UK Nutter News

 2007: Jan-March

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31st March   Chocolate Easter Nutters...
 


Chocolate JesusChocolate Jesus exhibition is cancelled

Based on an adrticle from Christian Today see full article

Catholics have been predictably outraged by a New York art gallery, which was to have exhibited a sculpture of Jesus Christ – made entirely of chocolate.

The sculpture was to have been part of the galleries Easter exhibition. The chocolate figure stands at 6ft tall (1.8m) and shows Jesus naked hanging on the cross. Unlike usual images of Jesus hanging on the cross, the chocolate sculpture depicts Jesus without a loincloth.

In the US, the Catholic League has been left outraged by the plans. The organisation’s head has described the sculpture as one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever. Catholic League head Bill Donohue said: The fact that they chose Holy Week shows this is calculated, and the timing is deliberate.

Donohue called for the public to boycott the gallery as well as the hotel which hosts it.

The sculpture, My Sweet Lord, created by artist Cosimo Cavallaro, was to have gone display from Monday in Manhattan’s Lab Gallery.

The creative director of the gallery, Matt Semler, told the BBC that the organisers were considering all their options following a wave of complaints via email and telephone to the gallery.

Unfortunately the director of the hotel housing the gallery was not so resistant and decided to cancel the exhibition. Matt Semeler resigned in protest of a 'catholic fatwa'

 

27th March   Beyerist Fantasy...
 


The Tyranny of Ghosts book cover Novel suggests media violence is the catalyst for biblical doomsday

Thanks to Ollie

Thought you might be interested in this twisted new novel, The Tyranny of Ghosts. It is written by Tom Davies, ex-Observer columnist "Pendennis", now born-again nutter and sometime writer for The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

From and advert in Saturday's Guardian:

As violence floods our cities and our kids are stabbing one another in the streets [speak for yourself mate]...these demons are but the images of violence which are pouring out of all arms of the media...the modern media has become the very engine of global lawlessness, and, in its rise, Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled.

From www.berwynmountainpress.com

The media has become an active catalyst in most modern atrocities and the truly thrilling conclusion to be drawn from the emergence of such a great gathering of global evil can only be that God is finally preparing the world for the return of the Son of Man.

I wonder if John Beyer has a copy on his bedside table?

 

24th March   Absolutely Appalling...
 

John Beyer

Beyer Recommends...
Wedding Belles
Thursday 29th March
10pm Channel 4


John Beyer recommends Wedding Belles

Thanks to Dan
From News of the World see full article

Spanking nuns, pervy priests, OAPs on Viagra, and necrophilia...

This is why Mediawatch-UK are calling for Channel 4's controversial Wedding Belles to be pulled.

However, the broadcaster WILL cause outrage this week by screening the two-hour film, penned by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh.

It includes plenty of weird sex, graphic drug use and mindless violence. There's an old man on Viagra having sex with a dead woman before being pleasured by a nun. She then gives a priest oral sex at the pulpit, a spanking with a ping-pong bat and then murders him in cold blood.

Media Watch director John Beyer slammed Wedding Belles as "absolutely appalling".

 

25th March   Ridiculous...
 


QuetzalcoatlCatholics want the right not to be ridiculed

From Catholic Online see full article

Anti-religious fanaticism threatens religion and believers with insult, discrimination, persecution and injury that stands in contradiction to the promise of freedom hailed by democratic societies, said a Vatican representative to a United Nations body here.

In a March 22 address to the fourth special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, head of the Vatican permanent observer mission of the Holy See to the UN, called the international body to protect the freedom of religion, of expression, of conscience, of worship in private and in public and respect of religious convictions for believers of all faiths and for non-believers alike within the context of other human rights.

Abuse of rights of believers, even outright violence against them, state restrictions, undue impositions and persecution, public insult to religious feelings, unfortunately persist and call for remedy, he said.

Democracies must beware of the drive to set aside the respect of concrete religions in the interest of granting the rights of religious freedom and freedom of expression, he said.

One cannot consider the ridicule of the sacred as a right of freedom, the archbishop said.

He urged that the council, which reviews human rights of all 191 U.N. member states, take up the issue of developing mechanisms or instruments that would defend the message of religious communities from manipulation and would avoid a disrespectful presentation of their members.

The Vatican, he said, sees evidence of anti-religious fanaticism that denigrates religion or, generally, the faithful of a religion by attributing them responsibility of violent actions done today or in the past by some members of that religion.

The nuncio said that “legitimate criticism” of actions by some religious followers must not become license to insult or unjust defamation nor into offensive mockery of its revered persons, practices, rites or symbols.

Religious offense, especially when directed to a minority within a society, is a form of coercion against believers that makes the profession and public practice of religion more difficult, he added.

 

25th March   Bravery Award...
 


Danish flag being burntFlemming Rose wins the inaugural Sappho prize

Based on article from Herald Sun see full article

The Danish newspaper editor who published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005 was awarded a free press prize for his "determination and courage."

The Danish-based Free Press Society awarded Flemming Rose the inaugural international Sappho Prize, worth $3,568.

Lars Hedegaard of the Free Press Society said the prize honoured a journalist who combines excellence in his work with courage and a refusal to compromise. Hedegaard compared the pressure placed on Rose and his newspaper to apologise for publishing the cartoons to those voices calling for the appeasement of Nazi Germany at the dawn of World War II: Decisive to our decision was Rose's courage to print the cartoons and to stand his ground under the worst storm any journalist has ever endured.

Norwegian human rights activist Hege Storhaug will present Rose with the award on behalf of the Freedom of the Press Association at a public ceremony on March 27.

 

24th March   Lithuanian Nonsense...
 


Popetown imageNonsense fine for nonsense satire about nonsense religion

Based on article from Herald Sun see full article

Lithuania's  television watchdog has fined the director of MTV Networks Baltic for airing Popetown, a cartoon series that pokes fun at the Roman Catholic Church.

The Radio and Television Commission voted unanimously to fine Marius Veselis 3000 litas ($1435).

The cartoons, which depict the Pope as a rotund 77-year-old obsessed with his pogo-stick and surrounded by toys, provoked a storm of nutter criticism in Lithuania, where 80% of the population is Roman Catholic.

The commission made its decision after the Inspector of Journalists' Ethics, Romas Gudaitis, said Popetown should be banned because it portrayed the clergy as destructive and incited religious discrimination.

MTV Lietuva spokeswoman Ema Segal said Veselis would appeal: We have aired the series in all the three Baltic states, but it caused such a reaction only in Lithuania. MTV said Gudaitis's stand was an attempt to limit freedom of expression and thought, and rejected suggestions that Popetown insulted Catholics: This is just an artistic satire and nothing more. We neither attempted to mock religion nor God himself.

Veselis said in a statement last month that the reaction to Popetown had unmasked Lithuania as a sort of half-medieval, half-communist, sick culture.

 

24th March   Ban Everything...
 

John Beyer

Beyer Recommends...
Hard Target, New Jack City and Raw Deal on BBC1, Cliffhanger on ITV1, Natural Born Killers on Channel 4, Bad Boys, Dirty Harry, Heat and Young Guns on Channel 5


Ban porn, ban TV violence, ban fun, ban life

Thanks to Shaun

I wonder if this will be as popular as the road pricing petition. Ban-Pornography

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Ban ALL Pornography: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make possession, production, & the sale of ALL pornographic material, illegal.

It has been running for 2 months, even got publicised by the BBC,

...and still only has 43 votes... 43 nutters methinks...

I notice John Beyer hasn't signed it yet. It would be interesting to see if he would sign it, and support the banning of possession of ALL pornography ?

