A female Sikh student character, derided by her friends for excess body hair in JK Rowling's latest novel The Casual Vacancy, has earned the author a rebuke from Sikh's highest authority at Akal Takht. Its representative body, the
Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), has sought removal of the text and an apology from Rowling.
Rowling, whose latest novel has been written with a Sikh family at the heart of its plot, has a character describing his classmate Sukhvinder as mustachioed, yet large-mammaried, scientists remain baffled by the contradictions of the hairy
While describing Rowling's choice of words as a slur on the Sikh community and provocative , SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar threatened that the author must either apologize or remove the text from her book in India or face action:
Even if the author had chosen to describe the female Sikh character's physical traits, there was no need for her to use provocative language, questioning her gender. This is condemnable.
Makkar refused to say what action the body was planning.
A theatre in the Russian city of Rostov has dropped a production of Jesus Christ Superstar after protests by Orthodox Christians.
Protesters had complained the rock opera projected the wrong image of Christ. Local Russian Orthodox protesters lodged their complaint with prosecutors and also wrote a letter to the management of the producers at Rostov Philharmonic.
Citing a new law protecting the rights of believers , they described the musical as a profanation and said any such production should be submitted to the Russian Orthodox Church for approval.
It is unclear to which law the protesters were referring. The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, is currently considering a bill which would make it a crime to offend the religious feelings of citizens .
Popular Russian blogger Rustem Adagamov said in a tweet that Orthodox philistines had cancelled the musical.
Victoria's Secret has quickly pulled an Asian-themed lingerie collection called Go East that was ludicrously accused of trading in sexualized, generic pan-Asian ethnic stereotypes.
The item nutters found most offensive? The $98 Sexy Little Geisha teddy. This item was part of the lingerie giant's Sexy Little Things product category
The Sexy Little Geisha teddy boasted an obi-style belt and was accessorized with chopsticks for your hair and a paper fan. Your ticket to an exotic adventure: a sexy mesh teddy with flirty cutouts and Eastern-inspired florals, read
the promotional blurb.
However Mimi Nguyen, associate professor of women's and Asian American studies at the University of Illinois flagged the collection as a set of stereotypical images that use racist transgression to create an exotic edge.
She pointed out that all of the models wearing the Go East lingerie are non-Asian. Asians can't wear things like the 'sexy little geisha' outfit without looking ridiculous, she says.
Following this nutter uproar, Victoria's Secret promptly yanked the Sexy Little Geisha outfit, and then obscured access to the whole Go East collection.
Iran has said it will boycott the 2013 Oscars to protest against the making of Innocence of Muslims.
Despite extensive censorship and the repression of leading film makers, Iranian art cinema has earned international acclaim over the past 20 years. Asghar Farhadi's A Separation won the Oscar for best foreign language film in February, the
first Iranian film to do so.
The Iranian Students' News Agency reported that Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini said Iran would boycott the next Academy Awards:
to protest against the making of a film insulting the Prophet and because of the organisers' failure to take an official position (against the film),
He also urged other Islamic countries to boycott the Oscars.
Reza Mirkarimi's dramatic comedy A Cube of Sugar is the sacrificial lamb as it had been chosen as Iran's submission for the 2013 foreign-language Oscar.
The movie Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal has ruffled nutter feathers even before its release.
A delegation of Catholics met with the Censor Board authorities to register their protest against the disrespectful portrayal of a Catholic priest and the community in the promos and advertisements . They also demanded that their requests
for a permanent representative on the Censor Board in Mumbai be immediately fulfilled.
The secretary ofAssociation of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), Judith Monteiro told DNA that they've mailed the minister for Information & Broadcasting, Ambika Soni and the Censor Board chief Leela Samson conveying the community's displeasure.
Gen Secretary of Mumbai Youth Congress Agnelo Fernandes announced that the screening of the movie will not be allowed till the supposedly objectionable scenes were deleted.
