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The BBC White and Black Minstrel Show

'The white working class feels alienated, threatened and voiceless,' And when were they anything else - especially if you leave out the word 'white'?
Except under the dreadful tyranny of those ghastly trade unions, of course.
But that source of empowerment and self-defence was finally crushed. And everyone from BBC bosses to rabid radio shock jocks and newspaper editors and company directors were very pleased. How much wider a cross section of society do you need to please?
The despicable image of the white face being systematically defaced to a black minstrel mask of alien language and culture is one of the worst cases of graphic hypocrisy seen on TV. The BBC should be ashamed. It totally ignores the reality of class identity and status, which is that the 'working class' now being courted has hardly ever been acknowledged or examined in British literature, art or journalism. And when it has been, the establishement has either attacked or ignored the result.
This theory that the White Working Class is being systematically abused and stripped of its identity by the mere existence of non-native working class cultures - and not by the demands of the marketplace - is yet another distraction from the political realities of the class system, and will only have the effect of further alienating people from those with whom they share a common cause. Which is the only reason for it.
The thing which really grates is the assumption that this 'alienation' is something new, and therefore can be blamed on immigration. This is clearly the unavoidable message of the trailer.
The face is not smothered in the logos of MacDonalds and Coke and Nike and all the other corporate vultures who are actually stripping the corpse of British identity and alienating British people from their culture. Instead the face is smothered in script - Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Cyrillic - all written by the human hand.
In other words, the human beings who come here to improve their lives are to blame for this assault on the working class. Not the economic system they obey, and even less the corporate giants who are making the real money. So to solve the problem, the solution is obviously to get rid of the people and their alien, defacing cultures. Which is the ultimate act of alienation by the BBC, and of appeasement to the BNP and their fellow-travellers at The Daily Tits and other rags who try to keep working class aspirations as low and animal as possible.
There were lots of choices to be made when planning this preview. The choice of handwritten script in black sends a clear message that white British culture is being de-faced by alien cultures of different races. Not by impersonal, mercenary decisions in boardrooms, not by the great cycles of economic growth and decline or inevitable advances in technology or transport, but by the mere proximity in the same country of different kinds of human beings.
This is despicable, and I hope is not representative of the remit of the series.
March 7th.
Last night's Newsnight, with Margaret Hodge, Bob Crowe, Jon Grunt and a befuddled teenage apprentice tory MP showed exactly why this series will be a complete waste of time - unless the intention is to divide the working class even further and distract them from their common problems.
Amid all the futile mudslinging there was not a single word about the economic system which demands the homogenisation of ethnic cultures, wage-cutting immigration, and general insecurity among the people. Bob Crowe was just able to squueze in the point that Thatcherite de-unionisation was a factor in undercutting British wages. But was not able to make the point that the likes of Jon Gaunt, who smirked the loudest over the destruction of the main representative body for working class interests are now the ones whingeing loudest over the effects.
But apart from that, nobody had anything to say. The exploitative, divisive, dog-eat-dog, warmongering, planet-destroying capitalist system got off scot-free. Again. No surprises there, then.

And so it drags on.
BBC2 controller Roly Keating offers perhaps the feeblest, off-the-peg excuse for an excuse in the history of television. According to him, the infamous trailer is Only Doing It's Job:

"I absolutely refute that it is racist. It's clearly arresting, It denotes to audiences that they will find certain elements of this season challenging. Part of the point odf the series is to stimulate public debate."
Is that so? In that case why broadcast a trailer designed to stimulate fear and irrational hostility? And while we're being picky, what Roly Poly actually did to the accusation of racism was 'reject' it. As one of his commissions, the admirable Q.I. tells us, 'refutation' involves a lot more work that merely proclaiming: 'Je Refute', like some be-ruffed aristocrat. Perhaps he should watch his own programmes from time to time. He might learn something.
In the meantime, sensible people across the country have been outraged by this piece of racist trash. In the same edition of G2 as Keaton's double page spread was this from a little letter in English.

"This trailer is offensive, misleading and extremely divisive and is more typical of the attention-grabbing headlines we see in the tabloids...
it should be removed from our screens because it does nothing to promote understanding of or empathy for the white working class (as it pretends to do) or understanding of those whom this group considers, unjustifiably, a threat to their heritage."
BBC’s White Season is founded on racist lies
'Wise Words'
Crooked Timber

Challenging the Whitewash


Death Penalty Hysteria.

Why is it that countries which have the death penalty still have to use it? If it were any sort of deterrent, once a decade would be plenty. But in fact, those regimes which are most resolutely in favour of strangling, poisoning and burning human beings, are the ones which seem to have to do it the most. The USA, Iran and China spring to mind. Far from being a deterrent, the prospect of death seems to be an encouragement to the scrambled mind of the average murderer. Which does tend to lead to the conclusion that murder is not a rational act susceptible to deterrence by the threat of civic revenge. Again, the institutionalisation of revenge can only create more murderers, if anything.

Meanwhile in Britain, a lot of newspapers and TV advertising time has been sold recently after two brutal murderer cases, and the resulting, predicatble baying for the noose to be brought back into play. The Wapping Daily Tits can hardly wait. Along with the other rags which feed of the bloodlust of the mob, it is incapable of any curiousity into the causes of things. It sees the symptom, in this case the murderer, and if he can be disappeared, the problem will disappear.
It's a quaint old attitude, and predates science of course, just as astrology and witchcraft do.
But sadly, the notion that you can cure a boil by cutting it off is not one which can run a modern society. Nowadays, since the middle of the C17th or so, we eradicate the cause of a problem, then the symptom tends to disappear.

Countries like Canada seem to have mastered the knack of applying Cause & Effect to their societies, and have reduced murder rates since they stopped strangling people to death. Why are we not able to do the same? Could it be because there is far too much money to be made from keeping the prospect within reach of those who need to fantasise on the suffering of others? Is it just another branch of the horror industry?


Rowan Williams and Sharia Law

Strange to be defending an archbishop, but this was another example of rabid hatemongering by the right wing press.
Rowan Williams simply never proposed anything they accused him of.
He did not propose that Sharia law should take precedence over British Law. Or that Islam be incorporated into British Law. The closest he seems to have got is
"Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court."
The hysteria has had naturally the effect of demonising Islam even further. Which may be good for selling papers, but is a very bad idea for Britain. Much worse than anything which Williams was proposing, in fact.

A system of settling disputes out of court within a year - and without paying exorbitant lawyers fees? What next? Interest free loans? Now that
would cause mass apoplexy in the editing suites of Docklands.


The Art Of Spain - BBC4

I know it's a visual arts thing and all, but the treatment of flamenco could have been a little less daft, just for me. The influence of the Gitano on Picasso is fairly common knowledge, after all.
Nevertheless, the apparent fact that there isn't much in the way of visual art by nomads and exiles did make an interesting point by default.
The overwhelming profusion of Moorish and Catholic decorative religious art and the 'fear' of empty spaces he talked about are just Life (profusion) and Death (blankness) surely? Proof that the work of God was indeed everywhere possible.
And the quote from the Quoran was interesting. If there is only one god and everything is god, then surely territorial claims, such as the claim that Andalucia should be 'returned' to Islamic rule, are blasphemy. Its occupation by the Infidel is merely God's will. As in fact are apparent heresies like Evolution and Modern Astrophysics.
Maybe, maybe not.