Media

Shane Gillis: Saturday Night Live’s new hire fired for slurs Posted September 17th 2019

US comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live has dropped a new cast member after videos surfaced online of him making slurs about Chinese people.

Shane Gillis, 31, came under fire soon after his casting was announced when footage resurfaced from a podcast featuring the comic.

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” said an SNL spokesman.

Gillis wrote on Twitter that he respected the show’s decision.

BBC Elite Fears Rise of Populism August 22nd 2019

The BBC started life as The Ministry of Information and that is what it still is, though the clever people and political elite who run it are very sophisticated. George Orwell, unfit for active service after fighting the Facists during the Spanish Civil War, spent a while working for them, coming to the conclusion that they were not the best of worlds. I have also done some insigmificant work for the BBC.

Robert Cook working for the BBC on a wet windy day in Coventry, May 2018

Orwell decided he would be better employed living in Hertfordshire and writing indepedently. His definitive work ‘1984’ and ‘Big Brother’ society has increasing relevance today.

Lord Reith was the BBC’s first boss. The job has always gone to the upper crust. Reith’s name lives on with the eponymous Reith Lectures. Today, I watched another upper crust fellow deliver the first of his Reith Lectures.

First let’s look at a few biog details of this great establishment person. Jonathan Philip Chadwick Sumption, Lord Sumption, OBE, PC, FSA, FRHistS (born 9 December 1948), is a British author, medieval historian and former senior judge. He was sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court on 11 January 2012, succeeding The Lord Collins of Mapesbury.[1] Exceptionally, he was raised to the Supreme Court bench directly from the practising bar, rather than from prior service as a full-time judge. He retired from the Supreme Court on 9 December 2018 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Sumption was the elder son of Anthony Sumption,[7] a decorated naval officer and barrister, and Hilda Hedigan; their marriage was dissolved in 1979.[8] He was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating in 1970 with a first in History.[9][10] He was elected a fellow of Magdalen College teaching and writing books on medieval history, before leaving to pursue a career in law.[9] He was called to the bar at Inner Temple in 1975 and subsequently pursued a successful legal practice in commercial law.

In the 1970s, Sumption served as an adviser to the Conservative MP and cabinet minister Keith Joseph,[11][12] He wrote parts of Joseph’s controversial 1974 Edgbaston speech, which was generally thought to have doomed Joseph’s chances of becoming leader of the Conservative Party.[11][13] Sumption and Joseph also co-wrote a 1979 book, Equality, in which they argued that no convincing arguments for an equal society have ever been advanced and that no such society has ever been successfully created.[12] In the late 1970s Sumption was a regular contributor to The Sunday Telegraph.

The Guardian once described him as being a member of the “million-a-year club”, the elite group of barristers earning over a million pounds a year.[16][9] In a letter to The Guardian in 2001, he compared his “puny £1.6 million a year” to the vastly larger amounts that comparable individuals in business, sports and entertainment are paid.[16]

For a four-week trial (and all the preparatory work) in the UK in 2005 he charged £800,000 to represent HM Government in the largest class action in the UK, brought by 49,500 private shareholders of the collapsed national railway infrastructure company Railtrack.[17] The Government had money and reputation at stake. The case examined some of the actions of the government, especially of former Transport Secretary Stephen Byers. Byers became the only former Cabinet Minister to be cross-examined in the High Court in relation to his actions in modern times. The UK Government won the case.

With all of this in mind, it is not surprsing that Sumption is once again wheeled out by the BBC to talk about threats to our so called democracy and what threatens it, under the polite guise of the Reith lectures, where his clipped tones were regularly lubricated by a rather affected routine of sipping water from what was probably a crystal glass.

Lord Sumption gazes smugly down from his podium, oily tones and pregnant pauses telling us all about the iportance of profesiional politicians with their wide knowledge, broad minds and concern for the spread, implications and importance of history. August 2019

Lord Sumption- though the name Lord Presumption might suit him better- had much to say. Here is my summary of what this patronising long winded elitist said.

