We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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

Samizdata quote of the day

These whiners are the same people who complain of American cultural imperialism because people like Coke and Starbucks. [Yet] there is no more rigid, aggressive, ignorant bunch of cultural imperialists in the world than Muslims who, as a group, are intent on forcing their preposterous beliefs on the rest of the world. Give me Starbucks any day.
– Commenter Verity on the ‘Satanic Cartoons’ controversy.

36 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Verity is right.

    The most important part is “because people like Coke and Starbucks”. In other words it is not cultural imperialism at all. I could personally live without a Starbucks and a McDonalds on every British high street but I recognise they are there because we have chosen for them to be there. I don’t mean that we had a vote on it but that we decided in the truest form of democracy, free choice exercised in an open market.

    If there was a vote it would have gone the other way because those who shout loudest always get their way. The majority may not care enough about one Starbucks to campaign for its opening but do vote for it by drinking there. It is therefore not the American corporation, but those who oppose the freedom of the majority in order to create the society they want, who are the imperialists.

    So perhaps Verity is not entirely right, perhaps it is the small-minded town planners, the opportunistic politicians and the special interests lobbyists who are the greatest imperialists.

  • Verity

    Mark, The town planners have bowed to the will of those who want McDonaldses and KFCs and international pizza chains handy. Some may have petty dictatorial leanings, but they’re held in check by the will of the marketplace. Lobbyists have to go through the democratic process of paying bribes to legislators to get their programmes onto the table.

    None of these are in the same universe as Muslims who kidnap innocent people, hold them hostage for days or weeks and then and behead them, and, in the case of Margaret Hassan, also disembowel them, fly jet planes into giant office towers, suicide bomb their way through train stations, nightclubs, London Transport and schools full of children, shoot and stab a filmmaker riding peacefully on his bike, threaten the lives of Dutch legislators and on and on in order to force the entire world to bend to the will of their diety.

    Nor the same universe of those who think they can force an elected government, like Denmark, say, to legislate their will into the laws of a foreign country to which they have been allowed to emigrate.

    The comparison is ludicrous.

  • ADE

    Ah yes, American Cultural Imperialism, – the first empire where the subjects couldn’t buy it fast enough.


  • Verity,

    The comment was somewhat tongue in cheek.

    I do not mean to suggest suggest a moral equivalence between town planners and the aims or tactics of the Islamic fundamentalists. However the petit bureaucrats are at least more sucessful in that the behaviour of the terrorists has hardened our resolve while we seem to tolerate most meddling by the former.

    Please don’t take my occasional griping at officialdom to heart. I think the people I am complaining about are more or less the same people as the “whiners” you mentioned in your original comment. Perhaps not a real threat, but an irritation we should probably tolerate less.

  • Verity

    No, Mark. The “whiners” I mentioned are not a more exotic form of the British moaning classes, but Islamic immigrants who are on a jihad to turn the West into Dar-es-salaam and the threat they pose is dire.

    For example, they suicide bomb London Transport and a Madrid train station. They murder a Dutchman for making a movie about their god and they send death threats to Dutch MPs Hirsi Ali, Geert Wilders and Rita Verdonk for wishing to defend their country. They suicide bomb a nightclub in Bali that is frequented by Australians because their god doesn’t approve of nightclubs. They send death threats to a Danish newspaper that published some fairly vapid cartoons depicting their prophet because their religious law, which is absolutely nothing to do with Denmark, forbids it. One step at a time. One tiny snuffing of a freedom at a time, for the sake of “community relations”.

    They cringe and whine and present themselves as humble and reasonable – I guess this works where they come from, although we more robust Westerners find it uncomfortably oily – and ask for just one more little concession “to ease the minds of our community”.

    Tony Blair, as we know, can sense an impending cringe at 50 yards and surrenders immediately. The Danes – Vikings who extracted Danegeld from us and know that once conceded, the extractor can keep coming back for more – calmly and courteously refuse to budge an inch.

  • Frogman

    So who is the real threat? Islamics or the Apparatchiks? In the long view, I vote for the latter. It was the Progressive Left in the West who pushed immigration laws aside over the last 40 years (got them some poor and uneducated clients), constructed the Welfare State, and promoted Multiculturalist Balkanization. It was the Progressive Left that re-defined so much of the language (if you have a higher income than a minority, and don’t wish to give it up, you’re “Racist”). It’s the Progressive Left that excuses marauding gangs of Muslim thugs from respecting the laws and customs of our countries by insisting that they’re “opressed”, “excluded” and “Angry”.

