The ‘wit’ and ‘satire’ of Peter Mullen

Peter Mullen has got himself into a bit of a muddle:

Disruptive – Dr Peter Mullen: The Rev Dr Peter Mullen is the Rector of St Michael, Cornhill and St Sepulchre without Newgate, and the Chaplain to the Stock Exchange. He is a well-known “conservative” in the Church of England, and fairly frequently airs his views in the comment and letters pages of the “quality press”. He has been in the news in the last couple of days as a result of some homophobic remarks that he made very recently on his blog, which is now no longer available. I noticed that his blog had disappeared for quite different reasons: I had complained to the Bishop of London (in June this year) about some utterly outrageous and repulsive Islamophobic remarks that he had made there…

Guardian – Vicar could be disciplined for blog slurs against gays and Muslims: A Church of England vicar could face disciplinary action for saying gay men should have “sodomy” warnings tattooed on their bodies. The Rev Peter Mullen, who is a parish priest and rector in the City of London, made the remarks on his blog, which has since been removed from the web under an agreement with diocesan officials….

(Psst! See also: Mail article with 141 comments, if you think you can stomach them.)

1. It’s really not fair to describe Peter Mullen as a ‘blogger’ as some people have been doing, because he’s as much a blogger as I am a mountain climber*; like Iain Dale did when he first ‘started’, Mullen turned the engine over with maybe a dozen entries in quick succession in 2006 (1, 2, 3), and gave up for a bit a lot. He then did slightly better in 2007 with maybe thirty entries (sample), gave up again, and then spat out four entries during what must have been a very quiet or frustrating week in June 2008.

(*Number of mountains I have climbed = 2. Small ones, at that. And it was a very long time ago.)

2. A modest Partial Credit goes to the Telegraph for mentioning that he had written for them, without actually linking to a key example of this that some might find pertinent to the conversation.

3. Mullen is now claiming that his outbursts were satire, and the problem (apparently) stems for our inability to understand this. Here’s his statement:

“I wrote some satirical things on my blog and anybody with an ounce of sense of humour or any understanding of the tradition of English satire would immediately assume that they’re light-hearted jokes. I certainly have nothing against homosexuals. Many of my dear friends have been and are of that persuasion. What I have got against them is the militant preaching of homosexuality.” – Rev Dr Peter Mullen (source: all papers)

And a semi-anonymous web user helpfully expands on this claim here:

“It was satire, you *** satire. We spend money on warning people against the dangers of tobacco but actively promote a sin that shortens the lives of its victims significantly – and not just by AIDS. Are none of you familiar with Swift?” – ‘Geoffrey Baxter-Wright’ (source)

It is in this second claim that you get your first hint that ANY humour in Mullen’s ‘satire’ relies on certain assumptions and prejudices.

Regulars of this weblog should recall one clear example of this kind of thing, where the joke or ‘satire’ is only funny if you’re a bigoted twit with rather unique views about how the world works, but for those who are new here, I offer the following selection of 4 original posts from Peter Mullen’s ‘blog':

The first is, I think it’s fair to say, an example of where Mullen’s fear of homosexuals intersects with his fear of Muslims, leading to what one might kindly refer to as a state of confusion…

Ramadan at Sandhurst

There’s only one religion in the calendar at Sandhurst Military Academy. Yes, it’s the bottoms-up chaps’ religion again. Ramadan is highlighted in the Academy’s calendar. Christian festivals don’t get a look in.

Originally published by Rev Dr Peter Mullen on September 12, 2007 at:

http://petermullen.typepad.com/peter_mullen/2007/09/ramadan-at-sand.html

The second entry should make it clear that Mullen might actually believe what he’s saying when he runs with the ‘satire’ defence. Take a look at the structure and the reliance on certain assumptions and prejudices…

Happy junkies make clean water

Wonderful to hear that the social services are rewarding junkies who provide them with a “clean” urine sample with the drug of their choice. Heroin addicts may be given methadone or antidepressants – or even diamorphine (prescription heroin)

I should like to see this arrangement extended. If I supply a sample of clean wee wee may I claim my free case of Chateau Margaux please?

And the scheme has even wider possibilities: why not reward successful slimmers with cheeseburgers and Black Forest gateau; smokers who’ve managed to quit with 200 packs of Capstan Full Strength; fill the swag sacks of unsuccessful burglars with pieces of household silver etc etc?

Originally published by Rev Dr Peter Mullen on October 18, 2007 at:

http://petermullen.typepad.com/peter_mullen/2007/10/happy-junkies-m.html

But the second and third entries should make it obvious that Mullen is pressing one point to a far greater extent than he is mocking another….

Gay wedding at St Bartholomew’s EC1

The Bishop of London is in a high huff
Because Dr Dudley has married a puff;
And not just one puff – he’s married another:
Two priests, two puffs and either to other.
“It isn’t a wedding, for that’s not allowed;
They’ve just come together and promised and vowed
To shack up and snug up, to have and to hold:
Ooh aren’t we radical! Ooh aren’t we bold!”
Now here’s a most queer and most wonderful thing:
He’s given his hand, he’s offered his ring;
And each to the other forever will bend,
After their troll in the coach up West End.
Not a flash wedding, no pics in Hello!
Just a honeymoon cottage, convenient so.
Of such Dr Dudley a goldmine has found,
From shaven-head puftas the nuptial pink pound.
The new Church of England embraces diversity,
A fresh modulation on ancient perversity:
“I’m C of E and PC so don’t think it odd of me
To offer a licence and blessing for sodomy.”

Originally published by Rev Dr Peter Mullen on June 18, 2008 at:

http://petermullen.typepad.com/peter_mullen/2008/06/gay-wedding-at.html

Here’s the one that did the damage…

Matthew Parris

Matthew Parris is wilfully refusing to give his readers his opinion about the recent “gay wedding” and about relationships between the church and homosexuals generally. He says, “When it comes to the church, synagogue or mosque, if you think the whole thing ridiculous, its hard to get excited about the ridiculousness of a subset of it. I should feel the same if morris dancers or the British Astrological Society tried to exclude gays.”

So, for Parris, the views of billions of Christians, Jews and Muslims worldwide are of no more consequence than a couple of obscure sectional interests. From what point of privileged judgement does he thus discount 4000 years of civilisation? The great world religions have survived the criticisms of far more intelligent and better informed opponents than the ignorant upstart Parris. There is a whole history and literature of distinguished apologetics for religious belief, but Parris will attend to none of it – sufficient only to attract his disdain is mainstream religion’s disapproval of homosexual acts.

Since Parris will not dirty his hands by entering theological discussions with his readers, perhaps I might answer for religious believers in the purely utilitarian terms which even the lofty Parris is bound to engage with. We disapprove of homosexuality because it is clearly unnatural, a perversion and corruption of natural instincts and affections, and because it is a cause of fatal disease. The AIDS pandemic was originally caused by promiscuous homosexual behaviour. Such promiscuity is itself an evil because its perpetrators merely use others indiscriminately for their own gratification, treating their fellows as sex objects and as means to an end rather than as ends in themselves. I should have thought that Parris, having rejected religious belief, might want to construct his moral beliefs on this Kantian humanistic imperative. But I suspect he is not really interested in morality of any kind – except as a special plea to excuse his lust for gratification at whatever cost to human dignity and the sanctity of human life.

It is time that religious believers began to recommend specific utilitarian discouragements of homosexual practices after the style of warnings on cigarette packets: Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS. In addition the obscene “gay pride” parades and carnivals should be banned for they give rise to passive corruption, comparable to passive smoking. Young people forced to witness these excrescences are corrupted by them.

Let me continue the comparison with smoking which is banned in most public places. Those committing homosexual acts in public places – such behaviour being a crime in any case under the Homosexual Reform Act of 1967 – should be arrested, tried and punished. Parks, open spaces and public lavatories would at once become more wholesome places. There ought to be teaching films shown in sex education classes in all our schools. These would portray acts of sodomy and the soundtrack would reinforce the message that it is a filthy practice ending with the admonition: “We do, after all, know the importance of washing our hands after going to the lavatory.”

