Saturday, February 02, 2013

BBC Gay Pride and Prejudice

This post is by Brother Ivo:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”.
Except, in the case of the week of the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s classic novel, at the BBC, where our public broadcaster has decided to broadcast, instead, Tales of the City - an everyday story of the transgendered Anna Madrigal and her gay friends set in San Francisco during the 1970s and 80s.

Brother Ivo has no difficulty with its author Armistead Maupin receiving the deserved wider exposure. He devoured the whole series of novels 25 years ago and would liken the work to a latter-day Dickens. Not everyone who is in favour of traditional marriage in this country is narrow or 'anti-gay', indeed many in Civil Partnerships share this view.

Maupin writes well and encompasses a wide range of characters. There is humour, topicality, and tragedy. Like Dickens, the stories were originally written for serialisation in a newspaper, so the chapter lengths are commensurately short, and often end with a cliff-hanger to encourage the reader to buy the San Francisco Chronicle the next day to discover what happens next.

There is also a commendable degree of kindness about them, of which the world is very short.

The trailers to the serialisation have begun, and like any reader who has enjoyed a work, my immediate response was to recoil at the rather heavy and instrusive use of a 70s psychodelic musical soundtrack. If you need the soundtrack, you were not of the era. A Garrison Keiller 'Lake Woebegone' kind of audio presentation would have been Brother Ivo’s choice - a point made only for the purpose of establishing that he appreciates the work in question and comes to these thoughts with no malice towards the work, its author or his orientation.

What jars is the choice of the BBC to begin it in the days leading up to the debate on 'gay marriage'.

One can be quite sure that if we asked the BBC about this, we should be assured that this is quite 'coincidental'; it will have been in the planning for many months/years, etc - but I will not believe a word of it.

It a clumsy piece of orchestrated mood music in advance of the Commons debate.

There was a time when the BBC was very sensitive about the potential effects of its programming on public affairs. The equally splendid and picaresque Alf Garnett was shuffled off our screens during periods of elections, lest his forthright opinions and prejudices affect the outcome, while Tony Hancock was removed from the schedule on election night for no better reason than to avoid the likelihood of voters preferring his appeal to that of the political parties.

It is this shift in the BBC approach that I find so troubling.

The BBC holds a privileged role in the nation.

No other organisation of any size - let alone this Leviathan - has the right to tax any of Her Majesty’s subjects on the basis that they wish to avail themselves of the right to watch a television channel - not just this television channel; any channel. It can procure the fining or imprisonment of anyone who does not pay, even if that person never watches its output. Like all bullies, it targets the weak and vulnerable which may be seen by attending the TV Licensing prosecutions in the local Magistrates Court.

The holding of that special and privileged position ought to engender a certain reticence about how such influence might be exercised, yet as Andrew Marr succinctly put it:
“The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities, and gay people. It has a liberal bias, not so much a party political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.”
If anyone doubts that 'cultural liberal bias' imagine, if you would, the prospects of the BBC commissioning a 'History of Marriage'; imagine them choosing Colin Hart, the Director of the Christian Institute, to present such a programme; imagine the screening of such a programme in the time leading to the vote on the Bill now before Parliament.

Dream on.

We all know that there is not the slightest chance of any of that happening.

The problem which Andrew Marr identified is deep and important. The cultural castle of the BBC has been captured by the progressive movement which has moved on from 'Summer of Love' to something altogether less relaxed.

With a significant lack of awareness, the BBC overlooks the truth that through its monopoly it has given us 'Room 101' and 'Newspeak'. It seems not to appreciate that its political correctness was satirised by George Orwell even before it evolved out of the Cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School of Philosophy. At the BBC today, all pigs are equal but some pigs are more equal than others (other halal animals are all equally non-equal).

It is an organisation of known prejudices.

From the commanding heights of a £5bn turnover conglomerate there are regular sallies in support of an agenda that always seeks to 'push the boundaries'. It has acquired an unhealthy bias towards what I call 'The Culture of the Transgressive'. Desiring to be 'cutting edge and challenging', albeit sometimes 30 years out of date, it is an ongoing cultural revolution which will never be satisfied.

Yet, however unfashionable it is to say so, boundaries exist for a purpose. They are of value on a sports field, in a theatre or musical production, in families and clubs, or, indeed, in a societal or behavioural context.

Show me a three-year-old without a boundary, and I will show you a child who is deeply insecure and a risk to himself and others. Without boundaries, the world is a confusing, frightening and dangerous place.