    In my view, the Left has created this monster and continues to feed it. The reason? They’ve been telling us for over a hundred years – the existing order must be destroyed to pave the way for their Utopia of Equality. They’ll support anyone, and I do mean anyone, who opposes the order of western civilization.

    Why else would the infantile whining so well described by Verity be taken as seriously as it is? Muzzies aren’t the only ones: Mexicans want the entire U.S. Southwest handed over for a “Broze Empire”. Abos want the title deed to every inch of Australia, Blacks want Affirmative Action to put them in charge of everything. Where did all these people come up with this stuff? The Left of course. The Muzzies just had an older plan in mind when they became officially Opressed People.

    We should be laughing at such stupidity. Not agonizing over “why they hate us”.

    Guess I’m trying to say that the Islamic problem in the West is the more immediate threat, but the Left is the longer term problem, and we’ll be battling them long after the Muzzies have been put back in their box.


  • Frogman

    Oops, I got out of synch with the conversation. Sorry.

  • Verity

    Not out of synch at all, Froggie. In fact, I thought your comments were as pointed and illuminating as ever. And very interesting.

    I’ll respond tomorrow.

  • Keith

    Verity for PM?
    Count me in for a vote.

  • Verity

    I will come back later to comment on Frogman’s post above, but briefly, I see that a father in Pakistan slit his daughter’s throat for marrying someone he hadn’t personally chosen. He told her he wanted to reconcile and she came to stay overnight in her parents’ home and he slit her throat while she was sleeping. Then he murdered her three sisters as well, just in case. You never know. The youngest was four years of age.

    Meanwhile, I see on LGF that the Italian police have arrested some members of the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching And Combat who were planning a series of terrorist attacks in the United States. The plans were to outdo 9/11 and the targets were to be ships, stadiums or railway stations.

    You know, these kinds of things could give the Religion of Peace a bad name.

  • Winzeler

    We should be laughing at such stupidity. Not agonizing over “why they hate us”.

    While I agree we shouldn’t be agonizing over the reasons. We obviously need to take it seriously.

  • Verity,

    “No, Mark. The “whiners” I mentioned are not a more exotic form of the British moaning classes, but Islamic immigrants who are on a jihad to turn the West into Dar-es-salaam and the threat they pose is dire.”

    Fair enough, I went back to your original comment to try to get a better idea of where you are coming from.

    Just to clarify my original comment, I don’t have a problem with McDonalds or KFC, I just don’t like eating fast food. As for Starbucks, I usually find an angry queue of people behind me while I try to order “a cup of cup of coffee please”. When the server gives me a baffling set of options and I say “what type? err.. granulated” everyone in the shop looks at me like I am the anathema to western civillisation. I therefore stick to tea. Apart from that I quite like the place.

    I don’t disagree that it is ludicrous to put jihadists on a par with small-minded bureaucrats. Still, your response didn’t quite match the reaction I get in Starbucks for putting instant coffee on a par with “grandnee mocha lotta chocco cappachino with magic bean sprinklings”.

    I’m not sure the motives of the jihadists are as simple as you suggest. I think they use any small provocation to justify acts of terrorism but I believe their real motive is to draw attention to their cause. By that means they think they can extract greater concessions from Western governments.

    “I guess this works where they come from, although we more robust Westerners find it uncomfortably oily”

    Actually I don’t think it does. I think if non-Muslim groups used the same tactic in Saudi Arabia they would be killed. I wouldn’t go that far myself but I think the response from our own governments is nowhere near as robust as it ought to be. In Spain, for instance, the tactic seemed to work very well.

    As for the threat posed by minor infringements on our liberties I would suggest this to you. The solution to crime in New York was zero tolerance. The police realised that small acts of vandalism contributed to an environment where muderers and rapists could flourish. By cracking down on small offenders the police were able to have a greater impact on the larger offenders.

    I believe something similar is true of threats to liberty. Individualy insignificant attcks on liberty are tolerated and that sets an environment where Piglet is banned from offices because he offend Muslims and we laugh but do nothing. From there we set ourselves up to make one more small gesture in the name of tolerance until we end up accepting Shariah law.

