Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday, 6 August 2012

Olympic quote of the day - 5

Spotted by the Telegraph's Michael Deacon, from the BBC's interview with the father of British gymnast and eventual bronze medal winner Beth Tweddle during coverage of the women's asymetric bars final:
Q: “Mr Tweddle, tell us what you’ve been going through this week.” 
 A: “I’ve been laying a patio.”
Well done that man!

I wouldn't want you to think I'm against any emotional involvement in sport - in fact, my favourite television moment of the Games so far is the candid shot of Denise Lewis - so composed and calm on camera a few minutes earlier -  leaping up and down with excitement as she watched the athletics from the BBC's studio window.

Those trackside interviews, though, are another matter -  "How tough was it for you?" "How did you feel when...?"  - with innermost feelings paraded for the delectation and vicarious pleasure of viewers, giving the coverage a horribly voyeuristic quality.

And how can we fully share the victor's elation - as the BBC's triumphalist presentation invites us to do, emotive music and all - when it has come at the expense of all the other competitors? Every time we watch someone win, we've seen at least one other person lose.

I appreciate that I am not entering fully into the spirit of things, but, while I can understand the exuberance of some of the interviewees, we at the Tavern salute Mr Tweddle for reminding us that hyperbole and 'sharing' should always be optional.

Mr Tweddle, toast of the week, your very good health!


  1. It seems that BBC 'journalists' have to qualify for their jobs, by graduating from the terrible local stations, (which we call the 'Twot Slot', because most of the items are concerning the fattest, the ugliest, the stupidest and the most downright criminal elements of society).

    From there on, they seem to relish ridiculous questioning techniques, unimportant statements, political innuendo and banal interrogation, often in a silly voice, like Peston or Robinson.

    You make a good point Mr Newgate - thank you!

  2. Scrobs, you're right; we're looking at lowest common denominator journalism, a race to find the human interest lurking at the bottom of every story.

    I don't know whether the internet - with instantaneous news - has made it worse, but I suspect it has much to do with Britain becoming a nation of virtual net curtain-twitchers.