Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Notes from the new Decent philistinism

Michael Gove:

I was intrigued by Kevin Spacey's plea last week to bring back Play for Today. Did he see any of these when they were broadcast in the 1970s? I remember trying to watch these dreadfully earnest exercises in socialist-realist art during my childhood and thinking that watching live footage of people queueing for a bus would be more compelling. Play for Today was such a terrible exercise in viewer patronisation that it was directly responsible for making the snooker that was on at the same time on BBC2 a huge TV success. Even though we were all watching in black and white.

A Guardian article, outlining the depth of talent that Gove is patronising here. It is hardly the BBC's fault that no Tory has written a decent play for the last fifty years, is it?

15 Comments:

Blogger ejh said...

"I put it to you, Mr Gove, that your family did in fact have colour television in 1975."

4/08/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

It is hardly the BBC's fault that no Tory has written a decent play for the last fifty years, is it?

Tom Stoppard

4/08/2008 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

The fact that the colour TV thing is a good joke almost ensures it isn't true, but Gove was watching in Aberdeen, and I don't know if they have colour TV up there to this day.

4/08/2008 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Blimey. Why are Decent forays into cultural commentary always so toe-curlingly dreadful? NC seems particularly bad in this respect.

But is the current diet of crass sadism-lite reality shows and endless Thatcherite house-porn a real improvement on Bleasdale, Parker, Frears etc. ?

4/08/2008 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

"Why are Decent forays into cultural commentary always so toe-curlingly dreadful?"

On which topic, I wouldn't mind a watch of Nick on Satire from Sunday's Observer.

4/08/2008 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous darkhorse said...

On Wiki, I learn that Gove was born in '67, which is surprising, because, if you close your eyes, you can easily imagine he is eighty.

Anyway, it's hardly surprising that evening BBC2 plays might be boring to a child between the ages of 3 and 13 during the 70s, "socialist-realist" or not.

4/08/2008 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

On Wiki, I learn that Gove was born in '67, which is surprising, because, if you close your eyes, you can easily imagine he is eighty.

There's definitely very young fogeyish about him isn't there? I feel the same way about the Kammster who reminds me of Frasier Crane. I remember a scene where Frasier and Niles were reminiscing about when they both loved a particular Opera or a piece of classical music, when they were about 4 years old. I could quite easily imagine Kamm and Gove having the exact same conversation.

4/08/2008 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous shake said...

Gove's knowledge of recent theatre is far from convincing:

Spacey's stint running the Old Vic is living proof that the British stage benefits by learning from quality American imports.

I'm not so sure that it is 'living proof' - the reviews have been patchy, the audiences often minscule and all we have really learned is that Bob Altman (RIP), presumably a 'quality American import', could't actually do what he was 'imported' for.

Again from Gove we have the standard Decent line on art - if you disagree with the politics, it's BAD ART.

Nick on satire was hilarious by the way - claiming that there had been no good satire on British TV since Spitting Image. The name of the 'light entertainer' Chris Morris springs to mind.... but again, if it's not on-song with Decency it is BAD SATIRE obviously.

4/08/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Martin Wisse said...

Ironically, that practise of rejecting any art not showing the correct politics is another yank import the Decents have taken over. There's a whole wing of the Republican party happily making a career out of critising Hollywood.

4/09/2008 06:28:00 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

shake - I missed that one. Quality American imports have been great for the British stage (and vice versa of course), but Spacey's wildly eccentric Old Vic is about the worst example possible.

4/09/2008 07:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

"Why are Decent forays into cultural commentary always so toe-curlingly dreadful?"

The indecent forays aren't all gravy, Bubby. Witness Chardonnay Chap's embarrassing description of Ecclesiastes as "the only good book in the Bible" (31st March). I guess "if you disagree with the theology, it's BAD ART." Actually, even if that were granted, Job (eg) -- about as clear a case as one could wish for of a profound poetic masterpiece, even in translation -- gives radical theological scepticism a serious run for its money.

4/09/2008 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anscombe said...

I don't know if Stephen Pollard is a "Decent" or not, but this fatuous dig at two of the greatest film-makers of all time - Ingmar Bergman and Terence Davies - certainly bears the marks of deep philistinism...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2176098.ece

One thing: the Mark Lawson article you link too is pretty bloody dreadful, isn't it? Lawson seems to offer the following as an argument against bringing back Play for Today:

"I would rather have The Street - six or eight politically and psychologically complex dramas written or encouraged by McGovern - than one McGovern in a run of 25 plays of variable quality."

That's what is known in the trade as a false opposition.

4/10/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anscombe said...

Typo there, of course: should be "to"...

Here's the link again:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/
columnists/guest_contributors/
article2176098.ece

4/10/2008 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous gastro george said...

How come Gove gets to appear on Newsnight Review? Does he have sympathisers amongst BBC producers? Or is he the acceptable face/mouth of Toryism? I guess he has the appearance of intelligence.

4/10/2008 05:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

How come Gove gets to appear on Newsnight Review?

I'm not sure how anyone gets to appear on Newsnight Review, now that the Paulin/Greer/and here's Alison Pearson with some jokes lineup is a distant memory. Ekow Eshun? Julie Myerson?

4/11/2008 12:46:00 PM  

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