Monday, October 13, 2008

Why Pat Condell is an obnoxious idiot

Pat who? Pat Condell. Pat is a self-professed British stand-up comedian that no one that I actually know in Britain has ever heard of. That's how popular Pat's one-trick-pony routines are. But there's no denying that in this hysterical post-9/11 world Pat's found his niche: Tinkerwebs hate-speech on religion in general (but with typical special status awarded to Islam, naturellement), delivered by viral means (UTooobe, the medium that allows any imbecile to make a "stand"). Pat, dontchaknow, is an atheist. So am I (well, strictly speaking agnostic but even for the allegedly better-than-average educated atheist that distinction usually goes in one ear and straight back out the other) and yet Condell doesn't convince me in the slightest. This hero of mainly American atheists is in fact a real coward who sooner or later will kaaa-shshiiingng!, simply because he does the boringest thing one could possibly do: bash Islam and Moooslims as hard as he can.

What so many atheists see in this guy is totally beyond me. A mediocre mind, full of clichés, who believes calling other people mentally ill is somehow funny is the kind of nincompoop that gives atheism a bad name. And typecasting of atheism by religionists as yet another church starts ringing unnervingly true. When a fellow blogger once remarked that Condell is more popular on YouTube than Jesus, he may have been closer to the truth than I thought: Condell as a figure to be worshipped, his every word to be consumed and hung on to, it's definitely Jesus-like. Condell offers nothing: no reasoned critique, no solutions, no humour, nothing whatsoever that you couldn't find in another boring sermon delivered from a soapbox in Hyde Park. And it's divisive: no mutual understanding between religionists and secularists can flow from an endless stream of mindless insults. My hopes for Humanity were never that high but this latest messiah doesn't lift me up even one tiny bit.

Pat's routine is borderline hate-speech that unrelentingly tars all religionists with a very broad and very dirty brush, all the while reserving special venom for, who else, Mooooslims. Not surprisingly, this extremist (because that's exactly what he is), has found endorsement also from certain unsavoury quarters like the British National Party, see here:
Love him or hate him, witty and humourous Pat Condell is compelling viewing! Pat s latest offering may be viewed: here [...]

and here:
I know this clip is everywhere - and so it should be. The speaker in the film sums up Islam in just a few minutes. A mad, bad cult for sexually repressed crazies who are frightened of dieing.

This guy could fill cinemas all over the country and give that speech. We would soon have the killer cult on the run. That is the kind of speaker, the British National Party needs on its next election broadcasts. [my emph.]

Goofball and conspiracy nut supremo David Icke likes him too..

From Pat's own website (look it up, I'm not linking):
And I don’t have much of a formal education – which is good, because it means I can actually read and write. But it also means I don’t have a great deal of what you might call actual knowledge.

Yep, not having much of a formal education insulates you against actual knowledge, you rather prove that in your mostly baseless rants about "Saudi Britain" and "Sharia in Britain", by not presenting even the slightest shred of evidence for much of what you proclaim.

In truth, you're not a comedian because you're not funny. The Tinkerweb nerds that love you so much don't love you because you're funny (you're not) but because they believe you and agree with you. And in a post-9/11 world that's quite a lot of people.

If I had to save a penny for every Westerner who can't tell the difference between a suicide bomber and law-abiding citizen (Muslim or otherwise) I'd be financially secure by now. When Britain was under sustained attack from IRA bombers (in a campaign that lasted much longer and claimed far more lives than 7/7), we didn't collectively turn anti-Irish, if I recall well. But when it come to Muslims, it's rather a different story.

A few more gems from his website:

Q: You don’t understand Christianity/Islam.
A: I don’t understand smallpox or typhoid either, and I’m equally disinclined to get acquainted with them.

Q: Why shouldn’t I be allowed to raise my kids religious if I want to?
A: The same reason you shouldn’t be allowed to beat them with a knotted rope.

Q: By antagonising religious people, aren’t you making it less likely they’ll agree with you?
A: I don’t want them to agree with me. I want them to shut up and maybe see a doctor [my emph.].

The biggest problem I have with Condell is that while he claims to expose bigotry and extremism, he comes across as an extremist bigot. If atheism is supposed to be a worthy cause (whether it is or not is increasingly a matter of context to me) then Pat provides it with the greatest disservice possible, because reasoned and reasonable people including those skeptical of religion (like myself) should collectively cringe at Condell's soapbox ravings. Condell is your pub's syndicated drunk, the type that feels you're always in dire need to be informed about his truncated world view, but without the drink.

Com'on, one more for the road, these are from an Internet interview a while ago:
8) Is there anything interesting about Pat Condell that the public should know?

