Why do British media seem so cynical and bitter?


To say nothing of being anti-religious. It perplexes me to no end. I’m American, so I admittedly don’t have a comprehensive grasp of English history, so maybe there’s a satisfying explanation somewhere.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy: Humans aren’t special, and the only reason they exist is because an alien race wanted the answer (or the question, I guess) to the meaning of life, which is thwarted at the last second because another bunch of aliens wanted to build a hyperspace bypass and blew up the earth.

Dr. Who–especially the 2005 reboot: Life isn’t special, it’s just a way of keeping meat fresh–an actual quote by the Doctor. I stopped watching it after that because I couldn’t fathom why he would care then.

Warhammer 40k: do I even need to explain why? It’s so grimdark that it actually becomes funny.

Red Dwarf: I wish I could find the exact quote, but Holly says something like, We’re alone in a lifeless, godless universe and none of it means anything.

As far as nonfiction, I recall some years ago a BBC official acknowledged and attempted to justify the BBC’s anti-religious bias. At least he gets props from me for his honesty.


Many UK residents are atheists or agnostics and have adopted cold logic and sarcasm in place of any genuine religious belief.

The ones I know don’t have any sense of the supernatural. If you don’t have that, religion will not make much sense and you will abandon it. It is odd, given how much they love their sci-fi as shown by your citations.

What justification did the BBC guy give? (This should be good :wink:)


I can’t remember honestly.

EDIT: I can’t find anything specifically mentioning a defense of anti-religious bias, but there’s plenty of external accusations. This isn’t surprising if media across the pond is anything like it is here. I know I saw a headline stating the above somewhere, but I may have just read the headline while flicking through a news feed.


When you say media, you are referring to its Movie and TV industry right?


Britain is Hollywood.


Gee, Americans really don’t get satire.




The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.


It’s just what is Brits are like. I’m a practising Catholic and I’m still pretty cynical about human nature, it’s why I think we need religion and like a bit of dry wit to cheer me up.




:coffee::cookie: more like


It would help if you could narrow down which version of H2G2 that you’re talking about but I’ll give an overview. The Hitchhiker’s 'verse has a number of different lifeforms including a ‘hyperintelligent shade of the colour blue’, it would be somewhat arrogant to consider humanity special in a universe like that. Also you have to keep in mind that Douglas Adams was an outspoken atheist, that did cross over into his work.

I can’t recall that quote, do you have the series/episode it’s from? The modern Doctor Who is constantly pointing out how special life is, to the fact that during 11’s time some says they’re noone special 11’s response is “That’s interesting, in 900 years of traveling in time and space I’ve never met someone who wasn’t special.”

Come on its 40k, it’s a universe built on the back of a wargame and that’s always its beauty and curse.


Living in Europe and travelled over most of western Europe and lived in Canada, I can say that what is allowed to laugh about varies greatly upon where you are. Irony and satire are very dependent upon how we are taught to express ourselves. There is a saying that when telling someone to “Go to hell!” to say it, in such a way, that the person actually looks forward to it.

I myself, appreciate a British comedy or TV serie a lot more than an American simply because of how they express themselves in it. Also, in some cultures there is a tradition to play with words and expressions and therefor “conquer” your enemy that way instead of using fists.


I’ve never come across Warhammer, but I really enjoyed Hitchhikers, Dr Who, and Red Dwarf :slight_smile:

Science fiction tends to err towards the agnostic/atheistic. It’s the same with Fantasy - even the great Catholic writer JRR Tolkein did not explicitly have God/gods in the Lord of the Rings; it was much more focussed on powers of dark and light.

BBC Radio is the place to find more faith-based stuff (worship, prayers, general faith discussion). For example a few things to be found on BBC Radio each week:

  • Sunday programme (news from the religious communities)
  • Sunday Worship (ranging from evangelical to Roman Catholic)
  • Prayer for the day (daily before the morning news programmes on radio 4; I wake up to it each day)
  • Thought for the day (daily religious thought each day on the main BBC news programme in the morning)
  • Something Understood (faith-based discussion programme)
  • Beyond Belief (faith-based discussion programme)
  • Choral evensong (weekly broadcast, usually from different Cathedrals)
  • In Our Time - possibly the most erudite programme to be found in any media. Frequenly touches on topics of religion (see https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qykl)

BBC TV does has much less, apart from weekly Songs of Praise, which is a mixture of worship and ‘magazine’ coverage each Sunday. Apart from that it’s just the occasional documentary (for example I remember a lovely one with David Suchet, better known for playing Hercule Poirot, on ‘The Footsteps of St. Paul’, and then Prof Diarmaid MacCulloch did a superb series on the history of Christianity).

On the BBC website here is an area they put general religious topics of interest:



War of the worlds…

I have watched several movies, the same movie, in Australia and in USA.

The big thing I noticed is what Americans find funny, Aussies don’t. And vice versa. We laugh at different humour. Based on the this, I would say humour and satire is cultural.

It’s been the experience of Hollywood, Bollywood, the bbc and the abc that religion doesn’t draw people to the box office.

War, action, aliens, sci fi and romance does


I really enjoy sci fi ,when it’s over I breath a sigh of relief that life isn’t that empty and bad.
Australians also have a dry sense of humour , i myself prefer British and Irish comedies.(I like the Irish humour best :slight_smile: )
It was a pleasant suprise to be in the States and find a lack of cynicism talking with people though…I found less sarcasm and condescension in real life ,but perhaps that was because I was a visitor. :thinking:?


Have you ever seen Father Ted comedy show? Would you find it offensive to the Church?


If that’s the one I’m thinking of, yes.Im not sure where you’re coming from though .


I’m just asking a question that’s all.


Sure, that’s fine.Im just really careful about anything that mocks or puts anything suggestive into humour about our faith .


Father Ted is brilliant :slight_smile:

A 1 minute clip…


I haven’t seen all the episodes,with a lot of comedy it can be hit and miss on some points.

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