Saturday, January 14, 2006

PC Storm Clouds

I was struck by the response of some on the left to Anthony Browne's piece on PC. This is a reasonable example. They argue that Browne was massively and disingenuously overstating things. The classic point in response to the idea of the PC suppression of dissent is to say 'look at the columnists themselves'- Melanie Phillips, Paul Johnson, Browne himself, Boris johnson etc etc- 'what suppression of dissent?'. Well, ok- but what they don't admit is that columnists provide a kind of entertainment. They are not serious individuals in public life- they are closer in essence to comedians than politicians, even though they may have some political importance (but so do comedians today).

What this points to is the trivialisation of public life (here's a good recent example from a cross-over show that's lapped up weekly by millions).

The fact is that it's in matters of life and death that we know how crucial political correctness is becoming. Take a look at this brief intro to an article about a woman I really admire. What I noticed was this little bit from her story, concerning Holland's troubles with Islam and the Dutch police's response:

'A young woman from a Muslim family told the programme makers she was in fear of her life from her relatives who hit her and called her a whore for wanting to go out with her friends and wearing western clothes. Hirsi Ali listened to her story, then took the young woman to the police, only to be told: “We can’t help you. There are so many girls like you and this is not police work.” '

"There are so many girls like you and this is not police work"

Now compare with this story in the UK-

"Hate crime is a very serious matter and all allegations must be investigated thoroughly."

Maybe British police are geniuses that can prosecute all kinds of crime in a timely and effective way, even the ones that depend on interpreting one's words- or maybe we aren't so far behind Holland, and are getting worse.


Wretchard has a great post on political correctness at the Belmont club. It's a theme that will (and ought to be) relevant for a long time to come, since although one might think one could leave the PC brigade well alone to play out their petty rages, they won't let you alone. PC is not a fashion.


Simply superb article by Victor Davis Hanson on the options concerning Iran. He's especially good on explaining the difference between that situation and N. Korea.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Small Sacrifice of Truth

The sanitisation and idealisation of the religion of Islam proceeds apace at the Beeb. It must- as this culture is being more and more forcefully advocated by its adherents, so it requires greater and greater efforts to retain management of the news in a way that the Beeb feels is responsible.

After writing this post originally, I heard of the terrible stampede at this year's Hajj. I am naturally sorry for the people involved, but it only really highlights the terrible realities that the BBC is ignoring in the general course of things.

Lets look at what that means. No mention on the BBC of the appalling carnage of this incident of slaughter and sadistic chaos. Reuters filed this under 'oddly enough' when I think 'sadly predictable' would have been more accurate. Also no mention of this incident (on European soil too), where some modern day reality came into contact with medievalism. This is not any cull we're talking about, such as fox-hunting facilitates, but sacrifice- blood for some mystical quality of blood's sake.

Instead, from the BBC we had a picture sequence of a mass-slaughter fair which doesn't even include any notion of during or after the slaughter. I am not sure 'livestock fair' was the appropriate term to use to describe it, myself. No wonder the animal rights people in the UK are naive, when their Auntie shields them from the big wide world.

As the Wall Street Journal recently observed: 'Political correctness, for all its awfulness, is an effort to save souls through language.' But not animals, obviously, lest the Islamic audience be offended.

Second example: the Hajj. The BBC's coverage is, save the unavoidable reporting of the annual Islamic Hillsborough-style event which is a tradition for this time of the year, utterly nicey-nicey (this sentence written pre-stampede btw). The boy scout article I linked earlier is a good example, but the BBC are pleased to report organisational glitches, safety measures etc..

Yet what about these Iranians in Mecca? Not so nicey-nicey, eh? Somehow the BBC manage to make a sacrifice and omit the death to America, infidel-hand chopping rhetoric from their coverage.

I am not saying that what I'm outlining is not a dilemma for broadcasters, but what I am saying is that the BBC's chosen output is not news, but cultural sensitivity, aka pandering. The fact that they have decided a priori on ideological grounds that Muslims are to be protected from criticism is their problem.

Meanwhile, there's a war on...

Great joined-up thinking from Powerline, and, it must be said, George W. Bush.

Something about the picture in this article reminds me of the Jehovah's Witnesses. It's the utopianism I think.

So, as multiculturalism (and lifestyle choice) becomes religion, religion becomes problematic, though, as Ritter points out, Sir Iqbal and Mr Jones get different treatment.

And no, it's not just the media treating the two cases differently. There's no mention of Mr Plod actually knocking on Sir Iqqy's door.

Since by now everyone's thinking about George Orwell, I wonder what he'd make of Sir Iqqy's English. I'm sure he'd understand.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It was so exciting when... Tookie Williams was at the centre of the debate about modern America's morality.

