Monday, March 21, 2011

Thought Police

Google frightens me, I just had a hit from a keyword search for Seven Ages of Britain Anglocentric and I hadn't even posted anything like that, although I was certainly thinking about it. So since I've already been outed, here goes. I really shouldn't watch history programmes since I just end up shouting at the screen, which was why I stopped watching Question Time about 20 years ago.

Bettany Hughes on Roman Britain in the Seven Ages of Britain series on C4 was a case in point. Ms H didn't mention Wales, which was fair enough, no such country existed during that period, although England and the English seemed to crop-up fairly often. There was no mention of Caratacus or the slaughter of the Druids in Anglesey although Boudica did feature, more as some frustrated proto-UKIP supporter opposed by all those right-thinking Brits who'd signed up for the European project. Although she didn't have much time for the locals Ms Hughes also slipped in another bit of modern day PCism by trumpeting the multi-cultural nature of Roman Britain ( I wonder where all these folk are in the DNA record, it would be fascinating if they turned up). Her quotes from the tomb of Regina, the British wife of a Syrian flag-seller were revealing. Ms H read out the, well she called it Palmirian, inscription in an all-purpose Middle-Eastern accent, but the Latin sections in her normal RP voice. Couldn't she have used a cod-Italian accent for the Latin? Maybe public-school types see themselves as successors to the Patricians and therefore in no need of a silly accent when mangling Latin? Anyway we never did find out why flag-selling was such a profitable business in Roman "England."

Meanwhile ......... the Western Mail announces "a month-long investigation by the top historians of Wales into those people and concepts viewed as saints and sinners throughout Welsh history." The announcement comes complete with pen-portraits of the top historians and examples of their own personal heroes and villains. These tend to be decidedly boring: Bush, Murdoch, Thatcher (yawn) . I think I could enjoy a pint with the fellow who lists Tom Pryce as a hero and a pair of "snivelling traitors" from 1283 as villains though. Pride of place in the eccentricity stakes must go to the historian who lists Mike German as a hero and Lloyd George as a villain.

2 comments:

Rydwi'nhofficoffi said...

If you fancy another scream, watch The Secret War on Terror (on someone elses TV, obviously). Its what passes as balanced journalism these days. Surprising, given Peter Taylor's previous works on the Provos and Unionists in NI.

old radnor said...

I saw a couple of minutes of that but then the householder closed the curtains and I had to move on.