News Ian O'Doherty

Saturday 20 September 2014

The bells! The bells! Make them stop

Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30

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The Angelus: outdated or just rude?
The Angelus: outdated or just rude?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the radio . . .

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Between the interminable comings and goings and to-ings and fro-ings before the ultimate no showing, the nation is understandably Garth-weary at this stage. Honestly, between a Lord Mayor who can't pronounce his name, an unelected official deciding what is best for everybody else and the news that the most outraged and militant of all the residents doesn't even actually live in the area, the whole thing went a bit Fr Ted with truly viral speed.

Then we were alerted in the Seanad to the clear and present threat of delinquent seagulls who had taken to targeting innocent young childer and their precious lollipops in a performance which once again reminded me why I was wrong to argue in favour of its abolition. After all, if we didn't have Senators like Ned O'Sullivan to have us all suitably freaked out by these avian aggressors, then surely we would all have lost our lollipops by now. Frankly that one wasn't so much Fr Ted as some sort of Ballymagash special, designed to remind us that sometimes the best satire is indistinguishable from the real thing.

But going on a silly season bender is as dangerous as taking most drugs - you start out having a laugh and before you know it you're gibbering to friends and strangers alike, asking them when this hellish trip is ever going to end.

Well, if you had thought we were emerging from SillyFest 2014, think again. Because now people - people who should really know better - are back on our airwaves demanding that the Angelus be removed. They, in turn, face the religious wrath of those believers who think that the Angelus is some sort of licence fee-funded stairway to heaven. They argue that if it was removed they will surely be dispatched to Hell, where they will languish in the company of gays, atheists, blasphemers and Liverpool fans (although I may just have imagined that last bit).

This row is one of those spectacular cases which proves that sometimes both sides can be equally wrong, although for very different reasons.

Mick Nugent of Atheist Ireland was banging the unbelievers drum long before it became as tediously fashionable as it is now. I should also point out, for the interests of clarity, that I kinda sorta know him, and I respect his fervour. But Jaysus, Mick (if that term isn't offensive to both Christians and atheists) have you nothing better to worry about?

Similarly, the outraged squawking of the Faithful is proof that our capacity to remain passive in the face of massive provocation while being outraged by the most stupid things continues unabated.

Religion, like charity and an affection for the music of Coldplay, should be kept private and away from prying eyes - they're a personal, private decision that have no place in public life.

And so, as I've said for years, the Angelus obviously has no place on the national broadcaster.

But one of the arguments in favour of scrapping it is also one of the reasons why I'd be inclined to keep it. This is the woefully smug and harebrained notion that because Ireland is now a "multicultural" society, it is rude to continue with the practice as it might offend them.

Well . . . tough.

In so far as the continuing presence of the Angelus on RTE is a problem, it is an Irish problem and we should either keep it or ditch it according to our own wishes, not the wishes of new arrivals.

That's neither racist nor intolerant. It's merely a recognition of the fact that every country has the right to make its own rules - no matter how daft they may seem - and we shouldn't be swayed by what our new neighbours think.

Let's put it this way - when any of us go to Muslim countries, we accept the calls to prayer as a natural part of their way of life and are happy to enjoy the experience.

But the same Irish liberals who are so concerned about minorities being offended by the Angelus in Ireland would be quick to castigate any ignorant Westerner who went to Saudi and complained about the Muezzin making too much noise in the morning.

Funny that.

Victory for the N-Dubz One!

Tulisa was understandably relieved to see the drugs trial against her collapse the other day when the judge ruled that the testimony provided by arch sting-merchant 'the Fake Sheikh' was about as reliable as a politician's expenses form.

This has led to plenty of worthy hand-wringing about the difference between what's in the public interest and what's of interest to the public.

This a genuinely fascinating subject and is the difference between exposing a sex scandal involving a campaigning family-values politician - which we have a right to know - and exposing the not very shocking revelation that some celebrity likes to dip their beak in some Class-As every now and then, which we have no right to know.

So, Tulisa's sting - conducted in the public interest or just of interest to the public? Sadly, if her career is anything to go by - it was neither. And that will sting, if you'll pardon the pun, a lot more.

Isn't that a bit alienist?

The reliably mad Creationist Ken Ham has marked the 45th anniversary of arguably humanity's greatest achievement - landing a man on the moon - by denouncing those Godless, soulless aliens and pointing out that while God created Jesus as a 'Godman' he did not create a 'GodKlingon'.

No, I think Mr Ham will find that they were created by Gene Rodenberry.

You have to admit, it takes brains of stone to mark such a momentous occasion by arguing that there are no aliens. But even if there were, they'd be heathens.

But do aliens believe in Ken Ham? Do any of us?

 

Ian O'Doherty

Irish Independent

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