Dungeon does Devil’s work in Edinburgh

According to The Scotsman, The London Road Parish Church in Edinburgh is formally objecting to The Edinburgh Dungeon having its licence renewed. Apparently the tourist attraction has a display called “Satan’s Grotto”, which the Christians feel “trivialises evil” and could encourage children to worship the devil.

Not only that, says the Rev Bill Armitage,

We were very offended that last Easter they were offering children spells. We thought that was in very poor taste at Easter time. We object to the trivialisation of the Easter message.

The Xmas display included elves impaled on spikes, roasting robins, and Santa Claus boiling in a witch’s cauldron, leading Malcolm Dickson, the session clerk at London Road, to whine:

Their ‘Santa display’ twisted the whole meaning of Christmas. It is supposed to be about the birth of Christ and hope, not about evil.

Bill and Malcolm are currently starring in a hit comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe called God, that’s funny! which tackles head-on the myth that Christians don’t have a sense of humour.

Oh, wait. No, they’re not.

(Thanks to The Pagan Prattle)

23 Responses to “Dungeon does Devil’s work in Edinburgh”

  1. Marc says:

    ROFLOL! I wish I’d the time to go see that, sounds like a hoot. More power to the Edinburgh Dungeon I say.

  2. Dan Factor says:

    Once again some Christians show that they are just pure spoilsports and are trying to impose their beliefs on others.
    Let’s hope Edinburgh doesn’t cave in and close this tourist attractions just because a load of wishy washy relegious types don’t like it.

  3. tom p says:

    Don’t Christians often complain that father christmas and the attendant commercialisation trivialises christmas too?
    Surely they’d welcome something that attacks this, especially since it seems unnecessarily bloody and gory, like much of christian history

  4. Christopher Shell says:

    This ‘no sense of humour’ thing is an interesting one. Sometimes the charge is justified of a given group of people (did someone mention Germans?),other times not.But there is a good way one can test it. Simply ask someone to explain the punchline and why it is funny. If they are unable to do so, then there never was any humour there in the first place, which could account for some people not being able to see the supposed joke.
    Example: A high street shop recently had a caption/theme ‘To love,honour,and betray’. To a wo/man, the employees classed this as a joke. And equally,to a wo/man, they were quite unable to explain the supposed punchline or what was funny about it,thereby proving that their attachment to the slogan was for reasons other than any intrinsic humour.

  5. Monitor says:

    Simply ask someone to explain the punchline and why it is funny. If they are unable to do so, then there never was any humour there in the first place

    Right, so if a person lacks the ability to analyse the humour of any given joke, then that joke is not actually funny? And they didn’t really laugh, I suppose?

    FWIW, a lot of humour is derived from the subversion of expectations. The “love, honour, and betray” joke works (I use “works” in a general sense – I didn’t actually laugh) because the hearer’s expectation of the familiar word “obey” at the end of the sentence is subverted by the substitution of the rhyming word, “betray”. The fact that the new phrase is also a subversion of the established morality, expressing what is in some cases the uncomfortable reality of married life, is another aspect of this joke’s humour.

  6. Monitor says:

    As a matter of interest, Christopher, where did you get the above nonsense from? Or is it all your own work?

  7. Andrew Nixon says:

    So Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of Christ? Could any Christian show me the passage of the Bible that details the birth date of Christ? Or maybe explain why similar festivities were around centuries before Christ’s alleged birth date?

    The only thing Christmas owes to Christ is it’s modern name.

  8. Christmas is obviously about the birth of Christ; the pine tree, snow and reindeers were all present in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.

  9. Christopher Shell says:

    IMHO analysis of humour is something that can be performed by few.
    Even those who have the capacity to perform it end up draining the joke of any humour. One example was Freud. I can’t remember whether it was him or a contemporary who claimed to have told only one joke in his entire life. It was as follows: A man asks ?Freud ‘Have you seen my wife, sir?’. ?Freud replies: ‘I was not aware, sir, that you had a wife.’ Hearers hastily revise ?Freud’s jokes quota from one to zero.

    But the fact that one can’t analyse something shows that one doesnt know why one is laughing. This means that one’s reason for laughing may in theory not be connected with humour at all. For people laugh for all sorts of reasons, not all of them connected with humour. Examples: joy; shock; release.

