09 Feb

In praise of Oik Telly

Three cheers for James Purnell, director of strategy at the BBC. He has just announced that “Civilisations,” a new version of cultural history to succeed Kenneth Clark’s original “Civilisation” series of 1969, will, along with all new documentaries programmed by the BBC, be “the opposite” of Clark’s monstrously “elitist” production.

I’m only sorry that the wonderfully egalitarian Mr Purnell fell short of calling the new series by a title more suitable for the emancipated and enlightened age we now live in. He should have been brave and called the series “Barbarism.” But, as they say, brave new world was not built in a day, and I am grateful that Mr Purnell has dared to go as far as he has along the road to pure oikism.

The disgusting patrician Clark – Order of Merit, Companion of Honour, Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and Fellow of the British Academy – is sure to be surpassed by the presenter of the new series who, according to Mr Purnell, will be “a trusted friend” who will deliver “expertise without elitism.”

I’m all for it: let’s hear it for mediocratism!

Even after 48 years, I can still hear Clark’s disgraceful voice, speaking with sickening mellifluousness in grammatical English – in whole sentences, for heaven’s sake! Our new version will feature the iconic demotic of our democratised times innit, like, dropped aitches and t’s, “their” for the, like, sexist “his” and “her,” and as many sentences – though of course these will not be sentences – as possible starting with “So…”

I recall also Clark’s initial reluctance to produce a book of his series, “…because it would have to be without the classical music on the original soundtrack.”

“Classical music”! I ask you – did ever a man so completely condemn himself out of his own mouth?

Purcell, Byrd, Bach, Tallis, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven: the 1969 series was full of such class-ridden rubbish. This was made worse by Clark’s misplaced and undemocratic admiration for so-called “Great Masters”: Giotto, Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and similar trash. I’ll have you know, Kenneth Clark, your vile era of deference to “masters” is long gone.

The new series will feature the art of the people and its comrade multi-millionaires such as Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and that other hero of our thoroughly-democratised art who fashioned an installation of the siege of Troy on an exquisite pile of (real, his own) shit.

And there will be no problem with the music. How could there be when we have to hand myriads of downloads of David Bowie, Queen, Eminem, Michael Jackson and the sumptuously adenoidal narcissist, St Bob Dylan?

Our new remake will accomplish a total revolution, amounting to an utter repudiation of the repressive “values” of the original. In that old version there was credulous and mawkish piety in the depiction of St Augustine of Hippo, St Benedict, Erasmus, Martin Luther and other devotees of the primitive and superstitious era of so called “Christendom.” We shall present true heroes of modernity and of the people: Marx, Engels, Lenin Stalin, Mao – with a special section on their greatest prophet Eric Hobsbawm.

All together now, let’s join in a thanksgiving chorus of John Lennon’s great hymn of heroically blasphemous praise: Imagine

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06 Feb

Suffer the little children

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says that many youngsters aged 12 to 15 are suffering severe mental illness, with girls almost seven times more likely to seek help than boys.

There has been a 36% increase over four years in young people seeking help for depression and other disorders, while there was also a rise in the number of children and young people feeling suicidal.

One young person who called Childline said: “I’m struggling to cope with bipolar. One minute, I feel so low, like I’m trapped, and all I want to do is disappear. Then suddenly, I feel the complete opposite, and I’m really happy and I start thinking about everything in a really positive light. I feel like I push away everyone that tries to help, I tell them I hate them and blame them for everything. I just feel like I’ve turned into a monster.”

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said he was “deeply concerned” by the figures. As well he might be. As well we all should be.

The only surprising thing about these shocking revelations is that anyone should be surprised, for the causes are all around us.

We give our children no moral guidance, no etiquette and no notion of how to conduct their daily lives. Then we let them loose in a crazy electronic world of whirling images, wilder than the wild west. We curse them with the absolute freedom to decide matters that are really beyond them. This “freedom” amounts to enslavement.

Let me start with an example of this living hell taken from the NSPCC report itself. The “young person” quoted is actually a girl. But we’re not allowed to call her a girl. Neither is this undoubted girl referred to as “she.” She, a singular individual, is referred to as “they.”

This is insane and wicked. For a girl and an individual is what she is.

Identities are not, in the first place, chosen: they have to be assigned. Or donated or bestowed, if you like. That’s what the Christening and Confirmation Services used to do.

We tell them from primary school upwards that they should choose not only their sexuality – whether to be hetero or homo or any combination of this, that and the other – but even their sex, which we describe by the misnomer gender.

