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June 06, 2006

The Devil's Avocado

"We have unalterable principles too and on these we won't compromise."
- Christopher Hitchens

The Guardian hosts a blasphemy debate featuring Christopher Hitchens, Stephen Fry and the formidable Joan Bakewell as moderator. All this at the Hay Festival, a must see annual event for the hypothetical better organized Flea. The debate, more of a conversation really, circles around "the boundaries of freedom of speech, religious tolerance, multiculturalism and orthodoxy." Also, swearing and off-colour references to sexuality. Well worth the time it takes to sit through despite an irritating humming noise in the audio. I have been spoiled by Sound Forge 8 and now want to rerecord everything I listen to...

I have repeatedly mentioned my attachment to Hitchens as a role-model for "premature curmudgeons" everywhere but Stephen Fry holds his own. My favourite line is his. Fry observes that people say 'I'm offended by that.' His reply: "Well so f*cking what?" Hitchens' most important point speaks to the heart of the problem we face as tolerant societies seeking the right balance for addressing ideologies of absolute intolerance. If we ban blasphemy we will ban heresy next.

What did Ravana and Sita really get up to Update: Then again some people just enjoy protesting.

And the tragedy is that because we give in to anybody who protests loudly enough, we risk becoming an illiberal state, held to ransom by any nutcase who claims that we have insulted his religion.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 6, 2006 09:41 AM