Sunday, September 11, 2005

What’s left of the BBC's serious and professional heritage is losing it

”Bush Bashing Corporation” seems to be the watchword at Bush House these days. Even the BBC’s Radio programme “Reporting Religion” is in on the act.

FEET OF CLAY?

«One commentator called it "the moral emptiness at the heart of God-fearing America".
Have the scenes of devastation and social disorder following Hurricane Katrina shown another side to a deeply religious nation? What, if any, are the shortcomings that have been highlighted by the events of the last couple of weeks? »
First we have to note that “Reporting Religion” is one of the only programs on their international service that isn’t broadcast domestically, except when the use the World Service as an overnight filler for Radio 4. I guess they don’t think insomniacs will end up in the typical outrageous fear of faith ubiquitous in the UK, but know that someone on earth somewhere, most likely in Africa, might not be offended by the sound of the word religion. At least in a fashion not used for blame, personal problems, and heartache.

But where to start with the web-page tagline, which wasn’t nearly as bad as the radio presentation played out to be. It simply assumes that all Americans are alike, the same way a jerk might say that all east Asians look alike. To the Beebazoid a nation is comprised of persons of a predicable nature. Variances from this are rare, and must be reported as aberrations similar to finding a lost tribe somewhere.

You would think that Reporting Religion would at least be aware that every society has people who do good and evil, even if they are just in transition between the two. Since they seem so madly in love with the notion of a “personal journey”, wouldn’t it dawn on them that people doing good or bad things have arrived at a waypoint or a destination in that hike of the soul. The life of the soul is more than just self-reflection, or in the case of the leading lights of British life the DISPLAY of self-reflection in order to be admired.

One of the program segments itself was perfectly comical. Two American churchmen were invited to discuss the lootings, shootings, and other horrible actions in the flood zone. While one was sincere, the other one who is an obviously political activist type and a lefty, talked about nothing other than taxes, and that they should go up. He simply couldn’t get on topic or stay off of his own topic. He truly seemed like a clown.

My thought was that this was a great way for the BBC to reintroduce comedy programming to the World Service. But seriously folks – because the presenter has to work with the BBC’s datum line on the constructed moral impression of refent events, he is forced to begin by talking to the subject from the viewpoint that the US thinks it’s some sort of “moral and religious super power”, and that there was “a perch that it was knocked off of”. I’m using their examples specifically. They are quite simply nonsensical solipsisms that come from believing that if you think something, then it is real and doesn’t require questioning.

It’s the leftist and eternally perturbed European press that implies that sort of idiocy. Repeating it so frequently, that if becomes a sort of received wisdom about the U.S. Any Christian can tell you that there is no such thing as a “good Christian” – just people striving to be “good Christians”.

Whether those who put the series together are unaware of what it is that the overwhelming majority of believes do, or is simply forced to take as a starting point the fictitious vision of the garden variety Guardian reader is immaterial. They aren’t reporting religion in view of today’s issues, they’re reporting it from within Europe’s corrosive Kultursmog where the faithful are suspect and society has devolved back to a point where people are struggling with the most basic ethical issues whenever a tragedy appears. In short, RR seems to have been demoralized into believing that they are dealing with an audience and programming executives who are idiots, at least when it comes to religion.

Their grandparents had significantly less trouble with common moral questions like “why do bad things happen to good people”, would have a place to start thinking through it, and would have been able to do it in adolescence. They then had a continuing and growing inner life which we still dignify with the title “contemplation”, but have a hard time admitting to ourselves that the public does it, especially people confessing to religions that the middle-minded don’t think if as exotic and cool.

Now many people struggle with simple moral dilemmas into middle age. No better for the experience, many end up surrendering to confusion, convenience, quasi-cults, pop-psychology, or just drawing a blank. Isn’t THAT worthy of a reporter’s attention, or is it too close to the bone for programming executives of a certain generation?