Friday, July 27, 2007

Listen up, my bearded and veily freinds!

For a little light weekend reading, here's an (unoffical - i typed it myself) transcript of a portion BBC Radio 4's 'Now Show," which first aired last friday, 20 July 2007. It's a commentary by Marcus Brigstock, a scathing and hilarious endictment of organized religion. Prepare to be hugely offended and laugh your arse off:

"I'd like to start this week with a request, and this one goes out to the followers of the three Abrahamic religions: the Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It's just a little thing, really, but do you think that when you've finished smashing up the world and blowing each other to bits and demanding special privledges while you do it, do you think that maybe the rest of us could sort of have our planet back? I wouldn't ask, but I'm starting to think that there must be something written in the special books that each of you so enjoy referring to that it's ok to behave like special, petulent, pugnacious, pricks. Forgive the alliteration, but your persistent, power-mad punch-ups are pissing me off. It's mainly the extremists obviously, but not exlclusively. It's a lot of 'main-streamers' as well. Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.

Muslims: listen up my bearded and veily friends! Calm down, ok? Stop blowing stuff up. Not everything that said about you is an attack on the prophet Mohammed and Allah that needs to end in the infidel being destroyed. Have a cup of tea, put on a Cat Stevens record, sit down and chill out. I mean seriously, what's wrong with a strongly-worded letter to The Times?

Christians: you and your churches don't get to be millionairs while other people have nothing at all. They're your bloody rules; either stick to them or abandon the faith. And stop persecuting and killing people you judge to be immoral. Oh, and stop pretending you're celibate -- it's a cover-up for being a gay or a nonce. Right, that's two ticked off.

Jews! I know you're god's 'Chosen People' and the rest of us are just whatever, but when Israel behaves like a violent, psychopathic bully and someone mentions it that doesn't make them anitsemitic. And for the record, your troubled history is not a license to act with impunity now.

So, when the letters come (and I'm guessing they will), I can gaurantee that each one of those faiths will be conviced that I've singled them out for special criticism.

[In mock Arabic accent] Why did it have to be us? Islam is a peaceful faith!

[In upper class British accent] I don't see what's wrong with being Christian? We're a peaceful, loving faith.

[In affronted, huffy voice] How dare you after all we've been through! We Jews know how terrible violece can be.

You see, all of them will be convinced that they're the ones being picked on. The Abrahamic faiths are like scousers: they're always conviced they [in scouser accent} have it harder than everyone else.

And why is it that all of these faiths claim to be peaceful, when even a most fleeting glance at a history of warfare will tell you otherwise? The relationship between religion and warfare is very similar to the relationship between Ant and Deck: you could have one without the other, but I'm not sure anyone would see the point. I wouldn't actually like it, but it would be refreshing to hear one of them come out and say [in working class London accent] "Our faith's violent as you like. We love a scrap, us lot, we do. Our special book says 'fight fight smash maim murder kill fight fight.' That's why I signed up to be honest. I'm a bit naught, know what I mean?" But yet all of them claim to be peaceful religions. Yeah, peaceful right up to the point where someone takes something they think is theirs, or says the wrong thing or looks at them funny. Then it's fighty smashy kicky punchy all the way. I know this'll upset a lot of people and frankly I don't care. I'm getting so sick of religious people screwing it up for the rest of us.

Please don't kill us, seriously. As far as I'm concerned this is the only chance we get. When we die it's all over -- there's no virgins and pearly gates waiting for us, no big, beardy man saying [in deep, echoing voice and upper class accent] "Right, so how do you think that went, then? Killed a lot of people in my name I see. Not really what I had in mind. Um, tell you what, have another go as a worm."

While we're at it, I'm sick of religious people forcing their children to define themselves by their parents' faith. A four-year-old is no more a Christian than he is a member of the Postal Workers' union. [in child's voice] "We want a fair working wage, decent working conditions, and time allotted to see the new Transformers film."

