It’s that time of the year again.
Tim Minchin describes the joys of Christmas down under.
I reckon you can’t beat Tim Minchin’s song “White Wine in the Sun” to convey the real atmosphere of Christmas – at least in Australia and New Zealand.
Here’s a new version – recorded at the Uncaged Monkeys show in Manchester on 6th December 2011. It’s a bit shaky at the start but gets better.
Tim is accompanied by Prof. Brian Cox on keyboard in this version
This is a real classic – Tim Minchin’s inspirational speech to graduates on his being awared an honorary doctorate. It has a lot of wisdom in it and the ideas are concisely, but effectively, expressed.
Tim has placed the full text of his speech on his blog – see OCCASIONAL ADDRESS. I urge you to watch the video but will just quote from one section of his speech – his advice to “Be Hard On Your Opinions:”
A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like arse-holes, in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this… but I would add that opinions differ significantly from arse-holes, in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.
We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat.
Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.
Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies, then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions, like two tennis players trying to win a match by hitting beautifully executed shots from either end of separate tennis courts.
By the way, while I have science and arts grads in front of me: please don’t make the mistake of thinking the arts and sciences are at odds with one another. That is a recent, stupid, and damaging idea. You don’t have to be unscientific to make beautiful art, to write beautiful things.
If you need proof: Twain, Adams, Vonnegut, McEwen, Sagan, Shakespeare, Dickens. For a start.
You don’t need to be superstitious to be a poet. You don’t need to hate GM technology to care about the beauty of the planet. You don’t have to claim a soul to promote compassion.
Science is not a body of knowledge nor a system of belief; it is just a term which describes humankind’s incremental acquisition of understanding through observation. Science is awesome.
The arts and sciences need to work together to improve how knowledge is communicated. The idea that many Australians – including our new PM and my distant cousin Nick – believe that the science of anthropogenic global warming is controversial, is a powerful indicator of the extent of our failure to communicate. The fact that 30% of this room just bristled is further evidence still. The fact that that bristling is more to do with politics than science is even more despairing.”
Scientists will love this speech – so will teachers.
It’s about time for a bit of seasonal humour. And who better than Tim Minchin, who staunchly defends science and reason, to administer it. Here is a video which ITV cut from the Jonathan Ross show – apparently by direct orders from ITV’s director of television, Peter Fincham.
It’s called WoodyAllenJesus – and watch it while you can (or download a copy. Tim thinks he may be asked to take the video off line
Thanks to Tim Minchin: I’m NOT on the Jonathan Ross Show
As taught by Tim Minchin.
I hasten to add that there is no intention to offend Mr Whippy.
Thanks to Massimo Pigliucci
Came across this song of Tim Minchen’s Peace Anthem For Palestine.
Actually think he might be on to something
I think Tim Minchin‘s Song “White Wine in the Sun“ really captures the spirit of Christmas down under. I heard it last year (see No gods required) and notice it is being promoted again this year with all proceeds going to charity.
Here is Minchin performing the song:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
The Salvation Army was a beneficiary of this because the song is included on the CD The Spirit Of Christmas, which raises money for the Salvation Army’s charity work in Australia. However, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. They are now criticising the song and other Christian activists, even ones supposedly supporting family values, dubbed it ‘disrespectful’ and ‘a sick joke.’
Tim wrote about the Sally’s rudeness:
“I gave my song for free, putting aside my philosophical objection to the Salvation Army for the sake of beneficiaries. Imbeciles.”
“I think the Salvos are idiots. I didn’t know they would benefit from the CD, but by the time I found out I didn’t want to make too much of a fuss. So I gave my song free, then they turn around and say that they don’t agree with the sentiment of the song.
“Part of me is hugely outraged by what imbeciles they are, to bite the hand that feeds them and put their proselytising above charity.
“I won’t make this mistake again. I tweeted that if people want to buy my version of the song independently, I’ll give the proceeds away to a non-proselytising charity.”
“Christmas means much to billions of people who don’t believe in Jesus, and if you think that Christmas without Jesus is not Christmas, then you’re out of touch, and if you think altruism without Jesus is not altruism, then you’re a dick.”
I understand that a secular charity Autism Trust is going to benefit from sales of “White Wine in the Sun” from now until January 1st. (Cost NZ$1.79 on iTunes – I wouldn’t buy the Sally’s CD).