Hello again iiwiiers
Well, I didn't start this as early as I'd like, but I'm going to finish it at a more satisfactory time. But enough about that. I'm busy this weekend but I will carry on regardless. Enough about that too. In fact, I'm not going to tell you when I've had to squeeze this out late and tired in the future, or that I might have to, not unless it's really ropey. And now, let's get on with it.
I listened to the special editions of BBC Radio 4's In Our Time for Charles Darwin's birthday or whatever reason people are going on about him at the moment, some sort of anniversary no doubt. Four in a week, as opposed to the usual weekly thing. Not bad, but not proper In Our Time really, boo. They were very bitty, not three experts in the studio for the duration of the 45 minutes but lots of shorter bits of people clearly recorded here and there over quite a long period of time. I think very occasionally there was a piece where two people were there to talk to him at once. Not really In Our Time, that format, as far as I'm concerned. Melv seemed to call it Darwin In Our Time at least once but that's not enough to get him off, as far as I'm concerned. But how concerned am I? Not very. Which must be a relief to him. Terrified of me, he is. The content was a bit above average, although that doesn't mean much as they're rather hit and miss for me. What we got, on the whole, was his life story. Is that an intellectual look behind the story of missing the point and concentrating on the soap opera? I don't know if we really needed a detailed description of what the chapel where they did the sermons at Oxbridge University looked like when he was there, what architectural details would have been different from what they are now. At least, as far as I'm concerned he's interesting because of On the Origin of Species, and I'm not convinced that would have been significantly different if that chapel looked more like it does now.
The BBC had a rubbish piece on Monday - Five ways to slay the beast of 2009 - I think it's worth rubbishing fairly thoroughly - it's jam packed with dross. I do like the rather jaunty silly collage that appears at the top, but it's rapidly downhill from there. They asked five 'commentators' to each come up with an original, simple idea to boost the feelgood factor. Not like sports commentators. I don't know what qualifies one to be a commentator. Stupidity and/or lack of imagination, it seems. First up is Mark Vernon, a 'philosopher' it says. Author of Wellbeing. Hmm, as the title of a book by a philosopher, it's hardly Being And Nothingness, is it? How significant of a philosopher is he? Wikipedia has never heard of him. What's his original, simple idea? We should all go to a church concert. Uh-huh, that's right. "Music takes you beyond words and it speaks straight to your heart and your emotions, something powerfully human, and religious music particularly points you to the transcendental. Whether or not you believe in God it is taking you beyond your material concerns and can even be a relief from them" he says. "No-one really understands how music works. It seems to have this direct line to the soul. That's why it's popular. What's good about church music is that it's free and it's directed at human wellbeing. There are very few words said at an Evensong, therefore you are not forced to hear things you don't believe and you can just sit back and enjoy it, in a beautiful building." So, he's saying go to church, even if you're an atheist, it's great. A slightly unusual viewpoint for a philosopher, I think. I wonder what other philosophy he does? I had a look. Seeing scientific knowledge as limitless erodes our capacity for contemplative wonder. I wonder what his website says about him? Mark Vernon is a writer, broadcaster and journalist. He began his professional life as a priest in the Church of England: it may not seem an obvious step from there to journalism but writing a sermon is remarkably similarly to writing a feature; and speaking to parishoners is remarkably like talking to a microphone. Aaaaaah. He has a PhD in philosophy, a degree in physics and two degrees in theology. I wonder why the BBC chose to describe him as a philosopher. As you can see, even he doesn't describe himself as that. But I'm sure any faith he may have (it's strangely hard to see if he does or not). You could say that if he wants to keep it private that's up to him, but if an ex-priest with two theology degrees says 'go to church, even if you're not religious, it's great!' while only being described as a philosopher, I don't think it's unreasonable if you wonder if there's something disingenuous about his suggestion. He also broadcasts, notable on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time." I've never noticed him. But I'll keep an ear out now.
Diarmud Gavin suggests we grow our own vegetables. Given that he's a television gardener I don't think that's a very original suggestion. The heading is Plant A Brassica but he only mentions one vegetable that's a brassica and more that aren't. I don't have a garden. He pays lip service to me, but it's pathetic. "Excess produce can be shared around and you don't need a garden, just a window-box, grow bag or a recycled tyre. And being self-sufficient can be fun." Excess produce? Self-sufficient? With a ruddy window-box? What am I, a microbe?
'Celebrity personal trainer' Paul Connolly (that shows how low the bar is to be a 'commentator') thinks we should all start boxing. He can get lost. He can box if he wants, how narrow-minded to think it's for everyone. Another unoriginal suggestion, given his 'job'. "It goes back to when we lived in caves. We are too civilised now, sitting in chairs in offices, but boxing is how we survived." Whaaaaaat? We are too civilised? What rubbbbbish. What utter tosh. And cavemen survived by boxing? Even Karl Pilkington would be sceptical about that. What is he saying, that when a lion was chasing him the challenged it to three rounds? Or two of them had a boxing match to impress it so it went away and found something else to eat?
'Personality coach' (even worse than a 'celebrity personal trainer' in my opinion) Jeremy Milnes thinks we should have a "potluck" dinner. A dreadful idea, but sadly the best by far here, even if it would mean meeting a lot of new people, who are bound to be awful. Of all the suggestions here I think it's the one that's least like a bus driver having an 'original' suggestion that everyone should drive a bus. Finally: "Maitreyaraja, manager of the London Buddhist Centre, recommended learning metta bhadvana meditation as the best way to feel happier in 2009." I really don't need to comment on that one, do I?
that's all from me for now
see you around
Car Of The Day Film For Historians Of The Day: Nissan S-RV