Monday, July 13, 2009

Another Humuliation

Having been left feeling empty and subtly humiliated by my appearance on The Daily Politics, I blithely agreed to appear in Radio 4's Today this morning to talk about Antichrist. This was also a mistake. Today was better because it is a long way upmarket of The Daily Politics. Also in the past I have done come out of a Today encounter actually feeling I said something. On this occasion it didn't work because there was no time to discuss what I was actually saying - which is not, incidentally, ban the damn film, that was just the headline. Both shows share the same hurried need for soundbites. I loathe soundbites because, in general, they are untrue and inadequate. The world is complex and any one statement is unlikely to be any more complete than any other. It is one of the great failings of the media that they require people to make simple, general statements. These corrupt the imagination. But these appear to be the waters in which I am destined to swim.


  1. ...and that's why I can't listen to the Today show. Mostly shallow & shouty, it has to be the most unrelaxing way possible with which to wake up in the morning

  2. The worst example of confusing 'debate' with the act of reading opposing soundbites aloud is Jeremy Vine's show on Radio 2.

    But...gotta play the game, surely Bryan? Were you expecting them to let you quote your Sunday Times article in its entirety or something?

    One-liners are an artform too.

  3. I checked out your Daily Politics appearance on the iPlayer. I was a bit shocked that a programme that's devoted to politics and is on (I think) five days a week couldn't devote anything like the time required to address what is an interesting and important political development. I couldn't see the point of dragging you in to not really address the point at all. It was almost funny in its portentous but slapdash pointlessness. The Day Today, of blessed memory, increasingly looks like prediction rather than satire.

  4. Why not step up to the plate and go for your own show, then? Maybe every couple of weeks, a spot in which a subject can be properly explored with one or two others. I'd have thought radio was made for this and you don't need a studio for radio, so almost anywhere is fine.

    Leave TV to the soundbiters would are bound to end up bit on the bum themselves. Nige could always be placed on standby to fill in any longeurs - a nature note or two, a book review or wine tasting, an "Our boulvardier reports", etc.

  5. Politicians appear to work from the premise that they’re paid to say the bare minimum in the maximum number of words. Great political language, like great poetry, is usually couched in the art of brevity.

  6. Oh what a gay day was Sunday, the jewel in Rupert's crown did sparkle. yourself following the Tesco business model, two for the price of one, Lars von Brabant's photie pinned up on the dartboard next to Richards, the air thick with well aimed arrows thence onto a Persian Geordie who collects stuff. Value for money, that's what I say.
    All of those freebies and you still find time to moan, could be worse, could be raining.

  7. And did I mention Carla's tits?

  8. How far are these programs really concerned with discerning factual truth? Aren't they more interested in conversation for the sake of it? The pursuit of phatic truth? Fair enough as far as it goes - some people like to chat about sport or cars and others about politics. I can't see it serving much analytical purpose though. Those with the power to change things are always going to do whatever they please anyway.

  9. Re: broadcasting humiliations, I enjoyed your appearance on Private Passions. And I came to this blog via your stint on Start the Week.

    You obviously need long shows in which to reveal with the full tortured subtlety of your nonobviousism. Next time, petulantly demand at least an hour on air, prima donna-like.

  10. Some reactions.

    Thoroughly approve of Mark's suggestion of your own show.

    Thought that although you had limited time on both BBC pieces you came across very well on the Daily Politics but not so well on Today.

    The irony for me being that, apart from registering that you were a big John Gray fan as I read a couple of his books nearer the start of the decade, the first time I really noticed you was your excellent, liberal contribution on the Today programme last September after the Royal Society had sacked Michael Reiss. You went from nonentity to star, in my small corner, at that moment. I discovered this blog a month later and was further impressed.

    So, best not to rule out any channel completely but plenty of reason to get your own show, as Mark says.

    And excellent points by the way, in the article, on the sort of harm that films like Antichrist (most likely) do.