Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday's Musings

Maurice Saatchi graciously spared the time to honour Today listeners with his thoughts on political philosophy. At one point he patronisingly said to the interviewer Sarah Montague, who is no fool, "Have I lost you?"
Here is one of his startling insights that will have them re-writing the politics textbooks:
"Elections are intellectual battles and the winner is the one with the best case."
If you put 'Discuss' after that you could use it as a question in a politics exam. But probably only at Key Stage 1 because it's such transparent nonsense.
Labour must be delighted that a top Tory adviser is dispensing advice from the Olympian heights of Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Of course, Lord Saatchi was one of the masterminds behind the Tories' recent triumphant election campaign.
Maybe he was responsible for that intellectual battlecry 'Are you thinking what we're thinking?'
Or did he get that one from Aristotle?


It was interesting to hear the new Archbishop of York talking about being stopped by the police. Talking from personal experience.
He's black, you see.
As a curate he was stopped seven times for no apparent reason, apart from the obvious one.
As Bishop of Stepney he was stopped late at night in his car. The policeman was very rude to him. But then when the policeman saw the dog collar he smiled and said 'Whoops!'

It was also good to hear the new Archbishop condemning homophobia but sad that like so many clerics he cannot see that insisting that homosexuality is inherently sinful is a green light to homophobes and a justification, intentional or not, for homophobia.
Interviewed on C4 News, his message to gay men and women seemed to be: 'Hey guys, it's no big deal. We're all sinners. Homosexuality is just another sin like adultery.'
If, like many gay men, I were in a loving, faithful, long-term relationship I'd find that pretty galling. If you're going to be damned anyway, even for being faithful, you might as well have a bit on the side.

I learn from Victoria Coren in the Observer that, had Michael Jackson been found guilty, Radio 2 were going to ban his music. Why just Radio 2? Do BBC listener profiles include attitudes to under-age sex for the different channels?
On the broader point of banning his music, Coren cites some rather tame analogies from the world of literature, though strangely doesn't mention Lewis Carroll. She might have done better to mention some of the examples I quoted here recently of 'age-inappropriate' relationships by pop stars - people like Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Bill Wyman's relationship with the 13 year old Mandy Smith.
Of course, none of these people were convicted of any crime. If they had been, would the BBC ban their music? Have they banned Gary Glitter records since his conviction? Have they banned records that were produced by Jonathan King? I think that, after his problem with internet pornography, Pete Townsend was put on the Sex Offenders' Register. Have they banned records by The Who?
Once you start down this road of banning music, literature or anything else because of the private life or opinions of the artist, where do you stop?

Tangentially related to this, there must be many intensely homophobic, maybe Evangelical Christian, gentlemen and their good lady wives who enjoy listening to their old LPs of Cole Porter or Ivor Novello. Or like an evening at the theatre to see a revival of one of those safe, respectable, middle-class plays by Terence Rattigan.

But the need to separate the person from their profession goes beyond the arts.
There are many gay doctors. I knew quite a few at university. So if I need to cheer myself up I remind myself that every day somewhere in Britain a raging homophobe is dropping his underpants in front of a gay doctor.


At 2:36 PM, Blogger Merkin said...

Quite right, Willie. As someone once said (my memory is slightly addled today, so sorry if I misquote) "A society that starts off burning books soon progresses onto burning people". Personally, I think that banning the music of a guilty Michael Jackson would be akin to banning the books of Oscar Wilde, or the films of Roman Polanski. Censorship never works....

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

merkin, I can't remember who said it either but it's very true.
The paradox is that we live in a time that is simultaneously more liberal in sexual matters and more censorious.

By the way, bad phrasing on my part might have implied that Elvis, Little Richard and Bill Wyman all had a relationship with Mandy Smith. It was only the last -as far as we know!

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Lost said...

Well Jerry Lee Lewis DID pay the price for his relationship. I have to giggle at the image created by the thought of the homophobe and the gay doctor LOL.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger cello said...

The self-deluding pomposity of people in advertising would be awe-inspiring if it weren't so fantastically emetic. I should know. I work in advertising (and have a little self-deluding piece in today's Guardian on the topic). We think that, because editorial people find the money fascinating,they think we are too.

And I have had a go at that nasty little Tory strapline in the same column some weeks ago. I am affronted that Tories should presume to think like me.

And the church and homosexuality...goodness, today's blog is very bad for my hypertension, Willie. Why don't we talk about peonies instead, or Mahler. Just remembered that I am planing on inclusing a modest Mahler song in the 3 hour funeral.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

cello, for some reason I thought that might be you when I read the article today. I sometimes write about advertising here so I must watch my step.
I've written advertising copy myself, only because when I worked in the public sector we couldn't afford agencies so it was a case of 'Willie can do it'. If I didn't wish to remain anonymous I'd tell you what I was promoting. God, how you'd laugh!

Nothing self-deluding about your excellent piece. Media Guardian is the highlight of my week, which is odd because I don't work in the media. So you see there are a few weirdos who find it as fascinating as those in the industry do.

Yes, let's talk about Mahler instead. I definitely want the 9th at my funeral but can't decide which movement. The entire thing is far too long. From which movement could you segue seamlessly into Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone? And that's one of the longest singles ever released. People will have to be asked to bring a packed lunch.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger cello said...

Gosh, Willie, I'm not sure any movement would be a natural intro to Bob Dylan. But, surely, the only movement you could use is the last, unless you want to scare the shit out of everyone at your funeral. I guess striking the fear of a non-existant God into your mourners isn't totally out of character but let me urge you down the elegaic and transcendant path.

I am toying with a Dylan track for mine; 'Hey, Mr Tambourine Man'. I need something to signify my carefree youth so it's that or Monteverdi's 'Lasciate ai Monti'. What do you reckon?

Please don't feel the need to watch your step re advertising. I am a rather maverick figure in the industry and you're unlikely to offend me because a)I don't take offence easily b) I don't write ads.

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

cello, I'd go for the Tambourine Man, partly because I don't know the Monteverdi to which you refer but also because its simplicity would lift the spirits - theirs if not yours.

It's good to have someone here who doesn't easily take offence.
I wrote about why advertisers almost never have to say sorry here:
(Sorry, don't know how to hyperlink in this box).
Some of my arguments are flawed because they are based on the false assumption that I'm a typical consumer.
And it should not be inferred that I have anything but the greatest respect for an industry of which you are such a distinguished member. :-)

At 2:14 PM, Blogger cello said...

Willie, I've sent you an email at the address on your profile. Hoping it's still current.


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