Talking about another Rowan, for a change…

Last week Rowan Atkinson, him of Blackadder and Mr. Bean fame, gave an interview to the Times in which he slammed Church of England priests for being, among other things, smug.

Among other things, he said:

I used to think that the vicars that I played or the exaggerated sketches about clerics were unreasonable satires on well meaning individuals… But, actually, so many of the clerics that I’ve met, particularly the Church of England clerics, are people of such extraordinary smugness and arrogance and conceitedness who are extraordinarily presumptuous about the significance of their position in society… Increasingly, I believe that all the mud that Richard Curtis and I threw at them through endless sketches that we’ve done is more than deserved.

The Times asked the Rt Rev’d Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford, for a comment before publication:

We take the hit and I am sorry that this has been Rowan Atkinson’s experience. But it takes no account of the thousands of self-sacrificial clergy who don’t fit this stereotype. I would be happy to introduce him to some.

Well, Nick published a blog post about the whole business, expanding on his comment above. However, the last paragraph, to me, is the real killer.

And I still find Rowan Atkinson’s film clergy caricatures funny. After all, they are caricatures – based on a certain acknowledged reality, but hopelessly exaggerated and wildly hammed up.


Which, of course, is totally true.

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