Obligatory ‘Sachsgate’ Post

November 3, 2008 at 8:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The great thing about disappearing from BlogTown for most of the week was I managed to avoid writing about those two bad comedians and their Derek & Clive rip-off. Better still, now the delayed hysteria is slowly – but reluctantly – subsiding, I don’t even have to pass comment on the moneyed media barons and their book-burning goons who wish to see the BBC so enfeebled that it’s reduced to broadcasting the best of Songs of Praise .

So the only thing I’m going to add about this whole farce – and it’s hardly a novel observation – is that it was pretty sickening to watch the BBC respond to the Uproar! by self-flagellating at the top of every hour, when anyone who was paying attention to Actual News knew the toll of human suffering in East Congo was rising all the time. It reminded me of this extract from Philip Roth’s Human Stain , where he described the public reaction to Bill Clinton’s infidelity as ‘the ecstacy of sanctimony’:

In the Congress, in the press, and on the networks, the righteous grandstanding creeps, crazy to blame, deplore, and punish, were everywhere out moralising to beat the band: all of them in a calculated frenzy with what Hawthorne (who, in the 1860’s, lived not many miles from my door) identified in the incipient country of long ago as “the persecuting spirit”; all of them eager to enact the astringent rituals of purification.

In so doing, small and trivial details were treated like Major! Breaking! News! and all those debates the American people really needed to hear, like on terrorism or US foreign policy, were consigned to the dustbin. The tragedy of a culture war is that it lends a megaphone to loudmouths who squeal over the voices of those who’re already so easily ignored. The times are just too serious to allow this ephemeral, quickly-forgotten crap to rule our lives.

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