Friday, March 10, 2006

BBC - Propaganda as Truth

The time has come to strip the BBC of its status as a public service broadcaster

So say the Civitas think-tank, in a report on a BBC 'documentary' which turns out to be a bit of a travesty of the truth.

"A programme broadcast on 5 October 2005 called 'Little Kinsey' manifested such a distortion of its source material that we can no longer depend upon the integrity of the BBC's factual programmes."

'Little Kinsey' was part of the 'Lost Decade' season, focusing on issues relevant to the period 1945-55. Its central argument was that the restrained attitudes towards sexual activity which would have been considered as typical of the era were hypocritical, that men and women were commonly adulterous, that family life was frequently unhappy, that many men used prostitutes and that homosexual activity was common. In fact, the archive, now housed at the University of Sussex, showed no such thing: it showed a society in which most people were still very conservative in their attitudes. Nor do official statistics back up the lurid picture painted by the BBC.

The Civitas press release is here, the full report (pdf file) here.

This is par for the liberal course - what I call the "Myth of the Myth of the Golden Age". The present must always be better than, or the same as, the past - so on crime, for example, we have the absurd claims over the last thirty years that crime hasn't risen - we're just suffering from 'moral panic' (see this post, which also links to other works of the report's author, the great Norman Dennis, sociologist of the respectable working class), or that we report crimes now that we'd have tolerated once.

Similarly with sexual conduct. Faced with the obvious outward evidence of changes in sexual morality over the last sixty years, the progressive has two (contradictory) options.

Option A - yes, things were different then. Marriages did last longer, children were brought up by both parents. But this came at a cost - the huge cost of domestic spousal and child abuse. The stability of society was paid for by the misery of milllions of individual women and children (the liberal is then faced with the interesting task of also claiming that 'domestic abuse' is increasing in today's world).

Option B - no, things weren't really different at all. Our forebears did just the things we did, only they were hypocritical and secretive about them. Usually due to the dreaded 'Victorian morality' - as if fidelity was discounted and bastardy tolerated in any other era of the last thousand-plus years (and the Restoration doesn't count - that was for the elite only).

With this programme (and the responses) we see option B in full effect.


TottenhamLad said...

"Myth of the Myth of the Golden Age" absolutely brilliant!

A bit like the 'The Myth that there was less crime before mass 3rd world immigration into the UK'.

My grandmother who was born and bred in Tottenham was old enough to actually remember Zeppelins flying over Tottenham during WW1 to bomb the arms factories of Enfield. When my grandfather died in the mid 70's and she was left alone our family could not leave her to live in her house alone. Why? the reason was that muggings were so rife that old ladies were being robbed and assulted all the time. Luckily she lived out her life in Buckinghamshire for another 20 years. Everyone I knew talked about the muggings, and who the culprits were. Perhaps the BBC would like to make a documentary based around the experiences of the old of Tottenham during the 1970's - or perhaps that would not fit with BBC world view that immigration has 'enriched' us...

Mark Holland said...

Re the dreaded 'Victorian morality':

The frightfully earnest Screenonline, 'funded by a £1.2 million grant from the lottery New Opportunities Fund' - redistributing money from Vin Diesel fans to Dirk ogard fans!, has this to say about The Ladykillers

Like Mackendrick's earlier The Man in the White Suit (1951) and Mandy (1952), the subtext of The Ladykillers was the stultifying conservatism of contemporary Britain. Mrs Wilberforce and her similarly aged friends represent the continuing weight of Victorian England holding back progress and innovation (that this innovation is represented here as robbery and murder gives some indication of the ambiguity of Mackendrick's vision).

Aargh, save us from the dreaded stultifying conservatism!

For Pete's sake it's just a film about how some dozy crooks become foiled by in fighting and a doddery old woman!!! She's a Victorian simply by virtue of being 80 odd in 1955!

Mind you this is the same crew who reckon The Titfield Thunderbolt is a parable about Virgin Trains. Or sommat.

Perhaps the then Prime Minister even had the film in mind when, in the mid-1990s, his government rushed through the deeply unpopular re-privatisation of British Rail, the disastrous results of which mean that Britain's trains, like Titfield's, run slowly.

Talk about projection! (And not just of the film through the gate kind.)

Deogolwulf said...

"Myth of the Myth of the Golden Age".

This drives me mad too. It seems that, in respect of any broad social ill, the progressive cannot admit that things have become worse, because that would contradict the view that we are headed towards the Golden Age, upon which view his ideology is based. Therefore, to save his ideology, he must deny that things have become worse.

njuk said...


njuk said...

al-bbc is the new name

James Hamilton said...

I don't know if you've tried Clive Emsley's "Hard Men: Violence in England Since 1750".. very much in the "moral panic" school, but acknowledges that we enjoyed a period of low crime between the wars, and ventures opinions on how and why all that changed. Worth a look by anyone interested in the crime question.