I presume that this includes 18 rated material, and girlie magazines of the type which if not found in your teenage son's bedroom you might begin to worry about him a little....

I am not sure even Beyer would go that far..

As you say, the level of "support" for something as draconian as this, is miniscule....

Beyer: Too too much violence on television

Thanks also to Dan who spotted that the Birmingham post had wasted space on a longish article from John Beyer. See full article

Screen violence and its effect on kids

Is there too much violence on television? Is there a connection between the violence shown on television and the increasing violence and aggression in our society? I think there is....

 

23rd March  Update: Humour Prevails...
 


Charlie Hebdo magazine coverMuslims lose their case against French satirical magazine

From The Times

A Paris court has acquitted the editor of a satirical French weekly sued by two Muslim groups for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, in a case seen as a test for freedom of expression.

Applause broke out in the courtroom at the announcement of the verdict, which ruled that three cartoons published by the weekly Charlie Hebdo in February 2006 were not insulting to Muslims.

The Paris Grand Mosque and the Union of Islamic Organisations of France took Philippe Val, the Charlie Hebdo editor, to court for reprinting cartoons that sparked angry protests by Muslims worldwide.

They argued that the images drew an offensive link between Islam and terrorism and asked for 30,000 euros in damages.

Val welcomed the ruling and said it would open a much-needed debate among Muslims in France. If you believe as we do that Islam is perfectly compatible with French democracy, such a debate is a blessing, he said.

The court ruled that two of the cartoons were absolutely not offensive to Muslims. One, reprinted from Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, showed the prophet standing on a cloud, turning away suicide bombers from paradise with the caption 'Stop, stop, we ran out of virgins'.

The second, by the French cartoonist Cabu, showed Muhammad sobbing, holding his head in his hands and saying: It is hard to be loved by fools, under the caption Muhammad overwhelmed by fundamentalists.

On the third cartoon, showing Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb, the court’s ruling was more nuanced. The court decided that the caricature could potentially be insulting to Muslims but that the context of its publication in Charlie Hebdo made clear there was no intention to offend.

The president of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France, Lhaj Thami Breze, said following the hearing that he intended to appeal because we are unhappy with the verdict.

But Christophe Bigot, a lawyer for the Paris Mosque, said that his client would not challenge the court's decision.

The trial was seen as an important test for freedom of expression in France and large crowds crammed into the Paris courtroom during hearings last month to hear the arguments put by both sides.

 

17th March   Things Never Change...
 

300 film posterIran attacks Hollywood over movie portrayal of Persians

From the BBC

The Historical war epic 300 has been criticised as an attack on Iranian culture by government figures.

The Hollywood film is an effects-laden retelling of a battle in which a small Greek army resisted a Persian invasion.

Javad Shamqadri, a cultural advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said it was plundering Iran's historic past and insulting this civilization. He branded the film "psychological warfare" against Tehran and its people. But said that Iranian culture was strong enough to withstand the assault: American cultural officials thought they could get mental satisfaction by plundering Iran's historic past and insulting this civilization.

Daily newspaper Ayandeh-No carried the headline "Hollywood declares war on Iranians". The paper said: It seeks to tell people that Iran, which is in the Axis of Evil now, has for long been the source of evil and modern Iranians' ancestors are the ugly murderous dumb savages you see in 300.

 

14th March   Playing to the Gallery...
 

AFA Action AlertNutters harangue US video rental chain

From AVN

The American Family Association is pushing a nationwide boycott of Movie Gallery in an effort to stop the video rental chain from offering hardcore porn.

The nutters claim in a press release: Behind the public image, Movie Gallery makes millions of dollars from videos of despicable sex acts… AFA has documented the atrocities endured by employees and managers, plus stories by parents of children who have been exposed to hard-core porn in Movie Gallery stores.

Led by family-values nutter Donald Wildmon, AFA has been attacking the video store chain for several years. When Movie Gallery announced its acquisition of Hollywood Video, Wildmon's group took out a full-page ad in USA Today alerting readers that your family's next trip for a video could become an introduction to the world of hardcore pornography. AFA also organized a protest rally at Movie Gallery's headquarters in Dothan, Alabama.

Porn makes up about 5% of Movie Gallery's business, a company rep told AVN.com.

 

12th March   Relaying Nonsense...
 

Church of England logoAnd people are expected to listen to these nutters for moral advice!

From The Telegraph see full article

The Church of England is facing an embarrassing test case over whether mobile phone masts on steeples are illegal because they can relay pornography.

The church's highest court is to hear an appeal after a diocesan judge ruled that churches were "wrong in law" to facilitate the transmission of pornography, even in a slight or modest way.

Many parishes have cashed in on the mobile phone boom by charging telecom companies thousands of pounds a year to put antennae on their towers or steeples. Even Guildford cathedral has a mast under its golden angel weather vane.

They were encouraged by official Church guidance, which acknowledged that immoral material can be transmitted by the new technology but argued that any "ill" was outweighed by the benefits.

However, critics said mobile phones can now transmit dangerously obscene internet images and the church should dissociate itself from such technology, especially after the General Synod condemned media exploitation last month.

The contentious issue has now reached the Archbishop of Canterbury's 800-year-old Court of Arches, which is due to hear an appeal against the ruling by the diocese of Chelmsford's consistory court within weeks.


21st March   Update: Towering Inanity...
 

Church of England logoChurch court rules against allowing phone masts

From The Times

Churches throughout England could lose thousands of pounds in revenue after a church court ruled against a mobile phone mast because it would facilitate access to pornography.

Churches can make more than £10,000 a year in rent from mobile phone companies which can be a vital aid to offsetting running costs and repairs. But the mobile phone cash cow is now in danger after an ecclesiastical judge in Chelmsford, Essex, ruled against an application to install a mast in the tower of St Peter and St Paul in Chingford, northeast London.

The parish is to appeal to the Church’s highest court, the Court of Arches, which is the provincial court for the Canterbury Province and sits at St Mary le Bow Church in the City of London. If the Court of Arches upholds the Chelmsford ruling by the diocesan chancellor George Pulman, QC, the Church’s entire policy on the masts could be at risk.

Local objectors who oppose the aerials on health grounds are often unsuccessful because of the lack of scientific evidence of harmful radiation. But the Chelmsford case has given them a new moral platform from which to fight the masts because of the new 3G or third-generation phones which can access the internet, enable films to be watched and be used for online gambling.

In his judgment Pulman concluded that some of the material to be transmitted is not consistent with the Christian use of a church. He said the original concept of a mobile phone was to enable two people to talk to each other. But now they could be used to download a vast range of obscene images, pornography, pictures of real or simulated child abuse and other material from the internet.

He said he considered it wrong for the Church to facilitate transmission of pornography, even in a slight or modest way. It is equally wrong for the Church to gain financial advantage, even in a slight or modest way, from the transmission of pornography.

The Church of England is awaiting the decision from the Court of Arches with concern. A spokesman said : Whatever the decision, an awful lot of people are going to study it very carefully. If a clear decision is made one way or the other, it is going to impact on the whole process.

 

10th March   Sex with God...
 

Sarah SilvermanNutters object to the brush off

From christian Post

Comedy Central repeated an episode of the Sarah Silverman Program in which the female comedian has sex with “God.”

The installment, titled Batteries, features a “one-night-stand” with a “Black God,” whom Sarah Silverman tries to brush-off the morning after.

Many Christians disagree strongly with the rebroadcast, noting that the content is extremely insensitive and degrading toward their religion.

One such group, the Timothy Plan, has urged Christians to boycott the network’s parent company, Viacom, and pull out from all investments with them. The Timothy Plan is a mutual fund that avoids investing in companies that profit from or support things like pornography, abortion, non-married lifestyles, anti-family entertainment, as well as companies involved in promoting issues contrary the teachings of the Bible.

