Thursday, June 16, 2005

Paranoid fantasy on the web

The Archbishop of Canterbury (a sort of Pope of the Church of England) yesterday made a speech attacking various aspects of the media. He seems to have had a pretty comprehensive go at more or less everybody: newspapers, television, even blogs.

The Guardian gives a summary of what Archie had to say, plus a link to the full text if you want to read it.

The Guardian's summary seems to me to give a fair indication of what was said. Their headline is: 'Archbishop attacks lethal media'. But the Times, probably feeling a bit touchy about the criticism of the press, chose to give us 'Archbishop hits out at web-based media nonsense.'

(I can't give you a link to the Times piece, by the way, because their site is down, yet again. Is it just me, or have they been offline for weeks?)

Anyway, the piece of the Archbishop's speech which caught my eye was the bit that the Times quoted in the first paragraph of their report. The new web-based media, and blogs in particular, were criticised for 'paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense, and dangerous bigotry.'

It seems to me that there is a possibility here of the pot calling the kettle black, and it would be unwise for the Archbishop to push the point too hard. He might get told a few home truths about the negative effects of religion.

But it gets worse. The speech claimed that the atmosphere on the world-wide web was a free-for-all that was 'close to that of an unpoliced conversation.'

Well, you're damn right there, Archie. An unpoliced conversation is exactly what it is. And long may it remain so. If and when those of us who blog want any controls imposed on us by the Archbishop of Canterbury, his holiness the Pope, or any one of a thousand Ayatollahs, we will ask for them. In the meantime, holding your breath would be injurious to your health.


Simon Roy Hughes said...

I must say, I'm glad the newspapers summarised his speech, because it was far too boring to read in its entirety.

I don't imagine anyone present to hear Archie remembered anything the next morning.

archer said...

I couldn't agree more with the Archbishop. My own blog is a model of good taste and rectitude.

Anonymous said...

We yanks are still trying to figure out where downtown Canturbury is and why it needs an archbishop. Still, does the lad realize he's just adding more babble to the pile?

Anonymous said...

Having only in the past week discovered the pleasure of blogging, and being particularly inspired to do so by your 'culture in the age of blogging' spot, I'm laughing my head off at the poor Archbishop who truly doesn't know what he's missing. My friend, fellow-novelist Amanda Mann put me onto your site. Thanks Amanda. Nice one.

noCategories said...

I do wish the Archbishop had used the word "uninformed" instead of the word "unpoliced", but I get where he's coming from, as much as I myself do not wish to be policed in my conversation.

The Archbishop himself was quick to criticize the fact that certain people have decided what's good for you to know...what needs to be challenged is such people's right to decide for others. This doesnt strike me as the kind of rhetoric that youd get from an ardent policer of conversation. So, whats going on here? What does he really mean by criticizing an unpoliced conversation?