'Precious Things' are a different matter.
My precious things are my wife and children. I have always wanted to have my precious things near me. I am not alone in this. This is a common ambition. For example, I understand that one Rupert Murdoch - more of him later - has always had the ambition to have his precious objects - his children - around him. He has at times inserted his children into positions within his business organisation. So - as he says - he can have his precious things near him. While always retaining ultimate power himself it has to be said. Nevertheless, I understand his sentiments. He likes to have his children around him. I do too.
Whenever my children expressed dissatisfaction when unjust circumstances were forced upon them or if they felt another sibling got favoured treatment I would advise them that they had their own life to lead. They could not live the life of someone else. I was trying to get them to understand that they were lucky to have their own life and that they should concentrate on it and not be influenced by anyone else. They would normally take this statement without commenting on it.
The relationship I continue to have with my children is one where they allow me to love them unconditionally. And say anything I like.
In the 60’s I spent some years in the UK. I enjoyed it. I felt at home there. I felt British. I felt welcomed. Maybe these things mean nothing, but I was glad I was there. I even voted there. There were two things I immediately latched on to. The Times Newspaper and the BBC. These became my precious things. The Times was enjoyable to read. It was definitely highbrow. I was not sure of its prejudices. I was not even sure of its sentiments. The UK was at this time still affected by wartime austerity. People were poorer than Australians. Food and housing were inferior to Australia. Industry was massive and inefficient. The Times made no mention of this. It concentrated on higher matters.
Suddenly a new paper appeared - The Sun came into existence and it was the mirror image of the Times. It was instantly popular with a fair cross section of society. Mr Murdoch seemed to know exactly what people were thinking. Most people in the office started reading it. Including people with pretensions I noted. I stayed loyal to THE TIMES.
When I listened to the BBC it was a revelation to me. I felt it was talking to me. I felt it was on my level. The BBC’s guiding aim - Inform - Educate - Entertain - was, I thought, completely correct. In Australia I had grown up in an anti intellectual society and the ABC was thought to be irrelevant and high brow - a favourite saying of my Father and his cronies. There was no doubt that The BBC was catering to the elite of society. They did this without fear or favour. The ABC had seemed to me to be completely intimidated by the ruling party in Australia and both parents and extended family went along with this wholeheartedly. Not so with the BBC. They were not intimidated by the ruling party. The Times and the BBC became my precious things.
I had to give up these two precious things when I returned to Australia. We stayed out of contact for some time.
But in time Marshal McLuhan's prediction has come into being. The digital age has changed communication. I’m not sure if the medium is the message but we certainly now all belong to a global village. I can listen to the BBC 24 hours a day if I wish. I can listen to the media from anywhere in the world if I want to. It has got to the point where there is too much to pick from. I have to pick and chose.
And times change. Between the 60’s and now, unfortunately, there has been a lowering of standards on both the Times and the BBC. And Mr Murdoch’s hand has been involved in both cases. The Times attempts to be a highbrow paper but it is Mr Murdoch's and it can only reflect his beliefs and prejudices. It is not hard to gauge its prejudices and sentiments. They are sometimes disheartenedly crude. The Times Newspaper is no longer a precious thing and I regret it.
Mr Murdoch and his media empire has long been a critic of the BBC. The BBC seems to have taken this criticism to heart. The BBC seems to have said in order to placate Mr Murdoch we need to aim our programmes at a lower level of society than what we used to. We need to show the people that we are one of them. And therefore definitely not aim at the elite of society. The BBC can at times now show prejudice. The BBC can at times be unfair. The BBC can at times indulge in very un BBC behaviour. The BBC can at times indulge in Murdoch-like behaviour. The BBC is no longer a precious thing and I regret it.