Please note: what follows is just a transcript of Marcus Brigstocke’s rant in the video above; the only words in this post to which I lay claim are those in this sentence right here (though I can’t deny that I’d love to be able to craft such hilarious diatribes myself).
I have to admit, I did swear a bit myself this week. I was reading the Daily Express newspaper — I say ‘newspaper’, that’s overstating it a bit, unless Princess Diana’s mysteriously easy to explain death is still news; however, it is daily and the ‘express’ bit is accurate as well, as it’s clearly written in a hurry.
— Ooh, heavens to Betsy, blast and fiddlesticks, whoops and thunderclaps: me blessed head’s all full of pain.
— What did you do?
— I stubbed it on Ann Widdecombe’s column.
She was writing about biblical literacy, and how so few people are familiar with the bible. She seems appalled at how few people are able to remember the ten commandments, to which I say “You’re a Christian: you remember them. I don’t remember the offside rule, but I’m not a footballer, so those rules don’t really apply to me.”
The bible’s full of great ideas, and many are worth remembering, I agree with Ann Widdecombe on that, but biblical literacy should not just be a PR job for God, it should be inclusive. That’s right, kids, just six pages in, God murders everyone and everything apart from Noah and the fish. Apparently the fish did nothing wrong, but everything else had to die. Still, we’re getting our revenge on the fish now, aren’t we, by hunting them to extinction — take that, God.
Of course, in the flood it was the giraffe that came out worst of all: being the tallest, he had to watch, terrified, as God killed everything else, knowing that even his gentle chewing face would eventually fill with water and he would lollop off this mortal coil. God always hated giraffes: he wrote the plans for them in Imperial and then made them in Metric. They were never meant to be that tall. That’s why, when they run, they look like idiots: it’s God’s revenge.
Ann quite rightly points out that there is much to admire and aspire to in her choice of holy book: but there are also acts of wanton genocide, infanticide, fratricide, straight murder, rape, paedophilia, enslavement, brutality, and, frankly, a level of sexism that would make John McCririck go, “Ooh, steady now, give the little ladies a break.”
Just which bits of the bible should we make our children live by? Eat not of the rock badger, I’ve always thought that was very solid advice: that’s why my kids never have donner kebabs.
Ms Widdecombe says everyone should follow the ten commandments: well, yeah, sure, why not, some of them are very good; on the other hand my neighbour does have a particularly sweet looking ox at the moment and I have to admit I’ve done a fair bit of coveting this season.
These are supposed to be the ten most important rules for mankind to follow and God spent the first four flattering himself and being jealous:
— thou shalt have no other gods before me
— thou shalt not worship false idols
— thou shalt not take my name in vain, and
— thou shalt keep the sabbath day for me and me alone
Good grief! He’s like a paranoid menopausal housewife with an adulterous husband: “Oh, don’t you go looking at other gods, I know what you’re like, giving Shiva the glad eye… does my big holy bum look big in this — no, don’t make a graven image of it I can see in your eyes I look dreadful >gasp< One day a week, that is all I ask, but, oh no, you have to keep your hospitals open don’t you and switch your blasphemous lights on.”
And in case you’re wondering, because, you know, people very often do, would you say all of that about Islam, err, yes, yes I would. Weirdly enough, the Daily Express didn’t give equal space to someone promoting the idea that all of our children should be familiar with the Koran: I’m sure they’ll get around to it in the name of ‘balance’ in the end. But yes, I would say all of this about Islam, including all of the details of the beheadings, the under-age sex, the misogyny and the fact that Mohammed was illiterate.
It’s alright, don’t be scared for me, I’ve done this before.
Ann Widdecombe says if we live by the bible we might once more be a decent, kind society with notions of fidelity, humility and forgiveness and she says even Richard Dawkins might find it difficult to quarrel with that. I don’t think so, and she should know that. Richard Dawkins would quarrel with his own reflection if the mood took him…
— Who are you?
— I’m Richard Dawkins.
— Oh, really? Well, you look very smug.
— Well, so do you.
Ann Widdecombe recommends the parable of the Good Samaritan… hmm… so, a foreigner, who noone trusted, turning out to be a good bloke who helps people. Racial tolerance and the embracing of multiculturalism — recommended by the Daily Express. Then of course she goes on to mention the sharing out of food at the feeding of the five thousand, hmm, share what you have and we’ll all be better off. Effective socialised taxation endorsed by the Daily Express. She then recommends the Sermon on the Mount: blessed be the poor, the meek, and the peacemakers so that’s multiculturalism, pacifism, humility and socialism recommended by a Tory MP in the Daily Express. Ha! Ha! Ha! No wonder I swore. Thank you.