Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sunday Feb 11th


Radio Five Live programme.....rushed to the BBC from Kings Cross, my mind still full of Durham, stories of heroic miners, image of glorious cathedral, glow from happy gatherings with family and friends.

Tube system caught up with Sunday repair work, so the train stopped at Marble Arch....wrrrrgh....had to hail a taxi to get to BBC at White City. Usual surreal sensation sitting in studio, sealed off from outside world, people phoning in to shout their opinions at me through headphones....I am not good at keeping my cool in such situations, and however hard I try, I always sound shrill and annoying. Topic was children and the future: Pope Benedict had pointed out that Europe is dying - people see children as a threat, as taking something away from personal pleasures, while in reality they are the future.....is this refusal to have children a form of deadly selfishness? I noted economic realities: without new generation being born, people alive today will endure to lonely and extremely difficult old age , no working population to create tax-base or provide any services. We must hope that the immigrants who will settling in Britain from other countries will be interested in caring for the dying indigenous population - but if they honestly aren't, it will be difficult to hold them entirely to blame. People phoning in: "I don't see why my decision not to have children makes me selfish - I just want to do what I want with my life. I want to enjoy myself, travel, spend my money as I choose. So why doesn't this horrible woman in the studio just belt up?" Most people began their comments with "I can't believe what this woman in the studio is saying!" and many went on to say that they hated my voice. One or two expressed the vigourous opinion that I was probably insane, or needed a sedative (this last possibly true by this stage!)

I always agree when people say I am annoying, irritating, have a disagreeable voice etc. Also when they say I'm probably nasty. But does that mean that the economic facts I am presenting are untrue?

Many routine - but rather gross - insults about the Pope, of which the milder ones were "He wears dresses and lives in luxury."

Home, rather tired.


Anonymous said...

Joanna, the facts are incontrovertible. The demographic consequences for Europe caused by a low birthrate are recognised as much by secular commentators as Christians. The imbalance of age is going to make euthenasia inevitable, among many other social ills, and the Church will be powerless to stop it. But what causes hostility among your critics is the way you carry on, not necessarily what you say. Don't you realise that the BBC and television companies (with the exception of EWTN) only invite you to broadcast because they see you as an Aunt Sally, not because they respect your views? And there are many good, solid Catholics who are embarrassed by your approach and what you say. They don't like seeing the Church represented in this way, especially on crucial subjects, and they are not all by any means left-overs from the Sixties. Remember St Francis of Sales's sage observation: 'You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.' When you say you don't mind being seen as annoying, odd and so on this doesn't suggest courage in the face of adversity, so much as a complete lack of self-knowledge and a vain desire for publicity.

Frabjous Days said...

I didn't hear the programme but I salute you for being willing to accept these insults. 'Happy are you when they say all sorts of vile things against you...'

Anonymous said...

Such insults almost invariably strike me as ludicrously funny. Auntie Joanna, rather than salute you only for keeping your temper, I must also salute you for not laughing at each and every ridiculous anti-Catholic caller. I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to speak for laughter.

Rebecca said...

I am so sorry to hear this. Were there any positive callers?

Mame said...

God bless you for speaking the truth - and in a hostile environment too! I would have loved to but didn't hear the program since I'm way, way across the pond (outside of Seattle, WA). But I did want to tell you that I really enjoy reading your blog and about your pedaling here and there. Makes me want to go out and buy a bicycle!

Sharon said...

I think you have a lovely voice.

As for the ad hominum attacks, they were probably made because the callers couldn't refute your facts and so resorted to name calling. Rather than replying to the ad hominums just ask them if what you said was factually incorrect.

Anonymous said...

It always amuses me that these people who choose not to have children are often the same ones who, whilst popping the wholemeal abortifacient pill, are constantly going on about saving the planet, minimising carbon footprints etc. etc.
But who are they saving the planet for? Apart from the orthodox faithful of certain world faiths, the rest will have contracepted themselves out of existence!

Anonymous said...

They'd like your voice well enough if you were droning on about some dippy hippy idea. It's all subjective.

And, 'anonymous' is wrong about the Aunt Sally thing. The reason for this is because Joanna is always asked to respond to some initiative which the Catholic church will inevitably oppose. Thus RCs and Christians as a whole are portrayed as negative, whereas if the media chose to cover eg the positive contribution made by people like John Paul II or Mother Teresa, of course it would be the secular relativists who would be the Aunt Sallies.

Anonymous said...

Check out this news article from The Times: