Friday, April 08, 2005

So full of crap he needs an enema.

Yes, yes I know. Crudeness. And from me, too. But Justin Webb really merits it, and I hope that having expressed my disgust so obviously I can take a few breaths and examine an article that could actually tell us much about what is wrong with today's BBC, and what is wrong about the BBC's Britain too.

I said a lot about the tragedy of the Schiavo case, but at least it made Webb feel better about America. As he concludes his article he says:

'It is common to mock at American attempts to export Jeffersonian democracy, but after these two weeks the mocking should stop.'

Now that Schiavo has died her legalistic death he can rhapsodise about the 'complex and vital soul of America' .

Really, this is straight out of LiberalLarryland.

The calm Webb feels after his humanist prejudice has been satisfied with its ultimate sacrificial vindictation allows him to be even more candid than usual. He admits a significant amount when he says:

'America is often portrayed as an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge.

I know that is how it is portrayed because I have done my bit to paint that picture'.

It's funny. As a product of the Beeb's Britain I've been brought up to believe that no stereotype can ever really be true (that is, I've rejected the Beeb's favourite nostrums and bugbears, and what's left to stereotype?). Stereotypes exist in defiance to reality. This is evidently an invalid assumption as far as Justin Webb is concerned. He adds to the above quoted stereotype:

'that picture is in many respects a true one.'

Webb finds his comfort in the thought that many Americans agreed with him that Schindler should die (I was going to say Schiavo but I think that her husband effected a common-law divorce long before her death). He may say that it's the following of due process that he finds has revived his faith in America- but what's telling is that it's the following of so-called due process against what he believes is religious bigotry that he finds comforting:

'Americans do believe in God and they do believe in life, but they also believe in law, and rules, and the need for democracy to restrain, not satisfy, the wishes of politicians.'

It's quite interesting that Webb's faith in America depends on its subordination of so-called religious values to secular protocols.

These so-called religious values clearly include the right to life, which I wouldn't have thought was any more religious than many a secular nostrum. To believe in this right to life though is to be prejudiced, and to depart from acceptability. All that is acceptable is summated by the grey mass of humanist consensus (in other words, a world where humanists win votes):

'Plenty of honest disagreement among reasonable people, religious and non religious, Republican and Democrat.'- and death on demand.

What's weird for a self-styled ratonal man is when Webb disparages the power of observation, and the medium which he relies on for his life's work and his credibility:

' the television news showed pictures of Terri Schiavo looking responsive, even affectionate, and above all looking vulnerable.'

Yeah- almost as if she had something approaching those qualities.

It's not Webb's rationalism that impresses me about this article- as the Voice of Reason tells us all is well now Terri's dead- it's the coercive irrationality of it.

So what have we got so far: condescension, humanism and socialism, all mixed together to give us Webb's view of the world. He offers us subtle inducements to follow his position (by praising the heart of the US, for instance), but all the long he has a little spiteful wishlist to impose on the unlovely subjects of his journalism (that's you and me, as much as it is the hicks who are, in Webb's vision, beyond feeling like Schiavo herself, almost).

I've gone on long enough- maybe I even went off topic, but as the intro made clear, I was dismayed and angry. Anyway, you can find a parallel take here at the Rottweiler Puppy. Thanks to DumbJon for introducing me to this excellent site.

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