Another visit to culture-shift. This time in the UK, on BBC, about Life of Brian

This is an amazing video. For one thing the honest intellectual respect given to Jesus and Christianity by the Monty Python crew might set one back in surprise. But overall, this is amazing viewing.

In part II there are two detractors. Notice how amazingly civilized and respectful the entire debate was, despite the very strong feelings that the detractors of the film clearly felt for personal and vocational reasons. None of the detractors threatened the BBC or its staff for hosting the Monty Python creators, and in fact, the BBC treated them with exceptional fairness and intellectual honesty.

Imagine that happening today with factual critics of islam. If indeed you even can at this late stage.

at 2:55 he makes the point about making this film about Mohammad. And that was in 1979!

I haven’t had a chance to audition all of part 3, and haven’t even looked at 4. But you can see a bit of Postmodern thought infecting Michael Palin at one point when he indulges in a bit of self righteous temporal relativism and other now all too common tactics of the anti-Western left.

Still. Its a fascinating look at issues which have metastasized massively and transformed themselves into powerful weapons and threaten to bring down our entire civilization.



About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

9 Replies to “Another visit to culture-shift. This time in the UK, on BBC, about Life of Brian”

  1. Palin was angry and said some things in anger, or anger for him. Compared to other people you might not even notice it. But, the Bishop of Southwark and Malcolm Muggeridge showed they had no intention of evaluating Life of Brian on the merits and quality of the film. In fact, they had probably not even watched it. They were there to make a mental masturbatory display of their right think for older British who hadn’t even seen the film either. As far as defending the faith, the Bishop of Southwark was a notorious homosexual, but he tries to pretend he is the rock that will stand up for the truth of the Bible. Which, of course, excludes homosexuality. According to Wikipedia:

    Palin said about the bishop, years later
    “He began, with notes carefully hidden in his crotch, tucked down well out of camera range, to give a short sermon, addressed not to John or myself but to the audience. In the first three or four minutes he had brought in Nicolae Ceau?escu and Mao Tse-tung and not begun to make one point about the film. Then he began to turn to the movie. He accused us of making a mockery of the work of Mother Teresa, of being undergraduate and mentally unstable. He made these remarks with all the smug and patronising paraphernalia of the gallery-player, who believes that the audience will see he is right, because he is a bishop and we’re not”.

    Palin also claimed that, after the discussion, both his foes said “How pathetic, hopeless and meaningless and juvenile it was. Instead of there being any sort of division between us afterwards, they came up as though we’d all been ‘showbiz’ together, out doing an entertainment, with the Bishop saying ‘That all seemed to go very well’. I hadn’t realised they weren’t being vindictive, they were just performing to the crowd.”

    Palin recalled in The Guardian: “[w]e had done our homework, thinking we were going to get into quite a tough theological argument, but it turned out to be virtually a slanging match. We were very surprised by that. I don’t get angry very often, but I got incandescent with rage at their attitude and the smugness of it”. Cleese preferred to sum it all up by saying “I always felt we won that one by behaving better than the Christians”.

    • Thank you for that. Very interesting. I was young when the movie came out, but I remember how it brought priests and rabbis together in solidarity to boycott the film in what may have been one of the earliest examples of the Streisand effect, before that was even a thing.

      Still one of my favorite movies.

      • Just my opinion, but I consider it the funniest movie of all time. And it worked on so many levels. The script was great. The sets and costuming were great. The crowd scenes were great. And the editing was great. I’ve seen some of the outtakes that didn’t make it into the film. A bit at the beginning about some shepherds in a field. Not funny. A bit that developed the Judean Peoples Front and explained they were Nazi Zionists. Not funny. A bit where the People’s Front of Judea tries to kidnap Pilate’s wife, Incontinentia Buttocks. She was played by the same 7 foot guy that played the enforcer in the “haggling” scene. Not funny. If those bits had been included, it would have harmed the seemingly effortless flow of the movie. No, it was Python’s masterpiece, IMHO.

  2. I find this interesting precisely because of the time it was made. The ’80’s are within easy grasp for most of us. We remember the period quite vividly. (Lovely how time flies…) And for this very reason we are so able to juxtapose now, and then, in stark but brilliant contrast. Now, more and more, we bring up near-history for the benefit of our understanding. We see the moral relativism creeping into Cleese’s and Palin’s arguements, yet here I see that as youthful rebellion trying to remain objective. Healthy. Yes, if they had known their PoMo future, both Cleese and Palin would probably be arguing that all cultures and religions are NOT created equally. However for them, faced by a stodgy old pervert and the arrogant other guy, they most certainly would fight to hold their ground.

    Now I start to comb my memory for more examples of near-history contrast. Amorphous, innocent things that we never questioned have become life and death issues. Planting the flag on the moon? Guarding borders? Ryan Gosling thinks we were all people of one earth (or some similar progressive parroting) so his new movie doesn’t show the planting of the flag? Preposterous.. On that day every person on earth was AMERICAN. The ideals of freedom, innovation and hope are galvanized by the Stars and Stripes. Forever. Hollywood has it backwards. Or maybe backwards is just how Hollywood wants it.

