Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Your stupid minds! Stupid!! STUPID!!!"

Well, there you have it: Archbishop Rowan "Eros" Williams's "apology" for Shariagate. He doesn't acknowledge any error in his ideas - it's just that, in his divine innocence, he didn't realize that they'd be overheard and misunderstood by the ignorant and the illiterate (and no, that's not referring to Muslims). He's really the victim here - how was he to know that all this ruckus would arise just because he didn't dumb down the message in the first place?

The Bishop of Durham agrees.
He was addressing some of the most serious and far-reaching questions which face us both in Britain and throughout western culture, and was doing so with the sensitivity and intellectual rigour which the occasion, and his audience, rightly demanded. We should be grateful that we have an Archbishop capable of such work, not demand that his every word be instantly comprehensible by the casual uninformed onlooker. If I ask someone to fix my car, or my computer, I don’t expect to understand everything they say about the technicalities; rather, I’m glad someone out there knows what’s going on and can do what’s necessary.
Leave it to the EXPERTS, kiddies. Williams must have assumed that his speech would only be noticed by his kind of audience, and even if, by some incredible chance, it got out to the general public, it would be so erudite and sophisticated, the ignorant swine would just grunt and roll over again, unable to understand what he'd said. Plus they'd know that it was their place to keep their eyes lowered in any case, and wouldn't trouble him with their opinions. I think what really was so "astonishing" to these gentlemen was that they could be interfered with and balked by what they've obviously long considered the sweating masses, who should be grateful that their toil supports such intellectual titans. As Mr. Burns said, suddenly Joe Meatball and Sally Housecoat were talking back, and worse still, their voices were loud, insistent, important, and unable to ignore. Rowan Williams, having to explain himself to some bank clerk or kindergarten teacher! Outrageous!

This sharia business all sounded so reasonable when he was discussing it over tea with his Muslim friends who also wear wool on their faces! You know those guys - the "many Muslim scholars" (Which ones, exactly? "MANY. Muslim. Scholars") who have told him that no, no, no, all that killing and chopping and beating stuff is just a kind of Boys' Own adventure fiction. Nobody REALLY believes in it - it's just the Muslim equivalent of Biggles vs. The Hun, meant to keep the lads' spirits up.

Williams's job seems to be safe for now - some politician who owns the church said so. And the spinners appear to have convinced themselves, if nobody else, that this was all a big nothing.

I can see why revisionists are desperate to keep Williams afloat, considering how much they've got invested in him. There's a part near the end of 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy', when the conspiracy is unravelling, where George Smiley confronts Toby Esterhase, one of the high-up dupes in the Circus. "Have you ever bought a counterfeit painting?" he asks him. As one's fears and suspicions continue to grow of having been hoodwinked, the natural reaction for some is to insist ever more forcefully that the painting IS genuine. So the Rowan apologists are clamouring ever louder that he IS brilliant, he IS a great man, he is he is he IS! But the magic is gone now. Everyone knows that a) we're not that dumb, and b) he's not that smart, and that haze of mystery will never return. He's got his job, but everyone knows he's an old fool and a fraud, and the English never forgive an incompetent phoney.

It was his vanity that led him to play the lofty Holy Arbitrator among squabbling creeds. It was his vanity that made him refuse to humble himself before those he thought his inferiors. And it will be his vanity that tortures him as he is reduced to a joke and a punchline for the rest of his tenure. God is great.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And the spinners appear to have convinced themselves, if nobody else, that this was all a big nothing."

But apparently Rowan's boss Is Not Amused:

9:44 am  
Anonymous Antique said...

Heh. Plan B from Lambeth Palace. But I don't think it's Solonite. It seems more like Lunacyne to me (and believe me, I know lunacyne when I hear it).

Anonymous: Whew! You had me going there for a minute. Until I followed your link, it didn't occur to me you meant THAT boss. I thought you meant the OTHER boss, and that He has His own blog, now.

6:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But don't you know how impolite it is to point out that your highly-trained and -experienced pilot is flying the airplane into the sea? Sit down and sip your tepid Diet Coke, miss.


11:10 am  

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