Divine Intervention May, Or May Not, Affect Service

The Atheist Bus Campaign reports that the TTC has approved the text of advertisements suggesting that “There’s Probably No God”.  This campaign has stirred controversy in the U.K. where it first appeared, but at last report the island kingdom has not sunk beneath the waves.

Before anyone starts blasting my site with a bunch of religious drivel, no matter what your persuasion, don’t waste your time.  It will be deleted mercilessly.  I take the Old Testament approach to smiting, and there will be much smiting if you readers don’t toe the line!

For my own part, my view of immortal forces owes a lot to sundry polytheisms, and not a little to the novels of Terry Pratchett where the gods are a bunch of quarrelling, self-centred and not always competent folk rather like what passes for senior management in any organization.

Whether they exist in an absolute sense we will never know.  One hopes that things like the Scarborough RT were the product of a god-in-training who could never get things to come out right, but wrote a lot of impressive reports for the big guy upstairs in the hope that he would never actually ride the thing.

What intrigues me is that these ads come to Toronto with comparatively little fuss, although that may come once they start appearing and word gets around.  If anything, this should be a big yawn, just one more sideshow in our wonderfully diverse city.

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23 Responses to Divine Intervention May, Or May Not, Affect Service

  1. Matthew Kemp says:

    As long as their cheques don’t bounce I could care less.

  2. David Cavlovic says:

    Nothing like a good controversy, though. I’d love to see the people who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster get in on the act.

  3. Reminds me of the so called ‘gay sex’ ads, that advertised a ‘club’ where men could be ‘friends’ with other men. Now that was shocking that it got approval.

    Steve: The Steamworks is a legitimate business with every right to advertise. The subtle part was that there weren’t scantily clad men lounging around the way one might find with women in a lot of “straight” advertising.

  4. James Bow says:

    So, “Small Gods” is one of your favourite Pratchett novels? Mine too! Have you read his latest (non Discworld) novel, “Nation”?

    Steve: I have read all of Pratchett’s works for years. “Nation” took a while to draw me in, and I think I will enjoy it more on a second read sometime in the future.

    For the benefit of readers who don’t know about Discworld, I’m not going to attempt an explanation here. However, the gods in that land exist in power and physical presence in proportion to the number of believers. “Small Gods” are those whose followers dwindled down to, at worst, one.

    The obvious parallel is that any religion is as powerful as the collective might of its adherents. The violence or benificence any god metes out is directly proportional to the number of believers and how they choose to deal with the rest of the world.

    The god of transit advertising will be mildly amused to receive contributions from those claiming he might not exist, and will go back to installing video screens.

  5. Trevor says:

    For the record, the FSM is a parody, a serious one, yet still a parody. The “people who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster” are very likely included in those of this campaign, in that they support the ends of the parody rather than believe in any FSM. See http://Venganza.org/ for details of this very tongue-in-cheek, yet serious, response to the Kansas School board.

    More on-topic, it will be interesting, once these ads start to appear, to see how the ~5/6 of the travelling Metro population who believe in god(s) treat the ~1/6 who do not; and even more interesting to see how the TTC reacts to any complaints. Will the TTC knee-jerk, as it did to the single complaint that caused the removal of the “Long Haired Red Fox” ad, while leaving up all the ads showing male stereotypes? Will the TTC buckle or allow for free (well, paid, actually) speech?

  6. David Cavlovic says:

    Are there any Swan gods?

    Steve: Well Zeus himself dropped by for a night on the town with Leda, the Queen of Sparta, in the form of a swan. Note that the story is, ahem, not for family audiences.

    Whether this sort of behaviour will improve our transit service, I’m not sure.

  7. Just watch for someone to add graffiti to, “God might not exist,” with, “like TTC service!” ;-)

  8. Tom West says:

    Given that advertising revnue generally falls in economic bad times (such as now), this is a good thing… presumably the God of Transit is smiling on TTC, and possibly laughing at the irony.

  9. Confused Canuck says:

    Let me get this straight, the “Free Thought Association” is putting on an advertising campaign designed to control people’s thoughts. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but why would a “free thought” association blitz the public with ads telling them to think as they do. So much for FREE THOUGHT. Typical Brain-washed intolerant lefties.
    So by your logic the religious groups should now be allowed to attack homosexuality. “Homosexuality is a Sin and is wrong”, fair is fair, can’t wait to see those ads too.

    Steve: You have not read the ads. At no point do they attack anything, in particular anyone’s belief (or non belief). Claims that they do so are false.

    Therefore your analogy would only work if they said “Men may not be fun in bed”, but left it to individuals whether they agree and/or participate.

