Monday, 14 December 2009

Monday 14th December 09

Quite a late start, as hoped, but got myself together to do some more writing, catching up after a very busy weekend.

A quiet day... the scaffolding was removed, our boiler still isn't working, the lady on Freecycle came to collect the plastic sheeting which arrived wrapped around the solar panel, and I did quite a bit of paperwork... and went to town to pay in my cheque from yesterday and get out a cheque to pay Stuart ('John Broken Willow') for his book x 7 'Yoghurt Weaving in a Nutshell' which he tells me is going to be reviewed or even quoted in chunks by The Oldie. I think it's a potential best seller really, despite Amazon selling out (maybe that's why?)!

I picked up a very large donation from Freshways which I'll have to sort out tomorrow, and a smaller one from Country Fresh, which included some bags of pears, each of which had one or two bad ones and several really delicious ones, just right for drying!

After a bit of a hurried tea, i cycled in the rain down to Priory St to the North Yorkshire Humanists meeting, where there was a talk by Ariene Sherine, who thought up the 'Atheist Bus Campaign'. Her talk was full of humour... she is a comedy writer as well as a 'straight' journalist. I really enjoyed her account of how she started the movement, after seeing bus adverts saying that some of the passengers were going to burn in Hell. The Advertising Standards Authority told her that they were unable to do anything about these adverts as they were the advertiser's opinion, and this was beyond their remit. So she wrote an article in the Guardian about these adverts, and suggested that she'd like to see an atheist advert, something like 'There's probably no God, so stop worrying and get on with your life'. She was very surprised to have a lot of comments saying that this was such a good idea, and offering money to sponsor a bus advert.

So she started a 'Pledgebank' page, and with no advertising, got about 800 pledges... falling far short of the number needed to pay for an advert. The Telegraph seized upon this 'failed campaign' and published an article. Ariene wrote another Guardian article about this (I think to say that it wasn't a campaign) and started a facebook page, and the campaign took off. Pledges started rolling in, she contacted Richard Dawkins who offered to match anything raised up to the value of one advert, £5500. She got a friend to design an advert, changed the wording slightly and 'THERE'S PROBABLY NO GOD, NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE' was about to go global! This went on 800 buses around the UK, and has been taken up around the world. Some states have banned it. Other places have made their own adverts.

A few Christians have been most un-Christian in their language and imagery towards Ariene, she showed us some of the emails and other things she's been sent. Some people obviously feel very threatened, even with the inclusion of the word 'probably'!

I joined the North Yorkshire Humanist Group as they've put on some good talks this year and I've had some good conversations with members.

I scooted home quickly as I'd said that I would take the bathwater up for one of the boys.

Then at 10pm I watched The Age of Stupid on BBC4. Good to see it on TV. Hope it goes onto BBC2 next. I'll be contacting the BBC with that suggestion...

No comments: