's ideals should be getting angry at the commercial alienation of children from their parents, prettily euphemised as 'pester-power', the squalid exploitation of children's ability to make their parents lives hell if they want to. They should line up with the Scandinavian countries that have banned children's advertising as dangerous to young minds. Everything I've seen transferred from BBC4 has been a sort of blessed relief from the mindless dross now masquerading as TV.
As for those who complain that comedy is now 'too political' - If they don't like political points, why do they make them? There is no such thing as a 'politics-free' lecture. Mark Steels take on Darwin is a case in point.
Darwin's ideas have to be aired because there are morons out there who will tell you that all science is nonsense, and that the only truth lies between the covers of a much-translated set of fairy tales from the Bronze Age proto-civilisations of the middle east. That's why it needs someone with the guts of Mark Steel to talk about ideas. But sadly, the right wing only wants the BBC to cndemn ideas it disagrees with. Mainly because. as a political 'movement' it is totally devoid of anything which can rightly be called an idea.
What the right has is a back-brain, instincts of the most reptilian kind, which when offended causes them to react violently and blindly. And their idea of 'freedom' on TV would be to be bombarded day and night by the two right wing economic 'ideas' (1. no taxes. 2. let them eat cake!). Everywhere you look there is glaring propaganda for the consumer society. At every dangerous road junction there are forty foot high posters with naked women to distract us. Every tube station, bus stop, empty shop - virtually every vertical space is filled with the message

'Obey. Conform. Consume.'
In every dreary soap opera and costume drama and crime melodrama the same drab acceptance of the political status quo. The retarded inability to imagine anything better than what we have. The latest piece of David Starkey Hero-worship masquerading as history is a case in point. And whatsmore, it is anything but 'free' as is commonly believed. Advertising on TV still costs a lot of money. And someone has to pay for it. And ultimately, every cost of a product is paid by the customer. But since the cost of everything effects the cost of everything else (inflation) everyone has a share, and everyone gets to pay!

There has never, as far as I remember, been any serious coverage of the General Strike and the remarkable stories of courage and community-building that it generated. Nothing about the self-help systems developed by the trades unions to provide hospitals and libraries for their communities. Nothing about what it was actually like to work down a mine or in the shipyards. Except of course in the darkest recesses of the night on the Open University. The alternative media universe.
In fact, if you look for the working class in the British media all you find is a hole. Apart from the criminals and servant classes, who can be relied upon to be either scary or funny as the case demands. Bill Sykes or Sam Weller. That is the working class spectrum which is palatable to the British public, as far as the programmers are concerned.
Needless to say, conventional, suicidal economic theory gets more than its fair share of sympathetic media exposure. In spite of the fact that this country as we know it was created out of the actions of self-confessed socialists like Aneurin Bevan and (in wartime) Winston Churchill of course - one of the secret saints of socialism.
It's totally appropriate to honour that heritage, and its consequences for a sustainable future. What would the tories have, the riveting life story of Julian Amery in twelve parts with commemorative plate to hang on the wall? It's interesting that when socialists are confident or (worse) convincing and entertaining in their beliefs, they are always branded 'strident' and 'boring' by the right. That is a sure sign that they are doing the job properly.


The Future Of TV Advertising in 1999

Tribune 1999

"The fastest generation of technological change since fire.” is how Alan McCulloch of Saatchi & Saatchi described the imminent explosion in digital communications. Richard Eyre’s “communicopia” of choice will be an empowering force for consumers, enabling them to create their own virtual TV channels, with all their favourite viewing stored ready for use whenever needed. With the marriage of delivery systems and content offered by internet convergence, ‘sit back’, one-way TV will end. People will watch what they want to watch.
Increasing numbers of media industry representatives are also predicting that the technology will soon be available to enable viewers to abolish advertising from personal schedules. They also predict that we will not be allowed to use it.
The feasibility of this ‘time-shifting’ technology is not seriously in question: “Within 2 - 3 years, using a ‘Q-Dot’ or similar recognition system.” says Nick Thomas of Bell Pottinger Good Relations (PR to Phillips electronics.)

“It is very likely that in 5-7 years advanced TV systems will include time-shifting systems.” says Mike Kroll, principal researcher in multi-media and networking at the BBC’s Bletchley Park-style research unit at Kingswood Warren in Surrey.

However, its implementation is in doubt. Ray Kelly, chair of the media policy group for the Institute for Practitioners in Advertising, injects the first note of caution:
"It should worry advertisers, but they’re not aware of the technology.”
After being made aware, David Sanderson, director of digital sales at Carlton Digital admitted that with enough take-up, ‘time-shifting’ or ‘AdZAp’ systems "could represent a major disaster, with a downward spiral in advertising revenues.” The industry would therefore “lobby very hard to prevent such a thing from happening.” After all, there would be “little justification for the industry to allow a technology which would put them out of business.”
Roy Addison of Pearson was another who didn’t believe it was “in the industry’s interests to alert the public to such a function.” From promises of limitless bounty to threats of product suppression in three easy accounting stages. In the name of free market ‘Individual Choice’ real choice for real individuals will be compromised. So new?
The Adam Smith Institute was also baffled.
“That’s quite a ‘Catch 22’” admitted their press office. Adding “The technology is almost killing itself.” The A.S.I. would certainly condemn any industry restrictions on ‘AdZAp’ as a restriction of choice, but still stuck to its principles that:
a) What’s good for industry is good for the people.
b) Industry must be allowed to defend its interests.
To add to this chaos, the argument is also re-emerging that commercials are a sort of public service. As well as being entertaining and pretty, they are also informational and educational. Mmm! Delicious AND Nutritious! “People like advertising” and “The public are too apathetic to bother creating their own schedules” I was repeatedly assured. See that Royle Family? That’s you that is.
Even more insulting, watching TV advertising is almost promoted as a civic duty. Because it promotes consumer spending, TV advertising plays a vital cohesive role in our society. Suppressing its dissemination therefore threatens the general good, and must be opposed. In the Middle Ages we had compulsory church attendance, now we have Pot Noodles.
Another defence is the ‘Right of commercial free speech’ recently cited by the advertising industry in its losing battle with the Swedish decision to ban advertising to kids.
So who would want to upset this delicate socio/economic balance by using an ‘AdZAp’ system? How would any manufacturer find a market for such a thing? By calling Alan McCulloch for a start. “I would certainly like one.” he whispered before urging the industry to adapt in order to survive. “TV advertising has to become more interactive. The agencies are failing to create new forms. Their heads are still stuck up their arses doing TV ads.”
In practice this includes abandoning the linear cinematic commercial for the computer game format. ‘Adgames’ could last as long as the player played, and could offer rewards in the form of bonus points or star prizes. The best ads would be the best games, and the ultimate game would be the one which replaced programming entirely. Which solves the problem of influencing children, but what of discriminating viewers such as Mr. McCulloch, who sees “the clever techniques used to influence children” at first hand and therefore appreciates the “very strong case for restricting children’s advertising.”?
And what of the Consumer Society agnostics? The ones who caused all that fuss in Seattle. How will they be prevented from getting the TV they want?
Amid the confusion two things are absolutely clear. Firstly, future TiVo systems and internet bandwidths will make independence from corporate TV scheduling achievable to those who want it. And secondly: if fire has indeed been rediscovered then we must play with it. The woolly mammoths of the media industry would rather we stayed shivering in our caves, but this is just as unlikely now as it was the first time around.
In future the media industry will have to cater for an audience which increasingly knows what it wants, and which has the technology to get it. Java based Software plug-ins such as AdZap will be available (probably free) via the internet, downloading them to your home terminal will be the work of a few minutes, and once there they will work invisibly to remove advertising, or any other definable content. And let’s face it, who would miss it? Then who would pay for it? And how would the companies which depend on it survive?
It would seem that the industry is faced with as many threats as opportunities. It will also have to deal on level terms with human emotions which until now it has merely exploited. Consumers will be aware of the power at their disposal, and very aware of when it is denied them.
In this new buyer’s market for tv, suckers will become clients, with corresponding expectations of service. The one-way, intrusive TV commercial - cheeky monkeys, supermodels, soap-opera plots and all - looks doomed in a market which doesn’t want its' films interrupted every twenty minutes by images of supermodels in flourescent underwear. The difficulty is that the evangelists of the free market, those who think the BBC is ‘pure socialism’, may find the consequences of a genuinely free market in TV too much to allow. Amid the blur of the digital revolution, some things never change. If Tony Blair wants to ‘root out reactonary elements’, he should look no further than his new friends in the media industry.

Addendum. 23/10/08
'Will Ad-Skipping Kill Television?'


I.D. CARDS. £100 to Exist? 'Pay to Be'? On Yer Bike.

Little Richardjohn - 1043rd post - 26 May 2005 12:41
Or maybe good value for money? Does it include some form of guarantee? After all, they say in a few years we'll be able to live forever, so why not go the whole hog, charge a grand and throw in immortality as part of the deal? Amalgamate the Pensions and Insurance industry into a vast FutureCare System for those who can afford it, who would presumably EAT those who couldn't.
Makes as much sense as expecting people to Pay to Be.

re: £100 TO EXIST? - ON YER BIKE public enemy #2 M - 102nd post - 26 May 2005 12:49
Hi Little Richardjohn, If you think about it in another way, most people pay income, NI and council tax, that's kind of payment to exist/be already! [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: £100 TO EXIST? - ON YER BIKE Little Richardjohn - 1044th post - 26 May 2005 12:55
Or looking at it yet another way, this is just another rip-off designed to make the government look tough. It's sunk. As soon as people realise the cost, it's over.
Now if they were to simply combine the ID idea with the BBC licence fee...
NOW you're talking. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: £100 TO EXIST? - ON YER BIKE frankacne - 150th post - 26 May 2005 14:48
Yes i agree, as a radio listener without a TV i long ago realised when i got blizzards of paper from the TV licensing authority that not owning a TV at all was obviously (at least to them) an indication of covert Terrorist, drug-pushing, money-laundering activity. presumably the Bill will soon be stopping me and asking to see my TV license, woe onto me if i cannot produce it. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: £100 TO EXIST? - ON YER BIKE Little Richardjohn - 1054th post - 26 May 2005 16:17
I can see the slogan: 'What's Good For Me Is Good For The BBC. Get An Identity!'
possibly chanted by some dreary hip hop band from cheltenham.
Football-commentator ironic that the organisation which has been the British collective Identity for the past 50 years should become the badge of individual identity.
Appropriate enough. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: £100 TO EXIST? - ON YER BIKE Don Glen - 3087th post - 26 May 2005 16:45
You've got a point there,L.R. I have no particular objection to carrying an identity card; it's just one more of a number of similar documentation that the average Joe carries already. But I DO object to paying £100 for the privilege, and I will NOT voluntarily pay this fee. Unfortunately, the draft legislation provides for a fine of up to £2500 for failure to obtain a card, when they eventually become compulsory. You can't win!! [reply] [Complain about this post]


Professor Spivey's 'Art On Earth' or whatever it was called.

Little Richardjohn - 11:07pm May 13, 2005 BST (#1 of 12) Delete
Another tedious professor 'marvelling' at the wonders of the ancient world and telling us how stupid we are because obviously we can never recreate their glories.
'There's nothing new under the sun', and what there is was created by singular great minds thousands of years ago under conditions of extreme patronage.
"Once when midnight smote the air
And eunuchs ran through Hell and met
On every crowded street to stare
Upon Great Juan riding by;
Even like these to rail and sweat,
Staring upon his sinewy thigh."
Not a word about the scientific, economic and climatic conditions that fed into the art of the past. The need to exaggerate, it seems, is 'hard-wired, because we are just penguins with thumbs, and that accounts for our need to express ourselves visually.
Yet another cavalcade of kings and demigods with no context and no purpose.
This was trivialising on a massive scale, including half-baked scientific theories swallowed whole (talk about penguins) and the statement 'This is the greatest piece of sculpture ever.'Which is one of the silliest critical pronouncements ever made. We weren't told what the official second best is, or how many 'point' it was beaten by.
Sadly, this is no departure for the BBC's cultural output these days. All great art is the work of great minds who were ingherently superior to the rest of us and who we all follow slavishly and owe our every insight to. Everything worthwhile comes down from the top.
Nothing is given historical presence, and every myth is taken at face value. It is a stultifyingly elitist view of human creativity which the Pharoahs themselves would have approved.
The BBC should be ashamed of itself.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------xbodnotbodx - 09:51am May 14, 2005 BST (#2 of 12)
I was only sort of half-watching it whilst doing something at the computer.
I enjoyed the special fx but I suppose it was me enjoying it as chewing gum for the eyes.
I haven't been keeping up with TV shcedules so much lately (unusual for me) and I think if I had known of its impending arrival and I had been given to understand it was the new Civilisation or something I would probably thought it was a load of shallow guff.
But happening to see it by accident I was quite taken by the snippets I saw.
Of course, if you're saying it's inaccuarte, then I'm not educated enough to know I was being misinformed and that would be a different matter.
I'd definitely consider writing to the programme makers if you feel so strongly.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Little Richardjohn - 11:49am May 14, 2005 BST (#3 of 12) Delete

It's not a question of historical accuracy or scholarship, but merely the poverty of the BBC's 'Pageant of Hisatory' approach. Henry XV111th for instance, single-handedly changed Britain forever. Without his personal intervention, we wouldn't have Nectar points, the Curly-Wurly or the rotary can opener.
And then we have the bleedin Pharoahs. A master race so sure of their theology that they put burglar alarms on their graves. They invented everything. Without them, we wouldn't have henry, and so it goes. Nothing we do now makes any difference, so why do anything? It is a totally reactionary agenda, and fit only for the nursery.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------xbodnotbodx - 12:29pm May 14, 2005 BST (#4 of 12)
My immediate thought is that without that kind of shorthand they programme would get too bogged down.
How would you resolve that problem?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Little Richardjohn - 02:57pm May 15, 2005 BST (#5 of 12) Delete
Bronowski done it. Why not this bunch of Culture-Lite chinless wonders?
A new Bronowski, with his dedication to material causation is what we need.
They bung his series out occasionally at four in the morning on the OU. They're ashamed of it. It shows up their glaring failure.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------xbodnotbodx - 05:42pm May 19, 2005 BST (#6 of 12)
I watched the other episode with the flashing goggles etc. What a load of old bollocks.
If you wrote down the information content (ie, saw the script) the amount of factual content you're asked to digest is negligible, isn't it?
There was a ludicrous ten minutes or so where he starts by saying:
"So, why was it, after being obsessed with images for thousands of years, man forgot them...?"
He then prattles on pointlessly for 8 minutes, to conclude:
"So, in fact, man *didn't* forget images at all."
So, I agree. The programme is pants.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Little Richardjohn - 08:33pm May 19, 2005 BST (#7 of 12) Delete

