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Abusive calls give BBC chiefs a Jerry Springer moment

Abusive calls give BBC chiefs a Jerry Springer moment (Guardian)

Christians complaining about fictional abuse in an Opera screen on BBC Two make threatening and abusive phone calls to BBC Executives, meaning that they now have to be protected by guards? If they’re doing it themselves in real life, why do they complain about it in fiction?

This 177th post was filed under: Headliner.

Jerry Spinger: The Opera cleared by Ofcom

One of the stories which dominated this site earlier in the year has finally reached a resolution: The good people at Ofcom have taken a proper objective look at the Opera, and decided that the BBC were right to screen it. Hurrah for sanity!

Going off now at something of a tangent, the more I learn about death, and the more I listen to cases of people who are dying, the less I like the idea of Christianity. What’s the point in life if it goes on forever? Surely it’s much more special and valuable if you only get your three score years and ten? Besides which, isn’t it far more beautiful as an idea that you simply return from ashes to ashes, and complete the natural cycle of life, returning to the earth and nature, rather than some fanciful idea that you ascend to an effectively pointless eternal life?

And doesn’t evolution – the idea that by pure chance, nature has produced an species with the ability to philosophise – make life far more precious than it simply being the result of some deity’s day-job?

I know which belief I prefer. But that’s not to say it’s any better than anybody else’s.

This 572nd post was filed under: Headliner, News and Comment.

Springer opera is offensive, says Springer

Springer opera is offensive, says Springer

What a bizarre story. Jerry Springer doesn’t like Jerry Springer: The Opera. So why the heck did he stick his name on it?

The fact that he uses the word “don’t” may possibly suggest that he’s on the defensive, don’t you think? My favourite quote, though:

I don’t make religious jokes…
I don’t know if they should have had it on television but, good Lord, if you don’t like what’s on television, that’s why God gave us remote controls.

But I must thank Jerry for clearing up a huge point of confusion:

I don’t own the BBC

As I say, this is the one of the most bizarre interviews I’ve ever read.

This 255th post was filed under: News and Comment.

The moral minority

The moral minority (Guardian)

An interview with Stephen Green, director of Christian Voice, on the subject of his crusade to stop this ‘tidal wave of filth’ and Jerry Springer: The Opera.

I’ve not chuckled to myself for this long in ages.

“Nobody can deny that the last 50 years of legislation have turned us away from the laws of God. We say that God knows best and if we go away from God we’re going to bring judgment upon ourselves.” What kind of judgment? “Read Deuteronomy 28 – that tells you.” Deuteronomy 28 says many things. Verse 17, for example, says that if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees, “your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed” – not something that would compel many 21st- century sinners to adhere to the straight and narrow.

Perhaps Mr Green isn’t as familiar with The Bible as he claims?

How many members do they have? “We’re bigger than David’s band, but not as big as Biblical armies,” says Green, gnomically … According to 1 Samuel 29:6, David, the future king of Israel, had a 600-strong band of followers, though their leader was not, as the Christian Voice is, based in Surbiton.

It surprises me that this group has more than 600 members. Who are these people?

The website also complains that Britain has “abolished the death penalty but legalised the murder of children in the womb, enacted no-fault divorce on demand and forced mothers out to work, legalised trading on the Lord’s day and instituted a national lottery, legalised pornography and homosexual acts and taught evil to our children in school, and given away the Queen’s sovereignty – owed to Almighty God alone – to the EU …

The spur for Christian Voice’s establishment was Edwina Currie’s 1994 amendment to reduce the age of consent for gay sex to 16, the same as for heterosexual sex.

He should be a Daily Mail columnist! Or maybe he is Melanie Philips in disguise!

This 249th post was filed under: News and Comment.

The vocal immoral majority

This is an interesting take on the reaction to the broadcast of Jerry Springer: The Opera. I do hope that, up to now, I’ve not said anything which people will consider offensive, because that’s simply not what this blog is about. I certainly hope I don’t come over as dictating what people can and can’t be offended by. However, the blog post I point to makes me slightly uneasy, simply because of quotes like this:

Blogging should be something that adds to this world’s knowledge and understanding, not a means of disseminating predjudice.