    Some comedians only have to throw in a dirty word/thought and people will screech with laughter. Why? Because humour is involved? No – because it is a release for them (as in fact you implied). There is not and never was any humour there – because so many of the reasons for laughing are not connected with humour.

    Why is it a ‘release’? Because it would be such a relief to be lazy and not to have to worry about nasty things like responsibility, faithfulness, politeness etc.. One can almost hear the burden lifing off.

    In Fowler’s ‘Modern English Usage’ (is it?) there is a great table explaining the types of humour and their triggers.

  10. Joe says:

    IMHO analysis of humour is something that can be performed by few.

    And how terribly, terribly lucky we are that you are one of these few…

    I’m more intrigued by Mr Dixon’s implication that elves and Santa are in some way Christian symbols.

  11. Christopher Shell says:

    I wish I was – I struggled for years to discover the essence of humour. The best I came up with was ‘incongruity’ (also sometimes ‘subversion’) – but these were answers that had already been reached by others, and neither was remotely comprehensive.

    You missed my point.
    I was not claiming I could analyse humour, indeed I wasnt speaking about myself at all.
    I was, rather, pointing out that since few people can analyse humour, it follows that they dont always know why they are laughing, or inclined to laugh.
    It further follows from that that their reasons for laughing may be unconnected to humour (they may be, rather, connected to release, joy, shock or nervousness).
    From which it follows that it may sometimes be inaccurate for them to claim that those who dont laugh at the same things are lacking a sense of humour.

  12. Andrew Nixon says:

    Now that was funny!

  13. Christopher Shell says:

    Ah – but I bet you can’t analyse it

  14. Monitor says:

    Comment number 11 was funny because it was self-satirical. The erudite and serious tone is at odds with the partly mundane, partly nonsensical content, setting up a comical tone/content contrast. The conclusion of the attempted syllogism is mundane: not everybody finds the same things funny. But the route to the conclusion, couched as it is in terms of logical philosophy (“If follows”, “it further follows”), is where the real humour comes in.

    To say that because some people can’t analyse humour, “it follows that their reasons for laughing may be unconnected to humour” is simply not true. Their reasons for laughing may indeed be unconnected to humour, but that fact is totally independent of their ability to analyse it. It does not “follow” at all.

    Thus comment 11’s comical nature is similar to that of Les Dawson’s bum-note pianist, or Peter Kaye’s bombing high diver. Except it’s actually a bit funnier than either of those because it is inadvertent.

  15. Christopher Shell says:

    Nope – if person A could analyse humour, that would involve (among other things) their being able to separate sentences into humorous and non-humorous.
    One of the corollaries of person B’s being unable to analyse why s/he laughs (or has a pleasant reaction) is that the actual reason may, unknown to him or her, be unconnected to humour.
    As I mentioned: it may instead be release, joy, shock or nerves etc.. But the only one of these which is likely to be mistaken for humour is release.

  16. Monitor says:


  17. Andrew Nixon says:

    You get funnier and funnier Chris, keep going please. Most of your posts here are hilarious, but this topic contains some of your best material. Well done!

  18. Christopher Shell says:

    My words may or may not be funny (and it’s subjective anyway) – but we’re not talking about whether they are funny, but about whether they are true.
    To laugh at them is one of the commonest ways of avoiding answering them.

  19. Andrew Nixon says:

    Maybe if you could come up with an argument that wasn’t ludicrous to the extreme that it was laughable, we would answer them.

  20. Christopher Shell says:

    Another brilliant sidestepping of the nasty job of actually giving an answer.

  21. Andrew Nixon says:

    I did give an answer. If you can come up with an argument that isn’t laguable in the extreme, I’ll answer it. You did not do so in comments 11 or 15.

  22. Joe says:

    You know, the physicist Wolfgang Pauli had a lovely little phrase to describe the sort of ‘idiosyncratic’ ‘arguments’ that Christopher keeps advancing – “not even wrong”.

  23. Christopher Shell says:

    Or, as Fred Trueman once said, ‘You did well to score a duck, lad.’
    Tut tut – I must be seriously bad then.