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Media Intrusion Splut William And Kate, Not “Class” 17 April 2007

Posted by David in BBC, Comment, Media, Royals.
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I really cannot believe the media. It was painfully obvious to everyone that their constant barrage of intrusion caused the break up of Prince William and Kate Middleton, who was forced to live in the glare of a media which photographed and published her every move – from going shopping to sitting on a bus – while they speculated about possible engagement (Woolworths even ordered the commemorative plates to sell). Talk about external pressure on a relationship. Everything she did, and everything her family did (including her Mother chewing gum), was being analysed and judged for suitability as future British Queen by a media that views everything but itself as irredeemably flawed. In the end, poor old Kate Middleton seemed to be dating the press more than she was Prince William.

Meanwhile, every night out Prince William had with his new Army friends was shown as him neglecting Kate (who was probably watching Friends or doing her hair anyway). God knows what they’d have said if Kate had been photographed out with her friends instead of William…

When the situation started to scarily resemble that of a young Diana – Kate being badgered down the road Starbucks coffee in hand by dozens of happy snapping paparazzi – the end was near. When the media even began to suggest it was very much like it had been with Diana, there was really no escape from it.

As was initially suggested, William and Kate were I firmly believe rightfully told by both their families they had to decide; marry and commit to the life (and get the security protection), or flee it. The painful balancing act couldn’t go on, it just wasn’t fair on either of them (especially Kate). By ending it, they have let Kate free. She has escaped from a terrible life time sentence, at least for now (no one has said they’d never get back together in a few years, older and ready to settle down).

But what I really cannot believe is that, clearly to blame, the media have gone looking for another cause of the split. And what’s the best they can do? Class. Pathetic!

The story that the Queen disapproved of Kate’s Mother Carole Middleton – because she used the word “toilet” instead of “loo” and “pardon” instead of “what” – is frankly outrageous. The Queen would firstly never express disapproval of anyone, she is too graceful and discreet to do any such thing. She has met some of the most horrible people in the World – such as “Lixard of Oz” Paul Keating (who as Australian PM told her he wanted to abolish her and grabbed her under his arm in a public meeting) – and remained graceful and polite. She has read Queen’s speeches in the 50s, 60s and 70s resembling the Communist Manifesto and not shown emotion. She even opened the Edinburgh Hollyrood Parliament without laughing. So I doubt she cared less about having someone chew gum or use the word “toilet”.

And secondly, the Queen mixes and has always mixed with a very wide variety of people across the entire Commonwealth, and has more enjoyment with what these (which Royal observers would see as being in a lower class) than she does with Royal observers like Nicholas Witchall, who Prince Charles described as awful. The Queen particularly likes people with horses, and there are few interests with a more mixed socially bunch of people than the horse World. If anyone it’s the Royal observers who disliked the Middleton’s “class”, not the Queen.

The Telegraph is strangely very interested in the “class story”, which I find odd for them. According to their Which Class Are You?survey I “probably have a coat of arms” (I have a coat and two arms, does that count?) and am just 50 points short of being Duke of Devonshire (because I don’t have any children to send to school, and have a PlayStation and not a dressing up box – a dressing up box is a bit odd for a Duke isn’t it?).

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Captured Sailors Home, But The Damage Is Done 11 April 2007

Posted by David in Iran, Media, World.
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The 15 captured British sailors are now safely home, thank goodness, but the amount of damage done by the recent events cannot be simply put. My problems with the “ordeal” go back to the very beginning of it.

Why did they allow themselves to be taken prisoner? Now they themselves were out-gunned, but the Royal Navy – with its assorted helicopters, launches, Royal Marines and firepower – was nearby and had enough guns to blow the tiny Iranian boat out of the water. Now presumably the Royal Navy aren’t there on a cruise, so surely defending the patrols is their purpose? Why didn’t the sailors call for back up? Indeed, why didn’t the Navy spot the Iranians to start with?

Then patrols aren’t allowed to open fire unless attacked first, but would the Iranians dare open fire on British forces undertaking a UN mandate in Iraqi waters, a clear act of war? It’s not a good idea. The British could have just sailed away. Orwhat if the British sailors had re-boarded the Indian ship they had been inspecting, as a defensive position. Would Iran open fire on British forces with a UN mandate on an Indian ship in Iraqi waters? Hardly likely.

But when they were captured, they didn’t really need to play along quite so much. Yes, do what it takes to get released, don’t annoy the Iranians, but don’t look like you’re having fun – pulling silly faces to the camera, playing table tennis, laughing and joking. It was clearly propaganda, so they didn’t need to lay it on so thick. They needed to look worried, scared, bored, upset. When they got told they were going home and met the President, they should shake his hand when he went to shake theirs, but they didn’t need to lay praise and thanks on him. He is the man who ordered their capture, and sends bombs to kill their fellow British servicemenin Iraq, did they forget?

Now they return and sell their stories – a great insult to the forces and those who have died – but who will the World believe? The words now of fear and suffering under evil Iranian captors don’t match the images on television. The World thinks Iran could have forced them to look and say they are happy, but Britain too could have forced them to say they were terrified and badly treat. Most of the World will believe Iran.

This isn’t helped by the stories either. The worst part of the ordeal from the endless stream of stories seems to have been being kept isolated, and “good cop, bad cop” types of mind games, seemingly no worse than those used in police stations across Britain (and deliberately softer than those used by the USA to terror suspects). It’s certainly less than what some civilian hostages have been through.

It would be far better if the story just went away – but it won’t. Iran is now making a film, probably one of those a docu-drama thing, showing what happened.

South Park 3 April 2007

Posted by David in Media, Television, TV.
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South Park has produced an episode in which the Queen attempts to re-invade the USA, and upon failing shoots herself. Okay, what drugs were the writers on this time?

Now I am an ardent monarchist, and hate any attack on the Queen, but believe in free speech and that includes thefreedom to offend. I am offended that the writers believe such drivel is comedy, but I’m not bothered one bit. I have never watched South Park anyway. There will be no flag burning, riots, protests or complaints from me.

Fanning The Flames Of Hatred For TV Ratings 3 April 2007

Posted by David in BBC, Media, World.
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On Thursday at 9pm, Channel 4 will screen The Mark of Cain, a fictional television drama about British soldiers in Iraq abusing some Iraqi prisoners. It’s already getting attacked, and rightly so. Even anti-war journalist Max Hastings has called it “a gross exaggeration”.

The writer claims “it shows, with some degree of empathy…how the chaotic situations they find themselves in lead to the abuse of prisoners.” It is based, he says, “on a number of real-life accounts.”

But what irritates me is that for many, this will fan the flames ofhatred. The extremist imams will no doubt have their VCRs set, ready to tape the programme and replay it to their followers. Others will watch it and be lead to become new followers.  For some at least, this fictional drama will prove the stories and their suspicious, and thus encourage more attacks both here and in Iraq.

Writers and broadcasters should think before fanning the flames of hatred.