To air and rebroadcast a program, comedy or not, that depicts the main character having sex with God brings Viacom’s anti-Christian vitriol to an all time low, said Arthur Ally, president of the Timothy Plan, in a statement. Christians and culturally conservative Americans alike should be appalled by the sheer blatancy of this heresy. Anyone with any semblance of basic Judeo-Christian values should find this type of programming offensive, added Ally in his statement.

Silverman is best known for her stand-up comedy. She typically deals with topical humor and satire, mild or serious societal taboos, and controversial topics such as racism, sexism, and religion.

 

8th March   Housewives More Desperate...
 

Kashmir flagTV channels pulled in Kashmir after threats

From CTV

There will be no more Desperate Housewives for residents of Indian Kashmir. They will have to do without Friends reruns, too.

Four foreign television channels have been pulled from the air in Indian-controlled Kashmir after Islamic militant groups demanded cable companies stop airing "obscene" shows, cable operators said.

As militants have asked us to stop airing obscene channels, we've suspended broadcasting English channels like HBO, Star Movies, Star World and Sony Pix, said Muzaffar Ahmed, a TV cable operator in Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state.

Two militant groups in a telephone call to a local news agency, Current News Service, advised TV cable operators to drop channels that the groups say spread obscenity. The groups, Al-Badr Mujahedeen and Al-Madina, did not specify which channels they were referring to.

The content of the channel's broadcasts in India is already pretty tame compared to other countries in order to comply with India's stringent censorship laws. Obscenities are bleeped out and hints of nudity blurred. Other scenes are cut entirely.

Cable operators were taking no chances. Last year, a bomb blast rocked the office of a cable TV provider in the town of Sopore, 30 miles north of Srinagar. One person died in the explosion and the company's third-floor office was badly damaged by the blast. The lone cable operator in the town later halted telecasts.

 

12th February   Easily Offended at Clare...
 


Clare student magazine: CrucificationSatirical student magazine winds up Cambridge college

Based on an article from Cambridge Evening News see full article

A student at Clare College in Cambridge was in hiding today after printing satirical Mohammed cartoons in a student magazine. For his own safety and that of others, the student, who is British, has been taken out of his current accommodation and put in a secure place.

The article is said to be so inflammatory [doesn't take much to wind up the easily offended] the undergraduate has been taken to a secret location for his own safety.

Senior college officials were locked in urgent talks about how the material came to be published and what action to take against the student at the centre of the row.

A university spokesman said police had been made aware of the incident. But a police spokesman said: This is a matter for the university authorities to deal with.

The student magazine, Clareification, printed a cropped copy of one of the famous cartoons of the prophet Mohammed next to a photo of the president of the Union of Clare Students. The cartoon was captioned with the president's name and vice versa.

There was also comment suggesting one was a violent paedophile and the other was a prophet of God, great leader and an example to us all.

The paper had been renamed Crucification for a special edition on religious satire. The front page included headlines stating: Ayatollah rethinks stance on misunderstood Rushdie.

Easily enraged students have bombarded the Union of Clare Students with complaints and vice-president of the university's Islamic society described it as "hugely offensive" and "crude unabashed prejudice."

In a rare move, Clare College fellows have called a Court of Discipline which will sit in judgment on the youth responsible for sparking what is being regarded as one the most embarrassing incidents for the university in years.

In a statement issued by Clare College, senior tutor Patricia Fara said: Clare is an open and inclusive college. A student produced satirical publication has caused widespread distress throughout the Clare community. The college finds the publication and the views expressed abhorrent.


13th February   Opinion: Stand Up for Free Speech...
 


Clare student magazine: CrucificationNational Secular Society write to easily offended Clare College

From the National Secular Society

Staff and students at Clare College should make a stand for free speech instead of backing those who would destroy it, says the National Secular Society (NSS).

Reacting to news that a student who published a satirical issue of the student magazine that poked fun at religion is to be disciplined, Terry Sanderson, President of the NSS said: We are shocked that the staff and even the students union at this supposedly liberal college have joined the attack on this student because he had the temerity to poke fun at religion. Free expression is such a precious commodity and is under such ferocious attack at present from religious interests that it is disgraceful that no-one is standing up for this young man’s right to be rude about religion – even about Islam.

Sanderson has written to the master of Clare College, Professor Tony Bader and to the Senior Tutor, Patricia Fara as well as the president of the Students Union, Calum Davey, as follows:

We write after seeing reports in the local Cambridge press indicating that a contributor to your student magazine Clareification faces disciplinary action for having printed items that some people thought were “offensive” or “inflammatory.

If these reports are true, we wish to register our profound disquiet that a supposedly liberal college has reacted in this way. The reaction risks undermining one of the most precious and important rights that we have in this country: freedom of expression.

Satire aimed at religion is no different to satire aimed at any other ideas and should not be punished or restrained. The freedom to poke fun at those who take themselves too seriously is a time-honoured tradition in this country. Regrettably, it is rapidly being eroded by cases like this. We urge you to think again and stand four-square behind the satirists, instead of disciplining them.

We would like to remind all concerned that satirising religion – even if that religion is Islam – is not racism, as this episode has been dubbed. Religion and race have very different characteristics. We would have heartily joined the condemnation if the satire had been racially motivated, but according to the reports we have read, the issue of Clareification in question was devoted to religious satire.

We would like to draw your attention to a case that is pending in France at the moment, in which a satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has been brought to court by an Islamic organisation for re-publishing the Danish cartoons that are at the centre of so much controversy. In the French case, academics, artists and politicians of all hues have rushed to the defence of the magazine. Letters of support and statements defending free speech have been issued by some of the most influential people in the country – including Mr Sarkozy, who is potentially the next President of France.

Your own reaction – as reported – does not bear comparison with the principled French reactions. It sides with the oppressors and censors who are doing so much to retard open debate in academe and elsewhere.

We call on you to support the publishers of the magazine and to tell the would-be censors that their protests have been heard but that they will not prevail. Without the freedom to debate, discuss and, yes, mock, ideas and ideologies, there can be no informed political discourse. Satire is an indispensable tool in the operating of a truly free society.


1st March   Update: Harassment, Alarm and Distress...
 


Clare student magazine: CrucificationPolice question students about the ridicule of religious nonsense

From Index on Censorship
Spotted by MediawatchWatch
Magazine detailed at Harry's Place

The controversy over the publication of one of the now infamous Jyllands Posten Mohammed cartoons in a Cambridge University student publication has taken on a new seriousness, after two students were questioned under caution by Cambridgeshire police.

The students, understood to be the editor and guest editor of unofficial Clare College magazine Clareification (renamed Crucification for an issue focused on religious satire) were interrogated under Section 5 of the Public Order Act (“harassment, alarm or distress”).

Police confirmed to Index that the students were questioned last Friday, and a file has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will decide whether to press charges against the students in the coming weeks.

The magazine, circulated for free among Clare students, contained several articles ridiculing religious belief, and the front-page headlines Katie Lin-O-Scopes more reliable than Bible (a reference to the magazine’s spoof horoscope column) and Ayatollah rethinks stance on “misunderstood” Rushdie.

The editorial stated ‘I hate Islam’. The Mohammed cartoon appeared on the back page, juxtaposed with a picture of Clare’s student president with the caption One is a prophet of God, a great leader and an example to us all. The other is a violent paedophile.

Earlier, Cambridge University had signalled that it considered the matter finished with. A spokesman for the university said the student who had guest-edited the publication had been disciplined, but that there was no prospect of him being sent down.