    Combing near history for contrasts. For measuring sticks. The Lord’s prayer in school. The national anthem before every movie in the theater. (I still remember telling a buddy to stand up.) Feeling the afro of the only black kid in grade three just because we were curious how it felt. Calling eachother faggots as a big insult. Smoking cigarettes way too young. (In fact when I look back at how rough and tumble we were at certain ages, and compare to kids now, I’m amazed on one level at how straight kids are in many way, but in great peril of deep twisting by nefarious forces in others.) Looking down our noses at any car made in Japan. Wearing a t-shirt I ordered out of Soldier of Fortune magazine that had an M-15 with the slogan “Kill A Commie For Mommy” written on it. And nobody batting an eye. My father never once sayin the word “fuck” in the presence of his children. My mother always attentive to what was playing on tv and if it was ok for kids, and how low her threshold for acceptabity truly was. Such fiercely-guarded innocence. Life before demoralization.

    Anyhow I think my point about near history is worthy. We of a certain age are uniquely qualified to tell younger people that there is more to school than gender fluidity and Sustainable Development. (As a small aside, note how the term “gay rights” is already somewhat obsolete? No longer necessary? Because what was, and is, a muniscule portion of the population became so politically powerful that it is now able to go three steps beyond so-called basic rights.)

    The Bishop is fearful of the Monty Python gang because, as they so recklessly swing their bats hoping to occasionally connect with humour and meaning, truth is the most dangerous weapon, and always will be.

  3. Sorry John but there’s not much evidence of critical thinking here: Well it wasn’t really about Jesus, many people were crucified, and it wasn’t about the crucifixion it was about death.
    Malcolm Muggeridge: (the only real thinker in the bunch), We all know that if Jesus hadn’t lived, this movie would never have been made.
    John: Yes well we wanted to get people to think critically, the Inquisition, the Germans, some bad sermons at school. (Always good for a laugh from the crowd).
    I doubt anyone went home from the movie and started critically thinking about anything. They saw it as being good for a laugh and nothing more, and Christianity as a joke.
    So we laughed at Christianity, Fathers of families in sitcoms, teachers trying to teach in schools,bumbling straight white guys (gays are so much more sympatheti, attractive and smart), in movies, sit coms and talk shows.
    etc etc…etc ad nauseum. They don’t seem so funny now.
    We laughed at much of it and let our children laugh too, we were naive fools and irresponsible parents, not realizing that while we laughed others were plotting the long march through the institutions, chipping away at Western Civilization relentlessly, and Christianity in particular.
    Many will still be laughing as our civilization falls, and then there will be tears. Those of us who are old and aware of what has happened, are already sorrowing, mostly for what we failed to do.
    I know we’re all Nazis now, but it’s no coincidence that they, the Soviets, and all totalitarian governments in recent history and today persecuted the Church and Christians, and at the same time made Christianity a figure of fun, usually by corrupting the youth.
    For a real bit of critical thinking read Pope Benedict’s “Jesus of Nazareth”, three volumes. Or for something shorter, his address at Regensburg, the speech that caused a stir, though few I think bothered to read what he actually said. Also Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s Templeton Address. The two speeches are available on the internet, if you just google them.
    Yes “Fawlty Towers” was funny, but I see John Cleese has given up and escaped to an island paradise. Others are not able to escape so easily.
    And as I look at England today I feel alternately anger and sadness at the passing of a country, the country of my youth, that seems like paradise compared to what it is today.

    • “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, commonly referred to as the Jefferson Bible, refers to one of two religious works constructed by Thomas Jefferson. The first, The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth, was completed in 1804, but no copies exist today.[1] The second, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, was completed in 1820 by cutting and pasting with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus”

      This second book, an interpolation of the four gospels, does not have a virgin birth or a ressurection narrative. But then, we know of it’s intent and it would not in any way be take it as a literal version. That is, unless another two hundred years later a new dictator decreed with their priests that this was the True Gospel.

      Why then, not have the original four gospels, starting from the earliest of Mark, taken obliquely by including the intent of the writers and their audiences’ perceptions? Why can’t there be layers of meaning to breach the censors of the time?

      Monty Python captured humorously the superficial idiocy and deception of those Churches that crafted an industry in priesthoods and fleeced. Those who made the Bible literal.

      Such homosexual priests hidden for thousands of years would feel the sting.

      And these very same religious hypocrisies, the Greek Bible had already pulled out and mocked the Jewish religion for. Parables are parodies. The Good Samaratan. The sheep falls in a pit. These, that the rabies would kill for.

      Monty Python followed a British tradition after the Second World War of lampooning Hitler, that their Socialist government today now jails for as Hate Crimes.

      Until they themselves are criminalized. The dragon eating its tail:

      • The theocracies. What a living hell, to live by someone else’s God.

        “Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.”
        Thomas Jefferson
        3rd president of US (1743 – 1826)

        “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thomas Jefferson

        “allahu akbar! allahu akbar! allahu akbar!” – the living dead.

  4. This is what Peter Hitchens would call the dying embers of a Christian civilisation, which is still preserving and relying on Christian principles of interaction for stability, despite inevitably withering having been divorced from its roots. The only person on that show who genuinely believed in God and the Christian life was Muggeridge. It is no coincidence that only Christian societies produced a genuine respect for free speech. As Dr Mark Durie has observed, it is very difficult to have a society in which you can truly violently disagree with someone yet not feel compelled to punch them on the nose, unless it has somehow internalised the Gospel principle of loving your enemy…

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