I know I said I’d stop posting about the BBC

… but I think that this is interesting.

Biased BBC are making a big fuss over this article in the Times.

THE BBC has persuaded the creator of the 1970s television series M*A*S*H to turn his fire on the Bush Administration.

President Hillary Clinton is in the White House, and George Bush is on trial for crimes against the American people in Abrogate, a one-off radio comedy written by Larry Gelbart. Radio 4 is rushing the “merciless” satire to air in tomorrow night’s Friday Play slot. Radio Times acclaimed the play, saying that “every line is a barbed swipe, a dazzling barb that hits home”.

Abrogate is set during an imaginary congressional hearing which is “sifting through the debris of the post-Bush regime to discover what, if anything, went right”.

Originally, I think I agreed entirely with their summary, that “persuading the creator of M*A*S*H to turn his fire on the Bush administration” isn’t entirely impartial. But, in the interests of “balance”, I’m happy to entertain some alternative viewpoints. The take-home messages are:

– Firstly, this play appears to be a satire. Satire is inevitably going to criticise somebody. Perhaps we should just shut up and let them get on with it.

– The BBC’s definition of “satire,” however, seems to be “criticism of George Bush.” Now, I know that the Bush administration gives a well-polished impression of ineptitude, but one could easily argue that they must be doing something right – after all, they got voted in again. It’d be nice to see a satire of liberals, or of the Democratic party’s bungling, or of Michael Moore’s production crew. When pigs fly. Original programming is obviously no longer important.

– The line “Hillary Clinton is in the White House” is rather amusing. I recall a time a few years ago when the BBC news was constantly speculating that she might make it to the Oval Office. American opinion now seems to indicate that this is unlikely, but the BBC still entertain this fantasy.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, of course. I’d be perfectly happy to listen to a well-written, witty satire that made me laugh, no matter who it was pointed at. But there’s some indications that it might not be:

– Satires of George Bush are never funny. The chimp jokes only last so long, and his trademark garbled speeches soon run out of steam. The gag-writers soon run out of material.

– If it were a well-written, witty satire, then one imagines that the Radio Times reviewers might have noticed, and said so.

– “Every line is a barbed swipe, a dazzling barb that hits home” is what they did say. As the B-BBC commentator pointed out: “With a write-up as jut-jawed as that we can safely assume that it was awful and the Radio Times knew it was awful.”

But now, of course, it’s Saturday. I even went to the BBC website to see if I could listen to the programme itself. But they wanted me to download RealPlayer. So I had to make do with this review:

I listened to the first 20 minutes. It was a total rant, totally unfunny.

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