UK Nutter News

 2007: Oct-Dec

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30th December   

No Fiction Please, We're Muslims...

German TV episode offends
Link Here

Tatort logo One of Germany's most popular television series drew loud protests from a Muslim group over what they consider an unfavourable portrayal in the show's most recent episode.

The Alevi Muslim Community AABF called on its members to hold peaceful protests against the "slander and disparagement" contained in the Dec. 23 broadcast of Tatort , the German word for crime scene.

A criminal complaint has been filed by the group against NDR, the network that produced the program, accusing it of incitement to racial hatred.

It is appalling to us that a public and legitimate broadcaster would revive these centuries' old prejudices, said Ali Ertan Toprak, the secretary general of the Alevi community in Germany.

Members of the Alevi community in Berlin tried to stop the broadcast of the episode but were unsuccessful.

To answer the complaints, the network reiterated in the opening credits that the program was a work of fiction and in no way intended to harm religious feelings or rekindle prejudices against the Alevi community.

About 300 people protested outside the studios of Germany's public broadcaster ARD on Thursday, Dec. 27.

The episode in question is entitled To Whom Honor is Due and dealt with incest and murder within an Alevi family living in Germany.

During the course of the program, investigators discover that a young Alevi girl was murdered by her father after she confronted him about impregnating her sister.

 

29th December   

Iran vs Satanic Verses...

Iran demands a ban on a Romanian translation
Link Here

Satanic Verses book cover The Iranian Embassy in Bucharest criticized the translation into Romanian of the book Satanic Verses , by Salman Rushdie. The Iranian diplomats condemned the publishing as a 'blasphemy' and even demanded the banning of the volume in Romania.

Romanian Patriarchy earlier criticized the publishing of the volume, considering that it wrongs the spiritual values and religious symbols, regardless the official religion that uses it.

 

28th December   

Censorial MPs Don't Like being Censored...

And for once oppose censorship
Link Here

CCFON logo A group of nutter MPs has tabled an amendment designed to ensure that homophobic Christians can continue to express their views on gay people.

Devout Roman Catholics Ann Widdecombe and Jim Dobbin are among the MPs attempting to amend the government's proposal to make incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation a criminal offence.

Christian Concern for our Nation, a pressure group which attempts to stand up against a tide of unChristian legal and political changes in the United Kingdom, is urging its supporters to pressure MPs into supporting the new amendment.

Stonewall, the gay equality organisation, have been giving evidence to parliament's  scrutinising committee about the sort of incitement to homophobic murder and hatred that goes unchallenged. Chief executive Ben Summerskill quoted extensively from the homophobic lyrics of dancehall star Beenie Man and others to demonstrate the nature of their comments about gay men and lesbians.

Summerskill rejected concerns that a law banning incitement to religious hatred would be used to silence the voices of religious people who regard homosexuality as a sin: We are crystal clear that people are perfectly entitled to express their religious views. We are also crystal clear that the temperate expression of religious views should not be covered by the legislation. One might also want to look at the context in which any expression is made that people should be killed or put to death because they are homosexual.

The homophobic incitement provisions were later passed by the whole committee, and none of the Tory MPs voted against them.

The new amendment from Christian MPs reads:

Nothing in this part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion of, criticism of or expressions of antipathy towards, conduct relating to a particular sexual orientation, or urging persons of a particular sexual orientation to refrain from or modify conduct relating to that orientation.

Among the MPs asking for the right to show antipathy towards their gay constituents are: Lib Dems Colin Breed (South East Cornwall) and Alan Beith (Berwick Upon Tweed); Conservatives Philip Hollobone (Kettering) and Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone and the Weald); and Labour MPs David Taylor (North West Leicestershire) and Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton).

 

26th December   

Liberation Army Against Freedom...

Lighting a firecracker under the arse of the easily offended
Link Here

Laaf page Dutch government firework safety ads featuring a spoof Islamist terrorist group have been criticised as insensitive and depicting a negative stereotype of the Muslim community.

The online ads, made for the Dutch government's consumer safety institute, have been made to look like a video message filmed by an Islamist military organisation called the Liberation Army Against Freedom.

Featuring a group led by an Osama bin Laden lookalike figure at their camp, the viral ads are dubbed into Iraqi-accented Arabic and have versions with subtitles in Dutch and English.

The tone is intended to be humorous, with the terrorist group seen receiving a shipment of fireworks like an arms cache, wearing suicide vests made of firecrackers, and bungling efforts to demonstrate to you our true power by blowing themselves up.

However, the light treatment of such a serious issue has angered some industry insiders.

What is the campaign hoping to achieve by depicting a negative stereotype of the Muslim community in a fireworks advert? said Saad Saraf, the chief executive of multicultural marketing specialists Media Reach Advertising.

Saraf, an Iraqi, was particularly offended by images in one ad that show one person strap fireworks around him in a style similar to a suicide belt, which later explodes.

This is insensitive to society as a whole. Suicide bombings have destroyed many thousands of lives - using them in a humorous way is totally inappropriate. Are these adverts then for people who have not been affected by terrorism, suicide bombings and the invasion of Iraq in some way? said Saraf.

However, Inayat Bunglawala, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, did not think the ads were particularly offensive: I thought they were very humorous public safety films, he responded by email after being sent several links to the ads: Obviously there will always be some who find it to be in bad taste, but I thought it was done light-heartedly and funny and with clear educational value.

 

22nd December   

Tacky Comments...

Nutters whinge at jokey nativity advert
Link Here

Betta Electronics advert still Australian nutters have branded a television commercial depicting the baby Jesus tossing gifts back at the three wise men as tacky and offensive.

The ad for electronic goods retailers Betta Electrical recreates the Christian nativity scene, showing three wise men offering gifts to baby Jesus as he lies in the manger.

The commercial, which has angered Anglican and Catholic leaders, shows Jesus throwing gifts out of the manger as the words Give a better gift flash on the TV screen.

Christian leaders criticised the ad, calling it a tacky and offensive exploitation of religious imagery which perverts the true meaning of Christmas.

This ad comes within the orbit of tacky Christmas things , senior Sydney Anglican bishop Glenn Davies told The Daily Telegraph: The gifts that the wise men were giving were appropriate for a king, so the notion that Jesus would reject them is absurd.

A spokesman for Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell said the use of Christ was inappropriate: The advertisement is interesting because it shows how commercialised Christmas has become .

But Julieanne Worchurst, marketing manager at BSR Group which operates more than 170 Betta Electrical stores, said the ad was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek and humorous approach to the gift giving season. We accept that this could have been seen as offensive, but that was not the intention at all. The ad was never intended to upset or disrupt people's Christmas.

Worchurst said while the company had received just two complaints from viewers.

 

22nd December   

Who is the Messiah?...

Supporting the hype for the Christmas Dr Who
Link Here

Dr Who Season 3 The BBC has provoked controversy over a Christmas Day Doctor Who special that uses religious imagery to depict the Time Lord as a “messiah”. Voyage of the Damned , starring Kylie Minogue, is expected to be the holiday viewing highlight.

However, Christian groups expressed concern that the imagery employed was inappropriate for a BBC One Christmas evening show.

The Doctor (David Tennant) must save a group of passengers after the Titanic, now a futuristic space vessel, is holed by a meteorite storm.

He convinces the despairing survivors to believe in his powers after ascending through the ship’s decks, carried by a pair of robotic angels. Russell T. Davies, the writer and executive producer of the revived series, said: The series lends itself to religious iconography because the Doctor is a proper saviour. He saves the world through the power of his mind and his passion.

Stephen Green, of the evangelical group Christian Voice, said: The Doctor would have to do a lot more than the usual prancing around to be a messiah. He has to save people from their sins.

But Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said: Science fiction at its best helps to illuminate eternal themes, and that’s something the Church can happily work with.

 

21st December   

Hopeless Whingers...

The Vatican rails at The Golden Compass
Link Here

Dark Materials Trilogy The Vatican has condemned the film The Golden Compass , which some have called anti-Christian, saying it promotes a cold and hopeless world without God.

In a long editorial, the Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, also slammed Philip Pullman, the bestselling author of the book on which the family fantasy movie is based.

It was the Vatican's most stinging broadside against an author and a film since it roundly condemned The Da Vinci Code in 2005 and 2006.

In Pullman's world, hope simply does not exist, because there is no salvation but only personal, individualistic capacity to control the situation and dominate events, the editorial said.

In the fantasy world created by Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials , the Church and its governing body the Magisterium, are linked to cruel experiments on children aimed at discovering the nature of sin and attempts to suppress facts that would undermine the Church's legitimacy and power.

In the film version all references to the Church have been stripped out, with director Chris Weitz keen to avoid offending religious cinema goers.

Still, some Catholic groups in the United States have called for a boycott, fearing even a diluted version of the book might draw people to read the bestselling trilogy.

 

21st December   

Coke Slite...

Russian nutters object to coke adverts featuring churches
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Russia...Offending religious beliefs or desecration of holy objects or symbols

Russian cola Prosecutors in Russia say they are studying a complaint accusing Coca-Cola of insulting Orthodox Christian beliefs in an advertising campaign.

They say the complaint was lodged by 440 residents of the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod earlier this month.

It accuses Coca-Cola of blasphemy through using adverts with images of Orthodox churches and crosses, some of which were even put upside down.

" Coca-Cola uses all these Orthodox symbols in a blasphemous way by placing images of Coca-Cola bottles inside the pictures," the complaint said: Some images are deliberately turned upside down, including the crosses .

Coca-Cola officials have defended the company's marketing approach, saying it was promoting Russia's cultural heritage.

 

15th December   

Addicted to Nonsense...

Nutter likens computer games to crack cocaine
Link Here

Tetris An opinion piece has been posted on Canada's National Post website yesterday from a Roman Catholic priest, The crack cocaine of the electronic world reads the strap line. Father Raymond J. De Souza - the author of the piece - is, of course, talking about games.

The nutter goes beyond simple criticism, however, openly agitating against free choice at this time of spending by stating: This Christmas, do the poor kids of all economic levels a favour: Don't buy them video games.

He then goes on ...assuaged my conscience with the fact that video games are not intrinsically evil. But they are close.

Apparently, the classic puzzler , Tetris, contributed to De Souza's struggles with further education. My capacity to waste time with Tetris was prodigious; how many hours were lost is unknown, he says. There was only one way out. He went cold turkey and deleted the game.

So Tetris was gone. Life improved immediately. Since that hard-disk-deleting day back in 1991" , he waxes fondly, I have never played another video game. It's too dangerous. Video games take what is most precious -- time and thought. And they are making kids fat.

Video games are like a black hole into which time disappear. Students today often confess to wasting a couple of hours a day on them. Corporate Canada likely loses whole weeks of productive work to those who are playing games at work. Video games have some kind of addictive allure that means any number of hours is not enough. It is always possible to play again -- to rise to that 'next level' which somehow acquires near-mystical importance. They are the crack cocaine of the electronic world.