But I should like to turn Parris’ disdain for religion back on to him. If I consider that homosexual practices are vile, why should I concern myself with subsets of their aspects? I might as well concern myself with other minor irrelevancies such as the Doris Day fanclub and polo-neck sweaters

Originally published by Rev Dr Peter Mullen on June 19, 2008 at:

http://petermullen.typepad.com/peter_mullen/2008/06/matthew-parris.html

UPDATE – As an added bonus, here’s a post on the subject of Stephen Fry. See if you can spot the moment where the Rev Dr Peter Mullen reveals that he might be a wee bit prejudiced:

Stephen Fry

BBC Four are giving us a “Stephen Fry Night”. Actually it seems to be going on all week. I can’t understand why they should give such space to this overblown wit, but what’s really astonishing is that they put on an episode of Clarke’s “Civilisation” documentary, discussing “the paintings of Michelangelo and Bertini” and billed this as “part of the Stephen Fry Night”. I didn’t know the egotistical exhibitionist and celebrated manic-depressive pufta did those paintings too?

Incidentally, the BBC has been banned by the old KGB hardliners in Russia. Must be because they can’t stand the beeb’s left wing bias!

Originally published by Rev Dr Peter Mullen on August 19, 2007 at:

http://petermullen.typepad.com/peter_mullen/2007/08/stephen-fry.html








Posted in Christ... | 3 Comments

“But she’s got a new*heuuurgh!*”

Warning: NSFW audio








Posted in US Presidential Election 2008 | Comments Off

Nutshells

Finally someone from the ‘Freedom & the Internet’ panel has blogged about the event! DK reports the following revealing outburst from Nadine Dorries:

“I’m not talking to you. You called me a liar.” – Nadine Dorries (source)

Pfft! Well, there’s my relationship with Iain Dale in a nutshell.

Liars do not like being called liars, and they especially hate it when you prove that they’re lying. (This tends to limit the effectiveness of their lies… in some neighbourhoods.)

Ditto for cheating.








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 1 Comment

A grab bag and then some

1. Peter Mandelson: It must be a big tent if it’s got room for this clown in it. The Sun managed to amuse by taking this corrupt individual and essentially saying with their Saturday headline (“I’m Behind You”) that your main concern should be that he might bum you when you’re not looking. For reactions to the reshuffle and other local developments in the past few days, see Septicisle.

2. Sarah Palin: Now that the VP debate is over and I have a few moments, I’d just like to say that I find it enormously comforting to know that when the chips are down and a crisis is at hand, when she is called upon to do her best, that Sarah can, when given a week of preparation, studying and coaching, bluff her way through. Boldly. (Psst! To be filed under ‘Inches, Yards & Miles': The question “Can I call you Joe?” asked by the woman who knows she has “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” already lined up as her solid-gold zinger. You may also want to have a peek at this manifestation of the Comparing Candidates meme.)

3. Moult-Watch: The first Yahoo Image results appeared late on Friday, and MrTrilby wins a prize from the shelf! (Sorry, Ciarin. Close, but no banana. You must be heartbroken after all the effort you put into your picture.)

4. Prizes! So the following people get their choice of prize from the prize shelf and – somewhat crucially – they get to choose their prize from this selection in the following order:

– ‘Kate’ who contributes under comments here and elsewhere (and has already been notified, just in case you’re wondering if this is you) wins first pick – ever! – from the prize shelf, for her stoicism in the face of disappointment (she received an over-hyped ‘prize pack’ from Iain that was, in her words, “a massive let-down”) and for unknowingly and unjustly being the target of some rather ungentlemanly conduct from Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines.

(‘Kate’ happens to share a name with my wife, and this post is the only mention of that on this blog since… well, maybe one mention a long time before OTT right-wing idiots like Chambers, Staines and Hendren made it a good idea to keep even that basic level of information to yourself. In short, Paul revealed a creepy level of interest in my private life and a striking level of paranoia… while taking a rare break from calling me a paranoid stalker.)

