Earlier this evening Mrs Crox warmed up the televisual receiver for the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. It wasn’t long before the vacuity of the commentary drove me to flight. My, the editorial standards of the BBC have plummeted to a nadir of vapidity. When I were a lad, just starting out as a journalist, Leading Questions were regarded, rightly, as unspeakably bad practice. But hey, here on BBC1, the BBC’s flagship channel: “Just HOW wonderful have these games been?” Sue Barker gushed to Sir S. Redgrave, gushingly, as if there were any chance that he’d say that he was disappointed, actually, as to him the whole thing came over as a steaming pile of hyena offal. Absolutely.
But it got worse.
The program namechecked the wholly remarkable Curiosity mission, using this as an highly contrived set-up just so the commentator could to say that the hush before the final of the men’s 100m foot race was such that “you could have heard a pin drop on Mars.”
That was quite enough for me, and I fled to my
shed office to listen to my tapes of kittens being impaled on red-hot skewers download the first series of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Something from those long-ago days when at least some people at the BBC actually had brains.
Now, I’m not one of those people who disdained this festival of
sprot sport. I’ve quite enjoyed it, actually. I got caught up, as did everyone, in the patriotic brouhaha as Team GB was crushed under the weight of its own medals. The gymnastics and the diving were so intense that there were times when I could hardly watch. I marvelled at Cath Jessica Ennis’ abs legs skill, and anyone who didn’t feel any emotion at Gemma Gibbons’ performance in the judo, or Rebecca Adlington’s noble concession of her Olympic swimming title to a teenager, or Mo Farah’s beaming smile after winning the 5000m, or Victoria Pendleton’s anguish at her disqualification after a cycling event, has, frankly, no heart.
One also had to admire the dedication of these young athletes who would train 77 hours every day just so they could excel at their sport. But I am afraid that I have been so worn down by the lameness of the BBC commentary that I am losing any sense that any of it has any point.
Why, exactly, should one give up the best years of one’s life for the fleeting chance that one might, someday, be the very best in the world at grunting futtocks?
What, precisely, is the purpose of the effort, self-sacrifice, heartache and pain one must endure just so that one can hurl a cordwangler’s lummock at an alien splod harder/faster/higher/more stylishly (delete as applicable) than anyone else?
Why does the nation not concentrate its fervour on its young scientists as much as its young athletes? At least they might come up with something of lasting value. Sic transit, gloria
gaynor mundi. (And – oh yes – the money.)
Now, please excuse me, Professor Trellis of North Wales has just tweeted to ask me whether I’d like to go outside and watch the Perseid meteor shower, and I have accepted. As he says, it’s a bit murky out there, but a darned sight better than what’s on the telly.
Toodle, and, morerover, pip.
After I wrote this post – the dreadful charade was still going on, even after me and the younger Croxii had enjoyed the Perseids and had gone to bed – I learned that the climax of this musical extravaganza was … pause for breath … Take That. Notwithstanding inasmuch as which the late conductor and wit Thomas Beecham noted that whereas the English do not much care for music, they love the noise it makes, these islands have produced music from Elgar, Britten, Delius, Holst, Handel, Vaughan Williams, Tallis and Byrd, to name but eight (Vaughan Williams counts as one choice) – and we get Take That. Patronizing, aspiration-sapping Panem et Circenses for proles.