The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

You can probably guess the impression the book of this made upon me when you consider the name of Ambel’s ship in The Skinner. I called it the Treader, because that seemed like a good name for a somewhat weird ship undergoing a weird journey and, remember, Ambel’s ship even had a talking animal aboard…

However, if we are to judge by the way the last two books have been portrayed in film, I was missing the somewhat unsubtle message and the indoctrination bounced off my thick skin. When I read the books as a youngster I enjoyed the magic, swords, talking animals and not for one second did I think that I had ‘nothing without belief’ or that I had to ‘have faith’, nor did I notice that in our reality Aslan went under a different name. Even then I was realizing that suspension of disbelief was what I wanted, between the covers of a book.

The film was visually gorgeous and I would have enjoyed it immensely but for those two comments above dropped in like a roast pig in a mosque. From the first of them it lost me and I was sitting there with a bit of a sneer on my face, which became more pronounced at the end with all that Aslan’s kingdom nonsense.

Where the books so unsubtle? I don’t remember, maybe because as a youngster, having been brought up in an agnostic then firmly atheist household, I was making no connections at all. If they were then I find it surprising that my mother, a school teacher, used to read them to the kids at her school. One would suppose that they were, since in his other works C. S. Lewis was loudly banging his tambourine and arguing for belief, for faith. Or is it the case that those making these films too firmly bought into the idea of the Narnia books as a Christian allegory?

Where the books this loaded with doctrinal cudgels? Or were the products of this member of the Inklings not quite so consciously didactic? I don’t remember being quite so annoyed by the first film, The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe. Different directors, producers?


Here’s a couple of books I read recently, both with generally the same theme: those who once considered or a certain political persuasion discovering that they no longer recognize their own political club. Their club has become authoritarian, turned the word ‘liberal’ into a dirty word and has devalued the word ‘racism’. Following through on its hate of Western civilization (though mainly America) and an ill-defined guilt about being born there, it also now supports, by making it an offense even to criticise them, fascist fundamentalists who oppress women, would kill homosexuals and aim to crush us all under a hellish theocratic regime. Through multiculturalism it has created divisions in society, reinforced by positive discrimination, which is ‘discrimination’ still. All those battles fought by the lib/left for women’s rights, homosexual rights, for freedom and against racism, all turned on their head and thrown away.

Of the two I find the Andrews’ book clearer and more cogent. Both books, however, have the power to make you angry by neatly collating and slapping down in black and white those things you probably already know. Unless you’re still a member of that club, that is.

IRA Plonkers.

So, we have the ‘Continuity IRA’ and the ‘Real IRA’. You know, if they weren’t killing people this would almost be funny. Doesn’t all this remind you of something out of The Life of Brain

BRIAN: Are you the Judean People’s Front?
REG: Fuck off!
BRIAN: What?
REG: Judean People’s Front. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! Judean People’s Front. Cawk.
FRANCIS: Wankers.
BRIAN: Can I… join your group?
REG: No. Piss off.

Isn’t it a shame that some people’s existence only relates to the past, and never the future.

UFO Aliens Don't Like Wind Power.

I wasn’t going to bother with this one, but I feel I’ve got to put my tuppence worth in. So, a UFO struck a wind turbine. Let’s get something straight to start off with: UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object. It might well be that a flying pig struck that turbine but until investigators have found the mangled remains of the avian pork it remains unidentified, therefore a UFO. Ufologists are pretty well convinced there is an extraterrestrial explanation for the incident which saw one turbine blade ripped off and another seriously damaged by a vessel “about 170ft long” following numerous reports of mystery “low-flying aircraft”, lights in the sky and, finally, a “big bang”. But of course most people’s understanding of UFO is that it must have been a flying saucer, piloted by greys, zipping around Earth in a flying saucer. And now, since the wind farm has been sealed off by security personnel to keep the loons out, the conspiracy grows. Alien hunter Nick Pope had a light attack of the Area 51s, telling the Sun: “There may be something they don’t want people to see.” For fuck’s sake. The nearest star (other than Sol) is Proxima Centauri and it’s 4.3 light years away. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second so to tot up, that puts it at 25,284,000,000,000,000,000 miles away, give or take a few circuits of the Earth. The next star out is half that much again. Now, let’s just consider how a race capable of developing a technology to enable them to cross such a distance might manage to prang their space craft into a damned wind turbine … driver fatigue? Damned but there’s some fruit loops out there. But at least Pope redeems himself a bit with: Pope concluded: “If a stealth aircraft struck the turbine, it may be made of some material which is itself classified above top secret.” Just a bit of a conspiracy, then.