The supposedly objectionable scenes include:
a priest dancing in a party with a person lying in a coffin with the crucifix beside him
the portrayal of a Catholic priest dancing with a lottery garland around his neck, with the church in the background.
Just because we don't protest like other communities, this has extended to ridiculing clergy. Do authorities react only to aggressive and violent protests? Are they pushing us towards it? asked Joe Dias, Catholic Secular Forum (CSF)
An Estonian newspaper has provoked worldwide 'outrage' by publishing a mock advert for diet pills mocking the gaunt victims of Germany's largest death camp.
The bad taste image is accompanied by the strapline: One, Two, Three... Dr Mengele slimming pills work wonders for you! There were no thickset people in Buchenwald!
Jewish organizations have denounced Eesti Ekspress for publishing the image which ran in the paper's 'humor' section.
Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem called the mock advert in the Eesti Ekspress weekly a perverted attempt at humor at the expense of the Nazis' millions of victims.
Alla Jakobson, spokeswoman for Estonia's Jewish community, said in newspaper Postimees that the incident shows Estonian society is experiencing major problems with moral and ethical values .
Sulev Vedler, deputy editor of Eesti Ekspress, said the mock advert was poking fun at an Estonian gas company that recently used an image of Auschwitz to promote its services. But Vedler apologised for the offence caused, adding that it was
not targeted against Jewish people .
GasTerm Eesti recently caused a major backlash after it featured the infamous gates to Nazi death camp Auschwitz in an advert for its services. Next to the inscription Arbeit macht frei, or Work makes you free , the caption of the
photo read: Gas heating --- flexible, convenient, and effective. Within a day the gas company had removed to image from the website and company director Sven Linros issued an apology.
An Israeli filmmaker based in California went into hiding Tuesday after his movie attacking Islam's religious character Muhammad sparked angry assaults by extremist Muslims on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya, where one American was killed.
Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that he intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.
Protesters angered over Bacile's film opened fire on and burned down the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing an American diplomat. In Egypt, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and replaced an
American flag with an Islamic banner.
The two-hour movie, Innocence of Muslims, cost $5 million to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors, said Bacile, who wrote and directed it.
The film claims Muhammad was a fraud. An English-language 13-minute trailer on YouTube shows an amateur cast performing a dialogue of insults in the form of revelations about Muhammad.
The full film has been shown once, to a mostly empty theater in Hollywood earlier this year, said Bacile.
YouTube, the video website owned by Google Inc, will not remove the film clip that has caused murderous anti-U.S. protests in Egypt and Libya, but it has blocked access to it in those countries.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American diplomats were killed by gunmen in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday.
The U.S. ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them, an official in Benghazi told Reuters.
In a brief statement on Wednesday, Google officials rejected the notion of removing the video on grounds it did not violate YouTube's policies, but restricted viewers in Egypt and Libya from loading it due to the special circumstances in the
country. Google said:
This video - which is widely available on the Web - is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube,. However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.
Our hearts are with the families of the people murdered in yesterday's attack in Libya.
The Afghan government on Wednesday banned YouTube from the country to prevent people from watching the anti-Islam film, The Innocence of Muslims.
Following instructions by the ministry of information and culture, the ministry of communication has ordered all service providers to block YouTube access, communications ministry official Aimal Marjan told AFP. He said the block had been
ordered until YouTube removes this abusive film .
The Afghan presidency earlier condemned the film as inhuman and insulting, calling for it not to be broadcast.
Emergency plans are in place to evacuate UK diplomats and their families following a second day of violence in the Middle East.
Protests over an anti-Islam film saw the US embassy in Yemen stormed by a mob numbering in the thousands.
The unrest has spread to Yemen, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Sudan, Morocco and Tunisia.
In Tehran, groups chanting anti-US and anti-Israel slogans staged a protest outside the Swiss embassy which represents US interests in Iran.
And in Iraq, demonstrations spread from Baghdad to the second city of Basra with the leader of one Islamist militia warning the film will put all American interests in danger .