This is the worst documentary programme ever made.
Possibly the worst programme of any kind.
Not only scores a pencil-in-the-eye rating for being patronizing, but it insists that everything - all human civilisation - is the result of religious devotion and its marketing machine.
It's an outrageous bit of opportunism riding on religious hysteria.
Priests invented agriculture - to feed the faithful temple builders slaving away devotedly in the blazing sun?!
I mean, you would, wouldn't you.
"Some kind of scene happenning over in the mountains, they want us to salve away most of our adult lives on some big stones, fancy? Leave the family, it's this new thing - 'holy' they said. All the rage now apparently. So the family will be taken care of, they said. What'll we eat? They say they're working on something, bits of grass, something.
Look, you've eaten grass before... I know you're not a goat. Look do you fancy it or not, they say there'll be nekkid women. Tommorrow then? Your donkey or mine?"
It is SUCH bollox it goes right off the meter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------xbodnotbodx - 02:20am May 20, 2005 BST (#8 of 12)

And there's a problem, on all channels, with programmes that go into history where it is difficult to show (in the strict visual sense) what is being conveyed in the narration.
So, you get these hour long documentaries, with very thin content and - due to a low budget - you have a blurred handycam shot of a spinning chariot wheel cut in every 5 minutes.
Or the same forlorn actor hoves into view, charging with a sword every time a bit of aggression is mentioned.
Rostrum cameras pan slowly over candle-lit parchment - probably not an actual bit of parchment saying anything actually involved with what the narrator is saying, but who will know? It fills up the screen 'n' looks luvverly, dunnit?
So, yeah, I agree with your exasperation, though I'm probably not wise enough to identify this feudal seam you've found them mining.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Little Richardjohn - 04:23pm May 20, 2005 BST (#9 of 12) Delete

Yup. It's big, it's ugly, it's flashy, it's still here - must be a temple.
Well I say the stone circles in Turkey are the remains of the first Lap-dancing joint.
Why? Because they are. The Spiv doesn't offer much more evidence than that.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Zozimus - 01:49am May 28, 2005 BST (#10 of 12)
It's poor. There should be a health warning on the screen at all times during the transmission of tendentious programs like these. It's what they do when reports from partisan sources are labelled "so-and-so propaganda film" in one corner of the screen.
Bronowski's series was superb. When it was first shown it filled our conversations and each episode was watched with fascination and respect. But maybe no art can be sustained at the highest level continuously, and if there are bound to be mediocrities then here they all come, like buses in convoy.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Little Richardjohn - 12:23pm May 28, 2005 BST (#11 of 12) Delete
Remember the scene in Ascent where the nomadic tribe leave the old man behind to die because he was too old to ford the river that year?
Meanwhile, the adolescent boys are undergoing a Rite of Passsage by fording the river for the first time unaided.
With the old man watching from the bank, knowing he is going to die.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Zozimus - 04:50pm May 28, 2005 BST (#12 of 12)
Yes, and Bronowski on his knees in the mud of Auschwitz, grappling with the mud in his hands and quoting, 'I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.'


To try to understand Orwell's relevance today, you have to 'factor in' the way the world HAS changed since he died. what he didn't know.
How does 1984 read through the filter of global warming, and globalisation in general?

Orwell was a proto-green, without any mistake. He just didn't know the science. As very few did then. And his ability to visualise the total destruction of life was limited by his economic and political background. The hardship of life under collective oligarchism never did really happen, after all.

But in spite of these shortcomings, his predictions about the psychological distortions of modern life are generally accurate.

Modern states are giant Lie-Factories. The 'Party members' of corporate consumerism (the 'stakeholders') do have to be able to deny self-evident truths and forget them or remember them on request. (technological truths Vs religious certainty in the Bush adninnystration)
Truth is constantly manipulated as never before. We are drugged and controlled with hero-worship and exhibitions of collective sadism - see any Hollywood film - 'No Orchids for Miss Blandish'?
People are disappearing in the night and being reduced to jibbering wrecks who will confess anything - and believe it.

An interesting case study would be between Orwell's final vision and the early formative texts of al Qutb, founder of modern militant Islam.

The 2 visions of a robotic race, descended into a sub-human state by the machinations of a rapacious, power-mad autocracy are - amusing.
Orwell, though, provides a counter - vision (Lion & The Unicorn and every line he wrote). And whatever label you care to give it, the one thing that is clear from his writings is that it is not simply a matter of ideology, but culture, and must therefore be local in character. Any attempt to impose an incompatible set of cultural values on the British (at least) was doomed to fail.

And the second thing - 2 things, the second of the two things that are clear is that socialism is not the easy option. But given that the consumer capitalism means oblivion, it's likely that Orwell would have been as much of a socialist now as then.

His job was to uncover the Britishness at the core of socialism. To dig that truth out from under the dungheap of two centuries of abomination by the "dividend drawers" and streamlined oligarchs of monopoly capitalism.

Which is why the Right has always tried to hijack him. He is their logical key target. To make us believe that Orwell was a staunch defender of free-market capitalism would be the ultimate act of doublethink.
But then, you have to consider what sort of book lies within 1984, written by someone not suffering from a desperately depressing, debilitating disease.

There are hints of his disease in the book, after all. The 'Golden Country' does come across as someone reliving his childhood in a fever.
Orwell knew he could have written a better book healthy. Would it have been as powerful a message?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------eibeinaka - 07:16pm May 27, 2005 BST (#161 of 164)
"Orwell was a proto-green, without any mistake."
One of the most memorable things he ever wrote was an essay explaining why an inexpensive packet of flower seeds was the most glorious investment he'd ever made.
'An interesting case study would be between Orwell's final vision and the early formative texts of Qutb.'
Orwell knew he could have written a better book healthy. Would it have been as powerful a message?
It's an interesting argument. Would the book have been as grimly dystopian? When one considers how needle sharp his essays of earlier times are, a more biting savage humorous edge might have been achieved, which would have changed the character of the book.
I'll have to look in the collected letters again, but I seem to recall that he describes experimenting a bit with the tone of te book, when he first tells his correspondents the shape of what he's writing.

Little Richardjohn - 07:29pm May 27, 2005 BST (#162 of 164) Delete But maybe he wouldn't have seen the terrible possibilities of global oligarchy. Maybe we needed him to have been depressed.

cappamore - 11:24pm May 27, 2005 BST (#163 of 164)
Orwell was incredibly visionary but equally visionary were Aldous Huxley ("Brave New World") and H.G. Wells ("War of the Worlds.") They all depict a future that is chilling and, I fear, true. Science fiction has gone out of fashion these days. I wonder if that is because publishers are less willing to publish the truth.

Little Richardjohn - 11:44pm May 27, 2005 BST (#164 of 164) Delete

I blame the more metaphysical tendencies of Quantum Mechanics for that.
Something which, inevitably, O'Brien brags about in room 101.
There are many futurologists whose predictions were proved more materially accurate. (I daresay) but I don't know of any who examined the psychology so thoroughly and communicated it so compellingly. Until perhaps Heller, that is.
Catch 22 and doublethink are almost twins. In fact, 'Catch22' is a depiction of a totalitarian state executed by someone with enough leisure and comfort to be able to use humour to make the terror seem worse.
Orwell was never in a position to write a book like that.
Does anyone have any Heller quotes on Orwell?

