Michael Palin: Monty Python Would Never Mock Islam


Almost a year ago, I wrote about my, well, complicated relationship with Monty Python.

The English comedy troupe, which first rose to fame at the dawn of the 1970s, greatly influenced my writing and, more importantly, my outlook on life.

The Python's anti-authoritarian sensibility primed me for punk. I followed the troupe's many legal and censorship battles, which helped me build up the temperamental foundation I'd rely upon when I was immersed in such fights of my own, decades later.

And the Pythons made my somewhat crappy childhood and early adolescence a little more pleasant.

However, I've been painfully aware for some time that my brave, iconoclastic heroes hadn't really been so courageous after all.

As (actual, on-the-ground Englishman) Peter Hitchens explained in his insightful and infuriating book The Abolition of Britain, the idols that the Pythons and their fellow "Satire Boom" cohorts targeted had mostly been broken to bits before these comedians came along:

There may still have been an “establishment” of snobbery, church, monarchy, clubland and old-school-tie links in 1961. There were no such things ten years later, but it suited the comics and all the reformers to pretend that there was and to continue to attack this mythical thing. After all, if there were no snobbery, no crusty old aristocrats and cobwebbed judges, what was the moral justification for all this change, change with benefited the reformers personally by making them rich, famous and influential? (…)