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has called for nationwide protests today to denounce the film. Up to 70 were injured in a third day of protests yesterday at the US embassy in Cairo with some demonstrators demanding the ambassador's expulsion.
US Administration officials have asked YouTube to review a controversial video that many blame for spurring a wave of anti-American violence in the Middle East.
The administration flagged the 14-minute Innocence of Muslims video and asked that YouTube evaluate it to determine whether it violates the site's terms of service, officials said Thursday. The video, which has been viewed by nearly 1.7
million users, depicts Muhammad as a child molester, womanizer and murderer -- and has been decried as blasphemous and Islamophobic.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sharpened her criticism of the film that led to the protests. She called the film disgusting and reprehensible -- but said that the U.S. would never stop Americans from expressing their views, and
that the movie is no excuse for violence, according to reports from the Associated Press.
YouTube declined comment on the administration request.
As a wave of anti-American riots erupts across the Islamic world, Muslims' U.S. flag burning protests spread to Britain.
Elsewhere British diplomats were in fear for their lives, with staff at the embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, locking themselves in as 5,000 angry demonstrators raged and lit fires in an attack on the German embassy next door.
In London, 150 protesters marched on the US embassy chanting burn burn USA as the American flag went up in flames, soon joined by the Israeli flag.
In violence elsewhere, the number of dead and wounded grew. In the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli police began shooting, killing one man, after a mob set fire to a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise and an American restaurant. Another 25 were
wounded in the chaos.
In Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, 2,000 protesters set off for the US embassy, only to be stopped short by national security forces firing live rounds, killing one man and leaving 15 injured.
In the Tunisian capital Tunis, several thousand demonstrators threw stones at the US embassy and set fire to cars, before being fought off with tear gas and gunfire. Three were reportedly killed.
In Damascus, Syria, a 200-strong crowd demonstrated outside the US embassy -- although it was abandoned in February because of the country's bloody civil war.
Several Christian leaders are being held in protective custody in Niger after demonstrators angry at an anti-Islam film ransacked a major Catholic church, a local journalist said.
Hundreds of protesters stormed the cathedral in Niger's second city of Zinder after Friday prayers, and set fire to US and British flags, a local priest and the journalist told AFP:
After Friday prayers, hundreds of protesters broke down the door of the church and totally trashed it, before setting fire to all the documents and breaking a statue of the Virgin Mary.
The Islamic Council of Niger, the highest religious body in the mainly Muslim country, condemned the US-made film that has triggered protests across the Arab and Muslim world, but also appealed for churches to be spared.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has reportedly ordered the state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block YouTube after the video-sharing website failed to remove a controversial anti-Islam film, The Innocence of
Muslims. Blasphemous content will not be accepted at any cost, Prime Minister Ashraf is reported to have said. Earlier today officials said over 700 links to the film on YouTube were blocked following orders issued by the Supreme Court.
In Kansas, another legal battle is being waged over art. The nutter community is in 'uproar' over a bare-breasted sculpture in an Overland Park arboretum. It has triggered a grand jury investigation into whether the city is somehow promoting
obscenity to minors.
The artwork, titled Accept or Reject was donated by Chinese artist Yu Chang. It depicts a headless woman with exposed pert breasts, snapping a self-portrait.
Nutters ludicrously contend that it promotes sexting to children. A petition begun by local mother Joanne Hughes to remove the statue picked up steam when she teamed up with Phillip Cosby, the state director of the nutter organisation, the
American Family Association. It is a religious-based group focused on strengthening the moral foundations of American culture.
Hughes and Cosby delivered 4,700 signatures to the county clerk, enough names to summon a grand jury investigation.
Cosby spouted to The Huffington Post:
The arboretum is a place for school trips and minors, and it's advertised that way. Then boom, here's this sexting statue. Is sexting something you want to put in front of children and say this is okay? It's illegal.