'Faith Crime' - We Asked For It.

re: Child Exorcism Little Richardjohn - 838th post - 25 Feb 2005 13:56

Child exorcism is not an new thing. Until very recently it did go on in this country, and all over the 'civilised' world.
They are still unearthing the graves in some Catholic boarding schools.
Sorry, but this is not an issue which can be hitched up to another creaking call for forced repatriation. Neither is it a final confirmation that human beings can only coexist with other human beings who act and look the same. This is about the care of children.
And all religious faith abuses children. When it's not poisoning their minds, it's breaking their bodies. In fact, if it fails to do the first, it resorts to the latter. Our own glorious empire had a long tradition of beating the evil out of children.
In Victorian times, a child's life was cheap - as we all know. You only have to look at the gravestones of the time: 'Martha - Wife of the Above and two or three infants'. They didn't even bother to count them, let alone name them.
It's always the same in societies with a high infant mortality, and a correspondingly high birth rate. And when that culture is overlain with a world-beating monotheism like Christianity, it is easy for any local psychopath to assume the role of God and tell his flock to do what comes naturally.
And in a culture of conflict and harship, the thing that comes naturally is to inflict pain. Especially when your parents did exactly the same to you, because as we know, being beaten as a child NEVER does you any harm as an adult. The very idea.
All you're seeing in the Newsnight report was a return to - wait for it - 'Victorian Values'. I know a certain Baroness who's very happy with that state of afairs.
So in the short term, the only solution is a Scandinavian style ban on all smacking. They seem to be happy with it, what's wrong with us? Too far gone? Not a convenient notion to live harmoniously in the hang 'em and flog 'em and send 'em back where they came from brigade? A combination of both, probably.
In the long term, eradicating child abuse is about treating children as human beings, not property. But then we'd have to treat everyone as human beings, and that will surely be the end of civilisation as we know it.
It will be even worse than raising the minimum wage to £5.50 an hour, which will have us all murdered in our beds. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism David McD - 813th post - 25 Feb 2005 14:27
Mr Littlejohn,
"They are still unearthing the graves in some Catholic boarding schools". Perhaps you would like to give some examples.

"In Victorian times, a child's life was cheap..." If you had any knowledge of history, literature, medicine or Victorian engineering then you would know that nearly half of all children died their first year of life in the early Victorian area (generally much to the distress of their parents and siblings) but these figures were dramatically reduced during the Victorian era due to the advances in medical practice and sewage engineering, particularly the latter.
The programme concerned dealt exclusively with the practices brought in by recent immigrants from West Africa. The practises revealed had absolutely nothing in common with the Christian religion as practised in Britain or Western Europe.
If we import large third world minorities of unskilled uneducated people (why we should import them, many from countries that were never even British colonies, I cannot even begin to imagine) we should not be surprised if we also import their customs and their problems. The manner reported had absolutely nothing to do with the "reasonable chastisement" of children and this was quite obvious. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Little Richardjohn - 840th post - 25 Feb 2005 15:23
"If you had any knowledge of history, literature, medicine or Victorian engineering then you would know that nearly half of all children died their first year of life in the early Victorian area "
Which is just what I went on to say: "It's always the same in societies with a high infant mortality, and a correspondingly high birth rate."
But the loss was NOT the dreadful loss you depict. It may have been among a sector of the genteel classes, generally, children were very very expendable, Any reading of virtually any relevant text of the period will confirm that. Your ignorance is stupendous, and totally baffling.
The Newsnight Report may have concerned itself with the practices of quasi Christian cults, but their attitude to children is not very different from the Victorian attitude, or that of any disciplinarian school until the mid fifties or so. Face up to it.
What we're seeing is our own past with a few exotic ribbons and feathers. And we are simply re-importing the message our Christian missionaries exported in the first place. By banning smacking, social services would be much more empowered to clamp down on these sects.
In general, the people attending them are law-abiding, so the culture would begin to change and with the natural increase in prosperity and education in the second generation, the ideological extremes would die out - as they have in every other immigrant wave with deeply ingrained world-views.
These practices are partly caused by persecution and alienation. By hijacking this issue and seeking to demonize an entire community, you are contributing to that hostility and playing into the hands of those ready and willing to exploit it. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism David McD - 814th post - 25 Feb 2005 16:26
Mr Richardjohn,
If you believe that only "a sector of the genteel classes" (whatever that may mean) mourned or cared for the death of their children then I fear you have little understanding of what it is to be a parent. Of course, when childbirth was common, people were more accustomed to it and recovered more quickly and, if poor, had to get on with their lives but that really does not mean that the great majority did not care.
To blame “Christian Missionaries” for the more violent and alarming cultural and tribal practices of some West African groups is a twist of post modernist thinking that leaves even me at a loss for words!
The second part of you post seems to imply, yet again, that to point out the problems of large numbers of unskilled, ill educated people, many from countries which have no historical relationship with the UK (and therefore no family ties etc.), is "racist". Well then, by your definition I am "racist" but so are the overwhelming majority of your fellow countrymen. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Little Richardjohn - 842nd post - 25 Feb 2005 19:10
My countrymen? Who are they?
You have no understanding of what it was like to be a parent in the C19. Probably because you don't want to know.
When children are plentiful, they are are cheap, like anything else. The texts are just too numerous to refer to, even if I thought for a minute you'd pay any attention. Just Google yourself. It's not difficult. Failing that, read Jane Eyre or something similar.
Christian missionairies introduced monotheism and the concept of universal guilt. That is not reinventing history - that's your job. And with those constructs came the concept of universal power. That was a new thing to animists, whose dieties had previously been local and specialized.
The economic realities of the marketplace are inescapable. And their consequences for the mobility of labour and the role of the new labour market in a flexible social structure are unpleasant if you are an opponent of market forces, or on the recieving end of them.
Those priced out of jobs by new waves of immigration are always on the receiving end.
The whinge of those who oppose market forces is due to their being overtaken in the social scale by 'newcomers'. Well, they had their chance, and blew it.
The rule is, if you're still living in the slums when the new wave of immigrants move in, you haven't been trying hard enough, and deserve what you get. Ask Margaret Thatcher or Keith Joseph or anyone. After all, to her, riding on a bus after the age of 30 was a sign of a failed life. The sign that your bootstraps haven't been pulled hard enough.
Culturally, each new influx is the only positive side to the whole sordid bearpit. At least those influences, when blended with aspects of native culture, provide a degree of variety. But it's no use complaining when the child-care practices of our forefathers are served up to us a hundred years on.
And it's not as if those practices are dead in this country now. Until the morons stop screaming for blood every time a teenager steals a car radio, we have no moral high horse to ride.
All we can do is make bigotry and barbarism of all kinds less acceptable. And in practice that means squeezing all religions till the pips burst. It's time to put the old mare out of her misery. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism David McD - 819th post - 25 Feb 2005 20:31
"The rule is, if you're still living in the slums when the new wave of immigrants move in, you haven't been trying hard enough, and deserve what you get"