This week Lydia Playfoot, who took Millay School in Horsham to the high court so she could wear jewelry to prove she's staying a virgin for Jesus, lost her case. Good. I'm glad. I don't care how many times her parents claim it was her idea, rules is rules, and if you want to wear a ring that tells everyone you're not having any sex you can get married like the rest of us. Now, the lawyer for the chaste Miss Playfoot said the question for the judge was 'What are the religious rights of school children in the school context?' Well, I'm no judge (not yet, anyway), but if you want my opinion, none. No rights. No religious rights whatsoever. Schools are for learning. If you want to have a little pray before maths so that Mr. Figures won't set too hard a test, or prevent the P.E. teacher from being a collossal pervert, then go head, fill your boots. If you want to pop on a feathered headdress and chant and dance and mumble and sacrifice something you can do that on your own time. (Or take a drama course, pretend it's art, and get a degree in it. That's what I did.) The lawyer, Mr. Diamond, argued "secular authorities cannot rule on religious truth." Hmm. Well, Mr. Diamond, I'm going to assume you're not related to Neil Diamond, becuase he rocks. Yes, I like Neil Diamond. And Prince. And I'm married -- go figure. But the point is "religious truth" is a foxy one, buecasue religion, by it's very nature, doesn't tend to concern itself with truth. There simply isn't time for truth. By the time all the singing and candle-lighting and toadying and condemning and hiding from science is done truth has given up and gone down to the pub for a pint. Here's the truth: faith is about as interested in truth as I am in hangning out with Anthony Warrel Thompson, ie, not very.

Now, I know that most relgious folk are moderate and reasonable and wear tidy jumpers and eat cheese, like real people. And on hearing this they'll mainly feel pity for me, rather than issue a death sentence. But they have to accept that they are the power base for the nutters. Without their passive support the loonies in charge of these faiths would just be loonies, safely locked away and medicated -- somewhere nice with a view of some trees where they can claim they have a direct channel to god between sessions making tapestry coasters, watching Teletubbies and talking about thier days in the Hitler Youth. The ordinary faithful make these viscious, tyrannical thugs what they are. See, I get angry that show like Celebrity and Big Brother and insert-title-of-wretched-show-here still fill our lives with vapid, pointless emptiness, and I wish the producers' development exectives would crawl back under the rocks they emerged from, but the truth is they sell stuff that people consume. Without the audience to prop it up, Heat magazine and fundamental religious fanatacism goes away. Imagine what humanity might be capable of if we had that much spare time! We could explore space properly, have decent look in the sea, find a cure for James Blunt, anything!

Thank you very much. Letters to the usual address."


BiB said...

The audio version has been posted by some kind soul at:

JolietJake said...

it's kind of true but the problem with asking people to give up religion is when you go somewhere like Mexico the people are so poor all they have is prayers and church, literally.

Same with Muslims in North Africa, Islam tells them they are human beings with rights, no-one else is telling them that.

Unfortunately, those people are then manipulated by the religious leaders for their own gains.

First Nations said...

" But they have to accept that they are the power base for the nutters. Without their passive support the loonies in charge of these faiths would just be loonies, safely locked away and medicated..."

that is an excellent point. being 'just a follower' still means that you're following where your leader is leading. grow a pair.

right, thats been sorted out. bring on famine and sickness and then it's time for lunch and a nap.

homo escapeons said...

That was spectacular. Just the right mixture of politeness and contempt.
In a couple hundred years from now, if we haven't killed ourselves, perhaps the sort of behavior discussed will be a universally accepted as legal grounds for incarceration and a small frontal to go with that.

If it wasn't all so painfully true I could laugh a lot louder BUT...jolietjake is absolutely right those poor bastards have nothing else to believe in or compare it to. If we could stop humans from reproducing for a generation and educate the children we could speed up the process of neutralizing mythology.
But we won't so thank you for feeding some zeitgeist to my schadenfreude. Mmm das gut!

Mr Farty said...

I think I love Marcus Brigstock.

dinahmow said...

Yes, I did laugh so hard that I now have no means of sitting.
Sadly, such blinding truths are tucked away on blogs.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

bib: cheers for that.

