Friday, 7 March 2008
Zhang Huan and the BBC White Season
The BBC starts its peculiar White Season tonight - the basic premise is that the white working class in the UK is becoming invisible. Which it's not.
Marginalised, yes, but invisible, no - and that's the working class in general, not just the white working class.
Interestingly, the BBC has decided to couch the series in racial terms (it includes a documentary on Enoch Powell, whose Rivers of Blood prophecies have proved hopelessly wrong) - though it would be more appropriate to look at the political and economic policies that have resulted in deteriorating education, health and housing for the British working class.
The death of British manufacturing industy and the transformation of the Labour Party from an organisation with ties to unions and labour to something quite different also have something to do with this marginalisation as do numerous other factors - falling numbers of working class students getting entrance to universities, widening wealth and health gaps and - oh, I could just go on and on...
The BBC have decided to advertise their season with this clip here which bears a remarkable resemblance to Zhang Huan's Family Tree pictures. The difference is that in his sophisticated work, Zhang covered his face with calligraphy that related to the complex ties of history, family and society - rather than the BBC man's unconvincing messages of "Britain is changing" and "I love Britain".