Monday, April 16, 2007
Its always the BBC
Its always the BBC that gets the mood wrong, errs on the side of caution, makes the wrong decision. It's hard to find myself on the side of the ill-conceived National Short Story Prize, a beauty contest with predictable contestants, but the news that one of the shortlisted stories, Hanif Kureishi's "Weddings and Beheadings" is not being broadcast because of sensitivity over the kidnapping of the journalist Alan Johnston in Gaza, seems to show, yet again, our national broadcaster is as parochial as a village fete. There is certainly time for some sensitivity, and one can only feel for Johnston's family and friends at this time. Yet, a short story, from a respected writer, written well before this event, and, moreso, in a context that Johnston was well aware of - was perhaps his reason for being where he was - seems a strange lamb to sacrifice. Do you remember before Gulf War I when Massive Attack became Massive and Bomb the Bass were removed from the playlist. The Kureishi story sounds hardly that original (consider the brilliant film "Fifteen Minutes" with its media-obsessed ultraviolence, on television only last week, never mind the photographer in "City of God") but given that every week there are atrocities and kidnappings in Iraq, the "sensitivity" seems misplaced. If the story is good enough to be in contention for winning this prize, then surely it can't be any kind of crass exploitation?
Posted by Adrian Slatcher at 3:31 PM