Radio 4 snippets

Verity Marriott, a sixth-former from a North London comprehensive school, is organising a set of “school strikes” — walkouts from schools across London in order to participate in an anti-war (or anti-Bush, depending on who you are) demonstration. She was interviewed on the Today programme last week. It’s good that she got a chance to put her view. However, both the R4 interviewer, and someone from the education system (from an LEA, I think) were appallingly patronising to her. Constantly repeating a cant about how it’s just purely truancy, and doing everything short of patting her on the head and saying “run along now, little kiddie”. I remember burning with a blue flame of rage at being so dismissed when I was that age. It was a shame that Ms Marriott wasn’t slightly better primed for the interview; I’d have expected her to note that if this counts as unauthorised attendance then working strikes are exactly the same. The group are obviously conscious of this parallel, given that they’re referring to “school strikes”, but they failed to make it explicit, which I felt was a shame. In later news reports, comments on the strikes included one man claiming that it was completely ridiculous, opining “my dog will want to be on a protest march next”. Yes, that’s the best way to teach young adults to think; compare them to dumb animals. No wonder there’s so much teenage resentment. One teacher suggested that she would let students attend the marches as long as they wrote up a report on it afterwards; essentially co-opting the strikes as a kind of school trip. That struck a reasonable balance between outright permissiveness and overbearing patronisation, I thought.

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue is back on! Hooray! And you can download the most recent episode through the BBC’s excellent Listen Again scheme. I just wish I had a digital radio in the car so I could get BBC7 and listen to comedy all the time.

An appalling moment for web usability on the Today programme this morning, as James Naughtie explained that lots of people were attempting to view the pictures from Today‘s 6am picture competition. He pointed out that to get to the images you simply click the big picture in the middle of the Today homepage, and then followed up with “It’s obvious really, isn’t it?” No, James, obviously it isn’t. If you have to explain how to find something on a website, you’ve already lost. And Auntie Beeb are normally pretty good at web usability…

Giles Wemmbley-Hogg (two Ms, two Gs), the fictional “upper-class twit” in Radio 4’s Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off, is reasonably funny (although very cringeworthy), but I am thoroughly offended that they decided to make this useless posturing snob moron attend the university of Durham! It’s not like that, really. Really!


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