Monday 3 January 2022

Downhill slalom

As Winter George commented on the open thread, Ski Sunday returned this week and apparently doubled down on the identity politics stuff that last year led to the show bending its ski-suited knee to Black Lives Matter.

That episode last year saw its two white main presenters stand in front of the camera and earnestly, cringingly, apologise for their previous lack of awareness of racism in skiing and then preach to BBC viewers about how they/we should also now think about the matter. 

It was one of the most excruciating things I've ever witnessed on BBC TV. They stood there like the abject repentant victims of a show trial during Mao's Cultural Revolution -  except that, unlike those Chinese people, the Ski Sunday presenters were standing on snow in ski gear in some posh European ski resort with BBC camerapersons aiming nothing worse than BBC cameras at them.

This episode, it seems, moved on to LGBQTQ++ matters.

Though I like watching Winter Olympic skiing on TV and used to watch Ski Sunday with my parents when I were a lad and knee-high to a ferret, I won't watch this new series even for the sake of the blog. But I see Twitter dividing between people who don't want woke stuff rammed down their throats by the BBC and others who are gleefully backing the BBC for ramming woke stuff down other people's throats. 

I'll try to ignore the wilder comments on either side and quote instead some of the more reasonable points from both sides.

So on the one side you have:

  • Chris Scott [He/him]: Really good to see Ski Sunday back and doing such a fine job of representing LGBTQ+ diversity in snowsport. As our work on D&I in snowsport shows, we’ve got lots to do on inclusion in all its forms. Programmes like tonight’s are a great start.
  • Bruce-Ski-Corsetsof: Great to see Ski Sunday back. Excellent work as ever. Great to see excellent pieces on diversity in the GB team rather than the stale old yawn yawn some people seem to want. Well judged by BBC Sport for once. 
  • Jon Holmes: Really enjoyed these Ski Sunday interviews - thanks BBC Sport. Sad to say tho, I’ve seen more negativity than positivity in reactions on social, despite both athletes explaining why coming out was so beneficial to them.

And on the other you have:

  • Maxine Henderson: Is it just me? I am trying to understand why Ski Sunday has spent longer discussing sexual identity than reporting results and showing the action. Disappointing show tonight.
  • Dr David Bruce Banner: Ski Sunday should try and heel the divide between skiers and snowboarders rather than highlight LGBTQ issues which I've never actually witnessed on the slopes.
  • PumpkinLover: Glad to see Ski Sunday back, but why oh why do they have to shoe horn in sexuality? I bet very few ppl watching care about these ppl's sexual orientation, and rightly so to. More snow sports and less gossip column please. Don't turn it into a snow based One Show!
  • Richard: Why are you ruining this programme? Yesterday focus on 2 gay skiers - their orientation is irrelevant to skiing/programme. Would you discuss sexuality with hetero skiers? No! Divisive & discriminatory. Stop woke nonsense - focus on skiing!

My feeling here is that the BBC seems to be adding fuel to the fire and stoking the culture wars when they should be listening and bringing us together.

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