Sometimes what was still is. I had this revelation last evening. Occasionally, I watch a video on my TV. (I never watch cable TV, however, at least not for the past 12+ years.) After all, when we had our living room redone (we bought an older house that needed fixing), I decided to splurge and bought a 42-inch plasma TV that we mounted over the fireplace. After buying that, I do have to occasionally turn it on :).
So last night I was in the mood for some humor, and what came to mind were the BBC series Yes, Minister! and Yes, Prime Minister!. I’ve always had an appreciation for British satire and although our governmental systems are different, the problems of government are twins. Anyway, I dug out the DVDs and watched a couple of episodes.
The series was originally televised in 1979 — 32 years ago. But watching the machinations of Jim Hacker (the minister and then the prime minister) and Sir Humphrey (his civil service advisor), I realized that what was being satirized 32 years ago still goes on. The humor is still fresh, everything remains the same — only the names have changed.
For those of you looking for good political satire that is understated but still relevant, I recommend watching these videos. Here are a few examples available on YouTube (and there are many more clips there; just search for yes minister). I hope you find them as relevant and enjoyable as I do.
Pushing the nuclear button
Two explanations of foreign policy
Of course, there is the question of politics versus truth and pressuring (censoring?) the news media
A three-part discussion of education policy
There are many more clips on YouTube. It is better to watch the shows in their entirety, but even these clips will do. After watching them, do you see any difference in the politics of then and now?