6th March   Update: Long Live Satire...
 


Clare student magazine: CrucificationIn support of Clareification and freedom to poke fun at nonsense

From The Guardian see full article, by Sue Blackmore

A Cambridge student is in hiding because he dared to print one of those infamous Danish cartoons and have a laugh at Islam's expense. Yet if offended Muslims want people to stop laughing at them, this latest incident will only have backfired.

OK it's offensive, and funny, and that's what satire is all about. But the magazine apparently provoked anger in Cambridge, with enraged students complaining in droves. A second-year student said these were some of the most offensive things I've ever seen. The president of the university's Islamic society said I found the magazine hugely offensive ... freedom of expression does not constitute a freedom to offend.

I say to him - oh yes it does, and you should be ashamed of yourself. You didn't have to read the magazine. You didn't have to spread the news about it. And you certainly didn't have to encourage other Muslims to believe that claiming to be offended gives them the right to stop the rest of us having a laugh. Yet you did so.

The freedom to laugh and poke fun at things we disagree with is fundamental to freedom of thought.

And freedom of thought is fundamental to education, scholarship, and learning - all the things that Cambridge University should be standing up for. Great thinkers and scientists are always offending people by overthrowing the dogmas and false beliefs of the past. People were offended at the thought that earth was not the centre of the universe; they were offended at the idea that mountains and rivers were created by natural processes; they were offended at the idea that species were not immutable and they were offended at the suggestion that we humans might be descended from apes. Happily, in the end the evidence overwhelmed them.

I hope the same will happen with these claims, and society as a whole will not let religious believers claim a right not to be offended. When I contacted the college the master told me that the student has not been reprimanded and the disciplinary process will determine whether he has infringed any regulations. I sincerely hope he has not and that the college will offer him and his magazine their support. The freedom to think, to argue, and to laugh at silly ideas must be allowed to flourish.

 

6th February  Images of Exploitation...
 
The general synod in session

Images of exploitation:
The general synod


General Synod exploiting the gullible by blaming porn

A small edit and even the Melon farmers could join the demand that the government: sets up an inquiry to determine whether standards of behaviour are being fatally eroded by constant subjection to religious suggestions and images promoting the exploitation of other human beings..

From The Guardian

The Church of England's general synod is to debate calls for tighter controls on pornographic videos and broadcasts because of fears that viewers are being exploited.

A motion from the church's diocese of Lichfield is demanding that the government sets up an inquiry to determine whether standards of behaviour are being fatally eroded by constant subjection to suggestions and images ... promoting the exploitation of other human beings..

The diocese is warning that negative and degrading images are putting public safety at risk. In a background paper to synod members in advance of the debate at Church House in London on March 1 it claims:

Standards of taste and decency are changing ... the retort: 'If you don't like it, switch it off' ignores the danger that such films pose to society ... the British Board of Film Censors ... is making pornography easier to access by giving hardcore material 18 certificates. And material which previously would have been classified 18 is now being classified as 15 ... material previously classified as 15 is now being classified as 12.

The boundaries are continually being pushed back. If you continue to walk closer and closer to the edge of the cliff you must eventually either stop or fall off. Those pushing the boundaries in the media show no sign of doing either.

What appears to have spurred concern is the 18 certificate given to a DVD called Destricted, described as porn by the film-maker and photographer Sam Taylor Wood who was involved in making it.


2nd March   Exploiting the Gullible...
 

The general synod in session

Jeez guys, give the gays a break.
There's plenty of others to blame


Believers in nonsense unsurprisingly spout nonsense about the BBFC

I agree though with: "standards of human behaviour are being fatally eroded by constant subjection to suggestions and images promoting the exploitation of other human beings"...ie religion

From the Daily Mail

The Church of England yesterday warned that the spread of hard-core sex and violence in films is "fatally eroding" standards of behaviour.

It questioned the increasingly liberal decisions by film censors and accused them of allowing wider and younger audiences to see pornography and violence.

The Church called for new thinking about the effects of negative and degrading images on public safety.

The attempt to put pressure on film censors and broadcasters at the Church's parliament, the General Synod, follows efforts by senior bishops to defend marriage and to do more to uphold Christian beliefs. The Synod heard that "standards of human behaviour are being fatally eroded by constant subjection to suggestions and images promoting the exploitation of other human beings".

Church leaders named a series of films, including Destricted, 9 Songs, Baise-Moi, and Intimacy, which they said had been allowed a wide adult audience by being granted 18 certificates, but which in the past would have been restricted under R18 certificates to being shown in private clubs and to being sold on DVD in sex shops.

They blamed the BBFC for allowing such material to reach general audiences.

The Rev Richard Moy said: There have been numerous cases where defence barristers have asked judges to consider in mitigation that the defendant's actions were influenced by watching pornography. And yet the BBFC is making pornography easier to access by giving hardcore material 18 certificates. And material which previously would have been classified 18 is now being classified 15. And material previously classified as 15 is now classified as 12. How can we ask children and young people to behave in a socially responsible way if, through the media, we celebrate and revel in exploitation and abuse?

The Synod voted unanimously to condemn the exploitation of the humiliation of human beings for public entertainment.

A previous president at the BBFC, Andreas Whittam-Smith, who passed two of the criticised films - Baise-Moi and Intimacy, is now a senior Church official in charge of the its financial wing. He told the Synod that the films, however they were marred by their sexually explicit content, they had something to say. He said regulators felt bound to reflect what they believe is the public mood and added: It is only the Church's teaching . . . which can have an influence and change things.

 

27th February   Gun Blame...
 
Top of the league in gun murder

GunIt is interesting to note that Thailand make a particular point of censoring guns from films & TV. Just possibly there may be other factors at play beyond media portrayal!

From Nation Master

Murders involving firearms
(per million of population
over a period of 2 years)

  1. South Africa: 720
  2. Colombia: 510
  3. Thailand: 312
     
  4. Zimbabwe: 49
  5. Mexico: 34
  6. Belarus: 32
  7. Costa Rica: 31
  8. United States: 28
  9. Uruguay: 25
  10. Lithuania: 23

(32nd UK: 1)


Beyer takes topical opportunity for a rant

Thanks to Dan who spotted a Mediawatch-uk press release:

In the light of recent shootings in South London and the “Gun Summit” at Downing Street last week, John Beyer, Director of mediawatch-uk, is calling upon broadcasters and film makers to embrace a much more socially responsible attitude to their portrayal of the use of firearms in their productions.

We believe that this level of fictional violence shown on television, which is consistent with our findings for the last 12 years, is unacceptable and irresponsible. The people most responsible for promoting a culture of violence in which the criminal use of guns is portrayed more often than any other fictional violence are the film and television industries. From this quarter there has been a deafening silence and certainly no publicly announced undertakings to stop or even reduce the visibility of guns or other offensive weapons. The regulator, Ofcom, too has been silent despite the findings of their own research which states that 56 per cent of people say there is too much violence on television. (The Communications Market 2006, page 269)

In this age of “joined up” government and the trend for multi-agency approaches to problem solution the influence of film and television cannot be ignored nor can the industries remain aloof or beyond criticism for the culture of violence to which they have contributed. We call upon the film and broadcasting regulators to urgently review their film and programme policies, their codes and guidelines and ensure that the depiction of the use of firearms and other offensive weapons is curtailed forthwith. We welcome the emphasis now being placed by politicians upon family life and good role models. However, this must extend to film and television programme makers who must play their part in sustaining citizenship and civil society rather than setting models of behaviour that contribute to society’s problems and undermine attempts to deal with them.