But so far, the city has no plans to remove the offending sculpture. The statue does exactly what art is supposed to do, said Overland Park spokesman Sean Reilly: It's evoked a lot of emotion.
The bare-breasted sculpture at a northeast Kansas arboretum has been judged as not obscene.
The Kansas City Star reports a Johnson County grand jury chose not to issue on indictment over the life-size bronze sculpture.
Nutters had collected enough signatures through a petition drive to summon the 15-member jury. Johnson County District Judge Gerald Elliott told the jurors their job was to determine if the sculpture violated the Kansas obscenity law.
If they found probable cause of a crime, they were to issue an indictment known as a true bill. But instead they issued a no true bill ruling.
Film actor and producer Ajay Devgn has agreed to remove supposedly objectionable dialogue and scenes from his film Son of Sardar before releasing it.
The actor made the promise in a meeting with Sikh religious leaders.
The film was involved in a controversy after the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) and other Sikh groups objected to certain dialogues and said that these were portraying Sikhs in poor light. The AISSF had pointed out some dialogues that
had poked fun at Sikh community.
A statement released by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), proclaimed to be a mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, said that Devgn had agreed to remove the 'objectionable' dialogue and get approval from the SGPC before
releasing the film.
Fashion chain Next has been slammed by Christian nutters over a Sinners T-shirt which depicts a woman in underwear coupled with Bible references.
The T-shirt carries the headline Sinners and strap line The Night Before above the seductive image of a woman in black underwear lying on a bed. Below the image is the slogan Live for the Day. Finally, there is a long
smallprint passage which carries a number of definitions of sin including one from the Bible from epistle to the Romans, chapter seven.
Gareth Davies, of Christian Action Research and Education, contacted Next via its official Facebook page to complain about the T-shirt. He asked:
Why are you marketing graphic T-Shirts with misogynistic poses of women in underwear and promoting such images using The Bible?
The image itself is very unhelpful. It gives a message about availability and vulnerability of women. They are then using the word sin and words from the Bible to suggest this is both naughty but nice.
The whole concept is wrong-headed and demeaning to women. Human dignity should be cherished and women should not be reduced to the level of an object.
A female blogger ludicrously complained the image was effectively soft core pornography that was more the remit of a top shelf magazine than a family store. She said the woman was presented as simply being available for a man's sexual pleasure.
She described the lines Live for the Day. Seize the night and all it may hold as a rape fantasy slogan.
Director of the Family Education Trust, Norman Wells, criticised Next for stocking the T-shirt. He said:
It beggars belief that a company that has a well-established reputation as a respectable family store should be marketing such a cheap and tawdry product that demeans women and encourages a casual attitude to sex.
We hope that Next will think again and take the socially responsible step of withdrawing this product rather than risk having its good name dragged through the gutter.
A Next spokesman said:
Next has received some customer complaints regarding a man's T shirt and sweatshirt. On reflection we agree it was a mistake for us to sell these garments and we are therefore removing them from sale.
Christian extremists menace Moscow's Museum of Erotic Art
30th August 2012
A group of Christian activists have continued their spell of attacks on the Museum of Erotic Art in Moscow, the museum administration said.
The extremists, who appeared shortly after midnight, wielded a brick and threatened the manager, who fled fearing for her life, said Alexander Donskoi, a curator of the museum also known as Tochka-G or G-Spot .
He said the group criticised the museum for advertising in the streets, allowing gays to attend and supporting punk band Pussy Riot.
The nutter group's organiser, Dmitry Enteo, told RIA Novosti that the activists just came to preach at the disgraceful place . Little ones see their leaflets and ask their parents what a G-spot is. We couldn't tolerate it.
He claimed no threats were involved and the brick was a reference to the capstone for a better life mentioned in the Bible.
A short silent video from a surveillance camera showed the activists walking into the museum and studying the items on display. They have a brick with them and are accompanied by a man with a professional camera, but make no menacing gestures.
