Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The 'Secret Policeman' Was Not Available For Comment

Having spent twenty years leading the charge against anyone on the right who fails to grovel sufficiently to PC, the BBC has now decided accurately quoting stuff people say is sleazy and underhand.

Let's check the scorecard again: when knuckle-draggers are secretly filmed late at night by a fraudster impersonating a police officer, that raises important questions about the culture in the police, but when a senior member of the BBC's management calls for the BBC to deliberately bias its output in a leftist direction, it's underhand for anyone to cite that as evidence of leftist bias.

Still, on the plus side, in so far as this article, like any by a BBC staffer, would have had to be checked and approved by multiple layers of management - none of whom apparently found anything unusual in Stephenson's comments - we may finally, years after Macpherson, have found an actual case of institutional prejudice.

Of course, that in turn leads to the real crunch question: are you still a crazed, tin-foil hat wearing loon if you claim the BBC is biased? Or does it mean that the people the BBC has smeared for years have been totally vindicated?

There's a wider issue here too. If politics is your bag then, yes, bias in the BBC's factual output should be your main concern, but from the perspective of culture war, their overtly fictional output is where it's at. It's that word again: metacontext, the wider cultural assumptions which set the terms of political debate.

Take taxes: no matter how well the right makes the intellectual case for lower taxes, they're going to be up against it just as long as they're working in the context of a society that sees keeping your own money as greedy and, as a corollary, big government as the source of all social progress. Ditto, law enforcement. So far as BBC drama is full of bent coppers, crusading lawyers and super-articulate criminals, who are actually victims of society, maaaaaan, then the right is facing an uphill struggle.

But even that's not the biggest knock on the BBC's biased drama output. The effects on the cultural weather is one thing, but the even-worse problem is that it leads to so much just plain awful TV.

It's not just the absurdly anachronistic, mood killing, political commentary in shows like 'Robin Hood' or 'Doctor Who', or the fact that as soon as a character quotes scripture you know he'll be the killer. Nope, it's that these people have absolutely nothing to say. Hey, any organisation that considers pushing liberalism in the arts to be edgy and innovative is clearly running on empty.

This isn't just a matter of their drearily predictable liberalism. Joss Wheddon (Buffy/Angel/Firefly) is a far-out moonbat, but his best work has mass appeal precisely because it rises above the specifics of politics and hits on broader themes. Meanwhile, the BBC is full of people penning paeans to their own bravery in producing the seven hundredth show featuring corrupt businessmen and heroic ecoloon activists. Compare and contrast the BBC's saccharine sweet love letter to legal fascism 'Judge John Deedes' with Wheddon's creation 'Wolfram & Hart'. To the point: it comes to something when you get a better critical analysis of the inherent contradictions in the left's pact with lawyers from a show about a vampire than from a supposedly serious BBC drama.

That's what wrong with the BBC. Not just the bias, or the waste of public money, serious though both these issues are. The biggest problem is that the end product is so lifeless and predictable. I can't do better than finish off with a quote from John Nolte on a genuinely innovative piece of work:
After forty years of liberal rule in Hollywood it is nihilism that’s old-fashioned. It is moral relativism that is tired. It is political correctness, the always-noble people of color, the always-evil white guy, and the metrosexual that is cliched. A film with a clear divide between good and evil is something new. A film that celebrates patriotism, heroism, sacrifice, freedom, and honor is something revolutionary. In 1955 300 would be old-fashioned. In 2007 it makes a counter-culture statement as strong as Easy Rider in its day.

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