Individual workers (plebeians) had little power in ancient Rome, but when the economy was in dire straights there was the risk of the Roman ‘mob’ rioting against the (patrician) upper classes. The Emperor Augustus was savvy enough to discourage rioting by keeping the plebeians reasonably happy and well fed, using a system of state bribery termed ‘bread and circuses’. …
“This is the Coliseum News at 10, your broadcaster is Silvia Sychophantus.
We have an exclusive interview with Maximus, the disgraced gladiator, on the eve of him being thrown to the lions. An expert predicts he will be a candidate for our death of the year competition. Please remember to send in those votes!
The Emperor’s newly born grandson was today taken on a tour of the Provinces. We have exclusive footage of his mega-smiley parents meeting the local tribe, who perform a ritual dance of greeting. His mother, Katius, is looking resplendent. Our fashion expert gives her assessment.
Two mothers lost their life today in the Harbour of Ostia, attempting to save their children, who were swept out to sea. Eye witnesses describe these tragic sea deaths.
Also coming up on Coliseum News at 10:
Parapalegic gladiator, Oscarus, makes a tearful apology for killing his wife. Listen to his every sob.
Rich merchant, Dewanius, is extradited to Gaul to face charges of having his wife slayed on honeymoon. We have an interview with her grieving parents.
The missing ship Malaysius …. Tearful relatives refuse to give up hope as reports of where she sank circulate.
Breaking news … Peachus Celebritus has died. Our media editor assesses her tragic life. A programme about celebrity deaths immediately follows this broadcast”.
I formally complain to the now Director of the BBC, Chris Patten, that his predecessor’s mantra that the BBC’s role was to ‘inform, educate and entertain’ is being given over almost entirely to the entertainment aspect; a voyeurism of ‘bread and circuses’ for the masses. The public become addicted to this diet because you feed them it, in the same way that some become addicted to drugs. They are not born with these cravings. On behalf of those not addicted, those who want to be informed and educated, please give an answer as to why the BBC spends public money on promoting a voyeurism of distress, both in its news output and in ‘soaps’, which are an endless conveyor belt of rape, murder, shouting, abortion, child abuse, and suchlike themes. Your charter does not stipulate that you have to compete with commercial enterprises for viewer ratings. Are you simply the servant of Augustus (the government) in providing the mob with a distracion from rioting?
Mass uprisings against governments are fueled primarily by the desire of an under class to improve their economic prospects. The BBC and its like are complicit in a far deeper stage of revolution – the really revolutionay revolution, one in which minds are captured and incapacitated.
Lenin Nightingale. 8.4.2014.