Waldemar Januszczak: The Rasping Voice of Western Spirituality?

by The Editor

Given the sort of broadcasting that one now expects from the BBC, it seems somewhat ungrateful to complain when they produce a documentary on the subject of Europe’s Middle Ages. But a programme that seeks to celebrate the creativity and spirituality of European past presents a problem to Auntie Beeb.

By Edwin Harwood

Given the sort of broadcasting that one now expects from the BBC, it seems somewhat ungrateful to complain when they produce a documentary on the subject of Europe’s Middle Ages. But a programme that seeks to celebrate the creativity and spirituality of European past presents a problem to Auntie Beeb. This is why The Dark Ages: An Age of Light is not a celebration of Christian art but is in fact yet another exercise of cultural distortion intended to hack away at the Christian roots of Europe while grovelling at the feet of extra-European forces such as Islam.

The series begins with a programme on the subject of early Christian art and is presented by a creature that is neither a historian nor a Christian. Waldemar Januszczak, once an art critic for the Guardian, previously presented Ugly Beauty in 2009, a programme in which he attempted to argue the case for the beauty of the deformed anatomy and industrial waste of modern art. His egalitarian position on art makes him perfect for modern mass-media consumption; one critic said “What I like about him the most is his refusal to present art as elitist in any way.” When confronted by the question of how to neutralise the inherently superior art of the classical and early medieval world, Beeb employed this short limbed troll to spread that historical revisionism which is encouraged even before such programmes are commissioned, as this statement on their website shows.

“We're particularly interested in how we might make more traditional docs (sic) subjects modern and relevant, rather than worthy or predictable.”

I watched the first episode and it occurred to me that there was something terribly unwholesome about the sight of that rotund little man rocking nervously back and forth and waving his stumpy paws at the sacred relics of Europe. He mockingly describes the similarities between early Christian iconography and that of pagan Rome, disdainfully sneering at the blondness of both Apollo and the Christ-child, as though this were a physical feature which he felt alienated and appalled by. Rasping resentfully at the masculine depictions of Christ and lecherously groping at the breasts of a more feminine presentation, it was clear that no matter how Christ was depicted, this aloof atheist was capable of nothing more than flippant curiosity, barely extending beyond aesthetics and entirely devoid of respect. But while he was happy to mock pagan Rome and also to attempt to render illegitimate the authority of the Catholic Church by its aesthetic connection to the preceding polytheism, Januszczak was deeply reverent of Islam, describing it as “that joyous and inventive religion, which did so much to light up the Dark Ages.”

The documentary fits perfectly into the worldview that is so commonly presented to the public by the BBC. All of history prior to the nineteen sixties is being restructured and made “relevant” by which is meant mutated into an on-screen orgy of sycophancy and xenophilia. All of the major events in history must now be presented from the perspective of some culturally alien or historically victimised group in an effort to extend the infectious tendrils of cultural distortion right back to our roots and make them rotten. A history that robs a people of their heritage, that mocks our ancestors and in so doing insults the living, is not a history, it is an attack.

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