Tuesday, June 21, 2005

HITCHENS, FRY AND WODEHOUSE

I have a hard time to concentrate on positive things right now. Look at the "loopy" stuff floating around at the moment, for example:

  • Counting problems by officials in the EU and the U.S.A regarding the voting turnout in Iran.
  • Jeb Bush has gone totally nuts on the Terri Schiavo case.

Luckily, I took a breather, sat down and listened to a funny radio program on P.G. Wodehouse. [Hat tip to Anders Lundgren.]

I think that Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens are pretty rational chaps. Read Norman Geras's post, Hitchens and Fry on religion. Here are excerpts from David Smith's article, I saw hate in a graveyard - Stephen Fry.

In a village in Slovakia, he found the cemetery had been targeted by anti-semitic vandals who dug up his great-grandfather's remains to steal gold from teeth and rings. He described the act as 'a desecration' and 'a kind of blasphemy', which had made him re-examine his views on whether the law should recognise blasphemy as a crime.

Fry was speaking at a debate with the journalist Christopher Hitchens at The Guardian Hay Festival last week. Among the issues raised was the government's proposed Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill, which has been criticised by civil liberties campaigners and comedians, including Fry's friend Rowan Atkinson, who warned that it could be used to ban jokes poking fun at Islam, Judaism or the Christian church. ...

'I wasn't brought up in the Jewish faith. I was brought up in no faith at all. My father's a physicist, but not an angrily atheistical one. I became enraptured by the Anglican communion, as we used to call it, and also by the English mystics... I don't know why, I can't explain it: I was a child of fads. But simultaneously I managed to immerse myself in Wagner and PG Wodehouse and Sherlock Holmes - there is no special pattern that I can discern.

'I've always believed that everything that is said from authority is either the authority of one's own heart, one's own brain, one's own reading, one's own trust, but not the authority of someone who claims it because they're speaking for God and they know the truth because it's written in a book. That, essentially, is where I come from. In a sense, tolerance is my religion. Reason is my religion.' (Observer.Guardian.co.uk, 06/05/05.)