“Fings ain’t wot they used to be”

26 11 2010


There are some weeks, it seems, that lay themselves wide open for comment. Weeks pass by with mere mundane stuff going on and then suddenly, with no warning, you have a week filled with stuff screaming for comment. Although there were more, I’ll limit comment to three things.

Oddly enough it wasn’t the big article on Monday that started me off, but a little one entitled “Archers drunk makes us look bad, say Scots” which was all about how a particular Scot in that long running radio soap, the Archers, was giving a bad name to Scots because he “has often been drunk, has slept around, stolen cars and grown his own cannabis.” This was a programme that I grew up with but gave up years ago when the producers decided to reflect modern life, which is another way of saying pandering to the worst aspect of human beings. It’s not the Scots who should offended, but humanity at large. So far has this programme degenerated that if Walter Gabriel has been a real figure he’d be turning in his grave now. This was a programme that a child could listen to with no problem. Set against the modern programme against the apostle Paul’s measuring line – “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” (Phil 4:8)  – and you’d never go near it.  But if this is a genuine reflection of modern life we are in serious trouble.  What was indirectly funny here, was that clearly someone had the temerity to suggest that getting drunk, sleeping around, stealing cars and growing cannabis is bad. Say it a bit louder somebody!

Of course it was Monday that the Pope seemed to be wading around in ethical treacle saying things that left a pure-brained individual like me gasping. It appeared, and it was not clear that this wasn’t just the media working up a fury because there wasn’t much other news, that he was agreeing to male prostitutes using condoms to limit the spread of Aids. By Thursday this was extended to women prostitutes and transsexuals. I guess the thinking here is that if you can’t stop one evil then at least seek to minimize its effects. When the UN sets up something that really works, to deal with child and women trafficking and to eradicate prostitution (need and execution) and to work to educate for responsible sexual behaviour, then I’ll know that the kingdom of heaven has broken lose on earth.

Maybe it was this that kicked off other stuff about Africa and Aids in the week, but nowhere in the media did I hear anyone suggesting a massive campaign to teach responsibility in sexual activity. So far have we slid down this path that it now seems almost outrageous to talk about sensible sex which means not doing it except within the confines of a marriage. Maintaining virginity until marriage – and then working at marriage to avoid divorce – is in fact the nearest one can come to ensuring an Aids-free life. Be honest, promiscuous sexual behaviour is the primary cause of passing it on.

An almost unbelievable breath of sanity was passed to me during the week, while we are on this subject, in the form of advice to senior investment bankers when thinking about taking over another firm. I quote, “Senior buyout executives have highlighted the importance of having a happy marriage to succeed as a company manager.” It went on to emphasise that men with marital problems are a liability and liable to fail to properly execute their jobs. Well that didn’t need much wisdom to understand but hooray that someone is at last saying it. Say it louder – marriage breakdowns wreck society!

Which takes us on to the third bizarre thing of the week, the Government’s apparent desire to work on a ‘Happy Index’. This one, when you really think about it, is so crazy as to lead one to think that this has just got to be Government spin to take our minds off something else. What did we miss?  That one on its own will, I suspect, generate pages in the weekend papers, so I’ll leave it alone for the moment.  However I cannot help thinking yet again of the old adage – how do you kill a frog – put it in a saucepan of cold water and gradually heat it until boiling by which time it will die. The gradual erosion of these things means we are living in a crazy world. What is encouraging is that more and more people (and I don’t just mean faith-community-people) are saying it. As I’ve said many times over the years, how long will it take us to shout, “the Emperor’s got no clothes!”





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