In one of his stand up routines, Irish comedian Dara O'Brian uttered the statement above - a brilliant expression for the distaste one has for the popularity of the irrational and the moronic that swims through our culture. In that spirit, I've decided to add a new monthly feature to the Atheist Handbook - Get in the Frakin' Sack. It's not complicated, really. I will just select someone or something that should be worth of being put in O'Brian 's sack and pulped with sticks.
A quick look at the headlines a given week will result in a fine list of sack worthy people out there, but in keeping with the routine in which O'Brian talks about the sack, I decided this month the sack ought to be filled with the news media.
I make this choice for two reasons - first, I work in the news media and if I am going to suggest anyone be put in the sack, I suppose I should go first. And second, the media has been stepping on some many rakes lately that when someone asks what I do for a living I usually choose a profession more popular with the general public. You know, like lawyers, or dentists or mob assassins.
It would take an entire blog to discuss the moronic choices made daily in my profession, but this month has a particular one that just shows how damn dumb the entire news media can be. I present you with exhibit A: bird shit on a car.
Now, you might be saying "Bird crap. Big deal. Who give a crap, if you don't mind the pun." To which I would agree complete. Sadly, far far too many of my professional colleagues think dried avian feces is totally news worthy? Why? Beacuse several totally insane people think that this particular bit of bird crap is a supernatural sign from god. Specifically, they think the shit looks like the Virgin Mary and is therefore a miracle. If I even need to crack a wise ass joke at this point to drive the point home, I think I'll cry.
The coverage of this was, to my endless chagrin, utterly credulous. That people think bird crap represents divine intervention wasn't question at all, particularly on television, with the news hosts afterwards shrugging, giggling and saying "well anything is possible."
Anything is possible? Like I could, I dunno, reach my hands through the screen and strangle the news anchor who says such things? The correct response is to say these people are very probably insane. Or better yet, if someone calls your newsroom saying the bird shit on their car looks like god, you can offer them a phone number to the local mental ward.
Of course, bird droppings are not the only place the divine has made itself known of late. In Ireland, believers think Mary appears in the wood grains in a tree stump. I kind you not. Some of the locals want the stump encased in glass!! And as always, the news media reports it with the same seriousness as it would a terrorist attack or the results of an election. It's as if because this involved religion, journalist lose the ability to ask critical questions. Look, I am not asking for the Watergate investigation here - just the use of one or two brain cells to determine that bird shit is just bird shit. I'm actually surprised the folks over at the Discovery Institute haven't jumped on these stories as evidence of a cosmic designer.
I suppose this all raises another point. If you really believed in an all powerful ruler of the entire universe, wouldn't you expect a little more from him than tree stumps and bird crap? I mean, read the Bible - when god wanted his presence know he did it in style - drowning the entire world, creating burning bushes that talk, parting the seas, or conjuring bears to eat a bunch of mouthy kids. Never mind the time he showed up IN PERSON to mock the hapless Job. The point is, god didn't screw around back in the day. He was an angry, in your face kinda guy.
Today? Well if god exists either he's so far past his prime now he can't see it through the rearview window behind him, or the standards of what impresses people have seriously declined. No more talking burning bushes, or turning poor old ladies into pillars of salt. No, god is down to appearing in cheese toast, bird crap and in the side of a Tim Horton's. I mean, what happened? Wouldn't a believer want a few fire works instead of a stain on their car?
In any case, for all those reporters and editors who covered the "appearance" of god in bird crap and tree stumps — get in the frakin' sack.