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Nice to see that the BBC is at least professing to make an effort at the public service ethos it’s supposed to uphold. The great Britons series, while confirming the hideous mental shallows of a great part of the nation, also indicated that the media have not suceeded in erasing all culture from our minds. If you think about it, the current TV and tabloid output probably simplifies things for the average person, as when you talk to them they have much more of a grasp of complex issues, or are much more capable of grasping these issues than the papers would indicate; there’s a reminiscence of Socrates and the slave-boy . This has worried me, that the media who cliam to be supplying ‘what the people want’ are in fact dictating to them what they want, something a true broadsheet should never do: a true review should state ‘if you want x, then this supplies nn% of x.’ A tabloid (and increasingly a broadsheet) dictates, you want/believe x, then get thee y.

And so the Great Britons series, began with the public, and asked “what it is that you like? We’ve never bothered finding out before. :$” This is why I was so surpised because it began with a few dumkopf decisions like Michael Crawford and John Peel, but mainly focussed on actual great britons, that those educated in specialist fields would themselves point towards as great. Myself I have trouble pointing towards a great briton, as firstly my greats, apart from shakespeare, cromwell and john lilburne are all foreigners – nietszche, proust, flann o’brien, spinoza. But I was pleasantly surprised by the people’s intelligent choices, and cynically satisfied by the plethora of media whores filling up the screen, professing love of actual heroes out of our time (apart from little lost Alan Davies, and his John Lennon, who I felt sorry for, and Rosie Boycott who I would gladly see impaled on the o’ergrown stake of her manipulative ego.)

I do somewhat suspect Isembard Kingdom Brunel was chosen only for his name though…

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