Monthly Archives: June 2011
This was a huge BBC documentary when I was a kid in 1969.
Snapshot—the Beatles are close to breaking up; mankind was about to set foot on the moon for the first time; Kubrick’s 2001 seemed almost too good (and strange) to be true; the (now) politically incorrect Get Smart was the TV show of the day; FM radio was still cool, and “high tech” meant… well, let me think… that was so long ago I can hardly remember. A push button phone? Cassette tape recorders? IBM electric typewriters?
Some have accused Kenneth Clark of being racist and ridiculously selective in this series. But we might consider — for the last charge, anyhow — that he states the limits of his study very clearly in the companion book, Civilization, which closely follows the TV script.
As for the other charge. Well, let’s just say that he’s certainly not politically correct, from a 21st century yardstick. But the fact that this series was so incredibly well received (even the Queen of England loved it and consequently made Clark a Baron) seems to indicate that Kenneth Clark was nothing more (or less) than an effective spokesperson for the prevailing Western mindset of the time. He was also a gifted scholar.
If we isolate one or two of his statements here and there, out of the entire series, he might seem like a racist. But after watching the first three segments, I’ve found counter-statements that balance out or contextualize some of his seemingly racist opinions.
Also, KC says many times that we’re all creatures of opinion and never claims to be laying out some grand immutable theory.
I’m not defending his questionable statements. Just saying that, for the most part, he’s a product of early to mid-20th century thinking, not enjoying the wisdom of eternity. And he fully knows those limitations.
So watch this and decide for yourself.
- Cameron’s U-Turn Causes Kenneth Clarke Some Pain (ranknews.wordpress.com)
- Is there life on earth after Attenborough? (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- NYT, Crowdsourcing and Cathedrals (laf.ee)
- Is there life on earth after Attenborough? (guardian.co.uk)
- Advanced Thinking (geopolicraticus.wordpress.com)
Check out the discussion at http://www.facebook.com/earthpages
- Signs Are the Most Effective Method of Ensuring Workplace Compliance (work.failblog.org)
- A blind boy (lovegodnotman.wordpress.com)
- Common Signs in Other Countries (fastsigns2542highlander.wordpress.com)
- Home Selling Tips: The “Coming Soon” Sign (dougfrancis.com)