Thank you for so perfectly capturing your thought process and that of those who think like you. No wonder the abhorrent BNP grows and grows; a classic example of one evil philosophy feeding from another. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Little Richardjohn - 845th post - 27 Feb 2005 17:31
Your thought processes – Unless I’ve become Thatcher overnight. Do read the post.
I know that the people who hate to have the rules of the market waved in their faces most are those who profess its' merits most loudly, but this is ridiculous.
Although the inability to detect irony is very typical.
The abhorrent BNP thrives on the rules of the marketplace. And your intolerance and ignorance and inability to acknowledge the sins of the British Empire, plus your yearning to return to those glorydays (irony again) only gives them more motivation.
It's therefore not unusual that you are unable to see the connection between labour costs and anti-immigrant feeling. Your economic system depends on cheap labour, and with that requirement come new populations and new cultures. You cannot escape that inevitability or the amorality of its consequences.
Instead you call for market forces to be flouted in a most uncharacteristically socialist manner, or you pretend it's a conspiracy against something called the 'British way of Life' which only you are allowed to define, and which always ends up being as racially pure as a Nuremburg Chorus Line.
And naturally, anyone who is able to invoke even a modicum of basic economic reality - your economic reality - is labelled EVIL. If I'm evil because I understand that the market is about making money and that it is not some kind of Sunday School Treat for the Poor of The Parish, then I'm guilty as charged. The genuine pathos is in the fact that you really do not know what is happening, and it is causing you so much pain.
The world must seem a supremely treacherous place when the wonderful Free Market, which is Nature's Friend and the Boon of Mankind - after all, Margaret Thatcher promised - turns round and bites you deeply in the gluteous Maximus.
That just wasn't supposed to happen.
Well. We tried to explain. But as usual when money is involved, you simply stuck your fingers in your ears and went La La La La - as you're doing now. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Lord Lucan - 1154th post - 25 Feb 2005 14:17
Little Richardjohn
This is'nt about victorian values (whatever they might be) it's about ignorance and fear. People from central & west africa have to be educated, they have to be taught that juju, black magic and witchcraft dont exist exept in the mind of the frightened and ignorant parent listening to the local tower hamlets witch doctor.
Victoria Climbie was not murdered because her guardians simply felt like beating her, they thought thanks to the local witch doctor that the poor girl was possessed by evil spirits. This level of fear and ignorance is difficult for us (for me anyway) to understand, but understand we must and these people must be educated [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Little Richardjohn - 839th post - 25 Feb 2005 15:05
This is'nt about victorian values (whatever they might be) it's about ignorance and fear.
Ignorance and Fear. As I said, Victorian values.
Education how? You're dealing with a culture which is self-isolating, and feels threatened anyway (boo-hoo) but more than that, is essentially criminal.
How many so-called churches are really just money-laundering operations for drug money we will never know for sure. But we'll never find out until churches are liable to the same fiscal scrutiny as other businesses.
If I was a succesful crack dealer, I would be looking for a nice respectable sideline, preferably dealing in voluntary donations of cash.
So we have to end tax breaks for all religions to drive out the criminals and open the cults up to the rest of society before we can hope to educate anyone. Otherwise any education will be treated as intrusion, and merely reinforce the spiral of insularity and abuse. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism trueblue - 207th post - 25 Feb 2005 13:57
I agree it is shocking. Would all those who believe in the multi-cultural society (which of course can never work) like to comment? Presuambly, this is okay as these people form a 'culture' or 'minority' or 'community' that has its own rights. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism peter fluck - 5073rd post - 25 Feb 2005 15:56
But yesterday, Mr Trueblue, you told us that your believe children may indeed be possessed by demons. I would have thought these muti obsessed Africans would have been people after your own heart? [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism trueblue - 207th post - 25 Feb 2005 13:58
I agree it is shocking. Would all those who believe in the multi-cultural society (which of course can never work) like to comment? Presuambly, this is okay as these people form a 'culture' or 'minority' or 'community' that has its own rights. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism the hidden paw - 1st post - 25 Feb 2005 14:14
This sort of behaviour is known in many religious sects - not only African ones. Jeanette Winterson, the author, wrote of her bleak Lancashire childhood in 'Oranges are not the only Fruit' and described a beating the central character got from the pastor of the local chapel for being gay. The beating was administered by people who 'loved' the girl and wanted her to be saved.
And doesn't the adage 'spare the rod and spoil the child' originate in Christianity?
There will always be some for whom evil spirits and beatings are a reality.
The police needs to gather intelligence about these practices, wherever they occur in this country, and to take appropriate action against those who would abuse their children through their mistaken beliefs. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Lord Lucan - 1155th post - 25 Feb 2005 14:25
I agree, Paddy Doyle's "The God Squad" is a remakable true story of how he was shockingly treated by nuns in an "Industrial school" in 1950s Ireland. In Paddy Doyle's own words: The book is about society's abdication of responsibility to a child.
It's an incredible story. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Rosie T - 1571st post - 25 Feb 2005 14:32
A school friend of mine was put in a Catholic children's home when her widowed father went to prison for Manslaughter. My mum wrote to her and sent her parcels regularly, and considered fostering or adopting her. Suddenly her replies stopped coming. After writing several times to both her and the Mother Superior and receiving no replies, my mother came to the conclusion that she had moved on, been adopted or whatever.
Years later, she returned to our town as a grown woman. She told my mother what had happened: a girl had been found to be corresponding with a boy, so the nuns decided to immediately cut off all contact with the outside world for all the girls. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Samantha Girl - 110th post - 25 Feb 2005 14:20
Children are used and abused on a daily basis in this way. A certain establishment are begging for money so that this sort of thing can be stopped, on top of brutal behaviour from the parents. And what about those children in Africa (especially girls) who have to go through circumcision without any anesthaetic. This sort of thing has no place in our modern society. But it still goes on..... [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Lord Lucan - 1156th post - 25 Feb 2005 14:32
Samantha Girl
Young girls being forceably circumcised happens quite a lot in this country, places like London &
Bradford in particular. It's closed secretive societies & minority groups that ensures this sort of abuse still flourishes. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Little Richardjohn - 841st post - 25 Feb 2005 15:43
"It's closed secretive societies & minority groups that ensures this sort of abuse still flourishes."
And these factors are the direct result of prejudice, lies, regular hate campaigns by the gutter press, alienation, and the poverty required to produce the cheap labour we need to keep Canary Wharf nice and sparkly.
The hypocrisy of the right on this is quite staggering. Not to mention its selective memory - or doublethink, as it's otherwise known - about colonial and domestic British history and culture.
The reversal of cause and effect is almost neolithic in its totality. It has much more in common with the world view of the Witch Doctor than Isambard Kingdom Brunel or Alexander Fleming. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Lord Lucan - 1159th post - 25 Feb 2005 15:01
I'm shaking my head with frustration as I read you post! Education is the key I assure you. Kids from Senegal to Cameroon who live in this country believe in witchcraft, because their parents believe in witchcraft because their parents etc etc. The only way of breaking this very ignorant and destructive chain is by educating people, children and adults. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Rosie T - 1576th post - 25 Feb 2005 15:11
What sort of education, Fretslider? A friend of ours, a philosopher, took up a post in an African university. They were very fussy, only an Oxford or Cambridge graduate was considered good enough.
During his first year there a colleague in his department died, after which he noticed a strange atmosphere in the office, people were avoiding him, funny things were appearing on his desk, etc. He finally discovered to his horror and bewilderment that he was generally suspected of having caused his colleague's death by witchcraft. He fled the country!
Similarly, in Indonesia the highly educated also believe in witchcraft. They have a western legal system borrowed from the Dutch model, but have made provisions in it to prosecute those who have caused damage to others by placing curses on them. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Lord Lucan - 1163rd post - 25 Feb 2005 16:25
peter fluck
I dont think you can ever overestimate the power of education, although I realise as I chip away at this, the more I find out about it the less I understand, however.
I appreciate it will be difficult if not impossible to change minds and attitudes in west africa, but it should not be as difficult to do that in the UK, after all, witch doctors are not widespread in this country and that is where education has to play a part surely. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Little Richardjohn - 844th post - 25 Feb 2005 19:49
Education don't mean squat if you've got an empty stomach or work a 14 hour day.
Education needs the soil of leisure to grow in. That means improving standards of living. Without that the seedling of education withers and dies.
So it is all too easy to overestimate the powers of education, especially as a single strategy. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Lord Lucan - 1167th post - 25 Feb 2005 20:01
I'm assuming you think I was talking about education in West Africa, (nice Idea for a different thread perhaps) but no I was talking about education in this country. From what I saw on Newsnight yesterday social services, local authorities, the police and schools all need educating on this subject. Child sacrifice (The Adam Case) and abuse (Victoria Climbie) on this scale is not the norm in this country, so people wouldn't in normal circumstances look for it, but thanks to our much vaunted multi-cultural society it's here and thriving, and that has much to do with our own ignorance. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Harry Seldon - 84th post - 25 Feb 2005 16:42
Rather reminiscent of the USA, where it's not so long ago that teachers were being sacked and put on trial for mentioning Charles Darwin in class.
Even now, most Americans -- including the Bozo-in-Chief -- seem to believe that the world was created by JC the Elder on October 22, 4004 BC, just before tea-time (He hadn't created coffee yet, silly). [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Claire Watkins - 38th post - 25 Feb 2005 15:22
I read a posting about some Boxing Day event being banned because it was likely to offend our sensitive people as the blacked up their faces. We have a law and even a department to investigate such things. Then this is discovered - what kind of barmy system have we gor here?
So many people get all heated about immigrants being asked to adopt our culture such as it is but at least we know about it and what it should produce. We need to be very careful about multi-culturalism. [Complain about this post]

