Saturday 15 January 2022

The lunatics have taken over the asylum

Further to an earlier post, recently departed Quote...Unquote host Nigel Rees has been taking to spiked, giving us further glimpses into the mentality holding sway at BBC Radio 4 - a mentality he calls "systemic wokery".

Her describes his frustration at the BBC's interference with his programme's guest selection, saying it  "used to be a gender thing" but "in the past few years, it became about minorities – particularly people of colour": 
During the recording of the last series, I was told that there should never be an all-white panel on panel games or quizzes.

He was also told there had to be disabled representation on the panel:

A talent agent had complained to the BBC and specifically said that we did not have disabled people on the show. So this imposition was put on the programme.

It was completely unnecessary. I just wanted people who could do the programme. There was no need to tick boxes. But this is now everywhere in the BBC.
There's also "the other side of the wokery...which had been going on for rather longer than the representation and diversity aspects". 

Besides banning a line from Mad Dogs and Englishmen by Noël Coward "because the song represents colonial attitudes" (which it doesn't), the BBC refused to allow a quotation from Chattanooga Choo Choo
They said no, you cannot refer to that song because it is racist (at the beginning, there is a black porter). This is now a well-known, established forbidden area – you cannot do Chattanooga Choo Choo
He says he "doesn't know who, upstairs at the BBC, has pushed this forward – but it is now part of the way things are done", and gives this explanation: 
One of the reasons is that a lot of activists have joined the BBC and they push it. Once upon a time, BBC producers and executives were very straight and balanced. But now you have got activists in production and research and they try to enforce their viewpoint. 

Anyhow, in tribute to Nigel Rees, here's an account of the first usage of the phrase 'the lunatics have taken over the asylum':

The term appears to have been first used in 1919, when the four most powerful figures in the American film industry—Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith—decided to found their own distribution company, called United Artists. In response the producer Richard Rowland remarked, “The lunatics have taken over the asylum.” The remark got wide publicity and entered the language, subsequently applied to many other situations of a comparable nature and becoming a cliché. 

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