No, it’s ok, not some strange and unexpected Discworld twist to the current storm in a media teacup…
Thank you for the comments on the last post. Sorry I haven’t replied to them there, but hopefully saying thanks here will cover it. :o)
I am still, I’m afraid, in a fairly low mood – hence the strange, hybrid nature of this post. And the fact that I seem to have lost the ability to write in proper paragraphs. And sentences.
With reference to the ridiculous BBC furore. JR and RB shouldn’t have said what they said, clearly. It’s a twattish thing to do to boast in public about the people you’ve had sex with anyway, to boast about having had sex with people you haven’t is worse, and to do it on their grandfather’s answerphone takes the biscuit. It shouldn’t make a difference, but it does, that Andrew Sachs is such an obviously sweet and lovely man.
That said, the reaction has been ludicrously OTT. The show when it was originally broadcast received 2 complaints. The remaining 29,998 people (approx) who have complained since then have done so on the basis of a newspaper firestorm. The newspaper firestorm is, clearly, not aimed at any genuine concern for the moral health of the country, or its broadcasters. It’s not even, I think, particularly a product of the build-’em-up-to-knock-’em-down approach that is such a staple of the UK tabloids. As far as I can see it’s part of an ongoing and relentless attack on the BBC.
The right-wing media hate the BBC. In the case of the Murdoch press that’s because their parent company doesn’t like the fact that its TV wing is forced to compete with the higher quality and more popular channels produced by the BBC. The rest of them probably just object to the fact that the political impartiality of the BBC’s reporting makes their own partisan bias more obvious, and therefore less effective. (It certainly explains why, when the BBC fail to endorse its latest witch hunt, the Daily Mail all but accuses them of communism…)
Whatever the reasons, that’s why they publish an endless stream of attacks on the BBC. The attacks can be disappointingly effective. Ask a random member of the public about TV phone-in scandals and they’re far more likely to remember the isolated incidents on Blue Peter than they are the years-long frauds on Ant and Dec and GMTV that made commercial broadcasters hundreds of thousands of pounds. The attacks on Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand are just more of the same. It’s worth bearing in mind that when we read stories about ‘decency’ and ‘offence’ the subtext throughout is ‘Kill the evil BBC’.
On a different note, the return of more-or-less full-strength depression has sent me scurrying back to familiar comfort rituals. One of those is reading Terry Pratchett books. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of depression this last year-and-a-bit, and I was looking through my pile (other people might have a shelf…) and realised that I already know all these books backwards. Even in the limited state of concentration I’m capable of at the moment, re-reading stuff I’m too familiar with just won’t work. I end up still feeling depressed, but also bored and frustrated.
Just as a matter of interest, I found myself looking on Amazon to see if there were any Discworld books that I haven’t read (I was aware in a dim sort of way that I haven’t bought one in a while), and I’ve been surprised to find out that’s there’s actually loads:
Thief of Time
The Wee Free Men
Most of the ones I haven’t read are comparatively recent (well, post 2001 anyway…) and just reflect the fact that I’ve been a bit remiss in keeping up with new ones, although I have read some – The Truth, for example, and Night Watch. What really surprises me are the two earlier ones, and I’m particularly surprised because as far as I can tell they both have Granny Weatherwax in, and she’s my second favourite Discworld character. (Death is my favourite character, Commander Vimes my third favourite.)
Anyway, in my current state of mind this counts as a definite result. Even if my concentration only lasts a couple of pages at a time, new pages have got to be better than overly familiar ones. I think I can feel a trip to Waterstone’s coming on. Now, if I can just persuade myself to sit up straight, put on shoes and leave the flat this might actually count as a plan…
(Memo to self – check closing time of shop before leaving flat – that could be very annoying.)