2007-05-09

Time to move on

When I read this item on the BBC yesterday I guessed it would be all over the astronomy blogs pretty soon although, at the time, I couldn't really see much point in commenting myself. However...

I think the worst aspect of it is that Chris felt the need to go on record and distance himself from the comments (he says "almost all", I'm guessing he agrees with the part that there's a lot of crap on British TV these days but that he disagrees with the posited cause — I'd agree with that too). I'm hoping that there's nobody out there who is stupid enough to think that the bizarre opinions of someone with a history of this sort of thing represent the opinions of everyone involved with a specific TV programme.

Leaving aside Moore's unpalatable opinions and past political aspirations, I do wish he'd retire and hand the rains over to someone like Chris. I'd love to see The Sky at Night fully handed over to some new blood (but please, please, hand it over to someone who is picked for their knowledge of and history in the subject — please don't hand it over to someone because of their celebrity status) and given a regular slot at a reasonable hour. Astronomy, as a hobby and an interest, deserves good publicity and, in the UK at least, probably needs a bit of an overhaul in terms of the perceived stereotype (part of which comes from people such as Moore).

That said, I do wonder if such thoughts are a waste of time, especially given some of the comments made by my fellow members of the SPA.

And then we wonder why there's a stereotype of amateur astronomy based around sad old men with nothing better to do with their time...

7 comments:

Mark Garth said...

Although his views are unacceptable by today’s standards, I think that we need to be a little careful about judging him too harshly. My father in law, who is a similar age, comes out with some very forthright views and we just let them go, because he is of a different era and sees no reason to move his views forward at his age. C’est la vie.

Dave Pearson said...

It's not that his views are unacceptable by today's standards, it's mainly that he's claiming an effect and then claiming that it's the fault of some section of society such that it confirms and enforces his views.

He's seeing an effect and then inventing a cause to further his own prejudice.

He's doing this in public on the back of the fame he's acquired from a TV programme and, in turn, others involved in the programme seem to feel this might reflect on them. They should never have been put in that place to start with.

~Z~ said...

He's old, bless 'im.

Jeff said...

You refer to a topic on the SPA bulletin board, and then you seem to imply that this somehow reinforces a stereotype of "sad old men". I see people complaining about the quality of TV, in this thread, but I struggle to see anything that warrants the implication of reinforcing your perceived stereotype - but I may be missing something here, because I'm usually slow on the uptake.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with your stereotype, either, but that aside, is a new presenter of the Sky At Night likely to change that?

Dave Pearson said...

The reason for my pointer to the thread on the SPA BB is that there's at least one person in there who seems to see little wrong in what was said.

Moreover, the total dismissal of today's popular culture does reinforce that stereotype in my opinion. Sure, I think there's a lot of rubbish on UK TV, but I think there's always been a lot of rubbish on UK TV. This isn't a recent development.

As for it being my stereotype -- it isn't. It's a common and pretty long-standing stereotype. If a TV programme was to parody an amateur astronomer what do you think they'd come up with?

Jeff said...

I still think you are being too harsh on your fellow SPA members.

As for dealing in stereotyping, I prefer not to.

Dave Pearson said...

Hmm, I don't think I'm being harsh at all -- I'm just pointing out that there's a couple of posts that do the whole "things were better in my day" thing. You might recall I said "some of the comments".

As for preferring not to do stereotyping: that's exactly my point.