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New Media

Raise the level of debate

Despite no blogging for a week, I am not dead. In fact, I have never felt more alive.

Thanks for commenting about the BBC/Daily Mail furore in my absence, and thanks for not shouting at each other. Although Andy – I’m sorry, but you’re wrong about the licence fee. Marina Hyde punctures the Mail here. And this is the bit that spears the ‘dismantle the beeb’ argument:

“What is it that BBC1 does that the independent sector can’t do just as well?” asks Littlejohn. “Do I hear Little Dorrit and the Blue Planet? … I’m sure a privatised Channel 4 in partnership with Discovery or Disney would be happy to pick up the ball.”

Wrong. Where is America’s Blue Planet? Advertising revenues could never support such expensive shows. But, as Littlejohn knows, people want to see them. In fact, a report commissioned by our BBC-loathing government found that people would actually pay an average of £31 a year more for the licence fee than they do now. People cherish the BBC, and that is a big part of why they care when Ross gets it so wrong.

Read the rest of the piece, and we’ll discuss it.

Anyway, I have quit smoking.

(there’s a prevailing belief that if you tell people that you’ve quit, they’ll keep you honest, so to speak, should you ever be tempted to lapse back into your old ways. I thought that announcing it on my blog was a good way to stay honest. After I announced it on Facebook and Twitter that was..)

It has been surprisingly easy, and the only ill effect thus far has been an increase in the amount of fruit I’m eating. Fancy a cigarette? Have an apple.

I’ve also finished the SF / ARG / Games essay for the Journal of SF Film and TV. That took a while longer than it should have done, and the conclusion was a bitch.

This week, though, I was complained about. Apparently discussing complex ideas is not something that all postgraduate students find to be a desirable part of their studies. Too bad. I’m not about to stop. I rather like it when its difficult.

Oh – and this is priceless. The Guardian (yep – them again) have begun a rather sweet piece of new media response to the US Presidential election (no-one’s going to be surprised that I’m rather glad the narrative of fear and collective self-loathing looks like coming to an end?). Here’s the image they’re leading with. I’ll let you draw your own West Wing / let Bartlet be Bartlet / intertextual conclusions:


21 comments for “Raise the level of debate”

  1. “Thanks for commenting about the BBC/Daily Mail furore in my absence, and thanks for not shouting at each other.”

    That’s because we were shouting at you :-D

    Posted by Baldur Bjarnason | November 8, 2008, 6:39 pm
  2. “I was saying Boo-Urns!”

    Posted by mongo | November 8, 2008, 9:28 pm
  3. The BBC does good things and if it was a voluntary subscription service it would be great value at £12 a month or whatever. It’s certainly better value than Sky. The difference is of course if you don’t want to watch Sky you don’t pay and they turn it off. If you don’t want to watch Planet Earth they fine you and threaten you with prison. Also, talking of Blue Planet, why are the BBC DVDs not considerably cheaper to buy considering we’ve paid to have the programme made in the first place. And where’s USA’s Blue Planet? Where’s Uk’s Sopranos more like? And are you forgetting the revenue that the BBC gets syndicating it’s programmes around the world?

    And as for the whole ‘it’s a good service and people can’t be trusted to fund it if they didn’t have to’ argument, why not introduce mandatory sit-ups, ban cigarettes, alcohol and puddings?

    Posted by Andy | November 9, 2008, 12:19 pm
  4. And while we’re at it..Blue Planet..it’s boring and I don’t want to watch it. So don’t make me f*cking pay for it. Blue Planet…ffs

    Posted by Andy | November 9, 2008, 12:22 pm
  5. When’s the job interview with the Daily Heil?

    “Outrage Correspondent wanted – experience of spluttering an advantage”.


    Posted by mongo | November 9, 2008, 12:30 pm
  6. Bring it on! Littlejohn’s got nothing on me, that lefty pinko.

