Rowan Atkinson, of Blackadder, Mr. Bean, and Johnny English fame, is not known for doing many interviews, so when he finally does relent, fans pick over the syllables for something revealing or amusing.
Well, Atkinson spoke with the Times of London recently and had this to say about Church of England vicars:
I used to think that the vicars that I played . . . were unreasonable satires on well-meaning individuals but, actually, so many of the clerics that I’ve met, particularly the Church of England clerics, are people of such extraordinary smugness and arrogance and conceitedness who are extraordinarily presumptuous about the significance of their position in society. Increasingly, I believe that all the mud that Richard Curtis and I threw at them through endless sketches that we’ve done is more than deserved.
Now I think Atkinson’s a brilliant comic actor, and his Thin Blue Line remains an all-time favorite. But Rowan, come back to us: What is the bloody point of being C of E if you can’t be smug, arrogant, and conceited? What were you expecting? Charity, humility, and circumspection? Those are the Methodists, you silly git!
I did like one of the replies to Atkinson’s critique:
The Priest-in-Charge of Mr Atkinson’s parish in Northamptonshire is the Rt Revd John Flack. He said on Wednesday that he had never seen the comedian in church, and that to visit him would be difficult, as he lives behind high-security gates. “But I have written, inviting him to have a talk. I look forward to hearing from him.”
And good luck with that.