Sunday, 31 December 2017

The BBC's Father Brown

Propaganda comes in many forms. The most persuasive of all those different forms are the ones that look least like propaganda. The BBC's Father Brown series is a classic example of such propaganda. 

The series is explicitly based on the work of G K Chesterton. He was a well known racist and fascist. He was a Catholic reactionary. Yet the Father Brown character, as represented by the BBC, bears only a passing, and utterly superficial resemblance to Chesterton's. The BBC's character is a carrier for the values of the BBC, rather that the values of Chesterton. Indeed, the BBC's Father Brown is committed to a form of Catholicism that Chesterton would not have recognised as Catholic at all.

The BBC's Father Brown is the embodiment of the neoliberal values of the BBC establishment. He is opposed to discrimination against persons on the grounds race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. These are values that would have appalled Chesterton, who held precisely the opposite values. Chesterton publicly called for Jews to be forced to wear special clothes so they could be instantly recognised as Jews, much like the Nazi yellow stars. He was deeply concerned with the so called Jewish problem, but which he meant the problem of Jews living in Christian countries. He was a supporter of the Italian fascist regime.

The apologists for Chesterton like to point out that he expressed opposition to the Nazi regime. However, they are loath to point out the basis for his opposition. Chesterton's opposition was based on the fact that he considered the Nazi regime to be the result of a Jewish project: so the Jews were responsible. This reasoning does nothing but reveal the extent of his antisemitism. No wonder the Chesterton apologists seek to suppress why he opposed the Nazis.

Similarly, the apologists like to point out that Chesterton was in favour of a Jewish homeland, but again they fail to provide his motivation, which was precisely same reason as the Nazis and other anti-Semites  supported the call for a Jewish homeland: as a way of legitimatising the expulsion of people of Jewish origin from their countries.

The BBC is very good at creating period dramas. These dramas receive mass audiences, not only in Britain, but across the world. Father Brown is no exception. Many millions of people watch the BBC's Father Brown, and the vast majority doubtless do so with the critical faculties switched off; it is just entertainment. Millions of people are being inculcated with propaganda; all at the expense of the British licence payer.