We also call upon the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, to take steps to ensure that the terms of the Communications Act 2003, which states that “material likely to encourage or to incite to crime or to lead to disorder is not included in television or radio services”, are properly enforced in the public interest.

 

19th February   A Scourge of Nutters...
 

CP80 logoNutters release documentary detailing the rise of porn

From X Biz see full article

Anti-porn group CP80 and film company Living Biography have joined forces to release Traffic Control, a new documentary that details what it calls the rampant rise in Internet pornography and the fight to stop it.

CP80, which is the group behind the TruthinPorn campaign that seeks to move all adult sites into a single, clean Internet port, released the film at the end of January to coincide with a resolution from the Utah House of Representatives urging the U.S. Congress to do more to curb online porn.

I can't tell you how many stories I've heard, how many lives I've seen destroyed by pornography, Rep. Bradley Daw, the resolution’s sponsor, said. This is an absolute scourge on our society.

Ralph Yarro, founder of CP80, called the Utah resolution the shot heard around the world. Yarro added that Utah is one of seven states with similar resolutions on the table, adding that Oregon legislators will soon debate a measure that would label Internet pornography a public health emergency.

The film details the experiences of Shelley Lubben, a former porn star turned anti-porn activist who used the stage name Roxy, as she battled a drug and alcohol addiction and contracted herpes while working in the adult entertainment industry.

 

18th February   Trivial Protest...
 

Banner: The Verdict: BBC guilty of trvializing rapeFeminists protest against BBC's The Verdict

Based on an article from Indy Media

There was a protest against the BBC programme, The Verdict,  at BBC TV Centre, White City on Sunday 11th February 2007

Representatives from the London Feminist Network and Justice For Women protested The Verdict,  a staged rape trial with a celebrity jury, real legal personnel and actors for claimant and defendants.

The organisers said: We asked the BBC to withdraw The Verdict but they have chosen to go ahead and further trivialise the trauma that rape victims undergo. For victims of rape, justice is very rare indeed and the conviction rate continues to fall.

We asked to see the producer of The Verdict and a representative of the BBC came to speak with us. We formally lodged a complaint in person and again asked the BBC to withdraw The Verdict.

As to whether the programme did trvialise rape, here's on opinion from The Guardian see full review

The programme was often good; often, dare I say, valuable viewing, apart from the grimly inexcusable way in which the camera lingered on the (unblinking, honest, thoughtful) face of Sara Payne during graphic sexual testimony. Thanks: we'd got the link. But far from exploiting or demeaning the idea of rape, it gave a timely and necessary lesson, to those who could sit through the anguished details and the well-acted tears, of the opacity which surrounds the reporting and prosecution of rape in this country, and the vagaries, ill and necessary, of the jury system. Hardly anyone, for instance, could have been left unaware, after this week's staging, of the staggeringly small number of reported rape cases which result in convictions. 6%,  nor, as crucially, of the guts and support needed to even make that report in the first place.

Nor could viewers have been left untouched by the anguish of this jury, even this staged jury, grappling with the burden of proof: tearful, exhausted, fraught by the end, reluctantly going for 'not guilty' despite strong instinct. Patsy Palmer, Jennifer Ellison and Honor Blackman looked shell-shocked by the end, torn by the thought they might come down on the side of the wrong - well, yes, actors, but you had begun to forget that, a little. Along the way we got some great slices of real real life: the nosy, dozy usher; the gossipy clerk; the barristers still awarding themselves, 40 years away from the desk at the front of the class, points for cleverness; a peppery old ex-judge, wise beyond his 194 years, a lifetime spent grappling with the same dichotomies filling the jury room with sound and fury.

 

17th February   Green Issues the Usual Bollox...
 

Monty Python's Life of Brian DVD coverNutters prepare for Life of Brian musical

Based on an article from ic Wales

Christian nutters in Wales have reacted angrily to plans to turn Monty Python's Life of Brian into a musical.

It is nearly 30 years since the Monty Python film, satirising the life of a man mistaken for Jesus, provoked condemnation from church and chapel congregations around the world who claimed it was blasphemous. A ban on screening it in Swansea cinemas stood for 17 years and was only lifted in 1997.

But yesterday campaigners vowed to hold fresh protests should the proposed new musical ever be staged in Wales or the UK.

Their ire came as it emerged founding Monty Python member Eric Idle has written a "comic oratorio" called Not The Messiah (He's A Very Naughty Boy), which will premiere in Toronto in June.

Stephen Green, Carmarthenshire-based head of nutter group Christian Voice, last night vowed to keep Not the Messiah out of the UK. Green, who led mass protests against Jerry Springer: The Opera, said, We would certainly be opposing such a blasphemous and scurrilous piece of work. With it being loosely hung around Handel's masterwork, it has got to be offensive to anyone who values music as means of expressing great ideas. If he brings that to Britain or Wales he can expect protests. He might not even get it off the ground here because we've been forearmed.

Richard Lewis, an independent councillor serving the Gower area, was one of those who voted to impose the ban back in February 1980. He said recently: We were right as a city council to ban Life of Brian. My views have hardened very much. I feel this latest musical is part of a continual drip feed of knocking religion and Christianity

 

15th February   Billboard Nonsense...
 

A day of love of sex, not hate...The Melon FarmersNutters post their Valentines message

From News 4 Jax

Billboards around the city are urging people to stop looking at pornography in the name of love. The messages showed on up on five of the daily billboards that are located around Jacksonville, Florida.

The billboards have the message:

Her gift for Valentine's Day -- stop looking at porn. XXXChurch.com

Instead of the chocolates, flowers, stuffed animals, cards or even dinner out on the town, the founder of the Web site XXXChurch.com Craig Gross said he had another idea: It's just to tell guys, especially, not to have the make-believe relationships with porn stars, but to concentrate on their marriages and their relationships with their loves ones.

Porn is everywhere. It is all over the Internet. There are some 400 million pornographic Web pages. We want people to talk about this issue, Gross said.

 

10th February  Telus Nonsense...
 


QuetzalcoatlCanadian Bishop rails at mobile phone porn

Definition of religious thinking: Nonsense In, Nonsense Out

From The B.C. Catholic

Vancouver Archbishop Raymond Roussin, is expressing great concern about Telus Mobility’s decision to offer cell-phone pornography.

Canada’s second largest phone company started offering pornographic photos and videos to its customers last month, and confirms it has been receiving complaints from supposedly upset customers.

Archbishop Roussin said, Telus Mobility has crossed the line which brings the problem of the accessibility of pornographic material further into the public realm.

He noted that considering the problems pornography is causing in society the move is especially ill-considered. Given the increasing awareness about the problem of sexual addiction to pornography through Internet access, and the abuse that this perpetuates of vulnerable persons, Telus’s decision is disappointing and disturbing.

The archbishop plans to raise his concerns with parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese of Vancouver. He is also considering directing Catholic institutions to terminate their contracts with Telus Mobility.

 

3rd February  Caricatured as Opposed to Free Speech...
 


Charlie Hebdo magazine
Muslims contend in French court that the Mohammed cartoons were racist

Based on an article from IOL

The row over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed will be replayed in a French court next week when two influential Islamic groups sue a Paris satirical weekly for inciting hatred against Muslims by printing the caricatures.

The two Muslim associations aim to show that reprinting the cartoons was a provocation equal to anti-Semitic acts or Holocaust denial that are already banned under French law, Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Paris Grand Mosque, said recently.

The weekly Charlie Hebdo, which put out a special edition with the cartoons, argued religions are not beyond criticism and letting Muslims censor the media would curtail a basic right.

During the cartoon controversy, offended Muslims demanded an apology and a ban on criticising Islam. President Jacques Chirac accused Charlie Hebdo of willfully provoking Muslims.