NBC Utah affiliate KSL-TV has pulled the upcoming Ryan Murphy sitcom The New Normal from its fall lineup, calling the series as inappropriate on several dimensions.
The show, which follows a mother who serves as a surrogate for a Los Angeles-based gay couple, stars Ellen Barkin. It's booked for 9:30 pm slot But Utah's KSL-TV doesn't want anything to do with it during family viewing-time.
Herndon Graddick president of the perennial whingers of GLAAD said:
Same-sex families are a beloved part of American television thanks to shows like Modern Family , Glee and Grey's Anatomy . While audiences, critics and advertisers have all supported LGBT stories, KSL is demonstrating how
deeply out of touch it is with the rest of the country.
KSL-TV is part of Deseret Management Corporation, the for-profit operating company of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Parents Television Council (PTC) has released results of a survey regarding nudity on US prime-time broadcast television.
During the 2011-2012 season there were 76 occurrences of obscured nudity on 37 shows compared to 15 occurrences in 14 shows the previous year, representing a 407% increase in incidents.
In light of the findings, PTC president Tim Winter sent a letter to congressional members asking them to urge the Federal Communications Commission to move forward in clearing the backlog of 1.6 million unadjudicated indecency complaints.
In 2006, Congress passed the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act in response to growing outrage from the American people over the broadcast networks' abuse of the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves. Yet since that time, we have seen a concerted
effort on the part of the networks to constantly push the outer limit of what may be considered appropriate for the broadcast medium.
During prime time hours across all broadcast networks, use of the bleeped or muted f-word increased from 11 instances in 2005 to 276 instances in 2010 -- an increase of 2,409%... It's not just the language that's getting coarser. PTC research
has found a staggering increase in the frequency and explicitness of pixelated nudity on the broadcast networks during primetime hours.
We call on you to give the FCC your full support for decency enforcement; to urge the FCC to move forward with all due haste in clearing the backlog of 1.6 million unadjudicated indecency complaints; and to give the FCC the tools it needs to
ensure enforcement actions are meaningful and appropriate... Because Our Children Are Watching.
Methodology: September 1 to May 31 was the study period. This analysis excludes animated nudity or suggested full nudity and only includes scenes in which individuals are completely unclothed and only the sexual organs are blurred from the
viewer. The analysis includes network specials, but excludes traditional news and sports.
During the 2011-2012 season there were 76 incidents of full nudity on 37 shows compared to 15 incidents in 14 shows the previous year, representing a 407% increase in incidents.
Almost 70% of the scenes that depicted obscured nudity during the 2011--2012 study period were on shows that aired before 9:00 pm and as early as 7:00 pm. In comparison, 50% of the obscured nudity scenes aired after 9:00 pm the previous year.
Out of 76 instances of obscured nudity during the 2011--2012 study period, only five of those depictions occurred on shows that contained an S descriptor alerting parents to the obscured 'explicit' adult content.
Relative to obscured full-frontal nudity, one instance occurred during the 2010--2011 study period and by the same time the following year, 64 instances of obscured full-frontal nudity had aired. This represents a 6300% increase in one year.
During the 2010--2011 study period, black bars, logos, and/or conveniently placed objects in a scene were used to block the view of sexual organs from the viewer 87% of the time. In contrast, during the 2011--2012 study period, 74% of the
incidents of full nudity used blurring or pixilation to cover sexual body parts.
Earlier this month American Atheists Inc., put up two billboards in Charlotte, NC aimed at the Democratic and Republican national conventions. The billboards questioned the religiosity of the two Presidential candidates.
On Thursday, August 24th, those billboards were taken down.
Directly following an article on the front page of the Fox News website, American Atheists received hundreds of hate e-mails and phone calls according to American Atheists' Managing Director, Amanda Knief.
The reason that the billboards were taken down was not however due to any threats against American Atheists, but were due to threats made toward Adams Outdoor Advertising, who sold the billboard space to the atheist group.