Just as I should not dictate what offends him, why should he dictate what blogging should be about for me? Especially when posts such as this prejudge the opera. I do not pretend to understand why people would find this opera offensive, unless they take specific parts completely out of context. And, let’s face it, we can do that with the Bible and be mortally offended.

I used to attend church quite regularly, until a particular question occured to me – not a question, I hasten to add, that is meant as an insult to Christians, more a question that exposes my ignorance. How can people who claim to believe that what they do in their life of about 70 years could result in eternal damnation possibly lead anything like a normal life? If they truly believed that there was a possibility of spending an infinite amount of time in unbearable suffering, surely they would spend a relatively tiny seventy years in abject squalor, dedicating every second of their life to the service of God. Surely they would have followed Jesus’s example and given up all of their possessions and wealth to dedicate their life to their religion. And yet very few Christians, and almost none of the clergy, do this. Why have large church buildings when the Bible tells us that we best serve God when serving others? Surely the buildings should be sold, and the money distributed to the poor? So my, no doubt ignorant, conclusion from this is that very few people actually believe in the God portrayed in the Bible. Certainly none of the people threatening to burn their TV Licences can truly believe in God, because how do they consider that sitting watching TV is dedicating their life to their Lord?

This 178th post was filed under: News and Comment.

Lewd, licentious yet lovely

Lewd, licentious yet lovely

If anyone was offended by Jerry Spinger: The Opera, then they are over-sensitive. It did not, as the Christians claim, mock anybody’s religious beliefs. Yes, it featured Jesus in a nappy singing that he might be a little bit gay, and out of context that does sound terribly offensive. And yes, it did contain an awful lot of swearing. But it was clearly not mocking religion, it was mocking the absurdity of Jerry Springer, and similar TV shows, and mocking the elitism of opera.

It did this through hyperbole. What more ridiculous situation could there be than a TV argument between Jesus and the Devil, moderated by Jerry Springer? That isn’t insulting to religion, it’s insulting to the over-grand self-importance of American talk shows. A provacative talk show host cannot reunite heaven and hell any more than an eleison can be based on the name of a talk show host. Both are hilariously absurd – and anybody who doesn’t respect Christian teachings simply wouldn’t get the joke.

The whole thing is a bit excessive and extreme, but that’s the point. The church should be embracing cultural formats that poke fun at quick-fix TV solutions to life’s problems, not shunning them. Unless, of course, their apparent faith is so weak that they believe that their religion is one of those quick-fix solutions. In which case, they deserve mocking.

It was an excellent opera, both musically and ideologically, and I heartily congratulate the Beeb for being brave enough to go ahead with it.

This 174th post was filed under: News and Comment, Reviews.

The art of swearing

The art of swearing

It would help me a lot in the struggle to retain my sanity if people would kindly wait until they have seen Jerry Springer: The Opera to comment on it. And as for the Christian complaints, doesn’t Christianity forbid prejudice?

The reason I chose this particular piece to link to was purely for the following quote:

The Sun – headlines yesterday included “I had sex with chatline girl – and her boyfriend” – doesn’t always spring to mind as custodian of the nation’s morals, though it does insert asterisks in swear word so readers are not shocked by full-frontal contact with missing vowels and consonants.

I’ll be watching tonight and, no doubt, commenting on it at some point.

And, as a side-note, if you’re wondering about The Guardian’s position on swearing after its criticism of The Sun:

We are more liberal than any other newspaper, using words such as cunt and fuck that most of our competitors would not use.

The editor’s guidelines are straightforward:

First, remember the reader, and respect demands that we should not casually use words that are likely to offend.

Second, use such words only when absolutely necessary to the facts of a piece, or to portray a character in an article; there is almost never a case in which we need to use a swearword outside direct quotes.

Third, the stronger the swearword, the harder we ought to think about using it.

Finally, never use asterisks, which are just a copout.

This 173rd post was filed under: Headliner.

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