France's five million Muslims make up Europe's largest Islamic minority, but there was little unrest here during the controversy because the French Muslim Council (CFCM) urged people to back the legal option rather than street protests.

A Paris court will hear the case next Wednesday and Thursday and issue its ruling at a later date.

Boubakeur, who is also head of the CFCM, said one cartoon, which showed Mohammed with a bomb for a turban, was especially offensive because it had the Muslim profession of faith on the turban and thus aimed at all Muslims and not just terrorists.

Szpiner, a prominent Paris lawyer, said the Grand Mosque's complaint was not about blasphemy because it singled out only two of the 10 cartoons printed by Charlie Hebdo as racist: We admit that one can caricaturise the Prophet, he said, expressing a view contrary to a widespread belief in the Muslim world that images of Mohammad are forbidden: No French court would accept an argument based on that Muslim belief. The issue is not the principle of caricaturising the Prophet, but a racist aggression against French Muslims, telling them they are terrorists.

Boubakeur hoped the case would show France needed tighter laws to protect against Islamophobia. The Grand Mosque suit is based on a law against insulting a group on religious grounds. But he opposed a specific hate-speech law for Muslims or anything like a recent law France passed making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide in Ottoman Turkey in 1915: We're thinking about a general law, not just one for Jews, one for Armenians and one for Muslims, One can have differences of opinion about religion, but one cannot spout hate because hate favours violence."


8th February  Update: Caricatured as a Brave Politician...
 


Charlie Hebdo magazine
Nicolas Sarkozy supports freedom of satire

From The Telegraph

Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-Right frontrunner for the French presidency, yesterday earned the ire of Muslim groups when it emerged he backed a satirical magazine's publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Lawyers acting for the magazine Charlie Hébdo, which is being sued for defamation by two Muslim groups for reprinting controversial Danish cartoons, read out a letter from Sarkozy, the interior minister, in which he said he preferred too many caricatures to an absence of caricature.

I am eager to lend my support to your newspaper, which belongs to an old French tradition, that of satire, wrote Sarkozy. Having very often been the main target of Charlie Hébdo, Sarkozy added that he backed it in the name of the freedom to laugh at anything.

The court erupted into laughter when the lawyer read out Sarkozy's name, followed by his campaign slogan, together, everything is possible. But his statement provoked the wrath of the official French Council for the Muslim Religion, CFCM, an Islamic umbrella group that Sarkozy helped create four years ago.

Furious at what it saw as government interference, a spokesman for the CFCM said last night that the comments were "unacceptable" and that its heads were considering resigning en masse in protest. It's out of the question for a minister for religious affairs to take such a position. There's no neutrality, Abdallah Zekri said.

The CFCM was set up to represent the estimated five million Muslims in France.

Later Sarkozy, who was in Toulon yesterday, reiterated his support for the magazine: I am not in favour of any kind of censorship, whether of men, ideas or religions.


9th February  Update: Solid Support...
 


Charlie Hebdo magazine
French state stands behind freedom of speech

From The Telegraph

A state attorney Thursday called for the dismissal of a court case brought by French Muslims against a satirical weekly that printed caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed, saying the cartoons denounce terrorists' use of the Muslim faith but do not damage Islam.

The trial, which opened Wednesday, has drawn nationwide attention in a country with Europe's largest Muslim community and a strong commitment to freedom of expression and secularism.

The publication and its director, Philippe Val, are charged with publicly abusing a group of people because of their religion. Val risks a six-month prison sentence and a fine.

The state prosecutor, whose role in court is to defend French law, argued in favor of the magazine, which on Feb. 8, 2006, printed three caricatures, two of them reprints of those carried by a Danish newspaper in 2005 that stoked anger across the Islamic world. One caricature was an original.

It is not faith in Islam that was stigmatized by these caricatures. It is not an attack on religious convictions as such, said prosecutor Anne de Fontette. Instead, she argued, the caricatures denounced terrorists who pretend to be acting in (Islam's) name or in the name of the prophet.

Another presidential candidate, centrist leader Francois Bayrou, testified for the weekly, calling freedom of expression the central pillar of the society in which we live. It protects us all, believers, nonbelievers, agnostics.

The French Council for the Muslim Faith complained that the case has taken on a political character.

A verdict is expected March 15.

Update: Date of Verdict

Verdict now expected March 22nd

 

11th January  Voicing Nonsense...
 

   
Christian Voice logoChristian Voice start blasphemy proceedings

From Christian Voice

A criminal action for blasphemy against Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, and producer Jonathan Thoday has begun in respect of Jerry Springer the Opera.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, laid information before Horseferry Road Magistrates this morning, Monday 8th January 2007. It is two years to the day since the broadcast of the musical on BBC2 and six months to the day from when it finished its tour in Brighton last year.

Counsel Mark Mullins and instructing solicitor Michael Phillips made oral submissions to District Judge Caroline Tubbs to support the application for a summons to be issued in a private prosecution of the two executives. All the tests which had to be applied before a private prosecution can begin appeared satisfied, and Mullins explained to the judge the complexity and necessity to gather evidence which had led to an interval of two years between the BBC2 broadcast and the initiation of proceedings.

The District Judge reserved her decision for later this week.

Stephen Green said afterwards: There is a ancient law against blasphemy in this land because the law believes it should not occur. It is as simple as that. If artistic people do not where or how to stop as they push against the boundaries of decency, then the law must step in and tell them.

In this present case, it appears prime facie that a most odious and wicked blasphemy was perpetrated against Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly, justice must be done. No-one, be they ever so influential or wealthy, can be above the law.


We await the decision of the Judge and ask for prayer so that: "Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven." Indeed the very first petition of the Lord's prayer is: "Hallowed be Thy name." The holiness of God's name is at the root of this case. There is a long way to go yet, but the first step was taken today.


17th January  Blasphemy Nonsense Thrown Out...
 

   
Christian Voice logoChristian Voice silenced in the courts

From Chortle

Christian Voice's attempt to bring a private blasphemy case over Jerry Springer: The Opera has been thrown out of court.

Horseferry Road Magistrates rejected the criminal action brought by Christian Voice over the BBC’s airing of the controversial show two years ago.

Campaigner Stephen Green was trying to level blasphemy charges against the corporation’s director-general, Mark Thompson, and producer Jon Thoday at Avalon. The show’s creators, comedian Stewart Lee and composer Richard Thomas, were not involved in the action.

Before the case, Green said: If artistic people do not where or how to stop as they push against the boundaries of decency, then the law must step in and tell them. In this present case, it appears prime facie that a most odious and wicked blasphemy was perpetrated against Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly, justice must be done. No one, be they ever so influential or wealthy, can be above the law.


7th February  Playing the Exempt Card...
 

   
Christian Voice logoLegal thinking behind failed blasphemy case

Press release from Christian Voice

A summons for a private prosecution for blasphemy against Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, and producer Jonathan Thoday in respect of Jerry Springer the Opera was refused late on Friday 12th January by Horesferry Road magistrates.

District Judge Miss Caroline Tubbs decided that a ruling in judicial review which went against the Christian Institute had prejudiced criminal proceedings for blasphemy, and that the production was covered by an escape clause in the Theatres Act 1968.

Solicitor Michael Phillips said:

In essence, as to whether a summons should be issued, the leading case is that of Ian Charlson. In that case it was held that there are four main questions for a Magistrate to consider. Those are (1) whether the allegation is an offence known and if so whether the essential ingredients are present, (2) if the offence is out of time, (3) whether the court has jurisdiction, (4) whether the informant has the necessary authority to prosecute. In addition, it must be considered whether the prosecution is vexatious.

