Thursday, August 10, 2017

TV: from the sublime to the ridiculous, by JD

Over the weekend I watched two very contrasting TV programmes on BBC.

The first, on Saturday, was the City of Glasgow honouring Billy Connolly with three portraits for his 75th birthday. Paintings by John Byrne and Jack Vettriano plus a photograph taken by Rachel MacLean.

And here are the three portraits-

Byrne's painting is very good, as one would expect from him. The Vettriano is painted from a photograph (a still from a video in fact) as are all Vettriano's paintings which is why they are all superficial in appearance. MacLean's photograph was a wonderful tribute to the man. Connolly loved all three of them, the generous gentleman that he is.

It was a genuinely 'magical' hour especially when he was with his old friend the painter John Byrne. 

And then there was this programme about Silicon Valley last night:

These millionaire 'bright sparks' are seriously insane even the one who has run away to hide from the world in the Canadian wilderness. Biggest worry is they all think they are saving the world and building a better future, a phrase they trotted out quite regularly. 

The most seriously deranged, to me, was the one who allocated his time very precisely and allowed 35 minutes and no more for his interview with the man from the Beeb. I think I would have asked him rather more difficult questions. He said that work was what people did to earn enough to live and 'have fun'. Such shallow thinking is the opposite of what I tried to outline in my post "What is the purpose of work?" Or perhaps I am the one who is deranged?

The 'runaway' in the Canadian wilderness would have been funny if it were not so tragic. He is there only because our entire civilization created the means to allow him to escape: he didn't build his 4x4 vehicle, he didn't dig the ore nor smelt it nor build the machine tools which created the ammunition he was so proud of - "This will be the currency of the future" he declared. What happens when his 4x4 breaks down? Can he get it going again? What happens when he runs out of ammunition? You could think up countless examples of how other people's creativity and endeavours had given him the means by which he is able to run away from the world he has helped to create and of which he is so frightened.

The most significant thing, in my view, was they are all dodging their tax obligations there at home just as they do in the rest of the world. So it is really just good old-fashioned self-enrichment by lots of snake oil salesmen and some of their business models look suspiciously like 'Ponzi' schemes even better than the derivative trading scams or of Enron!!

Strange world we live in: the benign and the loonies all mixed in together.

1 comment:

Paddington said...

In the US, a lot of people love the idea of 'independence', even thugh such a thing does not exist.