Saturday 23 April 2016

Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo

As you might expect from the BBC, the initial main focus of today's BBC News article announcing the public's selection of JMW Turner to replace Adam Smith on the £20 note lies with the debate over 'gender diversity' - i.e. whether there are enough women on British bank notes.

The last seven paragraphs, however, do turn to the question of why Turner might be a good choice (as the public evidently thinks he is).

In contrast, Sky News's equivalent article doesn't discuss the 'gender' question at all. 

At the end of the BBC's article the corporation's Arts Editor Will Gompertz adds his 'analysis', including his 'personal' choice for who should have been on the note - and, guess what, it's a woman!:
But, and this is only a personal opinion, I really wish they had gone for the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.
Genuine personal opinion? Or virtue-signalling (@Caroline Criado-Perez, so to speak)?

That said Julia Margaret Cameron's photographs are quite something. As it's Shakespeare's 400 anniversary today, here's her photo of the leading Victorian Shakespearian actress, Ellen Terry, from 1864:


  1. Well Cameron probably deserves to be better known judging by that one, very modern looking photo, but she hardly merits inclusion on our bank notes - unless you are a virtue signalling Max Wall impersonator. Anyway, I seem to recall for a long time the gender balance was 100% female and 0% male - when it was Britannia and the Queen on the notes. Don't recall anyone complaining about that then...

  2. I haven't bothered to look, but I'm sure the BBC is swooning over Andrew Jackson being replaced on the $20 by Harriet Tubman. Which is fine with me. The response making the rounds is: Replace a genocidal, racist, slave-owning Democrat with a gun-toting Republican who rebelled against the government to fight against slavery? Deal.

    Also, it seems that they're going to redo the image of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 to feature the great Marian Anderson in honor of her famous performance on the steps. But America's still racist to the core, right, BBC?

    1. Yes, "Ms Tubman" (as the BBC website article calls her) has indeed been 'trending' at the BBC, and, yes, the main article says, "She will replace former President Andrew Jackson, a slave owner."

      Marian Anderson's arrival gets a very brief mention in one of the articles.

    2. Nearly all the founding fathers were slave owners and a good few supported genocide towards native Americans. The Soviet Union in 1936 also had a good constitution. Constitutions don't make for freedom and happiness - cultures do.

  3. Thanks for the links, Craig. Not much actual swooning from Beeboids, really.

    Women's Hour had an excellent segment, letting the United Statesian woman guest, Crystal Sanders, tell it straight, no agenda, just facts. The facts could be interpreted as pushing an agenda, I suppose, but only if you're against the whole thing. There's no real way to spin Tubman's story as a bad thing. Not sure why they didn't mention that she left her husband, a free man, because he didn't want to go north with her, as that would have made her even more of a feminist icon.

    The only problem was the presenter (and possibly the producer who wrote the question) saying that Tubman replacing Andrew Jackson "is seen as somewhat ironic. Why?" Huh? I know the BBC doesn't do irony, but that doesn't even make sense. Sanders didn't get it either, and gamely moved on to a salient point. Overall, excellent segment. The BBC can do it if they try.

    The two website articles are fine, straightforward. The News Hour idiot, though, somehow just had to try and make it a story about how the US is still so racist that it's a surprise we put Tubman on a bill. Gosh, what took you so long? Black man elected President twice, BBC. In the UK, on the other hand, the only reason a black person is anywhere near a leader, never mind a leadership position, in dear Labour is because Corbyn used her as a prop in the '70s to display his radical bona fides to his white friends. Get over yourselves.

    Aside from that, they should have also mentioned somewhere that Sacagawea is on the dollar coin now, and before that it was Susan B. Anthony. Does it lessen the impact of a story about Harriet Tubman's appearance on the $20? It's factual, so it shouldn't matter.


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