Take a look at the Google BBC site search generously supplied by an anonymous B-BBC commenter.

Then compare with this Google search of the BBC site using the terms 'Iran death penalty'

Then ask yourself why doesn't the BBC seem to bother reporting incidents like this one?

This is so shocking it is apparently beyond the comprehension of the BBC even to cover it, let alone analyse it and adjust their moral reporting compass to accommodate the fact that this savagery exists. Their failure means that they can scarcely be considered to be a global broadcaster. They are fond of moralising within a cosy liberal western context: their morality hasn't got the guts to report what's happening 'outside the box'. Of course they can report famine in Africa, rape in Uganda, and so on, but the reach of their understanding goes little further than a paltry post-modern, post-marxist emoting.

One might think there's a ready made excuse: some societies are closed, etc. Well then, whenever a story reaches the light of day it has to be poured over, analysed, lucrative prizes being dangled before journalists who can, not just go behind the lines, but bring back the specifics (somehow- it could simply be a clever internet reportage system). The point is that not only don't they report things which are known, they don't offer them the kind of coverage they merit. The BBC perpetuates the same 'two worlds' theory that they thrive off with their guilt trip journalism.

Much as I dislike transnationals, and Amnesty among them, the list Amnesty provides is instructive. In addition to the fact that Iran is performing annually (as far as is understood) three times as many executions as the US, some of the cases are beyond pathetic. At issue is the balance of the news, and the fact that the BBC pursues moral equivalence, and actually moral inversion, in the face of the reality. Exactly how to redress the balance is unclear to me, but the first step is making some recognition of the grotesque imbalance, and well, growing some balls to address it.

Under 'Iran death penalty' the BBC hadn't filed a report about a death penalty in Iran since 2004, and prior to that one has to go back to 2001 to find anything that approaches a firm story about this type of execution revolving around a woman's sexual behaviour. And in that story, extraordinarily, the BBC went into a kind of Lady Chatterley's time warp by describing the accused as an adulteress (no quote marks).

What the Tookie vs Iranian savagery comparison shows is that the BBC offers very little range in some areas, and certainly no depth. World Leader? I think not, or pity the world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The London Bus theory of interesting internet articles: spend an hour or so (or more) scouring the netscape for one, and suddenly two come along at once. (it helps when the bus stop you finally arrive at is Real Clear Politics.)

This article is about propaganda, and points out what I thought was obvious and so couldn't find a way to say- that is that in so-called propaganda (actually I think we're a tad confused about that word, hence my 'so-called') a major component can be a benevolent support of positive values eg. what could be more wholesome that 'don't kill yourself and many others; think like a human being' . It's hardly Nazism.

The second article
is the Sharon argument (and I notice he's not gone yet, so where there's life...); the one where we try to rationalise a man who, as it were, swung both ways.

What I liked especially was this endearing way of looking at the issue:

'A popular toy among Sharon's generation of Israeli parents was called ``nachum takum'' -- lie down, get up. You know it: the toy you knocked down but which bounced right up again. That's Sharon himself and that, I think, was his grand strategy.'

But that's the thing that's impressed me about Sharon: he has always seemed on the side of life, even when dealing out death.

Monday, January 09, 2006

...And Now Is the Winter of Our Discontent.

Perry De Havilland catches one of those cringemaking moments on the letter pages of the Guardian. Phillip Gould wrote it; and a truly farcical leftist he is. It's all the vaingloriousness that makes me laugh painfully. I remember the impact Thomas Hardy's poem made on me, what is now years ago. And to think people like Mr Gould never grow up. I also remember that certain Conservatives used to be very triumphalist around the time before Mr Major proved what a political master he was, while the Conservatives ably demonstrated their own immaturity.

Somehow all this makes me think of Iran, and Israel. I don't know what to say about that; I think the Hardy poem might be the most sober comment I can muster. EURef has been thinking about it though.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Wisdom on Sharon.

A rare quality, but I think Amir Taheri shows it. This article is as shrewd a an analysis as any I've read. Taheri himself is a quite remarkable person, and he seems to understand something about Sharon, how he realised that

'For a war to be won it is not enough for one side to claim victory, although that is essential. It is also necessary for one side to admit defeat.'

(ps I think 'The Australian' may just be one of the Anglosphere's best newspapers, judging from the frequency with which I visit for a useful article.)

Of course, the sacrifice in Iraq (see below post) isn't without cause. I've been linking Stephen Hayes for years. He's dogged, and he's good, and I think those are the qualities that are needed. Here's another piece, on Saddam's terrorist links, and I look forward to many other rewards of his diligence.

'Meanwhile, a French engineer kidnapped by an insurgent group in December has been released, Iraqi security officials and the French government confirmed on Sunday.'

Oh glory.

Some backdrop, I think, here.

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