So let’s discuss politics and entertainment. Now… I’m not talking about those home movies that Nicola Sturgeon presumably has of her trying out the first twenty pages of the pop-up Kama Sutra. Oh no. What I mean is how entertainment, specifically television and movies can make or break cultural stereotypes.
The West Wing was a seminal (which means it was well written, popular and probably not watched by people who watch Corrie and River Shitty) drama in which the final season included an upcoming election between a charismatic Republican (Arnold Vinick) versus an ethnic minority (Matthew Santos) Democratic candidate. The minority candidate, like Barack Obama, dislikes exploiting his ethnic heritage for electoral purposes. Like Obama, the character faces off against a more experienced candidate to win the fictional Democratic nomination. Whether it is life imitating art or a particularly savvy writing team which spotted this coming, the increasingly impending US Elections apparently have been played out across the television before even the parties over there thought about them. A series of fictional portrayals of non-white Presidents have made the idea of a non-WASP president not merely acceptable, but likely. Aside from Jimmy Smits fictional Latino candidate, the series 24 has given us not one, but two African American presidents in the guises of David Palmer and his brother Wayne Palmer. Cut to 2008 and the possibility of one is embraced by (at least presumably) the Democratic Party.
That was an example of a real-life situation being made subconsciously acceptable by an artistic product. Now don’t start getting worried that I’m channelling voices in my head, merely read what the Guardian had to say about it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/21/barackobama.uselections2008
Three hundred years ago there wasn’t a
C4 on Wednesday had a curious programme on about half-nine in the morning where the Archeologist in question postulated the curious argument that the Anglo-Saxons weren’t an invasion from
But this suggests it’s just C4. But it’s ALL television. I’m not going all tribal and caveman, I LIKE the idea of diversity in the country. I’m far more comfortable with a salad bowl of ethnicity where I’m part Irish / part Scottish and someone else is Part Scottish / Part English or whatever mix happens to come up. Luvvies clearly love melting diversity into a rather curious hybrid cheesy mix that is debatable if it actually exists in the real world. You see, it’s not that it’s a bad idea. Yes, I did just say that. Britishness isn’t THAT bad an idea. The problem is that it exists in the same realm as Unicorns and pure Communism: it’s an unattainable idea in the real world.
Every time Johnathan Ross links a Scottish person with a deep-fried Mars Bar or every time Anne Robinson wants to ethnically cleanse the Welsh. Or anytime when comedy hero Frankie Boyle suggests that the Jeremy Kyle show gets it’s guests by trawling a net past Cash Converters in Glasgow. Anytime TV descends into that playground mentality: Britishness is destroyed. But it’s just a joke, isn’t it? Sure. If you believe that, then try using the “N” word in Harlem or
I don’t even watch much British Television anymore. I caught Doctor Who, am watching X Factor, and watch Mock the Week but for the most part stick to American Staples: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Lost, 24, Battlestar Galactica, all the Star Trek franchises… you get the picture. I don’t need the messages
Now… the fact that we get such a raw deal in entertainment I understand. It’s all about the complex nature of culture, diversity and how that’s reflected and influenced by our masters in
Our television in beneath garbage. The Americans hire teams of writers to churn out 20 episodes per year of drama after drama and then sell it around the world. The BBC on the other hand gives us the complex drama of Little Britain, which if I understand it correctly is six half hour episodes of David Walliams giving Matt Lucas a blow job. Woo. Hoo.
But then a thought occurred to me… Maybe you get the television you deserve. I mean, three hundred years of servility where
But there’s always a little chink of hope in any given situation, isn’t there… On the Scotsman and Herald newspapers they have comments functionality. And on a host of forums those news-stories are dissected and occasionally acted upon. Someone reports how Colin Fox wants a rainbow flag and the SSP offices are deluged with emails, letters, etcetera. Those people now have a name. And it’s a name associated with pissing people off. And that name is Cybernats. I love Cybernats. A Cybernats job, it appears to me, is to piss off people either the result of, or cause of, sloppy pro-British journalism. Cybernats have apparently caused the scalp of Iain McWhirter from being used on the BBC. Cybernats are thoroughly pissing off Political Editors up and down the country. And it’s a beautiful beautiful thing. Like the Corrs. (which is irrelevant, actually…)
And there isn’t just one little chink of light to suggest that you lot aren’t a servile as I’d otherwise think. Was out getting cash from a (surprise sur-fecking-prise) cash machine and noticed a curious sticker which said: Scottish Not British. That cheered my afternoon up no end. I mentioned it to a guy at work who pointed out that football forums were all talking about it and wondering where it came from. In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t know either (and I’m being unfortunately genuine in that… I’d kind of like some firstname.lastname@example.org ).
I was at a wedding last week. And it was fun. REALLY fun. Not the kind of “I had fun at your wedding honest” kind of fun, but real genuine “I danced like a monkey for a room full of people” kind of fun. (and yes… I did being the only guy in a kilt). I was wearing my kilt on the grounds that my pal, one of the Brides, was wearing a trouser suit and at least one of us should wear a skirt to a wedding. At various times various people indulged in something curious. It was one of the ironic Mel Gibson “FRREEEEDDDOOOM!” quotes with the curious addition of “but no’ that Alex Salmond stuff that you’re intae…” Er… yeah. This caused me to question the whole nature of the “Don’t Knows” in Scottish Politics. See below.
People like me having been banging on about having a referendum on
If the day that never comes happens and we get a vote on
If you want to see the collision between entertainment and the tacit manipulation of culture then you need look no further than my (genuinely) favourite Englishman. He’s the kind of man I wished I’d gotten someone knocked up just so that I could get a DNA test LIVE on his TV Show. Read this and weep: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/sep/07/labour.itv
As a culture, one thing has always perplexed me. And it links to how culture is portrayed through our entertainment which I’ve been talking about. As a culture, to me, this self-loathing we have for ourselves and how desperate we all were for Braveheart to be true when we knew deep down it was just
In other news, I’m still writing 100 Crappy Reasons why the Union is fucked (working title… up to about 25 so far…) I’m listening to Metallica’s Death Magnetic as I write this and have been doing so EVERY time I’ve been online. And I actually bought it just so that Lars from Metallica made some money out of me. I mean… Albannach and Amy Macdonald were the only Albums I *actually* bought recently, so you can tell I’m a giving person…