“Ex-Python Eric Idle and Brian Cox to take on The Entire Universe for the BBC”
The question to be asked, after my having seen this show, is; whether it was appropriate, suitable, viewing for Christmas television? True something has to be broadcast in the place of the Christmas message; I mean The Nativity and the stories accruing around it. This actual Christmas message is as good as dead to our TV screens.
Not only I question whether the show was appropriate; but also who commissioned it; and what were its origins; and I ask these questions because the show had ‘an agenda’; despite being labelled ‘a musical’ and headed-up by ex-Python Eric Idle.
Idle and his cronies did untold damage to British society during their heydays; no favours to anyone; and it seems simply because those cronies and Idle felt they had certainty on their sides in the ‘mission’ they chose to preach. Even one of their favourite playthings, the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein considered deeply on the topic of certainty in his monograph ‘On Certainty’, and without firm conclusions. The Pythons knew better; the Pythons jumped to their conclusions; shoved a lot of nihilist destructive stuff before the nation’s minds; and called it truth.
I suspect they took up such a mission with all the fervour of Evangelists in large part so as to become household names; successful as TV and movie comedy celebrities; and of course for wealth and renown. There has been and continues to be a great failed harvest of persons leaving Oxbridge who have concluded after a shallow drink of ‘The Pierian Spring’ that all things are absurd and the is world pointless, senseless; and who end up in entertainment as their chosen route to what they consider a’ good life’. Thus; as the cream rises to the top; so too does the scum: (No apology)
The dismaying verdict of St Paul characterises these people, ‘eat drink and be merry; for tomorrow we die’ a saying which sums up very finely their outlooks on life. Idle himself, in a serious moment; I have heard publicly proclaim on radio that ‘we are all walking dead men’. This message is not helpful; it is not proven; it is surmise and it is utterly corrosive of what is actually ‘the good life’ and of a society in which life might otherwise be had, and had ‘in abundance’.
These guys; especially The Pythons have used:
“Destruction with destruction to destroy’
And they have made a life out of it and enjoyed themselves doing it; and dare I suggest they might easily have seen the current social consequences, and perhaps did see them regardless. After all what is there to want to conserve when everything one considers appears to say to one that ‘life is just a bowl of shit’? No, instead make a name and a fortune popularising the conclusions of 20th century French philosophers and Absurdist dramatists, and of the lesser Post-Modernist ‘preachers’ of nihilism.
These guys would spit on; mock and punch holes of cynical laughter through such words as:
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”
That has been their trade; their business; their chosen paths in life; putting ideological dogmas before simple truths like ‘goodwill to all men’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ and ‘do as you would be done by’; all Christian quotations from the Christian gospels upon which our heritage used to be founded; a heritage now is foundered on petty wealth-creation, and as such cannot, will not, survive very much longer.
Truly those whose understandings of life have been influenced and so degraded by The Pythons and those others who have fled Oxbridge for Mammon and for Icarus; those ordinary people might at best say similarly what Caliban complains to Prospero:
“You taught me language and my profit on it is I know how to curse. The red plague rid you for learning me your language”
Were that those unfortunates might become aware of their unfortunate states
This TV Christmas Special titled “The Entire Universe” starred Idle and Professor Brian Cox dishing up together ‘cold porridge’ as YMCA (yesterday’s muck cooked again). Both Cox and Idle had said before now all they had to say and many times before and on TV. Nothing new whatsoever; another iteration of a hardly subliminal message that said (yet again) of Idle and Cox:
“I see ye are the people; and wisdom will die with you’
The title ‘The Entire Universe’ for gall takes some beating; from the very off the show is ‘stuffing these words into my mouth against the stomach of my sense’. Here we are implicitly offered all knowledge in 45 plus minutes or so. Swiftian to a risible degree; with all the hubris of Dr Faustus and Agamemnon
And the ‘musical’ parts of the show, Idle’s parts, which intrude incongruously into Cox’s exegesis of his favourite cosmological theses; these are the same zany and discontinuous absurdities he was earning his living by 40 years ago. Their intended effect, I believe, was to push the agenda with the aid of Brian Cox’s science, that we are a humankind ‘cut loose’ in space; ‘cut loose’ amongst other things, from Christianity and from Jesus and from any spiritual foundation whatsoever. No direct mention of religion at all in the show; but an undercurrent theme was there setting out to attempt another few nails in its coffin in every line of the text, every image, of the show.