JJ: that's why education is so vitally important. if people are taught about light, optics, and the anatomy of an eye, they will be able to remove cataracts and make glasses, and will be released from the need for praying to cure blindness.

FN: exactly. plenty of time for plagues and floods after tea.

homo: you gotta love the british talent for polite contempt!

farty: you can have him when i'm through with him.

dinah: this time, fortunately, these truths aren't just tucked away on my obscure little blog. this was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Twice. Radio 4 isn't exactly a fringe outfit, either. That such views can be expressed so vehemently in such an "establishment" broadcast is a stong indication that these opions are becoming more mainstream and those who hold them are slowly emerging from their closets.

Pacian said...


"If you want to have a little pray before maths so that Mr. Figures won't set too hard a test[...]"

This reminds me of another comedian... no, wait, I think this might have been Brigstocke as well. On ITV's 'News Knight', he was arguing that athletes who really want us to believe that God helped them to win should be disqualified for cheating.

ziggi said...

this is so funny so true so brilliant - I wonder if he's happily married? - I want him.

ZB said...

I'm fairly hail fellow well met. I don't really care whether you believe God died for your sins or whether you believe that a toad called Cedric made the world and everything in it with a bowel movement. Believe what you want but don't shove it down my throat and don't tell me that I have to die because of my beliefs or because my beliefs contradict your beliefs.

'How dare you after all we've been through! We Jews know how terrible violence can be.' Yes. You would think so wouldn't you? The holocaust (six million jews, TWENTY SIX MILLION RUSSIANS) and the way that it has been presented in the media and historiography (SIX MILLION JEWS, twenty six million commie bastards) means that the Jewish race has a get out of jail free card for anything that it does - and some of it's persecutive actions have been closer to Nazism than might be comfortable to admit. For Lebensraum read Palestine. For saying this, I'll probably be accused of being anti-semitic (we're supposed to capitalise the first letter of each word, I refuse to. Why should we? We don't highlight other forms of discrimination and abuse in this way). Get stuffed is my considered response. You can't choose to set yourself apart and then complain when others do. You can't claim special status and not grant other's the same rights. You can't say 'don't pick on us, we're always being picked on' when you're standing on the neck of someone else and keeping them under the water. No matter which God has chosen them, God's chosen people don't like to be questioned and love to be seen as being misunderstood and persecuted. So go on, set Simon whatsisname on me. And I'll play my get out of jail free cards. They're all doozys.

But my children will still be sent to faith schools. Not because I think that a four year old has an innate grasp of the intricacies of the transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation debate or Luther's major points at the Diet of Worms. Simply because, historically, they provide better educations.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

pacian: welcome! that bit about the athletes is genius.

ziggi: back o' the line, beyotch.

ZB: historically, faith schools do provide a better education -- better at maths, languages, classics, etc. -- but at what cost. they may be better at teaching kids facts, but is the religious indoctrination stunting their ability to think? education, more than anything, should teach one how to think creatively and analyze things critically. i grew up in faith schools, and i the ones i attended sure as shit weren't interested in teaching me to think. they were very interested in teaching me to shut up and regurgitate.

llewtrah said...

I'll stick to atheism. If it ultimately turns out I'm wrong I'll apologise and hope the good I've done for others in my lifetime is worth more than hours of empty prayers or dozens of dead infidels.

ZB said...

ZB: historically, faith schools do provide a better education -- better at maths, languages, classics, etc. -- but at what cost. they may be better at teaching kids facts, but is the religious indoctrination stunting their ability to think?

I grew up in a faith school. Taught by priests. Mass every morning. Prayers at the end of every lesson. Beaten if you stepped out of line. Did it stunt my ability to think?

Read my CV. I don't fucking think so.

MothandRust said...

Whew... I'm glad you transcribed this. I was about to start...

Umm, can I use some of your post on my blog. I've linked it back to yours.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

llewtrah: spot on.

zb: you are the rare exception. to everything.

mothandrust: welcome to M.E.! go ahead and use what you like. i just ask that you credit the souce, which you've apparently done, so groovy.

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