Friday, 5 November 2010

Intrepid journalists do battle with facts in national media

The ever-tranquil British populace at play
Observers of the national media have in recent weeks noticed an interesting and heroic trend among journalists and commentators in the press, on television and even on the radio. The heroic efforts have been directed against a remorseless and tireless enemy: historical facts. The battlefield has been the question of whether British people are the sort of people who might take to the streets in violent opposition to abusive or incompetent leaders, and the plucky underdogs in the media seem surprisingly sure of their ground.

"It's very clear that the British aren't like the French," said one commentator indistinguishable from all the others. "We simply have no history of demonstrating like the French do. It's pretty much their first reaction to anything - to go out and protest. While British people just sort of sit at home and moan a bit. That's why the French had a revolution and we didn't."

At present the journalists and commentators appear to be winning the battle, but historical facts, needing neither food nor drink nor cocaine in order to keep going, have a habit of making a comeback when least expected. We await the outcome with baited breath

In the meantime, since triflingoffence aims to entertain as well as inform, we have, in a burst of altruism, devised a quiz for journalists who have repeated themselves so often they must be on the verge of killing themselves to end the boredom. The fun-filled task is to trace the source and historical context of the following quotes from history. The only tool necessary is Google which, judging from the quality of their output, most journalists are more than familiar with.
We see that things have now come to extremities, and we will prove the extremity. We will rend down the hedges, fill up ditches, and make a way for every man into the common pasture. Finally, we will lay all even with the ground, which they, no less wickedly than cruelly and covetously, have enclosed.
Still, enclosure is the kind of thing that people forget in a hurry, like Big Brother contestants.
One thing I must tell you more..... 
Break in pieces quickly the Band of particular Property, disown this oppressing Murder, Opression and Thievery of Buying and Selling of Land, owning of landlords and paying of Rents and give thy Free Consent to make the Earth a Common Treasury without grumbling.....that all may enjoy the benefit of their Creation.
The language of the two above gives away their age, but some of the themes tend to crop up repeatedly.
We are bowed down under a load of taxes; which, notwithstanding, fall greatly short of the wants of our rulers; our traders are trembling on the verge of bankruptcy; our workmen are starving; capital brings no profit and labour no remuneration; the home of the artificer is desolate, and the warehouse of the pawnbroker is full; the workhouse is crowded and the manufactory is deserted. We have looked upon every side, we have searched diligently in order to find out the causes of a distress so sore and so long continued. We can discover none, in nature, or in providence. Heaven has dealt graciously by the people; but the foolishness of our rulers has made the goodness of God of none effect.
It seems unfair to rely on such studied rhetorical flourishes, so over to someone who never indulged in such things.
It is a conflict which, if it is fought out to a conclusion can only end in the overthrow of parliamentary government or its decisive victory.
Ho hum. And finally, a first hand report.
Another rush from the crowd, running madly. Somebody grabbed me from behind. I spun around. "It’s alright, it's only me". A friend thank god. Hands held. "Don’t run, that’s what they want". I’m running because I don’t want to get trampled. We get out of the crowd for a breather, talking excitedly, then look down the road to see smoke billowing out, something’s on fire. The news spread quickly down to us, "What's burning?" "South Africa House", "South Africa House has gone up in flames". Sheer ecstasy. The joy on people's faces as this news spread.

1 comment:

  1. This post now looks somewhat superfluous in the wake of the student protests the other day. But it underlines the fact that for the weeks between the announcement of the cuts and the student protests, every goddamn journalist in this country and every commentator on national news managed to insert some reference to how the French do protest and the Brits don't.