  10. Stephen Cheung says:

    Before my wife stopped taking the TTC, she always wondered why there had to be a serious delay every morning when she had an 8:30am meeting. Maybe God was trying to tell her something, carpooling into work has so far been problem free….

    Steve: It is entirely possible that the transit gods resent people who call meetings at such an uncivilized hour, and punish those so foolish as to attempt attending them.

  11. Kevin says:

    Do the words “Bus Stop Bible Studies” mean anything…???

    The “Churchies” have been running ads spouting THEIR views for ages now – so why can’t someone else have a kick at the same can?

  12. Stephen Cheung says:

    :-P to you Steve. What time are YOUR earliest meetings?

    (And when you are dealing with offices in Europe, 8am meetings are NOT uncommon…..)

    Steve: I try not to schedule meetings before 9:30 am. This has the benefit that people get in at staggered hours (we’re an IT shop and many people work until 5 or later to provide coverage), and it also allows us to deal with any start of day crises before plunging directly into meetings.

    Also, I tend to work later in the day than earlier, and since I’m a manager, my preferences win!

    Lest you think I’m taking it easy, I’m usually online at home reading emails around 7. At least until the end of March when I retire.

  13. andrew says:

    Does this mean, then, that there is a pantheon of Transit Gods? Are there opposed forces, like in Judeo-Christian religion? On one side, Car-Automobile, the patriarch of the evil land of Suburbia, with his demi-gods SUV, Airplane, and Transport Truck; on the other side Streetcar, with her demi-gods Bicycle, Subway, and Bus.

    Steve: The Goddess of Streetcars (with flaming red hair of course) barely acknowledges her cousin and his roaring collection of diesels. The two parts of the family have not been on speaking terms for decades.

  14. .Marc Charbonneau says:

    Gods are dogs (anagrammatically speaking).

    Steve: Does this mean there are two-headed guardians at subway tunnels?

  15. Rob M says:

    Those of us who have lived our lives in this country generally can take this well, or at the very least, with a grain of salt. Many of our new citizens have hung on more tightly to their religious beliefs – and a good chunk of these new citizens are the bread and butter of the TTC. In some ways I can’t help but wonder if they would feel like this is a bit of an insult.

    We would hardly see Burger King start writing something similar on their bags, because they would fear the customers going to McDonalds. In this sense the TTC can do this with no fear…but only because of who they are.

    Steve: Ah yes, but Burger King would not already have ads with Bible quotations printed on their bags either. They would make the corporate decision to offend nobody equally.

  16. David Cavlovic says:

    Re: Zeus and Leda. I had totally forgotten my Bullfinch’s, and that Clytemnestra was a by-product of that, ahem, union. And where would the opera world be without Clytemnestra, and Elektra screaming “Agamemnon” all over the stage, much like TTC riders do when the Y-U-S is backed up at Bloor.

  17. David Cavlovic says:

    and re: The Goddess of Streetcars and her cousin not on speaking terms. this has especially been so since their, ahem, union, the trolleybus was killed off. “Aga-MEMMMM-NOONNN!!”, sorry, that’s stuck in my head.

  18. Robert Lubinski says:

    Don’t forget Marmon, the god of trolleybuses.

  19. Confused Canuck Said, “Everyone is entitled to their opinion but why would a “free thought” association blitz the public with ads telling them to think as they do.”

    “Now stop worrying” and “Enjoy your life” might sound a bit like orders, but they are really suggestions and in no way are telling anyone to think as they do.

    Still, anarchists have been known to organize rallies, so the suggested irony is nothing new.

  20. Stephen Cheung says:

    Andrew: The demi-god of airplane has no association to Car-Automobile. Neither do the triplets of Commuter Rail, Passenger Rail, and Transport Rail.

    But the demi-god of Winnebago does. So does the demi-god of boat-hitch-ggoing-to-cottage-country.

  21. Tom West says:

    “Steve: Does this mean there are two-headed guardians at subway tunnels?”
    Now there’s a cerberual image…

  22. Trevor says:

    Demi-gods, demagogues, demi-glaze. I get sooo confused…. ;-)

    There seems to be so much demi-glaze at bus stops at the moment. Oh, that’s right, it’s demi-glace.

  23. Eric Chow says:

    Stephen: “Before my wife stopped taking the TTC, she always wondered why there had to be a serious delay every morning when she had an 8:30am meeting. Maybe God was trying to tell her something, carpooling into work has so far been problem free…”

    The Transit gods are trying to tell you to open your eyes and renounce your loyalty to the BRT gods. False gods, I tell you. Free yourself from their influence and blasphemy!!! Repent while you still can before you descend yourself to Transit Hell!!! There is still time!!!

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