October 19, 2013
October 13, 2013
It’s tempting to say of Greg Dyke: hoist with his own petard. The former Director General who once complained that the BBC was ‘hideously white’, is now at risk of a white-out. The only man ever to put a Rat (Roland) on a sinking ship (TV AM: he turned it round and made a tidy profit), may be pushed out of his nearly new role as chair of the Football Association (FA) after complaints about his hideously white appointees to the FA Commission on the future of the English game.
In an open letter to his chief critic, ‘Greg’ (just don’t call me ‘Gregory’) even cites his ‘hideously white’ comment as proof of his bona fides.
Greg – I know you won’t mind me calling you that, ‘cos that’s the down to earth guy you are – have you never heard the saying: ‘those who live in glass houses’? Just glance at a looking-glass…..
But if it’s easy to have a go at Greg for being right-on, man of the people, down with the black and ethnic minority communities – only to have it blow back in his hideously white face, it’s hard to accept that this is what became of the generation which saw television as a genuinely popular medium; the people’s window on the world.
Their rise was imbued with widespread hope for the extension of social democracy; their demise represents its dramatic contraction.
Black and white David Frost, close-cropped hair and skinny ties, in the 1960s the most intelligent man in TV. Greg Dyke’s seven-year ascent from junior researcher to head of London Weekend Television, delivering entertainment and current affairs in full 1970s colour: not bad for a Whispering Bob Harris lookalike.
Intelligence was everything – among these broadcasters but also on the part of the audience they were broadcasting to. Patronising – a whole way of life for their successors – is just what they didn’t do.
Old men and their tired faces. Pouchy cheeks and droopy eyes. Advised to watch their cholesterol and get the prostate checked.
On Thursday, America will be prostrate before its creditor nations unless by then the elderly men of Capitol Hill can agree to raise the Federal Government debt ceiling.
Shouldn’t be too difficult, gentlemen, deciding how much more we are allowed to ask to borrow; especially since our creditors cannot afford to refuse. We are, proverbially, too big to be allowed to fail.
Cut to Jim Yong Kim, lively and elegant in his cutaway collar. The chair of the World Bank is speaking about the dire consequences of American default – if it were allowed to happen on Thursday. Born in Seoul, raised in the Mid-West, former principal of Dartmouth College, nominated by President Obama – no less, he is Korean-American, surely symbolising this century as a co-production between East and West. Or if next week is truly telling, perhaps he already represents the changing face of power. Power having acquired distinctively Asiatic features, whereas until now it’s been too early to tell.
Gentlemen, we are, proverbially, too big to be allowed to fail.
Yet fail they might if they don’t sort themselves out in four days. Perhaps there will be an agreement before then, in which case the questions asked will be cut back to just one: what took you so long? But the answer to this question is also the reason why the default deadline may well go unmet.
Washington’s Congressmen have been ta(l)king so long because they’re in a double bind: if they act like the far-sighted, can-do country they used to be, this would entail substantive recognition of their current status as a dependent nation, increasingly reliant on the surplus produced elsewhere. On the other hand, as long as they lack the courage to look into this abyss, they also lack the gumption to get that crucial deal together. Aside from politicking in the West Wing and shenanigans on Capitol Hill, this is the existential crisis underlying Washington’s imminent debt crisis.