Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Leftie Academics Demand Bigger Licence Fee

From the Media Guardian (registration required):
A group of 14 senior academics have attacked the BBC's commercial competitors insisting that they are attempting to "diminish" the corporation by lobbying for a lower licence fee settlement... The letter says the BBC is a "trusted ambassador for Britain" and calls on the government not to force the corporation to "reduce its vision or scale through the back door of inadequate funding".
The full letter and signatories can be seen here. The Guardian comments:
The calibre of the signatories will be hard for the government to ignore as it decides the BBC's promised settlement this autumn.
Let's have a look at some of those signatories.

Andrew Graham is a former economic adviser to the Labour Party and a current member of the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian and Observer. Less money for the BBC would mean less advertising revenue for the Guardian.

Steven Barnett is a former Observer columnist, a "frequent commentator on radio and TV programmes", and has made a film as part of BBC 4's TV on Trial in 2005. Wouldn't want all that extra work to dry up, eh Steven?

Andrew Gamble co-edited Marxism and Social Science: “This major reassessment of the relevance of Marxism in the social sciences decisively rebuts claims that it has been consigned to the dustbin of history by the collapse of communism and apparent triumph of capitalism and liberal democracy.”

Donald Sassoon is author of One Hundred Years of Socialism, Tom O’Malley co-authored a book with ex-Labour MP Clive Soley, David Marquand is a former Labour MP, and Jean Seaton is the official historian of the BBC in the 1980s (yes, apparently there is) and widow of Labour historian Ben Pimlott. Sonia Livingstone, Sylvia Harvey, Bob Franklin, and James Curran are all professors in various media studies-type departments. Simon Frith is “a sociologist who specializes in popular music culture”.

Best of all, I think, is Professor Georgina Born. She wrote this:
This paper is based on the experience of doing an 'engaged' institutional ethnography of the BBC, one that attempted to provide 'useful' knowledge of relevance to policy, government and the world of media practitioners, while at the same time remaining experimental in form, analysis and scope. One feature of the study was an ethnographically-grounded critique of the BBC's institutional racism, which led me to write back to the institution and policy-makers to argue for the necessity of the BBC responding to 'cosmopolitan' realities in its employment practices and programming. The paper reflects on the paradox entailed in making such arguments to an institution like the BBC utilising similar reified and reifying terms that the institution itself employs as part of its armoury of defences against criticism and change - such as its 'accountability to its publics'. The paradox echoes Debbora Battaglia's observation (citing Derrida) that in identity politics, 'cultural identity presents itself, paradoxically, as "the irreplaceable inscription of the universal in the singular"'. On the other hand, the paper details also the BBC's imperfect attempts to engage with the messy complexity of its audiences' experiences, and to weave the insights back into its practices - to translate the rhetorics into operational form. Can we utilise terms such as 'cosmopolitanism' as a short-hand in exchanges with dominant public institutions in applied anthropology without risking a descent into the abstractions of contemporary social theory, which abjure specificity and complexity? Does the practice of applied anthropology, which speaks for or in alliance with 'others' in its engagements with powerful bodies, necessarily require such a reduction? Is such a reduction in tension with the nature of anthropological knowledge?
You couldn't make it up.


Blogger JohnM said...

You couldn't make it up.

Actually you can

8:00 pm  
Blogger DFH said...


8:35 pm  
Blogger Vote Franco (fdm) said...

It's not just lefties, I think the licence fee (tax) should be increased too.

1) I don't pay it not having a television.

2) Increasing the tax to a punitive number say £1000.00p or more per annum will really make it unpopular thus hastening its demise.

9:39 am  
Blogger rexie said...

1) I don't pay it not having a television.

Me neither

9:44 am  
Anonymous verity said...

Go orn! She's 'avin' a bit of a larff, in't she?

Personally, I'm going to refuse to "abjure specificity and complexity". I'm going to welcome specificity and complexity into my life. I'm going to seek them out, in fact.

3:37 pm  
Anonymous Clematis Fraudster said...

"Can we utilise terms such as 'cosmopolitanism' as a short-hand in exchanges with dominant public institutions in applied anthropology without risking a descent into the abstractions of contemporary social theory, which abjure specificity and complexity?"

I cannot believe she asked this question. Is she a complete thicko or what? Most of us would never even dream of asking this because simply posing such a question would suggest we are stupid.

And this Georgina Borg idiot is a professor? Of what? A Professor of Numptitude at the University of Dimwit?

4:31 pm  
Anonymous verity said...

Clematis - Oh, she absolutely must be a professor and I have no doubt she talks like this all the time. And feels frightfully superior, not realising that she and all her tribe are risible.

A thought occurs to me. I think, within the Anglosphere, this is a specifically English affectation. I've never heard an American speak like this, or read of an Ozzie speaking so ludicrously.

4:49 pm  
Blogger AntiCitizenOne said...

I have a TV and don't let the TVLA extort money from me. If I want to pay for a BBC channel then let me subscribe. The technology has been around for 10+ years now. At the moment I consider the BBCs use of my aerial to be like a junk mailers use of my post-box.

4:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once you here the word Derrida you can safely stop reading.

Clematis - "Professor of Numptitude" brilliant!

12:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here, here! My spelling is out of control man! I suppose I should have written "read" anyway.

12:54 am  
Anonymous stuart said...

"the BBC is a trusted ambassador for Britain"

ROFL I almost spilled my coffee!

That's the funniest thing I've read in ages! The po-faced multi-ethnic "News" readers we see on PBS and BBC America spouting leftie propaganda are just plain ridiculous when viewed from the real world.

And if it's such a "trusted ambassador", why did the crew of Ark Royal pull the plug on them in the Gulf War?

3:57 pm  

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