Cultural dictatorship, then and now

August 23, 2011 3 Comments
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I wonder. Did Evan Davies blush?

On the Today programme (starts at 2.22’38″) this morning (22 August 2011), Davies interviewed a leading member of Britain’s cultural ruling class, a film-maker who, in 1977, scorned the Labour government’s offer of the OBE on grounds of high principle (‘… despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest’). His refined sensibility did not render despicable his award of the World Culture Prize in Memory of His Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu. His Imperial Highness, by the way, was the brother of His Majesty Emperor (sic) Showa (Hirohito) of Japan. Still, the Imperial Japanese air forces did attack the Pearl Harbour naval base of the hated United States, so I suppose the Japanese Empire must have been much less noxious than the British Empire, give or take the odd health and safety oversight.

Can you see who it is, yet? A couple more clues, then.

An aging, Oxford-educated Honorary Doctor of Civil Laws (Oxon.), die-hard Trotskyist and former EU parliamentary candidate in the Respect interest, supporter of Socialist Resistance, activist for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of the State of Israel, campaigning signatory of Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism, defender of Irish Republican terrorism and supporter of the rebel movement in Chechnya aka the Caucasian Emirate.

Ah, you guessed. Here he is, wearing the regulation revolutionary-socialist keffiyeh. Oh, wait – sorry. I can’t find that picture for the moment. Perhaps this one of him in Cannes will do instead:

First, we heard a ‘little taste’ of the sound-track of a Loach film commissioned in 1969 by the (now fake-) charity, Save the Children (STC) whose then bosses objected to Loach’s ‘documentary’and strangled it at birth. The news angle is that the film is to be shown (where else?) at the BFI as part of its Loach hommage-fest, thanks to the Loach apologist admirer who is now CEO of Save The Children. He was invited along to purr affirmingly at Loach’s every Loach-ism but he went above and beyond, enthusiastically asserting his admiration for the grand old man of our great British film industry.

In the ‘little taste’ which we were allowed, we heard nothing but, in Davies’s words, ‘voices of disapproval’ of Save the Children’s (then) cruel and ‘cultural-imperialist’ activities in Manchester and Nairobi. 

Davies:

You just went out [to Nairobi] and you saw what you saw and you thought, This is the time… this is the way to expose it all.

Loach:

Yes. I was shocked at what I saw. … it was about providing a western middle class to run industry and the government on behalf of western interests.

Davies, repeating himself to make sure that we all got his point:

You didn’t know you were going to make an exposé on the failings of STC when you started. It was only when you got out and saw what you saw that you said, you thought this is outrageous and I’m just going to document it as I see it.

Loach:

Yes.

After hearing Davies’s repeated-for-emphasis paean to Loach’s wholly objective, innocent, agenda-free and a-political film-making, strongly supported by the top banana of one of our most beloved chiiiiildren’s charities, who could doubt that Britain is blessed having Mr Loach among us to open our eyes to the evils of western capitalist cultural dictatorship, along with the roach-like Loach-like faux-nobility of our Gramscian cultural dictatorship elite?

So, the Evan-blush thing. I merely ask, musing on the BBC’s renowned objectivity and lack of political bias in the afterglow of an eye-popping interview by the economic genius and entrepreneur-wrangler of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire Western Capitalist  Dragons’ Den.

But why on earth would Davies blush? Everyone around him in the Today studio was audibly nodding and smiling. It was a beautiful moment of unanimous camaraderie. Brought tears to the eyes.


Something like this appears at my own blog

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3 Responses to Cultural dictatorship, then and now

  1. August 23, 2011 at 6:32 am

    You’ve hit the nail on the head and I’m going to nick your post and use it as an example. We’re having an argument over my way over labels, many of which you use, Prodicus, even in the tags and you are right to use them because they define what the person is and what you are – we know where we are. I just finished replying, at my place [sorry this is so long]:

    I use them only when they’re appropriate, the labels. Feminist sits quite well, as does left-liberal. Both are quite recognizable mindsets and ways of arguing. So is mine, which really does fit into centre-right and libertarian lite.

    When one does not use labels, the danger is that one doesn’t know what the other really is. For example, the beat poets and new Frankfurt schoolers made out they were for freedom but in fact, as their own writings show, they were for the opposite. In order to discuss anything, terms have to be defined.

    It is a key characteristic of the left that, having defined and labelled themselves, they then deny all labels which are negative towards them. For example, they’ll happily waltz in and use the terms racist, homophobic, sexist, capitalist, without defining what they mean but the moment we use left-liberal, suddenly labels are not allowed.

    This is one of the central beefs by people vaguely centre-right – that the left “defines on the run” and then changes about to suit the current moral high ground. Marxist was de rigeur for so many years but then became dirty. So they dropped the label and put in “fairness”, “equality” etc. so they could not be pinned down.

    However, every time someone speaks, his/her language gives him/her away – even in the choice of what to speak about. For example, the left will zero in on banksters, capitalists and fascists – you hear it in the language the whole time. Feminists become “women”. The right will speak of illegal immigrants and PCism. You’ll never hear a leftist using the word PCism.

    So, if the cap fits, otherwise people are being less than honest about where they are, don’t you think? Of course that’s apparent from their concerns and the language employed but it’s nice when they don’t pretend to be neutral [or possibly even believe it themselves] and recognize where their position is and stating that firmly.

    Now, what you say about him, Prodicus, is spot on and he is being disingenuous trying to pass himself off as something else.

  2. August 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Indeed.

    First Rule of Left Club: Acquire total control of language.

    Second Rule of Left Club: Assert that there are no rules of language. Note: Promulgate this Rule using Approved (preferably amusing) Persons (example) who, overtly or covertly, support the objectives of Left Club.

    Third Rule of Left Club: Anathematize all who deny the legitimate authority of Left Club and/or its agents to control language.

    Fourth Rule of Left Club: Restrict the teaching of the young and control of public information to Approved Persons (see above).

    Fifth Rule of Left Club: Deny the existence of Left Club by any necessary means, from ridicule to violence.

  3. Robert Edwards
    August 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    What a dreadful little man is Ken Loach. Has anyone actually seen Kes? Pure red soap. There are many things for which he cannot be forgiven, and yet he remains a darling of the BBC. There are many things for which they cannot be forgiven in turn, the chief of which is their unstinting trumpeting of the talents of this overwhelmingly mediocre film maker.

    Film & TV are unique media in that they offer a ‘group’ experience for the audience and are thus a wide-open goal for propaganda, whether it be BBC comedy or excrescences like ‘Billy Eliot’. And dont’ get me started on Radio 4.

    At least Eistenstein could form a shot. And wouldn’t dream of wearing a buttoned down collar with a black tie…

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