Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Richard Charkin, Jeffrey Archer, Professor Grayling

On 24 March, after reading about and listening to a podcast of Richard Charkin, CEO of Macmillan, interviewing Jeffrey Archer about his new book, I posted this comment at Mr Charkin's blog.

"I listened to the podcast out of curiosity about your voice which is very attractive. The same can't be said of JA's voice. Sounds like a super-salesman, which I suppose is what he is. Being an atheist, I shall not be buying the book, and shall be surprised if it stays in the charts for long, despite all the hype."

To which Richard Charkin, seen on the left of the photo, replied, "Anne, Thanks for the compliment. I think you're right about JA. He is a super-salesman. And so are many people. It's strange that it sounds derogatory in Britsh English. In most languages it would be deemed a good characteristic. I'm not sure whether one's religion or lack of it should determine book purchases. Would you not buy a book about Buddhism because you're not a Buddhist? I don't know how well the book will sell in the variuous markets in which it's published. I'd be very surprised it it sold as well as Archer's fiction but it will certainly generate a lot of debate and interest which is the point."

In the past I've read several books about Buddhism which, of all the world's religions, seems to have been the least harmful. But, although I spent part of my childhood in a Church of England rectory, it didn't take long to realise that all the major religions have done more harm than good.

Yesterday there was an interesting article in the Daily Telegraph headed, "We'd be better off without religion, argues A C Grayling, who is a keynote speaker in a major debate on the futility of faith in London tomorrow." [Tuesday 27 March]

In his piece for the Telegraph, Professor Grayling wrote -

"In Britain public funding has gone to Church of England and Roman Catholic schools for a long time; now Muslims, Sikhs and Jews receive public money for their own faith-based schools. BBC radio has steadily increased the airtime available to religions other than the established one.

Requests for extra protections in law, and alternatively for exemptions from the law, to cater for religious sensitivities soon followed these developments: criminalising offensive remarks about religion, and allowing faith-based organisations to be exempt from legislation outlawing discriminatory practices, are the main examples.

The Labour Government has been as concessive and inclusive as it can be to all the religious groups in Britain. This is well intentioned but misguided, as the example of faith-based schooling shows. If children are ghettoised by religion from an early age, the result, as seen in Northern Ireland, is disastrous."

A reader's comment

I've just picked up the following comment which I think refers to my complaint about the colour of the text on Judy Astley's website.

"At 24 March, 2007, Jan Jones said...
Anne, if you hold down the CTRL button on the keyboard and roll the wheel on the top of your mouse, you can increase or decrease the size of text on the screen. It doesn't work for illustrations, alas."

Thanks for the suggestion, Jan, but although it works at Richard Charkin's blog and my blog and your website, it doesn't work at the site designed for Judy Astley by Mospace.

My usual method of enlarging text is to click on View and Text Size, but Judy's text is not adjustable. Actually it wasn't the size of Judy's text that concerned me but its colour. Still, nice of you to make a helpful suggestion.


At 27 March, 2007, Blogger Jan Jones said...

Most mysterious, Anne. Both methods work on Judy's site using my PC.

At 27 March, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's very odd, Jan. But have you been to Mospace which, from where I'm sitting, seems to be in a state of suspended animation.

At 27 March, 2007, Anonymous Anne Weale said...

Sorry, the second comment was from me, Bookworm.

At 27 March, 2007, Blogger Jan Jones said...

It does indeed. The faint text at the bottom says 'Site Under Development' which I suppose explains it.

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