Sunday 17 November 2019

The White House presents . . . The night of the Terminators

Good gosh -- only last week we were saying the story of the economic bust was like a fictional drama, and then happened the Osama killing, which went even further. That was like something out of a gung-ho action movie, with its silent assassins and swooping choppers. I half-expected to hear that Schwarzenegger was on the team.

Of course the Bin Laden story was all over the radio. We're very fond of discussing American life and politics over here -- too fond, a lot of the time -- and keen to give what we believe is a considered opinion.

In the case of Robert Fisk, who analysed the situation on Today with Pat Kenny (Radio 1), of course the opinions are considered and well informed.

The man is probably unparalleled in terms of knowledge and experience of these matters, whether one agrees with him or not.

Interestingly, he reckoned the whole thing now revolves around the disputed zone of Kashmir: the US supports India because they are the buffer against China. Pakistan, and especially parts of its intelligence service, aren't happy about it and are allowing Islamic militant activity. Hence, a damnably knotty and difficult problem for everyone to try to unravel.

Unlike Fisk, though, much of our comment on American affairs is prejudicial, uninformed and rather childish. You either get those who blame the so-called "Great Satan" for everything, or the ones who dumbly buy into the American Dream wholesale.

I thought it'd be interesting to get the US perspective on all this, and happily hundreds of their radio stations are available online. You might be surprised to hear that the tone of discussion and reportage I listened to, across several stations, wasn't as jingoistic or triumphalist as you might presuppose.

Maybe I just wasn't tuning into the right ones -- the Evangelical Christian stations, or those ape-crazy ones that seem obsessed with homosexuality and communism and conspiracy theories about the government, beaming out to a deluded audience from a trailer park in deepest Texas.

But I tried to cover a decent cross-section in terms of geography, target audience and tone. And there wasn't too much dancing on Osama's grave. A little bit, but I think, given the week that's in it, we'll allow them that.

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