Thomas
 
  1  
Thu 15 Dec, 2011 02:19 pm
@Setanta,
Too late! Smile
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Thu 15 Dec, 2011 03:08 pm
I love the line where the rabbi on the end says: "everyone here has great clarity in the god they don't believe in . . . and i don't believe in that god, either."
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Thu 15 Dec, 2011 03:50 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Oh, Found it.

Thanks. I like the full version.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Thu 15 Dec, 2011 04:03 pm
It was merely a gig. That an audience would give up a "perfectly serviceable Tuesday evening" to gawp at that claptrap is mind-boggling.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Thu 15 Dec, 2011 04:35 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Oh, Found it.

They're all very eloquent speakers, each in a unique way. I found the discussion enthralling.
Ashers
 
  3  
Thu 15 Dec, 2011 05:25 pm
I've watched about a third of it so far. Really enjoyed it. Thanks Thomas and FA for highlighting this. I'll have to pick it up again tomorrow or the day after. You know, say what you will about the specifics of Judaism, good or bad, but rabbis are nearly always good for kicking back and discussing belief. Not in a point-scoring, befuddle your opponent, present a front kind of way but for just being present in conversation. Their more amiable and relaxed in discussing their beliefs. I think that speaks to the quality of the person a great deal. Whether that person is related to a faith or not.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  0  
Thu 15 Dec, 2011 05:29 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
They're all very eloquent speakers, each in a unique way. I found the discussion enthralling.


Holy smoke!!! It was infantile.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Thu 15 Dec, 2011 11:58 pm
Since we were talking about Christopher Hitchens today: He died today at age 62, reports ABC.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Fri 16 Dec, 2011 11:26 am
@Thomas,
But he'll continue to engage and rile readers for many years. As I said on Hawkeye's thread about him, I'll miss him.
spendius
 
  1  
Fri 16 Dec, 2011 12:00 pm
@ossobuco,
I liked the guy as well. Good with words. He believed in the "dialectic" (stirring the ****) just as much as I do. He was good at working a section of the population. He had guts too.
cicerone imposter
 
  -1  
Fri 16 Dec, 2011 12:04 pm
@spendius,
However, your stirring of the **** is at a much lower level of intellect, wit, and comprehension.
spendius
 
  -1  
Fri 16 Dec, 2011 12:32 pm
@cicerone imposter,
To you maybe ci. I'm way ahead of anything CH offered to the public whatever he thought privately.

You haven't a clue what intellect, wit, and comprehension consist of. Which is why my posts pass you by. As they do others like you. My fans are a refined bunch.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Fri 16 Dec, 2011 12:35 pm
@spendius,
No; that is why most people challenge your posts. You are blind to your own shortcoming. .

You still haven't proved what you claim I said. That makes you a troll and a liar.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  2  
Fri 16 Dec, 2011 12:56 pm
A
R
Thanks, Hitch.
spendius
 
  -1  
Fri 16 Dec, 2011 12:57 pm
@failures art,
That's a bit patronising fa.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Thu 22 Dec, 2011 06:48 am
@Thomas,
Thomas' link has died

But I think you can see the full thing in 7 parts starting with this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcvMrBXizVA
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  3  
Thu 22 Dec, 2011 02:29 pm
I’M NOT ON THE JONATHAN ROSS SHOW

Tim Minchin (source)

I really like Jonathan Ross. I think he’s a funny, interesting, kind person, and an excellent interviewer. I also really like his wife… But let’s not get back into that.

Jonathan and his wonderful producer, Suzi, have been incredibly supportive of me and so when they asked me to write a song for their pre-Christmas show, I didn’t hesitate. It was the worst possible time to be writing a new song – I’ve been overworked and ill, was on tour, and was really feeling the stress. But I wasn’t going to say no… it’s Jonathan Ross! And my fellow guests were to be Tom Cruise, the divine actors from Downton Abbey, and the ace Inbetweeners boys.

So I got to writing. Being Christmas, I thought it would be fun to do a song about Jesus, but being TV, I knew it would have to be gentle. The idea was to compare him to Woody Allen (short, Jewish, philosophical, a bit hesitant), and expand into redefining his other alleged attributes using modern, popular-culture terminology.

It’s not a particularly original idea, I admit, but it’s quite cute. It’s certainly not very contentious, but even so, compliance people and producers and lawyers all checked my lyrics long before the cameras rolled. As always with these bespoke writing jobs, I was really stressed for about 3 days, and almost chucked it in the bin 5 times, and freaked out that it wasn’t funny and all that boring **** that people like me go through when we’re lucky enough to have with a big audience with high expectations. And if I’m honest, it ain’t a world-changing bit of comedy. Regardless…

On Tuesday night last week, we taped the show. I met Tom (he’s nice and quite laid-back off camera, and not very short) and the divine Downton ladies (swoon) and the lovely Inbetweeners chaps (yay) and I did my song and everyone laughed and Tom said it was great and when it was done I ran off set onto the back of a waiting motorbike, got from South Bank to the Hammersmith Apollo in 13 minutes, walked into the building, straight on to stage to sing White Wine in the Sun with Professor Brian Cox. Rock n roll.