Where all the known parameters are insecure, fear and recklessness are not far away. In adulthood, the situation is no better, and the person who knows or respects no boundaries is no boon to the society he or she inhabits. When they come to acquire leadership of such a society, we know where it ends.

(Posted by Brother Ivo)


Blogger DanJ0 said...

"It has acquired an unhealthy bias towards what I call 'The Culture of the Transgressive'."

Antiques Roadshow? Tracy Beaker? Doctor Who? What exactly are you're talking about here? The most transgressive thing I can think of that the BBC does is The Big Questions on Sunday morning. It's hardly a culture.

2 February 2013 at 11:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Now Channel 4 is transgressive but it's supposed to be.

2 February 2013 at 11:10  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Bias at the BBC? Surely you jest, Ivo? I mean, any member of the SNP could attest to the strict neutrality the staff of the BBC adhere to whenever a contentious political issue arises.

2 February 2013 at 12:18  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

For all it faults the BBC TV and Radio is still the measure the majority of national broadcasters are judged. What I object to in addition to an over representation of sundry minority groups, is the amount of obscene language that passes for comedy; it is so prevalent on television but not on radio. I would rather subscribe albeit compulsorily through a licence fee than suffer the inane tides of advertising and 'sponsors' that dominate the commercial alternatives.

OK, it is far from pleasing all the people all of the time, but at least while we have the broadcaster/consumer relationship enshrined in law we still legitimately retain the right to demand public accountability.

2 February 2013 at 12:53  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Bias, what bias?

Surely tales of transgendered, eccentric marijuana-growers, hippy bisexuals,
lotharios, AIDS and homosexuals, reflect everyday life for 'normal folk'? Doesn't the BBC have a duty to present such programmes and give them a voice, to present them sympathetically?

Yes indeed, a modern Dickens; social realism at its best exposing the impoverishment of the lives of many driven to despair by a socio-economic system.

Compulsory viewing surely for MP's and their constituents if they are to understand the issues facing the nation and the needs of 1.5% of the population.

2 February 2013 at 12:59  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

"Anyone who thinks that same-sex "marriage" is a benign eccentricity which won't affect the average person should consider what it has done to Massachusetts since 2004. It's become a hammer to force the acceptance and normalization of homosexuality on everyone. The slippery slope is real. New radical demands never cease. What has happened in the last several years is truly frightening."

The BBC are promoting this future and our church in many cases is silent or cheers them along


2 February 2013 at 13:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I can never fathom is why on earth homosexual people would want to get "married" into religions who disagree with the sexual act of homosexuality and the religious buildings in the first place- it seems like militancy for its own sake. Why the need to force this upon a body which disagrees with this? It is illiberal and outrageous.

2 February 2013 at 13:53  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Not even zombies could redeem 'Pride & Prejudice.'


2 February 2013 at 14:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl Jacobs,

P&P is more of a ladies novel, I think. I guess you should try reading Herman Melville's Moby Dick or Henry Rider Haggard's King Solomon's mines.

2 February 2013 at 14:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Brother. The Inspector follows the nefarious going on’s at the gay hate site Pink News. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. One rather fancies he might secure some credit when the time to negotiate the resting place of his soul comes.

Anyway, these people have of late been screaming (’s either screaming or silence from them, they know no other way...) of bias against THEM ! Though it must be said that although that blog is followed by the planet’s English speaking LGBTQ types, it’s generally the same handful of malcontents who post.

Transgender is an interesting subject for LGBTQ. Many LG are appalled by the T group and say it. One even remembers the phrase “Bed wetters in bad wigs” used to criticise them. They are then pilloried by the LG supporters of T. The B are not liked either, as some LG wish they were B to escape their unhappiness, and see B as, well, hedonists. As for the Q, they are somewhat mysterious, mentally troubled people, who rarely post. As a result, little is known about them, which is probably just as well.

As we head towards this soiling of marriage debate, some interesting news from Queer Street. One would think that CP, being a form of commitment, would stabilise infection rates. Not so. HIV rates continue to rise. 1 in 20 of all gay men are HIV positive. Rising to 1 in 12 in the London area. Both substantial increases. The blame is not put onto the individuals themselves ( never is, you know...), but onto an explosion of ‘bareback’ porn. Porn is as much part of LGBTQ life as a bottle of wine in the evening is for decent people.

So there you have it chaps. The news from Sodom. Now, go and wash your hands...

2 February 2013 at 14:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Not even zombies could redeem 'Pride & Prejudice.'"

Points awarded for referencing the internet meme there.

