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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

I’m Feeling Better Now Thank You

Thanks for all the kind reactions to Brian’s Lament. No-one said, American style: “Get over it!”, which is a big part of why I probably will. I’m among friends.

However, the Vampire situation has become complicated. According to David Carr I’m one, and thanks to me, so is he. And then about one day after that startling revelation, we were all given an award for our prowess in hunting Communist vampires. I suppose if you’re hunting vampires, it helps to have a couple in your own team.

I’ve also been cheered up lately, following on from Tom Burroughes’ complaints about television, by Britain’s two current late night chat shows. On Channel 4 on Friday (repeated the following Thursday) is the sublime Graham Norton. Less commonly noted in Britain these days is that over on BBC1 (Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays) Johnny Vaughan is doing just as well as the heterosexual community’s answer to Norton. Before Vaughan, on BBC1, there was Jonathan Ross, and that show caused everyone involved, Ross, the help, the guests and the viewers to ask themselves: “Is this as good as Graham Norton?” and to answer: “No”. The Ross show was full of embarrassing gay references, because, you know, er, that’s what late night chat shows have to have these days. Before Ross, there was Parkinson and he’s past it. Vaughan, on the other hand, is the genuine article.

Vaughan’s politics are not right wing exactly, more masculinist. A fortnight ago there was, for example, a short but respectful interview with a train strike trade unionist, a buddy of Arthur Scargill’s, the point being not: here’s a stupid lefty dynosaur, but here’s a “forgotten man”. Man, is the point. He also specialises in getting glamorous women on, and then a bloke, and Vaughan and the bloke then get deep into some ultra-bloke topic while the woman’s still there. The other night he had this fat and hairy comedian on and they assembled this big three-piece Star Wars toy with three Star Wars characters fighting each other, and there was this actress watching it all … Well, you had to see it. Both Norton and Vaughan have in common that the agenda is pleasure, not politics. Norton ignores politics completely. He’s too busy celebrating the uncensored joys of the Internet. Vaughan does the occasional sneer at things like £40,000 research projects paid for by the government which reach such conclusions as “traffic jams can seriously frustrate the travelling public”, before getting stuck back into the serious business of finding out what it was like being an actor in Blackhawk Down or how some farmer nearly got chewed to death by his own bailing machine and has a Captain Hook hook on his arm to prove it. When American superstar visitors appear on these two shows they seem genuinely to enjoy themselves

I know what Tom Burroughes means. Capitalists get a horrible rap on the telly. But the products of capitalism get a good showing. Look at it this way. Lefties don’t produce any decent stuff. The only decent thing about them is that some of them do decent impersonations of decent people (which is perhaps why lefties dominate the TV advert voice-over profession). But capitalists produce all that great capitalist stuff, and that’s what they’re selling. They’re not selling themselves.

I have another even better answer to Tom’s problem, about how the capitalists might sell themselves, but I’ll save that for later.

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