Last week I mentioned near death experiences in the context of Joe Duffy’s interview with Jane Seymour. I never know what to make of these accounts – are they hallucinations resulting from medication or real glimpses of the afterlife?
That item prompted calls to Liveline (RTÉ Radio One, Tuesday) from listeners who had similar experiences. In one case a nurse attending to a man who had no detectable vital signs was told by him afterwards that he remembered her Irish accent as she continued to work on him even after a senior medic judged that he was gone irrevocably. One man in a coma thought he saw a white horse calling him to the next life with a collie dog urging him to remain, and a cranky mysterious nurse in his room. Joe Duffy called the nurse “definitely a hallucination” – I’d probably agree, though I think the host is wiser not to express such a definite opinion and instead leave it to the listeners to make up their own minds. He returned to the issue on Thursday when a few more callers recounted their experiences. It sounded like one man got a taste of hell, while a woman told of experiencing the love and presence of Jesus in her near-death experience.
More mundanely, I haven’t been watching much on GB News of late, I just find it too irritating too much of the time. When it launched a few months ago I thought Andrew Neil was its best and most credible presenter, with a nightly interview show. He didn’t last long on air and now he has cut ties altogether with the new channel. On last week’s Question Time (BBC One, Thursday) he said: “the direction they were going in…was not the direction that I had envisaged for the channel”. He was vague on specifics presumably out of respect or deference for his previous employers, though presenter Fiona Bruce did try to get him to open up some more. Now the most high-profile face of GB News is Nigel Farage. His ratings are relatively high, but otherwise viewer figures are very low. This hasn’t put off media mogul Rupert Murdoch planning something similar, yet another news channel, with Piers Morgan the main presenter mentioned so far. None of this is very promising.
GB News became tiresome in its constant harping on about ‘wokeness’, but one author that isn’t keen on this phenomenon is Vivek Ramaswamy who was interviewed by Anton Savage, filling in for Pat on the Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk, Friday). In his new book, Woke Inc – inside corporate America’s social justice scam. He is concerned that corporate entities held too much power and that democracy is suffering as a result. It is ‘crony capitalism’ effecting change through the back door. They are pushing certain notions of what would improve us, but where there were competing visions of social good it should be the citizens, in an environment that values free speech, who get to debate and decide, not the big corporations. He instanced the woke censorship of the likes of Twitter and Facebook but it was broader than that. Further, he wasn’t keen on quotas as he felt they created a “culture of tokenism”. Where people did agree on what was desirable there shouldn’t just be one approved way of working for this. One oblique remark made me think he might have had in mind that certain ways of tackling racism seem almost obligatory – e.g. ‘taking the knee’. It was a robust but courteous interview, though I felt Mr Savage wasn’t sympathetic to Mr Ramaswamy’s views.
He was even less sympathetic when, on the Wednesday, he interviewed Dr Joe Pojman, of the Texas Alliance for Life about the recent Texas abortion law. I was concerned when he introduced the item with a reference to “abortion care”. Now that’s the language of one side of the argument and not appropriate for a presenter who is supposed to be impartial. Despite being under pressure, Dr Pojman stayed calm and reasoned and was crystal clear in his pro-life arguments. Mr Savage asked him if he was motivated by religion but he wasn’t going to be put in that particular pigeonhole. He was coming at the issue from a human rights perspective, and no matter how many ‘hard cases’ Mr Savage put to him he kept coming back to the humanity of the unborn child, which of course is where we all start.
Pick of the week
My faith: Ireland
EWTN Sunday September 26, 10.30am and Monday (night) September 27, 12.30 am
Divine mercy – in the hearts of the Irish people. Fr Aidan Dunne speaks with Fr Owen Gorman about the devotion.
RTÉ One Sunday September 26, 11 am
Fr Liam Lacey celebrates the work of Crosscare in a special 80th anniversary Mass.
Poverty Chastity and (Dis) Obedience
RTÉ One Thursday September 30, 11.20 pm
This documentary is dedicated to the generations of Irish missionary men and women who devoted their lives to South Africa, standing in solidarity with its people and their struggle.