 

13th December   

Update: If There's One Thing Worse than Violent Games...

It's denying kids violent games
Link Here

Morality in Media Matthew Murray, who killed four people and wounded several others during a pair of horrific church shootings over the weekend, apparently wasn’t permitted to play video games while growing up.

The Denver Post reports: A poster named nghtmrchld26, believed by police to be Murray, said he rebelled against an upbringing that forbade him from buying rock music, video games and popular DVDs.

Games Politics said: It’s always difficult to know whether to even raise this issue in the aftermath of a shooting rampage. However, since the Denver Post gives it a mention, I believe it is appropriate for discussion. And, of course, we know that certain critics will be pushing a video game connection, however tenuous, in any tragedy like this.

In the final analysis, Murray seems like a very depressed, very angry, very disturbed young man who had access to weapons.

 

12th December   

Omaha Gun Blame...

Nutters blame the depiction of guns rather than guns or killers
Link Here

Morality in Media With so many mass murders by individuals, perhaps there is a common explanation, like popular culture, says Morality in Media President Robert Peters. He comments in response to latest mass murder in Omaha:

What might be called ‘mass murder by individuals’ is, of course, not a new phenomena in human history. What is new in the United States is the regularity with which it now takes place.

Many place the primary blame on the availability of guns, and there is no doubt that guns are the weapon of choice of most individual mass murderers. But in many parts of our nation, guns have always been readily available, unaccompanied by mass murder by anyone.

Guns are also the weapon of choice in the entertainment media, which includes films, TV programs, rap lyrics and video games. A week never goes by that I don’t see at least one advertisement for a film or TV program or videogame that prominently depicts one or more individuals who are carrying, pointing or shooting one or more guns.

Use of guns in the media, of course, is not a new phenomena. In the 1950s and 1960s, guns were popular in both films and TV programs that depicted war, the Wild West, police work and a wide variety of heinous crimes, including organized crime.

Back then, however, there were standards that guided how violence was depicted in the media. For example, among the film industry Hays Code provisions was one that regulated the depiction of murder. Murder was to be presented in a way that would not inspire imitation. Brutal killings were not to be presented in detail. Revenge was not to be justified.

America also had what some call a ‘civil religion’ that taught and reinforced at all levels of society a simple commandment, ‘You shall not commit murder.’ “Today, films and other media glamorize murder and revenge and present it in the most detailed, sadistic manner possible. More often than not, media also portrays religion in a negative light.

Parents, schools, religious institutions and government have all changed over the decades, but none are saying that it is OK to kill because you have been wronged or are unhappy. Only in the entertainment media is the worst of human behavior depicted ‘non-judgmentally’ or even worse, glamorized and promoted.

There is a saying, ‘You reap what you sow,’ and the American people are reaping what the entertainment media have sowed and we have bought for more than forty years.”

 

11th December   

Red Bull Advert Pulled...

Christianity is limited to 3 wise men...ever
Link Here

Red Bull advert with 4 wise men An angry Italian priest has persuaded soft drinks company Red Bull to withdraw an advertisement setting its product in a nativity scene on the grounds it is disrespectful to Christianity.

Father Marco Damanti, from Sicily, wrote to the makers of the drink denouncing their commercial as "a blasphemous act" and said he had received a prompt reply promising to remove it from Italian television.

The advert depicted four wise men, instead of three, visiting Mary and the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The fourth wise man bore a carton of Red Bull.

The image of the sacred family has been represented in a sacrilegious way, Father Damanti told Corriere della Sera. Whatever the ironic intentions of Red Bull, the advert pokes fun at the nativity, and at Christian sensitivity.

The priest also objected to the company's slogan, "Red Bull gives you wings", said by angels in the animated advert.

 

10th December   

Worthy Recommendations...

Detroit prosecutor offers shopping list of violent games
Link Here

Grand Theft Auto 4 Detroit's top prosecutor, Kym Worthy, thinks violent video games may play a role. As reported by the Detroit News, Worthy has issued her 3rd annual list of the Top 10 Most Violent Games. Of the titles, she said:

It’s no wonder we’re seeing the crimes we’re seeing lately… Please do not buy these video games and bring them into your home. It desensitizes [children] to violent acts.

  1. Grand Theft Auto (2004-2006)
  2. Manhunt (2004, maybe 2007’s Manhunt 2)
  3. Scarface (2006)
  4. 50 Cent Bulletproof (2005)
  5. 300 (Feb, 2007)
  6. The Godfather (2006-2007)
  7. Killer-7 (2005)
  8. Resident Evil 4 (2005-2007)
  9. God of War (2005 maybe 2007’s GoW2)
  10. Hitman Blood Money (2006)

Games Politics cheekily ask that if nutters are going to recommend games then they should at least select from more up to date options.

 

8th December   

Crib Shite...

Removing the crib from Christ at Christmas
Link Here

RTE logo Ireland's state broadcaster, RTÉ, has enraged the Catholic church by axing a Christmas advertisement because of a mention of the word "crib", which was deemed to have religious undertones.

The advert was plugging a charity Christmas card for Veritas, the church's publishing arm. Under Irish broadcasting rules broadcasters must not permit advertising directed towards a religious end . An RTÉ spokesman said that an issue might arise in relation to promoting the sale of cribs and that the station could have broken the rules if it broadcast ads directed towards religious ends.

Yesterday the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference expressed concern at the axing of the ad, saying it highlighted a trend to remove Christ from Christmas.

 

7th December   

Update: Opera Encore...

Christian Voice to appeal for a blasphemy prosecution
Link Here  full story: Jerry Springer Blasphemy...Christian Voice attempt private prosecution

Jerry Springer: The opera DVD cover A High Court verdict to refuse a private prosecution for blasphemy in the case of Jerry Springer the Opera will be appealed, it was announced today.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, is seeking to prosecute Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, and Jonathan Thoday of producers Avalon, following a theatre tour of the show from January to July 2006 and its transmission on BBC2 in January 2005.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today: We must appeal this disappointing decision. The law as the Court has interpreted it now gives carte blanche to broadcasters and theatre companies to blaspheme, while the press still may not. That cannot be logical, let alone right. In effect the guts of the law against blasphemy have been torn out, and not even by Parliament, but by judicial decree. I believe the judges have wrongly interpreted

So we have one High Court judge say there was an arguable case in our favour, and now two have gone the other way. I hope and pray the House of Lords will uphold the totality of the law against blasphemy and allow the prosecution to proceed. If they do not, then a bit more common decency, courtesy and respect, which is part of what it means to be civilised, let alone British, will have been thrown away.'

 

5th December   

Update: An End to the Blasphemy Nonsense...

Judges end Christian Voice blasphemy prosecution
Link Here  full story: Jerry Springer Blasphemy...Christian Voice attempt private prosecution

Jerry Springer: The opera DVD cover Christian Voice has lost its High Court battle to prosecute the BBC's director general over the screening of Jerry Springer - The Opera , in 2005.

Christian Voice director, Stephen Green, had hoped to overturn a previous ruling which forbade him from prosecuting Mark Thompson. Green said the show "clearly crossed the blasphemy threshold".

Two judges ruled it was reasonable to conclude the play "in context" could not be considered as blasphemous. They said the production as a whole was not and could not reasonably be regarded as aimed at, or an attack on, Christianity or what Christians held sacred.

The play had been performed regularly in major theatres in London for
a period of nearly two years without any sign of it undermining
society or occasioning civil strife or unrest,
said Judge Anthony Hughes. There
had been no violence or even demonstrations.



4th December    Fear Rules...
   
Netherlands museum backs off from Mohammed mask art

Men in Mohammed masksThe Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum) in The Hague denies that it has allowed itself to be influenced by threats from Muslims. It was a voluntary choice to drop a work of art concerning the prophet Mohammed, a spokesman claims.

The museum decided last weekend to withdraw a number of items by the Iranian artist Sooreh Hera from an exhibition, because "certain sections of society found these offensive." A spokesman explained that museums have the freedom to choose for themselves what they display.

The Gemeentemuseum was to exhibit pictures of two gay men wearing masks of the Islamic prophet Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali. As museum director, I do not maintain any political criteria. I am not stopped by possible security risks. I simply found it exceptional work, director Van Krimpen said last Friday. But he changed his mind over the weekend and banned the pictures.

Muslims have threatened the museum, Hera claimed. But the museum is not willing to admit that this is the reason why they do not wish to exhibit the works. The Iranian artist is convinced that fear is behind the rejection.

The Socialist Party (SP) on the city council of The Hague wants Hera's controversial photos displayed as planned from 15 December. SP councillor Hiek van Driel has asked the city executive to discuss with Van Krimpen what security conditions must be satisfied in order for the photos to be exhibited after all.

Hera said yesterday that she is considering withdrawing all her work in protest. The decision by the Gemeentemuseum was "censorship", in her view. The only conclusion I can draw is that Allah is indeed very great in the Netherlands and that fear rules.

 

3rd December    Ailing Sensitivities...
   
Get Well Soon says Mohammed the Mole

Who's Poorly Too bookA British children's author who called one of his characters Mohammed the Mole to promote multiculturalism has renamed him Morgan so as not to offend Muslims.

Kes Gray said the case of British teacher Gillian Gibbons, who has been jailed in Sudan for allowing her class of primary school children to name a teddy bear Mohammed, had prompted him to postpone a reprint of his book, Who's Poorly Too, and change the name.

“I had no idea at all of the sensitivities of the name Mohammed until seeing this case in Sudan, Gray told The Sunday Times: As soon as I saw the news I thought, 'Oh gosh, I've got a mole called Mohammed - this is not good'.

Gray's book, which has sold 40,000 copies in Britain and overseas, also featured the characters Dipak Dalmatian and Pedro Penguin in an effort to be “inclusive”.

 

25th November    Poles Apart...
   
Pole dancing but not the naughty kind on GMTV

John Beyer

John Beyer
Uptight about tights

Tuning into GMTV yesterday, viewers were told to expect a display of the High Street's snazziest tights ahead of the Christmas party season.

Instead erotic dancers appeared once Lorraine Kelly announced a three-minute fashion feature on how to 'glam up' with this season's tights at 8.50am.

But when three models in corsets and short black skirts arrived on set with a portable pole, even the presenter seemed a little taken aback.

And gathering herself together at the end of the feature, she added hastily: This is not naughty pole-dancing, this is pole-dancing for exercise. We did not concentrate on the tights. We were too busy looking at your great moves, she said.

The usual nutters were not amused however. John Beyer, of the TV campaign group Mediawatch UK, said: It is absolutely inappropriate for pole dancing to be promoted in a show of that kind at that time of day when children could be watching. As it was an item about tights, it seems the pole dancing was completely unnecessary. I wish ITV would concentrate on producing more wholesome television.

A GMTV spokeswoman said: Pole-dancing is the latest keep fit craze and is great for upper body strength and toning so we thought it would be a fun way to illustrate these tights.