Knief commented in the official Press Release:
It is with regret that we tell our members and all of those who treasure free speech and the separation of religion and government that American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising have mutually agreed to remove the billboards immediately.
No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny---and this includes religion in all forms. We are saddened that by choosing to express our rights as atheists through questioning the religious beliefs of the men who want to be our president that our
fellow citizens have responded with vitriol, threats, and hate speech against our staff, volunteers, and Adams Outdoor Advertising.
Teresa MacBain, American Atheists' Public Relations Director also commented in the Press Release:
It saddens me to think that our country is not a safe place for all people to publicly question religious belief. How can we grow as a nation when such censorship exists from our own citizens?
The German city of Kassel is home to a caricature museum that is dominating the headlines with a controversial cartoon hanging in its window, depicting Jesus on the cross. Christian leaders want it removed.
The cartoon in question is hanging outside the Kulturbahnhof, a cultural center which houses the caricature museum, known as Caricatura. It depicts Jesus in agony on the cross as a voice calls down from heaven: Hey, you. I fucked your mother.
I find it problematic when a caricature disparages the very heart of a faith, Barbara Heinrich, a Protestant official in the city, told German news agency DPA.
Local Catholic priest Harald Fischer has likewise criticized the caricature, according to the local paper, the Hessische/Niedersachsische Allgemeine (HNA) , as have Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders from the area.
Museum head Martin Sonntag has rejected calls to remove the poster. He told the HNA that caricatures are by their very nature offensive to some observers. But we can't remove caricatures after every complaint, he said. Were the museum to
take into account all religious and other viewpoints, he added, it would have to close its doors.
The artist behind the caricature, Mario Lars, likewise expressed surprise at the burgeoning debate. It was not my intention to hurt the feelings of the faithful, Lars said. I was just making a joke.... (The church) should stand aloof of
such things and address more important problems. Such a large commotion over a small joke isn't good for the church.
Catholic nutters in Poland have ludicrously claimed an energy drink branded Demon can promote evil and somehow lead to the destruction of human souls .
One website, entitled Satanism Shall Not Pass , said that its advertising campaign will lead to billboards dripping with Satanism , and has added its voice to calls for a boycott of all products made by Agros-Nova, the drink's
Franciszek Kucharczak, editor of Gosc Niedzielny , a religious magazine, warned:
We have to fight against evil. We cannot keep quiet and let young people be absorbed into destructive ideals.
Opponents of Demon have taken particular offence at the choice of Adam Darski, former lead singer of the Polish death-metal group Behemoth, to front the campaign. Darski, who goes by the stage name Nergal, has long been the target of
conservative, religious vitriol since he was accused in 2007 of insulting religious sentiment by tearing up a Bible on stage.
Darski will promote the drink, which originated in New Zealand, under the slogan: No limits. No laws.
Muslim extremists have disrupted a string of Tunisian cultural events they deemed un-Islamic, culminating in a violent attack that left five people wounded.
Salafists attacked the Bizerte music and theatre festival on Thursday evening armed with swords and sticks.
The interior ministry said that five people were wounded in the attack, and that police dispersed the assailants with tear gas, arresting four of them.
Previosuly Salafists prevented an Iranian group from performing at a Sufi music festival in Kairouan, south of Tunis, claiming their Shiite chanting amounted to a violation of Islamic values.
On Tuesday, renowned Tunisian actor Lotfi Abdelli was prevented from performing his comedy act 100% Halal by extremists who had occupied the auditorium.
Last week, the director of a festival at Gboullat, announced he was cancelling the event under pressure notably from the Salafists Another festival had been cancelled at the end of July, in Sejnane, with the organisers again blaming radical
A nutter report by a Ukrainian nutter group, Family Under the Protection of the Holy Virgin , has caught the eye of the authorities.
Ukraine's National Expert Commission for Protecting Public Morality has spotted a report by a right-wing religious group that complains about SpongeBob's promotion of homosexuality and Disney films' pornography, and has announced
that it was calling a special session.
According to the report these and other children's shows are a large-scale experiment on Ukrainian children to create criminals and perverts, and should be banned.
The document describes how the Teletubbies send children into a trance and create an imbecile who will sit near the screen with an open mouth and swallow any information. It criticizes the fact that Tinky Winky carries what looks like a
Also up for censure are Shrek (for containing sadism ) and South Park (for reincarnation propaganda ).
The commission is a state body that evaluates media to check they observe Ukrainian morality laws, which ban inciting religious hatred, producing or disseminating pornography, and propagating alcoholism and smoking, among other things.
New South Wales' top policeman has claimed that knife crime is soaring among youngsters supposedly because brutal video games that reward players for murder, rape and theft have made violence seem acceptable.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione believes young people are being desensitised by spending hours acting out deadly scenarios on their computer screens:
The thing that's concerning me is the prevalence of people who are at this stage not just prepared to carry a knife, but prepared to use it
That has increased significantly.
He said he had reached the conclusion that there was:
Nothing more potentially damaging than the sort of violence they're being exposed to, be it in movies, be it in console games they're playing.
How can it not affect you if you're a young adolescent growing up in an era where to be violent is almost praiseworthy, where you engage in virtual crime on a daily basis and many of these young people (do) for hours and hours on end.
You get rewarded for killing people, raping women, stealing money from prostitutes, driving cars crashing and killing people.
That's not going to affect the vast majority but it's only got to affect one or two and what have you got? You've got some potentially really disturbed young person out there who's got access to weapons like knives or is good with the fist, can
go out there and almost live that life now in the streets of modern Australia. That's concerning.
And not once did he mention any scientific or well reasons basis for his nutter rant.
The Vatican has been accused of rejecting Bulgaria's new choice of ambassador because he wrote a novel containing a gay sex scene.
Kiril Maritchkov, a lawyer who speaks Italian, and is married to an Italian woman, would appear to be an ideal choice for Sofia's representative at the Vatican.
However, Bulgarian newspapers and the Italian press are reporting that an explicit encounter between a young Eastern European male prostitute and a Roman in Maritchkov's popular novel, Clandestination , has upset officials at the
Holy See, despite the Catholic church's less-than-spotless record on sexual transgression.
It was reported that Archbishop Janusz Bolonek, the Pope's representative in Sofia, highlighted the 'offending' part of the novel.
Reports in Sofia suggest the government there has dug its heels in and has refused to offer an alternative candidate for the role of ambassador.
Clandestination tells the story of Ivan, a young man fleeing the social and economic upheaval in one of Russia's satellite states following the break-up of the Soviet Union. Arriving in Rome, the illegal immigrant he finds that things in the West
aren't all they were cracked up to be, and finds hardship, petty crime and poverty. Ivan eventually prostitutes himself for EUR50. The end sees the troubled young man enter a church, fall to his knees and pray for forgiveness.
Catholic groups in Poland are protesting against Madonna's Warsaw show because it falls on the same day as the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.
Every year, Poles commemorate the date the city's failed revolt against Nazi occupation began. At 5pm on August 1, sirens wail across Warsaw and people stand still to pay their respects to the 200,000 victims of the 63-day uprising.
Concert organisers have agreed to a proposal by city officials by showing a short film about the events of 1944 to appease the protestors. [Madonna can probably squeeze her set into the advert breaks!]
However, catholic groups have started an online campaign urging people not to watch the concert -- claiming more than 50,000 have signed up to their Don't Go To See Madonna campaign.
One group, Krucjata Mlodych (Youth Crusade) says anti-Madonna Mass services and prayer sessions have been held. They accuse the singer of offending their faith by burning crucifixes and using crown of thorns imagery, adding that she promotes
It is all so perfectly fitting that in the wake of a murderous rampage in which 70 people are shot ---12 fatally, including a 6-year-old girl --- and countless families are sacked with unspeakable grief, you would take the time to share with us
Because, really, at this moment, all that matters to most of us is what a bunch of smutty purveyors of violent fantasy, half-rate actors and an industry of sick narcissism is feeling at this moment.
