Without Fear or Favor – –

Jack’s makes it on time for a change – –

Ah – good old auntie BBC –

I shouldn’t post as much on FaceBook about the BBC. It’s loved around the world for its fair and un-biased news reporting and its great documentaries, dramas and wildlife programs.

But here’s what my American friends may not know –  –

It’s funded through a ‘TV license’ which everyone in the UK who owns a TV must pay, even if they never watch the BBC. Detector vans roam the country checking who has a TV in their house and whether they have a license (see below for George Orwell and 1984).

I think I started to get suspicious of their news coverage during their reporting of the ‘troubles’ in N. Ireland and then the Falklands war, then the two Iraq wars and even the Scottish Independence referendum. Finally their coverage of Brexit, and of the labour party and Jeremy Corbyn was the last nail in the coffin.

Because whatever the UK political party in charge is can determine the amount of the license that folk have to pay, it’s pretty obvious what will happen. Add to that the Government appointing the folk in charge then you get the drift.

When George Orwell was employed by the BBC he discovered room 105 where the vetting of prospective employees took place by MI5 – British secret service. He used that in his novel – 1984. That room was still in use into the 1990s and it’s also very likely that this still goes on.

However, I actually have no problem with the BBC defending the integrity of the United Kingdom or even the priorities of the UK Government. There are many radio and TV organizations around the world doing exactly the same thing for their countries. I even admire how the BBC has managed to hide this down the years.

So what is my problem?

Maybe just that I fell for it for so long – – –

Here’s a link to a recent speech by highly acclaimed ex-BBC Journalist Emily Maitlis at the Edinburgh International Festival –

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The Monday Book: BEWILDERMENT by Richard Powers

Janelle Bailey, teacher, AP exam reader, and former shopsitter for our bookstore, delivers the Monday book this week. It turns out not to be a favorite….

I definitely went into this expecting to be engaged and enthralled and breathing deeply, thinking differently about something–in that case never seeing trees quite the same–as had happened when I read The Overstory. That did not quite happen.

Oh, I will look at stars and space differently and think about some other things newly–grief, death, parenting and most especially through grief and death–as well, but I feel like lots of this book were just over my head or out of my own realms of keen interest and understanding, in parts, for me to fully appreciate it quite like I had expected to.

I DO love that the book is set in Madison, and I considered/wondered whether and if so when Powers had spent enough time there to understand these few Madison things: the farmers’ market and its offerings, the layout of some of the city, etc. And I found Theo and Robin and Aly to be interesting and compelling characters for the most part. I enjoyed spending this time with them.

I am not upset that I read it, I am just less confident that I will be totally “wowed” by every Richard Powers I pick up like I surely was by The Overstory.

Also and maybe a sidebar or irrelevant, but: I became more irritated by all of the things that were over my head scientifically when, in the very first pages the book gets completely wrong something that I just shared again recently is a peeve of mine: the misunderstanding of which year of life one enters on their birthday. This main character is turning 9 and so COMPLETING his ninth year of life (we celebrate a first birthday, the big “ONE,” when a child has completed their first year of life. Right??), not “eighth year” as the book states at least two different times. So I was fairly irritated the more that the book wanted me to get my head around science and even its more “sci-fi” aspects, when it kicks off with understanding age wrong. Argh!

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