Atheist Bus

This is amusing and of course the ‘offensive’ word is once again rolled out to try and shut people up. Seems the world is full of people getting all offended which is great for governments wanting to bring in more legislation to control every second of our lives:

The advertising regulator has received almost 150 complaints that an atheist ad campaign, proclaiming “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, is offensive to Christians and other religions that believe in a single God.

Thing is, religions are allowed to advertise with their ‘Jesus loves you’, ‘God is great’ and some of them even have television channels dedicated to promote their ridiculous Bronze Age nonsense. I find that extremely offensive but don’t expect it to stop any time soon and would defend their right continue. So why shouldn’t atheists be allowed to advertise? In fact let’s have a TV channel and make the message a bit stronger than the rather bland one on the side of that bus. Anyway, I’d love to be a fly on the wall during this investigation:

Hanne Stinson, the chief executive of the British Humanist Association, which launched the campaign, said she “pitied the ASA if they are going to be expected to rule on the probability of god’s existence. However, if they do investigate we will be very happy to respond.

Intelligent (snigger) Design?

I picked up on this site from Charles Stross’s blog. Some real gems here.One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it.

I am a bit troubled. I believe my son has a girlfriend, because she left a dirty magazine with men in it under his bed. My son is only 16 and I really don’t think he’s ready to date yet. What’s worse is that he’s sneaking some girl to his room behind my back. I need help, God! I want my son to stop being so secretive! It is not known whether God created oil when he made the earth 6000 years ago, or whether oil and coal deposits were generated during Noah’s flood 4000 years ago. It does not mattter. What does matter is if you don’t believe that God created the earth 6000 years ago, you are going to Hell. Masturbation can sometimes be wrong and it can sometimes not. If you masturbate thinking about how pretty the flowers are and how you want a puppy, essentially that’s not wrong. But most times, that is not the case. I believe that when one masturbates a high percentage of the time they are fantasizing about a sexual partner therefore making masturbation lust. Lust, as the Bible states, is a sin. But masturbation is something that people in general should stay away from because it’s hard not to lust whilst doing it.

God is not Great — Christopher Hitchens

Having watched, listened to and enjoyed numerous video clips of Christopher Hitchens on You Tube I decided to buy his book God is not Great (How Religion Poisons Everything) and now, being about a third of the way in, I can make some comparisons between it and the Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion. In essence the two writers have assaulted the same territory and the books are very similar, but they have approached it from different directions. Dawkins is a scientist used to conveying his ideas in an as clear and concise a manner as possible and, having donned some literary garb, is still doing the same thing but in a much more palatable way for the general reader. Hitchens has approached the whole territory from the literary side and is more focused on that angle than the sometimes quite arid and exact scientific viewpoint, which certainly comes out when you hear Dawkins speak. Certainly Hitchens is just as sincere and strong in his opinions as Dawkins, but he’s also more concerned with writerly flourishes and probably the opinion of the literary critics in his circle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enjoying his book’s pyrotechnics immensely, and recommend it, however, thus far I prefer The God Delusion.

If you're religious, cover your eyes now!

I found this joke submitted to the Normal Bob Smith site (link down on the right) by one of his fans. Not to everyone’s taste, but I laughed.
Four Nuns die in a car accident and are waiting to get into heaven through the pearly gates. St Peter, being the gatekeeper, asks if any of them have had anything to do with a man’s penis. “Yes,” says the first, “I’ve seen one.” “Go wash out thine eyes in the holy fountain and yea may enter the gates of heaven.” “Well, I’ve touched one,” says the second nun. “Go wash thine hands in the holy fountain and yea may enter the gates of heaven.” St Peter now turns to see the last two nuns beating the shit out of each other, so runs over to separate them and demands to know what’s going on. “Well,” says the third nun, “I want to gargle before she washes out her arse.”