How might Idle and Cox defend their propagation of such a view of life? Cox might certainly claim ‘truth’ to be on his side. I do not see that he has delved much or even desultorily into a study of philosophy; from his stated views and his behaviour I believe he is tunnel-vision science only. Idle has less excuse, if Cox’s lack of breath can be excused; Idle knows philosophy and he knows the arguments I am concerned with here. I believe that at best Idle might attempt to justify his wrecking-ball career by quoting the incredibly banal and sadly ignorant words of Lennon’s ubiquitous ‘Imagine’:
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace,
The brunt of this argument is that nationalism (countries) and religion were they to be abolished we should all live in ‘peace’ as a race. The threats of Hell and the promise of Heaven being removed from our lives appear to be thought to be able to liberate us from any anxieties about their looming threats and their possible realisations.
Thus Idle would be resting his case on soft-minded delusional pap. No-one: I mean No-one – who has thought a little about we people as individuals and as a race – sees us other than a flawed species; or if you prefer ‘damaged goods’. Few other species than Homo sapiens kill so many of their own; or hate so many of their own; the list of evils of ‘man’s ingratitude to man’ is very, very long.
Nationalism and religion when used as weapons are merely just that; armaments; ammunition; stops on which belligerent and evil persons play, from the cowardly safety of their penthouse suites, to gain public support for their wars and schemes of hatred and gain. There is a passage from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice:
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!”
Indeed we say commonly; “Even the Devil can quote Scripture’. Likewise (Christian or any) religion can be twisted and distorted and tortured into uses far, far from those Our Lord commands us in love to use as His Church; to use beautifully and simply and truly and lovingly utterly. The very worst evils arise out of distortions of the very finest goodness.
St John testifies that Jesus himself did not depend on ‘men’ and that he did not depend on ‘men’ because:
“While He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the signs He was doing and believed in His name. But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all men. He did not need any testimony about man, for He knew what was in a man”
We too, were we to be honest with ourselves and look forthrightly into our own hearts; we also would have to agree with The Psalmist that:
I am ready to fall,
And my sorrow is continually before me.
For I confess my iniquity;
I am full of anxiety because of my sin.
When we look without favour on ourselves we know we are the harbourers of evil thoughts and the cherishers of evil deeds. To fob off our innate flawedness individually and collectively onto ‘religion’ and ‘nationalism’ is at best to miss the point utterly and at worst to deceive ourselves; and maybe deliberately so? We are the problem; each of us; every one.
Idle came up with his usual ‘nuns and vicars’ style of ‘comic’ zanies; Russian dancers dancing pop dance routines and spangled women accompanying; the usual Monty Python style interruptions and interpolations by odd and absurd occurrences and speeches with Cox and not Cleese playing the straight guy. The studio audience before whom the show was being recorded wore plastic ‘monkey face’ masks and many references to BBC’s Radio Show ‘The Infinite Monkey Cage’ were made upon any opportunity offered by Cox’s drawl on ‘infinite parallel quantum universes’. The covert message was clear: here are in the audience descendents of apes and they in no way might be said to be ‘a little lower than the angels’.
Cox discoursed, never losing his cool and deadpan, on the eventual demise of all things saying pontifically ‘Nothing last forever’. He briefed us yet again on his vision of The Death of The Universe(s) and in his unsentimental clinical style without any valedictory nuance he laid bare with some vigour our final obliterations as a race and the prospect of a Creation disappearing eventually into nothingness. Thus back to the French and German philosophers we went; and to Certainty. Cox seemed so sure of his vision for the future of all things that he seemed positively to exude certainty and perhaps a tiny bit of schadenfreude glee maybe? Artaud: Theatre of Cruelty.
I guess he wagers with himself that any sloppiness and feeling in his message is unscientific and also it doesn’t titillate and set people on the edge of their seats so much as bad news and downbeat projections? Doctor Death: Happy Christmas!
For viewers of the show who have no reasonably secure belief in a metaphysic of some kind by which they might understand the nature of existence; there is no route open to them by which they might attempt to objectify and so assess the value and validity of what is passing before their eyes and into their ears as this show. They are therefore a totally captive audience in this regard. They cannot provide any, none, no context within which this ‘bowl of shit’ to quote Idle, might be fairly assessed. For those who lack such apparatus, it is necessary and inevitable for them to drink down the whole slurry lot in one gulp. Job done Cox and Idle: Another few cracks in the social order another few bricks coming away crumbling.
