Friday, January 27, 2012

Another very naughty boy ...

... and a not very smart one to boot.

I used to think that Alain de Botton is merely a pompous git. After reading about his plans to build an Atheist temple in London, I briefly pondered the possibility that he might not be all there.

Now I'm back to the pompousness, because really: The whole thing is just one big campaign for his own deification, isn't it?

Well dig this Alain, self-proclaimed King of the Atheists: First of all, I didn't vote for you. And secondly, us humble humanists don't need a holy house (especially one eerily evocative of those set up by Scientology) "to develop a better perspective on life." Contemplating the noble earthworm will do very nicely, thank you very much. Awesome stuff.


Rosie said...

Alain de Botton's pompous gittedness is in a class by itself. I once picked up a novel he wrote when he was young and it was the work of a precocious, shallow brat. He's still a precocious shallow brat. I don't know if you can get Private Eye in Germania but this fortnight's edition is worth it for a lovely cruel parody of him writing about buses.

"I have never wavered in my certainty that the old-fashioned bus is ill-designed for its purpose. It may be good at getting us from A to B, but what can it teach us about love?"

Francis Sedgemore said...

Rosie mentions a Gnomish parody of de Botton. My typing fingers shall treat you to an extract...

"The error of modern bus travel is to overlook the most profound needs of its passengers. Correct in so many ways, Reginald Varney might nevertheless be criticised for neglecting his passengers' deepest longings. He would ask them where they wanted to go, but never why.

"The ideal bus route would substitute the usual dull and dispiriting destinations for beautiful but forgotten places in the human heart. So when working people - butchers, bakers, candlestick-makers - hopped onto their bus, they would be transported not to Kings Cross, Islington and Stoke Newington, but to the wonder-filled new lands of Joy, Hope and Understanding.

"And our bus would not run on petrol. No - it would run on Happiness. And then we would find the answer to the question we are all asking: Who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream, separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream?

"The Candy Man can, because he mixes it with love, and makes the world taste good."

The thing is, de Botton featured this morning on a BBC Radio 4 lifestyle programme, and uttered a stream of words that closely resembled the extract above from Private Eye. My Lord Gnome should sue.

Mikevswinton said...

I wonder if M. de Botton is aware that his idea isn't new? In the 19th Century the atheistic followers of Auguste Comte founded, as well as the run of the mill Positivist Societies, a Religion of Humanity, and enshrined it in Churches of Humanity. (I've seen this whole set up described as a rather weird version of catholicism without God in which August Comte's -dead, I think - paramour Clothilde de vaux played the role of the Virgin Mary). I believe that there may be one or two of the Chruches of Humanity extant in Brazil. Brazil had a big Comtean influence and the words (in Portugese) Order and Progress - the Comtean slogan - are on the globe in the middle of the flag of the country. Anyway, there was a Church of Humanity down the road from here in Liverpool. It collapsed when one of the small congregation murdered one of the others.

John Carter Wood said...

Anyway, there was a Church of Humanity down the road from here in Liverpool. It collapsed when one of the small congregation murdered one of the others.

And a more apt symbol of humanity, it seems to me, would be hard to find.

Perhaps M. de Bottom should have considered adding something like this to his plans.