Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Young, gifted and White? No... but one out of three ain't too bad.

By chance I caught a snatch of the Radio 2 documentary last night about the anti-Thatcher protest music of the eighties. I really only heard presenter Jeremy Vine say that next week’s episode will feature music by artists who supported Thatcher(ism); balance you see. Giving equal air time to pro- and anti-Thatcher pop musicians despite the antis outnumbering the pros by, what? 100 to 1? will seem to many listeners to be proof of the BBC’s integrity and cause for celebration. In fact the stretch reveals something else: the beeb’s determination to present a seemingly comprehensive survey of political ideas while never venturing outside the establishment-safe right- and left-liberal options, all the while encouraging us to pick a side with which to stand, to get involved in the charade.

Half of the beeb’s job is to appear to the public as having no party loyalties and no political prejudices of its own; the other half is to systematically promote the establishment parties and the supposed conflict between them while excluding independent parties and genuinely alternative ideas. When they give equal air time to both sides of a scene so massively one-sided and unbalanced it only shows how mechanically the beeb’s commitment to herding us into left and right factions pre-ordains the content of its programming. In truth individual BBC producers are no more independent of the two-party system than they permit us to be, they just sit higher up the food chain. Like camp capos or Uncle Toms.


To English nationalists and others with an interest in racial issues the idea of BBC balance or producer/presenter independence is just comical, of course. I exchanged a few emails with Radio 2 DJ Alex Lester last year, his attitude demonstrates that point. The influence of the guys at Resisting Defamation can be seen:

(Lester's replies in bold)

Sent: 26 November 2008 04:37 To: Alex Lester Subject: Young, gifted and black...

Please don’t keep playing this song. I can accept the age-ism, this is after all pop music, designed to create cultural discordance between generations... but the racism? I can’t do that! You wouldn’t play a song that claimed "to be white is where it’s at" -- and you’d lose your job if you did. I get a little tired of these racist double standards.


> Subject: RE: Young, gifted and black...
> Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 04:41:07 +0000
> From:

It was a huge hit and a lot of people like it. What you are advocating is censorship. It is a song “of its time”.


Sent: 26 November 2008 04:49 To: Alex Lester Subject: RE: Young, gifted and black...

I am advocating a consistent non-racism, the only non-racism that isn’t racist.

Censorship would be to prevent the playing of certain records altogether, I can’t do that and wouldn’t, I simply appeal to you to stop going along with racist double standards on your show.


Subject: RE: Young, gifted and black...
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 05:03:16 +0000

So depriving people who actually like the song of the chance to hear it! There is a formal complaints procedure at the foot of this email if you want to go that route.


Sent: 26 November 2008 05:14 To: Alex Lester Subject: RE: Young, gifted and black...

People who like the song would not be ‘deprived’ of it should the BBC become consistent on non-racism and cease playing it - ever heard of record stores? - but non-Black listeners would not needlessly be slurred.

The BBC is the censor, the gatekeeper; more than any other organisation it is responsible for generating the racist double standards you submit to, and complaining to the racist about racism seems pointless. I appeal to your conscience, Mr Lester: you would not play records saying the positive measure of a person is how white he is - we both know this - so why forget your moral standards and play “Young, gifted and black”?


> Subject: RE: Young, gifted and black...
> Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 05:20:07 +0000
> From:

To me it is just a song and of its time. It is in our central core of music. I will cease playing it if instructed by the BBC.

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