Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Why do they still feel the need?

Looking through the new Radio Times - yes, yes, I know it's a bit like fucking a corpse, but it has to be done - I notice repeated derogatory references to "snobbery", and even one to (good grief) "lingering European hauteur". What makes these constant allusions so much less defensible than similar references in, say, the NME of the 1970s would have been is that they're condemning something that no longer really exists anyway. Mass demands being the only ones that matter and the market deciding everything are now so absolutely embedded in the structure of British society that you wonder why anyone feels the need to so constantly denounce something they themselves have long since decisively defeated.

There are two possible reasons, and I suspect it's a combination of the two. If the new rulers of the modern BBC were so confident and assured of the rightness of their ideology - commodified anti-elitism in lieu of real democratisation (if that much-abused word can ever be reclaimed) - then they surely wouldn't be so anxious to constantly denounce that which they have destroyed. Could it be that, somewhere underneath, they know that much of value has been thrown out and are secretly full of shame and regret over their own involvement?

But I suspect there is another, less reassuring, perhaps bigger element. These people really are riddled with obsessive hatred and intolerance of anyone who doesn't conform to their creed. Their contempt for anyone who dares to transgress - whether towards Reithianism or socialist-utopianism, or any ideology which isn't built on popcult fundamentalism - is, if anything, far deeper and nastier than the contempt of at least post-Reithians (who didn't really die until 15 years ago) for those who went against their principles, and far more dangerous because it is couched in terms of inclusivity and tolerance. It is far, far off those aims. It is the antithesis of true democratisation.

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