Tag: BBC

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Professor Bettany Hughes, award-winning historian, BBC broadcaster, and author of the best-selling books Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore; The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens, and the Search for the Good Life; and Venus and Aphrodite: History of a Goddess.

Prof. Hughes shares insights from her most recent book about the ancient deity known as Venus to Romans and Aphrodite to the Greeks, and her impact on our understanding of the mythology and history of beauty, romance, and passion. She discusses Aphrodite’s mythical role in sparking the Trojan War, portrayals of her across Western culture, and enduring lessons. They then turn to the ancient Greeks’ contributions to the foundations of Western philosophy, poetry, and government, and why studying classics, including figures like Socrates, is vital for education in the 21st century. And they explore the timeless wisdom and cautionary lessons all of us can draw from studying ancient Athenian democracy, Sparta, and the civic life of Greek city-states, the West’s earliest models of self-government. She concludes with a reading from her book, Venus and Aphrodite.

Disagreement over the lockdown has taken a decidedly different turn in the New Year. This past weekend Toby received a death threat in one of his email accounts and it was deemed that it was serious enough to warrant a police visit. He also got into a very public row with Conservative MP Neil O’Brien (Harborough, Oadby & Wigston).

On the culture front, we find James watching (*gasp*) the BBC and he recommends The Serpent, the story of serial killer Charles Sobhraj. (It’s a BBC/Netflix co-production so American listeners will presumably get it shortly after the Beeb is done with its run.) Toby is so disgusted with this year’s Bafta offerings (Have we ever mentioned that Toby is a Bafta member?) that he’s gone back to revisiting older films such as SPECTRE and Star Trek: Beyond.

This week James reports in from an undisclosed location (his evil genius lair, no doubt) and he and Toby review the week’s doings, from the latest on the Covid lockdowns to the foolishness of the multi-culti wokeness of the BBC and their plans for this year’s Proms.

We get their views on the Biden-Harris ticket (or is that Harris-Biden?) and the prospect of Donald Trump’s re-election, plus our cultural reviews, highlighted by the very disappointing Greyhound with Tom Hanks on AppleTV.

Say what you want about our intrepid podcasters but they are real stand up guys. For Toby, he’s fresh from his smash debut as a stand up comic, for James… well, he’s lucky just to be standing up, having spent the last couple of days battling what he’s sure is some Chinese bioweapon disease.

As for the rest of the show there’s Boris Johnson’s transformation from licentious hero to finger-wagging scold,  the UK’s new Internet regulator, and the BBC’s strangely impressive suicide strategy. And of course the Oscars… Have you oppressed a cow today?

Review: They Shall Not Grow Old

 

In the 1950 and 60s the Imperial War Museum and the BBC recorded oral histories of ordinary Tommies and their experiences in the Great War from 1914-18. From enlistment to training, to the horrors of the mud, the blood, the gas, the stench and the filth of the trenches, and the somewhat hollow homecoming, their stories are both riveting and revolting.

To bring these these stories to life, New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson combines their voices with film from the IWM vaults, much of it never seen before. His techniques are both a marvel and at times questionable. When much of the footage was originally shot the frame rate of hand-cranked film was somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 16 frames per second instead of the now standard 24 FPS. To compensate, computer software was utilized to create interpolated frames. It smooths out the action and removes the herky-jerky style we have come to expect of motion pictures from the silent era but it means that for every minute of real film on screen there are about 20 seconds of computer created imagery. To top that off all of the film shot in France has been colorized and for theater audiences, some of it stereoscoped into 3D. I viewed the film as it was presented on the BBC on Armistice Day and the re-translation back to 2D is unsettling at times.

Because the film is silent, Jackson’s team of foley artists and ADR technicians brought in lip readers and actors with the appropriate regional accents to give voice to individuals seen talking on film. The colorization is often a best-guess proposition. Some colors are too stark, others are too muted. But its primary purpose seems to be to replace the darker and undefined representation of blood in black and white with a more shocking-to-the-senses red, and in that it is successful.

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Last February, a barn in Wiltshire, a county in southwest England, caught fire when an electrical fault ignited 60 tonnes of hay. Firefighters were able to rescue two sows and eighteen piglets from the blaze, prompting farmer Rachel Rivers to promise the firefighters some sausages when the pigs were butchered. The promise was made good […]

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Captain John Watson, M.D. of the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers, newly returned after a combat injury from the war in Afghanistan, is looking for new living arrangements when a mutual friend introduces him to an odd young fellow, Sherlock Holmes, who is looking for a flat-mate to share space in a London apartment at 221B Baker […]

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Listening to the most recent Newshour program from the BBC World Service, I was bombarded by shellshocked reporters and Eurocrats tearing their hair and beating their breasts about what to do about – you guessed it – the Trumpian Menace. Given the newsreaders’ and reporters’ open sympathies with the EU, one would think “BBC” stands […]

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When it comes to the automobile my views are very utilitarian. They are a wonderful symbol of freedom and a necessity, as much as horse ownership was before Henry Ford transformed the 20th Century. But I do not enjoy maintaining them. I am happy to pay someone else who does. And while I have been […]

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BBC World Service listeners got punked by Godfrey Elfwick, a student from Sheffield, whose Twitter account regularly parodies SJWs.  Elfwick was invited to participate in a segment on the new Star Wars movie, where his analysis of the Star Wars franchise included these gems. Preview Open

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Clarkson, Conservatives, and the Cult of Victimhood

 

Jeremy ClarksonIt’s not easy being on the Right today. This is particularly true if you happen to be an affluent heterosexual white male. If you are unfortunate enough to be in that position, you are expected to spend most of your time checking your privilege and must be constantly vigilant lest you inadvertently commit a microaggression.

If, by some failure of the affirmative action system, you manage to slip past the bien pensant guardians of the culture and achieve mainstream celebrity status, your every word and deed will undoubtedly be subject to severe scrutiny. The slightest deviation from politically correct orthodoxy will result in mass public outrage and calls for your termination. Given such circumstances it is entirely understandable that many, if not most, conservative mainstream celebrities choose to toe the PC line and keep their views to themselves. Understandable, but disheartening nonetheless. To his credit, Jeremy Clarkson chose a different route.

For more than a decade, Clarkson has been the host of the wildly popular BBC motoring show “Top Gear.” Since taking over as the show’s chief impresario in 2002, Clarkson has transformed it from a little-watched Consumer Reports-ish snooze fest into an exciting and humorous mega hit with 300 million viewers worldwide. He managed to do so despite, or perhaps more accurately because, he is routinely profoundly un-PC. At one point or another Clarkson has skewered every sacred cow from vegetarianism to multiculturalism to electric cars, making himself one of the British Left’s most hated bogeymen. In recent years Clarkson has sparked controversy and calls for his sacking numerous times for an array of crimes against progressivism ranging from the use of racial epithets to taunting Argentina over the Falklands War. Despite the best efforts of the left-wing outrage industry, Jeremy Clarkson continued to prosper as the star of the BBC’s most popular show.