2 February 2013 at 14:56  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

For the record, BBC America is shockingly awful. I had such great hopes. It seems 65% of the schedule is consumed with re-runs of 'Top Gear.' The only show even remotely watchable is 'Law & Order: UK' - which is without doubt the lowest quality cop show I have ever seen come out of the UK. (OK. It might show Dr Who as well. However, there is no Doctor but John Pertwee. As for this modern pretender, I don't know him.) BBC America is by and large inert broadcast matter that insists on occupying some of the frequency space on my television.

Lord Lavendon

I am not much of one to read fiction, but I would choose Dostoevsky, Orwell, or Hemmingway. I also have an affinity for short stories by Raymond Carver.


I was in a book store with my younger daughter (who wants to be a cop) some weeks back and offered her a choice of "Post Mortem: Determining the Cause of Death" or "Pride and Prejudice." She chose the former, and punched me in the arm for offering the later. Yes, I was trolling her, and, yes, my efforts were sufficiently rewarded. It was she who told me she couldn't even make it through "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." Ironically enough, she had to read P&P for her Language Arts class this year. It was painful. For her. Not for me. I found it somewhat humorous.


2 February 2013 at 15:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl. You can register your thoughts on the BBC at their weekly listings site (UK)

2 February 2013 at 16:15  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 February 2013 at 16:43  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Brother Ivo,
I worked at the BBC television Centre in the late 70s & early 80s and it was obvious then that the up and coming staff were all young left wing arty crafty types who's career plan reckoned that the more radical they were, the quicker they would get on.

I try and avoid watching BBC programmes and News if at all possible because I know I will get a biased view from them.

2 February 2013 at 16:55  
Blogger non mouse said...

Br. Ivo: Thank you for another thought-provoking post.

I support your general message and would add: the other 'polarity' that afflicts Auntie is religio-racial. As others are also mentioning, the nation's own race and adherents to its own religion no longer address the national audience through the broadcaster. Nor can we address them and be understood. The BBC is indeed a valuable instrument for Marxist "Cultural Invasion": even as it imposes the views of aliens, it oppresses knowledge, thought and expression among the people they dispossess.

Truly, then: none of the groups in question are even as good at understanding Jane Austen as Mr. Jacobs, with his (seemingly) literal reading @ 14:14! Lost on them all are her incisive observation of character (both male and female), her acuity in viewing social interaction, and the resulting brilliance of her irony. Certainly, much of this depends from her approach to love ... but, as your post suggests, romance relates to marriage and (Austen knows) to the maintenance of a healthy, moral society.

I think your post might suggest also: Austen does not share the modern obsession with vulgarity and explicit depiction - even degradation - of bodily functions. Instead, she promotes another reality and a way of life that 'the strangers do not know.'

That's why Lord Lavendon is right @ 14:19 -- it is why generations of young British ladies (of all classes) have enjoyed and learned from her work. I know one or two who continue to do so despite the machinations of our 'masters.' Deo Gratias.

And if some of us still like Mr. Darcy -- so be it.

Cont'd... esp in view of Mr. Jacobs' later post.

2 February 2013 at 16:56  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

We should make a list of every person in the known universe who:

1. Has a Y chromosome AND

2. Has ever read P&P for any reason other than having a metaphorical gun put to his head by a teacher of English Literature.

It would be a short list.

Ted: "So Bob, you gonna watch the game this weekend?"

Bob: "No, I thought I would read Pride and Prejudice instead"

Ted: " .... [BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA] Good one, Bob."


2 February 2013 at 17:32  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Try BBC iPlayer on your computer. Some excellent 'who dunnits' on there and other programmes of interest.

Interesting insights into the strange, demented world of PN. Do be careful and HAVE plenty of rest between visits.

Have you ever considered writing a novel? 'The Inspector Visits - Insights into the Weird and Whacky' springs to mind.

2 February 2013 at 17:43  
Blogger GGAANN said...

Its now too late for the BBC to be constrained or curtailed, the direction of travel for UK society has too much momentum, the question is whether an intact BBC could be useful when our children/grandchildren try and put the pieces back together?

2 February 2013 at 17:58  
Blogger non mouse said...


Thank you, Mr. Jacobs @ 15:46. I certainly share your approval of Hemingway's work. Horrifying as some of his anecdotes may be, he shares that tendency with others. The great writers in our culture, from the conservers of Beowulf through the Bard, all have a 'nasty' level. Personally, I prevent nightmares by skipping those bits -- because I maintain that our great ones practice sublimity by giving the reader a better place to go. That is what the post-moderns fail to do.

I was especially interested by your reference to zombies, though! The other day I discussed said beings with a young black woman: she was considering and justifying a claim that slavery had turned her people into "zombies."

