The Island of the Ignorant

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 I just came back from the island of the ignorant. Oh, no, don’t get me wrong. I love Britain and I understand they are different. I accept their food and their strange behavior, like talking about ‘nice weather’ while a thunderstorm smashes your umbrella.

But there are a few things I cannot accept. Of course I understand they learned lots from her ‘big sister’ – or should I say ‘adviser’ like WikiLeaks says? It is a known fact that ‘News of the World’ in USA does not mean news about all the other continents. They talk about themselves like they are the ‘navel of the world’. And so is Britain… within 5 days I did not hear about anything of worldwide news but news from Britain… nothing else! Nothing about the North-Korea conflict, even nothing about voting a new pope! They talk about stolen milk-can in Cucumbershire, a girl was stabbed in Birmingham city and someone got arrested for driving drunk in Manchester City. But nothing about what happened outside the island… incredible. It looks like Britain is no part of Europe but it is simply a part of herself.

So at least I Beavis and Butt-headwas lucky to watch Beavis and Butt-head. I like them. They are true anarchists, no Royals.

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The Island of the Ignorant, 4.1 out of 6 based on 6 ratings

9 thoughts on “The Island of the Ignorant

  1. Both Britain and the USA let Rupert Murdoch tell them the news, so what else can one expect?

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  2. Yes, Murdoch is a big problem in the UK where his empire controls roughly 40% of printed and broadcast media output.

    But that’s far from the whole story and, off-setting corporate megalomaniacs, we have excellent print media such as The Guardian, The Independent or The Daily Telegraph all of whom run in-depth domestic and foreign news and analysis as their staple fare. And then, above all, we have the publicly-owned BBC which is the world’s biggest news-gathering and broadcasting outfit with reporters in just about every country you can name. Just one channel – BBC Radio World Service – broadcasts in 28 different languages and has listener figures of 130 million.

    I am mystified by your criticism, not least because the last refugee from the US with whom I discussed the media professed amazement at our routine news-coverage of events in countries barely heard-of in the US. What on earth were you viewing or reading that you missed this cornucopia of journalism?

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    • Thanks for you comment, Steve.

      I am a wanderer between the worlds, I work in Germany and I own a cottage in UK. Like in Germany there are hundreds of channels on TV. I agree, there are fine papers like The Guardian or The Daily Telegraph and those who read them may learn more than the majority of UK people. BBC rules the news and what annoys me is they only talk about the British Island. It seems there is nothing else outside.

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  3. Hi Starbride

    good to hear from you!

    But I remain perplexed…I should say I watch little tv but I do listen to BBC Radio 4 several hours per day. Their four daily flagship news programmes – ‘The World at One’, ‘PM’ etc – are interspersed with in-depth political, economic and cultural analysis from BBC reporters all over the world. Foreign Affairs reporting has been big here since the days of Empire. A few examples of superb news coverage from the front line have included the Egyptian Revolution and aftermath, the Iraqi and Syrian conflicts, Crimea and the Ukraine, the siege of Gaza and the troubles in Ferguson, USA. One instance of deep background work might suffice: Tessa Dunlop’s investigation of increasing tensions between Moldova and Transnistria which may well further increase low-level conflict between Russia and the West. Here’s a link:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01ljtks

    I still can’t understand which channels you’ve been watching or listening to but thanks for your reply:)

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    • Hi Steve,

      let me give you an example which is a very common problem in UK. Lack of education for women. Most British teenage mothers live in poverty. Yes, it is a wonderful thing that every young mother receives a flat by social welfare. So these teenagers follow their mom’s example. This is the reason so many minor mothers live in Britain. Once they choose this way of life there is no way back into work.

      But back to your words – and thank you for the link. Perhaps you know the song ‘Video killed the Radio Star’ and indeed that happened. Primarily British youth is not interested in radio or Guardian, they watch TV. And so they are formed by TV. And the political picture that British TV draws is embarrassing. England, England, perhaps Cricket in India or football in Australia, whatsoever. My friends always say: “This is because we live on an island for so many years….”

