Monday, 11 November 2013

In defence of Blackadder

Paxman, in his recent "Newsnight" argument with Tristram Hunt, revealed little understanding of the mechanics and  difficulties involved in modern-day teaching, so it was no surprise to read that he regards using TV programmes, like Blackadder, to improve the understanding of schoolchildren studying World War One as "astonishing".Presumably, he would prefer schools to buy his book on the war, what with him being an authority on the subject and a distinguished historian??
      More worrying, of course, is that Andrew Murrison, one of Cameron`s chief advisors on the war-fest being planned to commemorate the centenary of the war, thinks Blackadder and similar productions have "left the British public with little understanding of the first world war". Whetting interest, as Barbara Ellen correctly says, is an important starting point in most learning, and Blackadder serves this purpose well. But it does more, too, emphasising the futility of the conflict and the cluelessness of the privately-educated officer class, and this, presumably, is the real reason for government objections. Evidently, we are to be re-educated, our history is to be re-written; volunteers were not told lies about the likely duration of the fighting,millions of lives were not wasted, there was no war of attrition, officers were not so blind to the slaughter their decisions caused for them to repeat mistakes time and time again, and fighting the war was essential if our civilisation was to be preserved, like all wars since, and, doubtlessly, in the future.

     Politicians are already competing with each other in their efforts to persuade the electorate in the genuineness of their patriotism and the sincerity of their emotions, and the Tories will be patronisingly expecting everyone to forget that, in the interests of their ideology, they have destroyed our welfare state.They just don`t get it, as they are even suggesting a football match be played, like the one at Christmas 1914, where, after the troops fraternised, sharing photographs and such like, a game was played, illustrating completely the futility of the war the politicians did so little to prevent.

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