#ranthill: gone but not forgotten

i’m aware that

this story has already been reported in several places, but i feel like i should swell those ranks – partly because there might be some readers who missed it, and partly in order to record it in the RQT annuls so i never forget that it happened.

several of you will have noticed that on Friday an Olympiad started, and, as is traditional, the ceremonial opening of the games was instantiated in an opening ceremony. that ceremony was orchestrated by film director Danny Boyle (Sunshine, Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later) and took the form of a retelling of modern British history themed around the poem ‘And did those feet in ancient time’ by William Blake.

i, along with what seems to me from the response i’ve seen like the majority of people, very much enjoyed both Boyle’s take on Blake and history and the spectacle by which it was communicated. it was no surprise, however, given his well publicised decision to make the NHS central to his (nuanced, and, in places, dark) celebration of modern Britain, that the right-wing press would be displeased by the ceremony – the exact nature of the displeasure expressed in The Daily Mail, however, exceeded my expectations.

while predictably anti-NHS rhetoric set the context for a piece written for the Mail Online by regular contributor Rick Dewsbury, that proved merely the oversized side-salad to a dish of cold, seasoned racism. it’s not at all out of character for the Mail to crowbar in a few comments about ‘fawning’ race-equality the ‘creeping’ multi-cultural agenda and/or ‘worrying’ immigration, or even to use a ‘bait-and-switch’ approach, but this, well this was something else.

the relevant section of the article read:

And how long did this shameful propaganda last for? A whole 15 minutes at the top of proceedings before viewers dozed off to the procession of banana republics and far-flung destinations nobody has ever heard of or even cares for.

That such a politically divisive subject was included at all is utterly shocking. Not least because it glossed over the cracks in a system that is creaking at its seams – crying out for urgent reform …

The NHS segment came after a mildly moving rendition of Jerusalem (though this will move any patriot) and a play depicting the industrial revolution tearing up Blake’s ‘green and pleasant land’ …

But it was the absurdly unrealistic scene – and indeed one that would spring from the kind of nonsensical targets and equality quotas we see in the NHS – showing a mixed-race middle-class family in a detached new-build suburban home, which was most symptomatic of the politically correct agenda in modern Britain.

This was supposed to be a representation of modern life in England but it is likely to be a challenge for the organisers to find an educated white middle-aged mother and black father living together with a happy family in such a set-up.

Almost, if not every, shot in the next sequence included an ethnic minority performer. The BBC presenter Hazel Irvine gushed about the importance of grime music (a form of awful electronic music popular among black youths) to east London.

This multicultural equality agenda was so staged it was painful to watch.”

i’m not going to deign this incongruent, ill-founded and hateful muck with analysis or further comment, but i hope the fact that such a sentiment was ever published on the site of a major newspaper is as shocking to you as it is to me.

like several others who read this article on Saturday morning, i was initially stunned, then, having thought about it for a few minutes, lodged a complaint on the PPC website. then, after having made the complaint, i went back to the site to find that the article had been redacted (without acknowledgement). and the most hateful paragraph now read:

This was supposed to be a representation of modern life in England but such set-ups are simply not the ‘norm’ in any part of the country. So why was it portrayed like this and given such prominence? If it was intended to be something that we can celebrate, that two people with different colour skin and different cultural heritages can live harmoniously together, then it deserves praise. But what will be disturbing to many people is top-down political manipulation – whether consciously or unthinkingly – at a major sporting event.

who knows whether Dewsbury was made to write this u-turn himself, but it’s interesting to know that someone in authority decided that what was originally there was too much, even for the Mail.

… then … shortly after the redaction was made, the post was pulled altogether and has not resurfaced since.

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