re: Child Exorcism Little Richardjohn - 841st post - 25 Feb 2005 15:51
"We need to be very careful about multi-culturalism."
Then we need to start 2,000 years ago.
Multi-culturalism is normal in many countries. It is a natural bi-product of trade and always has been. And in a global market place, there will be diverse customers. There is absolutley nothing you can do about it.
Britain is no longer an island, so stop trying to drive back the tide, unless of course you mean that you want some sort of isolationist Stalinist state like North Korea - and look what happened to them.

TV Sports Photography Is Appalling

Will someone please take all the ultra-telephoto lenses down the crusher?
Then, take all the sports cameramen and directors, show them thierfavourite film (Raging Bull, obviously) and give them electric shocks every time the shot goes into even a medium close-up.
When will TV sport realise that the sports enthuisiast wants to see the game, not a saga of the inner torments of the players - however glamorous and overpaid, and no matter how many corporations they endorse.
Every televised cricket match for the last 25 years at least has been totally ruined by the action zoom fetish.
The bowler runs up, all the relevant fielders are in view, the tension is building nicely as we can still see the space into which the ball can go and which way it will move off the pitch. The options are there waiting tobe filled. This creates tension - then suddenly we are thrust into the batsman's face with a ball arriving somehow from the corner of the screen.
The continuity is totally destroyed, and if there is a stroke, we are then subjected to frantic panning to follow the ball, frequently in the wrong direction.
The result is that not only do we miss the full achievement of many catches, but even miss some altogether - the Bangladeshi final dismissaltoday for instance. Also we are unable to assess the rue state of the pitch, or get any sense of the team tactics being played out, frequently with some drama to those able to see the game live.
Football, Rugby, most team sports get the same personality-driventreatment. All off the ball action is seen as irrelevant, whereas anyone who appreciates team sports at even a basic level will know that what makes the game interesting, as opposed to just a crude display of one-to-one dominance, is the role of the chorus,as well that of the hero and villain.
But it seems that everything is a question of goodies and baddies in the cheap melodrama of modern tv sport.
If these guys want to shoot Coronation Street let them go and do it.
If their real talent is endoscopy, I suggest they practise on themselves,and leave sports coverage to people who care about it.



The rapt millions thronging St Peters' Square were overwhelmed by the love of our Lord as His new earthly voice spoke from between the magnificent 'Arco D'Oro' of the Holy Place and echoed blissfully across the world by the blessed gift of Sky News inc.
"Una Die, Una Chiesa, Una Papa."
The multitudinous faithful tore their rainment and wept in gratitude that at last here was a leader fit to rescue the souls of the meek from the evil temptations of the demonic Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Rhoda, and The Monkees. They waved their traditional red and yellow 'Macdonni' flags in obeysance to the glorious, unshakeable godhead who would restore Catholic pride and reclaim the Church's rightful historic destiny after a decline which has lasted a thousand years..
"Viva Papa! Viva Papa!" the chanted mindlessly.
Ex-Cardinal Razzo Von Gruppenfurher's rise to power from his provincial Bavarian power base is now complete. From the terrible night of his original vision of The Beatles themselves in a bierkeller in Munich, he has dedicated his life to restoring humanity to the arms of the Holy Cee. His unshakeable faith and discipline will lead the Catholic Church into a new Thousand Year reign in the name of the Ultimate Truth, restoring Order whre there was once Decadence and Sonny Bono. Doctrinal orders will be obeyed. Resistance is useless.
Will the decadent forces of evil sustain their campaign of bestial curiousity into God's Creation? Or will they turn from their filthy perverted ways and succumb to overwhelming religious evidence? That is the question the world must ask itself this morning.
This is our last spiritual claim on your souls.
Meanwhile, in a camp in a war-torn country, a baby takes its first steps...
(Mel Gibson is 76)


The Jerry Springer Show The Opera The War

re: Springer The Review Sacha Chou - 2812th post - 9 Jan 2005 15:11
It was utter trash, (I was going to call it pure and simple, but it wasn't either).
The BBC has clearly lost all sense of direction, it's time for a mercy killing. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Little Richardjohn - 605th post - 10 Jan 2005 15:27
If you think this was bad, what about the plans to broadcast the spectacle of two naked men causing each other as much pain as possible, And not out of any genuine grievance, but merely for spectacle and money.
Surely real obscenity is more obscene than verbal obscenity?
And I'm not tallking about your prose. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Sacha Chou - 2852nd post - 10 Jan 2005 16:27
Little Richardjohn
I would be as much against such a broadcast as the Jerry Springer "opera", for similar reasons. It would have a different context though, since the discomfort of the artists would, in that case, probably match that of the audience. [reply] [Complain about
this post]

re: Springer The Review Little Richardjohn - 610th post - 11 Jan 2005 11:00
When did the context ever worry you?
The context of the obscene words made them totally acceptable to a grown-up audience. The context of the pantomime Godhead cross-dressing motifs was of the semi-lunatic American consciousness exhibited daily by Springer, and which demands that the individual MUST assume an identity with the highest status possible. (The believers in reincarnation who were ALWAYS Cleopatra or Solomon or Robin Hood, in this case - Jebus)
That does not make it Blasphemy - that makes it documentary.
It is not theologically possible for non-believers to commit blasphemy anyway. I cannot disrespect something I do not believe exists. And to accuse me, or the BBC, of blasphemy is an insult to our intelligence actually.
The context of the entire argument is that of a drama. A product of imagination. Use yours.
And the next time the BBC schedules a boxing match. I'll expect to see you protesting outside TV Centre.
And I think it is fine to put it on TV in a country which is totally familiar with all the 4 letter words used in the libretto (we invented them) and for an opera audience which knows how a libretto works in an operatic context, which is as another musical instrument in the orchestra - which naturally involves repetition to the rhythm or within the melody or sub melody or to re-state a dramatic musical theme or signature. Wagner, Rossini and Joe Green did it all the time.
We are a grown up country. And if we can stomach the sight of two men ACTUALLY trying to kill each other, I'm sure we can put up with, and even enjoy the sight of a media sewer rat like Springer being tortured for his sins.
It’s exactly what the BBC was set up to do. Sadly, some fell on stony ground [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Sacha Chou - 2898th post - 11 Jan 2005 12:26
Little Richardjohn
The fact that you and others might enjoy seeing anyone tortured for entertainment, whether in a play or real life, speaks volumes about the moral basis of your views about this "opera".
I have no critical statements to make about the musical integrity of the event - the music was irrelevant to the point of the play. Comparing this with Wagner or Rossini is laughable (even though I don't like Wagner). [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Little Richardjohn - 615th post - 11 Jan 2005 15:20
What is Hell for? And how can anything have a moral basis if there is no dramatic atonement of some kind? In this case Hell was very appropriate, seeing as how 99.9% of Americans seem to believe in it.
I was being ironic.. Now I see my problem. If you'd ever heard an opera you'd recognise the use of the repeated libretto convention.
This production made a big thing of parodying Opera itself, hence the title. So formal structures like this would be enhanced. That is what parody does.
I was going to mention the fact that theatre audiences are regularly presented with scenes of torture and obscenity and have been for three thousand years, but I won’t bother.

