Thursday, December 02, 2010

letts go nutts

Here's some absolutely textbook fatwa envy (as previously observed here) that I spotted in a couple of different places this week.

Firstly Quentin Letts' Daily Mail review of Bill Bailey's latest stand-up show. Now Bill Bailey is about as benign and unthreatening a comedy performer as you could imagine; Christ knows what sort of an attack of the vapours Quentin would have on witnessing a Bill Hicks routine. Nonetheless once lovable hairy Bill has a few laughs at the expense of some old Caravaggio painting Quent feels the need to go off on one:
He may think himself wildly ­daring, but Christianity is hardly the riskiest target. Would he consider a ­routine mocking Mohammed? No. Didn’t think so. Yet that is arguably where ­comedy has some work to do, if it is truly to be considered radical.
Next, you'll no doubt remember the atheist bus campaign, and also the atheist billboards. All pretty gentle and polite attempts to push back slightly against the unthinking deference granted to religion in society, but nonetheless the targets for some really splendid lunacy from a number of quarters. Well, the venerable organisation American Atheists have produced a pre-Christmas billboard campaign and have paid to have the posters displayed at various prominent locations.

To be honest I think they could have taken a bit more trouble over the wording; it's a bit woolly and it's not entirely clear who it's aimed at. Atheists? Christians? The wavering in-betweeners? But, you know, whatever. It's more important that it's just proudly out there and visible to all. Although of course there are those who would rather it were not, this blogger for one:
...but to declare war on Christianity in the 21st century is hardly as daring as Silverman would like to think. Now, if he would like to try his hand at this sort of thing next year during Ramadan--now that would be a declaration of war that would be worthy of the name.
It's almost cut-and-paste identical to the Quentin Letts one, and indeed to most other examples of the genre. There is an amusing footnote to the Letts/Bailey fiasco which is that the frothing loons at Christian Voice (who basically comprise 2008 Bad Faith Award nominee Stephen Green and a couple of his mates) have picked up on the story - amusingly they're not satisfied with leaving it at complaining about the perceived religious imbalance, but decide on having a go at filling up the full irrational bigotry bingo card in one go.
Now if he took on the laughable idea of evolution, or took a sideswipe at abortion or feminism or sexual immorality, now that would be daring, but also a suicidal career move.
It could be argued they don't come much higher than Jesus Christ, but again, he is not likely to lose either his life or his livelihood picking on Christ or Christianity as he might if he took on Islam or homosexuality. That would be aiming a bit too high for Bailey.
Top marks.

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