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Made in Shoreditch

I also contribute a weekly column to Made in Shoreditch magazine called 'Old East End/New East End', where I look at the relationship between the East End of old and new, looking at the changes and the stalwarts in landscape, residents and culture, focussing on one street or district each week. You can find it here.

Benedict's Had Enough

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I've always hoped that the etymology of the word 'pope' had its roots in 'poop' or 'poo'. Yes, if I could, I'd doctor various previous dictionaries and texts to suit this point instead of supporting the obvious patriarchal roots in the word 'pope'. This desire to display religious authorities as faecal fathers has been alive and well in me for as long as I can remember, maybe due to my love of iconoclastic gestures (see the graphic of this blog and, indeed, its very name) or maybe due to my innate and beloved atheism.

The thing is, I find organised religion disgusting and thus equate its leading figures with bodily functions, particularly those of the anus. Put simply, I think the pope is a shit and that the very idea of a pope is shitty. Now, the old fellow is retiring due to being, well, pooped. Shit.

Joseph Ratzinger aka Papa Benny

Not since the 1400s has a pope decided to call it a day, but Pope Benedict XVI has bucked recent trends of dying as the man in the catholic church and elected to put his feet up and engage in some, ahem, well-earned cocoa and slippers time. I'm sure many pious catholic folk are saddened to hear of his declining health - as well they might be given the amount of their lives they have willfully given over to declaring themselves not worthy of successive imposteurs who've been anointed and, in turn, have anointed themselves as God's representatives on earth. Personally, I feel it's no more or less saddening than the decline of any man's health. OK, maybe it's less saddening than the decline of somebody who has contributed something to our understanding of the world around us instead of contributing to ignorance, the spread of aids and poverty.

That people are incognisant enough to believe that a man in the sky is everywhere watching everything and that they should spend every day praising him while apologising for their very existence and sins (which he surely created according to their logic) and begging for forgiveness is disturbing enough. That they then choose to elect some autocrat so that they may do the same to a real person in the real world is utterly worrying. It shows that there is a side to certain human beings that's pretty low on self-worth and happy to swallow being told what shits they are. By shits.

Obvious one: REM - Losing My Religion

One reading this may feel I'm being slightly unfair on the departing pope. In actuality, I'm going soft on him. Maybe because even I can see how easy it is to point out the flaws of a decrepit old celestial despot, who knows? Anyway, I shan't mourn his exit any more than I shan't be happy when his successor steps in (unless this man decides to change attitudes within catholicism towards contraception, gay rights and women's suffrage). Pope Benedict managed, quite amazingly, to actually drag the already unfeasibly backward and pointless catholic church closer towards the dark ages. He helped raise deaths among 16-25 year olds in various countries due to his outspoken disgust at contraception and proved he did not believe in equality for all men and women by denouncing gay marriage. He presided over a period of dogmatic idiocy at The Vatican and should be remembered as the pope who had the chance to modernise, but decided to regress the catholic church.

Today is Shrove Tuesday, a big day in the catholic calendar. Folk across the nation will symbolically chow down pancakes in remembrance of  people who before them would use the last of their eggs and flour before giving up the stodge and sweets for lent. If you're taking part, as I undoubtedly will be (for all of my atheism nothing will get between me and the chance to greedily stuff my gob with sweet treats), make sure that your eggs are in date. You don't want the... oh, you know where I'm going with this.

They're not that type of bead!!! I couldn't resist another anal tie-in...