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Andrew Marr

A few days ago I had the slimy experience of listening to a forty-minute discussion on BBC radio purporting to show the history of Britain through the medium of poetry. I describe the experience as slimy because I felt, having listened to it, that I had been slimed, finding myself covered spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally in a decaying, mendacious goo.

Let me explain.

A poet friend of mine sent a link to BBC Radio’s celebration of National Poetry Day on October 8, which included several forty-minute discussions of British history, seen through the eyes of the poets. Fearing the worst, I thought I’d dip my toe in the water, or my ear in the airwaves, somewhat tentatively at first. Feeling that the first discussion, which was on the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon roots of Britain, should be fairly safe, being far removed from the wasteland of modernity, I tuned in to learn more.

It was horrible.

Presented by Andrew Marr, the veteran broadcaster, who describes himself as a “pampered white liberal” and as being resolutely secular, i.e. non-religious, I should have expected the worst. Here is Marr on his religious position: “Am I religious? No. Do I believe in anything? No.” Since, however, it is simply not possible for a human being not to believe in anything, let’s look at what he does believe in. Having turned his back on his parents’ Presbyterianism as a young man, he became involved with the International-Communist League as an undergraduate at Cambridge, earning the nickname “Red Andy.”

“The BBC is not impartial or neutral,” Marr stated in October 2006. “It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities, and gay people. It has a liberal bias, not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.” Rephrased, Marr was effectively saying that the BBC was biased against rural populations, old people, the ethnic majority, and heterosexuals.

Andrew Marr

Andrew Marr

More disturbingly, Marr seems to advocate political force in addition to propagandistic persuasion to socially engineer the sort of world in which he believes: “And the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain ‘natural’ beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off.” Immediately prior to these words, Marr spoke of the need to make people “immune to the old tribal chants,” which, though he was referring ostensibly to racism, is more than a little suggestive of the need to “educate” people away from traditional morality and the traditional religion in which it is rooted. Few with any knowledge of politics and history will doubt that “the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress,” once unleashed, will be used against all groups of which the government disapproves.

More recently, Marr has been turning his attention to history, or rather history as seen through Marr’s obviously prejudiced and biased lens, presenting Andrew Marr’s History of the World, a series purporting to examine “the history of human civilization.” Needless to say, it is not a true history of the world as seen objectively through the eyes of the past generations who made it and forged it, the vast majority of whom were of course believing and practicing Christians, adherents of “the old tribal chants” that Marr wishes to eradicate. Marr’s “history,” like H. G. Wells’ “outline of history,” is nothing but the work of a crass vivisectionist who takes his living subject and kills it in the name of “progress.”

All of the foregoing is meant merely to reiterate and explain why I should have expected the worst as soon as I realized that the forty-minute discussion on the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon roots of Britishness was being presented by Andrew Marr. I should have known that it would be a slimy experience and should not have put myself in its proud and prejudiced presence. Nonetheless, and as foolish as it might seem, I rushed in where angels and saints would fear to tread and paid the painful price.

caedmon_caedmon_crossThe discussion managed, incredibly, to discuss mediaeval Welsh and Anglo-Saxon poetry without mentioning the unmentionable expletive “Christianity,” the C-word, the use of which is a veritable faux pas and must be excluded from all polite conversation, even conversation about the Christian past. Thus, for instance, Beowulf was discussed, albeit with merciful brevity, without any reference to its being a cautionary tale, from an orthodox Christian perspective, about the dangers of the Pelagian heresy, and without any discussion of the numerical signifiers that connect Beowulf’s self-sacrificial death with the Passion of Christ. The great Anglo-Saxon poem, “The Ruin,” was transmogrified with the magical power of political correctness from being a discussion of the way that the ways of wyrd, i.e. God’s Providence, bring to nought the pomp and circumstance of secular political power into something that reflects modern man’s angst about his cultural identity. (I kid you not!) As if this were not ridiculous enough, I recall that the Anglo-Saxon monk, Caedmon, was discussed without any reference to his being a monk or any mention of the C-word, even though his only extant work is a hymn!

The final note of absurdity, the coup de grace or reductio ad absurdum, the poisonous icing on the ridiculous cake, was the discussion of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Rather than getting to grips with Chaucer’s work as a defence of scholastic realism against the proto-relativism of Ockham’s nominalism, the proud and prejudiced prigs informed us, with supercilious triumphalism, that Chaucer was “subversive” because he wrote in the vernacular and not in French (the language of the court) or Latin (the language of the Church). In this descent into ultimate banality, the whole of Chaucer’s work, which is full of robustly orthodox Christian morality, is reduced to the level of twenty-first century radical ideology. Needless to say, the discussion of the Canterbury Tales also studiously avoided that other unmentionable expletive, “pilgrimage” (the P-word).

george_orwell_1984My experience of being slimed by this piece of anti-historical polemic, masquerading as scholarship, reminds me of a much more recent work of literature, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which the tyrants in power employ the Machiavellian approach to history in which those who control the present control the past. It’s not about objective truth, or about learning the lessons that our ancestors can teach us; it’s about rewriting history in our own politically-correct ideological image. It’s only in this way that the socially-engineered “New Man,” free from the “old tribal chants” of religion, can emerge from the ashes (of history) that pseudo-historians have made by the burning of politically incorrect books. This, to take poetic liberties with Marr’s own words, is the vigorous use of rewritten history to coerce and repress. It is the firm belief that repression and the suppression of the truth about the past “can be a great, civilising instrument for good.”

“Stamp hard on certain ‘natural’ beliefs for long enough,” says Marr, “and you can almost kill them off.” I have the unsettling suspicion, upon tuning into the BBC’s politically-correct suppression of historical truth, that I am witnessing Orwell’s Big Brother smiling benignly at me with his friendly psychopathic eyes.

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24 replies to this post
  1. And what a tragedy it is, that the BBC receives government funding to air this dung, given the unholy state of its broadcasting. The poor British taxpayers have to pay for the privilege, via a ‘licence’ to watch TV in the UK.

  2. “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

    You WILL love Big Brother.

  3. Mr. Marr warned people that the whole event was biased when he called himself a “pampered liberal” I wouldn’t have bothered to listen to this guy. British history has many fascinating religions including Paganism and Odinism.

  4. The October number of BBC MUSIC contains an article entitled “Sounds of Hope” which is anti-Semitic propaganda.

  5. Living in the USA I can’t get a complete picture of British life, but from what I gathered, it truly has become Eliot’s wasteland. Perhaps it’s just my limited perception, but it amazes me at how anti Christian Britain has become.

  6. Yes it’s fantastic Manny, we’re now one of the most secular countries in Europe and better for it. Can’t wait till we start knocking down churches and replacing them with useful buildings.

  7. I didn’t watch the show talked about, nor do I even live in England.
    Yes, it sounds like Marr might be a little biased, that he goes to the poetry to find what he is looking for.
    But it sounds like you have a lot of similarity: you are looking to see “Christian” in everything, and so will naturally disagree with an interpreter who is looking to see “Christian” in nothing.
    Of the ones you mention that I know, your interpretation of Beowulf, presented almost as if it were fact, is one I had never heard before. I can find the arguments for it, but I’m not convinced. It doesn’t appear to be the standard approach to the poem (if with the multitude of interpretations you can determine a “standard” approach), so I can’t see any particular reason for it to be included in the program.
    As for Chaucer, it is a fair point that he was going outside the ordinary by using the vernacular. A point I’ve heard before. I’m not sure whether that’s the most important thing about Chaucer or not, or whether he was trying to be “subversive” or “empowering” or just write in a language he loved, but it was pretty important for the English language.

  8. Rewrite the past, or that part of the past that survives, and you remake history and a more malleable humanity. Marr is just another statist affecting sophistication while promoting State power, the real love of their lives. What’s the old book title, The God That Failed”? but then success was never the object.

  9. Just to confirm your ideas on the BBC. I listen to the international version, and it would have been quite easy for a listener to not realize the Pope had visited America. Looking at the internet, however, I heard that the media coverage in the U.S. was “wall to wall.” Talk about censorship! They did have something about him on Sunday (just before he left). One of the matters that trumped coverage of the Pope was five minutes or so dedicated to the question of whether bridge (the card game) is a sport or not! The BBC is absurd in its treatment of the Catholic Church and it has been for some time a national shame. The taxpayers should let their outrage be known, but most probably are quite unaware and uncaring about this.

  10. “More disturbingly, Marr seems to advocate political force in addition to propagandistic persuasion to socially engineer the sort of world in which he believes….” This actually makes him more in line with the historical Britain of Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell than the fictional Britain of Mary Poppins that Americans so desperately want to believe in.