    I think Frogman made some good points regarding the progressive left. They have done much, in my view, to establish an environment where Islamic fundementalists can establish a foothold.

    I don’t disagree with you when you say that those intent on establishing a worldwide caliphate are a serious threat to liberty. I do however believe that the drip-drip effect of minor impositions on our freedom has done more, and will do more in the future, to damage our liberty than the cruder tactics of Islamic fundamentalists.

  • Verity

    Mark – It’s all tied in together, which is what Frogman was saying above.

    This [British] government is fearful of firmly discouraging these jihadis. They are less fearful of the indigenous population (and established, assimilated immigrant groups) than of unhinged immigrant Muslims so they remove our freedoms instead. This, of course, is Danegeld. The Muslims will keep “demanding” (how ridiculous it is that immigrants are given to understand they can “demand” anything of host governments!) more concessions.

    And Blair and some other cowardly EU leaders will keep giving away our liberties to placate these primitive, superstitious, disapproving people and further their ambitions to establish a caliphate. All the while singing the soothing lullaby, “Hush, hush … The vast majority are peaceful and are as horrified by suicide bombers as we are” to an increasingly troubled electorate.

    The Danes seem to be the only ones who have thoroughly grasped the Danegeld principle. They were the beneficiaries of it last time, and they don’t intend to be the victims this time. No paying off people to be quiet and law-abiding, using the established liberties of the citizenry as currency.

    The left, as Frogman correctly notes, are the enablers. I don’t know what can be done about them. Others may have some ideas, but they are indeed dangerous.

    Meanwhile, we must regretfully resign from all asylum-seeker refugee treaties and begin a programme of reverse immigration. Muslims found to be conspiring against Britain must be returned to their tribal lands, whether they may suffer torture or not. It’s not in our interest to protect those who mean us terrible harm.

  • I believe that Frogman has hit on something important. The relationship between the progressive left and the Islamists may be what makes the Islamists such a threat.

    I’ve been reading the new book by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokin “The world was going our way” . What is interesting is how easy it was for the KGB to plant anti US and anti western stories in the western press. The left was an important support mechanism for the Soviets and is now playing the same role for the Islamofascists.

  • Verity

    Taylor, I also believe the Frogman turned a spotlight on something very important and I’ve been trying to formulate my thoughts, but they’re still pretty fuzzy around the edges.

    There are several aspects to consider here. First, the populations in the West by and large did understand the dangers of communism and they knew they didn’t want it. They saw the poverty, the control. So even though the media acted as facilitator, there was too much going against the Soviet for it to ever inch forward in the West. We don’t like drab.

    The left in Europe and Britain is now advancing by two of those big arrows you see on military maps in old war movies. One is selling the EUSSR – they never give up – to the British and some of the more democratic European countries – like the Dutch, who voted Nej to the “constitution”. It’s heavy sledding, but they’re advancing inch by inch.

    The other big arrow is Islamism. This is far more dangerous because it preys on guilt and Western enlightened inclusiveness and therefore stands a greater, if only temporary, chance of mild success. For example, inviting the families of the suicide fruitcakes who murdered and maimed more than 700 fellow Britons, to the victims’ memorial ceremonies. This is clearly ravingly, mad dog insane, but they got away with it. And here they have a natural ally in the stupid, vapid, blithering, self-regarding, holier-than-thou CoE. “We must respect other religions.”

    If they are worthy of respect, as is Judaism, let’s say, or Hinduism (which isn’t really a religion, but let that go), Buddhism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism … let’s see, am I missing anyone here? … then certainly.

    Otherwise, for something vile and disreputable by its own hand, why would we want to pretend to “respect” it? This is based on a lie and some of us aren’t having it.

    My point being, the radical left is working on two fronts in the Anglosphere. And, against all human reason, they are having their triumphs.

  • Verity

    I’m not sure how well the West understood the dangers of Communism. I remember being in Switzerland the summer the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia. They were horrified and scared since this was happening practically next door, but the US Army in West Germany stood between them and the Russians. So soon they felt it was safe to go back to hating the Americans over Vietnam.

