Flat White

They know nothing

14 June 2020

11:53 AM

14 June 2020

11:53 AM

So, now we are apparently living in what is called a “cancel culture”.  

Removing historical TV shows and movies will not help anyone in trying to “right” what they are perceiving as a “wrong.” 

There has never been more information around in our time, yet ironically, the level of ignorance has simply exploded. 

Supposedly freeing the memory of the masses in this feeding frenzy of throwing out long-standing, brilliant, culturally identifiable TV pieces such as Fawlty Towers is idiotic. 

In fact, this so-called new normal of cultural censorship is being done by a bunch of people who evidently don’t have the intelligence to understand nuance, comedic skill and satire. 

Millions of people around the world have grown up enjoying watching classic British TV series and classic Hollywood movies. 

Legendary pieces of television that have up until a few days ago stood the test of time. Only 13 episodes of “Fawlty Towers” were ever made, precisely so that people remembered them well. It is often voted one of Britain’s best TV series. 

But now it has been deemed “problematic” because of an episode known as “Don’t mention the war”, that was removed. 

Those on the witch hunt think it takes the mickey out of the Germans with John Cleese’s long legs goose-stepping and Hitler moustache. They have thrown in that the Major is using racist language. 

The very fact that the episode makes fun of Britain’s obsession with World War II is completely missed. 

Thankfully, the show’s creator John Cleese who played Basil Fawlty hasn’t lost his wit. 

Cleese has said, “one of the things I have learned in the last 180 years is that people have very different senses of humour…The Major was an old fossil leftover from decades before. We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them. If people are too stupid to see that, what can one say?” 

Cleese’s criticism has led to a quick reversal of the cancellations. But in this new censorious world. I wonder what shows will be next on the chopping block? “Yes, Minister”,” Seinfeld”, “Friends”?  

Brilliant shows created by brilliant minds ahead of their time which hit the nail on the head in what they aimed to do. The aim was not to be racist, but so people simply want to find offence and outrage in anything and everything. 

The multimilliondollar media companies are scrambling in every which way to be seen to be doing something in the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd, but are they? 

They seem to be claiming that by calling out what they see as mammoth injustices delivered in comedy shows from nearly half a century ago that somehow it will fix everything happening in the world. 

The irony seems to have been lost HBO Max which decided to remove “Gone with the Wind”, a classic film that earned more than a dozen Academy Awards. 

The company has said that the 1939 film was “a product of its time and depicted ethnic and racial prejudices that were wrong then and are wrong today.” 

We all know that racial prejudices are always wrong. 

However, Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win Best Supporting Actress. She evidently decided the role was ok to play. 

No doubt HBO Max media relations people hope they will be in line for an Academy Award for this performance. 

In the information-overloaded world we live in, knowledge is all around — but actually comprehending what we once knew as “general knowledge” is now blatantly impossible for a bunch of 20 and 30-year-olds. 

They can all understand sustainable, carbon-neutral, lifestyle diversity concepts but get them to name any western civilisation achievements which have ended up helping them in their daily lives and it’s a struggle. 

You need to remember that looking through the prism of history from decades or centuries ago with today’s eyes is extremely difficult.  

Bristol’s statue of slave trader Edward Colston recently removed is one thing but the method of removing it simply shows a mob mentality mindset where they don’t even understand what they are doing or why. 

It is reminiscent of how the Islamic State jihadis who destroyed the Temple of Baal in Palmyra and other priceless artefacts did so because they thought they were righting wrongs of past regimes they considered had done wrong. 

In effect, all they did was heighten just how brutal the Islamic State regime really is. 

Baying for removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University where Rhodes Scholarships have educated many does not serve anyone’s purpose. 

Rhodes was a British businessman, colonialist, mining magnate and prime minister of the Cape Colony 1890-1896. He fought against denying black people the vote and even set up a newspaper that was considered extremely liberal for its time. 

The Rhodes scholarship, created in 1902, has been awarded to more than 8,000 overseas students at Oxford including former Australian Labor and Liberal prime ministers Bob Hawke, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. 

It is again ironic it is overeducated middle-class youth who have been the ones making up the majority of the Black Lives Matter protests in the United Kingdom. 

Jumping on a bandwagon instead of standing up to defend something is what is culminating in this cultural vandalism. 

Standing up to any mob is not easy. 

Democracy in the western world has always been under threat. 

History always has a way of repeating itself. 

But in the space of a couple of weeks, the fervent do-gooders have implemented an agenda set long ago hellbent on the destruction of things that just don’t need to be destroyed. 

Monuments — be they statues, buildings or places – take their place in history to remind current and future generations of events that have occurred. 

Seventy-five years ago, Hitler embarked on his Final Solution to eliminate the Jewish people in Germany as well as other groups that didn’t fit his Ayran ideal. 

Auschwitz is still standing as a permanent, haunting memorial of the horrific genocide that was conducted by him and his regime of World War II.  

The survivors remain determined to remind everyone by discussing and telling their stories so that something like this can never happen again. 

Black Lives Matters protests are one thing.  

Erasing history which belongs to people’s heritage entirely is another. 

“I know nothing, Mr Fawlty.” 

What I wouldn’t give for Sybil and Polly to bring this new mob to order. Even Basil would be afraid. 

Illustration: BBC.

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