This blog has kindly given itself permission to
address matters other than BBC bias, although (arguably) much of
our grumbles can be traced back to the BBC.
So, unapologetically, this is another post about
The State. Yes, it was shown on Channel 4. If youre looking for
BBC-only content, you need to take a right at the crossroads and
straight on - you cant miss it.
There has been quite a lot of coverage of Peter
Kosmisnkys four part series about British would-be jihadis and
jihadi brides. Opinion is divided, but one particular
complaint was unanimous. Most critics thought that the drama needed
a back story. What, they wanted to know, led these particular
characters to radicalisation?
If youre looking for answers, Peter Kosminsky isnt
going to be providing them.
Kosminsky has been telling the media that he and
his team spent eighteen months trawling through reams of testimony
and guidance from witnesses and experts on Islam.
(Otherwise how could a 61 year old middle-class
Bafta-winning film-maker justify making a ground-breaking film
about the subject?)
Im sure he believes he knows enough - at least
enough to take a selection of interesting anecdotes and string them
together into a gritty award-winning work.
As human beings were all capable of holding dozens
of contradictory beliefs and opinions at once. Cognitive
dissonance, isnt it?
Here, the script delivered, and we were expected
to swallow, leading characters so full of cognitive dissonance that
the finished product came across as a string of anecdotes cobbled
together - thatll do - and very heavy reliance on the acting and
Kosminskys cinematographic expertise to see it through.
One example of what seemed to be an isolated
interesting factoid thrown in for the sake of it, was
protagonist Jalal being advised to speak Arabic, not English,
because the particularly volatile knife-wielding psychopath and
beheader-in-chief had a thing about Brits. I can almost hear
Kosminskys team saying Thats interesting, well use that one.
Another was the pick n mix assortment of
individuals amongst the new recruits, like a box of Milk Tray. One
blonde, one German, one ex-squaddie, one long-haired lover from