    In Europe, I’m afraid the left has something like a monopoly on most kind of political thought and speech. Unless those who really want to keep what freedom they have, and perhaps even to claw some of it back from the state, can get their hands on some new megaphones (Think Rush Limbaugh) you’ll be in deep kimchee and so will we on this side of the pond.

  • Verity

    Taylor, from a British perspective, the Soviet Union looked too drab. Yes, the left pushed it hard but few in Britain could see the advantages of starving in a ghastly cold-water flat wearing badly cut clothes and no nail extensions available. Yes, Melinda Norwood, Bertrand Russell and Castro lovers, etc, etc, pushed it, but it just didn’t look like fun.

    Of course, Islam doesn’t look like fun, either, to put it at its mildest. Yet the left is strong-arming it through the door.

    What is mildly surprising, even knowing that lefties cannot stoop, or salaam, low enough, is, the Islamists espouse everything the radical left hates. Suppression of women and a man allowed four “wives”; murder of gays; stoning to death of women who have been raped for “adultery”; “honour” killings”; slavery and slave trading even today; a woman’s testimony only worth half that of a man (where are the feminists?); women not allowed to touch a male who is not a family member (where are all the feminist kissy-poo attendees of cocktail party fundraisers for ballet companies on this?); how about a woman outside the house not allowed to show an ankle or a wrist? Where are all the feminist gals who sun themselves in bikinis on beaches in the West, Australia and SE Asia on this? And love a glass or two of chilled Sancerre at lunch at a beachfront restaurant?

    Why? Because it has the potential to destabilise settled societies.

    Why do they want to do this? WGAF?

    Actually, I think gay men have a better bead on it. Gay men don’t march for Islam.

  • Verity

    Drab cold water flats?

    Wasn’t that what a lot of Englishpeople lived in during the Pre Thatcher age?

    I remember being in a few places where you had to keep feeding half crowns into the gas thingamagig to keep from freezing.

    OK, so British people always dressed better than the Russians, but what the hell, they dressed (and dress) better than the Americans or just about everbody except the Italians.

    My point is that, for example, there were no mass demonstrations in Europe in favor of standing up to the Soviets and there are none today in favor of standing up to the Islamofascists. The US is once again doing almost all the heavy lifting and getting nothing but grief for its efforts.

  • Verity

    Taylor don’t you refer not to flats but to rented rooms where they had to put money in a meter because the landlord, probably with reason, didn’t trust the renter?

    There will never, in Britain or Europe, be mass demonstrations in favour of America. Spite and envy trump generosity any day in favour of the mean-spirited, smug, temporary glow of superiority.

    Why do the losers feel superior to the winners? Well …. because they are losers. Without the Americans Britain would have lost WWII.

    And still has.

  • Frogman

    Gay men don’t march for Islam.”

    Drat. Sorry to be the one to shatter your last remaining illusion, but . . .

    Queers for Palestine

    Anyway, you’re right – the Islamofascists are our sworn enemies. They will do anything, no matter how vile (even whine like Lefties), in their attempt to impose their primitive superstition on the entire world. They’ve been trying for 1400 years.

    Here’s an additional point to ponder: We in the West, particularly in the Anglosphere, are notoriously slow to anger. BUT – once we finally do get our dander up, we’re a pretty terrifying bunch. Think Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki.

    Even me. Really, I’m a nice guy, but I recently saw a PBS program about Female Genital Mutilation in Egypt. I’m not going into the details described, because we all know. If I could capture one of the slime that perpetrates this abomination on little girls, I’d just leave the 12-guage at home, and bring two tools: an aluminum baseball bat and a cheese grater. It would’nt be pretty, I promise. That’s a glimpse of the Dark Side, and it’s disturbing to realize – I’d enjoy it.

    We can only hope that the Iraq thing will turn out well, that Islamic countries will reign in the ‘splodeydope idiots by themselves, and that enough people with sense exist in Immigrant communities to clean up their act. Eventually, flying planes into buildings, bombing Tubes, and gang raping young girls will awaken even our pampered generation. We’ll push the Lefties aside, and . . . well, that won’t be pretty either. We’re far less disciplined than our Fathers were in WWII. We’ll be even slower to anger, and then we’ll be completely berserk. Later, we’ll agonize over the Maronites and other good people of Middle Eastern appearance who became “collateral damage”.

    What, by the way, ever became of Sadam’s Republican Guard? (Hint: there’s a thin layer of a malodorous, viscous substance around Baghdad . . .)


  • Verity

    You’re right about the rented rooms, I wouldn’t have trusted the people I was hanging out with at the time. Hell I wouldn’t have trusted ME ! Not at that age.

    Britian may not have been able to win World War Two without the US, but without Britian there would not have been anything to win. It is this, more than anything else that makes the UK’s relationship with the EU so difficult. The French and Germans resent Britian for many of the same reasons they resent the US.

    One of the great questions for the 21st century is going to be “Will Britian be true to herself ?”

    Check out George Will’s recent column on Churchill’s first stay at the White House over Christmas 1941.

  • Frogman

    Yow. If you want to see something bizzare, brouse around from this link

    And I think I’m out of synch again . . .


  • Verity

    Taylor – Britain has been eviscerated and there is nothing left to win or lose. Britain’s corpse has been thrown onto the Euro funeral pyre.

  • McDonalds is spreading globally by understanding the cultures they are adding to their empire. In Germany they serve beer; in India they offer veggie samoza value meals. In the Phillipines their largest competitor is a local company which picked up on their business methods. One cannot say the same about the other sort of cultural imperialists.

  • Verity

    Taylor – Any chance you could learn to spell the name of my country before posting any more comments on us? (Clue: It has only two syllables, except if you preface it with the word Great [meaning large].)

  • J

    “We in the West, particularly in the Anglosphere, are notoriously slow to anger. BUT – once we finally do get our dander up, we’re a pretty terrifying bunch. Think Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki.”

    Ah, yes, that’s how I’d like us to be remembered. For killing loads of civilians from the air – truly the mark of a great warrior nation. Forget El Alamein, ignore Iwo Jima, and who cares about Bastogne? Dresden, yeah! Hiroshima! Cooooool! We sure civilised them yellow bastards.

    Oh, it’s terrifying all right, just not in the way you mean 😐

  • Luniversal

    Coca-Cola and McDonalds, like US telly, are on the retreat in most developed countries– losing market share to domestic and other alternatives, often tarred with the brush of US governmental imperialism and its associated traits of greed, waste, adulteration and pollution.

    For example, McDonalds in Britain has had to row madly back from its old cheapo burgers-and-fries image in the wake of the epic ‘McLibel’ suit. These days from its ads you’d think it was a health food chain, but few are fooled. And who’s daft enough to believe that a litre bottle of Coke at 99p is far superior to a supermarket own-brand one at under 20p? ‘No Logo’ is not just for liberal elites; it saves money.

    American television series in Britain are almost entirely confined to small channels and off-peak hours, whereas until the 1970s they were among the most watched. Locals everywhere seem to build up a resistance to American artefacts as their own food manufacturing and entertainment businesses develop. The world is not going to be ‘globalised’ (Americanised) through the eyes and gob after all. Indeed, it may be dividing into ever more and smaller states, in line with the splintering of brands into extensions and variations. One size no longer fits all even in one country.

    Besides, most people are quite capable of taking what they like from a foreign culture and spurning the rest. Appreciating pasta or chow mein does not mean you want to be governed by Silvio Berlusconi or the Chinese Communist Party. Gawping at ‘Friends’, whether through a veil or not, does not turn you into a votary of Bush’s definition of freedom.

    America’s cultural hegemony was at its height for about 25 years after WW2– during the more fraught Cold War period when Americanism was popularly identified with freedom rather than manic military bullying. Apeing Yankee tastes is unfashionable and waning now as the rest of the world realises that the USA is on the way down, and the epicentre of growth and progress has shifted across the Pacific.

  • Verity

    Luniversal – Rubbish. America never had a cultural hegemony. People bought things because they liked them. Jeans, probably the biggest apparel success in the history of the world, made almost everyone look good, so everyone wanted some. America didn’t sit down and invent jeans and then go out and force people to buy them.

    As locals have copied American products and fine-tuned them for local tastes, more people go for their own. Few in Britain knew of or cared about the McLibel case. As choice has widened, with things like Pret A Manger and pizza delivery, inevitably McDonalds’s share of the fast food market would diminish. It has diminished in the US as well, as other chains came on the market that people liked better, or liked as a change.