re: Springer The Review Sacha Chou - 2903rd post - 11 Jan 2005 17:20
Little Richardjohn
My main enjoyment and relaxation is music, and has been for the past thirty years.
For you to adopt a lecturing tone to me about the musical merits of this farcical obscenity, and to imply that the musical parody in it somehow justified the rest of the obnoxious content is quite amusing.

re: Springer The Review Little Richardjohn - 618th post - 11 Jan 2005 19:03
As for using music for enjoyment and relaxation, that doesn't mean you know anything about it or know it when you hear it.
Music isn't nice wallpaper or a scented candle. It should change your life, if it's worth anything. The best music does just that. It doesn't comfort and relax you and reassure you that all's for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
And if you deny that Verdi or Puccini used constant repetition in their libretti, then we haven't been listening to the same operas.
The long "fu-fu-fu-fu" chorus was a delightful piece of musical and poetical brinkmanship and satirised opera at its worst. It was also very funny.
Not as funny as the dancing Klan, though. And the eternal anal-barbed-wire image was almost as deft as Tom Lehrer's "Soon you will be sliding down the razor blade of Life."
This wasn't the great masterpiece that some have claimed, though it is one of the most ambitious bits of musical theatre of the last twenty years. The arts centre fingers were still pawing at it a bit. It still seemed to be performing itself to an audience of mates. And these are not a great musical team. They would never claim that for themselves. But it is a great idea. It is a brilliantly cohesive assault on American culture and on the squalid ideology which drives it. And when you're using parody for satirical effect, that means using the language of the gutter. Using it to death. Like any good satirist does. See any edition of The Simpsons, The Fast Show, The Royle Family, Vic and Bob or virtually any funny British comedy of the past ten years..
Words aren't filthy, meanings and actions are filthy. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Sacha Chou - 2914th post - 12 Jan 2005 11:51
Little richardjohn
"And as for using music for enjoyment and relaxation, that doesn't mean you know anything about it or know it when you hear it"
But I do, so your little snipe at me is worthless.
"Words aren't filthy, meanings and actions are filthy"
Exactly, and the "meaning" of the repetitious crudity and the blasphemy in this show was to create a reaction that the musical and artistic content of the show could not do on its own. It was there for effect, and the effect was quite unpleasant.
I accept that such crudity may be popular and funny to some, but to hail it as some form of high art worthy of acclaim and broadcast on the BBC is nonsense. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Little Richardjohn - 619th post - 12 Jan 2005 12:50
"effect, and the effect was quite unpleasant"
The effect was there for a purpose. In art, all effect is for a purpose.
You seem to think that all art should be nice.
Then sit back with your Barry Manilow records and your box of After Eights and everything will seem nice.
In the meantime, there are questions to be asked and a world to explore and truths about ourselves to face which are extremely unpleasant.
Art is the only way of honestly confronting those problems. And Jerry Springer, The Opera did just that. And at the same time, to those willing to also admit that there are problems, it was hugely entertaining. But to get the joke, you first have to admit that the world isn't perfect. But as a member of the Art for Art's Sake Brigade, you are unable to do that. Art is a reflection of Life, not a lullaby. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Sacha Chou - 2918th post - 12 Jan 2005 13:26
Little richardjohn
>>"Art is the only way of honestly confronting those problems"<<
What tosh!
If you have a sociological problem to deal with the best solution is to sit and discuss it sensibly and come to some agreement about how to deal with it. That may require education, legislation or any number of approaches.
Simply parodying the seedier aspects of real life in a sensationalist play or "opera" does not do anything to address (confront) the problem, in fact it makes the problem worse by continuing to spew obscenity into our daily lives in the name of "art" and "free speech".
>>"You seem to think that all art should be nice"<<
I have not made any such statement. Art can be unpleasant but good, and also pleasant but bad. JSO was both unpleasant and bad at the same time, as a piece of art, and it was simply offensive as a TV broadcast.
Your little joke about Barry Manilow is extremely childish. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Little Richardjohn - 621st post - 12 Jan 2005 14:22
I thought so, another case of 'no place for politics in art'. One of the most dishonest statements in all of human discourse.
It is one of the most political statements you can make. And whether you like it or not, all art is political. And the more you try to avoid politics, the more political it becomes.
Artists are people. They are raised by other people in a world which effects the way they think. They worry about real things. It effects their work, and when they're at their happiest, resolves their problems with the world. You want art to be some kind of Margot Leadbetter cocktail party music ordered by catalogue from Fortnums, and not likely to disrupt the conversation about the best school in the area.
Now we're discovering the real depths.
Not only do you know nothing about art, but nothing about politics either. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Sacha Chou - 2920th post - 12 Jan 2005 14:37
Little Richardjohn
>>"You want art to be some kind of Margot Leadbetter cocktail party music"<<
It is interesting that when someone's own arguments start to fail, they often resort to telling me what it is I think.
>>"Not only do you know nothing about art, but nothing about politics either."<<
It is interesting how the less convincing one's argument becomes, the more likely it is that personal insults and dismissive attitudes come to the fore.
Discussion closed, I think. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Springer The Review Little Richardjohn - 623rd post - 12 Jan 2005 15:07
Not quite.
DEDUCING what you think from what you say, deducing. You’re too coy to actually say what you mean, so we have to read between the lines a bit, and there is a lot of room. That's fairly common practice I understand. And if my arguments are failing, perhaps you'd help to finish them off. All I hear is you proclaiming their death. So bury them.
It's quite obvious that you know nothing about politics or art or you wouldn't be so sanguine about declaring them incompatible, in spite of three thousand years of human art to draw on. All wasted on you.. That is the human tragedy, that its finest achievements go unappreciated by most humans, whether from famine, poverty and suffering - or by the British class system, which has always demanded that emotion be kept out of art, let alone politics, and melodramatic sentimental display put in its stead.
You would have King Lear with a happy ending, like Tolstoy wanted.
While we're on the subject, what's your take on the 'vile jelly scene..'? Bit gratuitous, what?
And as for Titus Andronicus..
You keep coming back with this stuff about art having no place in politics and expect to get away with it. This is a high speed internet forum. Not an Oxbridge debating society. In many other boards you would have been scorched hours ago. But I do wish you'd stand up for yourself instead of turning tail at the first sign of an unpleasant truth about your opinions...
But hang on, it was unpleasantness which worried you about the Opera... And music is there to solely sooth the savage beast and all that.
So what about the scene where they gouge out the old man's eyes?
One by one.
[reply] [Complain about this post]

Papal Leaving Party Arrangements (JP2 Bye bye)

Life is fleeting and false. Heaven is eternal bliss. What IS the problem? Cease this boo-hooing! The old geezer's heading for the perpetual orgasm of heavenly congress with the overwhelming magnitude of ultimate holiness.Why is anyone sad? Catholics especially. They should be holding a global-send off with Trinity Triple-Party-Poppers, great troughs of communion wafers in fifty different flavours, oil tankers of specially reserved communion wine charging through the waves to bring their blessings to every corner of the catholic empire. A real blow-out. 'So buy me beer and whisky 'cos I'm going far away'...
The man has got it made - he's finally dead - the greatest aspiration any true religious believer could have, and he MADE IT! He's just been given his final papers and his contract and everything.
So why the sadness? Because deep down, we all know that he's not going to be on God's right hand, but merely wormfood, like everyone else, and that they know they will end up the same way.