(1) District Judge Tubbs held that blasphemous liable is an offence known to law. However, prosecution, she said, is prevented because of s2(4) of the Theatres Act 1968: No person shall be proceeded against in respect of a performance of a play, or anything said or done in the course of such a performance - (a) for an offence at common law where it is of the essence of the offence that the performance or, as the case may be, what was said or done was obscene, indecent, offensive, disgusting or injurious to morality. She held that the application falls within this provision.

(2) She also held that the essential ingredients of the offence are not prima facie present. As the High Court considered the case in the Judicial Review brought by the Christian Institute: I have made a judicial assessment as to whether the presence of the essential ingredients of the offence are prima facie present. I am supported in that view by the decisions of the Administrative Court and the GPCC [the BBC's internal Governors' Programming Complaints Commission -Ed] in this very play. I do not find it credible that they would have come to their respective decisions if the performance / programme they considered in great detail, with Christian religious sensibilities in mind, in fact contained the essential ingredients of an even more serious matter - a criminal offence of blasphemous libel.

In essence, those were the main reasons why she refused to issue a summons.'

Stephen Green has asked Phillips to proceed with an application to the High Court to review the District Judge's decision and he will make a further statement in due course.

 

31st January  More Censorship Or Else...
 

angry muslims

We are ready to perform a peaceful dialogue
with anyone who opposes this. BUT if they don't
listen to us, we will use our 'notorious' way.


Indonesian Programmes have ruined their children

From Pacific Media Watch

A hardline Indonesian Muslim group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), have expressed support for the Indonesian Film Censorship Body (LSF) and called for an expansion of its power.

Jafar Sidik, a FPI co-chairman We encourage LSF to expand their power not just on films, but also on TV programmes that have ruined our children.

FPI's stand came in reaction to an campaign launched by young Indonesian artists and filmmakers in the past few weeks for the dissolution of Indonesia's censorship institution, which they accused of discouraging freedom of expression in Indonesian films and TV.

We are ready to perform a peaceful dialogue with anyone who opposes this (increased censorship) idea, Sidik said: But if they don't listen to us, we will use our notorious way.

The hardline FPI is known for its violent attacks against bars, nightclubs and other establishments it considers "anti-Islamic."

 

30th January  Hounded by Nutters...
 


Hounddog poster
Nutters call for investigation into filming of Hounddog

Based on an article from the BBC

Twelve-year-old actress Dakota Fanning is the focus of nutters over a new movie, Hounddog,  that depicts her being raped by a teenage boy.

US religious groups are calling for a boycott, saying Fanning's appearance in the film is tantamount to child abuse.

Director Deborah Kampmeier has defended the film, saying issues like child rape need to be discussed in public: This issue is so silenced in our society. There are a lot of women who are alone with this story.

The criticism began before the film was screened, with the New York-based Catholic League calling for a federal probe into whether child pornography laws were violated during filming.

Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, also believes the rape scene falls foul of the law.

Fanning herself played down the controversy following the film's premiere: It's not a rape movie. That's not even the point of the film. It's not really happening. It's a movie, and it's called acting. I'm not going through anything. And for me, when it's done it's done. I don't even think about it any more.

During the rape scene, only Fanning's face, neck, shoulders, hand and foot appear on screen. Much of the scene takes place in darkness, punctuated only by the sound of Fanning's screams.

Prosecutors in two states said on Jan. 26 that they found nothing illegal about a movie shot in North Carolina and screened last week at Utah’s Sundance Film Festival.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who watched the movie last week with his state’s child sexual exploitation law in hand, said his concerns didn’t materialize on the screen.

None of the things on the Internet that people were saying about it were true, Shurtleff said. Not only does it not violate the statute, I think it’s a good message for people on the subject.

The opinion is shared by the district attorneys in the two North Carolina counties where Hounddog was filmed last summer.

Rex Gore, the Brunswick County district attorney, said there was no evidence that the scene constituted “sexual activity” under North Carolina law, so child exploitation didn’t occur. Even if a film contains simulated sexual activity, Gore said, it doesn’t cross the line into obscenity as long as the film has serious artistic value or is protected speech.

That outcry led state Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, to begin work on legislation that would require any film seeking North Carolina’s 15% tax credit for television and movies to receive script approval from the state. Berger said the state should ensure its citizens aren’t subsidizing what many may consider inappropriate.

 

29th January   Placing 'Dead Men Don't Rape' Stickers...
 


Dead Men Don't Rape badge
and accusing the Melon Farmers of misogyny!

Thanks to Dan & James

It seems that The Melon Farmers have been labelled as misogynists by nutters on a site called The Porn Detectives.

But I wouldn't take too much offence, as the term seems to apply widely to all who don't believe in their rather extremist views. Surely the vast majority of the civilised world.

Reading The Porn Detectives site led to an illuminating page: Reclaim The Night: The Feminist Vengeance of Sparkle*Matrix, Bea and Charliegrrl

The 'Dead Men Don't Rape' stickering and the ensuing discussion suggest that saying they hate men is something of an understatement.

 

27th January  Media Portrayed as the Bad Guys...
 
Osama Bin Laden

I claim unfair
 stereotyping


Concern at media portrayal of muslims

Based on an article from The Telegraph

After the war, every Hollywood bad guy seemed to be German. With the onset of the Cold War, they became Russian. Now the blockbuster bogeyman is Muslim.

The oxymoronic Islamic Human Rights Commission said films as diverse as The Siege, a portrayal of a terrorist attack on New York, the British comedy East is East and Disney’s Aladdin are reinforcing impressions that Muslims are violent and dangerous.

The reports claims Raiders of the Lost Ark also exhibited “cultural stereotypes” and East is East, a story of an Anglo-Pakistani family in Salford, with its wife-beating husband fits into many of the negative perceptions people have of Muslims.

The study entitled The British Media and Muslim Representation: The Ideology of Demonisation argues that all these “negative stereotypes” along with negative portrayal in the media affect the general perception of Muslims and has a crucial role in influencing detrimental public views.

A survey conducted as part of the research revealed that Muslims in Britain felt negative images of their faith on the big and small screen had consequences in their daily lives. Those interviewed found a direct correlation between media portrayal and their social experiences of exclusion, hatred, discrimination and violence.

As well as deep unease with big screen portrayals, the research also claimed there was a perception of “unashamed bias” in the media against Muslims, with 62% believing the media to be Islamophobic and 16% describing it as racist. Only 4% considered its representation “fair”.

The report, which involved interviewing more than 1,125 Muslims in England, Scotland and Wales, concluded that there was evident from all genres that they contained negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslim/Arabs.

 

25th January  The Pope Plays Lemmings...
 


Pope BenedictThe pope considers media sex & violence to be a perversion

From CNET News

Pope Benedict XVI voiced his opinion on games from the Vatican, saying that violent or sexually explicit games are a "perversion" and "repulsive."

As part of the annual papal message for World Communications Day, the theme of which was Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education, the pope talked about the media's effect on children, paying particular attention to games and films.

Any trend to produce programs and products--including animated films and video games--which in the name of entertainment exalt violence and portray antisocial behavior or the trivialization of human sexuality is a perversion, all the more repulsive when these programs are directed at children and adolescents, the pope said.

Pointing toward the media's growing influence on youth, he said the media can support a family's education of children provided it promotes fundamental human dignity, the true value of marriage and family life, and the positive achievements and goals of humanity. He called upon media leaders to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity, and promote respect for the needs of the family.

 

24th January  A Veneer of Hypocritical Piety...
 


