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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, October 31, 2008
Cf. Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2
One week after cheering the HFE Bill fashionable Media and M.P.s cry “evil”.

What happened? 18th October last, post- 9p.m. pre-recorded Radio Two comedy show involved a 30 minute indecent taunting of Andrew Sachs (the actor who played Manuel in Fawlty Towers) on his ansa-phone concerning his granddaughter.
Who are the culprits? Two very popular and witty DJs, who spend a lot of their time humorously challenging moral limits – successfully attracting millions of viewers & listeners. Russell Brand has resigned from the BBC, Jonathan Ross, who is paid £6m/yr, seems too valuable to the BBC to go.
What are the previous examples of them pushing back limits? On the internet one can see the text of increasingly lewd and crude interviewing of celebrities by the clever Jonathan Ross over the last few years- for example with David Cameron, Jo Brand, Joanna Wilkinson, Jo Brand, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc. etc. And last April Russell Brand appeared making jokes about Jonathan Ross’s daughters which were extremely similar to those he made on 18th October.
What’s special about this case? It went even further – putting ‘likely to offend’ messages on a personal ansa-phone of someone of an older generation, whose values probably pre-date the relentless pushing back of limits by our modern cultural icons.
Isn’t this a bit like Tabloid reporting of celebrity relationships, or in-your-face soft-porn adverts on the back of buses, or on very large bill-boards? Yes, but this incident goes beyond currently fashionable limits. Its intrusion into privacy and its sexual inuendoes are of an even more personal and insensitive nature.
Is this a clear-cut, set-in-stone, moral limit? Current ways of thinking reject absolute limits. The values concerning relationships and reporting of the generation of Andrew Sachs have changed greatly - we are a lot more sexualized and intrusive. And the incident which has caused all this cultural furore is only a little worse than currently accepted celebrity interviewing & reporting
What has been the furore? Our Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, numerous other M.P.s and 27,000 others have formally complained, the BBC Director General has come home from hol.s, etc
Might some of these people have a short fuse, if they find previous interviews and tabloid reports OK but this incident horrific? Quite possibly. After all there certainly wasn’t such an outcry last week when the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill pushed the anti-life culture forward yet another step, allowing human embryos to be created (and even brought to birth) as primarily a means to an end, and natural fatherhood to be removed from the life of a child.
Might modern psychology help us to understand this sudden angry outcry? Maybe. Certainly at moments of deep moral corruption humans have a tendency towards noisy denial.
What can we do? Repent, pray and work for healing and for the conversion of England.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:55 pm