Gospel & Hebridean Lining Up Synthesis

'Gospel Truth'posted 22-03-05 14:57 posted by Little Richardjohn:

Willie Ruff, famous jazz musician and college professor has noticed the structural similarities between antique Hebridean religious 'line- singing' and the Black Gospel music form.
The theory was recently aired on the Channel 4 program 'Gospel Truth' and carries a single overriding message.
Namely, that human beings adapt whatever they need from whatever culture they encounter to preserve their sense of identity and give expression to their feelings.
The ethnic or class differences do not matter. People are always greater than the differences which appear to divide them.
This leaves the isolationists and purists on both sides with the dilemma of explaining how their culture came to be the way it is.
Which tends to lead them to the conclusion that it has always been the same. That culture is a static, immovable object, defined by ethnicity, place and time, and unable to alter to address the questions of the obviously changing world around it.
Which is simply absurd.

posted 22-03-05 14:57

Originally posted by Little Richardjohn:
"That culture is a static, immovable object, defined by ethnicity, place and time, and unable to alter to address the questions of the obviously changing world around it.
Which is simply absurd. "
Couldn't agree more with you on this last paragraph on the absurdity of a static culture which never changes. The culture of Britain has never stayed the same. Witness the cultural movements of the pre-renaissance, the enlightenment, the right to vote for women, the conservatism of the Victorian era vs the sexual liberation of the 1960s to the current day where the US culture dominates.

Culture is a moving feast which changes as the environment around it changes. To try and prevent culture from changing is as futile as the French trying to prevent the english language becoming a part of the french language.Posts: 427

posted 22-03-05 14:58

Speak English or leave our country Posts: 647

Split Infinitive
posted 22-03-05 15:02
Personally I thought that the music all sounded as much like souix chanting as much as any other kind of music so I'll go for the more general answer to the debate. It's a sort of universal language of emotion.Posts: 1144

posted 22-03-05 15:30

I watch the programme last night and wasn't impress at all. The thing is, these revisionists always seem to find these stool pigeons Blacks to support their theory.
Next they will be telling us that Black music was a white invention. Infact, I have met kids who think Eminem invented hip-hop and that there's no such thing as Black music Posts: 647

posted 22-03-05 15:47

I watched bits of the programme last night and thought it was quite interesting. Gospel music is an entity in it's own right, but there does appear to be some influence from Gaelic psalm singing of the slave masters - which is just like any other musical genre, they're an amalgamation of various influences and can all be traced back to something. It would be interesting to trace the roots of this gaelic singing to see what influenced that - perhaps they got the idea from black roman soldiers singing on Hadrians wall.

Little Richardjohn
posted 22-03-05 20:12
Originally posted by Franciscopizzaro:
"I watched the programme last night and wasn't impress at all. The thing is, these revisionists always seem to find these stool pigeons Blacks to support their theory.
Next they will be telling us that Black music was a white invention. Infact, I have met kids who think Eminem invented hip-hop and that there's no such thing as Black music."
Willie Ruff is in no way a stool pigeon.
Why is it treachery to point out that human beings are influenced by what they see and hear around them?
The isolationists' view would logically be that all black American music arrived fully formed from Africa. Which presupposes that it had always been that way. Which in turn assumes that the originators of the music were unable to use new forms to express themselves, but merely parroted the same forms as every previous generation. Which is a great insult to the humanity of their supposed ancestors.

Little Richardjohn
posted 22-03-05 20:19

Originally posted by Split Infinitive:
"Personally I thought that the music all sounded as much like souix chanting as much as any other kind of music so I'll go for the more general answer to the debate. It's a sort of universal language of emotion."
It's something to do with the 'Blue Notes' - the flatted fifths - the Devil's Interval - which pops up in music all over the world from flamenco to the Welsh Baptist Raptural chorus. Now there was music that meant it.
When my mother was baptised in the local river, they had to break the ice. When my cousin was baptised, the minister died of a heart attack with her in his arms...
I think they finished the hymn as they took him away.
By the way, the two seminal baptist hymns - 'Amazing Grace' and 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' are virtually the same hymn, only one is the other upside down.

posted 22-03-05 22:07

we spend too much time diiscussing wat is different that we forget abt the similarities!Posts: 390

posted 23-03-05 10:13

"We spend too much time discussing what is different that we forget abt{about} the similarities2" - Salma

Yeah, great speech How about practising what you preach in pratical terms or do you think, humanity can live in harmony without actually interracting with each other on a one to one basis?
People always like to spout the above comments about similarities when its comes to Black culture and art, in order for them to claim or water down black culture to suit their taste. But watch how fast their prejudice comes out on the issue of racism, suddently they have no contact with the people they claim to share similarities with in art and culture
What a load of BS

Little Richardjohn
posted 23-03-05 11:20

... People always like to spout the above comments about similarities when its comes to Black culture and art, in order for them to claim or water down black culture to suit their taste. But watch how fast their prejudice comes out on the issue of racism, suddently they have no contact with the people they claim to share similarities with in art and culture

White Racists have tried to claim that nothing worthwhile could ever be produced by black people and that therefore black music must either be inferior or have white origins.
Willie Ruff's thesis casts doubt on ALL claims of ownership. It implies that culture simply doesn't work that way. And that to deny the dynamic, organic, free nature of culture is to deny that people have the ability to exchange ideas and visions of the world. The further implication being that without that kind of free cultural exchange, you will always have racism.
The flipside of claiming that any cultural form is the exclusive property of any one race or culture is the demand for cultural purity. A world in which cultures are either handed down from above and only change by decree. In other words, a monolithic, static totalitarianism.
Was the music that 1st generation slaves brought to America the same as the music played by their forefathers three hundred years before, d'you think? Would it not have come into contact with other tribes, or the Arab traders from the north? Or did it all spring fully-formed from some legendary prehistoric genius?
Then there was the trade with the south and even India in some cases. Pre-Magellan Africa was a much busier place than we were taught at school. And with trade comes influence. It's all around. And when it stops happening, we're all dead.
It boils down to this: if we're allowed to learn from other people - ANY people, we are more likely to be happy and stimulated and are more likely to find a way of expressing our emotions and our vision of the world. Not to mention being then unable to not respect the people we learn from.
If we're not allowed that basic human right, then our humanity is oppressed and outraged, and we're very unhappy and tend to get a gun and kill our classmates, or run people down in our cars. And we are also naturally suspicious of anyone who looks or behaves a bit differently from ourselves.
Culture is not a jewel to be locked up in a bankvault, it is a way of setting people free. Perhaps the only way.