Among the comments to the previous post I particularly liked this one by Joe N:
What I found rather cute in the R4 documentary, was the way it tried to be reasonable, but resorted to “mockumentary” tacktics anyway.
They had a voice-actor imitating President Bush at each segment, and when they played a series of quotations by him, the background music was of rural banjo fuges, as though it meant to cue the pavlov’s dogs of the listening audience a seeming reference to the movie “deliverance”.
The arrogant, culturally ignorant bastards at the BBC don’t even realize that there is no such tradition in Texas, and that he doesn’t comre from the Appalachian or mountain-south traditions associated with the type of fade-in/fade-out music they played.
Really – they are idiots willing to employ what they think they know about a folk culture to abuse someone! It’s about as sophisticated and shows as much a lack of depth of familiarity as a would-be photo-montage of Barack Obama with a watermelon and a bucket of fried chicken.
I assume Joe N is referring to this programme in which the impressionist Rory Bremner “considers the rhetorical evolution of George W Bush from gaffe-prone candidate to grandiose war president.”
I caught the end of the programme. It could have been worse, I suppose. At least it allowed various of Bush’s speechwriters and so on to have a word, though of course the beginning and end of each segment had to be according to the BBC narrative. I did notice one thing – after actually praising Bush for some good rhetoric, the inevitable contrasting Bush-is-stupid bit was the occasion where Bush said that he was “proud to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hands cut off by Saddam Hussein.”
Ha ha ha.
Now, given that the BBC researchers managed to dig out from the archives a clip of his actual words (52 minutes in) then the programme-makers must have known the context in which this speech was made. The link takes you to a post at the Volokh Conspiracy blog, which (unlike the BBC or the Slate magazine feature that prompted Eugene Volokh’s post) gives the next few lines of the speech:
I’m honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein. I’m with six other Iraqi citizens, as well, who suffered the same fate. They are examples of the brutality of the tyrant.
I am also here with Marvin Zindler, of Houston, Texas. I appreciate Joe Agris, the doctor who helped put these hands on these men; Don North, the documentary producer who made a film of this brutality, which brought the plight of these gentlemen to the attention of Marvin and his foundation. These men had hands restored because of the generosity and love of an American citizen. And I am so proud to welcome them to the Oval Office. . . .
Bush was able to shake this man’s hand because he was among several men who had just been provided with artificial hands by US surgeons. That was what occasioned the speech being made at all. He was saying, wasn’t it great that they did, once again, have functioning hands despite the barbaric punishment inflicted upon them.
As I said, the programme makers must have understood those circumstances. But they – and Rory Bremner – chose a cheap laugh over explaining them.