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Archive for the ‘media’ Category

yes it’s that book by George Orwell

My rather plush copy came with a forward by Robert Harris although that had nothing to with my purchase – I simply mention it here because he claims in the forward that George originally thought that he had produced a gem of a book but by the time he had typed it up he despised it, not that Harris offers any explanation of that change himself…

I think it is simple – originally he wanted to call it 1948 and in changing the title to 1984 it was robbed of the intended impact Orwell intended it to have.

Awhile ago I read George’s book of Essays and found them such a profound read I blogged about them [please note that there are more essays in this collection than the recently released Shooting an Elephant with an introduction by Jeremy Paxman who does have a grand mind so if you want a smaller slice of Orwell and a word from Paxman this volume might be more to your liking – as a note just to be clear, every story in ‘Shooting…’ is in the collection of Essays…] and to make my case that 1984 is 1948 I’ll have to go back to those essays…

Part of the book has comments that Orwell made as observations in his essays. The prolonged rationing of the post war years gives credence to the idea of perpetual war and the ‘why’ of it. There were still identity cards…

Alright the extensive camera and listening devices were not around in 1948 – but all else in the book would have been possible then.  Indeed the ideas of doublethink and thoughtcrime were lifted from his pointed criticism of the intellectual left.  The idea of having a political class always in power subject to various tests – ability and hunger for power could well be the critique of someone who has seen anarchy and collectivism work – this is what has become quite clear in the british model of democracy, indeed this has grown and become even clearer since Thatcher and Blair… And when was the last president of the USA to be elected with a smaller campaigning budget than the other guy?

The most mentioned departments are called [and no spoilers here, thank you] Ministry of Peace, Love, and Truth – at one point the War Department became the Ministry of Defense… The judicial arm of the government is called the ‘Home Office’ where we can all feel a warm glow of being looked after… Ministry of Truth is harder but if you read Orwell’s Essays you find that he thought that the owners of the press, part of what was [and is] called ‘The Establishment’ and because they wish to continue the status quo ie staying in an influential place where there situation is protected – it is in the media’s interest to sell the story that they think will create the right reaction from within us… Either things don’t get reported and therefore never ‘happen’ in any way we would know or they are told in ways that will provoke the right reaction – note how folk accept each paper has an ‘editorial view’…

The other piece in this jigsaw is the civil service who can be vetted and made sure that their views and work comply to their orders and of course the higher up the ladder they climb and the fewer they become the more closely they can be watched.

And this is were the Thought Police come in… with the job of maintaining the work so ordered by the political class in the Post War Consensus… And the rest of us are left to sink in a way that blurred the lines between the middle and lower classes – partly by raising some up and making it possible only for so many to rise higher… Leaving the grand rump of society to a different set of rules that seek to govern their behaviour and to hide the insidious truth of the thoughtpolice and the hopeless plight they were in under the political rulers .

The question to some extent runs about why Orwell wrote this book. I think he wanted to have a much wider audience for his political observations than his essays received and in so changing the dates to coincide with the publishers demand that it not be ‘1948’ he felt it was robbed of it’s power and force – which would answer the question of why he thought it a terrible copy once he had typed it up…

Ironically one can see the sense that in the publisher being part of the establishment makes the case, in a small way, for the de facto Ministry of Truth…

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or is it just from somewhere nearby that hallowed place.

Yes, as the storm rumbles on around Westminster I decided to have a look at Christmas in today’s world. I will, however, pre-warn you to say that I’m a bit of a ‘humbug’ would be a drastic case of understatement…

It doesn’t matter if you are a christian or an atheist or even believers in Other faiths – You Will Not Escape The Crushingly Good Cheered Adverts To Focus Spending On Your Family and Friends…

As I was passing through an internet site I saw an advert for gadgets at a reasonable, or even cheap, £50. This is itself a terrible message in that it tells us that spending £50 should be considered norm or cheap for a present and in today’s crisis of debt and recession!

But not to worry the tv tells us that we can get ever cheaper deals and that we should all be One [especially on BBC One] – and that means presents in today’s world – if you don’t believe me, for you who love christmas just try to imagine what it would be like if you had christmas with the old family and what the reaction would be if you merely forgot the pressies, nevermind making an idealistic stand against making relative judgements of worth of family members, friends and associates…

And here at the idealistic end we come to what Christmas should be about [and for the historians who argue that it’s just a pagan celebration that the ‘church took over’ – the slaves and servants took 25 Dec becuase in Rome, before christianity had managed to swim to The West, it was the equavelant of a bank holiday and so they could gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth together… ] it is about God entering Life as We Know IT and putting up with all it’s messiness, especially in poverty…

Those Three Gifts? Well, unless Joseph and Mary had great discipline they would have probably made use of them as they became exiles in Egypt. As we know how we still care for the stranger who passes over borders for a better, or safer, life. Possibly rather than buying presents we should be lobying government to treat immigrants, for whatever reason they are here, with more understanding and less judgement. The planet may be small and we might feel there’s not enough space left ‘around here’ but in the face of the Christmas message we should defend our ‘neighbour’ – no matter where they come from.

Christ did not come from the North Pole, nor did Saint Nicholas who gave presents out. Father Christmas did not dress in flamboyant red until Coca-cola ‘pimped’ him up in the 50s/60s… There was, and still exists, in some places in the UK, the odd tradition of ‘First Stepping’ where on New Year’s Eve you’d go down the street and spend time with everybody… if that’s not nearer Christmas I don’t know what is – the ability to welcome all-comers and see everyone within the community as being one…

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or just plain propaganda by the government…

It’s not new, but then it’s not big or clever although it does work.

The longest running government sponsored programme I know about – that was actively meant to affect folks’ behaviour is The Archers on Radio 4, originally being funded, if memory serves right, by the Department for Agriculture or it’s equivalent to try to get those recalcitrant and stubborn farmers to use modern practices and apply for any grants that were available to help them along their path. I used to regularly make sure I listenned to this as it was a rather quaint yet informative programme about rural life – it’s hardships and it’s activities and enabled me to have a  good eye on how things would hit those I wouldn’t otherwise have a clue about. Now, well, now it seems more pre-occupied in being a rural Eastenders which is not something I want and only really listen to The Archers now because my radio dial is stuck on Radio 4…

But whilst that may seem harmless enough – originating from a desire to have better farming practices picked up and used – having programmes which are about showing how good government policies are regarding their decisions – not about whether or not we engage with the government or the little choice we have when the police get involved in our lives or tragically – when we need them – is it right that they use TV to engineer our views?

Instead of taking their arguments to the hustings and arguing their corner the government is now paying for a good view of their decisions – including having an editorial role (never mind the obvious – ‘If you do a good job for us on this one, there’ll be plenty more…).

And the story is to be found here. The problem is is how does this leave us free from propaganda and able to see a true and whole picture of what is going on rather than being tucked up into bed with comforting thoughts that the police – civilian or otherwise always behave nicely and never in an intimidating fashion and the next series about the ‘Border Force’ will not show immigration officers being short with failed applications or that they might, just might, say something about where someone comes from…

True we could always turn off the dread TV but then – how do we know which is propaganda and which is serious documentary? It turns out to be a strange short fall from being ‘force fed’ to being ‘fed by fakery’ as the government seeks to change our minds –

The show was a hit. Three million tuned in, and just months later more than twice as many people — 62 per cent — had a positive view of PCSOs.

The Home Office was so pleased — its head of marketing was happy to boast of an “excellent return on investment” — it paid £400,000 for a second series and has ordered a third for next year.

Shows the mind of a State that wants to control Our Minds…

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well, alright it’s a rather tacky way of sticking a review of The Kingdom and The Narnia Chronicles: Prince Caspian together in one title…

I think both films are both fantastic and gritty. The idea of a large bomber that causes such damage as to eventually let the FBI have permission to send an investigative team to Saudi Arabia – we all know bombings happen but the construction of the piece is fictional and that shouldn’t be forgotten. And then there’s the ‘appearance’ of Abu Hamza – the bogeyman, this would be possible given that the first blast was factual… but it shows a certain desperation to both lend credence to the film’s basis and remind us that this could be a genuine flash point. [ie they do have the knowledge to commit things like that and there are real people like that…] After these two things, the second being fairly minor The Kingdom is a fairly realistic down to earth grit fueled film – which takes the opportunity to show the Saudi Arabian lifestyle and conditions [I can’t be sure that women are allowed to drive yet…] Despite some bad reviews on this side of the pond {in the UK} I listened to an interview with a BBC correspondent from the area that the film is set within and he argued that, whether or not you like it, the film was realistic and it was, in the end the saudi officer assigned who does some of the hard, grizzly work as the americans just stand around bewildered…

So, how does it tie in with Prince Caspian and Narnia? The entire reality behind the book and now the film is based on a fantastic realm called Narnia and a Big Lion called Aslan. Once that has been accepted it does become quite gritty in the sense of having one usurper, betrayals, courage and cowardice…

At the end of The Kingdom ‘Abu Hamza’ ie the architect of the bombings [and just to be clear here – the film has been out for awhile… and the claim for Abu is that the americans keep asking about him and then assume that they may have found him.] whispers in his last breath to a child that he shouldn’t worry becuase they will kill them all…

And grotesque and hopeless as that seems it is revealed that the leader of the FBI agents comforted a mourning fellow agent by those very words – ‘We’ll kill them all.’ High King Peter declares as he prepares for battle that they will ‘crush them all’ [which is not in the book]…

Kill them all, Crush them all – no room for quarter or mercy from any – be they FBI, bomb manufacturer or, now, Knights of Narnia. To quote a line from Lethal Weapon – There are no heroes anymore… and it is this moral ambiguity that in the end underpins the reality of The Kingdom whilst also shading the characters of C. S. Lewis from our modern point of view – in the end though after the ‘bad guy’ had said those words in Lethal Weapon – Mel Gibson broke threw into the room to prove the point wrong.

Now, after all those years and dredged into wars that don’t seem to have a clear end, even after Vietnam, the film industry doesn’t think there are heroes anymore… Just folk trying to protect their own folk with whatever means they have to hand.

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at the way the state sponsored attempt at justice is on BBC One this week at 9 O’Clock and available for the internet viewing thing is Criminal Justice written by one of the legal professionals and as such it was good to see the comfortable tone of Rumpole of the Bailey, [from the radio plays I’ve listenned to] even if Rumpole’s mind is more dangerous than a samurai’s sword (complete with samurai) by John Mortimer is nowhere to be seen – Peter Moffat’s writing is sharply focused on bringing the raw detail home to us, the viewers, so much so that we may scrape the our sense of justice upon ‘our’ system of justice…

Of course, it is also put on in a very sharp way – one episode per day for one week at peak time…

I am going to be watching the last episode of House on Thursday and then use the iplayer to watch Thursday’s episode in less quality than normal – perhaps the old BBC is getting cutthroat and is trying to displace our ‘loyalties’ to our normal shows – well after Thursday I won’t have any anyway… As I’m still waiting for the next season of NCIS and, of course, the switch off of the analogue when I’ll be more than content to watch DVDs and stuff the lot of the TV channels but the wife doesn’t entirely agree with my dismissive view of TV and we may have to get that energy hungry digital box so we can add to global warming…

The one fault (so far and returning to the point of this post)… is that the circumstances of the ‘crime’ are rather unbelievable – but that’s not the point about all of this, it’s about Criminal Justice and, so far I’d recommend it…

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two Anglican clergymwen celebrated their civil partnership at a service in a famous London church.”

Thus started Giles Fraser this morning on his mis-placed slot for Thought for the Day. Well, just as a messy barometer about how sharp his mind is – today is the 18th of June and the service was on the 31st of May, not really what I’d call ‘a few weeks ago’. True he wasn’t as nearly barking as I think he is but then again he wasn’t talking about money. I still found his semi-biblical exegisis of some note however.

Another view is expressed here, which includes some words from the Bishop of London – possibly the bishop of both Martin Dudley [who performed the service] and Giles Fraser, vicar extraordinaire…

Oddly enough, I find myself agreeing with most of what Giles argues but the fact remains that he is a clergyman himself within the denomination we know as the Church of England. Whilst it might be possible for services like this to have been carried out in a very british ‘hush-hush’ fashion this one went out to the media in a big way and the Church of England has Views On This… it went out to the media so much that for a fortnight Martin told the BBC and Papers ie Mr Media what he had done and why but no note to the Bishop…

If I was the bishop I wouldn’t be happy about that and it seems he isn’t – here’s a quote from the Bishop –

I read in the press that you had been planning this event since November. I find it astonishing that you did not take the opportunity to consult your Bishop.

But reading between the lines – he had – Martin asked for guidance and then when he wasn’t told in black and white in a response, just chose to ignore the rules and carry on regardless. Towards the end of Giles piece he argued that “…gay marriage isn’t about culture wars or church politics…” but then consider if this was not about culture wars or church politics, surely this would have been carried out either quietly or with a quick sprint to lay your head on the block in front of the bishop and ask for understanding and mercy – not to drum up as much high profile coverage as possible or of course seeking to dissuade certain friends who have easy access to the media to desist from trumpeting the issue as a clarion call to all possible friends/allies that could gather around…

So – is it likely that Martin Dudley would have tried to stay Giles Fraser from openning his opinionated jowls? Given his knee-jerk reaction towards the secular world for aide and succour: probably not. And it is this which I find so disturbing for the future of the Church of England – those at Gafcon will, as Rowan Williams the archbishop will be aware, be watching this space.

In the end though Giles Fraser comes to the very heart of the matter –

It’s not as if there’s so much real love in the world that we can afford to be dismissive of what little we do find. Which is why my view is we ought to celebrate real love however and wherever we find it.

He finds the idea of love, true love, to be a rare and precious thing – I have no doubt of its preciousness but if we take his final words then any who find themselves in that position are justified in whatever they do to follow that – including those folk who are married and decide that a friend outside the marriage is who they really love and that is clearly not what marriage or commitment is about. Indeed it is about a different culture – one that holds that LOVE is the most important thing and another which holds that COMMITMENT is.

Commitment that holds a view of tradition and it’s strange, interesting and historic values and rules should be adhered to until those rules are changed by presenting arguments and debating the issue and those who think that they don’t matter even though they belong to a denomination that does.

I said here that I thought the fight would get messy – I just didn’t think it would be this quick.

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If you want to do something but don’t like the idea of not being able to do it – just getting on and doing it is the best way forward. Shoot the gun, make them ask questions afterwards and try to smile to the camera as much as possible. If indeed the media come to the door – then they are your friends… after all, they aren’t part of the folk who think you might be wrong – on any number of counts…

What am I blathering about – well it’s the ‘non-marriage’ complete with exchange of rings of two homosexual vicars (one of whom, from New Zealand has already agreed with his local Bishop to give up the collar…) by a third (‘Robustly Heterosexual’ – his own words) vicar – Dr Martin Dudley

There are some interesting articles out and about and even a well-balanced insider’s view from Bishop Alan – some even mention that radical possible splinter group going off to meet at ‘Gafcon‘ which had to move from Jerusalem, already… which tells it’s own tale that Gafcon isn’t as popular as it might like but we can be sure of one thing though – it’s more popular than the Archbishop of Canterbury would like.

Some folk will be sympathetic and think that they love each other and they’ve done the right thing, other folk will be sympathetic and recognize that they love each other but find that doing this, at this time and against the current ‘guidelines’ is a will full attempt to force the issue others will not be so sympathetic but the question I find interesting is this – Who are they trying to ‘use’ to wrangle this thing through – ie that this is merely the first of what they hope to become a standard practise…

It’s the ‘old friend Mr Media’ which has his own agenda – as I’ve tried to highlight here – and as such could be a dangerous ally.

The media is, generally, rather sympathetic to the plight of folk who love each other and wish to celebrate their affection and commitment for each other – it also makes for pretty pictures, and that’s fine but what, generally the media don’t have sympathy for is folk who, no matter how genuinely, don’t have such a sympathetic point of view. So this hands the media a great big ball with which to bounce the church of england and say how ‘out of touch’ it is… As a stunt it is brilliant, as to the two individuals who ‘weren’t married’ I hope they appreciate the relationship they have and the firestorm they are leaving behind as they move off to greener pastures…

This is all very much in the same vein of how the church of england in america managed to get into so much trouble – perhaps the folk who will champion this hope that over here we’ll be more civilised and understanding as they are jolted along or maybe they realise that there’ll be a huge hoo-ha and despite the threatened breaks [the issue of women bishops still going around and around] everything will die down and be ‘better’ [ie more in agreement with them] for it.

But the american branch was pushed so for as to try to negotiate a stand off after an actively homosexual bishop was installed – they did not, in the end get there breath of air to try and take stock of where they were and how they should deal with it and I’m aware of that as are the folks over here who are opposed to this so I doubt anyone should expect a clean ‘fight.’ On either side.

And where will Mr Media be during all of this – inviting it’s readers or viewers to see what a backward and divided thing the church is – will they point out the general level of unity – not just within denominations but the growing unity between the denominations as they work ever more together? I think not. Nevermind that some of the media will be opposed to both the homosexual marriage thing and the church of england.

One of the commands Jesus gave us was that we love one another as he has loved us so that all men may know that he is God and here I have to ask – How does provoking this debate at this troubled time for the church of england around the globe further this?

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