I'm a vegetarian, and I fully support animal rights. I don't think we can call ourselves civilised until we treat animals as the sentient beings they are.

Pat's a fluffy bunny vegetarian: he saw an animal being slaughtered once and decided never to eat meat again (it's true, look it up on his flopsite). One can't but help wonder whether Pat Condell's particularly ignorant form of atheism has its roots in a similar experience. Poked by a Catholic priest perhaps? Dunno...

And here's the kicker:
4) What political situations in the world today would you like to see solved?

The middle east, but I don't know what the answer is, short of bulldozing Jerusalem, pushing all the rubble into the sea and sowing salt in the ground so that nothing will grow there for a thousand years. Actually, that might work. It's worth a try.
[my emphasis]

This "bulldozing Jerusalem and pushing all the rubble into the sea and sowing salt in the ground so that nothing will grow there for a thousand years" thingy was not a joke, BTW, and it wasn't a momentary lapse of judgement either. In the following video he elaborates on this theme a bit, hopelessly contradicting himself and proving what I already knew: that this fanatic sees e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g through the lens of his atheism. At one point Condell's mind takes on a decidedly Ahmadinejadesque quality
: "if there was there was any justice in this world, Israel would currently occupy half of Germany... [...]". And it just rambles on and on and on, repeats the bulldozing idea for good measure, at nauseam and seemingly at infinitum, until he reaches Jerusalem. Neither helped nor hindered by any real knowledge Pat goes on to state that there was never any Jewish presence in J'sem and that: "It doesn't belong to them [...] Jerusalem is NOT a Jewish town, it's an Arab town"... This guy nonetheless has some Jewish supporters... Ding dong!

What about the Jews?

Sigh... Pat, it's true, you really are an obnoxious idiot...

What's more, you also cause me some problems. Firstly and most embarrassingly, I have to admit to agreeing with general windbag Dinesh D'Souza when he said that "If the televangelists are guilty of producing some simple-minded, self-righteous Christians, then the atheist authors are guilty of producing self-congratulatory buffoons like Condell." Condell, full of Righteous atheist bullcrap won't be able to see it but to the sober-of-mind, Condell's rhetoric is the fire and brimstone of Militant Atheism.

Secondly, I'm left with no choice but to agree with that other not-the-sharpest-tool-in-the-box, Debbie Schlussel. In this poorly written and awkwardly formatted piece, she slightly distorts Condell's position, yet hits the nail on the head in several parts: "Americans fall in love with anyone with an English accent, no matter how backward his information is, and Pat Condell is Exhibit A of that. His sophistries about Jews, Israel, and Jerusalem are telling in their ignorance."

Thirdly, why one of my favourite scientists, Richard Dawkins, endorses this flyweight is a mystery as well as another embarrassment. To be fair, I've always admired the scientist Dawkins much, much more than the atheist Dawkins. Perhaps Dawkins' unbefitting endorsement of Condell would be less of an enigma to me, if I understood why this rather soft-spoken, eloquent and erudite scholar wanted to wade into the morass that Americans refer to as the "Culture Wars" in the first place. For Europeans that area of "debate" is a bit like Baldrick's pants: "nothing of interest lies therein". These Culture Wars are much more about one way of life versus another, republican versus democrat, traditionalists versus liberal progressives, etc than they are about religion itself, evolutionary biology or Genesis and I'm not sure Dawkins understands that...

Small consolation: yesterday was my bufftday and fellow scientist and niece-in-law Helen bought me Dawkins' Unweaving the Rainbow, so I'll get to appreciate the man at his best anyway...


At 9:33 PM, Blogger Frank Partisan said...

Bill Maher knows how to walk the line, and he talks about the same subjects.

My friend who writes on my blog Maryam Namazie, is always voted secular person of the year. She attacks religion, without chauvinism.

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Gert said...

The main point is that if you're going to attack religion, then at least do it with intelligence. Condell's feeble rantings have caused him to be the object of much adulation and love, mainly by islamophobes.

Whatever the BNP endorses should be scrutinised with great suspicion, IMHO...

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

You said - To be fair, I've always admired the scientist Dawkins much, much more than the atheist Dawkins. Perhaps Dawkins' unbefitting endorsement of Condell would be less of an enigma to me, if I understood why this rather soft-spoken, eloquent and erudite scholar wanted to wade into the morass that Americans refer to as the "Culture Wars" in the first place.

Here's a clue. . . Richard Dawkins also appears to be a good friend of the intolerant and obnoxious "fundamentalist atheist" <a href=">P. Z. Myers</a>. I'll take Carl Sagan over these clowns any day.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Bismillah said...

Thank you. You have pretty much summed up all my feelings about Pat Condell.


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