Tribal loyalty

Issue section: 

Chris Harman's decision to watch BBC's Tribe may have been prompted purely by the dismal alternatives on offer at the time, but his column about it (In Perspective, Socialist Review, October 2007) showed how key political theories can be highlighted by reference to mainstream cultural forms.

It's a pity, though, that he came across as a crotchety old curmudgeon by insisting that Bruce Parry adopts a "silly man" pose in his presentation of the peoples he visits. If anything, the opposite is invariably true, as the respectful treatment of the Indonesians whose territories were being lost to corporate logging interests recently showed.

Those who watch, and discuss these programmes at work, can be slightly patronised by this unnecessary tone in Socialist Review.

Surely the magazine can find more space for discussion of contemporary culture and some of the anti-capitalist questions often raised within popular novels, art, sport or media?

Instead of some of the worthy but dull academic tomes earnestly reviewed, I detect a yearning for a return of author China Miéville's feisty columns, or perhaps London Respect list candidate Pat Stack, who used to illuminate day to day political themes in an entertainingly colourful way.

Just as a good picture can be worth a thousand words, well-written features which better reflect the left's rich tapestry can be worth £3.

Andy Abel