19 January 2018

Skilled News Reporting: Brief and Accurate with a Dose of Good Humor!

I enjoy a traditional and characteristic British sense of humor.  My Dad had mastered it and he appropriately applied it,  from time to time, in simultaneous instructive and entertaining ways . . .  also intended to be humorous in its oft intentionally out-of place quasi-formality - sometimes in juxtiposition to clichéd folksy informality (the nature of our Americanized version of British humor, at least, which is more or less in recognition of our lack of royalty in America through the use of  skillful application of a word or two of the Queen's/King's English, and sometimes also a folksy cliché).  In fact so too had Dad's siblings mastered humor in the same way.  As such it become a familial trait which we in the next generations are also obliged to master . . . . at least to some functional extent . . . as a long-standing family tradition.

In this case what caught my attention was a news commentary on the "entente cordiale" about today's Anglo-French summit at Sandhurst military academy, characterized as a European/African defense and intelligence initiative.  I found the French terminology to be satisfyingly precise about the nature of the goings-on which is what first caught my attention.  "Aha!"  I think, "this promises to be actual news reporting which perhaps is also entertaining"  My supposition soon proved to be true because the report was brief and in the form of just-the-facts-ma'am, accurately and entertainingly presented!  (Here is a lengthier more detailed account of the "landmark summit" from the BBC:  "What now for UK-France security relations?")

Of course there was an underlying Brexit association in the short commentary which caught my attention, providing ample subject matter for further display of the British sense of humor.  With a smile in his tone of voice, of course, the British commentator mentioned the French President's "embroidered charm offensive" regarding France lending Britain the 11th century Bayeaux Tapestry. (see note below) He then stated the obvious (in traditional what, why, where, when, and how form) that the lending of the tapestry is in recognition of the fact that Britain does not always get it's way.  (For those not into that particular history, the tapestry is a historical treasure - a recorded account depicting the Norman conquest of Britain.)  Yes!  No disappointment here - entertaining and skilled reporting. (Here is a lengthier more detailed account, from The Guardian, of the lending of the tapestry - which is a big deal: "Emmanuel Macron agrees to loan Bayeux tapestry to Britain".)

Illustration from a section of the Bayeux Tapestry
Harold's brothers Gyrth and Leofwin are killed - carnage on both sides


With the same humor, displaying a typical British awareness of attitudes without reacting dramatically to them (always a good diplomatic maneuver) the British commentator went on to suggest that even though the nature of the cooperative Anglo-French  get-together was to confirm the enduring nature  and benefits of Anglo-French military, economic, and cultural ties, the EU will continue to protect the privileges of the trading bloc against U.K's desire to have its cake and eat it too. 

The commentator again had stated the obvious (and again with a smile in his tone of voice)  in terms of Britain seemingly wanting to enjoy the benefits of the EU without membership - thus leaving us with a "let them eat cake" adieu in the form of a British culinary charm offensive - simultaneously self-depreciating in its humility - another aspect of the skillful application of the British sense of humor.

It must be noted that the news report was on the China news channel during the African news segment.  How's that for multicultural and multinational?  Good on you, China!

note:  In the spirit of credit where credit is due, I feel compelled to mention that Embroidery has a long history, reputed to be at least since Cro-Magnon days some 30,000 years ago.  However, only after the Crusaders had started pillaging and plundering the Eastern Mediterranean did embroidery became popular in Europe.