      Sincerely,
      Sally S.

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  4. Hi Sally,

    well, there are a range of complex issues within the problems you’ve mentioned. Briefly, yes, some people reckon we have an ‘underclass’ of people living outside the work, education and consumer ethic. One area of my city has a school whose attainments were so inexplicably low that government inspectors went into the surrounding housing estates to talk to parents – who often told the inspectors they couldn’t see the point of sending their kids to school. There are pockets of deep alienation. Some young people are living in families where nobody can describe having a job. The root of the problem seems to stretch back to the 80s Thatcher era when huge swathes of traditional industry – such as mining, steel and shipbuilding – ceased to operate. The disorientation of those communities was profound and some never really recovered their former pronounced work ethic.

    Interestingly, some impoverished teenage mothers have described motherhood as their equivalent to a career – they found a sense of identity and purpose within nurture. They might be educational low-achievers but I’m not sure that proves that women here suffer poor educational provision – or that they are less estimable people because of that problem. It should be noted that single motherhood no longer guarantees – if it ever really did on a big scale – State housing and I am dismayed to note that already-modest financial support is rapidly becoming even less generous.

    As for teens watching lots of tv – not in my experience. If my boy and his friends are glued to anything its their smartphones and computers. TV is ‘old skool’ and a very poor second-best to the intensive participatory, almost tribal, modes of their electronic culture. I can only judge youth culture from observing my boy and his friends who together had a good education at a local state school and most – girls as well as boys – have gone on to university. None are from wealthy or distinguished backgrounds; their range of studies includes sciences, philosophy, economics, politics, religion, maths and medicine. I think they are clever but fairly ordinary kids. They wouldn’t identify with a Britain represented as cricket and football-obsessed, nor be engaged with a media which promoted such narrow stereotypes. That’s beneath their cultural references. So I remain puzzled: while some people are indeed ignorant others are very savvy and I still can’t understand how, or which, tv broadcasters have been able to disenfranchise the generation for whom the internet’s wealth is an extension of their nerve-endings…..

    Steve

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    • Thanks for your detailed reply, Steve

      Indeed Maggie did start something that England still has to pay. She killed the Unions and it seemed to me Manchester Liberalism was back.

      However, what happens if England is not able to educate their kids? Most probably all the jobs will be done by Pakistani immigrants.

      Just to keep the point, yes, TV lost its fascination, young people have their smartphones, tablets and just consume what they get for free. This is not a British problem, it is the same in Europe and US. Maybe because use to spend many days in Scotland – which is not really a “smartphones and computers”-country – I always wonder if there is something else in this world except Britain when I watch TV. Each time I feel like living on an island – which indeed is correct 😉

      Sincerely
      Sally

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  5. Yes, she and her often sinister fellow-travellers unlocked something small and nasty in the English psyche. Turkeys voted for Christmas. But it must be said – and I speak as a socialist – that the Unions’ berserk behaviour during the preceding Callaghan government enabled Thatcher’s election and the maniac Scargill’s 1984 coal strike dealt the Labour Movement a mortal blow.

    I’ll take it that you’re not going to explain in detail your views on English education or our media:) As for employment, I think Eastern Europeans are busily redefining work and will have a more lasting impact on low-skilled English expectations than will the Indian sub-continent. I am astonished and ashamed by our employers’ willingness to mercilessly exploit the East Europeans in the sectors I’m familiar with.

    I think you’re broadly right about Scotland not quite succumbing…or I’ll put it another way: Scotland retaining a more rooted sense of values than the global villagers further south. I notice the difference in sensibility becomes pronounced around Tyneside – not much room for the Essex fly-boy and his tiresome scams in Newcastle!

    steve

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    • I am glad to hear you are a socialist 😉 – did you watch the Scottish independence second debate? I missed it….

      Of course a huge wave of people who need work because they need to survive will flood Europe. This is not a British problem only. Also in Germany many people are not interested in doing minor jobs. It was important the government started the statutory minimum wage. Currently the unemployed rate of young people in Germany is 8,5 % which is alarming.

      Sincerely
      Sally

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