“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mr Benn, Liberator of Worlds

Dora the Explorer and Bob the Builder can cram it. When I was a nipper, kids' TV was at its non-didactic apogee. Along with the Beatles and Monty Python, Mr Benn led the charge in the jubilant parody of imperialism. Mr Benn's role was the bowler hatted petty bourgeois functionary turned Latourian compositionist. Even Terry Gilliam has to bow to David McKee. Watch and learn, kids. This first episode explains it all.


Joe Clement said...

I look forward to showing this to my 3.5 year old nephew.

Paul Reid-Bowen said...

Good one Tim, I've often thought that there would be mileage in Mr Benn for one of those popular philosophy series books. Happy memories of a religious studies conference two years ago when all that we talked about, for nearly three hours during and after dinner, was children's television programmes of our youth. Similarly Object Oriented programmes from the same 1970s window would be the Herbs, Bagpus ("we can mend it, we can fix it") and, perhaps most powerfully, the Clangers, who were constantly having to cope with weird objects raining down on them.

Henry Warwick said...

The high points of my childhood TV was centered around marionettes from the UK. Fireball XL5, Stingray, supercar, Capt Scarlet, Thunderbirds.


Oh, and by the way, you are under the strictest orders to listen to the CD Monoliths and Dimensions by sunnO))).

Seriously. Their best record. ever.

Henry Warwick said...



Timothy Morton said...

Paul, that's great. Yes. The Clangers is the ultimate but I must first clear the ground with Mr Benn. The long march to the Music Boat and the Iron Chicken has begun.