Jim Barter, who scored the first relevant Julie Moult search result in Live Search

Beau Bo D’Or, who revealed under that same post that he had taken control of a top Google Images result for variations of ‘the daily mail’

– MrTrilby, who scored the first relevant Julie Moult result in Yahoo Images (see above).

Google is still distracted by the profile noise at b3ta (a href=”http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2008/09/moultwatch_the.asp”>more), but this delay can only make the eventual victory of true relevance that much sweeter.

With luck, we’ll be able to return to the prize shelf within a few weeks.

5. Big prize! The winner of the SEO Seminar free ticket giveaway is…..

(drum roll)

Mat Bowles

MatGB calmly, karmicly and comprehensively ticked all the boxes by:

– Having great potential on the SEO development/use front
– Refusing to beg
– Showing not one but many useful networking connections that started with a search result. (I won’t go into details here, because there’s at least one stalker reading this, and this post goes out in the middle of a weekday afternoon, so he’s probably drunk, too.)
– Pointing out that he had already converted to my religion years ago.

It’s a busy week as I do my final prep for the seminar, but if Kate, Jim, BBD and Mat would care to check in via email, I’ll get prizes out to recipients ASAP.








Posted in Christ..., Consume!, Gordon Brown, Search Engine Optimisation, Updates, US Presidential Election 2008 | 3 Comments

Search Seminar: last call for entries

Don’t forget to get your entries in for the SEO seminar ticket giveaway. Deadline is midnight on Sunday.

(You are a pack of lazy beggers, I’ll tell you that for nothing. There have only been email entries so far, and some pretty pathetic begging. In short, this competition is still wide open.)

;o)

UPDATE (28 Oct) – A report on this first event has now gone live here.

Click here to find out when the next Google 4 Grown-Ups seminar and workshop will be held.








Posted in Search Engine Optimisation | 3 Comments

Ian Blair resigns

And there goes Ian Blair! Only a few years too late, but never mind.

Isn’t it nice to know that you can shoot the wrong people, raid the wrong houses, lie outright to save face and still remain in your job, so long as you have the support of Boris Johnson?

I’m set for life… so long as I stay on his good side.

[dramatic sting]








Posted in The War on Stupid | 2 Comments

You’ll need coffee before tucking in

Tabloid Lies – The Sun at the fringe: … this year, for the first time ever, the Sun newspaper has been holding fringe events at the Labour and Conservative party conferences… The theme of the events, in case you couldn’t guess, is “Broken Britain”…








Posted in Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | Comments Off

Sarah Palin will, I expect, be praying right about now

The Vice presidential debate* will be worth watching if you have the stamina.

(*Friday, 3 October 2008, 01:00:00 GMT -|- Thursday, 2 October 2008, 20:00:00 CDT)

(Psst! It’s fair to call this cramming, yes? Also, note the curt tone of CNN here.)

Andrew Sullivan – The Lies And Lies And Lies Of Sarah Palin: These are all documented, bald-faced factually irrefutable lies. More to the point: she refuses to cop to them or be held accountable for them or take questions about them.” (via)

Jonathan Martin – In reintroduction, Palin to do more interviews and “tell her story”: Of concern to McCain’s campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin’s interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing. The Palin aide, after first noting how “infuriating” it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions. After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases. There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence. (see also)

UPDATE – The BBC will be streaming the Biden-Palin debate live on its website from 0100 GMT. A prominent link to that will most probably appear here.

UPDATE – Video Streams: C-Span | BBC | MSNBC








Posted in Christ..., US Presidential Election 2008 | Comments Off

You’re welcome

You might remember a few years back that we had a period of financial difficulty that followed 9/11 11/9. In the 6 months that followed, I noticed a sharp rise in a particular type of spam; it was obvious from the cookie-cutter nature of the spam and the common sites, products and affiliate schemes they were promoting that someone, somewhere was getting rich selling ‘money making’ packages to desperate people everywhere.

