Thursday, September 23

Please, could we have a secretary for cultured culture? | Stewart lee


I I am a multidisciplinary recipient of the two most important cultural awards in the country, the Bafta for film and television and the Olivier for theater; He has described the Times as the “World’s Greatest Living Comedian”; I’ve rapped in 10th century Old English on a number one single; I win Celebrity Mastermind answering questions about guitarist and improviser Derek Bailey; and a film of my own was recently declared by a government body to pass the “cultural test of being British” with the highest marks. Therefore, you must listen to me when I ask if Oliver Dowden is suitable for the role in which he has chosen, safeguarding the cultural heart of the nation in the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. A squeaky monkey could pour some orange into a jelly mold, but that doesn’t make it a jelly. Give some sick orange that a screaming monkey has poured into a jelly mold.

Speaking before a select committee on May 14, Dowden called for the privatization of publicly subsidized Channel 4 and considered its position in a “broadcast market”, to aid its “ability to access capital markets.” But Channel 4 was not created to compete with Netflix and Disney +, whose only imperatives are commercial. Its mission was to provide cultural, artistic and minority programming absent elsewhere. Channel 4 highlights, like Stephen Frears’ unprecedented Walter, a drama about a man with learning disabilities later awkwardly parodied by Ricky Gervais, and Derek Bailey. On the edge, a history of improvisation, they were brilliant and invaluable, but they weren’t built to beat The crown Y Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Patient MPs tried to explain this, but Dowden seemed intellectually or ideologically incapable of participating, like Spock struggling with an abstract concept. Do you think culture is intrinsically valuable in itself, Captain? That is illogical. I like it when the chandelier falls Ghost from the opera, even if.”

There is one area where I agree with Dowden. The statues of the slavers must remain! As Dowden puts it, “they play an important role in teaching us about our past, with all its flaws.” Likewise, the statue of Jimmy Savile, torn down from the Scotstoun Leisure Center, must be re-erected and revealed by Dowden himself with total ceremony, to teach us more about our past, with all its flaws. And alongside the statues of the slavers, let’s raise tall new statues representing the atrocities their business facilitated, to teach us about our past, with all its flaws. At Jamaica’s Breadnut plantation, slaves were forced to defecate in the mouths of their disobedient companions. A new statue / chocolate fountain combo in Parliament Square could emerge in the hour, to teach us about our past, with all its flaws.

Although Dowden has, like all his colleagues, made a cognitively dissonant moral accommodation of Boris Johnson, there is still a faint glint of light in his eyes, unlike the dead, killer-shark stare of the catastrophically cold secretary of education, Gavin Williamson. , the Freddy Krueger from teenage ballet dancers’ nightmares. Can the great myths that underpin our national history provide archetypes that suggest how Dowden can be led to salvation and saved our collective souls?

Last week, I helped make a radio documentary about unreliable storytellers and I hope it will be a valuable addition to the Dowden broadcast market. In the vaults of the British Library, I examined an original twelfth-century manuscript by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Story from the Kings From great britain, an incredible and undeserved privilege that somehow landed in my unworthy lap as a result of more than three decades of making sarcastic jokes about politicians, road signs, and rappers. Monmouth seems to have edited and rewritten the story to support the imperial values ​​and ambitions of the Henry I administration. Michael Gove’s 2010 suggestion that academic Niall Ferguson, who describes himself as a “neo-imperialist,” should reforming the history curriculum, it was not as original as it seemed.

Monmouth is largely responsible for, for example, the presence of the stories of King Arthur and Merlin in the myth market. Yet these implausible tales provide a poetic “ecstatic truth” rather than a literal “accounting truth,” a distinction that Dowden will understand if he is as familiar, as a secretary of culture should be, with Werner Herzog as he is with Andrew Lloyd. Webber. Today, Dowden is young Arthur, who has unfortunately drawn the sword from the stone and is now seeking leadership in a role he is not yet ready to understand. You need a Merlin to guide you. Where is the wizard to lead the boy King Dowden through the tangle of artistic understanding? Dowden’s old conservative colleague Ken Clarke on the evidence from his Radio 4 series Jazz greats, could show Dowden how great art stems from an artistic and non-commercial impulse. For all his political and personal flaws, the suede-lined arteries of Merlin Clarke’s HushPuppy heart pump with an understanding that eludes Arthur Dowden, who will not defend the cultural value of culture, only the financial one.

If Dowden is not prepared to make this argument, to leave the market citadel and undertake this inherently worthy quest for the grail, then Dowden, like the unworthy Uther Pendragon in the myth of the founding of Monmouth, must hand over his undeserved position to a new one. champion. a seeker who is prepared to protect the holy chalice of our arts and culture and heal our pestilential kingdom or submit to school. Until theaters reopen to pre-Covid capacity, I remain eminently available.

A 12-Inch Single From January’s Number One Hit Comin ‘Over Here by Asian Dub Foundation (feat Stewart Lee) is now available. Stewart Lee appears on the B-side of the new seven-inch Nightingales, Ten bob each way. The acclaimed anti-rockumentary Rocker king It will be screened at the Sheffield Documentary Festival on June 12. Stewart appears in an online fundraiser for Gigbuddies on June 20. The rescheduled 2022 dates of Stewart’s 2020 tour are on sale now, stewartlee.co.uk/live-dates


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