Culture wars: an American points out the obvious

Culture wars: an American points out the obvious BLOG Saturday 31st July 2021


Culture wars: an American points out the obvious.

The unfortunate Kentaro Kobayashi, creative director of the Olympics opening ceremony, was sacked the day before the event because of a comedy sketch 23 years ago that featured a flippant remark about the Holocaust. He is the latest victim of the scary aspect of modern culture, whereby you can be tried and executed for sins you committed when the world was different and you were different. It sums up what Frank Luntz, the genius American pollster, identifies as the real divide now: the cultural divide.

In a report for the Centre for Policy Studies last week, he created a stir by saying that Britain isn’t separated by Left and Right but by the woke versus the non-woke.

He’s leaving this weekend having put in 10 weeks of focus groups, seeing prime ministers and badgering people on the street. I saw him asking a woman wearing an England T-shirt why she did so, even though she’s Brazilian (answer: she likes England) — and I asked what struck him about Britain; he’s known it since the Eighties.

First off, he loves England and loves, loves “vibrant, modern” London. He’d like to live here. But there are trends that he recognises from the US that worry him.

The gap between the 18 to 29 generation and the oldies is now “a chasm…they are angry. The difference between them and the Sixties generation is social media. It’s an enabler; if you want to cancel someone it makes it easier”.

As for Kobayashi, he said: “Times change. People change. We shouldn’t destroy people today for what was acceptable in the past. That’s the problem with wokeism. It seeks to destroy when they should be trying to build.”

He wants more diversity in Britain, but “diversity of opinion. We shouldn’t just tolerate difference or embrace it. We should seek it out. Add to your perspective. Add to your world view.”

That’s not what’s happening, he says, when people get cancelled for having licit but off-message views. The worst effects are in schools and universities. “The trouble about this kind of thing is it gets in the way of education.”

Luntz left the US because the culture wars were “giving me a headache”. It’s not so bad here — yet. But he sounds a warning. “You have to pick your battles. Choose wisely. Intellectual and academic freedom are the most important issues to take a stand on.”

Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the obvious. This American has scrutinised the country and where it’s heading. And I’d say he’s got a point.



Top Ten ways to be awesome

  1. Laugh and be happy: It’s so nice to be around happiness and laughter, just hearing someone laugh is uplifting and infectious. Sharing a joke makes us happy and lifts our mood and we’re naturally attracted to happy people, as they appear more confident and friendly. Plus, it really is true that laughter is the best medicine; scientists have found that laughter can relieve stress. So go on, have a giggle!


  1. Be kind: We see these words a lot nowadays on t-shirts and mugs, but it’s so much more than a slogan. Being kind and helping others has a double effect. It makes a difference to others’ lives, but also makes you feel good. Whether it’s offering a kind word when someone is feeling down, encouraging them, helping someone carry bags or do a chore, it’s the little things like these that can make a big difference to people. Kindness isn’t a weakness – it’s a strength. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover though.


  1. Be Yourself: There’s a lot of pressure to fit in nowadays. Don’t be so focused on fitting in that you lose your identity and become someone else. Embrace your differences. Every single one of us is unique – our DNA proves that. Always remain true to yourself, your values and standards – part of being awesome is not changing who you are simply to fit in.


  1. Be Positive: Being a positive thinker helps with managing stress levels. Being a ‘glass half full person’ rather than a ‘glass half empty person’ helps you problem solve much more easily. I don’t know a single pessimistic person who has achieved amazing things – it’s always the positive thinkers who get on with things. Positive people have a good energy around them and tend to attract similar people too.


  1. Be confident: This doesn’t mean being annoyingly boastful. Just believe in your heart that you’re awesome and that you can do anything you put your mind to. Have faith in yourself, because if you do, then others will and that’s when amazing things can happen.


  1. Use your talents: If you’re good at something don’t hide it. You may be able to sing, play a musical instrument, paint or speak a second or even a third language. These are awesome talents. Don’t be afraid to sign yourself up to opportunities that allow you to showcase those talents. These skills could become much more than hobbies – they could end up being your career. By showing off your talents, you shine.


  1. Value Yourself: You’re a very special person. There is only one of you. Life gets tiring and we must remember to take care of ourselves physically in order to support our mental health. Don’t be afraid to take time out to be alone and do simple things such as staying in, and watching a TV show that you love, reading a book, cooking, listening to music or taking a hot bath. If we feel good, then we look good. Investing time in ourselves is not vanity, it’s a necessity. Also, when you value yourself, others will value you too.


  1. Forgive: Don’t hold grudges because they can eat away at you and make you unhappy and unable to move on with life. If someone has upset you, tell them they’ve hurt you and why. If the person is reasonable, they will probably want to say sorry, if they don’t, you can always walk away and find better friends. The way you stand up for yourself and treat others makes you stand out in life. Life is beautiful but short, don’t lose friends over silly arguments. Of course, if you’re at fault, then be the bigger person and apologise for it.


  1. Don’t get pushed around: While we should be kind and value other’s opinions, we shouldn’t let them diminish our dreams or push us into things we don’t want to do. Deep down we know what we’re capable of, so ignore the doubters and plough on. Don’t crush people on the path to success, but as long as your dreams are not harming anyone, carry right on and prove them wrong. Belief in yourself is awesome and powerful.


  1. Be grateful: Think about the good things in your life and be thankful for them every day. I’m not just talking about the material things you have, but the people around you, your friends, family and pets. Those who remember to be grateful for things in their life that most people take for granted tend to have a positive outlook.



Breakfast presenter Zoe Ball has announced BBC Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge — an exciting new competition which encourages families to help bee populations thrive around the UK.

On Monday 7th June, the Big Bee Challenge asked children to design their own buzzing bee-friendly gardens. A fun and creative way to learn about pollinators, the winning design will be built by the RHS at an NHS Trust site used by young people with mental health needs.

As part of the new initiative, gardeners are also being urged to do one thing to help bees on the Bee Challenge Weekend (Saturday 31st July to Sunday 1st August). To help people learn more about our buzzing buddies, Zoe will provide heaps of on-air tips for listeners to enjoy.


REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

– Nicolas Chamfort


Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. -Margaret MitchellHAPPINESS IS…

Happiness is….


“I’m learning the hokey cokey. Not all of it. But – I’ve got the ins and outs.” Iain Stirling.


Love is…whispering “I Love You”.



A time to Laugh and be happy…A time to be kind.

A time to be yourself…A time to be positive.


31st July 2021

1703 Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet but is pelted with flowers.

1950 Britain’s first self-service store, (Sainsbury’s) opened in Croydon.

1959 Cliff Richard and the Shadows have their 1st British No. 1 single with “Living’ Doll” (biggest British single of 1959).

2016 “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, a play by Jack Thorne with contributions by J. K. Rowling is published worldwide at midnight.


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Reflections of a Top Hit Record

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©2021 Phil M Robinson