Defining the Mentalist in Fundamentalist
September 25, 2006 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Stewart Lee of 'Jerry Springer the Opera' fame discusses the rise of religious intolerance to comments the believer disagree's with. Interesting in that this is not just the usual freedom loving athiest vs. god loving believers, but that we also have religious people arguing that God can survive some satire and deploring the fundamentalist intolerance of dissent. Prt 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
posted by Gratishades (32 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First time FPP. Be gentle kind reader (to start with at least).

Post is UK centric admittedly but the resistence of religion to criticism seems to be a global one.
posted by Gratishades at 8:19 AM on September 25, 2006

end of part two has a good point in that often when we defend against censorship we are stuck with defending rubbish. So often it's things with little artistic merit or of any significance that come under attack.
posted by edgeways at 8:41 AM on September 25, 2006

... discusses the rise of religious intolerance to comments the believer disagree's with.

Uh? 'Fraid I don't understand, maybe some words were dropped?
posted by splice at 9:09 AM on September 25, 2006

Sorry splice, guess I shouldn't have posted first fpp with the sleep deprivation I'm currently suffering. '...discusses seeming rise of intolerance of many believers to having their world view commented upon by people who do not share that aforesaid worldview'? Sorry if that doesn't clarify, I'm of to debate whether I need caffeine or sleep more.

Yeah edgeways, often to defend free speech we have to defend dodgy, meritless gumph. Maybe that should be the defence of my poor grammar above.
posted by Gratishades at 9:19 AM on September 25, 2006

'Off' not 'of' above. I'm definitely off.
posted by Gratishades at 9:20 AM on September 25, 2006

Ahh, I get it now. Seems interesting, marked for later reading.
posted by splice at 9:24 AM on September 25, 2006

of 'Jerry Springer the Opera' fame

*blink* *blinkblink* Um, what?
posted by boaz at 9:24 AM on September 25, 2006

Jerry Springer - The Opera
posted by Grangousier at 9:30 AM on September 25, 2006

Boaz- Famous in the UK at least. Surprised it's never been on the blue.
posted by Gratishades at 9:32 AM on September 25, 2006

Thanks Grangousier, it all makes sense now. If I follow this correctly, the fact that Jerry Springer has an opera in his honor proves that God doesn't exist.
posted by boaz at 9:33 AM on September 25, 2006

Stewart Lee is always interesting, but I'm not in the mood for wathcing 6 youTube videos. Any chance that theres a transcript out there somewhere?
posted by Artw at 9:45 AM on September 25, 2006

Try logging onto Democratic Underground or Little Green Footballs and questioning the prevailing ideological world views there if you want an amusing demonstration of intolerance. Sorry folks, but religion has no monopoly on small-minded exclusionary intolerance. It's a trait of humanity, not spirituality.
posted by slatternus at 9:56 AM on September 25, 2006

"he was a snake with long blonde hair, and ears, and sleepy-looking eyes; looked disturbingly like... Paris Hilton" - related by a strikingly hirsuite man in the manner of a wilderness prophet.

That's the most important bit of the transcript, the rest is just extras.
Although the Church of England vicar is excellent as well.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 10:00 AM on September 25, 2006

Ok, I watched the first 2 vid, and it makes more sense now. Funny how this same argument gets played out again and again and again. For religious people, it's invariably not enough that they have their churches, mosques, etc where they can congregate with like-believers. The whole world's gotta be theologically nerfed.

On preview: the key words there are 'logging on', slatternus; As far as I know, Lee wasn't try to force churches to host his opera, just to play them in theaters and on TV. The second LGF thinks they have the right to tell me what I can and can't post anywhere on the internet instead of just their site, your analogy will hold water.
posted by boaz at 10:03 AM on September 25, 2006

Slatternus, that's part of the point. There is one reverend interviewed that makes a stand for God being big enough and ugly enough to take care of himself when it comes to criticism. He comes across as a reasonable and savvy chap, and offers a bracing change to the book burning of others more 'hardcore' in their firey defence of a god of love. The guy is CofE right enough and (at least before the current brooha over gay rights) they were always portrayed and perceived as the most liberal of churches.
posted by Gratishades at 10:06 AM on September 25, 2006

Artw- nothing doing, had a look around but can't see a transcript I'm afraid.
posted by Gratishades at 10:07 AM on September 25, 2006

oh, a small bit of FPP advice, others may shout me down, when you link to media other than straight web pages it's good to give a parenthetical warning (YouTube... Mp3... etc).
Otherwise, not a bad set of clips.
posted by edgeways at 10:08 AM on September 25, 2006

Ah well... I did find a transcript of Stewart Lees interview with Alan Moore, which is quite fun if you're in to comics.
posted by Artw at 10:14 AM on September 25, 2006

Ta edgeways. Noted.
posted by Gratishades at 10:20 AM on September 25, 2006

Thanks for this - I didn't catch it when it was on TV and was kicking myself for not recording it. Stewart Lee makes what is both a dispassionate and curiously emotional case for his view. I saw him do standup soon after the CPS refused the blasphemy charge and the poor man had had a rough year. The protests drove him to ill-health and he didn't look good - his show in Edinburgh that year was a calculated and bitter hour of detonating his critics. An interesting point too about freedom of speech obliging you to defend artistically dubious material. Still, two cheers for freedoms to defend rubbish.