Waking the Dead Season 3 DVD coverOpus Dei whinge about Waking the Dead

Based on an article from the Daily Mail

The religious sect, Opus Dei has accused the BBC of portraying its members as "murderers, thieves and adulterers" in over a popular fictional drama.

The secretive Catholic organisation lodged an official complaint of defamation after the award-winning drama, Waking the Dead showed an episode featuring a murder investigation of a Opus Dei devotee.

In the drama, a spurned Opus Dei member exacts revenge on his lover, a married woman, also a member of the sect, by shooting her and his love rival to death in what the organisation has called gratuitous scenes of sex and violence.

The episode entitled The Fall also sees the fictional head of Opus Dei being portrayed as a shadowy figure pursuing wealth and influence.

Last night a spokesman for the community, which the former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly is a member of, accused the corporation of copying ideas from the Hollywood blockbuster Da Vinci Code, whose plot also revolves around a murdering Opus Dei member.

Jack Valero said: In this programme Opus Dei was portrayed as an organisation of murderers, thieves and adulterers who justify and cover up evil actions while hiding behind a veneer of hypocritical piety and penitential rituals of self-flagellation. The three characters were portrayed as members are self-serving hypocrites whose main reason for belonging to Opus Dei is depicted as being their wealth. This portrayal is lifted from the Da Vinci Code, a book and film which claimed – against all evidence - to be based on fact.

The religious organisation has also accused makers of the two-part BBC 1 drama shown on Sunday, January 21 and 22 of breaching the corporation's strict guidelines on religious prejudice.

Valero added: Members of Opus Dei are Catholics, they are not going around killing people, having sex with married people and making money. It is a completely false portrayal. Whilst the BBC chose to create a fictional bank for the programme, it chose not to create a fictional religious organisation. We believe that it is irresponsible of the BBC, as a public service broadcaster, to have perpetuated that prejudice, in breach of its editorial guidelines. Opus Dei is not an anonymous corporation but a family with feelings and values.

Last night a BBC spokesman said: We are unable to comment as we are yet to receive the complaint. There have only been four complaints from the viewers about the show.

 

22nd January  Nigerian Anglican Homophobia...
 


Nigeria FlagThe most comprehensively homophobic legislation ever proposed

From Pink News

New legislation currently being debated by politicians in Nigeria could be the most serious crackdown on the rights of gay and lesbian people since the Iranian revolution.

The Prohibition of Relationships Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, is the title of the bill.

It has been approved by the Nigerian Federal Executive Council and is now before the National Assembly. It is expected to be passed and become law shortly.

The president, Olusegun Obasanjo, controls the Executive Council and his Nigerian People's Party has a majority in the both the Senate and House of Representatives. Although a centrist party, they derive most of their support from the Christian south of the country, and the Anglican church played an active role in promoting this legislation.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell contacted PinkNews.co.uk to draw attention to the nature of the new legislation, which has the active backing of other Christian churches in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa: The bill outlaws almost every expression, affirmation and celebration of gay identity and sexuality, and prohibits the provision of sympathetic advice and welfare support to lesbians and gay men. This draconian measure will outlaw membership of a gay group, attending a gay meeting or protest, advocating gay equality.

Donating money to a gay organisation, hosting or visiting a gay website, the publication or possession of gay safer sex advice, renting or selling a property to a gay couple, expressions of same-sex love in letters or emails, attending a same-sex marriage or blessing ceremony, screening or watching a gay movie, taking or possessing photos of a gay couple, and publishing, selling or loaning a gay book or video.

The new law carries an automatic five year jail sentence for those who break it.

Despite protests of governments and human rights activists, the Nigerian government have pressed ahead with the new laws, which are in contravention of various international treaties. Homosexuality is already illegal in the country. Nigeria's criminal code penalises consensual homosexual conduct between adults with 14 years imprisonment.

The Anglican Church, who have a huge powerbase in Nigeria, have been key in promoting this bill. The church has been increasingly vocal about its disapproval of the position of women and gay men in the English and American churches.

The bill currently being debated in the Nigerian parliament, is the most comprehensively homophobic legislation ever proposed in any country in the world," said Peter Tatchell: We appeal to gay and human rights groups worldwide to take urgent action to press the Nigerian government to uphold international human rights law and to drop this draconian legislation.

 

21st January  24 Under Attack...
 


24 season 5 DVD coverIslamic terrorist storylines criticised

From the BBC

The TV drama, 24, is under fire from Muslim groups in the US, which say the show's latest storyline fuels intolerance.

The Council on American-Islam Relations said: Repeated association of acts of terrorism with Islam will only serve to increase anti-Muslim prejudice.

The current series begins with Islamic terrorists waging an 11-day campaign of suicide bombings across America. TV network Fox said it had "not singled out any ethnic or religious group for blame in creating its characters". 24 is a heightened drama about anti-terrorism, the statement continued. Over the past several seasons, the villains have included shadowy Anglo businessmen, Baltic Europeans, Germans, Russians, Islamic fundamentalists, and even the (Anglo-American) president of the United States.

I do realise it's a multi-dimensional show that portrays extreme situations, said Sireen Sawaf from the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council: But I'm concerned about the image it ingrains in the minds of the American public and the American government, particularly when you have anti-Muslim statements spewing from the mouths of government officials.

 

14th January  Nutter Parents...
 


Paents TV council logoParents Television Council claim an increase in US TV violence

From TV Week

A report issued today by the nutters of the Parents Television Council said TV violence since 1998 has increased in every prime time slot, with violent incidents up 45% during the 8 pm hour, 92% during the 9 pm hour and 167% during the 10 pm hour. On average, the networks show 4.41 instances of violence per hour.

Federal Communications Commission member Michael J. Copps is urging leaders of the cable and broadcast industries to convene an industry summit to discuss reining it in. Copps questioned whether former FCC chairman Newton Minow description of TV in the early 1960s as "vast wasteland" has morphed into "a vast, violent wasteland."

PTC president Tim Winter said: We are not calling for a ban on anything...BUT...We are calling for some responsibility and restraint by broadcasters.
 
The commissioner urged National Association of Broadcasters President-CEO David Rehr and National Cable and Telecommunications Association President-CEO Kyle McSlarrow to convene the summit to discuss the issue of violence and warned that if broadcasters don't step up and self police I don't think anyone will be surprised if Congress decides to step in.

 

12th January  Nutters of Lithuania...
 


Popetown figureLithuanian catholics to sue MTV over Popetown

From MediawatchWatch

The catholic church in Lithuania plans to sue MTV Lietuva over Popetown.

Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference President Sigitas Tamkevicius told Reuters: We are going to lodge a complaint in court because we believe that the rights of the faithful were violated by this mockery. The Popetown series is not only an insult to the pope, but to all the catholics of Lithuania.

 

12th January  Beyer Recommends...
 
John Beyer

Beyer Recommends...
Rome


Rome, back with even more blood

From The Telegraph

A corpse being given breast milk from a nursing mother, a blood-soaked soldier carrying a head through the streets and a slave being tortured to death - these are the scenes that await viewers of the new series of Rome, the BBC’s controversial hit drama. Despite the protests that greeted the first series, the producers have opted for even grittier scenes at attract viewers. One programme insider said that the intention was to make Rome into an ‘ancient world version of The sopranos, the successful US drama littered with swearing and violence … The new series, like the first, is also notable for numerous scenes of nudity …

However, the decision to persevere with the recipe of sex and violence drew criticism yesterday. John Beyer, the director of mediawatch-uk, the viewers’ campaign group, said: I think it’s a shame that the BBC is simply offering the same kind of thing in this series as in the last. I assume that the BBC hopes the controversy will bring big audiences, but the controversy can’t sustain a programme which has little else to offer.

 

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