Buckley vs Knowledge
I spotted a mistake in another comic and I was originally just going to make a short post in the forums of that comic and walk away but in the time it took me to trawl through the forum posts to make sure no-one else had pointed out the error (nobody had) I got incredibly annoyed reading the consequences of the mistake, which in turn cast new light on the original strip, which led to me re-examining the whole situation.
What began in my mind as a short forum post has gained in mass as it has rolled down the snow-slope of my consciousness and arrived at the bottom a news post. But in place of snow imagine ice-cold fury. So here goes.
If you look at the latest Ctrl+Alt+Del strip you can read Tim Buckley’s response to a complaint made by the Church of England about the use of Manchester Cathedral in a video game. I don’t want to get into the validity of the complaint at this point, rather Buckley’s response to the situation in his comic. It includes the classic line — much quoted in the CAD forums — “Don’t you dare use logic with me! I’m a priest!”
Ooh, you kinda dropped the ball there, Tim. The Church of England doesn’t have priests, only vicars. Last time I checked the Anglican church was Protestant. Remember that whole fall-out between Henry VIII and the Pope? Something about divorce? Closing down monasteries? Relationship between England and Rome changed forever? Ring any bells? Birth of the Anglican Church right there, my friend. Ouch.
You don’t think it matters either way? Well, the first page of the forum thread about this strip was nothing but people talking about the Catholic church. One guy even said “As a catholic, its always nice to see someone poke fun at the preists [sic] over something other then homosexuality.” Way to go, Timmy. Way to go. Would it have killed you to use Wikipedia?
By the way, this in no way reflects on Tim’s intelligence but you’ve got to appreciate the sheer delicious ignorance of the joker who made the first post on that thread: “religous zealots ftw.” Jesus Christ, that has to be the first time the C of E has been described as zealous.
I guess that’s the problem I have with the strip itself. It’s the assumption that someone complaining about Sony (God forbid, no pun intended) is a zealot or illogical or a priest or an idiot. It’s just fucking dumb. He could have used the opportunity to take the Anglicans up on, y’know, their actual grievance but instead he starts with “How dare you use our church in your video game!” and the whole thing descends from there into bullshit about God suing Sony over fictional representations of the real world which, as the guy in the strip points out, is a logically flawed self-defeating argument — the Anglican Church is thus thwarted. Or at least it would be if that was its actual argument. It’s one thing to exaggerate and extrapolate a flawed argument to its logical conclusion but the entire representation of the church’s argument save the first sentence is from the fucking moon. That gets to me a little — Buckley sets up a straw man and his fans lap it up unquestioningly when he knocks it down. In this metaphor they are dogs… that lap straw. Uh.
Let’s look at reality for a second. Yes, the church doesn’t want their Cathedral used in a violent video game. No, it’s not because it’s fictional (how does that make any fucking sense?) it’s because there’s a certain argument which, whilst I don’t personally agree with it, is perfectly legitimate which suggests that if people do something in a video game (in this case shoot guns in a church) they may be more likely to do it in real life (e.g. in the exact same church). Sony, according to this argument, is encouraging violence in churches. That’s the argument. If you don’t agree with it, Buckley, argue with it. Don’t just make up a whole new one totally divorced from reality and put it in the mouth of a ‘stupid illogical crazy priest who wants to sue everyone’ character because in my own experience of Rowan Williams (he’s on the radio all the time) I’ve found him to be a quietly-spoken, eloquent and intelligent man. Compare that to this guy. Buckley has misjudged the whole situation and shown himself up to be an utter tit, along with the vast majority of the people in that forum thread.
My reaction is always the same to any poisonous, offensive, knee-jerk, ignorant remark whether it’s a racist remark made at a party or an old man muttering something about gay people in a bus station. I instantly feel emotionally invested and an overwhelming desire to correct the person seizes me. It’s not like I’m invested in this in any other way. I’m of the ethnic majority in my country and I’m not gay. I’m not even a fucking Christian. There’s no bias here. The only reason why I’m offended by Buckley’s comic is because it’s stupid. The kind of stupidity that breeds more stupidity, the kind of stupidity that comes from someone who doesn’t know the situation running off their fucking mouth nonetheless — in this case talking about people he doesn’t know who are members of a denomination he clearly knows jack shit about in a country he doesn’t live in. All I can say is ouch. You really dropped the ball there.