Naturally, I turned to the dictionary (in this case Webster's), and, as so often in English, found several applications for the word.

Certainly the concept most commonly depicts mindless, useless individuals. However, "zombie" relates to the snake gods beloved of its Voodoo/Hoodoo/Obeah origins. Consequently, I think the interesting bit lies in the development: Zombies can also be the re-activated, re-enlivened dead. By extension then, sorcery can re-empower the mindless ones.

Depending on who uses it, how, when, and where, I say that can be seriously scary. Consider its application as Black Magic, and its relation to our own symbolism of snakes.

On the other hand, I'm all for re-activating minds through the Anglican Austen, and by other great writers from our traditional - very Christian - mould.

2 February 2013 at 17:59  
Blogger Bill said...

I might once have agreed with you, but for the last two days (Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd February 2013) the Today programme on Radio 4 has given a voice only to those opposed to gay marriage - I heard no-one interviewed who supports this. It is difficult to say if this is a measure designed to damage the present Coalition (& Conservative dominated) government, or to reflect the views of the current Chairman of the BBC Trustees, Lord Patton (who is a Catholic).

Whatever the reason, the BBC has definitely not presented an unbiased, impartial viewpoint in recent days - and not in the way you would have us believe.

2 February 2013 at 18:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Chaps, if these foulers of marriage win, the next stage will be the LGBT urging sufferers to create an artificial family...

From Pink News...

“UK: High Court rules in favour of gay male couple in parental dispute with lesbian couples”

The odd balls are somewhat alarmed as it “will put people off” in coming up with the sperm to complete a couple of lesbians happiness, or lesbians accepting the stuff as there may well be unwelcome intrusion in years to come. Rather good news, don’t you think ?

Looks like the LGBT campaign will be straight back at parliament to change the ruling.

You see MPs, you will NEVER be rid of this crowd. Whatever you give them, they put in their pocket, and are straight back for more !

2 February 2013 at 18:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

non mouse

Current zombie lore says that zombies are dead bodies re-animated by a virus that lives in the head. That's why you have to shoot zombies in the head. It kills the virus. And there really is a book called Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. That was the source of the comment.


2 February 2013 at 18:56  
Blogger OldJim said...

Who would have thought? It seems that us Brits have given a quasi-monopoly to a single state broadcaster, with whom neither Br Ivo on the one hand nor the cast of Pink News and Bill on the other are really happy.

If only there were some other established body in another domain largely created for the purposes of the state by which I could explain analogically what we had done here.

2 February 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Carl,

To follow Dodo's post up, we have a lot of good detective dramas out there :

1. Midsommer Murders

2. Agatha Christie's Poirot

3. Sherlock Holmes (any version, but I particularly like "Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century"- a cartoon from my teens).

And of course if you don't like any of that there is always "The Taste", which is an American food show, with our very own British -Jewish Nigella Lawson.

It is "elementary, my dear Mr Jacobs" (LOL).

2 February 2013 at 19:38  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

PS- I would also add the adaptation of GK Chesterton's "Father Brown" to the list, much more entertaining than the "Father Dowling" series; perhaps they might make an adaptation of the 'Rabbi Small' books?

2 February 2013 at 20:06  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Danjo,

"Dr Who" had an openly lesbian relationship in the Christmas special...

2 February 2013 at 20:07  
Blogger OldJim said...

In the spirit of my earlier post, I am compiling some pros and cons on the BBC


-Because of its unique place within the state, and perhaps partly because of its historic ability to compel support from British Citizens, it often produces pieces of a much higher intellectual and aesthetic character than other otherwise comparable institutions often seem to be capable of realising

-By supporting, with its enviable funds and position, those who are capable of sharing its views and consequently participating within it, it regularly produces individuals of fine cultural discrimination, who are often very good adverts for it

-By being established, it largely avoids having to make base appeals to "popularity", thereby securing its content from being determined by the lowest common denominator - or, still worse, by elitist's feverish imaginings of what the lowest common denominator might be.

-it helps to foster a unique sense of "Britishness" by ritualising certain acts and allowing all citizens to familarise themselves with certain views, landscapes and occasions.


-It will often fabricate a far-left opinion and caricature a conservative position, and then try to convince people that it is positively virtuous for standing in the middle it has fabricated

-its position means that it is only really answerable to interests and very rarely to ideals - the state might not like a particular thing it does and in a particular circumstance the public might be livid with it, but neither can hurt it as a matter of principle in the short term, because its privileged position insulates it against these sorts of attacks

-it pleases no-one, it is the product of compromise and its core beliefs are heavily determined in their expression by contemporary fashions

-its links to the state are gravely close, compromising from the start one of its key institutional duties: to criticise governmental action

-it cannot adduce very good moral arguments for its present monopoly... it is just that Brits like to solve conflicts this way

Anyone got any others?

