Deck the Halls! ’tis the season to broadcast a bit of anti-Israel agitprop.
This morning on the iPlayer I caught up with the BBC’s hour-long documentary about Banksy’s and Danny Boyle’s much hyped “Alternativity" stunt. When that ended, the film went straight into the Alternatively “play” itself.
It was what it was - i.e., a common or garden school play with a musical bent - after all, the revered filmmaker Boyle delegated the actual production to a local drama teacher, which accounts for the fact that it wasn’t especially well conceived or executed. Of course the quality of the play itself was neither here nor there, because the whole point of the project was merely to remind the world about The Wall, (which is evil.) That’s it.
There was a Mary, a Joseph, a doll for the baby Jesus and a real live donkey. Mysteriously, Joseph was played by a female wearing a kind of gent’s jacket and a moustache. Also slotted in were three female rappers, rappin’ a “Free Palestine” rap. Near the end of the story, a scary baddie with a giant papier-mâché head that looked like “Mr. Punch-as-a-Jew” made a brief entrance in search of the New King, but was sent packing to much applause in true panto-baddie fashion.
Banksy must have chucked in a tidy sum to set it up; the rig and some of the staging looked more elaborate than your average school production.
The most offensive content was within the documentary. The voice-over narration was particularly troubling, one-sided and inflammatory in a passive-aggressive way. The BBC would call it (did call it) “controversial”
In fact the project was nothing more than a vehicle for political agitprop. So blatant was this, that, in the light of her reaction to Jon Snow’s Gaza antics, which she declared would never have got past the impartiality monitors at the Beeb, it’s truly a wonder Fran Unsworth let it through.
Maybe she and the head honchos at the BBC were bedazzled by the eminence of The Great Man - or rather men. The Great Artist and the Great Filmmaker.
The documentary featured the Great Filmmaker as he strode out purposefully beneath the Great Apartheid Wall, looking meaningfully upwards. The Great Filmmaker gazed out of the window from the Walled Off Hotel at its famous ‘view’, the Jewish watchtower. Filmic prompts, echoing you-know-what, are a filmmaker’s tool of the trade. A brief foray into a Jewish-settlement-in-occupied Palestinian-land produced another symbolic, filmic echo; a Magen David on a door, this time underlined with a verbal innuendo from a serious-faced Doyle.
The rest of the film showed the Great Filmmaker smiling broadly at his hosts, giggling at everything and pronouncing it all “cool” before departing and only reappearing on what seemed to be the day of the performance.
During the development of the project, the Great Men had been corresponding. They had a couple of perplexing dilemmas. One of them concerned ‘exploiting children’, which they didn’t wish to do, and the other was a fear that the audience wouldn’t turn up at all, because Palestinians don’t like to be reminded of The Wall. Well, who does?
They needn’t have worried. The audience turned up in abundance, probably wanting to be on TV, just like the congregation on Songs of Praise.
Pretty little white fairy snowflakes floated gently down from on high, covering the audience in artificial snow made from little pellets of polystyrene, the clingy stuff that’s normally used to protect fragile items in transit. It sticks to everything and no doubt causes mesothelioma if inhaled. On the bright side, that’s another grievance to air for fifty years hence.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly, falalalala lalalala.