  11. Here in Scotland we have our own local news programme, “Reporting Scotland”. In 2013 they carried out a six-month “investigation” into ALLEGATIONS about abuse committed at Fort Augustus Abbey school. The investigation was conducted by journalists (Plural). Fort Augustus Abbey school was closed in 1993. Writing in The Independent newspaper, one of the journalists manages to refer to as many as three former pupils in support of the BBC allegations. Only one of the alleged abusers is still alive. He was, apparently, the subject of police investigations in Scotland and Australia. A search on the internet failed to find any information about the results of these investigations. More recently, BBC Scotland carried out another ‘investigation’ into allegations concerning a Catholic priest. This story made the top item in the news programme. These allegations went back to the early 1990s. Why is the BBC putting so many resources into investigating ALLEGATIONS going back over TWENTY years? Well, a clue might be found in what the two situations have in common: the Catholic Church. The BBC (aka Bash British Catholicism), as shown by Joseph Pearce’s article, is basically an organisation for the propagation of secular, liberal values and, as such, seeks to undermine the main obstacle to the promotion of those values.

  12. Oh, and, by the way:
    Oranges and lemons,
    Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

    You owe me five farthings,
    Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

    When will you pay me?
    Say the bells of Old Bailey.

    When I grow rich,
    Say the bells of Shoreditch.

    When will that be?
    Say the bells of Stepney.

    I do not know,
    Says the great bell of Bow.

    Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
    And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

    Face the telescreen.

  13. Everything you say about the BBC is true. Except for one thing. BBC Radio 3 (serious music) is a shining light of grace and divine truth.

    No Christian phobia here!

    At least until one of the liberals who run the rest of the BBC notices.

    Deo Gratias

  14. Mike, interestingly a recent report lambasted the BBC for its handling of the Jimmy Saville case, which is somewhat ironic given its constant attacks on the Catholic Church in this area.

  15. I loved this piece. And would love another one from you Joseph, on what the church of Jesus Christ has been for our civilisation, because most people under thirty have no idea. Christianity has been undermined and misrepresented for at least two hundred years, probably three.

  16. These left wing rewriters of history make me so angry. How anyone who has read the New Testament account of our savior could not see how right wing our Lord was is clearly deluded. Jesus knew from the beginning that the poor’s plight was their own fault, that the rich will inherit the earth and that neoliberal economic policy was the only way to please God. Also just because there were no guns in Christ’s time it’s a given fact that he would have been in favor of assault rifles all round. When he said if “someone hits you turn the other check” it’s obvious that he knew guns would be available in the future and turning the other cheek would give you time to stick a magazine in your machine gun. Healthcare as well, what the bible forgot to mention that all the people who he healed had bought health insurance. I’m so glad people like yourself are there to remind us of the true message of the Bible. Keep up the good work..

  17. Brilliant article. I get so fed up of these left leaning atheists rewriting history. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to realize that our savior was a conservative. When he said turn the other cheek I think it’s obvious now that he meant that you would have to turn the other cheek to put a magazine in your assault rifle. Our savoir knew the poor deserved everything they got because they were lazy and the people he healed would certainly have to had health insurance otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered. He said love your neighbor, not some foreigner who disagrees with you and refuses to sell you oil. Jesus was obviously a free market capitalist. That’s why he throw out the moneylenders as they were selling animals far to cheap and therefore undercutting the corporations. Keep up the good work. As a Brit our government are far to leftie and we need the inquisition back as soon as possible. Especially given the rising fuel costs in this country and how many nonbelievers we could burn at the stake to keep our decent Christian citizens warm in the harsh winters.

  18. Thank you Joseph. Your posts are a breath of fresh air. We used to listen to BBC for music. But then they began airing pornographic plays and anti Catholic jingoist nonsense. Sadly, we have our own “new culture” in the U.S. so the U.K. is by no means alone. A culture free world where the overlords will decide what will give you joy. Poor George Orwell would have been sad no one heeded his warning.

  19. It’s past time for Christians to become, at least vocally, militant. And for any agnostics and atheists, who are not idiotic beyond belief to join them.

  20. Very good text. This modus operandi is seen in ANY tv program of ANY nationality nowadays – be a documentary, a serie, a talk show…

    In Brazil we have been experiencing a sort of ‘reconstruction of history’ since long ago, and more sharply after the infamous Worker’s Party take power through elections in 2002 – the ‘realm’ of Lula da Silva, Rousseff and dozens of other ideological thieves, now in process of Impeachmet as the world is aware.

    Our past is under pressure of government’s educational politics – to keep it only in the arcticle’s subject on History of a nation (whichever it’s in Europe or America). School programs proposals here in Brazil for next years are simply UNBELIEVEBLE. But there are attacks in many other fronts, as in any country of the so-called Occidental World.

    I also believe that the RESCUE of our society relies on RESCUE of Christianity. It’s the only (long termed) way to sustain our values. Praying / Attending Service / Living Christianity is not only for widow pious women… nowadays more than ever.

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