    No Aussie or Singaporean or Brit buys a bucket of KFC thinking they’re “aping American taste”. They buy it because they are in the mood for KFC and it’s convenient.

    People go to American movies because they like them, not because the American government forces them to.

    Talk of American cultural hegemony is just silly – as is talk that the US is “on the way down”. In your dreams. It is still the most powerful and richest nation in the history of the world and will be so for a long time yet. If China or India ever supersede it – and I’m not counting on it – it will not be for another 50 to 100 years.

  • Ed T


    “American television series in Britain are almost entirely confined to small channels and off-peak hours…” Ahem – Scrubs, Frazier, Cheers, CSI (in its many and varied forms), The X Files, etc. Need I go on? Small channels? Off-peaks hours?

    People buy into aspects of ‘US culture’ because they want to (and in our society are allowed to). It’s the market at work – and that’s as it should be. The last thing I want is anyone (whether they be Guardianistas or Islamo-lunatics) telling me (or anyone else) what I can’t / shouldn’t watch, buy, read, say or think.


  • Frogman

    Oh, it’s terrifying all right, just not in the way you mean

    So, you didn’t understand my post. Perhaps I need to re-state my point: I fear our own Dark Side as much as I fear the Islamists. In the long run, perhaps more. Iwo Jima was war. Dresden was, over the top, to say the least.

    I was getting at the fact that the authorities in the West are sitting on their hands and allowing incitement in Mosques, gangs of thugs to run amok in Oz, hordes of arsonists to run amok in France, and gang-rapists to assault women in all our countries. All to the tune of “tolerance” and “anti-racism”. Meanwhile, the same authorities do their best to criminalize self-defense. This will cause increasing numbers of people in our countries to lose all sympathy for entire nationalities, bad actors and good, irrational or not.

    Internationally, Iran and North Korea build Nukes, and a number of terrorist nutcakes try and acquire all means of WMD. They’ve been right up front about their intentions.

    I fear that any one (or more) groups of Islamist goofballs will acquire some stray WMD, and take out, say, Chicago and London (atrocities 1 and 2) . Then, both the people and Governments are likely to over-react, and you get – atrocities 3 through [?]. That, in case you still don’t understand, is not a good thing.

    Whether our governments will clean up their acts, and do their damn jobs before escalation spirals beyond control, remains to be seen. I am not optimistic.

    Oh, as for the “yellow bastards” crack, that’s called “projection”. If you want to start a flame war, I can do that. It’s fun. Fire away.


  • Verity

    Frogman states my own point. The government – in Britain, this is – is criminalising people who criticise Islamists – not the Islamists themselves. As you rightly say, “to the tune of tolerance”. Tolerance of a horrible, primitive culture the British, the French, the Danes, the Swedes, the Dutch, the Norwegians never asked to have in their midst. And never, in their wildest dreams would have predicted would be forced into their midst by their own governments.

    Those governments now have a tiger by the tail and most of them are frightened. Frightened by the escalating rapes of indigenous women. Frightened by ever-bolder refusals to adhere to the host society’s norms. Frightened by the confident, rabid threats of violence. And frightened by the violence itself, as in Cranulla (sp?) in Oz.

    In Oscar Wilde’s time, homosexuality was the love that dared not speak its name. Today, Islamic violence and aggression in its host societies is the hate that no one dares speak the truth about.

    Where are the leaders? Hiding in their armoured cars behind their bodyguards. The people riding on the foetid London Transport system in July had no armoured cars. No bodyguards.

    As a bold response, Tony Blair convened an “advisory panel” of Islamists, including Cat Stevens who is not allowed entry into the United States, and a barrister who has published his belief that the world is run by a partnership of Jews and Masons. And introduced “hate speech” legislation.

    Not for the aggressive Islamists. For us.

  • steve

    The lefties hate McDonalds and Starbucks because they represent choice.

    We as a relatively free people indeed have a choice whether we buy their products or not: if we don’t buy, these companies lose business and their outlets disappear.

    But such choice unnerves the left wing. The socialists instinctively understand that when people have choices they may decide for themselves, and how terrible that would be. They may choose they don’t like socialism either.

    If you can suppress choice you can regulate opinion and even thought. True, efforts to install a “thought-police” approach keep being balked by common sense and initiative by free people, but efforts continue apace in socialist circles despite these stebacks.