Comment: Manufactured Outrage

From Dan

However there are no mention of any complaints from viewers and it just seems yet another attempt by the Daily Mail to manufacture outrage about something on TV that not many people are bothered about by wheeling out Beyer for an outraged quote.

 

25th November    Nutter Blair...
   
Blair feared faith would brand him a 'nutter'

Sister Blair and brother BushTony Blair was reluctant to discuss his Christian faith during his time in Downing Street for fear of being seen as a 'nutter', the former Prime Minister reveals in a BBC interview.

You talk about [religion] in our system and, frankly, people do think you're a nutter, he tells the BBC One documentary, The Blair Years tonight.

Blair, an Anglican said to be interested in converting to Roman Catholicism, says that his faith is hugely important. There is no point in me denying it, I happen to have religious conviction. I don't actually think there is anything wrong in having religious conviction - on the contrary, I think it is a strength for people.

 

22nd November    Someone's Daughter...
   
US Nutters bring shame on their parents

XXX Someone's Daughter posterUS nutters, Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana (ROCK) has launched Phase II of its anti-adult entertainment campaign with the recent erection of a billboard along Interstate 65 in Southern Indiana.

The billboard, depicting "someone's daughter," according to ROCK, shows a young woman along with a blood-spattered "XXX." According to a statement on the GROUP's website, This latest image will highlight the sexual exploitation of women.

A similar billboard, without the blood-spattered slash mark across the letters "XXX," but instead featuring a set of handcuffs, which reads "Garbage in, garbage out" was placed by the GROUP in July across from signage promoting a local adult bookstore. A third sign, phase three of the GROUP's campaign, is planned for a future erection — highlighting what the GROUP sees as the harm adult entertainment businesses inflict on children.

According to the ROCK website, the GROUP is also engaged in the areas of freedom of religious expression regarding efforts to push expressions of faith out of the public arena, attacks on marriage, [the] culture of death in our society as well as secular humanism and new atheism.

 

19th November    The Art of Censorship...
   
Violence and threats work wonders

Grayson PerryBritain’s contemporary artists are fêted around the world for their willingness to shock but fear is preventing them from tackling Islamic fundamentalism.

Grayson Perry, the cross-dressing potter, Turner Prize winner and former Times columnist, said that he had consciously avoided commenting on radical Islam in his otherwise highly provocative body of work because of the threat of reprisals.

Perry also believes that many of his fellow visual artists have also ducked the issue, and one leading British gallery director told The Times that few major venues would be prepared to show potentially inflammatory works.

I’ve censored myself, Perry said at a discussion on art and politics organised by the Art Fund. The reason I haven’t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat.

Perry’s highly decorated pots can sell for more than £50,000 and often feature sex, violence and childhood motifs. One work depicted a teddy bear being born from a penis as the Virgin Mary. I’m interested in religion and I’ve made a lot of pieces about it, he said. With other targets you’ve got a better idea of who they are but Islamism is very amorphous. You don’t know what the threshold is. Even what seems an innocuous image might trigger off a really violent reaction so I just play safe all the time.

Tim Marlow, director of exhibitions at White Cube, the London gallery, welcomed Perry’s admission. It’s something that’s there but very few people have explicitly admitted. Institutions, museums and galleries are probably doing most of the censorship. I would be lying if I said of course we would show something like the Danish cartoons. I think there are genuine reasons for concern. Fundamentalism is a really complex issue and one of the things artists can do is to help us through that complexity. Whether or not it’s their responsibility to do that I’m not sure though.

 

19th November    Monks with Traits of a Crow...
   
Thai art causes protests

Monk crowsFew would have thought that a painting would have the power to shake the foundations of modern-day temple life in Thailand, a country which prides itself as the centre of Buddhism.

But before painter Anupong Chanthorn started working on his masterpiece Bhikku Sandan Ka (Monks With Traits of a Crow), he spent time seeking meaningful messages in Buddhist texts. That diligence paid off and when the painting bagged the country’s most prestigious national art award in September.

Since then, the powerful message in the painting has not only elevated the painter to the ranks of well-respected national artists, but also shocked society into an open argument on how much monks, who symbolically represent a fundamental part of Buddhism, can be criticised.

The painting shows two monks with pointed and sharp mouths resembling a crow’s beak. The monks squat facing each other on the floor with crows looking over their shoulders.

Late September, about 100 laymen and monks from two major Buddhist Universities protested in front of the Silpakorn University campus where the exhibition was held. Saying that the painting insult monks in the country, they demanded the university withdraw the award given to the painter and remove the painting from the exhibition.

Angry protesters carried Anupong’s picture decorated with wreaths and monks who joined the protest chanted a Buddhist prayer that is traditionally used at funerals. Civilians in the group later ‘cremated’ the picture.

Protest leader Satian Wibhroma from a Buddhist group called People’s Network to Protect the Nation, Religion and the Monarchy, accused the painter of insulting Thai monks as a whole. While crows in the painting represent greedy and evil spirits, amulets in the alms-bowls indicated superstitious beliefs which are against Buddhist teachings.

But painter Anupong dismissed such claims. He said while painting he intended to present certain facts of modern-day Buddhism to society. One reality was that some people became monks only to take advantage of the religion which, he said, hurt many Buddhists.

Anupong said that Buddhist texts faithfully reproduced the Buddha’s mention of different types of immoral behaviour that may afflict monks. The phrase ‘Monks with Traits of a Crow’ was among expressions he used in describing such monks. I intend to use this painting to bring back good conscience in people, he told IPS.

Public reaction to the painting was mixed. Some government officials and Buddhists said the painting, regardless of what it conveys, could hurt feelings of most Buddhists in the country. But many leading intellectuals, artists and an overwhelming number of anonymous writers in the Internet said otherwise. They defended the painting for its honest message. Some said monks should be open-minded in listening to frank criticism.

 

17th November    Contradictions...
   
Jumping on the bandwagon of telling other people what to do

A Jihad for Love bannerWestern documentary makers should think twice about making films about Islam because they do not understand the issues as well as their Muslim counterparts, a leading Muslim film-maker has said.

Parvez Sharma, whose documentary about what it means to be gay and Muslim had its European premiere at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival recently, said Western non-Muslim film makers were jumping on the "Islamic bandwagon": Post 11 September, [Islam] is suddenly very hot, and he cited the "plane-loads" of documentary makers who flew from New York to Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

For many documentary film-makers there's very little understanding of the complexities. Everyone has been jumping on the Islamic bandwagon. Very few of those films do justice [to Islam]. They suffer from a lack of comprehension. There's this need to cash in on the Islamic theme.

Sharma, whose documentary, A Jihad For Love includes emotional interviews with gay Muslims from around the world, torn between their homosexuality and their faith, said there was a "paucity" of Muslim film-makers and called on Islamic documentary producers to make their own voices heard to combat Islamaphobia. His Jihad, filmed over six years, reveals the often shocking treatment meted out to homosexuals in Islamic states such as Iran, where one of the men featured was flogged for attending a gay party, and in Egypt, where another interviewee was thrown into prison, where he was raped, then fled to France.

For Sharma, a gay Muslim from the north of India who now lives in the US, making the film was an intensely personal experience. It was very important for me as a Muslim film-maker not to deal with Islam as a problematic monolith, which is how many people in the west see Islam, he said.

 

16th November    Not Funny...
   
Glasgow Caledonian University ban muslim comics

Allah Made Me Funny bannerThe object of the internationally-acclaimed show Allah Made Me Funny: The Official Muslim Comedy Tour is to knock down stereotypes. In particular, Azeem, Azhar Usman and Preacher Moss, the three American Muslim comics who make up the show, try to demonstrate that Muslims are not, as many of us have good cause to believe, pathologically humourless.

Alas, their efforts have fallen flat in Scotland. We have just learned that Glasgow Caledonian University has banned a planned performance this month of the show.

Why? Because the university’s Muslim Students’ Association has proved pathologically humourless, and declared the show “derogatory to Islam”. The lily-livered Caledonian, fearful of another bout of Muslim rage, promptly pulled the plug on it.

A mealy-mouthed spokeswoman for Glasgow Caledonian University is reported in the Scotsman as saying: The university’s responsibility is to listen to and respect the views of all students on campus. When the Muslim Students’ Association expressed reservations about the show, it was decided the booking would not go ahead.

 

14th November    Green Garbage Recycling...
   
Stephen Green in high court to request blasphemy prosecution

Jerry Springer: The opera DVD coverStephen Green of Christian Voice is having his day in High Court. He is seeking the right to bring a private prosecution for the common law offence of blasphemous libel.

The case arises over the production and presentation of the award-winning musical Jerry Springer — The Opera at theatres around Britain from October 2003 to July 2006 and then its broadcast on BBC in January 2005. Mr Green wants to prosecute Jonathan Thoday for the production of the play and Mark Thompson, then Director-General of the BBC, for the broadcast.

He applied last year, two years after the broadcast, for a summons to bring the prosecution but was refused at the City of Westminster magistrates' court. Now he is going to the divisional court to challenge that refusal.

Blasphemous libel is the publication of any matter that insults, offends or vilifies the Deity, or Christ, or the Christian religion. It is irrelevant whether there was an intention to blaspheme - the intention to publish the material is sufficient.

But the district judge who heard the initial application held that it was arguable that the Theatres Act prohibits prosecution on the ground of blasphemy; and in any event, Green had not shown a prima facie case. However, Green then won leave from Mr Justice Underhill to seek a judicial review of the district judge’s ruling.

The case is a key test of whether the laws of blasphemy are compatible with free speech, as enshrined in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Liberty, the human rights group, has intervened in the case and will argue that free speech protects the secular, sacred and profane alike — and that people should see free speech and conscience rights as running together.

But the case will also be a fresh test of whether blasphemy should exist as a criminal offence at all. Liberty will also argue that the offence should not be recognised in English law at all — because of its lack of sufficient legal certainty as held by the Irish Supreme Court in a case in 2000. The Council of Europe also recommended in June this year that blasphemy should be decriminalised, as has the Law Commission, in a working paper in 1981 and in its final report in 1985.

The chief reason cited for abolition is that blasphemy applies only to Christianity and the Council of Europe is concerned that members of a particular religion should be neither privileged nor disadvantaged by the criminal law.

But attempts to scrap it have foundered. David Blunkett, when Home Secretary, floated the abolition of blasphemy and blasphemous libel in 2004 as part of a package of measures to include the offence of incitement to religious hatred. The idea of the repeal was to answer critics, such as Rowan Atkinson, the comedian, who argued that the new incitement law would stifle criticism of religion, cartoonists' lampoons or jokes about vicars and priests.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: No person of faith should doubt the importance of free speech to freedom of religion — we must remember that even Jesus was prosecuted for blasphemy. This law has quite rightly been a dead letter for many years and is ripe for repeal, not a mischievous private prosecution.

The proposal was welcomed at the time by the National Secular Society, which said that it had been fighting the blasphemy law for more than 100 years. But at the same time, it expressed concern that the new incitement laws may be creating a new “all religions” blasphemy law.

