Post by the Administration on Feb 17, 2013 23:53:47 GMT -5
You are very welcome to join this new discussion group for aficionados of the Times Literary Supplement, the B.B.C. Third Programme that was, and similar sources of erudition and enjoyment.
Additionally we have a special section for all those who are working actively to change the current direction of B.B.C. Radio Three, whether by direct action or by other means.
And thirdly, we offer an ever-growing list of broadcasts from our own Revived Third Programme, combining the best modern technology with time-honoured principles of taste.
Our one regulation is, that any contribution which would have been suitable for transmission by the Third Programme prior to 1967 will be acceptable here, and any which would not have been will not be.
I should perhaps clarify, if only for Sydney Grew, that The Third Programme had, in its original conception, no fixed points. It simply sought to do something that was culturally satisfying and significant. Its whole content was directed to an audience that was perceptive and intelligent, as, indeed, are you!
Post by the Administration on Feb 25, 2013 7:09:05 GMT -5
Quite so, kleines c - I mean about the content of the Third Programme. So we would ask members prior to the making of a contribution to put themselves for a moment in the position of a well-brought-up and well-educated lady, and consider whether that lady would find it acceptable and read it through. In other words, our standards here - of necessity strictly enforced - must be 1) the style of talk, and the subjects, that were customary on the B.B.C. Third Programme in the nineteen-fifties, and 2) the style of discourse, and the subjects, that would raise no eye-brows in our own day among the steadier members of groups such as the Radio Three Forum - the "upper third" as one might put it.
Of course, much has changed since the 'fifties, Sydney Grew. My parents, for example, did not even meet until the 'sixties, so I have no personal recollection of the mid-twentieth century. As it happens, one of my grandparents is still alive, and the lifestyle she enjoyed at the beginning of the twentieth century is significantly different from the lifestyle which she, and her greatgrandchildren, enjoy in the twenty-tens. The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
One can certainly argue that although social customs and language change, human nature remains remarkably consistent over the millennia. Thus, in the Western classical tradition, what Homer, Virgil or Shakespeare wrote is arguably still relevant today. The twentieth century may have been a golden age for many. Nevertheless, it is also worth pointing out that it contained the two hottest wars, and arguably, the coldest war in human history.
Differences, of course, can be very subtle. I cannot replicate precisely the writing of my grandparents' generation. Lord Clark of 'Civilisation' (1969) once explained that courtesy is the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings by satisfying our own egos. I therefore think that we should at least make an attempt to be courteous towards one another. Is this sufficient, however, Sydney Grew?
There is, of course, a philosophical objection to rules in general, Sydney Grew, and to too many rules in particular. It is that rules are ultimately there to be broken, rather than to be kept. If the rules had never been invented, how could they be broken in the first place? Anyway, here is The Third's only regulation:
"Write only what would be acceptable to a lady of the kind who when eating cake invariably uses a cake-fork, and whose threshold nothing gruesome or unpleasant will ever cross."
I should perhaps confess that I do not know such a lady, although I can accept, in theory, that a lady might exist who only ever uses a cake-fork to eat cake, and whose threshold nothing gruesome or unpleasant will ever cross. In practice, however, that threshold will inevitably be crossed, and as an Administrator myself, I have to ask myself how I am going to deal with the problem.
In terms of morality, Aristotle, standing directly to the right of Plato in the centre of Raphael's 'School of Athens' above, uses this image: he says that just as an architect is not going to try to measure a complex fluted column with a straight ruler, so too the ethical judge is not going to take a simple and inflexible set of rules into the complexities of a practical situation. Instead, just as Aristotle's architect measures with a flexible strip of metal, when we address the complexities of the human condition, we have to have our faculties open and responsive, ready to shape ourselves to the complex, perhaps unique and non-repeatable, demands of a particular situation. I count us braver who overcome our desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory, Sydney Grew, is over self.