Sunday, July 29, 2012

The BBC Is Not Necessarily the Best Because It's Live

The Olympics have started. That's something that is never forgotten in England (as opposed to Great Britain) because England doesn't have a national holiday where Englishness can be celebrated. It's bad form to celebrate Englishness these days in Britain. Really, they're not very good in integrating their now multi-cultural society into feeling a part of England as the mother country, so they just wipe away thousands of years of history and decide that history begins at a certain point, which is what they did for the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

It was a celebration of English history, but without Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh, Henry V, the Wars of the Roses, Henry VIII and the English Reformation, the English Civil War, the Restoration and - God forbid! - the Revolution.

Instead, we got grimy-faced peasants cavorting in meadows followed by grimy-faced urban dwellers cavorting in factories. We got Kenneth Branagh dressed as Isambard Brunel quoting Shakespeare and J K Rowling reading James M Barrie.

Americans complained because NBC taped the thing and showed it primetime. If they'd shown it live, it would have started at 4pm on the East Coast and 1pm on the West. I don't know what or how the US commentators did, but here in Britain we got the godawful poisoned Scottish dwarf Hazel Irvine of the BBC and some other male English commentator talking OVER the events being portrayed. That meant talking OVER Mike Oldfield and the Arctic Monkeys performing, amongst other things.

The Olympics here, otherwise known as The Corporate Games, are amidst a scandal that sees venue after venue with hundreds of empty seats. People were denied tickets in order to appease corporate sponsors, who - for some reason - didn't show up. Sound familiar?

I've been hearing various people, disgruntled with NBC showing taped coverage longing to watch the BBC. Well, I watch the BBC, and the coverage here is dire. Go on, hack into the system and watch it.

If you're interested in Team USA, forget it. The BBC covers all things British, and be prepared to hear their commentators unabashedly piss on any US achievement. When Vollmer broke the world record in the butterfly stroke today, I never heard it mentioned on the BBC. I found out, three hours after the fact, that this had happened, only via The New York Times website.

The BBC have the abominable Clare Baldwin, who makes her hatred of Americans viscerally evident, covering the swimming events. Tonight, when Alison Schmitt won silver in her event, we got interminable praise for the British bronze medalist and effusive praise for the French gold medalist - arguably the first time any English person has ever given credit to anyone French. Schmitt got no mention at all from Baldwin, who later took immense pleasure in verbally pissing on the US Men's Relay Team - again, to heap praise on the French.

The news pushed by the BBC today has all been about the British winning silver in a cycle race and Paula Radcliffe not being able to run the women's marathon.

Then, there are the commentators, themselves. Kelly Holmes, a former gold medalist, was a great runner, but isn't the most articulate of commentators. Her remarks on Manxman Mark Cavendish's failure to win gold in the premier cycling road race yesterday, only nine days after the Tour de France was thus:-

"We was 'opin' fer a gold, but vem lads on ve team din giv'im no suppor'. Ah doan know wot vey was finkink."

You get the picture.

So, go on, watch the BBC. It's commercial-free and the licence fee I have to pay enables you to watch it. NBC might be taped, its commentary might be awful, but at least it's ours.

Tell me how you enjoy the dressage and the sailing events.

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