comedy, movies

The “Life of Brian” debate, nearly 40 years later

Having spent a day on the soccer fields and being ready to think about anything other than soccer, I watched something I’ve been meaning to watch for years — a legendary BBC program in which John Cleese and Michael Palin of Monty Python defend the film Life of Brian in a debate with satirist and Christian convert Malcolm Muggeridge and Anglican bishop Mervyn Stockwood.

I watched it in four parts, then found that someone else posted the whole hour intact:

It’s equal parts fascinating and irritating.

Fascinating in the sense that it’s the sort of the discussion we simply can’t imagine having today. The participants are given plenty of time to speak. For the most part, it’s a genteel discussion that seems utterly foreign to anyone who has watched modern cable “news” for five minutes.

Irritating in the sense that the “Christian” guys are virtually caricatures. They make smug comments about the “10th-rate” film, and they insist on a rather narrow interpretation of the film. When Palin insists that they are not ridiculing Christ, their idea of a response is “humbug.”

 

What I love about Life of Brian is the same thing I love about a lot of my favorite comedies, including most of my favorite Simpsons episodes. It’s about the absurdity of the mob. It’s about groups that yell, “Yes, we are all individuals!” It’s about the splintering between the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea.

It’s about us. Not Jesus.

journalism, politics

Look out, Congress — you’ve pissed off the nuns

Sister Simone Campbell writes:

Many of us have been dismayed by media coverage of the government shutdown, which has too rarely focused on its impact on already struggling families in our nation. Instead, media outlets have chosen easy visuals such as barricades in front of parks and monuments, along with disappointed tourists. Only a tiny percentage of segments broadcast by news outlets the first week of the government shutdown mentioned its effects on people already struggling at the economic margins.

via The 8 immoral ways the government shutdown is hurting the needy.

comedy, politics, sports

Potpourri: Boggle vs. Scrabble, the Bible, SNL meets EPL

So many links, not enough time …

1. With all due respect to fellow sports wordsmith Stefan Fatsis, I agree with this Slate writer: Boggle is better than Scrabble.

2. Lex points out the counterproductivity of current food stamp ideology.

3. A theologian tries to find a way out of the literal/metaphor debate of the Bible with a couple of interesting distinctions — the Enlightenment distinction between values and facts, the idea that the Bible is meant to persuade rather than prove — and a demonstration of God’s presence using a scene from Pulp Fiction.

4. I’m not sure everything mentioned here is a “placebo button,” but the underlying theory — that people don’t even notice a long wait if they’re moving and active — is sensible.

4. NBC promotes the English Premier League with a great ad featuring Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis as a U.S. football coach hired at Tottenham Hotspur. Blink and you’ll miss a neat joke about Wales:

tv

‘All-American Muslim’ vs. American idiots

This statement from the “conservative group” in question speaks volumes:

“The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to the liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”

So should a show on Christians include something on Timothy McVeigh? Should shows with fat people include statistics on the number of people who run up America’s health-care costs? Should American Idol have a disclaimer warning viewers that many of the participants are incredibly stupid?

This comment, however, I can’t judge: “Mostly, I just thought the show sucked.”

Another company pulls advertising from TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’ | The Cutline – Yahoo! News.