Blog archive (September 2005)

A heartfelt plea to the media

Posted by Ben on Friday, September 30, 2005 | Permalink

Ok, now that Stephen Green has utterly embarrassed himself on TV - see GALHA and Mediawatchwatch - can everyone please stop giving him credibility by treating him like some sort of genuine representative of popular thought? Daily Mail, I'm looking at you.

That is all.

Comments [ 4 ]


Oh for fuc...

Posted by Ben on Monday, September 26, 2005 | Permalink

On the subject of loons being offended and/or appeased, a slow, oh so ironic round of applause please for the Tate gallery for deciding not to display an actually-not-at-all-offensive work of art for fear of upsetting Muslim sensibilities. Whoop-de-fucking-doo, people are not even waiting for the outrage these days, they're anticipating it in advance and censoring themselves. Ophelia Benson at Butterflies and Wheels does ferociously disgusted far better than I can, so over to her:

[Tate Britain] hadn't 'consulted' the cops or the Muslim Council of Britain? The MCB is running things now? People are supposed to 'consult' it? People who are wondering if a given piece of art might or might not be 'offensive' to Muslims are supposed to 'consult' the MCB? Because - what? They have such a good record on that kind of thing? What with boycotting the Holocaust, and thinking death is too good for Salman Rushdie?

Why are they the people to consult? Why, why, why? They're just a self-appointed group, they're not elected, they're not representative, they're not 'the Muslim community' - why are they given some kind of de facto official role? Not that anyone should be given such a role, but that goes double for the MCB.

So the MCB wasn't consulted on this one. But you just know Sacranie'll keep piping up in similar situations where the person/group in question isn't quite so lacking in cojones as Tate Britian, saying the weaselly political version of "Hey, don't do anything that upsets us or you might push people into joining teh bombers!!!1 This we know for we are the true representatives of moderate Islam." Give the man another knighthood.

There's only one way to respond to offended religious sensibilites - so fucking what?

Update: self-important clowns - see here for details.

Comments [ 3 ]


Bless 'em: Part 2

Posted by Ben on Monday, September 26, 2005 | Permalink

Sticking with the Leicester Mercury, for some reason they've dedicated an entire page to ripping the piss out of alliteratively monikered Rev. Ross Rennie.

"All I ask," he says, "is that you don't make me sound like some kind of crank."...Mr Rennie is sitting in the Leicester Mercury foyer and brimming with 57 varieties of righteous indignation. He believes God sent him from his former home in Cheshire to his new abode in Shepshed; that Harry Potter books should be banned; that rock music is the work of the Devil and that the Earth is only 11,000 years old. If he doesn't want to be perceived as a crank, he has a strange way of going about it.

As far too many bloggers have said before, you should read the whole thing. Rennie compares allowing Jerry Springer: The Opera to be performed to appeasing Hitler, believes New Orleans got nailed by Hurricane Katrina because it was teeming with witches - and that JS:TO will bring similar devastation upon Leicester - and rounds off the interview with this priceless exchange.

Will you be saved?
"No. I won't be saved from the wrath of God. But I will go to a better place, where there is no lying or cheating."
How do you know that?
"I do know that. I know Jesus like I know you."
You don't know me.
"OK then, like I know my wife. I know the Lord better than I know my wife."

I'd feel sorry for the poor, deluded sap except that the article mentions that he attends Christian Voice meetings in Oadby, which is only a couple of miles down the road from me - I'm therefore too busy barricading the door to feel sympathy for anyone right now.

Comments [ 0 ]


Bless 'em

Posted by Ben on Monday, September 19, 2005 | Permalink

Now then, lots of Christians are very nice people, and outright mockery is never a good way to bring people over to your way of thinking. But sod it, if you can't rip it out of the godbotherers on a website called 'Religion is Bullshit!' then where can you, eh?

My local newspaper printed an article recently about a new advertising campaign aimed at getting bums on seats in church on Sunday, which we can wish them good luck with because it frankly doesn't stand a chance. The fun begins when they speak to Carl Christon - a 'believer', apparently - of Christon Davies, a local advertising agency. Mr Christon reckons that they need to get down with teh kidz in ways they can dig, m'kay? His first couple of suggestions are pretty unremarkable:

"Party at God's place this and every Sunday. Huge Crowd. Live music. Free Wine. Admission Free"

"Crowds of people will be singing in your Church on Sunday. Get down and find out if God can give you the X Factor"

But then he brings out the big guns:

"MSN Messenger can help our truly worthy cause. Soon, God would almost accidentally become less boring and a little more 'cool'. If we are lucky, He may end up being 'well good'."

Man alive, is this guy so hip he has difficulty seeing over his pelvis, or what? I can just imagine him being chased out of a school assembly by a mob of chavs after trying to 'rap' with them, he's nothing less than a real life version of Tom Watson's excellent Teens section. Let's give the lad the final word:

"I would hope that 'The Message' would offer the opportunity for more that relates to life, rather than focusing on the Church. It is God who is 'cool', even 'well-good' - not necessarily always the institution."

Comments [ 9 ]


Just wondering

Posted by Ben on Saturday, September 10, 2005 | Permalink

Can anybody think of a tv show or film where a loss of faith is portrayed in a positive light? Or where the wavering believer doesn't regain their faith by the end of the episode/film? While watching an episode of the utterly excellent Scrubs in which Turk has a momentary wobble on the whole omnipotent Uberbeard scenario I realised that I couldn't think of any programme that takes a 'hurray, he's becoming rational!' stance.

I'm sure there is one - and it's probably more likely to have occured in film rather than tv - but I'm damned if I can think of it.

Comments [ 7 ]


'God did it' explains nothing

Posted by Ben on Thursday, September 01, 2005 | Permalink

Richard Dawkins is one of my heroes. Intelligent Design is one of my bugbears. There is frankly no chance on earth that I'd fail to link to an article by the former (and Jerry Coyne) about the latter. Even the title - One Side Can Be Wrong - warms the old heart-cockles. It can't be said enough, that sentence: one side can be wrong. The answer doesn't always lie halfway between two extremes.

In an article full of excellent points, there's one I want to highlight:

...there is a hidden (actually they scarcely even bother to hide it) "default" assumption that if Theory A has some difficulty in explaining Phenomenon X, we must automatically prefer Theory B without even asking whether Theory B (creationism in this case) is any better at explaining it.

Why is God considered an explanation for anything? It's not - it's a failure to explain, a shrug of the shoulders, an 'I dunno' dressed up in spirituality and ritual. If someone credits something to God, generally what it means is that they haven't a clue, so they're attributing it to an unreachable, unknowable sky-fairy. Ask for an explanation of where that bloke came from, and odds are you'll get a vague, pseudo-philosophical reply about having always existed, or being outside nature. Which, of course, explains nothing.

Comments [ 35 ]


Nice job, guys

Posted by Ben on Thursday, September 01, 2005 | Permalink

The tagline of this website is "Articles and opinions on the absurdity and danger of religious beliefs". If you want to see the absurd and the dangerous combining in grand style, you could do worse than click here and read about the first outbreak of polio in 10 years over in Indonesia.

"Officials believe the outbreak can be traced to Nigeria, where vaccinations were suspended in 2003 after radical clerics said they were a US plot."

Not just a US plot, mind, but a "general Western plot against Muslims worldwide" no less.

Radical clerics with conspiracy theories? People trusting them because of their status? Shit consequently hitting fan? Surely not.

All links via the ever-excellent Butterflies and Wheels.

Comments [ 1 ]