The balance is a fine one — but incitement to religious hatred is clearly distinct from remarks that followers of a religion find insulting, disrespectful or undermining of their beliefs.

There is a growing case that the laws of blasphemy are anachronistic, inconsistent and ripe for repeal. Religions, it is said, should be strong enough to defend themselves. What is even more unarguable is that they should not be a tool to stifle freedom of expression.


21st November  Update:  Green's Case...
   
Offensive, spiteful, systematic mockery and wilful denigration of our freedom

Jerry Springer: The opera DVD coverChristian evangelists have launched a High Court battle for the right to bring a private prosecution for blasphemy over Jerry Springer: The Opera.

The show was an offensive, spiteful, systematic mockery and wilful denigration of Christian belief, one that that no-one would dream of making about the prophet Mohammed and Islam, two judges were told.

Stephen Green, national director of the evangelical group Christian Voice, is challenging a refusal by District Judge Caroline Tubbs at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in January to issue a summons for the start of a private prosecution against the Director-General of the BBC Mark Thompson, who allowed the controversial show to be screened on BBC2. Green also wanted to issue a similar summons against the show’s producer, Jonathan Thoday, who staged it at the Cambridge Theatre in London’s West End and then in a nationwide tour.

Michael Gledhill, QC, appearing for Green, said that such prosecutions for blasphemous libel were extremely rare, occuring perhaps once a generation. He said it was not being argued that God cannot be criticised, he said. Such criticisms were commonplace in a number of plays and productions broadcast on television. Rather, he said, the complaint arose from the manner in which the criticisms were made.

Gledhill argued that the district judge had erred in law in refusing to issue the summonses as the show had clearly “crossed the blasphemy threshold”.

He argued: This is not just about protecting the rights of a section of the Christian population. It is about protecting the constitution of the nation which is built on the Christian faith.

Neither Mr Thoday nor Mr Thompson felt the least inhibition in ridiculing God, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the sacrament of the eucharist and Christian belief, Gledhill told Lord Justice Hughes and Mr Justice Collins at the High Court in London.

Through Jerry Springer: The Opera they had treated the Christian faith with contempt, reviling it by parodying Christian beliefs scurrilously and in the most ludicrous manner.

The human rights group Liberty is intervening in the case to argue that the blasphemy laws are outdated and that free speech rights must protect sacred, profane and secular language alike.

Gledhill accused District Judge Tubbs of failing properly to assess whether the elements of blasphemous libel had been made out in the case of Jerry Springer: The Opera. He argued no reasonable person, applying the correct legal test, could find that the elements of blasphemy were not present.

David Pannick, QC, for Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, said that people’s religious beliefs might be integral to British society but equally so was freedom of expression, especially in matters of social and moral importance.

The Opera won a large number of awards for exceptional artistic achievement, a recognition that this was a powerful satire on a particular type of exploitative television and not, as the claimant fails to appreciate, an attack on Christianity. He added that the target of the satire was not religious belief but the confessional talk-show genre.

Thompson, in a submission, said that the judges should refuse permission for a private prosecution for several reasons: there had been “very considerable delay” by Mr Green in making his application: the programme was broadcast in January 2005; the attempt to bring criminal proceedings was “verging on the vexatious”; and the claimant had sought at a late stage to amend his application.

The hearing continues for a 2nd day.


22nd November  Comment:  Lots of Laughs...
   
Christian Voice claim to support civil liberties

Jerry Springer: The opera DVD coverThe Daily Mail reported:

Mr Green said he was 'hugely disappointed' Liberty was seeking to use his case to challenge blasphemy laws, which he described as vital for protecting God's name.

He added: "It is a great shame that Liberty have gone down this road, and strayed away from their core activities of defending civil liberties, which we as an organisation support."

Looooooooool! Christian Voice support defending civil liberties!

Yeah they do! They want civil liberties for all...

Apart from gays.

And people who say things which upset their precious religious beliefs.

Yeah civil liberties for all say Christian Voice!

Lol!

From the Times

Meanwhile the case has now completed and the High Court reserved judgment on whether Christian evangelists could bring prosecutions against Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General, and the producer of the controversial show Jerry Springer – The Opera.

A time scale for the publication of the judgement has not yet been provided


26th November  Update:  Blasphemy is Blasphemous...
   
God doesn't need protection of human laws

Jerry Springer: The opera DVD coverReplying to questions on a BBC TV programme, Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has publicly agreed with the Christian think-tank Ekklesia that it is time for Britain's archaic blasphemy law to be abolished.

Lord Carey, who is an outspoken conservative evangelical within the Church of England, was responding to comments by Ekklesia co-director Jonathan Bartley on a discussion about blasphemy on BBC1's Sunday morning current affairs and religion programme, The Big Questions.

The ex-Archbishop protested against what he said was an increase in "offensive" material about Christianity in the public domain, including Jerry Springer - The Opera. But Lord Carey said that Christ told his followers to put away their swords and did not seek to defend faith by force.

Bartley said that a blasphemy law was itself blasphemous from a theological viewpoint, because it suggested that the transcendent God somehow needed human laws for protection.

 

12th November    The Home of Dark Censors...
   
Syrian nutters wound up by Finnish novel

Home of the Dark ButterfliesLast Sunday in the Syrian capital Damascus, Finnish novelist Leena Lander held a book signing and reading was interviewed by local television. The subject was her 1991 novel The Home of the Dark Butterflies, which was short-listed for the Finlandia Prize and has been made into a film, which premieres in January.

Excerpts of the book were published in a Syrian newspaper. That set off a chain of events that led to the cancellation of Lander's appearance in Syria's second-largest city, Aleppo.

Somebody went and complained to the religious authorities, the religious authorities complained to the mayor of the city and everybody went out against the book before even reading it, explains the book's publisher, Ziad Mouna of Cadmus Press.

It remains unclear what parts of the book worried the mufti in Aleppo. The book is about neglected children and a home for juvenile delinquents, but also includes a brief sexual relationship between a young man and an older woman.

In Syria, as elsewhere in the Arab world, books must be approved before publication by a censorship board.

When we decide to publish a book we would know it advance whether it will be accepted or rejected, says Mouna. In this book there isn't much sex, there's very, very little compared with Arabic books that are published now, it's really harmless.

Lander herself was shocked that a comment by a local mufti would cause cancellation of the rest of her visit to the country.

 

10th November  Update:  Ungrateful Nutters...
   
Campaigning to ban Playboy for US Troops

Playboy MagazineTen years after Congress banned sales of sexually explicit material on military bases, the Pentagon is under fire for continuing to sell adult fare, such as Penthouse and Playmates In Bed, that it doesn't consider explicit enough to pull from its stores.

Dozens of religious nutter and anti-pornography groups have complained to Congress and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that a Pentagon board set up to review magazines and films is allowing sales of material that Congress intended to ban.

They're saying 'we're not selling stuff that's sexually explicit' … and we say it's pornography, says Donald Wildmon, head of the American Family Association, a Christian anti-pornography group. A letter-writing campaign launched Friday by opponents of the policy aims to convince Congress to get the Pentagon to obey the law, he adds.

In an Aug. 15 letter to the groups, Leslye Arsht, a deputy undersecretary of Defense, said the Pentagon's Resale Activities Board of Review uses appropriate guidelines to review material for sale.

This year, the board reviewed Penthouse and several Playboy publications and determined that based solely on the totality of each magazine's content, they were not sexually explicit, Arsht wrote.

The Military Honor and Decency Act of 1996 bars stores on military bases from selling "sexually explicit material." It defines that as film or printed matter the dominant theme of which depicts or describes nudity or sexual activities in a lascivious way.

Challenged as a First Amendment violation, the law was upheld by a U.S. appeals court in 2002.

Defense officials don't want to take porn away from soldiers, says Patrick Trueman, a former federal prosecutor who now works with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group. They say, 'well, 40% of this magazine is sexually explicit pictures, but 60% is writing or advertising, so the totality is not sexually explicit.' That's ridiculous.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, who sponsored the law, says the military is skirting Congress' intent. He notes the material also could contribute to a hostile environment for female military personnel. If soldiers want to read that stuff, they can walk down the street and buy it somewhere else, Bartlett says. I don't want (the military) to help.

Nadine Strossen, a New York Law School professor who heads the American Civil Liberties Union, says the law effectively censors what troops get to read in remote areas or combat zones. We're asking these people to risk their lives to defend our Constitution's principles … and they're being denied their own First Amendment rights to choose what they read, she said.

 

9th November    The Female Salman Rushdie...
   
Racy book causes 'outrage' in Turkey

The Turkish Diplomat's DaughterAn explicit novel by Selin Tamtekin has caused 'outrage' in Turkey after the British publication of her debut novel. The Turkish Diplomat’s Daughter is a racy roman à clef, chronicling sexual affairs with a Bangladeshi landlord, a sailor and a Freddie Mercury-obsessed fantasist.

When Turkish newspapers got hold of the book, Tamtekin admitted her identity (it is written under the pseudonym Deniz Goran) and was so roundly pilloried that worried friends dubbed her “the female Salman Rushdie”. Splashed on the front pages of at least four national newspapers, she was derided as a “high-class Mayfair prostitute” who was writing about her own thinly veiled sexual experiences. The media were astonished that not only a Turkish woman but one from the highest echelons of society had written so frankly about her sexuality.

A public witch-hunt went on to name and shame members of the Turkish elite whose sexual peccadilloes were supposedly outlined by the novel. Tamtekin went into hiding for three weeks, horrified by the uproar.

Despite the title, she insists that the novel is not about her experiences: It’s not an autobiography, although there are people and situations in it that have inspired me. In society, women are expected to play the game according to the rules. Well, I wanted to create a character who does as she pleases. It’s not common for women in Turkey to be so overtly sexual, admits Tamtekin.

Although she concedes she has not received death threats, the examples of not only Rushdie, but also Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker murdered for Submission, his transgressive film about women and sex in Islamic society, are a reminder that artistic expression as social critique is not easily accepted in some Muslim countries, even the secular ones.

Tamtekin is unbowed and is furious about the hypocrisy. It’s not as if no one has sex in Turkey. Of course women have sexually active lives, but they always make sure that no one hears about them. Women aren’t able to stand out as individuals and talk openly about sex or fancying men, she says.

Turkey might pride itself on its secularity, but it seems as if the notion of a sexually active woman is as utterly taboo there as it is in far more fundamentalist Muslim countries.

 

8th November    No Escort Ads in New York...
   
Nutters get adverts removed from magazines

Escorts ads in newspaperNew York magazine agreed to stop accepting sex ads after the nutters of the National Organization for Women threatened protests outside the popular weekly publication.

The women's rights group had accused New York of being a "marketing arm of the organized crime world of prostitution and human trafficking" because of classified ads at the back of the magazine with such tag lines as "Asians Gone Wild" and "Asian Dreamgirls."

