October 25, 2003

The Glamour of Evil

(Yes, I used the British spelling deliberately.) Speaking of the BBC, their cuted-up "dramatisation" of the British spy scandal is drawing all sorts of fuss. When even British teevee critics diss your show on the grounds that it was too kind to traitors you've got to realize you've slipped up somewhere, but the executive producer, one Mark Shivas, continues to justify the whitewashing. See, one still must have some sympathy for the views of Burgess, Philby, et al, because

''Maclean said it was dangerous for one nation [the U.S.] to have so much power, a monopoly on nuclear weapons, that that was a great potential for harm,'' he notes. "That has a certain resonance these days.''

Uh huh. If hating Amerikkka is wrong, we don't want to be right! I don't think it's working this time, boys. Perhaps you should stick to things like that show where they take a perfectly normal-looking woman and beat her down with insults until her self-esteem is totally destroyed and she consents to throw out all her clothes and let them dress her any way they want.

(Via Cronaca.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at October 25, 2003 11:28 PM

"...a certain resonance"

By all means (in all senses of the phrase) let's continue to guard against a US with too much power. After all, the alternatives to that reality are so much better.

I admit I hadn't realized that that particular warped view went back so far. Silly me! I thought Philby et al. were simply pro-Soviet.

Posted by: Alene Berk at October 27, 2003 at 05:46 PM

"Guard against a US with too much power."

Hell, if it wasn't for the US and our overbearing power, Sadaam would still have the wood chipper going, and I'm sure, much worse.

You'll excuse my lack of eloquence here, but why waste it on bunch of lefties who couldn't get the big picture if you put a 20"X30" poster print of the deal in front of them.

Televoid, indeed. Leading to mindvoid. But, we knew that.

Posted by: joe at October 27, 2003 at 06:57 PM

I really like that line that Shivas puts in Philby's mouth: "You're either a communist or a fascist."

Since when is that an "either-or" choice? What the hell is a communist, anyway, except a fascist in a red shirt?

Posted by: Dan Fox at October 27, 2003 at 10:28 PM

If they think that America with too much power is dangerous, then they have no idea about the nature of power. Read this excellent essay about the subject of power:


It says it all.

Posted by: John S. at October 27, 2003 at 10:38 PM

Yeah, MacLean didn't think that the U.S. should have nukes and exercise hegemony over the world.

In nineteen thirty fucking two!

That's when he and the rest of his little ring of Cambridge poofs started going commie.

Evidently, British intel was better than we suspected; they must have had crystal balls back then, as MacLean became a sellout at least a half decade before anybody in the U.S. defense establishment seriously considered the possibility of the A-bomb.

I can handle historical revisionism. I just can't handle it when it's ahistorical and asynchronous. Having studied the Cambridge spy ring, Mr. Shivas is either a liar, or a moron. If MacLean did indeed say such a thing, it was ex post facto justification, nothing more. Assuming Shivas merely failed to note the date MacLean went over, his failure to do so - and to call out MacLean's lame rationalization - is inexcusably negligent. This in a movie we are supposed to take as valid history, and valid criticism of the U.S. ...

Posted by: Al Maviva at October 27, 2003 at 11:14 PM

"A monopoly on nuclear weapons"--? Um guys -- the UK is a nuclear power. France too for that matter. If Europe had really wanted a counterbalance to the US during the cold war, it could have been one.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2003 at 11:20 PM

Yep. Burgess, Maclean & Philby were Commies because they weren't Nazis. Interesting logic, that. Notwithstanding the Soviet-Nazi "non-aggression pact" which doomed Poland, pray tell what were the British, Canadian, American forces fighting the Nazis? We know they weren't Commies.

It musta been a Nazi civil war. That would explain Alger Hiss, since, after all, you must of been a Commie if you weren't a Nazi.

Simple minded moron.

