The Foolishness of God, the Wisdom of the BBC, and the Genius of the Vatican
Who is allowed to say what on the Beeb these days?
On Friday night I turned on BBC1 QI which stands for "Quite Interesting"), with Stephen Fry et al, a programme which I really enjoy, being a trivia nerd, although some of the guests sadly often go for cheap and not quite so interesting laughs.
On this episode they asked a question concerning the number of commandments in Exodus 20 (answer according to Fry is 14... been back to Exodus 20 and don't quite get what he means), and during that part of the show Stephen Fry told the sort of non-PC joke that would have been common in the days of Bernard Manning. Apparently God went ot the French and offered them the commandments, but they weren't interested because of the command no to commit adultery... He went to the Germans, and they weren't happy about being told not to kill... He went to the Italians and they weren't happy about being told not to steal... He finally went to the Jews, only to be asked "How much do they cost?" When he said "Nothing" they told him "We'll take 10!"
I'm not sure who would be most insulted by this smorgasbord of stereotyping. But it was particularly odd that they allowed this on the evening when Jonathan Ross is back on BBC1 with his "offend no-one muzzle" firmly in place, and on a night when a colleague was recording a service for broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this morning, and had been asked, a few hours before recording, to change his reading from I Corinthians 1: 20-24 to something potentially less offensive to Jews!
What factors lie behind this? Clearly it is all affected by the recent Gaza confrontation... Another manifestation of the controversy still circling the Beeb, concerning their refusal to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Commitee appeal... all because their audience is clearly too stupid to distinguish between news stories, which of course are always even handed (except when newsreaders make snide remarks to Israeli spokesmen, which happened more than once) and charitable appeals, which are for the innocent victims of the conflict, with no judgement inherent on the rights or wrongs of the situation.
But it is also against the background of this week's insane decision (in the week of the Holocaust Memorial Day) of the Pope to remove the excommunication of Holocaust-denying ultra-conservative Richard Williamson. Given Pope Benny's membership of the Hitler Youth in his younger days, this is perhaps not the most politic decision he has ever made... He certainly could never be considered as politically correct.
But please excuse me as I quote the dangerous passage from I Corinthians in full, as it seems to speak to world gone mad:
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (ANIV)
Or am I allowed to say that any more?