Sonia Ossorio, president of the local NOW chapter, said she was "delighted" by the magazine's decision.

The chapter has been asking other local media to stop taking the ads and said it has won agreements to do so from 14 other publications including Time Out New York and New York Press.

 

7th November    Dumb Led Bores...
   
Christians call for ban on Harry Potter over gay remark

Harry potter bookRoberta Combs, president of the 2.5 million strong Christian Coalition of America, said she was disappointed that the Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, chose to label Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as gay.

It's not a good example for our children, who really like the books and the movies. I think it encourages homosexuality, said Combs, who has called for a ban on the seven-book series.

I would never allow my own children or grandchildren to read the books or watch the movies, and other parents should do so too, she added, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Earlier this month at a book tour stop in New York City, Rowling was asked: Did Dumbledore, who believed in the prevailing power of love, ever fall in love himself?

In response, the British author said, My truthful answer to you... I always thought of Dumbledore as gay.

 

6th November    Emotional Maltreatment...
   
Beyer knows best about healthy viewing

John Beyer

John Beyer
Suffering from
emotional maltreatment

In a letter to the Sunday Express Beyer more or less says that we shouldn't be allowed to decide for ourselves what we watch and rather be told what is and is not healthy for us to watch.

From John Beyer

Nothing artistic in film violence

Clare Heal (Sunday Express, 28/10/2007, page 71) asks if we are adult enough to decide what to watch for ourselves. This is the wrong question. The fact is that what we watch at the cinema or on TV is determined by those who make films and programmes and by those who control public access to them. The public can only choose from what they make available.

It is easy to suggest that people vote with their feet and wallets but again this is the wrong emphasis. We all ought to be asking what impact violence on the screen has on our society? We all know of the very serious crisis of violent crime with shootings and knifings becoming almost a daily occurrence. It would be unreasonable and irrational to suppose that the violence portrayed on our screens has no socially adverse influence whatsoever. The truth is that violence is easy for people to understand and is a lazy option for film and programme makers who cannot be bothered with discretion or inventiveness.

Nearly three years ago it was proposed by academics that a public health approach be adopted to violence in entertainment so that those caught up in the culture of knives and guns could be rescued from this emotional maltreatment. To reduce the question to one of personal taste patently fails to do this global problem justice.

As the latest "slasher" movie, Saw IV, enjoys box office success in America, how many more people must be shot or stabbed before the entertainment industry accepts some responsibility for glamorising and celebrating such actions in their productions on the basis that they alone say it is "artistically justified"?


Comment: Emotional Crap

From Dan

"The fact is that what we watch at the cinema or on TV is determined by those who make films and programmes and by those who control public access to them. The public can only choose from what they make available."

So is Beyer saying that there is nothing available to the public at the cinema and on TV than violence? If people do not wish to watch violence they can choose films and TV programmes which have no violence in them.

Beyer talks about choice but he does not want people to be able to choose to watch films and TV programmes which he disapproves of and believes are not healthy for people to watch.

"It is easy to suggest that people vote with their feet and wallets but again this is the wrong emphasis."

So the emphasis should not on people making the choice over what they do and do not watch but on what they should and should not be ALLOWED to watch. That would be totally the wrong emphasis.

"As the latest "slasher" movie, Saw IV, enjoys box office success in America, how many more people must be shot or stabbed before the entertainment industry accepts some responsibility for glamorising and celebrating such actions in their productions on the basis that they alone say it is "artistically justified"?

This is the kind of emotional crap from people like John Beyer that adds nothing to the argument. How many more people must be shot or stabbed before the entertainments industry takes responsibility for people being shot and stabbed is what he's actually asking.

Beyer wants the entire entertainments industry to hold it's hands up and say it's "our fault" for violence on our streets and for people (mainly children) being shot and stabbed. But they are never ever going to and nor should they ever do!

It's always been obvious that both John Beyer and Mediawatch UK believe we aren't adult enough to decide for ourselves what we watch and we need an all powerful regulator (preferably run by the government) to decide for us in order to stop us being "corrupted" by on screen violence and sex. This letter confirms this!

 

4th November    Either a Sicko or Evil...
   
New Zealand Catholic Church whinges at Californication

Californication advertCalifornication has been branded "evil" by New Zealand's Catholic Church.

The TV show caused nutter 'outrage' in Australia when it went to air in August, with a Catholic priest holding a candlelight vigil outside the Sydney offices of Channel Ten and major advertisers boycotting the show.

It's crass, it's desecration, it's seriously sick and actually evil, New Zealand national director of communications Lyndsay Freer told Sunday News. "I think it's going to seriously offend the religious sensibilities of many, many people. It's not just the Catholic Church, but people of other faiths all people's faith should be treated with respect.

Freer added: Sometimes context can justify certain things but in this case (Moody's dream of sex with the nun scene) that is really complete desecration and a person (Moody) who acts in such a contemptible way towards people's deeply-held religious faiths is either a sicko or evil.

Bishop of Auckland Patrick Dunn said he was reluctant to draw attention to Californication but felt Christianity was increasingly becoming fodder for controversial TV shows.

TV3 is confident there is a market in New Zealand for Californication. TV3 has a reputation for being edgy and pushing the boundaries a little, said director of marketing and communications, Roger Beaumont: We certainly will be responsible, with warnings on this show to flag it to people who may be offended by it. If they still choose to watch it, they do so by their own choice.

Californication screens on TV3, Thursdays at 9.30pm.

Update: Nutters Boycott

11th November 2007

The nutters of Family First called for families to boycott companies advertising during TV3’s first episode of Californication.

Family First will be publishing the names of companies who advertise during the programme and asking families to boycott these companies and go to their competitors. A number of other family groups have also expressed their support for the boycott.

Family First will also contact the companies directly, informing them of the boycott.


13th November    Californication Scandal...
   
New Zealand Ministry gets into bed with nutters

Californication advertThe Ministry of Economic Development is the latest in a series of advertisers to withdraw from controversial new TV3 show Californication.

The series premiered last week amid calls from the nutters of Family First for a boycott on all companies who advertised during the show.

The ministry's Buy NZ Made campaign featured during the screening.

Ministry of Economic Development chief executive Geoff Dangerfield said the ministry had not been informed of the nature of the programme, or its AO rating, prior to screening: Our media booking schedule, prepared on 16 October, showed a booking with TV3 for a comedy programme at this time. The ministry has taken steps to ensure that it will not advertise in future during this programme and we have reinforced with our media buying agency our requirement to avoid advertising on programmes of this nature.

Burger King, CRC, Finish Dishwashing Liquid, Cadbury, Flight Centre and Ferrit have all withdrawn advertising from the show's 9.30pm timeslot.

Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ, said if companies were concerned about declining moral standards they should not be associated with the show.

TV3 marketing and communications director Roger Beaumont told NZPA after the show screened on Thursday night about 10 people had called the following day, most of whom "weren't in favour" of the show. He said he was comfortable with the time slot and the detailed censor's warning which screened: We think we were very responsible with the very explicit warning which was on the front of the show. People would have watched it of their own free choice.

Update: Viewers Hardly 'Outraged'

16th November 2007

Only a small number of viewers actually complained to TV3 about the first episode

 

4th November    Dreaming of Subjugating the World to the Catholic Faith...
   
Whinging about Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Elizabeth: The Golden Age bookA Vatican-backed historian has attacked the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age as a distorted anti-papal travesty that risks dividing the West just when it should be rediscovering its common Christian roots in the face of Islam.

Writing in Avvenire, the official organ of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Franco Cardini said that the film formed part of a concerted attack on Catholicism by atheists and apocalyptic Christians. Professor Cardini said that its aim was to secularise and de-Christianise Europe.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age was widely praised at the Rome Film Festival last month, with critics describing Cate Blanchett’s performance as magnificent.

Professor Cardini said a film which so profoundly and perversely falsifies history cannot be judged a good film. The Virgin Queen was portrayed as an able politician and courageous sovereign while King Philip II of Spain was shown as a ferocious, fanatical Catholic, swinging his rosary like a weapon and roaming the Escorial Palace like a madman, full of impotent fury, dreaming of subjugating the world to the Catholic faith.

The Queen had also exterminated the Catholics of Scotland and Ireland, and had Mary Queen of Scots, her own cousin, executed in 1587. Cardini said: Why put out this perverse anti-Catholic propaganda today, just at the moment when we are trying desperately to revive our Western identity in the face of the Islamic threat, presumed or real?

Update: Queen of India

8th November 2007

The Catholic Secular Forum of India has now sent a memorandum to Censor Board chief Sharmila Tagore and I&B minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi asking for a preview before the film’s release. We want a representative from the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) to be placed on a panel viewing this film, and to have a say in censoring objectionable scenes


27th November  Update:  An Interpretation of History...
   
Indian censors add disclaimer to Elizabeth

Elizabeth: The Golden Age bookShekhar Kapur’s film Elizabeth: The Golden Age has gone the way of Da Vinci Code. Despite protests from the Catholic Church, it will be released in India on Friday without any cuts, but with a ‘disclaimer’.

Church leaders grudgingly agreed to the release with a disclaimer that the movie with an ‘Adult’ certification was an interpretation of history, which is subject to diverse views.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) secretary general Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes had shot off a letter to Central Censor Board of India chairperson Sharmila Tagore seeking deletion of parts they found objectionable.

We had also demanded a disclaimer like in the case of Da Vinci Code that the film is based on fiction, said CBCI spokesperson Father Babu Joseph. He reiterated the charge that the film portrayed the Pope, bishops and the Catholic Church in a poor light….like perpetrators of all kinds of crime. Father Joseph said interpretation of history can be done in several way…this is not certainly THE history.

The Catholic Church also feels that the film is blatantly pro-Protestant and that it would further accentuate the Catholic-Protestant divide.

The Church is not happy with the ‘disclaimer’ though. The disclaimer is a joke. What is the use of a disclaimer after showing all that is objectionable? The ideal thing is not produce such films, said Joseph Dias of the Catholic Secular Forum.

 

4th November    Sinister Christian Groups...
   
Wound up by filming of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass

Dark Materials TrilogyNutters are easily wound up by Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, in which God is an imposter, angels are sexually ambiguous and the Church kidnaps, tortures and assassinates to achieve its goals, one of which is stealing children's souls.

But try as the filmmakers might to take religion out of the equation in the first instalment, The Golden Compass, due December 7, Christian groups are gearing up to protest and fans are urging New Line not to water down the provocative material in remaining films.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights  accuses the film of selling atheism to kids and has produced its own booklet in response, The Golden Compass: Agenda Unmasked, which it's been distributing to churches and other Christian groups.

The evangelical-activist group Focus on the Family, which plans to release a statement about the film early next week, says it's in agreement with nutter leaders and organizations on the issue. Adam Holz, associate editor of Focus on the Family's Plugged In magazine, told MTV News he fears the movie would plant seeds to ultimately encourage some fans to reject God.

