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RTE supporting the arse?


Upfront, I am going to nail my colours to the mast: I am a fan of RTE, especially of Radio One. Not quite as much of a fan, perhaps, as the listener who recently admitted on air to having organised her entire life, every weekday for years, around Myles Dungan's mid-afternoon arts programme, Rattlebag (ah, heady days, those!). But I'm a dedicated fan, nonetheless.

Yet, much as I admire the public service that broadcasters up at Montrose perform, I can't work up much enthusiasm about the RTE corporate advertising strategy. Take, for example, the advertisement on the outside back cover of the programme for Lennox Robinson's The Big House at The Abbey.

RTE sponsors The Abbey Theatre and presumably wants to reinforce links between itself and such cultural endeavours as the staging of Robinson's long-neglected play. But why, then, use an advertisement showing a carved throne, with no-one sitting in it, facing a garden, with the slogan, SITTING PRETTY, plonked down, willy-nilly, on the grass? Am I missing something? Who's sitting pretty? (An emperor with no clothes?) And why?

The caption underneath the photograph adds to my mystification. It says:

Irish success. Literary greatness. Architecture and design. New talent, comic genius and musical excellence. Reflects the vibrancy of our cultural heritage.

As if such slaughter of grammar wasn't sufficiently satisfying for the sadist who penned it, a further paragraph (which doesn't scan ... either in terms of reproducing it here or in terms of sentence structure) goes like this:

RTE ARTS SPORT EDUCATION LIFESTYLE RELIGIOUS
NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS MUSIC DRAMA
FACTUAL ENTERTAINMENT YOUNG PEOPLES

Religious news? (Quick, turn the dial!)l Factual entertainment? (Sounds rivetting!) And what about the YOUNG PEOPLES( sic)? What's happening to them? Perhaps the copywriter who cobbled the ad together is more accustomed to writing soap operas and we'll be treated to the second half of the phrase on the back cover of the programme for the next Abbey production?

The suspense (or perhaps it's the syntax) is killing me!

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