Monday, 5 January 2015


One of the most noticeable trends during my life has been the extent to which popular documentaries have been dumbed-down and feminized. In the past the typical documentary on British television would be presented by someone like Lord Kenneth Clark, Sir David Attenborough, Jacob Bronowski, or James Burke, men of evident genius, with deep familiarity with their subjects. But combined with their great erudition, they often had a slightly aloof manner or an appearance that wasn't exactly show business.

The programs they produced nevertheless proved very popular and are still watched today. But, nowadays, with TV production farmed out to small production companies, keen to cut corners and ensure instant and superficial popularity, the format has changed to one that is ostensibly more "populist," which means making the subject matter more accessible (i.e. less challenging) and choosing presenters based on their looks.

In recent years, this has resulted in a plethora of young and sometimes attractive female presenters with a much shallower knowledge of their subject than their predecessors; so much so that it has now become a subject of a hilarious parody, namely the Philomena Cunk segment on Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe TV program.

Cunk plays a gormless, female presenter, thrown into the deep end to present a series of science programs – an all-too-likely occurrence in modern British TV.

Although Brooker, the main writer of the show, is a typically left-leaning member of the British media establishment, he is often an excellent satirist, which, of course, means he is capable of transcending a narrow culturally left-wing viewpoint. The Philomena Cunk segments on his show are evidence of this, as they serve an essentially right-wing function, attacking gender preferences and affirmative action, as well as the general lowering of standards that Leftism produces.

This trend towards young female documentary presenters has also been picked up on by the British comic magazine Viz, as seen below.

Viz comic parodying a typical British tabloid newspaper.
Viz comic is yet another example of the old adage of "truth in art," despite the working-class vulgarity of much of its output. As with Philomena Cunk, the comic's most biting satire often aligns much more with a right-wing critique of society than is generally realized.

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