Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sweet Reason

Say what you like about followers of the Dr Death Evan Harris cult but they can't be faulted for their zealotry as the fragrant Cristina Odone has found out to her cost.

Hostilities began last week when former Catholic Herald editrix Odone posted a mildly critical piece about Harris on her Torygraph blog:

"I’ve come across Harris a few times. The Big Questions, a BBC1 programme presented by Nicky Campbell on Sunday morning, often invites him on: his eloquence and logic make him an able debater. But as the subject turns to the ethical or religious issue of the day – faith schools, say, or teenage pregnancies – I watch him turn pop-eyed with bilious indignation. He becomes almost a caricature of the National Humanist Society spokesman: God is bad, his followers mad."

It was as though she'd contaminated the Madonna.

Horrified Death Harris fanatics took the opportunity to profess their devotion to the man they revere as Sweet Reason incarnate, indeed some were so impassioned that they hit the "post" button no less than three times.

Temperate, sweet-natured and reasoned comments rebuking Odone for her spite zinged hither and yon:

"I could point out that Cristina Odone was essentially sacked from The Observer. But I’m not going to. Lets look at this “article” for what it is – a total argumentum ad hominem ...You’re a joker if you think you’re in anyway a journalist," declared Mr Bond

Owly 999 said, "You are a horrible, vile, vindictive little woman who really shouldn’t be writing in any national newspaper. OK, maybe one aimed at the retarded beliefs of any religous faction."

And in keeping with their high evidence-based ethical standards, bigoted jibes and conspiracy-nuttery about Odone's religion were, of course, conspicuously absent:

David Colquhoun said: "There could hardly be a worse moment to seek to impose catholic values on the rest of society. That church, including its head, has been seem to fail to report to the police the most vile crimes. It is in deep disgrace precisely because of its lack of moral principles."

Added glennoliver: "So, in your view, how precious did the tens of thousands (and increasing weekly) guilty Catholic clergy hold the young lives they abused? Are they and their church sinister at all?"

Odone declared herself "spooked" by the furious reaction to her post.

"It’s come as a bit of a shock to discover that everything I write that is even mildly critical of the Lib Dem sacred cows, Nick Clegg and Dr Evan Harris, provokes instant, ferocious and unchecked response," she lamented.

Yes, it's very different to the sedate world of the traditional dead-tree press where the commentariat spoke from on high to their forlock-tugging readers. The brave new world of the internet allows anybody with an opinion and a a modem to bellow through a virtual foghorn. It's loud, it's brash and a profoundly democratic medium. That's its beauty.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Cristina.


Anonymous skidmarx said...

In the good old days, she could have said "I watch him turn pop-eyed with bilious indignation" without any response.
Here's an alternate view of your heroine:
The specific thing I've always loathed Odone for is writing about how she is obviously morally superior to other people who don't believe in God, because she does. I think that spirit infects pretty much everything she writes. She also likes very much to play the everybody's-picking-on-the-Church routine.

It's not just that she's sanctimonious, it's that she's pious, with all the negative connotations that that term possesses. Same sort of piety that Tony Blair possesses.

4/30/2010 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I've seen Dr Death turn pop-eyed with bilious indignation when confronted by someone who happens to have good reason for disagreeing with him.

He's very thin-skinned for a politician, isn't he? And doesn't he have an election to fight? Why is he taking time out to not only conduct a flame war against the fragrant Cristina, but also to start flaming the entirely inoffensive George Pitcher? Is this how Dr Death serves the voters of Oxford?

4/30/2010 12:24 PM  

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