Monday, January 16, 2006

SO.... Graham Norton

Ok so I may be out of touch with reality, society and in a little Christian bubble but something Graham Norton said last night on The Bigger Picture with Graham Norton (which I caught as I flicked over to watch Film 2006). Now I actually LIKE a lot of Graham Norton's humour and the guests were also people I liked; Alan Cumming, Sandi Toksvig (Have though she's fab ever since Ethel in No.73) and Sir Ian McKellen. However I tuned in just as Graham was describing friend of his mother's who was as he described, "one of those real Christians who goes to church every Sunday and takes Holy communion and everything" (slight paraphrase). Clearly he was using this as an example of why religion was a bit "silly" because he followed up a description of this woman by saying that he heard her say: "I mean that idea of the Immaculate Conception... you'd have to be REALLY naive/gullible (can't remember the exact word) to believe THAT. Well it's only the ENTIRE basis of your faith!" much hilarity ensued.

Er... Graham...? IMMACULATE CONCEPTION actually NOT the entire basis of the Christian faith that would be THE VIRGIN BIRTH you were thinking of and it is entirely possible NOT to believe it and still be a Christian. Brilliantly this is NOT a mistake the BBC itself makes as it has it very clearly laid out.

I'm sure I was unjustifiably annoyed about this common confusion being aired on TV and I'm sure I'm turning into an old Mary Whitehouse type lady.

Question is...

What should we do to prevent such misunderstandings? I think they matter. Do other people think so?


Mark said...

Not sure it is a big issue... I don't really see how the mistake itself is going to effect anyone... Norton often has a dig at Irish Catholics, which 99 times out of a 100 will go WAY over the heads of the vast majority of people... don't forget that all TV audiance laughter is staged, the 'crowd' are a) hyped up to laugh at anything, and have a floor manager holding up big signs in anticipation of any joke and a comedian working the crowd between takes, also if the laugh isn't big enough they refilm it!... However we do need to be aware the image of Christians in the media, but I think that is changing anyway, through TV companies doing trend analysis into spirituality, the role of jubilee2000 and MPH... I haven't had any negative stuff... and I think we have to bear more responsibilty than the media itself... see the homosexuality and women Bishops arguments! Ultimately I think there are far more significant 'battlefields'... like the Church itself!

EasyRew said...

I wouldn't agree that you're turning into an old Mary Whitehouse type, but neither would I agree that it's a big deal.

I think if someone is going to base their faith on something that Graham Norton says in jest on his show, or have their faith shaken/changed by it, then I think the Church has a much bigger problem than we imagine.

If a friend/colleague/young person approaches you and says "Graham Norton that true", then make the most of the opportunity and present them with the truth.


Badger said...

This has got to be a VERY common misconception (no pun intended!). Anyone who knows what it actually means is unlikely to be much swayed by any crude humour relating to it, and anyone else will assume that it means what Norton ('s scriptwriters) obviously think it means, and no harm will be done either way. I'm tempted to say 'so what?' I'm afraid. And we don't know whether the woman in question had her knickers in a twist about the immaculate conception/virgin birth herself anyway. Not a little faith is necessary to believe in the veracity of both ideas.
Let Mr Norton make his silly, uneducated joke, leave him some slack in matters of convoluted catholic theology, and turn off your TV and do something more interesting instead! Sorry...