We instruct them from their earliest years in the physical mechanics of sex, while giving them no teaching about sexual ethics. This is tantamount to putting someone who has had no driving lessons at all behind the wheel of a high-powered sports car and ordering her to drive off at full speed in heavy traffic.

We used to provide the children with religious education and this meant basic Christianity: the parables of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection and our duty towards God and our neighbour. Now the children get none of this, because we have elected to contrive for ourselves a multicultural babel in which all religions are said to be equal. But there is only one perspective from which such a syllabus can be taught and that is the secular perspective. The unwritten subtext is not only that all religions are equal, but that all religions are equally false. The secular educationists claim they must at all costs avoid “indoctrination.” Then they indoctrinate the children with secular dogmas.

Children, say the educationists, must be free to make up their own minds. Yes, but they don’t have minds until their heads actually contain something. Something has to be basic. For hundreds of years this was a simple outline of the Christian faith and elementary ethics. Give children this start, provide them with a few fixed points of reference in an ever-giddier world and then, when they come to the age of discretion, they can give it all up and become atheists or satanists if that’s what they fancy.

Not to do these things – out of whatever perverted notions of “equality” and “diversity” we nowadays profess – amounts to our dereliction of responsibility.

For which we should repent and return to common sense, to our right minds.

It’s not the kids who are mentally ill: it’s the adults

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01 Feb

The dummy-suckers

It is a pleasure to discover a good restaurant and even better to come across a talented writer. I have been reading Alexander Boot’s books and blogs for ten years and I have always found him sustaining. He is scholarly, informed and frequently amusing. Consistently he writes what is recognisably the English language – which makes a nice change from most of the stuff we read in the national newspapers. Recently Alex was wondering aloud on his blog why 1.3 million British subjects have signed a petition to deny a state visit to Donald Trump. What is it about this democratically elected president which irritates so many people to such a degree that they refuse to extend the president the courtesy of hospitality?

Perhaps it is because Mr Trump is deficient in the qualities possessed by foreign rulers to whom we did grant a state visit? Alex names a few of these in case we had forgotten, among them Messrs Mobutu, Suharto, Xi Jinping and Ceaușescu – all of them tyrants, dictators and some of them mass murderers. Donald Trump has been in office less than a fortnight and so he may plead in excuse that he has not yet had the time to set up the apparatus of mass slaughter. The petitioners should give him a little breathing space, and then perhaps he will live up to the standard set by the tyrants and dictators who were welcomed here with little protest?

Alex goes on to ponder the wider issue of what it is that attracts the mob in their millions to genocidal tyrants. And not least of the virtues in Alex’s writing is that you can see the pondering even as he writes. Here is that rare thing: a man thinking things out as he goes along, as the thinker and the writer should. Our present literary and journalistic malaise is all owing to the fact that, though we have plenty of thinkers and writers, the thinkers can’t write and the writers can’t think.

Back on the subject of the petitioners, Alex thinks this sort are the natural consequence of society’s lapse back into paganism. I dare say there is something in this. Certainly, the case of Hitler is evidence on that score. I wouldn’t want to dispute Alex’s judgement here, but I would venture another explanation – one which is not inconsistent with paganism.

When she was a toddler, my sister used to suck a dummy which had been dipped in something sweet. My mother and father tried to wean her off this comfort, as it would not have appeared seemly for my sister to turn up at Mrs Lillyman’s dancing studio in posh Roundhay, Leeds for her grade two ballet examinations with what my dad called “that thing” in her mouth. But every time they tried to remove the dummy, my sister screamed the bloody place down.

The petitioners are like my infant sister.

Since 1945 they have inhabited a political culture much to their liking: a politics of high taxation and regulation, a dispensation in which there is the appearance of democracy but not its reality. For while it is possible to chuck out the government and put another one in its place, the new lot are the same as the the old crowd. Added to this pretend democracy there is the relatively new ingredient of political correctness which tells the infantilised petitioners what to think and, just like nanny, controls their behaviour. They want to be looked after by nanny and allowed to suck their dummies. Well now the dummies have been taken away and they are screaming the bloody place down. They want to be overtaxed and over-regulated. They don’t want personal responsibility. They want the state to tell them what to do. Moreover, they have become so habituated to this politics that they long since developed a culture of entitlement. They imagined they would be allowed to suck on their dummies forever. The last thing they want is to grow up.

Listen, and you can hear them screaming the bloody place down.

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