random thoughts to oil the mind

Category: Television Page 1 of 2

[:en]Posts related to anglophone TV.[:de]Einträge über (zumeist) britisches Fernsehen

Intelligence² Catholic Church Debate: Transcript

The Intelligence² group hosted a debate in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, in October, considering whether the Catholic church is a force for good in the world. Speaking for the motion were Archbishop John Onaiyekan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, and the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, Conservative MP and Catholic convert. Speaking against were Christopher Hitchens, writer, broadcaster and polemicist, author of the bestselling book “God is not Great”, and Stephen Fry, actor, comedian and television presenter. The debate was presented by Zeinab Badawi.

Since the new Intelligence² website appears to have done away with transcriptions, I’m publishing this one here. Please note that this is an entirely unofficial transcription, so any mistakes are my own. The full video can be found on the official site, as well as on YouTube.

Before After Change
For: 678 268 -410
Against: 1102 1876 +774
Undecided: 346 34 -312

Ireland’s Sons

Ireland may have been the land that saved western civilization, 1À la Thomas Cahill, How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe. and certainly enjoyed a period of setting priests alongside agricultural products as the major export, but that’s not to say that nothing good came out of the experience. Their perhaps unique relationship with the Catholic church has put Irish comedians in a wonderful position, and combined with a deep love/hate relationship with the English, provides a rich source of material for us all to enjoy. Republicans, Catholics, Patriots, Atheists: here are some of my favourites of Ireland’s sons.

Fishing the planet dry, by saving the dolphins

Feeding the dolphins

There are some pretty banal programmes on television at times, such is the role it plays, but Animal Park – Wild on the West Coast really caught my eye today. It served up the job of a nature programme from California, but it was a real eye opener to some of the ludicrous crap that gets spewed out, and of course funded, in the name of environmentalism. One segment showed how they looked after a sealion with some neurological disease, to the extent of giving the animal an MRI scan, ascertaining it wasn’t going to survive, and then putting it down. If anyone could explain the point of all that to me, I’d be impressed.

Yet the clip which really boiled my noodle was the one which showed how they were exercising bottlenosed dolphins in captivity, in order to measure their heart rates, and ultimately determine how many calories they needed whilst at rest and whilst active. They were then going to use this information to work out how many fish the animals required, and then pass this important information on to the fisheries in the region, essentially intimating that fisheries would be restricted or closed based on the feeding requirements of the dolphins. It really is amazing at times how random ‘research’ can become. It would seem that as long as those cute little dolphins get enough to eat, no one particularly gives a rat’s arse about whether the ecosystem at large is suffering as a result of fishing policies. Plus, you can bet a pretty penny that with all the statistical horse shit they would have to utilise to make any sense out of those pretty useless collections of figures, there will be little correlation between what they would have to tell the fisheries and reality!

Nichts als die Wahrheit

The Boys from Brazil

I recently caught a TV screening of The Boys from Brazil, a film adaptation of Ira Levin’s novel, concerning the nefarious actions of Dr. Josef Mengele in South America, and his pursuit by a Nazi-hunter presumably modelled on Simon Wiesenthal. Certainly a rather motley cast, with Laurence Olivier showing why he is so often cited as amongst the highest echelons of English-speaking acting, whilst James Mason poorly attempts to cover up his stiff accent. Still not entirely sure what to make of Peck’s performance.

Regardless, the film is entertaining, even if you’ve heard the twist previously as I had. Produced slightly before Mengele’s actual death in Brazil in 1979, it reminded me of a German film I’d read about entitled Nichts als die Wahrheit, which portrays the fictitious events of Dr. Mengele’s trial as he returns to German, a sick, old man. Sadly, I was unable to track the film down on the Internet, and at least according to this website the film is currently only available on VHS. Hopefully that situation will be rectified before too long, but if anyone knows where or when it might be published on DVD, please leave a comment.

The Global Warming Debate Heats Up

Global warming has become something of a fashion. To gainsay it is a political cyanide pill akin to older variants of the likes of ‘abolitionism’ or ‘free trade’. The climate is changing, and it’s all our fault. One need only look at the success of a film like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth to see how this basic principle has become an accepted fact. Recent films like The Day After Tomorrow illustrate how mainstream such ideas are. It’s a big issue, it’s an important issue, and it’s politically and financially loaded. Which is why it is all the more important it isn’t swallowed wholesale. A recent Channel 4 production hoped to show just how deceptive the issue can be.

globalwarming_1.jpgUnfortunately, it is very easy in this ‘information age’ for facts to become distorted and blown out of proportion, particularly by the mainstream media. On a daily basis, news programmes bring us the latest breakthroughs from the cutting edge of science. In Britain this is concomitant with a constant tugging on our heart strings to force the NHS to accept the latest miracle cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s or any other myriad diseases. Of course, the problem is that breakthroughs at the cutting edge of science have a tendency to go wrong, the results of surveys tend to be disproved by later surveys, and false conclusions tentatively fed to the public with phrases like ‘scientists believe’ and ‘recent surveys have shown’ in fact get swallowed as gospel fact.

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