Also, good use of the word "div".
posted by greycap at 10:30 AM on September 25, 2006

I'm a big fan of the work of Stewart Lee, especially his more recent stand-up stuff. I saw him to half an hour in London about 11 years ago, and the man is clearly a genius - not only at picking apart ignorance and small-mindedness (which it has been pointed out, hasn't endeared him to the religious right of any denomination), but in the mechanics of comedy himself. If you get a chance to see/hear his dvd/cd "Stand-Up Comedian" - it's great, highly recommended. Thanks for the links, Gratishades - haven't watched them yet, but I'm sure I'll enjoy them...
posted by bokeh at 10:36 AM on September 25, 2006

And of course the "strikingly hirsuite man in the manner of a wilderness prophet" is Mr Moore himself. Very nice to see him here, and I also liked the stance that Lee took throughout - very reasonable and relaxed. Alan Moore is currently on my shortlist of Greatest Living Englishmen.

Personally, I don't think there's any particular difference at root between the Christians protesting outside the theatres, the Muslims protesting Rushdie or bad cartoons (an obvious connection) picketing Family Planning clinics and other protests like anti-Globalisation, Critical Mass, Hunt Saboteurs or the women of Greenham Common. They all seem, to me, to be ways for people to forge a sense of community united by a strongly-held belief and an "oppositionalism" (to invent a word), and have a lot more in common with each other than one might initially think. I don't mean to imply that being broadly in favour of bicycles is similar to being against abortion or nuclear missiles, but that the way the protests emerge from their politicised communities serves a similar purpose in each case.

I have no idea where that paragraph came from, but rather than deleting it, as I normally would, I thought I'd offer it up. Hopefully it will be of interest. Short version: I think the religion is a red herring.
posted by Grangousier at 10:37 AM on September 25, 2006

i was kicking myslef that i missed this too so thanks for posting it.
posted by dodgygeezer at 10:45 AM on September 25, 2006

Grangousier- think that you are bang on; religion is one of many things/narratives/beliefs that we pin our identity on. Unfortunately those on the right (say anti-abortionists attacking clinical staff) and those on the left (the anti-vivesectionists attacking... hmm clinical staff- is it the white lab coats that's the common theme for both groups?) are all prone to identifying so deeply with their cause that they forget their greater humanity.

Praise the big man or the gap he has left that I am exactly in the middle and therefore not prone to any of that malarkey and am the very height of reasonableness (5'10 if anyone wants to know how they deviate from this most excellent standard).
posted by Gratishades at 10:49 AM on September 25, 2006

Thanks for this. Marvelous documentary in 6 parts, well worth watching staight through. I only wish I could download it, especially if you feel protective of your religion.
posted by donfactor at 11:19 AM on September 25, 2006

This is good, thanks.
posted by verisimilitude at 12:37 PM on September 25, 2006

Argh it's a UK-centric post! It's good to see that Stewart Lee produces better documentaries than he does comedy (although I haven't seen him live, so maybe I'm missing out). It was a good documentary that raised some interesting points.

I remember reading a Desmond Morris book years ago that showed a picture of a peace protester with a clenched fist; Morris commented that, although they were allegedly peaceful, their mannerisms belied a somewhat different story. And then I watch the news and see the protesters, up in arms and threatening violent retribution against those who, in their eyes, have criticised their religion. Surely their deity of choice wouldn't want murder committed in their name? I guess I must be missing something.
posted by TheDonF at 1:04 PM on September 25, 2006

freedom loving athiest vs. god loving believers

Hmm, there's something not quite right about this contruct.

It's almost always the case that everyone wants the same things, and where we often differ is in how to get there. Is it possible both atheists and believers desire and indeed find the same thing in their (non)beliefs: i.e. freedom?
posted by scheptech at 1:35 PM on September 25, 2006

Scheptech- yes the construct is a lazy one and in the linked videos we do find a good example of someone that goes beyond this dichotomy- i.e. the reverend that argues that God, if he exists to be insulted, would not fear a novel or a play written that questions his existence or his believer's tenets.

With regards to whether everyone wants the same thing it appears to me that fundamentalism (social as well as religious as Grangousier and TheDonF observe above) is a way of limiting freedom of thought and expression. People that use violence to make their point about abortion, vivisection, or that their God is one true all loving god, don't really seem to be in to freedom as I would prefer to have it defined. It would be great if all passionate believers did indeed seek and find freedom but the issue with the fundamentalist of any hue is that they look to limit other people's freedom and are not adverse to violence if their path is not taken. They are not interested in freedom, but their own 'truth' and 'revelation', a truth so strong that they believe in it with their heart and soul, but a truth so fragile that they believe violence is the best way to nurture it.

Personally I'd shoot them all. I kid of course. Maybe just half of them.
posted by Gratishades at 3:37 PM on September 25, 2006

Just noticed that we seem to have a Mafia convention here with TheDonF and donfactor. Dons- I was only joking about the shootings. No need to put the call out to go to the mattresses.
posted by Gratishades at 3:41 PM on September 25, 2006

Great Post, Gratishades. I really enjoyed it. I've never seen that side of Mr Lee, before. Further: I had not heard of his recent travails, till now.
posted by Enucleator at 6:54 PM on September 25, 2006

Finally, finally got round to watching this. Interesting stuff. I'm a big Stewart Lee fan. His stand-up is truly excellent.
posted by MrMustard at 2:29 PM on September 27, 2006

« Older Doo doodoo doodoodoo   |   And now for the Marvel haters :-D Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments