Friday, June 27, 2008

My Argument With God

How I went from Jesus-loving Christian to fun-loving infidel…in one afternoon

By: Ricky Gervais

I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers. More than God. God was by definition omnipotent and perfect. Jesus was a man. He had to work at it. He had temptation but defeated sin. He had integrity and courage. But He was my hero because He was kind. And He was kind to everyone. He didn’t bow to peer pressure or tyranny or cruelty. He didn’t care who you were. He loved you. What a guy. I wanted to be just like Him.

One day when I was about 8 years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible-studies homework. I loved art too. And nature. I loved how God made all the animals. They were also perfect. Unconditionally beautiful. It was an amazing world.

I lived in a very poor, working-class estate in an urban sprawl called Reading, about 40 miles west of London. My father was a laborer and my mother was a housewife. I was never ashamed of poverty. It was almost noble. Also, everyone I knew was in the same situation, and I had everything I needed. School was free. My clothes were cheap and always clean and ironed. And Mum was always cooking. She was cooking the day I was drawing Jesus on the cross.

I was sitting at the kitchen table when my brother came home. He was 11 years older than me, so he would have been 19. He was as smart as anyone I knew, but he was too cheeky. He would answer back and get into trouble. I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God—what a relief for a working-class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law-abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. Seventy-five percent of Americans are God-fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-fearing Christians. Ten percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.

But anyway, there I was, happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob,” she said, in a tone that I knew meant “shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong, it didn’t matter what people said.

Oh…hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.

Wow. No God. If Mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my newfound atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. Not a world by design, but one by chance. I learned of evolution—a theory so simple and obvious that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals, and us—with imagination, free will, love, and humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer, and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.

But living an honest life—for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.

I hope I haven’t offended anyone with this article. Okay, that’s a lie.

Ricky Gervais created the award-winning TV shows The Office and Extras . This fall, he stars in the romantic comedy Ghost Town opposite Téa Leoni.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boston is Retahded

I've never liked Boston. Even before I moved to the New York area, I didn't like Boston. For so long that city sucked, at everything, and people liked them just because they were the loveable losers. But really, they've been winning sports championships for 8 years now, and the smug machine just keeps getting worse. I've never liked the, 'well, we deserved it' defense either.

I have these 2 friends that live in Boston. I sort of like them because they're loud and enjoy a tasty beverage. I also like them because they let me do my Matt Damon/Good Will Hunting Boston accent, and they don't get mad. I can't meet someone from Boston without saying "Irrrreeeegaaaaadless" a good 20 times. I love watching them get madder and madder as I start talking about how 'there's too much wataa in the pier' and 'I mow lawns for the paaarks depaahtment'. I went to this wedding a few years back, and the groom was from Boston. His Boston buddies came, and they were the biggest group of insufferable suckasses I've ever met. "Wow guys, it's sweet how you all have the same frayed and faded Boston Red Sox hat. So cool right now."

So, aside from my two friends, I've had just about enough of Boston's winning sports teams and the overwhelming self-satisfying shit smug-storm that's sweeping over the nation like an itchy wool blanket. Bill Simmons is the Conductor, and the entire Red Sox team are taking it in the ass bringing up the rear.

The only other redeeming factor is that Minnesota's Kevin Garnett got his championship ring. He was a straight up good guy for a long time in Minnesota sports, and he did the right thing in his post game interview when, very emotionally, the first thing he said was, "This is for all the people back in 'sota". Classy move, because he knows Minnesota did him a favor by trading him to a contender to give him his shot at a ring.

Ugh. Boston. GFYM.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Neither Relevant Nor Newsworthy

Fight Club is one of my favorite movies, and if you'd be honest with yourself for just a moment - you'd realize that it's one of your favorites too. That said, I found this little clip that never made the movie nor any of the DVD special features. It's extremely awesome in a 7th grade sort of way.

You might want to turn down the speakers if you're at work, or if you're a Pastor. Makes me want to dust off my guitar and learn to play this, just because it's perfect for the after-bar party. Enjoy:

So why wouldn't this be included in the DVD special features? Even as a hidden easter egg? Well, apparently Frankie Avalon - who's original song 'Venus' was the basis for this clip, wasn't nearly as amused. The DVD Producer said,

"The Penis Song was something everyone wanted on the disc. Everyone, that is, except Frankie Avalon, who wasn't amused by the parody of his song Venus. He promised to sue if we used it, so there you are."
And, I say this with an unblemished record of heterosexuality - but Ed Norton and Brad Pitt are still two of my favorite actors. Nonetheless, I'm going to pass on The Hulk.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Maybe it's me, but everytime I hear Obama speak - I can't help but think he sounds a little bit like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island. Raising his nose and emitting the snobbery. I'm just waiting for Snobama to turn to his wife one of these days and say, "Lovey Dear, don't you think it'll be smaaaashing to dine with the Prime Minister?"

This clip is way too long, but you can get a taste in the first 45 seconds.

More here at Authentic

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Things I Can't Travel Without

I flew to Minnesota this past weekend, and I was reminded that I don't fly nearly as much as I used to. There was a period during 2004-2006 where I was flying somewhere every other week on business. When you travel that much, you accumulate a lot of items that make traveling easier. Even though I don't travel for business nearly as much now, I still pull out all these goodies out whenever I fly - and I couldn't live without them:

Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Dress Shirts:

These are actually about the only dress shirts I wear, but they're particularly good for travel. I've had other 'non-iron' shirts, but the Brooks Brothers ones truly are worth the price. You can pack these in a suit case, hang them up in the bathroom when you shower in the morning at the hotel, and they'll look like they just came from the dry cleaners. I recommend buying the 'slim' fit shirts for a much more tailored look. $79 - $139

Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Headphones:

I absolutely cannot be on a plane without these headphones. Nothing irritates me more than the sound of people coughing and babies crying. With these noise-cancelling headphones, they put you in a silent little bubble of relaxation. I plug into my iPod, and I fall asleep in about 5 minutes. When I have to take them off to give the flight attendant a drink order, it sounds like I've walked into a beehive. They also come in handy in 100 other situations where there are loud and annoying people or sounds. $299

Nike+ Running Gear:

I get a little stir crazy sitting in hotel rooms or my parents' basement, so I try and get out and run whenever I can. Problem is, in a strange city it's often hard to find a running trail - and harder still to figure out how far you've gone. The Nike+ running chip that connects to my iPod tells me exactly how far I've run, and uploads the run to a website that tracks all my mileage. I remember a particular run through downtown St. Louis - great way to see the city, if you don't mind the occasional bum and all the guys wearing Nelly headbands. $300 for the works, including iPod and shoes.