Thursday 25 November 2010

When I was younger, so much younger

The stage and screen actor, Victor Spinetti, tells a story of how during the filming of Help, the Beatles appeared on a balcony in Austria and gave the Nazi salute to thousands of adoring fans below. Naturally they screamed their appreciation at the stupidity of the gesture. Imagine what the reaction would be today.

Sometimes I think we’re more prudish, but then there was Lennon’s “more popular than Jesus” comment kicking off a huge fuss at the time that would now be unlikely to elicit anything more than a few raised eyebrows. The changing relevance of the subject or perhaps our changing fear on what the subject represents plays a part, however the feeling persists that in some ways we have become more puritanical; throwing morality into the mix and passing laws accordingly.

For example, when I was younger the solution to my dislike of fox hunting appeared obvious - ban it – but much as I abhor making sport from such an activity, I find suspect this idea that we can legislate people into becoming ‘better’ human beings. More than that, it demonstrates intolerance; we have failed to persuade so we impose our belief.

And I am guilty too, for in just over four weeks I will have animals killed for my enjoyment of a Christmas meal. I’m not sure where this sits on the shifting moral compass, though since I could never kill an animal myself I am at the very least a hypocrite.


  1. I have been trying very hard to temper my reaction to things because I, too, am a hypocrite. I could never kill an animal, but I eat meat. I don't want to impose my beliefs on others, but boy, wouldn't it be nice if they could just wise up and see things my way, which is the right way.

    Oh do I have work to do!

  2. When reading the Princess Diana biography by Tina Brown, so many references to hunting, hunting, hunting -- it sounded like the royal family members are ALWAYS, just Day after Day, when they're at their country houses, trudging out to Kill Stuff. (I'd always think, if I had that sort of wealth / privilege / freedom, I would certainly have something Better To Do than that. Ugh.)
    It sounded like they hunt So Much -- it must be a wonder there are ANY animals left - !

  3. that is a tough one. I eat meat as well, well I eat chicken and fish, but would never kill anything. I however, only eat meat that is organicly fed and treated in a proper manner before it is killed for our ocnsumption. And I agree with you, pushing our beliefs on others is not the way to bring about posative change, even if it is for the better. Lisa Rose

  4. Phil,

    would enjoy having your viewpoint on my Dec. 1 blue collar lit. post -- would like to know how they address this issue in U.K.