The Silver Eel

"A gape-jawed serpentine shape of pale metal crested with soot hung high for a sign."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It is, again, more the duty of broadcasters in the public service to give people what they don’t know they want and what they need for society to mature itself, not to be mired in low-level tastes. That means that you should not start the news by saying that a famous football manager has had a heart attack. We may be very sorry to hear that, but not as the first item of national, even international, news. The BBC has by now much the same bad habit. The ITV executives above were implying that what is "the news" should be largely decided by what people already think and believe and know; whereas the essence of a civil education is that it shows that you do not know what you can like and what you can enjoy and judge well, until you have been introduced to it. As E. M. Forster reminded us: “How do I know what I like until I see what it is possible to have?”.
From a lecture by Richard Hoggart to Glasgow University's Department of Adult and Continuing Education in 2001.

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