Posted by: Tim at October 27, 2003 at 11:56 PM

"You're either a communist or a fascist." True that, romanticized Philby! We all know how FDR and Churchill were Nazis, not to mention Ike, Marshall, Bradley, Monty, Patton, &c...

Posted by: Sean M. at October 28, 2003 at 05:42 AM

Hmm. I am British and not a communist, so I must be a fascist. Oh no! And I have a shaven head too. Aaah. THey are coming to take me awaaaayy.

Seriously, this is bloody ridiculous. I used to be proud of the BBC. They used to represent the best in journalism being non-commercial (sort of) unlike the networks in the US or other countries.

Like many other British institutions, they have been reduced to pithy whiners.

Now I know why I live on the other side of the world and won't go back.

Posted by: Phil at October 28, 2003 at 08:17 AM

Interesting point that Mr. Shivas, et al., seem to have forgotten about U.S. nuclear hegemony. There has been only one short period in history when when one nation had the power to utterly destroy another (or many others) with absolutely no fear of effective opposition or retribution.

That would be from 1945 to 1951.

I don't seem to recall that power being abused.

Posted by: Ken Summers at October 28, 2003 at 09:52 AM

Ken Summers:

Then you're mistaken. The very fact that the United States didn't simply hand over our nuclear arsenal proves that we were to blame.

Oh, except for the Baruch Plan, of course. Which called for ALL world nuclear powers to hand over their capabilities to the United Nations (this was in the late 40s and early 50s, when the UN was still something to be admired). We had a near-monopoly, iirc, but offered to hand it over.

It was the USSR that vetoed THAT idea.

Posted by: Dean at October 28, 2003 at 10:45 AM

Nothing but admiration for your catch on the BBC's problems with the real world.

I happen to know the Dame at Eton, subject of the entirely voluntary program on how not to dress badly. She is not "ordinary" in her dress decisions unless you're fixated in retro designs that LaVerne and Shirely would have avoided. She, the Dame, simply has no dress sense, looks a total mess, and--given her position as the deputy to a House Master--does have a certain obligation to achieve a certain look that distances her from bag ladies.

And, I note again, she volunteered to take part in the program. She has a great sense of humor, BTW, but was simply born without dress sense.

Like my brother.

Posted by: Hatcher at October 28, 2003 at 02:32 PM

"Oh, except for the Baruch Plan, of course. Which called for ALL world nuclear powers to hand over their capabilities to the United Nations (this was in the late 40s and early 50s, when the UN was still something to be admired). We had a near-monopoly, iirc, but offered to hand it over.

It was the USSR that vetoed THAT idea."

Marking the USSR's one and only positive postwar contribution to human history.

Posted by: Ken at October 29, 2003 at 10:00 AM

Hatcher: I thought that dressing like a bag lady was what being titled was all about. But then, I got all my knowledge of the British upper class (modern era) from Tracy Ullman. (I still remember one sketch from her short-lived variety show, featuring a plane split along British class lines. The meal plan was something like "Bangers and Mash for the lower class, medallions of veal en croute with puréed endive for the middle class, Bangers and Mash for the upper class." The lower class and the upper class passengers were portrayed dressed in rags, drunk, and loud, the middle class section was uptight and prissy and dressed to the nines in Sloan wear -- remember Sloan Rangers? -- now I am getting all nostalgic for the eighties... Are The Young Ones episodes on dvd?)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 30, 2003 at 06:51 AM


Yep, they sure are! :-D

Posted by: susan b. at October 31, 2003 at 10:15 AM


No, UC Brits dress "eccentrically", which is not the same as "badly". A subtle distinction perhaps, but one even a Yank ilke me can pick up pretty quickly. And if humans are not the "discriminating animal", then whatever might we be?!?

Posted by: Hatcher at October 31, 2003 at 06:09 PM

Oh, and just to be UC pedantic, it's "Sloane"!

Posted by: Hatcher at October 31, 2003 at 06:10 PM

Hey give me a break, it's been a while.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 31, 2003 at 07:18 PM