Subsequently, Suzi and her team edited the show and everybody was happy. Suzi felt it had a nice balance of big-ticket celeb action, local talent, and a nice bit of that cheeky, iconoclastic spirit for which Jonathan is known and widely loved.

And then someone got nervous and sent the tape to ITV’s director of television, Peter Fincham.

And Peter Fincham demanded that I be cut from the show.

He did this because he’s scared of the ranty, ****-stirring, right-wing press, and of the small minority of Brits who believe they have a right to go through life protected from anything that challenges them in any way.

Yesterday I wrote a big rant about comedy and risk and conservatism; about the fact that my joke has no victim; about sacredness (oh God, not again!) and about the importance of laughing at dumb but pervasive ideas. But I trashed it because it’s boring and takes it all too seriously. It’s hardly the end of the world.

But I have to admit I’m really ******* disappointed.

It’s 2011. The appropriate reaction to people who think Jesus is a supernatural being is mild embarrassment, sighing tolerance and patient education.

And anger when they’re being bigots.

Oh, and satire. There’s always satire.

Anywaaaaaaaaaay… the fun news is that I already had the footage of the song when they cut it. Yay. And so you can decide for yourself how offensive it is! Yippee.

Oh, and although I can’t think why anyone would have a problem with me posting this (Peter has covered his arse, the protection of which he is rather nervous about) but I suppose you lovely tech-geeks might want to grab a copy or mirror it, just in case I get asked to take it down.

I hope you enjoy my silly, harmless, accurate song of praise, “Woody Allen Jesus”.

And I hope you all have wonderful Christmases.




BONUS MATERIAL IF YOU’RE NOT BORED OF ME BEING OPINIONATED YET

Below is a column I wrote for the latest edition of the New Statesman, which was guest edited by our greatest living evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins. It is about my daughter and Santa and belief. I hope you enjoy.

In the lead-up to last Christmas, when my daughter Violet had just turned four, she looked me in the eye and asked, “Is Father Christmas real?”

This was a problem for me. I had up until this point convinced myself that telling my kid a lie about the origins of her scooter was part and parcel of parenting – that denying a child the idea of Santa would be Scroogian in the extreme.

The trouble is, I have no memory of believing in the physics-defying fatty myself. One of our classic Minchin family tales is of Christmas eve 1978, when I was 3 myself, and my mum asked me in an excited voice, “Who’s coming down the chimney tonight?!” To which I replied, after a brow-creased pause, “Gran?”

(It is also part of Minchin lore that I was a very boring and quite dim kid.)

Regardless, our Violet had seemed quite excited the previous year when we had left a mince pie and a beer by the blocked-up chimney (Violet: But there’s no hole, how will he get down? Me: That’s the least of his worries…), and I’d felt great when she’d squealed with glee at five in the (*******) morning upon discovering the comestibles had been consumed and that a reindeer had left hoof-prints in the icing sugar by the piano.

But now something in the assertion of the existence of this bearded philanthropist had given her pause, so she’d come to me for clarification. I wasn’t surprised – earlier in the year I’d overheard a conversation she’d had with her friend Alice as they sat by a lake in a playground in Melbourne:

Violet: If you fell in there, you’d die.
Alice: Someone would come and pull you out.
Violet: Yeah, but if the grown-ups weren’t around, you’d die.
Alice: (Pause) When you die, you go somewhere lovely.
Violet: But how would you know it’s lovely? You wouldn’t have your eyes and ears.

… an incomplete but still pretty damning analysis of the infantile idea that we (to quote my editor) survive our own deaths.

She’s always been obsessed by what is “real”. Figuring out what truly exists seems to be the way she deals with her fears. Most of the time when she asks if something is real, she’s hoping it’s not; trolls, dragons, witches have all been happily relegated to the fiction bin, and she sleeps pretty well in the knowledge that they’re not going to crawl back out and attack her in her bed.

And so I face a dilemma: I had sold her the myth of Father Christmas in the spirit of allowing a child her sense of wonderment, but I felt that lying to her face when she asked me point blank about the veracity of my claims was a step too far. I fumbled around a bit before opting for:

“Father Christmas is real… in the imaginary world.”

