Bread And Circuses

London Antiwar
Not newsworthy

Just over a month ago, a massive demonstration took place in central London. More than 100,000 people travelled from all corners of Britain to protest our illegal invasion and continued occupation of Iraq.

Coverage on BBC TV – zero.

It wasn’t even mentioned on BBC broadcasts apart from giving New Labour’s Tebbit John Reid the opportunity to slag it off.

Bread And Circuses
Newsworthy

Today, 40,000 people are running round London. There has been non-stop coverage on BBC1 from 8.30am. The coverage won’t be interrupted till 1.50pm. That’s over five hours of national TV coverage.

So, the massed-marching of millions of Britons means fuck-all to the BBC but some bloke dressing up like a chicken and running around, that deserves an outside broadcast and personal interview.

This is all very, very old:

Bread and circuses is a derogatory phrase which can describe either government policies to pacify the citizenry, or the shallow, decadent desires of that same citizenry. In both cases, it refers to low-cost, low-quality, high-availability food and entertainment, and to the exclusion of things which the speaker considers more important, such as art, public works projects, democracy, or human rights.

It originated as the Latin phrase “panem et circenses” (literally “bread and circuses”), and is thought to have been coined by Juvenal, a Roman satiric poet of the 1st century AD, to describe the practice of Roman Emperors who gave unlimited free wheat to the poor and costly circus games as a means of pacifying the populace with food and entertainment.
(Source: Wikipedia)

When questioned about its lack of coverage, the BBC claimed that an annual anti-war demo is dull, it’s not newsworthy because it’s happening every year.

If that’s true, what makes a mere 40,000 running round London so fucking riveting?

The BBC’s reason for lack of coverage is a bare-faced lie. They cover annual sporting events lavishly, splashing out money from our licence fees without a moment’s hesitation. Sport is always in favour.

Mass antiwar marches are not.

Clearly, the BBC values circuses, it prioritises fripperies and distractions from the meat of world events and immense global movements. I’m sure if the BBC had been in charge of US TV in the 1960s it would have avoided shots of the Watts Riots or civil rights marches and pushed out extended baseball coverage instead. Maybe it would have called Martin Luther King’s speeches ‘boring’ as well.

The millions of us who’ve been on British antiwar demos know the truth about the BBC now. We know that we can gather in our hundreds of thousands and shut London down with our marching and the BBC will deem this “not newsworthy.” But any sporting event, no matter how unpopular and marginal, will get coverage.

Perhaps next time we should all dress up as fucking chickens?

Lost Trek!

JJ Abrams

JJ Abrams, creator of TV show Lost and director of Mission Impossible III, is to produce and direct the 11th Star Trek film, it has been reported.

According to industry newspaper Daily Variety, the film – set for release in 2008 – will focus on the early days of Captain James T Kirk and Mr Spock.
(Source: BBC News)

As a lifelong Trekkie, I’m praying that the new film loses the layers of shite grafted onto Trek by Brannon and Braga. I’d love to see a return to the vision of the future that Roddenberry invented, an optimistic, fantastic future. And it wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries:

Several notable themes were tackled throughout the entire series. Arguably, the most important was the exploration of major issues of 1960s America, like sexism, racism, nationalism, and global war. Roddenberry utilized the allegory of a space vessel set many years in the future to explore these issues. Star Trek was the first television show to feature an interracial kiss, Roddenberry getting around the censorship of such displays by depicting it as being compelled by an alien of great mental ability.

Episodes such as “The Apple”, “Who Mourns for Adonais?”, and “The Return of the Archons” display subtle anti-religious themes. “Bread and Circuses” and “The Omega Glory” have themes that are more overtly pro-religion and patriotic. Network interference, up to and including wholesale censorship of scripts and film footage, was a regular occurrence in the 1960s and Star Trek suffered from its fair share of tampering. Many scripts had to be revised after vetting by the NBC censors and, according to one book about the series, the gaping mouth of the “salt vampire” monster in the episode “The Man Trap” was actually an in-joke which referred to the network censor’s persistent habit of cutting love scenes which featured open-mouthed kisses.
(Source: Wikipedia)

I hope that Abrams brings some of the slickness of ‘Lost’ to the new Trek film but also that he manages to recapture the spirit of the original series, that breathless idealism that got gradually watered down through the spin-offs.

Hmmm… Kirk and Spock, The Early Years. How about Sean Maher as a young Spock? He looks pretty Vulcan already, and he’s a decent actor. It doesn’t matter if the actor looks thirtysomething as that’s a kid in Vulcan terms. Or, for a young-looking Spock, how about Joseph Gordon-Levitt?

As for Kirk… You’d need someone fresh-faced and quite hyper. William Shatner’s Kirk was still a roustabout in space and that was after maturing. God knows what the kid would be like at Starfleet Academy. How about Chad Michael Murray? He’s handsome enough and I’m sure he could give it some welly.

And please can we have proper aliens, not yet more bipedal humanoids with peculiar nose-ridges. 😀