Not long after, I wrote and published The Porn Report.

The intention of the report was to show budding porn salesmen that the typical porn-oriented entrepreneurial experience involved a fast path to disappointment, not riches.

We are now entering a fresh period of financial difficulty, and I’m confident that any time now we can expect a fresh batch of desperate people to:

– Look at the small amount of money they have to hand
– Wonder how they might be able to turn it into a future mortgage payment or two
– Seriously consider wasting their time (and yours) by having a go at making money from selling porn online ‘just this once’.
– Start this journey by entering a word or three into a search engine

Ladies and gentlemen, I humbly submit to you the following community service from Bloggerheads:

[post continues after the fold]

Continue reading








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SEO Seminar (10 Oct) – free ticket giveaway

Google 4 Grown-Ups is a search engine seminar with a live afternoon workshop, written and presented by yours truly:

Google 4 Grown-Ups
SEO Training Seminar
9am – 4pm Friday 10th October, 2008
Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel, London UK

The short version is that I’ve taken everything I’ve learned over the past 10 years (my first SEO experiments began in the day-long summer of 1998) and have carefully distilled it into a brand new seminar with something useful for everyone from beginners up, including these crucial aspects:

– How to form a keyword strategy that will last for years

– How to deploy that strategy so it brings in immediate returns

– How to structure that strategy so it brings in ever-increasing returns, with link popularity being your only variable

– What to consider when deciding the best method of link generation for your website

And after we’ve covered all of that, we’ll sit down for a tasty lunch and a chat, then reconvene for a workshop where we’ll address specific issues relating to the websites of audience members.

Even an expert can walk away from this seminar with something new, even if it’s ‘only’ the ability to finally explain what he does to laymen. (This is more important than you might think, because generally it’s a layman signing the cheques.)

So…. by now some of you will be wondering how you’re going to get your hands on that free ticket. Well, let me tell you about the three potential paths to freebie-land:

(Deadline for entries: 12 midnight, Sunday October 5th 2008)

1. Beg privately via email

Couldn’t be easier, or more demeaning. Just send me an email with the subject header ‘g4gu: begging for tickets’. Put what you like in the body of the email. Just make sure that you beg.

Begging privately via email = 1 chance in the draw

2. Tell a tale of search engine serendipity
(requires use of a weblog)

The role of search engines in the formation of networks should never be underestimated. I know of several long-time readers of Bloggerheads who first arrived via a search engine or search engine experiment, including Tom Watson. Most readers of weblogs will have at least one story in them about how they met a close friend/associate via a search engine and/or weblog… now is a good time to tell that story and (maybe) cash in. Once you’ve blogged it, drop me a line and send me a link to it.

Telling a tale of search engine serendipity = 5 chances in the draw

3. Convert to my religion and/or testify
(requires use of a weblog)

I’ve been trying to score a top search result for ‘religion’ in Google for years; last month I came tantalisingly close as I quietly slipped in and out of the Top 10 for the first time. With just a few more converts, I can finally take this long-term experiment to the next level. Click here to begin the conversion process and make sure that you let me know once you have converted.

If you have already converted (and many readers have) simply tell your readers why you did this and when, then send me a link to that post.

Converting to my religion and/or testifying = 10 chances in the draw

By now you may have noticed that web users with weblogs have a distinct advantage over those who don’t:

1. There will be no charge for this free lesson on How Teh Internets Work

2. Of course this competition is rigged! What do you take me for?

Once the deadline for entries has passed, I’ll draw a few items from the pile at random, and then choose one of my mates as the winner. Simple as.

(OK, I kid. The free ticket will go to the one reader of Bloggerheads that I regard to have the greatest need and/or the most potential. So choose your method and manner of entry wisely.)

The winner will be announced Monday 6th Oct, 2008.

Click here to find out more about Google 4 Grown-Ups.

UPDATE (28 Oct) – A report on this first event has now gone live here.

Click here to find out when the next Google 4 Grown-Ups seminar and workshop will be held.








Posted in Search Engine Optimisation | 2 Comments