A Providential Demise
American satirist Tom Lehrer said that irony died when they gave Henry Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize.
Well, not quite. Apparently it lingered, finally passing away on 17 September 2006, outside Westminster Cathedral, when a hundred Neanderthals gathered to declare that Islam was a peaceful religion - and if the Pope disagreed, they’d kill him!
You couldn’t make it up.
Is an ‘irony bypass’ mandatory for all Muslims? Or just for these cerebrally-challenged thugs? Who spit their dummies in the dirt, stamp their feet and threaten to explode in a homicidal sulk whenever Islam’s ‘peaceful’ party line is debunked - by their own demented behaviour!
Still, if their murderous response to the papal point - that "religion is not united to violence, but to reason" - finished off irony for good, it also loosened, just a notch, that suicidal straightjacket in which the politically correct West has bound itself in relations with Islam.
It provoked, for instance, the following sympathetic interview in which a priest was encouraged to speak freely, and did so without compromise. A media event as rare as a Catholic Jesuit!
Moreover, despite the stutterings of wimpy English bishops, the cowering of Italian politicians and BBC rabble-rousing, the irrational reaction to the Holy Father’s genteel discourse saw ranks close behind him from all sides, including support from Spain’s socialist president. Crikey, even old George Carey was talking tough!
Fed up, they all cried as one: ‘Enough with the ironic histrionics! The Pope is right: reason eschews violence!’
Although deaf to Benedict’s warning about the greater danger of separating reason from faith, and vice versa, we perceive here signs of a secular breakthrough: a belated first step towards open discussion of the totalitarian nature and global designs of Islam.
Yes, irony expired on 17/9. But the enduring fantasy of "peaceful", "tolerant", "moderate" Islam died with it. Deo gratias.