Political elites and career politicians have their uses, bringing breadth of experience, wide ranging view and sound judgement. Matters like Brexit should be entirely in their hands. He said ‘I am not going to express an opinion.’ Implying that he was offering only facts. Because 48% of those voting in the Brexit referendum voted remain, he said that it would not be democratic to leave the EU.

He did not balance this statement of what he calls truth with mention that the ground breaking and society destroying Thatcher landslide in 1979 was based on her party winning 40% of votes cast by the 60% of the electorate who bothered to vote for her.

Of course it is easy to deride and ignore those who don’t bother to vote as apathetic, rather than resigned to our sham democracy and the hopelessness of their lives.

Many years ago, back in 2003, I was a frequent guest on BBC Radio Solent’s live Saturday morning Peter White Show. Among other things we were discussing whether or not postal voting would increase voting. When Peter turned to me for an opinion, I said : “Can I start my answer with a joke? There was this man laying outside the House of Commons on St Stephen’s Green, very badly beaten up. Out comes a New Labour MP, bends down looking at the man, then says; ‘My God, you are in a terrible state. Whoever did this to you needs help. I must go and find him.’ Moments later a Tory comes out, looks down at the prostrate man, saying; ‘My God, you are in a terrible state. You need help. I must get help before you die.’ Off goes the Tory who is soon followed by a Liberal Democrat who bends down to the man, whispering in his ear; ‘Before I say anything, what did the other two fellows say?’ “

As someone who served for nearly twenty years as a senior member of my local council and was selected as a prospective parlaimentary candidate for the Lib Dems, I know a little of the career politcians ilk. John Bercow is also my local MP, which has enhanced my understanding and contempt for career politicians and hypocrits even more.

Smoothy Lord Presumption went on to tell us that political parties are creatures of national democracy. He falsely claimed that Britain invented democracy- yet also calims to be a historian.

He argued that this democracy has brought us, among other goodies and freedoms, a Freedom of Information Act, releasing documents unless it is not in the national ( by which he means Ruling Class ) interest to do so. These parties have to bid for support from a diverse group of MPs and an even more diverse electorate.

Much more of this and it would be more honest to call this a Wreath Lecture as Britain’s claim to democracy is rather like the Monty Python Parrot sketch: It is flaming well dead, no matter how stifly one might glue it upright to its perch- assuming it was alive in the first place, which I doubt.

Like the Monty Python Parrot, British Democracy has always been a con, sold by unscrupulous sales persons like Thatcher and Blair with help from spin doctors like Ed Balls.

It won’t matter how many feminists like posh Harriet Harman or self righteous Yvette Cooper you put in the Commons via women only short lists, it is still the House of Privilge and Disdain for the working class masses who are supposed to feed their egos with dreams of being on some awful reality TV show or a revamp of Jeremy Kyle.

Robert Cook August 22nd 2019

Control in a mass society August 8th 2019

The traffic was and always is awful on the M25, especially first thing. BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme helps pass the time, though its smug comfortable overpaid out of touch presenters can be irritating, but always amusing because of these qualities. It is not the warm friendly harmonious programme as it was inj the days of Jack Demanio.

They never see themselves as part of the problem, always part of the solution. Their main concerns seems to be the gender pay gap and promoting fake Brexit. They are typical voices from privilged patronising public service broadcasting.

Yesterday they were lamenting the massive decline in viewers for terrestial BBC and ITV channels, in spite of all the wonderful home grown content. They were especially concerned by the decline in younger viewers who spend, on average, watching little more than an hour each week- preferring Netflix and YOU TUBE.

I suggest that the home grown content is far too patronising, politically correct and with messages meant to be subliminal but obviously loaded. So called new drama. with doyens like Dame Judy Dench, Helen Mirren and Sarah Lancashire rather predicatble and sickly to thev taste of most of us. The scripts are written by comfortable people, usually English literature grads, some writers hand picked from the ‘underprivilged groups’ like feminists.

I watched one nauseating Channel 4 production being partly filmed in my now twee home town of Winslow, I saw and talked to a production crew whe were from very different world to the one most of us live in. The production was called ‘The Little Visitor’ with story revolving around life in a big country house from long ago and far away, like these fim makers. Humourless and pretentious, like the book it was based on in my view.

Harry Potter actor slips into Winslow’s time warp for the insipid Channel Four Production ‘The Little Visitor.’ Image Charles Close

The article below explains much of the mind set and why mainstream TV is primarily and overtly about social control. It talks down to the masses.

What is the future of public service television?

Jane Martinson Ofcom believes PSB is in good shape – but decisions on the BBC and Channel 4 could transform the landscape @janemartinson

Sun 25 Oct 2015 18.08 GMT Last modified on Wed 29 Nov 2017 08.34 GMT

David Puttnam

David Puttnam is launching an inquiry into public service television Photograph: Rex Features

Before they started at secondary school two years ago, my older children regularly read the sports pages over breakfast or cuddled up to watch The X Factor on a Saturday night. Nowadays, they constantly scroll through Instagram and YouTube on phones that appear to have been grafted on to their fingers. The biggest threat to public service television is there, live and kicking, in my front room.

Where do they get their news from? Or learn about the world? Surely not just from videos of how to paint nails in ever weirder ways, or from vlogs on how to beat their mates at imaginary football games?

Their ability to make and share video content or communicate with their friends and the world beyond is infinitely greater than mine ever was. But just how good, for want of a better word, is that content? Does it make them better citizens as opposed to just bigger consumers with a lot more choice?

It’s hard to be sure. Research on the behaviour of the i-generation born after 2000 is relatively limited. We know that their slightly older peers watch far less television than their parents did. Among 16-24 year olds, viewing of live TV news dropped by 29% between 2008 and 2014.

Public service television isn’t all about news, of course. Ofcom has a marvellously rounded definition of the term as “high-quality content, made for as wide a range of audiences as possible, and for public benefit rather than purely commercial ends”. It adds “diversity” and “plurality” and the need to “reflect and examine society as a whole”. Lord Reith boiled it down to “inform, educate and entertain”.

The entire debate probably sounds as Victorian to my children as my own grandmother’s description of pounds, shillings and pence did to me. Teenagers may well scoff at the idea of public service broadcasting (PSB), a vague thing that encompasses children’s content as well as religious broadcasting, arts and culture. Isn’t most of that for old people anyway? But what about national sporting events? Or homegrown drama about British lives, wherever they are?

Analysts at Ofcom, which published its public service broadcasting review in June, think it possible that once this generation reach 35, possibly with children of their own or at least less money or desire to go out every night, they could start watching more public service content on a range of platforms. But this appears less than scientifically based.

It seems clear that Ofcom’s overall view that “public service broadcasting is in good shape” with a relatively robust advertising market in television is only true for the next decade at most.

Some will argue that parental concerns about technology are akin to previous generations worrying about boy bands. Yet, decisions being made over the next 18 months – about the future of the BBC and Channel 4 but also the purpose of public service broadcasting – could help create a very different environment whether we like it or not.

The government is looking at the BBC, as is the House of Lords. Yet Labour peer and filmmaker Lord Puttnam is right to launch a broader inquiry into the nature, purpose and role of public service television today and I’m glad to be a member of the advisory committee. There are huge, broad questions to be asked and now seems as good a time as any to ask them.

The first may be why we still need public service broadcasting, or whether it should continue to come from the main public service channels which currently dominate. With investment in new, UK-originated content by these channels down by over £400m in real terms between 2008 and 2014, according to Ofcom, this might be a moot point anyway.

Education, arts and religion saw the biggest real-term declines, though the smallest overall totals. Yet in those areas, other providers have stepped in: Sky Arts in cultural provision, for example, or, in the field of formal education training, the teacher network run by the Guardian where professionals share resources.

But what about the impact of commercial competition in televised sport?

As many fans have argued, including my colleague Barney Ronay, the battle to broadcast Premier League football has ended up with consumers spending the same and getting less sport for their money.

And for those who argue that choice and competition will provide, it seems wise to point to the financial services industry. That didn’t work terribly well either, did it?

There are obvious hazards ahead, but the more questions we ask now, the better.