Ironically, this debate was exactly what New Line was trying to avoid by softening the religious references in The Golden Compass. The revisionist Church is simply referred to as the "Magisterium," because the focus is the power of the agency, not the agency itself.

Religion is at its best when it's far from power, author Philip Pullman said during his Times Talks appearance Tuesday. When a religion gains power, it goes bad.

The Church is a symbol of oppression in the books, HisDarkMaterials.org webmaster Ryan den Rooijen said, and they've retained that essence. Even if they don't name it as the Church, it's not a terrible loss. The story is still retained.

This is the least offensive of the three, and they're watering down the most despicable elements, so why the protest? Not because it's going to be so shocking, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said. The protest is this: It's being done at Christmastime, and when parents don't find the film troubling, they're going to buy the books for their kids as Christmas gifts. They're doing it through the back door, in a stealth fashion, because each book becomes more provocative, more aggressive and more anti-Christian. I've never seen anything quite like this before, to use a movie like this.

 

1st November    In the Lap of Nutters...
   
Britney Spears winds up the Catholic League

Blackout artBritney Spears has caused outrage within the Catholic community after posing for racy photos for the artwork on her latest album.

The pictures, shot by famed erotic photographer Ellen von Unwerth, depict the singer posing seductively in the lap of a handsome young priest and appear on her new album Blackout.

But Catholic leaders have branded the images a bottom of the barrel stunt.

Bill Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic League, tells the New York Daily News, This is all the puzzle pieces coming together. This girl is crashing. She's not even allowed to bring up her own kids because she's not responsible enough. Now we see she can't even entertain.

 

1st November    Deviant Censorial Tendencies...
   
Beyer extrapolates extreme porn 'research' to BBC's Fanny Hill

John Beyer

John Beyer
Deviant censorial tendencies

John Beyer has called on the Government to revoke all licenses to pornographic TV channels.

The director of Mediawatch-UK, has written to television regulator Ofcom after biased Government research concluded that exposure to extreme pornography [never shown on UK satellite anyway] could lead to people developing deviant sexual tendencies and committing sexual offences.

In a letter to the chairman of Ofcom’s Content Board, Beyer wrote: Ofcom has certain statutory obligations to protect members of the public from harmful material, as set out in by Parliament in the Communications Act 2003.

Failure to respond to the new evidence of harm could put Ofcom in breach of the law if it fails to take proportionate action to remove pornographic material from the airwaves.”


The extremely poor research was published in a document produced by the Ministry of Justice entitled The evidence of harm to adults relating to exposure to extreme pornographic material: a rapid evidence assessment.

Beyer added: In line with other recent warnings over swearing and violence before the watershed, it would be consistent if Ofcom issued a warning over harmful pornographic content, such as Fanny Hill on BBC4, The Secret Diary of a Call Girl on ITV2 and Californication on Five.

 

30th October    Beyer Recommends...
   
The Palace

John Beyer

Beyer Recommends:
The Palace

John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk described the drama, The Palace, as a tawdry and offensive affair.

People are bound to draw parallels between the characters in this programme and existing members of the Royal Family and I think there is a real danger a programme like this can undermine support for the family. I don't think the public want a drama which casts aspersions on the Royal Family in this way. People have a great deal of affection for the Queen in particular, and any drama that intimates, rightly or wrongly, that it knows what is going on behind the scenes is going to cause offence".

The Palace is about two young princes knock back tequilas in a West End nightclub. The elder will one day be king while his brother revels in his image as a playboy. Both have had to endure the loss of a parent. It may sound familiar, but it is in fact the plot of a new "fictitious" television drama.

Tom Greaves, the creator and writer of the ITV show, last night denied that The Palace was based on actual events or people.

The series will be broadcast in January 2008.

 

28th October    Stereotypical Britz...
   
Reinforcing negative stereotypes of being easily offended

British Muslim Forum bannerA Channel 4 drama, which depicts a second-generation British Muslim woman as a suicide bomber, was condemned last night by the British Muslim Forum.

Khurshid Ahmed, the chairman of the forum, called on Channel 4 not to air the film, Britz, which is due to be shown in two parts on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Britz tells the story of a brother and sister, Sohail and Nasima, as they are pulled in different directions by their conflicting personal experiences in post-9/11 Britain. Sohail, a law student, signs up with MI5. His sister, a medical student, becomes Britain's first female suicide bomber. The film's award-winning director is Peter Kosminsky.

Khurshid Ahmed said last night: Channel 4 should be working with us to defeat terrorism and extremism, not sowing hate and division in our communities, and reinforcing negative stereotypes.

The Home Office has viewed the film. A government spokesman said: Having seen extracts from the film and heard Mr Kosminsky's comments, we can understand the British Muslim Forum's concerns. Given Channel 4's remit as a public service broadcaster, they should listen to the views of moderate Muslims who reject violence and extremism, and they should air those views alongside this film.

Comment: Control Orders

Actually the Home Office antipathy may be more to do with the director's criticism of Control Orders:

See Henry Porter in the Guardian see full article:

Pre-trial detention is the greatest possible offence to the rule of law, whatever the threat we face from terrorists, which I do not in anyway underestimate. Peter Kosminsky, the director of two interesting films called Britz, to be shown on Channel 4 next Wednesday and Thursday, explores the issues of control orders and pre-trial detention with the unwavering conviction that they act as stimulants to terrorist recruitment rather than making us more secure.


29th October  Comment:  Talking of Britz...
   
Challenging the stereotype of being quick to condemn

British Muslim Forum bannerEmail to the British Muslim Forum

I wish to comment on your views on the Channel 4 programme Britz.

Despite the fact that this programme has not even been shown yet you condemn it and accuse of it of reinforcing negative stereotypes and showing hate and division in Muslim communities.

I wonder if you have been given access to a pre broadcast screening or whether you are passing judgement on the programme before you've even seen it.

In your eagerness to be offended and call for the programme not to be shown (thus calling for viewers to be denied the freedom to see the programme and judge it for themselves) you've clearly not bothered to find out what it's about and to find out the issues it tackles.

Therefore you've missed the fact that the programme takes on many of the issues which cause so many Muslims grievances and which sow the seeds for terrorism and extremism in the first place.

You have missed the fact the fact that the programme questions whether the unjust laws brought in by our government in the name of the "war on terror" are actually doing anything to fight extremism and terrorism or if they are fanning the flames of resentment and a sense of injustice which leads to young Muslims feeling alienated.

In your rush to condemn and be seen to be offended your views on Britz come across as ill-informed.

I doubt whether you have seen the programme at all otherwise you would not be attacking it. So when it's shown perhaps you should watch it and then maybe you will be in a far better position to pass judgement.

 

26th October    Sensitive to Buddhist Sensitivities...
   
Doo Phra painting banned in Thailand

Doo Phra paintingA painting by an award-winning student artist is the latest to be withdrawn from a high-profile exhibition because it was deemed to be insulting to monks.

Doo Phra (watch amulet or watch monk) depicts monks in a crowd watching a Buddha amulet, a practise deemed improper for Buddhist monks.

Withit Sembutr's painting was withdrawn from the Young Thai Artist Award exhibition because of the on-going controversy over Bhikku sandarn kar, another painting that was banned under similar circumstances last month.

The organisers told me they decided not to exhibit my painting because of the on-going controversy, the Silapakorn University third-year student told The Nation: The organisers said they are a private company, not a state organisation, and are not brave enough to exhibit works containing such sensitive and controversial messages.

 

6th October   Update: Award for Resistance to Nutters...
 


Resistance: Fall of Man game
Manchester Cathedral whinges at Bafta award for computer game

Based on an article from the Times

The Church of England has condemned as a "disgrace" the nomination for a Bafta for the shoot-to-kill computer game set in one of its cathedrals.

The Dean of Manchester, the Very Rev Rogers Govender, called for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to withdraw the game, Resistance: Fall of Man, from the nominations.

The controversial game has been nominated for the Bafta sponsor's PC World Gamers' Award - the only publicly voted award in this year's ceremony. That the game is in the nominations at all has still provoked nutter outrage at Manchester Cathedral.

Dean Govender said today: Bafta should not be seen condoning such behaviour unless they are saying it is acceptable for producers to walk into historic buildings and film interiors, ignoring contracts, rights and liability.

We asked Sony to sign up to some digital guidelines, asking them to respect our sacred places of prayer, asking them to get permission from those who are responsible for our historic buildings and to not assume that interiors are copyright free. I can reveal today that Sony’s response was very limited and as such other churches, cathedrals and historic buildings may be at risk of exploitation.


He pleaded with Bafta to "send a signal" to the industry and to Sony and withdraw Resistance: Fall of Man from the nominations.

Update: Salt in the Wounds

8th October

From the Guardian

A church official said: We had to resort to legal advice to get Sony to a meeting and the row ... helped sales. The game has been nominated because of how well it's done in the charts. This nomination is like rubbing salt in the wounds.


25th October  Update:  Forgiving Sony their Trespasses...
   
Besides, the publicity helped the cathedral

Resistance: Fall of Man gameNutters at Manchester Cathedral have "forgiven" Sony for not asking permission to use images of the building in a violent video game.

Sony's PlayStation game Resistance: Fall of Man, uses the historic church as a backdrop to a violent gunfight.

The game was nominated, but failed, to win an award at the British Academy Video Games Awards on Tuesday evening.

After it was announced that the game had not won an award, the Dean of Manchester Cathedral, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender said: I think some important lessons have been learnt. So we do forgive Sony for what they have done, even though they still believe they have done nothing wrong. In an industry that is breaking new frontiers, it is important that long held traditions of film and television are maintained. These traditions include having courtesy, respecting the dignity of your subject, and admitting when mistakes have been made. In so many ways Sony have failed to live up to these standards by disrespecting people of faith and the victims of gun crime here in Manchester.

He said however due to the row over the video game the cathedral had seen an increase in visits from young people and tourists.

 

24th October    Religious Nonsense...
   
Thailand considers blasphemy law

Book burning: Satanic VersesThe National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will today consider a bill that will introduce harsh punishments for various forms of offences against Buddhism, including sexual affairs with monks, novices and nuns.

The bill was proposed by a group of 179 NLA members, some of whom tried in vain to promote Buddhism as the national religion in the 2007 Constitution.

They reasoned that although Buddhism is the religion of most Thai people, there has been no law to protect and promote the religion seriously and cover Buddhist people in general.

The bill sets a jail term of 10-25 years and/or a fine of 500,000-1,000,000 baht for insulting, offending, imitating and distorting Buddhism and the Lord Buddha and a jail term of 5-10 years and/or a fine of 100,000-500,000 baht for damaging Buddhist objects, personnel and places. People who have any form of sexual affair with monks, novices and nuns are liable to five to 10 years in jail and/or a fine of 100,000-500,000 baht. However, the bill does not include any punishments for monks, novices and nuns who engage in sexual relations.

 

22nd October    Increasingly Lax and Ineffective...
   
Beyer Recommends: Eastern Promises

Eastern Promises posterJohn Beyer, of Mediawatch-UK, said the board should be sacked for failing to show leadership at a time when street violence is spiralling.

