Anyway, enough of grumbling about the up-is-down world of Keynesian economics, and on to other edumacatory stuff. To wit, our new two hours of intellectual TV on Sunday nights.
First up is Civilisation, aka The West r00lz, everyone else dr00lz, presented by Niall Ferguson. I have a difficult time watching Prof Ferguson. First of all, I don't know what it is, but there's always footage of him strolling along in his chinos and his junk is just too meticulously arranged. I hear him talking but my eyes have to be averted and every time I look back at the screen, there's the junk. I can't get past the junk. He needs to wear different underwear or something. Or dark trousers.
And if it isn't that, his presentation style doesn't work for me. Blah blah then one of 15 stock punch line blurbs invariably containing the word 'dominance' or some variant thereof, and riffing on the rhetorical question of whether the West has had its time in the sun, always topped off with an intense look at the screen like the audience had better hurry up and answer back to the TV. 'No no, you're quite right, Niall, the Chinese are gonna fsck us all up any day now.'
In fairness, that's probably just the script writers trying to make it all gripping and stuff. But the content just isn't satisfying or persuasive. Sunday night's topic was 'science' but after an hour of blathering about how the Ottoman empire fell apart, the only 'science' that got discussed was the fact that some Europeans had skooled themselves some calculus and knew how to calculate the trajectories of cannon balls. And make clocks. This is all that science has given the west?
So much for hour 1.
Hour 2 is immensely more enjoyable. I don't even know what the series is officially called but I think we can safely just call it the Brian Cox show. I enjoy this partly because of the subject matter and partly because I get to rag the hell out of the missus. Because fo sho, the dreamy Prof Brian Cox has ladies swooning the length and breadth of the country, and the producers know who their target audience is.
Here is a shot of dreamy Brian Cox in front of a glacier. Here is a shot of Brian Cox building a sandcastle. Here is a shot of Brian Cox cavorting in an empty prison. Here is Brian Cox jumping from a ladder. Here is Brian Cox playing the feckin' piano. Here is Brian Cox having his hair blown back by a supernova. Here is Brian Cox riding a unicorn.
And all the while, sounding wistful and poetic. I look at Ronwen and grin and she says 'I know, I know', and then I look at Ronwen again and she's all like 'enough, just stop it!' and I say 'a unicorn! A feckin' unicorn!'
Having said that, Cox does make it all pretty interesting and accessible, when he isn't standing around looking windswept. All told, it's turning out to be a very good series.