This jettisoning of religion and of other ‘outmoded’ boons and ways of life is without doubt in my mind being done deliberately; and someone somewhere; a group of smartarses; is pushing these goods on the rest of us; no doubt. My US friend whom I chew these things over with suggests a Chatham House type backroom plot. And what is the BBC doing presenting this gone-off blancmange? This jettisoning of religion has caused, instead of freeing up us people to be ‘good and benevolent’ (IMAGINE that!) to one another and so ‘living life in peace’; it has instead opened to us a grubby Pandora’s Box of ‘anything goes’ – provided its legal or you can get away with it. All our personal and finer restraints on our less salubrious selves have gradually melted down like church plate into a fiery furnace of self-will and abandonment. This is where we have come to and where our future is heading with us in the van. Only so long is a society able for condoning, encouraging, advocating ‘anything goes’ and yet continue to cleave together and function stably.
But it is not merely, in fact it is hardly, the concern about a disintegrating society that counts here; that is an expedient and contingent matter after all. The Big Disaster is the loss of spiritual vision in our world; that vision which has at its zenith (for me) The Perfect Man who was also The Son of God. (Muslims are far less shaken and destroyed by our home-brewed poison chalice of idle ignorance and rejection of all things Sweetness and Light; Muslim culture, spiritual lives, religion and ways of life are sound and stable and they benefit incalculably as human beings from these sureties whereas we the Christian apostates are set beside them in dismal comparison)
Spirituals values are at the very least a damper, a curb on our rampant materialist consumption and its belligerence. Our low and sordid quests, our lusts for fame, wealth, celebrity, power sway influence; whether we be of the New Woman persuasion; or of the neo-liberated gay, racial, or disabled schools; or husbands for justice or Paralympic eager-beavers; whatever; there is nothing in principle wrong with being any of these; yet we should have a better more fulfilled and more valuable valid life were we to open ourselves up, mind and heart both and importantly; to see where at present we look but do not see; and listen but we do not yet hear; and so cultivate our spiritual lives and its values; IMPORTANTLY; ESSENTIALLY; not for our own sakes and benefits; but simply FOR OUR NEIGHBOUR’S.
There is too, too much self in these current various pursuits after ‘a higher-profile’; such pursuits to be as are say Cox and Idle – The Masters of the Universe; to be such, again in the words of Lennon, who really was misguided:
You gotta live
You gotta love
You gotta be somebody
You gotta shove
You don’t have to be somebody. You don’t have to shove. That is not it at all.
“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you; let him be your servant”
I have written elsewhere saying and laying out clearly how our means of manufacture buying and selling are great obstacles to us becoming again spiritual beings; perhaps the greatest of all modern day obstacles. All our wealth creation spending and earning is built on principles which are polar opposed to Christian ones.
‘One cannot serve God and Mammon’ says The Lord Jesus. Until we stop using others like ciphers coaxing them and distorting data offered to them in order to use them to sell our products to; until we again put before ourselves happily our duties and our obligations, and we are glad to forego our petty pleasures for the self – our shopping sprees our dinings-out and fancy exotic holidaying – until we feel in our very hearts and alongside the suffers those agonies and losses brought upon others by our placing ourselves before them in the goodies queues; and until we stop ardently accepting devil take the hindmost competition where there cannot be but winners and losers; and to espouse instead of all this ‘healthy’ cut and thrust – healthy so long as we’re alright jack – our received Commission to submit ourselves, our flawed natures, as entirely as we are capable of, to a spiritual entity such as Jesus; and so learn at his feet the principles and the foundational truths which all point to love as the great source of life, existence and being. Until such a time comes, no amount of giving to Charities; of helping out down the shop; of doing one’s bit in a Marathon or an Iron Man, will be near wholly effectual and sufficient.
Whenever one gives another a gift; and especially when one is giving a gift in the name of love; and most especially when one is giving a gift in the name of God; one’s heart has to be right before that gift is authentic and becomes effectual. That is an immutable law of life. Give now. Give yourself. Serve God and be whole. Amen. Amen.