|Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud||
Friday, May 17, 2002
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
by David Morgan
For one of the shows Cleese drew on his experience of staying in a hotel with a thoroughly bad-tempered man who saw the guests as intrusions on his attempts to manage the hotel. He was so rude to everybody that Cleese was entranced, and used him as the basis for a character in a show where the doctors stayed in such a hotel. Cleese: 'This shows what a clever man [producer] Humphrey Barclay is - at the end of the show he said, "You know - there's a series idea in that hotel"; and I remember looking at him and thinking, "Oh, you TV producer, you - that's all you ever think about".' There was indeed a series in the idea, although it was 1975 before it saw the light of day.
Of course, Fawlty Towers wasn't just about the difficulties of running a Torquay hotel. Like the Monty Python 'Dead Parrot' and 'Cheese Shop' sketches, it was about the impossibility of getting decent service in Britain in the 70s.
By 1990, Cleese and Michael Palin were doing a reprise of the 'Dead Parrot' sketch in a TV benefit show for AIDS research, Hysteria 2:
CLEESE: Ai wish to registah a complaint about this parrot, wot I purchased not arf an hour ago, from this very boutique.
At this point the audience were expecting Palin to make excuses: 'He's resting...He's stunned....He's probably pining for the fiords.' Instead:
PALIN: Yeah you're right. Here's yer money back and some gift vouchers.
Sunday, May 12, 2002
by David Morgan
In fact it's a Hobbesian jungle. The real point of his screed:
Economics is based on the fact that, because your resources are limited, you can’t have everything you want - so you have to make choices among competing (which is not the same as contradictory) desires.
So I'm not just attacking the theory of it all - I've lived the practice.
Me too. Did you truly have NO choice in the matter?
I've seen my friends and family live it too, the one's I've been able to stay in contact with. My nephew and niece have lived in five countries in eight years, as their dad, my brother-in-law, goes where the company needs him. I've watched my five year old son spend those first five years in the one house, close to both sets of grandparents and an extended family that loves him unconditionally. And I've watched him cope with resilience to being dragged away from it all to the other side of the world to start again. We send letters, emails, and even have a website where we put up family photos so his grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles can see them. It's better than not having a website, but let's not kid ourselves, right?
Only if you believe fanatically in market forces. And to paraphrase Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now: ‘What do you call it, when the fanatics accuse the fanatic?’ You admit the benefits of technological progress – brought about by the free market. Why not come up with a way of dealing with the strains on community you’ve mentioned, that doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater? Got ANY ideas at all?
And the left can look forward to being lumbered with another boring process of self-examination and reinvention until someone eventually plucks up the nerve to say, 'It really is the economy, stupid. We need to control it, not worship at its altar."
Which is precisely what Latham is saying: why his – admittedly unreadable – book is called Civilising Global Capital.