    But choice can be contentious, so better still, socialism usually offers a choice of very grim or not quite so grim. That was why elections in communist countries were (and are) so much fun: you want this wally or this buffoon from the same party?

    The left in Britain has never liked people to have choice, which is why for so long they doggedly supported the Commies. Sadly for the UK lefties, these shabby dictatorships in east Europe and central America or even China show or showed they weren’t up to much so in desperation the left has now allied itself to islamofascism.

    The socialists know the mad mullahs ultimately represent no choice at all. Socialism and its loyal adherents will be harvested with the rest in Borg-like efficiency, but how noble to be a socialist and sacrifice the freedom of others!

    It’s like the worker’s rights issue the left embraces: the real aim of the left is to keep the workers always as workers so the intellectuals can be left alone to pursue their idle dreams. If socialists truly believed in workers the aim would be to lift them out of that miserable existence, but how much better to keep them at heel making the things the lefties need so they can rest easily and have more “brotherhood” thoughts.

    Personally, I dislike McDonalds and find Starbucks coffee akin to drinking hot mud, but I’m happy other people can exercise choice.

    But maybe I confess to getting a little kick out of seeing and hearing the left froth at the mouth over anything American because I know it represents the thing they hate: choice.

    And choice is freedom, which as all good lefties know must be crushed. Unless it is freedom to obey whatever is decided for you.

  • Luniversal

    Ed T: “American television series in Britain are almost entirely confined to small channels and off-peak hours…” Ahem – Scrubs, Frazier, Cheers, CSI (in its many and varied forms), The X Files, etc. Need I go on? Small channels? Off-peaks hours?

    No, you need not go on, since you have just proved my point. All these series were on BBC2, Channel 4 or five– not on BBC1 or ITV1, which between them still account for 55-60% of peaktime viewing… in a universe of some 500 channels.

    Contrast the 1980s, when series such as Murder, She Wrote, Dr Quinn- Medicine Woman and The Equalizer (admittedly all with British stars) regularly placed in the Top 20 of ITV1, the leading British network. Go back to the 1960s and westerns such as Wagon Train drew bigger audiences than British soaps.

    Neither of the largest UK channels has played a Hollywood series in prime time for several years. First the comedies lost appeal, then the action-adventures. Today’s trendy metrosexual stuff, such as Desperate Housewives and Sex in the City, do not attract many British people at all. We prefer home-brew nowadays.

  • Luniversal its more to do with the nature of the TV business. All those programs have to be bought and the cable channels have more money to spare than say BBC or ITV. Then there is also the case that many of those shows are done by companies that have their own channels like Hallmark.

    These channels want to have these programs first so they can attract people to their channel and get them on satillite/cable moving away from the terrestrial channels. These channels like Living & Hallmark frequently advertise shows like CSI, Law & Order, Will & Grace etc as showing first on their channel.

  • Luniversal

    AID: “All those programs have to be bought and the cable channels have more money to spare than say BBC or ITV.”

    No, tney don’t. They have a pittance for programming by comparison with BBC or ITV, which is why they buy in cheap US dreck whose cost has been largely amortised by domestic sales and can be offloaded cheaply overseas. The lack of appeal of such fodder in Britain is indicated by its rarity on the big, serious ratings-getters even in their offpeak hours.

    If the satellite channels could afford to make enough original drama and comedy to be sure of having hits among the dross, they would drop Hollywood imports in a heartbeat. Sky TV, the best financed, is already replacing US stuff on Sky One with British documentaries, comedy and TV movies. America is no longer the admired, glamorous consumer paradise it was in the Fifties when ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘Wagon Train’ ruled the UK ratings.

  • No, tney don’t. They have a pittance for programming by comparison with BBC or ITV, which is why they buy in cheap US dreck whose cost has been largely amortised by domestic sales and can be offloaded cheaply overseas. The lack of appeal of such fodder in Britain is indicated by its rarity on the big, serious ratings-getters even in their offpeak hours.

    I see you have been reading from the justification for the BBC licence fee hand-book. I hear the same bit of dross from someone from the BBC at a recent Stockholm Network discussion of the future of broadcasting in the UK.

    You seem to have missed the point that many of the satillite channels are in fact owned by the companies that produce the US material like Hallmark and several others. Why would these channels not want to premiere their own material before it goes to terrestrial?