The BBFC has become increasingly lax and ineffective and is completely out of touch with public opinion, he told the Mail.

It needs to be replaced with another body which will show more responsibility on the issue of violence.

Despite the latest statistics in gun and knife crime showing that the problems of violence are at an all-time high, the BBFC refuses to take action.


This culture of violence that the BBFC has engendered has got to come to an end.

There is no question that the BBFC has set about changing and lowering standards over time with more violence and sexual content being put out for an ever younger audience.


He claimed that in the past three years board members had become a law unto themselves.

Update: People Imitating What they See on Screen

More worryingly, if correct then we will be subject to another generation of nutters imitating Beyer

3rd November

Speaking to the Kentish Express this week, John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk, attacked the BBFC for allowing the release of Eastern Promises

Beyer said: We have always campaigned on issues of taste and decency, and we've always expressed concern about violence, sexual conduct and abusive language on screen, and their impact on society. This film is the latest in a long line of very violent films that the BBFC have classified and the special effects are very realistic. There are so many more gun crimes and knife crimes today. Such a situation has never existed before, and I think part of the problem is people imitating what they see on screen.

 

15th October    Promotion of Homophobic Standards...
   
New Zealand nutters spout unacceptable bollox

Bill HastingsNew Zealand's chief censor Bill Hastings is again under fire from nutters who say his decisions are seriously clouded by a 'gay agenda' and years of watching porn.

The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards' executive director David Lane believes all hard-core pornography should be banned under New Zealand's censorship laws which guard against 'degrading, dehumanising or demeaning' content.

[Hastings] makes it very clear that being gay is a very significant part of his being, of how he addresses and perceives the world, Lane told this weekend's NZ Herald Canvass magazine.

Clearly, this does influence the way he assesses what's in the public good… When it comes to watching videos with scene of gay sex, he would have to be looking at that in perhaps a different way to a person who holds to a heterosexual understanding of marriage or fidelity to their spouse, concluded Lane.

In response, Hastings points out that banning everything with explicit content is against the principle of freedom of expression, which is a foundation of democracy: I'm not a moral guardian. I just apply the law… I couldn't do my job if I was on some pro-gay crusade. Those claims are always based on really hurtful stereotypes, which are totally ridiculous and false.

 

15th October    Nutter Man vs GI Jonny...
   
Nutters whinge at safe sex viral video

Gi Jonny Website imageParent and media nutter groups have branded a BBC HIV awareness video disgusting and degrading.

The video, created by BBC Learning with the help of sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, is part of an interactive online campaign aimed at 16-to-24 year olds.

The video, starring action heroes GI Jonny and Captain Bareback, features explicit references to sexual acts, along with the need for safe sex.

Mediawatch-UK spokesman David Turtle told Metro the video degraded women and encouraged casual sex: There is no hint of a loving relationship in this film. It is highly irresponsible of the BBC.

National Parent Teachers Association Margaret Morrissey said the video was a waste of money: I think the BBC needs to have a long hard look at itself if it thinks this is the best education it can provide for our teenagers with licence payers' money..

Terrence Higgins Trust spokeswoman Genevieve Clark told Metro: It's clear that we need new ways of getting those safer sex messages out to young people and we know that light-hearted virals like this can be really effective at getting more serious messages across.

 

12th October    In the Name of God...
   
Winding up the nutters in Pakistan

In the Name of GodHit movies in Pakistan follow the tried and tested Bollywood recipe of glittering saris, extravagant song-and-dance routines and exotic locations, but a new film has broken the mould. Director Shoaib Mansoor has replaced the typical love stories with warring families, in a harrowing tale of terrorism, racism and the battle for Islam that has proved so controversial there were fears suicide bombers would attack the premiere.

In the Name of God has sparked fury among hardline clerics with its moderate interpretation of Islam and its spirited criticism of the atrocities committed under the guise of religion.

Abdul Rashid Ghazi, cleric of the Red Mosque, the site of a recent bloody siege, slammed the movie as blasphemous. Meanwhile a lawyer demanded the high court ban the film, branding it a conspiracy to disturb law and order in Pakistan.

Yet despite their objections, the film has electrified audiences in Pakistan and has been called the most important cinematic event in memory. Theatres in many of the country's cities have been sold out for four weeks and debates about the film's subject matter have been raging across websites and blogs for months.

Filmgoers in the UK will be able to see what the fuss is about when it is released in early November.

 

11th October    Nutters Wearing White Ribbons...
   
Whinging that porn is no longer seen as a moral problem

White RibbonThe nutters of Morality in Media (MIM) are sponsoring their annual White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week from 28th October to 4th November.

They are calling on nutters to support yearlong efforts to “fight back” against the supposed threat of pornography. My challenge is this: Please participate in some way in this year’s WRAP Week and consider what you and your organization can do to oppose pornography between now and Nov. 2008, Morality in Media President Robert Peters said: Frankly, I don’t know if our worthy cause can survive another eight-10 years with no enforcement of federal obscenity laws. I say this because a disturbingly larger number of our nation’s youth and young adults are viewing pornography, and they don’t even see this as a moral problem.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of WRAP. Participants are encouraged to wear white ribbons as a symbol of being holier than thou and advocacy of the enforcement of federal obscenity laws, which the organization believes need to be more strictly enforced.

Numerous other nutter groups join forces with MIM to campaign against the “devastating effects” of pornography on the moral fiber of the society. Advocates are prompted to organize rallies and petition drives. Spreading the word through churches and clergy, as well as contacting local, state and federal politicians is encouraged, according to the organization. The groups endorse also sending letters of complaint to business and media companies that promote or distribute pornography and adult-oriented products.

 

8th October

  Phantom Crescent...

 


Nigeria flagSatire on use of Sharia law in Nigeria banned

An Islamic court in northern Nigeria has banned a play written by a civil rights activist which satirises the implementation of Sharia law in 12 mainly Muslim states.

The upper Sharia court in the northern city of Kaduna issued an order restraining Shehu Sani from selling or circulating his play, Phantom Crescent.

The order, which also bans performances of the play, was issued October 3 in response to a motion filed by Concerned Sharia Forum, a pro-Sharia group.

I have received the court order which we will comply with but which we will challenge legally, Sani told AFP.

The play is a satire depicting how politicians, especially governors of the states implementing the Islamic Sharia legal system, use it as a tool for looting the public treasury with impunity and for stifling opposition, Sani said.

The stage performance of the play slated for October 23 has been put off pending the lifting of the ban, Sani added.

The court has set a hearing for Tuesday.


October  Update:  Phantom Reappears...
   
Nigeria Sharia satire unbanned

Nigeria flagAn Islamic court in Nigeria Monday lifted a ban it placed on a play written by a civil rights activist which satirizes the implementation of Sharia law in 12 mainly muslim states, lawyers said.

Mustapha Umar, a judge of the upper Sharia court in the northern city of Kaduna, ruled that his court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed by Concerned Sharia Forum, a pro-Sharia group.

Umar had on October 3 issued a motion restraining playwright and activist Shehu Sani from selling or circulating his play, Phantom Crescent and banning performances of the play.

The court has thrown out the case on the grounds that it lacks jurisdiction and with this ruling the earlier orders given by the court have no legality henceforth, defence lawyer Muhammad Sanusi told AFP.

The play is a satire depicting how politicians, especially governors of the states implementing the islamic Sharia legal system, use it as a tool for looting the public treasury and for stifling opposition, Sani said

We have started preparations to appeal the upper Sharia court ruling before the Kaduna state high court because we believe circulating the book and staging its performances has the potential of causing a sectarian rift, not only in Kaduna but in many parts of the north, counsel to the plaintiff, Aliyu Ahmad Sharif, said.

 

6th October

  Sad Nutters...

 


A series of Unfortunate Events Book 1Nutters want sad children's books burnt

Children's books that don't have happy endings should be banned, it was claimed yesterday.

Youngsters are already exposed to enough misery in their lives and should be protected from such stories, says a parents' group.

The Happy Ending Foundation is planning a series of Bad Book Bonfires for later this month, when parents will be encouraged to burn novels with negative endings.

The foundation has also written to school librarians across the country to coincide with Children's Book Week, which began on Monday, urging them to take 'controversial' books off shelves.

Among the stories on the foundation's blacklist are best-sellers such as A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and Marcus Pfister's Milo and the Magical Stones.

Adrienne Small founded the organisation when her ten-year-old daughter became depressed and withdrawn after reading the first book in the Lemony Snicket series.

She said: I talked to other mothers and friends and we decided to do something positive with books that were more upbeat. I'm not trying to say the world should be viewed with rose-tinted glasses but you have got to do your best to protect your children.

Small founded the organisation in 2000 and there are now 11 groups across the country, including London, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow.

But children's charity Kidscape condemned a campaign which would lead to young people missing out on the magic of literature.

Award-winning children's author Kevin Brooks, whose books have a reputation for emotional rollercoasters and disturbing cliffhangers, said the proposed burnings were reminiscent of the Nazi regime: Controversy and bad stuff is everywhere. It is far better to find out about it in books where it is written with some feeling and poetry and power.

Comment: Hoax

I think the book burning thing might be a hoax - not sure though.

 

6th October   Ann Widdy Gone...
 


Ann WiddecombeAnn Widdecombe promises retirement maybe

From the Independent

Parliament will never be the same again. Ann Widdecombe, the fiery, one-woman campaign bandwagon, is among the MPs who are preparing for retirement at the next general election.

However, like Mark Twain, talk of her political demise is premature. She told friends at a private party at the Commons to mark her 60th birthday that if Gordon Brown called a general election next week, she would carry on for one more term.

The Conservative MP for Maidstone, who has become a household name for her outspoken views, her appearance on ITV's Celebrity Fit Club, her series of five sex-free novels and her website, the Widdy Web, is ready to retire to Dartmoor where she plans to spend her time writing and walking her dogs.

She has never been afraid to cross swords with party leaders or fight for causes in which she passionately believes. A committed Christian who converted to Catholicism, she made her mark in the Commons with a powerful speech opposing abortion. She also appalled some Tory MPs by supporting the Government's campaign to ban fox-hunting. But, she says one of the strongest memories of her political life was securing the release of a constituent from a Moroccan prison. She recalled: It all seemed a completely hopeless case but, by going out to Rabat and badgering various Moroccan ministers, I was able to secure his release.

From the Telegraph

There are so many stories about Ann Widdecombe, but my favourite was when she literally hit the ground running in her constituency armed with a pamphlet she had written on religion. Unfortunately, her driver sped off with her pamphlets still on the back seat. Widders gave chase bellowing into a megaphone: Stop, stop, I have lost my Christian principles.

From The Melon Farmers Hall of Shame

A former Conservative Home Office minister and long-standing opponent of screen violence quoted; I feel strongly about the feebleness of the censorship in this country.

