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To inform our understanding of the present

March 12, 2008

Sitting in a hotel in Canberra (with free internet access, an Australian first) I was watching a late night programme on ABC which included a film review of The Other Bolyn Girl. Everyone knows Ann and probably the rhyme for the eight wives: divorced, executed, died, divorced, executed ,survived. Now I would have thought that most people knew that Henry VIII first had an affair with Ann’s sister Mary but both reviewers professed ignorance of this fact of history. I was surprised to say the least. I may be getting into a curmudgeonly mood on this, but I would expect a higher level of general knowledge in television presenters of serious arts programmes. Lack of such knowledge seems to invalidate some of their opinions. I often say that hindsight does not lead to foresight, but that is no excuse for not being aware of the past, to inform our understanding of our present and possible futures.

I suppose one reason for my disspointment is that the ABC has some of the best and most educated programmes around. From the ever delightful Phil Adams, to some of the best broadcast material on philosophy and cognitive sciences I know – check out their pod casts for rich material, freely available that puts the BBC to shame at times.

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