The Cartoon, The Newspaper And The Need To Be Serious

Now working at the "Osservatore Romano"


We live in times where collective stupidity and vulgarity is very much en vogue and there is no level of entertainment considered too stupid or embarrassing. The entire cultural climate is slowly going down, flattening itself to the minimum common denominator of the uneducated, peeping, gossiping masses. Consider our TV programmes becoming increasingly more stupid, our newspapers becoming increasing more coloured (and leaving your finger an even bigger mess than they used to) and shouted, our politicians treating us as increasingly more stupid (witness the huge amount of adv telling us not to kill ourselves on a bike, or to drink and drive) and the life of what is in the meantime a huge army of “celebrities” being inspected and given to the hungry masses in the most embarrassing detail.

One of the most notable examples of this trend toward the superficial, the vulgar and the outright stupid is the Osservatore Romano, the once serious (if not necessarily orthodox) Vatican publication now clearly intent on becoming the most ridiculed newspaper on the planet. The paper does so brilliantly, with journalists regularly making asses of themselves and causing worldwide laughter in the process.

It all started (unless I am missing something) with the Osservatore’s “absolution” of the Beatles, whereby we were informed that the Beatles (and well, particularly Lennon and by reflection the female who has become the epitome of everything that is wrong with the human race) were blasphemous drug users but hey, it’s all fine because where would music be without them…. Touching and profound, don’t you find?

Then we had the “Blues Brothers” article, where the religious content of the movie and his defence of Catholicism was put in evidence. This was, if you ask me, far less stupid* than the previous observations about Lennon & Co, but it still betrayed an utterly inappropriate need of being “hip” and to talk about things that have nothing to do with the actual job of the newspaper.

The summit (at least for now) was reached when the same newspaper, not content with the degree of ridicule already earned, went out with the rather astonishing observation that Homer Simpson be a Catholic. The reasons would be that he sleeps at his Protestant church’s sermons and a couple of other pieces of nonsense too idiotic to repeat. I distinctly remember that when I was in kindergarten discussions were far more logic and profound than this one and it truly seems that the Osservatore Romano will not stop until their reputation for moronic stunts has reached the furthest corners of the planet; which will be very soon.

In the meantime, the producers of the “Simpsons” have felt the necessity to speak. “If Catholics are as stupid as that newspaper”, they must have thought, “we’ll need to release some form of official dementi”. Please note the astonishment of the poor chap at Homer Simpson being defined as Catholic.

The impression that comes from all these stories is that at the Vatican someone is seriously confusing proper journalistic work with puberty problems. One has the distinct impression that Beavis and Butthead have now become, respectively, news writer and editor by a well-known and once reputable newspaper. The problem is that whilst Beavis and Butthead may be fun on MTV, they are not on the Osservatore Romano.


* I admit growing up in the admiration of that movie. I still think it is one of the greatest movies ever made. And I find the “Penguin” one of the most lovable creatures ever devised by the silver screen.

Posted on October 23, 2010, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. As ever seems the case, most people, when writing about these idiocies, seem to forget that the Pope has only to lift his telephone and the staff at this newspaper would be history. That he does not do so speaks volumes. That few point this out also speaks volumes.

    The world looks at this hapless Church, its apparently hapless Pope, its hapless clergy….and laughs. It looks to them like some geriatric old spinster dressed in leather gyrating at a rock concert. It looks ridiculous. And why shouldn’t it? It IS ridiculous.

    Our recent Popes scurry around toadying to the powers that be, living, like their ancestors, in fear of the Jews, the world and all others who despise Christ. They “apologize” for the past “sins” of Catholics while ignoring the crimes committed against the Church by those to whom they have apologized. It is a nauseating, sickening performance.

    And as Mundabor has pointed out, through all this they yearn to be “hip”, so an official Vatican publication praises rubbish like rock music, the Blues Brothers and now, hilariously and unbelievably, the supremely stupid “simpsons” Tv show. Words fail me. [If this Vatican publication was interested in praising works of film animation anyone with half a brain could have referred them to GENUINELY excellent, amusing and clever animated films, like the brilliant Jay Ward cartoons of the 50s and 60s or the ever popular and still wonderful Warner Brothers cartoons of the past. But no. They celebrate “The Simpsons.” God help us.] The current culture, influenced by we misguided Americans, has been rightly called “raw sewrage”. THIS is what the Vatican’s official publication wishes to get enthused about?

    I have already written a respectful letter to the Vatican explaining to them that the time to cease looking foolish is now. Will they even ready my letter? I’m sure the “delete” button will be hit before anyone in Rome gets half way into it.

    Many good Catholics in England no doubt are familiar with the fine publication Christian Order, once edited by Father Paul Crane, RIP, and now by the excellent Rod Pead. On their website currently is a wonderful article called “Beauty” by a Mr James Larson which I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who wants to somehow see through this morass of idiocy now engulfing the one, true Church. If I may, I’d like to include a link to this fine publication:

    It is an article which, I believe, will raise the spirits of even the most depressed Catholic (it certainly gave me hope). It invites us to see beyond the scum, the filth and the banality which has encrusted so many areas of Catholic life.

    We do sometimes need to see that little light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Schmenz,
      I do not share your condemnation of the present Pope but I can certainly understand where you come from. I do hope things at the “OR” will change soon, either in style or in people. We’ll see.

      I’ll read the article asap. I ‘ve stumbled upon Christian Order in the past and liked it a lot.


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