Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Grauniad

After lamenting elsewhere that during my twenties I have gone from being a Guardian-reader to finding it unbearable, mainly for their horrible house-style and penchant for smuggery, I happened to come across this article today, courtesy of Fr. David Heron. In it, Stephen Bates, the Guardian's religion correspondent, says the following:

I was nervous of my lack of theological training, but at least I knew the British faith background and traditions and the Bible stories – I was quite shocked to discover that many of my colleagues on the paper did not have even a folk-memory of those. "What's a cardinal?" one senior desk editor asked as I attempted to explain a story. "Who was Noah?" an equally venerable colleague was asked when he told the desk about an archaeological dig at Mount Ararat.

I am going to be fiery and uncompromising about this. Not knowing what a cardinal is or who Noah was is not a sign of being an enlightened, liberal, post-religious British secularist. It's just a sign of being pig-ignorant and poorly-educated. These people aren't GSCE pupils in a sink Comprehensive in Slough, they're editors on a national bloody broadsheet. Mind you, this is a paper which regularly refers to 'astrologists' and 'theologists' instead of astrologers and theologians. They may well regard dictionaries as the work of an oppressive privately-educated 'elite', bent on preserving its power-base by squashing non-hegemonic views.

Oh God. I'm a left-wing type, you see. I agree with some of the Guardian's editorial stances, even though I find the general air of mimsy piety suffocating. But I just want to read a left-ish newspaper that's not so full of factual errors and misused words, all framed in an ugly typeface, that it makes me wince every time I open it. Is that so wrong?

That's why I now read the Independent, ignoring Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and that awful Hari boy, and then, having had my leftist fix, turn to the Times for Caitlin Moran.


Doundou Tchil said...

Lucky you don't read the classical music section ! There seems to be a deliberate policy to run mind bendingly moronic articles, so inane you feel sorry for them. This is also the paper than ran a poll asking readers to decide whether the Serbs killed Jill Dando. No evidence needed ! Vox populi of the lowest order.

Anonymous said...

You are quite right. The Grauniad is unbearably smug. The name "Guardian-reader" has changed from a boast to an insult.

Ancestral Celt said...

Wow, and I thought I was ignorant with my Australian state high school education.

Bo said...

I'm sure an the education provided by many an Australian high school is far superior to many provided here.

I'm not being outrageous, am I?

Like---a cardinal??? Or NOAH?!!! Animals, two by two, into the Ark, etc...? It's not expecting them to have heard of Ausonius or the Pilgrimage of Grace. Is it? Am I really so out of touch to find it unbelievable that these people don't know things like this?

Bo said...

What really shocks me is that these people are clearly adults. So, during their working lives on a national newspaper, they must have heard of, say, a seed-bank as 'a Noah's Ark' or read a reference to the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima. And over the years, they never thought: 'A 'cardinal'. Hmm. Never heard of one of them.....I wonder what it is? Why don't I google it?'

Anonymous said...

That is certainly depressing.

My knowledge of Christian myth, history, and ritual is very limited, but it is quite telling when a pagan knows more about Christianity than a senior editor of a newspaper!

Bo said...

My knowledge of Christian myth, history, and ritual is very limited

Well, these things are in your gift.

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