steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Brown eyes, blue blood

I first heard about Jane Elliott's blue eye/brown eye experiment many years ago, and was kind of surprised to hear that she was still going strong, as demonstrated in this Channel 4 documentary, where she gets to work on 30 British people. In the event, her attempts to whip the brown-eyed Brits into a hate-filled mob never quite came off, but it was still instructive as a lesson in the subtleties of privilege and the Protean struggles of those who deny having it.

On the other hand, for a truly exemplary instance of unexamined privilege we need look no further today's PM interview with the historian Christopher Lee, a man who on this evidence makes Brian Sewell look like a Trotskyist. The choicest part of the interview begins at 47.00 minutes in, being Lee's defence of inbreeding and nepotism as strategies for filling positions of power. After all, "It's much better to get hold of somebody you know, somebody you can trust, somebody who'll think like you." Well, obviously. And it saves you the trouble of putting out a sign reading 'Oiks need not apply' when you by-pass the application process entirely. Lee concedes that applications may have to be invited for less desirable jobs, but thinks the plum ones should be kept for him and his friends to divide between them. Oh, and he's appalled at the thought of anyone who isn't Oxbridge educated being able to work for the security services. It would be comedy gold, except that I think he really means it.
Tags: maunderings
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