Friday, October 10, 2014

A change of direction?

In reviewing 'Grantchester', ITV's new series, the critic, Michael Pilgrim, wrote:

"Sometimes, resistance is futile.  Much as I would love to come across as a sneering aesthete disdainful of cosy period drama like 'Grantchester', I just can't.  Because it's good . . .
It's a grim October in the early 21st century.  British warplanes are over northern Iraq . . . you can't buy a  flat and apple crumble makes you fat.  There could be a worse antidote than 'Grantchester'."

However, whilst viewers have been eager to abandon the real world for the persuasive charms of 'Grantchester', listeners, so it would seem, are leaving Radio 4's flagship, 'Today'.

Their departure is not because of any drop in the programme's high standard of news coverage.  Nor is it because of less probing interviews or less penetrating coverage.
No, quite simply, 'Today' is losing its audience because we, the listeners, have had as much as we can take.

In a world of seemingly unremitting gloom and anxiety, a world rocked by warfare, disease and terrorism, we need to be heartened, not merely informed.  We need hope.

Is it really such a grim October, or are we looking fixedly in the wrong direction?  Trapped, as we are, in the headlights of a blitz of bad news . . . what's really going on?

In much he same way that no two witnesses to a crime will offer the same version of the story, so our view of world events would appear to depend on the point of view of our informant.  Everything that we see, think and say is filtered . . . filtered through a point of view.

Whilst it's true that the camera cannot lie, we can forget that the lens is pointing in one direction.

What's going on behind the cameraman's back?   We've no idea.  Nor do we know why he chose to point his camera in the direction he did.

But what if we turned the camera round?  Turned it away from fear and combat so that it was pointing instead at care and hope?

If, this October, we feel badly in need of hope (and have already had our weekly 'fix' of 'Grantchester'!), what about turning our camera away from the flow of mesmeric and debilitating news bulletins?

What if we focus instead on the worldwide rising of the human spirit . . . a rising so graphically demonstrated by students in Hong Kong.  Surely this is a source of hope?
If we turn away from the bad news and concentrate on celebrating the good, wouldn't that be beneficial to all of us?

History, so it's said, is a fable agreed upon.
What if we agreed to make it a fable of hope?