Thursday, November 30, 2006


Since I am often accused of flippancy, of writing trivia and in general being something of an academic lightweight when it comes to subjects being dealt with here, I thought that today I would attempt to redress the balance by writing on a subject that is of great importance to us all. It is a subject that is generally best avoided since it usually leads to acrimonious exchanges and, not infrequently, world wars. I refer to religion.

There’s an old saying that fools rush in where angels don’t usually hang about and that’s what I propose doing here – the rushing in bit, I mean.

Personally, I believe that religion should be a strictly private affair between the individual and whoever is running the show. It’s a subject with few, if any, facts but an awful lot of different opinions – which is where the acrimony comes in along with the world wars.

A new twist on the old theme has cropped up with the question of “intelligent design.” My question is, where’s the intelligent part come into it?

But that’s not the subject of my today’s lecture from the pulpit. This is about a far more insidious religious sect that has been making inroads into civilised society, virtually unchallenged, for many years. The power base now wielded by Scotland over their English serfs has made it a subject that should now be addressed.

The subject is, of course, golf.

This ancient Scottish religion has permeated society worldwide, bringing misery and suffering to those with a poor handicap, taking the bread out of the mouths of widows and orphans, as addicts plunder their savings for a new mashie or niblick and creating that most pathetic of creatures, the golf widow.

And a government, so keen on protecting its citizenry from all sorts of hazards, such as the National Health Service, has done nothing to check its rampant hold. Acres of perfectly good green space that could have been concreted over, providing accommodation for immigrants, legal and illegal, have been allocated to this cult. Purveyors of funny clothes, a requirement for its adherents, have benefited enormously, selling off stock that no normal human being would be found dead in. And, if that were not serious enough, women have also been inculcated into the sect, and encouraged to wear even more ridiculous clothing. Since this style is certainly not going to arouse any male’s libido, it does have the blessed effect of discouraging procreation of the species.

Worldwide, the religion has taken a hold, even supplanting that traditional American sport of watching paint dry, being even more sleep inducing.

When I first visited Tokyo, I supposed that the Japanese were keen bird lovers since the place was apparently full of huge aviaries. They weren’t. They were driving ranges, where Japanese, unable to afford the fees for a real club, could go and take their temper out by swatting golf balls. Paint drying would have been too much excitement for them, I suppose.

I used to tell what I thought was a funny story about the origins of golf, but it got me so disliked that I will refrain from mentioning it here. You can’t joke about religion.

The one redeeming feature of all this is that one of my favourite authors, P.G. Wodehouse, although sadly a devoted member of the religion, could also write entertainingly on the subject. Many of his stories concerning golf are well worth reading and, if viewed through the eyes of a disbeliever and a heathen such as myself, are extremely entertaining. I recommend highly his story, “The Coming of Gowf.”

Got to rush off now – my wife has a nine o’clock tee time.


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