2 February 2013 at 20:09  
Blogger OldJim said...


Are the Father Brown adaptations actually good? I was really hoping that they would be but the stories mean to much to me for me to risk their being spoiled

2 February 2013 at 20:14  
Blogger William said...


You heretic!

Everyone knows that Tom Baker was the one true Doctor. John merely prepared the way.

2 February 2013 at 20:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Old Jim, Regretfully the BBC needs to be privatised. Much of it’s managerial personnel, especially the newsroom, will fight any suggestion of this happening because it is unlikely they will ever again be employed in the medium of television.

2 February 2013 at 20:25  
Blogger non mouse said...

Thanks Mr. Jacobs @ 18:56. Yes, I see.
Though I also may not be able to read the whole thing through, I'd better find me a copy. I'll have to see what, if anything, is going on with this bit of cultural interlace.

On New Zombie Lore: the idea of "a virus that lives in the head" certainly could symbolise things like Marxist brainwashing and other sorceries!* However, .... shooting the victim kills his viruses (modernism)? On the one hand, it works etymologically. I just checked Chambers and Cassell's Latin: "virus" is from Latin venom; poison -- often from snakes. Also Greek poison.

Still, it might be well to consider the pragmatics of the reality/scientific level. It's to be hoped no bystanders get blood-bathed in the process.

*There being 'nothing new under the sun,' one here remembers Merlin ... I was quite upset on discovering that he is a figure of AntiChrist!

2 February 2013 at 20:47  
Blogger non mouse said...

I'm with William on Dr. Who!!!

2 February 2013 at 20:48  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Old Jim,

I don't really want to say, but I am sure that others will have a view on that. I wasn't sure that Flambeau, was portrayed properly and was only in 1 episode. And the first story would have been deleted by his grace- the murderer being an Anglican Vicar, who did away with his infamous bi-sexual brother...

2 February 2013 at 20:50  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


There isn't one TV show on American TV that I go out of my way to watch. But Netflix offers options. He is a short list of the British Mystery shows I have watched over the past several years in no particular order.

1. Touch of Frost
2. Last Detective
3. Suburban Murders
4. Prime Suspect
5. Cracker
6. Inspector Lewis
7. Taggert
8. Sherlock Holmes (with Jeremy Brett)
9. Poirot
10. Blue Murders
11. Campion
12. Foyle's War

A few others the name of which I forget.

Midsomer Murders gets a special mention, because I am fairly described as a Midsomer Murder addict. I have seen every episode up to Tom Barnaby's retirement.

And of course the Greatest TV Police Drama of all time:

Inspector Morse


2 February 2013 at 20:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 February 2013 at 21:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hannah: ""Dr Who" had an openly lesbian relationship in the Christmas special..."

Isn't that just reflecting society back? Presumably, it is also specifically influenced by writers like Russell T Davis. All the channels have the "gay kiss" moments in soap operas. Russell T Davis also wrote for Channel 4, including the surprising Queer As Folk.

2 February 2013 at 21:02  
Blogger non mouse said...

Like your Mystery list also, Mr. Jacobs. The genre is great for developing analytical skills!

And I agree about Inspector Morse --- at least until the end where things began to sicken in response to post-modernist style. So sad when he died, though!

One notes that John Thaw died only a couple of years later. Dexter is now 82.

2 February 2013 at 21:24  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

DanJo said 'Isn't that just reflecting society back?'
No, I don't think so, only a very small marginalised part of society that gets far too much attention. More than it deserves.

2 February 2013 at 22:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Good man Integrity !

It’s about time we all stated our views on disturbing ‘minority interests’ given air time, what !

2 February 2013 at 22:08  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...


"1. Has a Y chromosome AND

2. Has ever read P&P for any reason other than having a metaphorical gun put to his head by a teacher of English Literature.

You should add me to that list then. Not an enormous fan myself - I personally prefer Mansfield Park, which is far wittier than P&P, or Persuasion, which is substantially better written. P&P is overrated, and a large portion of its fame derives from "that scene" in the BBC adaptation.

Jane Eyre - now that's a great read.

(By the way - you should look up "Waking the Dead" if you haven't already - another good BBC police drama; Britain's answer to CSI. "Silent Witness" is alright, but rather like "Spooks" before it, has become noticeably lefty in its plotlines.)

2 February 2013 at 22:15  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Mr Integrity

It gets as much attention as the writers dare think they can get away with. The writers have an apologetic purpose, but there are limits beyond which they cannot go - at least for a general audience. A homosexual character devoid of homosexual stereotypes (and thus otherwise unobservable) is acceptable. A homosexual kiss might be acceptable. But you won't see homosexuality introduced a la 'Brokeback Mountain' for fear of 500,000 remotes suddenly being used to change the channel. People tolerate homosexuality 'out there.' They don't want it walking through the front door. And they damn sure don't want to see it up close.

That's why main characters are not gay, and why detailed plot development of a character's private gay life isn't included. The average viewer would just turn it off.


2 February 2013 at 22:23  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


No self-respecting Time Lord would allow himself to be seen in public wearing that ridiculous scarf.


2 February 2013 at 22:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I didn't say the list would be empty. ;)

I will look for 'Waking the Dead.' I am always looking for good mystery shows, and I think Netflix has offered it to me.


2 February 2013 at 23:08  
Blogger Ambrose Baader said...

Carl Jacobs,

The Wire
Breaking Bad
Malcolm in the Middle
Boardwalk Empire

Any one of these is better than anything ever anytime anywhere produced by the Brits. 


Do you rhyme with banjo? As in I'm off to Alhambra with DanJo on my knee?

3 February 2013 at 00:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Mr Integrity: "DanJo said 'Isn't that just reflecting society back?'
No, I don't think so, only a very small marginalised part of society that gets far too much attention. More than it deserves."

Perhaps the BBC ought to can Songs of Praise in that case.

3 February 2013 at 08:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "But you won't see homosexuality introduced a la 'Brokeback Mountain' for fear of 500,000 remotes suddenly being used to change the channel."

As I mentioned earlier, we had Queer As Folk on Channel 4 and that was back in 1999. I doubt it would even get a showing on BBC1 today. Brokeback Mountain is extremely tame in comparison. There was also Tipping The Velvet which was in fact shown on BBC in 2002 and, as I recall, shocked and titillated a lot of people ... mostly men with the titillation, I expect. Queer As Folk was a revelation to me, it almost qualifies as a life-changing event. Genuinely so. It was shockingly sexual of course but the main thing for me was that the core characters simply didn't care about disapproving social attitudes. I found that really quite exciting as it completely reversed what we were supposed to feel. I suddenly saw that freedom from oppression (i.e. the tyranny of the majority) was possible.

3 February 2013 at 09:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Incidentally, there were a lot of complaints about Queer As Folk from normal gay people as it fed into a particular stereotype which was probably true around Canal Street in Manchester and Soho in London.

3 February 2013 at 09:20  
Blogger Manfarang said...


"Dr Who had an openly lesbian relationship in the Christmas special..."

Fings aint wot they useta be.

3 February 2013 at 11:18  
Blogger Bridget said...

So, pace DanJo, if one believes that engaging in homosexuality is an offense against the moral order one is automatically castigated as a member of something called the oppressive majority. Interesting how oppression actually takes shape. Often it starts by abusing language.

3 February 2013 at 13:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

If that's how you choose to read that part of my comment then be my guest.


3 February 2013 at 13:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Actually, I'll add something more to that. In places like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, women have specific gender roles and have restricted freedom as a result. Some of that is cultural, and some of it is religious. I think it's fair to say that supporters of the inequality between men and women, one might even say the oppression of women, see it as a moral issue and the behaviour of women who choose not to dress modestly or consider themselves as mistresses of their own destiny as immoral. Obviously, the issue turns on the justification, and who's to say that the men are not right there?

3 February 2013 at 14:05  
Blogger Bridget said...

You seem to assume that possessing a "gender role" automatically restricts one's freedom. That we are all "free" with respect to our destiny. In fact differences, what you choose to call inequalities, are determinative of who we are and who we are called to become. Boys grow to become men, girls grow to become women. We take our cue from such differences and derive our understanding of order from them. A culture that allows it acceptable that boys grow up to behave like women is a debased culture, not a free one. It is a culture that ill-serves all its children. 

3 February 2013 at 14:46  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Carl,

Of course the list of America crime dramas to watch are :

Murder she wrote
Father Dowling
Diagnosis Murder
CSI New York
CSI Miami

3 February 2013 at 14:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Bridget: "You seem to assume that possessing a "gender role" automatically restricts one's freedom."

No. I gave two very specific examples which you have ignored. My point was that you assume your version of morality is right and therefore any restriction of freedom, or worse, is okay as a result. My examples clearly show the flaw in your thinking. No, there's no need to thank me. It's the least I can do to help.

3 February 2013 at 14:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 February 2013 at 14:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

As the great man said:

"Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development and, if possible, prevent the formation of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own."

3 February 2013 at 15:01  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


The above quote reveals the anti-Christian perspective very well. Its all a matter for individual freedom, unhindered by the established morals of a culture.

The terms imply repression and wickedness in transmitting customs onto the next generation or expecting and enforcing standards of behaviour. This is described as tyranny, compulsion and meddling.

Its the anti-thesis of a Christian social order and the responsibilities it places on parents and social institutions to encourage and promote behaviours in tune with God's expectations.

3 February 2013 at 21:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty. You have an oppressive, totalitarian streak in you which you often display like this when the discussion encourages it. You'd fit in very well 500-600 years ago I think. In fact, you'd happily be involved in the religious excesses of the time, I dare say.

4 February 2013 at 06:58  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Not at all. My comments formed the basis of my thesis on the pitfalls of Liberalism at University 30 years ago and I hold to them today. Having a Christian culture with common standards of decency and right conduct, does not mean the Inquisition. That was then; this is now.

Read the section you posted from Mills again. It is a recipe for social anarchy. He envisaged some form of 'invisible hand', like Adam Smith, making his liberalism work. They were both wrong.

At that time, the knowledge of the social construction of reality and the psychological and psychiatric consequences of removing clear cultural boundaries, was not understood. It is now. Also, at that time, politics and religion were indistinguishable. They are not now.

And, for the record, I do not know how I would have behaved in the 16th century and neither do you. What a really crass argument!

4 February 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger Jon said...

OldJim - you may be interested to know that Channel 4 is state owned too. So the BBC is not a state-owned monopoly, but part of a duopoly.

Sorry to trouble you with facts.

4 February 2013 at 14:03  
Blogger Bridget said...

May I recommend to you the effortlessly greater Maurice Cowling and his book on the moral tyrant Mill?
Mill of course palms the ace when talking of "right" and "wrong" mandates, as though he himself  is not mandating what the measure of right and wrong is when it comes to mandates.

A Community, as opposed to a State that issues mandates, is possible when those who participate in it possess a shared understanding of what constitutes it as meaningful and life-enabling. This meaning emerges from reality as authentically experienced by those who live within community and finds expression in historical forms which often include norms on how its members be attired in public, as this in turn plays into the more comprehensive understanding of how participants relate to themselves, to each other, to the natural world and to the experienced tension with transcendent reality that gives orientation to all ultimate order. The fact that a cultural norm obliges a woman to dress in a certain way is not a restriction of her freedom; on the contrary, it is part of what renders her free to participate in the richness of life that the culture of the community enables. 
You might find this way of thinking hard to comprehend being yourself, perhaps, a product of a modern dark age where individuals have increasingly lost rational connection to, and spiritual rootedness in, the various realms of reality: an age where ideologues like Mill, instead of seeking to conform with truth, mandate reality to conform with their will.
That girl in Afghanistan? Is the cultural norm that would prohibit her from masturbating publicly on the street an unwarranted restriction on her freedom to control her own destiny, or a norm that aids her in understanding and achieving her true destiny? 

4 February 2013 at 14:05  
Blogger OldJim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 February 2013 at 15:43  
Blogger OldJim said...

Jon -

no worries, I very rarely feel troubled by facts

4 February 2013 at 15:43  
Blogger OldJim said...

Jon -

Largely because, in my first post, I was careful to refer to a "quasi-monopoly" - referring, of course, not to public ownership but to funding through the license fee, which insulates the BBC from incurring financial penalties as a consequence of unpopular content

More than this, by the end of my second post I would have imagined that only the very densest person would have believed that I was actually talking about the BBC at all.

4 February 2013 at 16:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Bridget, are you yet another of Julia's IDs?

4 February 2013 at 18:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Bridget: "The fact that a cultural norm obliges a woman to dress in a certain way is not a restriction of her freedom; on the contrary, it is part of what renders her free to participate in the richness of life that the culture of the community enables."

On the assumption that you're not Julia, with whom I really can't be bothered arguing, I'll take this bit. The cultural and religious norms of Saudi Arabia are for women to wear full face veils, not drive cars, not travel unescorted by men, and not have a vote or hold high office ... at least for the moment. It's essentially Salafi-interpreted Sharia Law governed by a patriarical structure. Now, as products of the society there are no doubt lots of women who find it natural and simply accept their lot in life. There are women who do not want to live like that. The first corresponds to some notion of positive freedom as their culture does not present them with a full set of choices. The second corresponds to negative freedom as their culture actively prevents them from exercising their choices. It's a curious argument to say they're free simply because they fit in to the society constructed around them, willingly or not.

