Saturday, 14 February 2009

What double standards?

Recently, well last week, but I only do this once a week (thankfully) so I can get a little behind, there has been a lot of controversy over some comments made by people who work for the BBC. It feels a little like I’m going over the same ground here after my rant about the royal family saying racist things, but this is what’s been getting on my tits recently.

If you live under a rock (or maybe the in United States, or anywhere other than the UK for the matter) you won't know what I’m talking about and probably won't care and I think I used that line or something similar last time, ah well. Last week the news broke that Carol Thatcher (the daughter of Maggie… no comment) had referred to a black tennis player as a golliwog in a private conversation in the ‘green room’ after an episode of ‘the One Show’ for which she is a roving reporter. Ironically Joe Brand, who was part of this conversation, took offense and reported it to her boss. Weird how Joe Brand can be offended by that when she herself says some highly inappropriate things at her comedy shows. In any case some big cheese at the BBC demanded an apology from Carol Thatcher, which she gave, but it wasn’t good enough and she found herself out of a job.

Inevitably I think this is completely absurd; it was a private conversation and all we have is a single word quote with no note of context or tone. I think it’s pretty unlikely that Carol Thatcher was genuinely being racist; if she was she deserves to be sacked purely for being stupid enough to make it so obvious. It was probably little more than a terrible joke in very poor taste that went horrible wrong. I didn’t realise that it was BBC policy to sack people who make poor jokes; actually it might be a good idea to do that, it might mean that we have to suffer fewer horrifically poor sketch shows and sit coms.

The absurd thing is that the comments were in a private conversation and yet she is out of a job when Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross can deeply offend Manuel (Andrew Sachs) and get away with a few months suspension. Ok so the moron who allowed that to be broadcast was sacked for being a fuckwit, but even so I think Thatcher was treated a little harshly. Then again she is hardly a big celebrity who is hugely popular and gets millions of viewers watch her every week, unlike Ross and Brand.

Another example of blatant double standards by our beloved BBC was when Jeremy Clarkson called Gordon Brown ‘a one-eyed, Scottish idiot’ in a live show of Top Gear in Australia recently and got away with nothing more than an apology. Again it seems that the BBC has one policy for people who they consider expendable (like Thatcher) and another for people who they can’t afford to loose (like Clarkson, Ross and Brand). Who needs principles eh? I am not of course saying that Clarkson should be sacked; Gordon Brown is an idiot, although linking that with the ‘one-eyed’ comment was probably a little inappropriate. I’m sure Gordon has better thinks to do than worry about what a big-headed arrogant twat like Clarkson thinks of him; he’s too busy trying to save the world (and failing it must be added).

So the BBC has not come out of the last week or two very well. Sacking Thatcher was the wrong thing to do and their complete lack of consistency was highlighted by the fact that Clarkson got away scot free for something far worse (not that he should have been sacked either; we expect that sort of thing from Clarkson by now). I guess that’s television for you.

I know I probably don’t have many (if any) readers from Australia, but I feel I should extend my sincere condolences to anyone who has lost anyone or anything in the bushfires Down Under. I guess it would be in very poor taste to use this as a spring board to talk about something else, so I think I’d better end it there.

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