After Question Time on 5 February the BBC aired a new TV ad for their flagship radio current affairs programme, Today:
It features the voice of the artist Grayson Perry, punchily taking on male privilege: “The Great White Male – white, middle-class men – probably only make up about 10 per cent of the population, and yet 70 per cent of government, I don’t know, 80 per cent of boardroom directors, 90 per cent of Hollywood film directors are male. The middle-class male thinks he has the monopoly on objectivity.”
John Humphrys: “Positive discrimination, that’s what’s got to happen.”
Perry: “Yeah, and anyone who complains about it, that’s because their privilege is being ripped out of their claws.”
It ends with the slogan: To see the world clearly, listen to the Today programme.
This mole, loyal NS denzien that it is, is not prone to blowing the magazine’s own trumpet. But as that trumpet appears to be on loan to the Today programme, we have bought a new one, and will now take this opportunity to blow it.
Perry’s comments, of course, were inspired not by a spontaneous sparring match with Humphrys, but by a long and considered essay that he wrote for the issue of the New Statesman that he edited in October 2014, on the theme of the Great White Male. The issue also featured Perry’s interview with Martin Amis and contributions from Stephen Fry, Mary Beard, Rowan Williams, Margaret Atwood, Alain de Botton, Roxane Gay, A A Gill and Martin Parr.
Oh, and apparently you can still buy it from the New Statesman or the National Portrait Gallery shop.
Which is good news, if you want to see the world even more clearly.