Is it time to think carefully about the
My recent articles on the issue of strange stories that people collect have opened a can of floodgates or perhaps a tidal barrier of worms – I am not sure which. Not only are several of my clients in the Admiral storage facility collecting tales of the weird and unexpected (not to say downright ludicrous) but it seems from my inbox that lots of other people have an interest in this.
I’ve had several emails from readers pointing out that if I really want weird, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, also known as Pastafariansm, might be worthy of my attention.
This church certainly came to the attention of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Council of Europe who noted that Pastafarianism celebrates an invisible all-powerful being called the Flying Spaghetti Monster which created the universe in one day.
Supporters of the idea then demanded a place on the school curriculum in the United States alongside evolution on the one hand and intelligent design on the other hand, on the basis that their notion was a third variety – singularly unintelligent design.
It seems that despite the absolute oddness of such a vision, in recent times the followers of Pastafarianism has flourished, for they now have their own very colourful website in which they report many sightings of the spaghetti monster.
Apparently one can buy the t-shirt to show unity with the monster for $25 or one can alternatively send exactly the same amount of money for a certificate that makes one a certified minister of the cult.
The website, incidentally, has a section to which people can write (and be published) if they wish to argue against Pastafarianism or even be abusive towards the believers, which seems fairly democratic.
It certainly raises a new notion for websites. One has the usual drop down menus at the top with such headings as “News”, “Products”, “Offers”, “Contact us” and then comes “Abuse”. I am not sure many other websites have added this option, but certainly reading the abuse column on the Pastafarians website is quite, err, educational. Or at least vocabulary expanding.
Incidentally, through writing this piece on Google Drive I have just discovered that the spell checker accepts the word “Pastafarian” as perfectly correct spelling.
I therefore tested this discovery out by going into Google itself and typing Define:Pastafarian, and low and behold up popped a definition. How fast notions can grow!
Of course, believing in a Deity or not is an intensely personal affair, and our society does indeed allow us the freedom to believe or not believe, and to argue for our own beliefs and against the beliefs of others.
But I wonder if we haven’t gone too far in believing in giving information technology the same rights. I particularly wondered that this week when I got an email from my bank which said, “If you cannot see this email click here”. Isn’t it time to start seeing IT not as a blessing but actually the work of some universal nasty-being which exists possibly in the anti-universe or whatever the latest proposition of physicists is as they attempt to explain what’s what and what’s not in the entirety of space and time?
I was still contemplating that rather overwhelming point when my attention was then drawn (for no reason that will become apparent at this time) to the notion of nominative determinism – the tendency of people to go into areas of work which fit their surname.
You may well have seen, for example, that the last Lord Chief Justice for England and Wales was Judge Judge (actual real name Igor Judge) until he was replaced by John Thomas – on which, of course, I make no comment.
Now there is a report that the population of dentists in the UK has many more men named Dennis, and women called Denise, than one might expect. On the other hand I did come across Dr Burns at my local hospital recently, which caused me a certain amount of concern.
But I must leave you with a notice from the Driving Standards Agency which helpfully told me that I could “normally book a theory test online 24 hours a day, every day. Outside these hours you can make a pending booking.”
So time beyond 24/7 really does exist, at least within government departments. I always thought that might be the case.
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Tel: 0800 810 1125