This didn’t really satisfy her, and nor should it have. Like so much language in theology and philosophy, that sentence has the odour of wisdom, but is a load of old bollocks. Quite nice as a phrase, but pure sophistry, like a lot of the stuff I say on stage, and like nearly everything religious apologists have ever said. It is the stuff of obfuscation – words to divert, like the passive hand of the magician – not the clarification Vi was seeking.

But I think it was the right answer. She went along with the story last year and I reckon she will again this year. By offering her the paradoxical notion of a non-real real, I allowed her the opportunity to just “go with it”, and hopefully she’ll happily do so until her friends find out it’s a myth, at which point she can quietly slip back into knowing what she suspected all along. There’ll be no crushing blow of revelation seven.

Weirdly, I have felt no compulsion to obscure answers to the more serious questions. Vi was very young when she asked what happens when you die, and I told her, “You just stop”. I see no problem at all with that answer. Not only is it demonstrably true, but it also has the wondrous quality of not eliciting a whole lot of further annoying questions.

I was asked recently how I reconcile my reputation for promoting a naturalistic world-view with the fact that I have co-written “Matilda” – a musical based on a Roald Dahl story about a girl who is preternaturally gifted and, eventually, telekinetic.

What an odd question. Do people really think that living a life unencumbered by superstition necessitates the rejection of fiction?

I adore stories. Our version of “Matilda”, even more so than the original Dahl, is a story about stories. About the importance of imagination, and of fiction’s ability not only to educate and enlighten us, but to free us; to set our minds soaring beyond reality.

My daughter will grow up reading stories, and I hope she will have a rich and lifelong relationship with the imaginary. But I will not try to train her out of her clear instinct to define for herself what is real.

I adore Christmas. The fact that I know that Christianity’s origins lie more in Paul of Tarsus’s mental illness and Emperor Constantine’s political savvy than in the existence of the divine has no bearing on my ability to enjoy this age-old festival of giving, family, and feasting.

Our lives would be empty without stories, and the story of this Jesus character is quite a nice one. One that – in theory, and sometimes even in practise – promotes compassion and humility and wisdom and peace.

Jesus is real… in the imaginary world. A five year old could tell you that.
Thomas
 
  1  
Fri 23 Dec, 2011 07:07 am
A cautionary tale for atheists? The New York Times reports about Atheist nativity scene sites crowding out Christian ones in Santa Monica this year. And the results suggest that being a Grinch is ineffective advocacy.

The New York Times wrote:
Hunter Jameson, the president of the group that organizes the Nativity scenes, said he did not believe the city had done anything wrong. The most “extremely irksome” issue, he said, is that Mr. Vix and the other atheists seem most focused on pushing out the Christian scenes. Much of the space the atheists secured is sitting unused, and for the most part small white signs bearing secular quotations have replaced the Nativity scenes.

Under the city’s rules, any group was allowed to apply for as many as 14 spaces. Because Mr. Vix had seven people applying for the maximum amount, they were more likely to get the spaces in the lottery.

“Rather than use it to put forth a message of their own, they’ve really shown that their goal is just an effort to take something away rather than give anything to the community,” Mr. Jameson said. “They’re trying to censor something that the community has clearly shown it appreciates.”

You can read the full article here.
spendius
 
  0  
Fri 23 Dec, 2011 07:43 am
@hingehead,
Quote:
It’s 2011. The appropriate reaction to people who think Jesus is a supernatural being is mild embarrassment, sighing tolerance and patient education.


I think most of us can handle mild embarrassment. Sighing tolerance is a paradoxical notion. It's having it both ways and an authentic hallmark of a crap writer. And one hallmark is sufficient for most experts.

There would be more than mild embarrassment if the patient education, another syrupy condescension, insulting really, resulted in nobody believing that Jesus is a supernatural being and the sighing tolerance would morph into groaning impatience.

These atheists don't half talk down to us all with their cleverness.

Why did Mr Minchin's eyebrows keep going up and down?

He cops out at the end of course like the good Christian family man he is so anxious to present himself as.

Ross's benign smiles are suffused with passionate integrity I must say.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Mon 26 Dec, 2011 12:41 am
@spendius,
spendius wrote:

It is very easy to see that a highly integrated, personified preternatural agency (God) is not very convenient for handling the trivial occurrences of life. But ...

...Every atheist pronouncement is of a negative character asserting what is bad about religion and never daring to go near the advantages of atheism except maybe that of preventing a fundie disturbing the domestic peace once every 20 years for a minute or two.


Alright, but there is still no god. Neutral

I'll stop mentioning this fact when people stop knocking on my door 3 or 4 times a week trying to sell me their woo. If they need it, fine. I don't. I don't go door to door trying to convert them to atheism; they should be as courteous.

 

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