4 February 2013 at 18:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Of course, as with most political ideas, the whole thing turns on some notion of human nature.

4 February 2013 at 18:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The thing about forcing the women who don't want to live like that to be "free" is that it aligns with the thinking of Jean Jacques Rousseau. Ironically, that was one of the main themes of the French Revolution and it also lends itself to modern totalitarianism.

4 February 2013 at 18:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "My comments formed the basis of my thesis on the pitfalls of Liberalism at University 30 years ago and I hold to them today."


4 February 2013 at 18:49  
Blogger Bridget said...

 "The first corresponds to some notion of positive freedom as their culture does not present them with a full set of choices. The second corresponds to negative freedom as their culture actively prevents them from exercising their choices."

So, the girl who chooses to masturbate openly on the street. Where does she fit in?

4 February 2013 at 22:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

You are Julia, I think.

4 February 2013 at 23:02  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Modern Christianity is not the same thing as traditional Islam.

We are talking about a country that accepts freedom of conscience and the pushing and testing of cultural boundaries without stoning or hanging. Do stop suggesting the two are the same.

Your version of liberalism, aligned with atheism, leads to social disorder, chaos and misery. Every moral code accepted by society is seen as somehow oppressive and restricting freedom. Its an anything goes message - do want you want to achieve 'happiness'. For children and the young this creates insecurity and uncertainty.

4 February 2013 at 23:38  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

The Archbishop of York Dr Sentamu, preached the following at St Paul’s today on our age of selfishness and individualism.

"Ours is really the most self-regarding culture in many centuries. We make choices as individuals, we have rights as individuals - if it works for you, do it .. if it no longer works for you throw it away and go on to the next thing. Never was the human universe so large yet so small. Never was a culture so written in the first person singular. In the words of the late George Harrison, 'I me, mine'."

How true.

4 February 2013 at 23:53  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 February 2013 at 01:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, I'm not arguing that they're the same. I made the point about Afghanustan and Saudi Arabia to highlight a specific flaw in Julia's thinking about the justification for intrusion on freedon. It's a point I make over and over but it is rarely if ever tackled head on. As for your stuff, you want to have your cake and eat it here in the UK as we're a free society consructed along liberal lines so you can assert you religious beliefs and political aspirations for a religiously totalitarian society with impunity.

5 February 2013 at 05:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Julia's point about public indecency is the classic retort to Mills political philosophy as I'm sure she well knows. It's a reasonable point in itself if we were to be purist about the core nature of his Harm Principle. That said, I'm not sure framing it in a Communitarian response is such a good idea as there are so many things to be said about that.

5 February 2013 at 05:47  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


No answer, eh? A Christian culture, individual freedom of conscience and the right to test and challenge boundaries can go in hand. Why not? We do not have to embrace the moral lawlessness of full blown utilitarian liberalism. It can operate within the confines of evidence based knowledge about what promotes social wellbeing and what does not. Your comparison of other religions with modern Christianity is unreasonable and just a rhetorical ploy.

5 February 2013 at 11:49  
Blogger John Magee said...

"The BBC holds a privileged role in the nation"

This is another mystery about the UK Americans find difficult to understand. Our radio broadcasting stations were allowed to be privately owned right from the beginning when a few primitive radio stations began broadcasting and radios with earphones were available by the millions starting in the early 1920's. From the beginning there were certain ICC and later FCC Federal regulations but they were created to insure competiion and that a wide spectrum of views among radio corporations be allowed to exist and not allow monopolies.

The only thing we have that comes close to the BBC is PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, founded in 1970 which took over the National Educational Television founded in 1954 and is funded by the taxpayers and very liberal in tone. Conservatives here are doing their best to get it defunded and made to exist as a private entity.

A television tax would be unthinkable here. Privilidged roles concerning freedom of speech, which the BBC has enjoyed since the 1920's would make people extremenly wary here. Especially when this infringed on our constitutional rights.

Does the BBC have a radio monopoly still? In the USA radio has given everyone, including conservatives, the freedom to own privately companies. These companies can own one or many radio stations nationwide. This allows their own views broadcast and is why there is the enormous success of conservative talk radio here. It's all about the competition of ideas here and not a tax payer paid for state run radio and TV monopoly.

Success thrives failure dies.

My guess is the BBC wastes tax payer pounds on a grand scale which all government agencies with unlimited public funds available to feed their needs tend to do.

5 February 2013 at 14:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "No answer, eh?"


5 February 2013 at 15:42  

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