    I’m sure there are criminals who live very well due to the unique way they are funded. Taking people’s money without asking.

    Posted by Andy | November 9, 2008, 1:27 pm
  7. That’s a pretty fucking tenuous analogy!

    You’re only supposed to get that right wing when you’re really old… you’ve jumped the curve!

    Posted by mongo | November 9, 2008, 1:53 pm
  8. I’m not entirely sure it’s right-wing to suggest that an organisation that takes money from everybody in the country irrespective of whether they watch it should be allowed to exist because some people decide that its ‘beneficial’ for them to do so. `It’s like some social engineering experiment to make us all appreciate Two Pints of Lager or the Proms.

    Or to suggest that this organisation should be held accountable by the people they extort money from with menaces.

    Or that when 30,000 people complain that the BBC should be made to sit up and listen, instead of just defending it saying that these people shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion because they ‘just don’t understand’ or they have been brainwashed by columnists.

    I’d say it was quite left-wing for me, considering.

    Posted by Andy | November 9, 2008, 2:09 pm
  9. They’re still chasing you over old unpaid bills then?

    Power to the people!

    Posted by mongo | November 9, 2008, 2:12 pm
  10. “an organisation that takes money from everybody in the country irrespective of whether they watch it ”

    You could always not have a telly!

    Posted by mongo | November 9, 2008, 2:13 pm
  11. No, I could just choose not to watch BBC and watch one of the channels I subscribe to. Except they won’t allow me to do that. Fascists.

    They need to change with the times. They’re all about being interactive, surely the ultimate interaction is giving people the choice whether to use their services or not.

    Posted by Andy | November 9, 2008, 2:21 pm
  12. I’m about to get bored of this and go out but before I do I should just add that I think the license fee is pretty good value. Should they pay vapid mongs millions of pounds? No. Has this whole thing been ridiculous? Yes.

    On balance the BBC puts out more watchable stuff than it does shite, which can’t be said for any other broadcasters. Even C4 seems to be increasingly in thrall to the yoof market with spazfests like Skins and Big Brother outnumbering anything worth watching on that particular channel.

    In the grand scheme of things and considering how brutally violated we get for taxes and fees at practically every turn, £140 (of the equivalent of a couple of good nights out these days) really isn’t the end of the world. You’d do better getting angry about one of the many other issues that would be a better use of your righteous fury.

    I’ll get me cloak.

    Posted by mongo | November 9, 2008, 2:21 pm
  13. Other issues don’t tend to cost me £140 a year. Then I’d get bloody angry about them!

    When you playing in London next by the way?

    Posted by Andy | November 9, 2008, 2:28 pm
  14. London? £140 a pint. Now THAT’S worth stirring up a revolt for!

    Probably in the new year… I’ll keep you posted. (But studiously avoid mentioning anything about the BBC).

    Posted by mongo | November 9, 2008, 2:30 pm
  15. BBC?!!! I’ll kill them! I’ll kill them all!!!

    Posted by Andy | November 9, 2008, 2:31 pm
  16. Sixteen comments… if we get a couple more we can probably get the BBC to change its official policy on something!

    Posted by mongo | November 9, 2008, 9:58 pm
  17. I think we’re the only ones listening..sigh. Tom giving up fags is hardly going to help the world out of recession is it. He’s been putting some farmer in Virginia’s kids through college.

    Posted by Andy | November 10, 2008, 12:33 am
  18. Don’t bring up those damn kids in Virginia. Never write, never send a card at Christmas. That’s the real reason I quit.

    Posted by tom | November 10, 2008, 10:12 am
  19. But I never write or send you Christmas cards either

    Posted by Andy | November 10, 2008, 10:12 pm
  20. And he’s never forgotten it…

    Posted by mongo | November 10, 2008, 10:56 pm
  21. I am shocked and saddened… that nobody has done a mass debate joke yet.

    Posted by mongo | November 11, 2008, 4:59 pm

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