Also known for targeting a family planning clinic that gave advice to youngsters under the age of consent as it undermines the role of parents. I have always made it clear that saying No is what we should be teaching young people. Unrealistic or what?

On the subject of the explicit mainstream film Nine Songs: It seems to me that the British Board of Film Classification has thwarted the will of Parliament and disregarded its own guidelines. It is not the board's role to allow pornography to enter the mainstream. This is something that David Blunkett should take a look at.

 

6th October   Addicted to Nonsense...
 


National Porn Sunday logoNational Porn Sunday when nutters will confront their addictions

Perhaps we should all celebrate National Porn Sunday. Give church a miss, enjoy life, have a lie-in and pop a good porno into the DVD.

Based on an article from Local 12 see full article

National Porn Sunday is bringing a discussion about sex to US churches this weekend. It's part of a national effort to help millions of christians with a supposed addiction to pornography.

Ryan Hartsock is the Creative Director at Four Corners. He says the church is going to make the topic as comfortable as possible for the congregation: God is not against sex, but God is all about helping us understand his boundaries, what it is between one man and one woman for eternity and helping people understand within that confine, hey, its an awesome thing.

According to the Triple X church group, who is behind the National Porn Sunday, there are more than four million pornographic web sites. Men make up about 65% of people who visit those sites. 47 percent of christians say pornography is a problem in their home.

Meanwhile from AVN see full article

A group of retirees known as the Jackson County Community Watchdogs has issued an invitation to government officials, the media, the clergy and others to join them on a bus tour Oct. 27 of the adult businesses operating in Louisville and Clarksville.

The group has been picketing daily outside local adult bookstore the Lion's Den for over two years, and hopes that this tour will ramp up concern amongst their fellow community citizens over the "widespread and adverse effects" they feel adult businesses cause.

We want to show people what can happen when you turn your head, Watchdogs legal liaison Ralph Sweany told the Courier-Journal. You let these businesses get a foothold, pretty soon you've got a porn district.

Financed by donations from area churches and members of the Watchdogs, the bus tour will begin at the Jackson County courthouse. Protesters will proceed for there to the Lion's Den, then south to Theatre X in Clark County and on to a string of stores along Seventh Street Road and Fern Valley Road in Louisville.

The protests against the Lion's Den have been continuous even since before it opened in August 2005, and there is a case still pending in Jackson Superior Court charging the business with misrepresenting itself in its intent.

The group's tactics include passing out bibles and posting pictures of the Lions' Den's customers on their website.

 

28th September   Beer and Bellyaching...
 

 
Folsom Street Fair posterGay Last Supper advert winds up christian nutters

Based on an article from CNS News see full article

Organizers of San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair have portrayed Christ and his disciples with  gay theme in the event's promotional advertisement, and the nutter group, Concerned Women for America (CWA), is complaining about the hypocrisy of it.

The bread and wine representing Christ's broken body and lifegiving blood are replaced with sadomasochistic sex toys in this twisted version of Da Vinci's The Last Supper, CWA said on its Web site.

Gay activists disingenuously call Christians 'haters' and 'homophobes' but then lash out in this hateful manner toward the very people they accuse, said said Matt Barber, CWA's policy director for cultural issues.

CWA is calling on California politicians to publicly condemn this unprovoked attack against Christ and His followers: We further challenge the media to cover this affront to Christianity with the same vigor as recent stories about cartoon depictions of Mohammed and other items offensive to the Muslim community.

The Folsom Street Fair describes itself as "the world's largest leather event". We hope to see the fairgrounds filled with people in their most outrageous leather/rubber/fetish attire enjoying the worlds largest and best loved Leather fair, the Web site says.

Based on an article from CNS News see full article

The leader of the Catholic League on Thursday urged more than 200 religious organizations to join his group in refusing to buy products from the Miller Brewing Company because of the company's sponsorship of the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco this weekend.

Never have we experienced greater corporate arrogance than in this dispute with the Miller Brewing Company, said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League: This all started when we learned that Miller was sponsoring an event that featured an obscene ad thrashing the Last Supper. After being pressured, Miller offered a lame statement of regret and said it was pulling its logo from the ad.

Donohue called the Folsom Street Fair an incredibly outrageous and palpably anti-Christian event.

Miller Brewing told Cybercast News Service that although it has supported the Folsom Street Fair for several years, we take exception to the poster the organizing committee developed this year. We understand some individuals may find the imagery offensive, and we have asked the organizers to remove our logo from the poster effective immediately.

To top it off, when we informed them that some of the money being raised at this festival was being funneled to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

The Catholic League president described the Sisters as "an anti-Catholic group" that is holding a mock Last Supper dinner. The group is not an actual church order but is instead a group of homosexuals who dress as nuns and use names such as "Sister Hysterectoria" while taking part in events that promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.

Accordingly, Miller leaves us with no options, Donohue said. We are calling on more than 200 Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu organizations to join with us in a nationwide boycott of Miller beer.


20th October  Update:  Folsom Support...
   
Enjoy a Miller Beer and wind up the nutters

Folsom Street Fair posterFolsom Street Events (FSE) Board of Directors has issued a statement addressing protests by various religious groups of the organization's flagship event, the Folsom Street Fair, which was held on Sept. 30 in San Francisco.

The FSE also has asked its supporters to contact Miller Brewing Company, a vendor and fair sponsor, and encourage the beer company not to “cave in” to pressure from right-wing groups to stop its participation in the fair.

FSE said: We have worked successfully with this company for many years, and they have been very supportive. This is no longer an issue of our poster image, but it is an issue of free speech and freedom of expression. We think it's important for Miller to hear from you — the people who enjoy the Fair. Please contact Miller spokesman Julian Green at green.julian@mbco.com to let them know how much you appreciate their support.

FSE named the Catholic League as chief among the groups that are protesting the street fair, which is one of the largest outdoor events held annually in California. The event is the culmination of Gay Leather Pride week in San Francisco.

We can no longer stand by while Folsom Street Fair remains under attack. The Catholic League insists upon provoking its followers, resulting in emails and phone calls threatening us with everything from ill-will to bodily harm, FSE Board of Directors' President Andy Copper said.

We understand that The Catholic League believes it is doing ‘the right thing’ but they are attacking our San Francisco values of community, diversity, education and freedom of self expression. If they do not share in our values or do not understand them, that’s fine; but they have never opened up a dialogue with us. They have only stood in judgment, making threats. We can no longer remain silent on the issue, Copper said.

Today, the Catholic League posted another statement, declaring that it will petition rabbis and Muslim imams in the Milwaukee area, to support the boycott of Miller Brewing Company.

Last week we sent some photos of the Miller-sponsored Folsom Street Fair to all the pastors of the 166 Protestant churches in Milwaukee. Today we are blanketing all the synagogues and mosques in Milwaukee; we are asking rabbis and imams for their assistance in protesting Miller’s anti-religion agenda. Next week we will target another segment of the Milwaukee community, the League said.

Our anti-Miller PR campaign and boycott of Miller beer will continue on a weekly basis until such time that the Miller Brewing Company issues a statement reassuring Americans that it will never again promote an anti-religious event.

 

6th October   Naming the Gods of Prudery ...
 

 
Bhool Bhulaiyaa CD Indian nutters go to court over Bhool Bhulaiyaa

Based on an article from Times of India see full article

Nutters have filed a civil suit seeking a stay on the release of the film Bhool Bhulaiyaa alleging that the promotional cut of the film is defamatory and hurts the religious sentiments of Buddhists and Hindus.

Eccha Foundation, has named Sharmila Tagore, the chairperson of the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) as a respondent to the suit for failing to notice the allegedly defamatory sequence in the film. Producers Bhushan and Krishan Kumar, director Priyadarshan, actor Akshay Kumar and choreographer of the song Hare Krishna, Hare Ram have also been named as respondents.

The nutters said that they had taken offence at the picturisation of the song in which semi-naked women danced in a vulgar fashion before an idol of Gautam Buddha.

The picturisation of the song includes eight semi-naked women dancing to a song which names Hindu gods Ram and Krishna. One of the women is shown obscenely standing on the lap of an idol as if to offer prayers which we found to be insulting to Buddha, Ram and Krishna, said chairperson Anand Kamble.

We have pleaded that the CBFC be directed to cancel the certification of the film and re-issue an appropriate one after deleting the song, said advocate Sushan Kunjuraman.

The movie is set for release on October 12. The suit also asked the court for restriction of release, distribution and exhibition of the film and withdrawal of the current promotional cut from television channels and the internet. The matter will be heard in court on October 6.

 

2nd October   No Cleavage...
 

 
Beyonce: Get Me Bodied CDBeyoncé show cancelled rather than cover up according to Malaysian rules

From Stuff see full article

Pop star Beyoncé Knowles has cancelled her Malaysian concert after she reportedly refused to cover up and censor her raunchy stage show.

She is said to have told promoters she was not willing to tone down her Kuala Lumpur show on November 1 to appease Muslim critics.

Pineapple Concerts issued a statement on Friday announcing the cancellation but refused to give a reason.

The 26-year-old star had been asked by Pineapple Concerts to make her show more "family friendly" following Muslim protests.

The Malaysian Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage introduced rules in 2005 stating female performers must show no skin from the tops of their chests to their knees.

 

2nd October   Star Nutters...
 

 
  EMFems

    East Midlands Feminists 

 
East Midland nutters descend on Marks & Spencers for selling the Daily Star

From charliegrrl see full article

East Midland Feminists recently held a demonstration outside Marks and Spencers, calling on them to stop selling The Daily Star newspaper. Marks and Spencer refuse to sell lads mags, but still sell The Star, despite its similar pornographic content to lads mags.

It was a brilliant day and a great success- we got 96 signatures for our petition which asks M & S to stop selling the Daily Star because it is sexist and normalises degrading & exploitative attitudes towards women.

We were targeting M & S shoppers in particular. Older women agreed with what we were saying and there was a lot of support there; it was really heartening to see women- including young women- coming up to our stall of their own accord and wanting to sign the petition without us even needing to ask them. I think there is a lot of opposition to all this sexist imagery we have shoved in our faces every day, and doing actions like this is a way of realising that.

Em Fems will send the petition to Marks and Spencer to indicate that there is public support for them to withdraw sale of The Star newspaper. Lets hope Marks and Spencer respond to public concern, and take the lead as responsible retailers, by withdrawing the pornographic newspaper.

Comment: An arrogant Illusion

From Dan

"Lets hope Marks and Spencer respond to public concern, and take the lead as responsible retailers, by withdrawing the pornographic newspaper."

Like most pressure groups East Mid Fems is under the arrogant illusion that the entire public agree with them. There is no mass "public concern" about M&S or any other store selling the Daily Star or lads mags. What East Mid Fems mean is they hope M&S respond to THEIR concerns by withdrawing the Daily Star.

Stores have a right to stop selling things if there is evidence that is harmful and that almost the entire customer base is concerned about it. But they should not stop selling things because a few protestors and campaigners say they should stop selling them!

 

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