Director Christopher Nolan, speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, you told us how much you love going to the movies and how they are one of the great American art forms.
You are devastated that such an innocent and hopeful place --- here you are talking about the movie theaters that play your twisted movies --- would be violated in such an unbearably savage way. I mean, really, who could think up
such monstrous hatred and nihilistic violence? Umm, have you watched any of your own movies lately?
And, in the selfless modesty that is the hallmark of an Academy Awards ceremony, you tell us that your feelings about the massacre are so deeply profound that the mere words of the English language built up over hundreds of years are
simply not up to the task of describing them. Wow. You do have a gift for fantasy.
But the real clue that you remain shrouded in guilt-free delusion is when you mention the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.
Senseless? Really? If by senseless you mean carried out almost precisely from the scripts of your own movies, then, sure, it was senseless.
As for you, Sean Penn, you paragon of endless moralizing, we would like to thank you, too, for underwriting last week's ultra-violence and real-life carnage at the movie theater. One of the last scenes that 6-year-old saw in her precious life was
a trailer for your movie.
In the final clip of a trailer filled with orgiastic bloodshed, you have some classy actors with machine guns unload from behind a movie screen into a crowd seated in a theater, watching a film. Ring a bell, Sean? Sound familiar?
I realize how busy you are, so loudly and obnoxiously jet-setting around to save the world, but do you have time to think about what you have done here? What your life amounts to at this moment?
No, you did not pull the trigger in this case. You did not don the gas mask. But you were the inspiration, and you are the architects.
Your celebrations of diabolical mayhem and pornographic violence prey on the fantasies of sick, fragile minds. You insulated them from the painful reality of bloodshed. You have inspired mass murder. You are the Osama bin Laden of this travesty.
This, of course, is all legal and has made you a fabulous fortune. But, never forget, this is who you are. It is what you do. This is your legacy.
When you die, your gravestones should read: Here lie men who created such horrific, meaningless violence in such realistic scenes that a sicko carried it out for real and shot 70 people, killing 12, including a 6-year-old girl.
To be fair, you haven't only inspired murderous rampages. It is true that you have also entertained. But is the fleetingness of that entertainment nearly so profound as the terror you inspired here? Will it outlast the irreversible permanency of
12 deaths, including that of a 6-year-old girl?
Which brings us to Warner Brothers, those titans of decency. You bankrolled The Dark Knight Rises and so many other pointlessly violent movies that infect feeble minds and bring hatred upon America. You, it is reported, are feeling really
sad about those poor saps who paid to see your wicked movies --- only to have the very scenes come alive and kill them in the dark, sticky rows between seats of a movie theater.
Out of your respect for these people, you declared you would not announce box-office receipts from this weekend's snuff film. Instead, you will count your $150 million in bloody money --- privately.
One day, you will meet the original Joker, the inventor of all evil who is diabolical and depraved so far beyond your furthest, sickest imaginations and there, in his lair, you will spend the rest of eternity wishing you had had a little decency
back when you had the chance.
A Swedish Christian Democrat youth leader has protested the censorship of a sexually-suggestive food stand advertisement in southern Sweden by taking to the streets with red lips and painted nails to deliver her own sausages.
The supposedly offensive advert, with a close-up picture of a hotdog, two hands, and two red lips wrapped around the tip of the sausage, was taken down after a member of the local council responded to a complaint by the municipality's
This move prompted Felicia Lundqvist from Uppsala to protest against the local municipality in Simrishamn, which she claims is wasting tax money by employing a gender expert.
She stood in a busy square in the town with a sign over her chest which read: Felicia's hotdog stand. Suck on that gender experts! She said that she found nothing to be offensive about the original advert.
Britten Dehlin was the 'gender expert' who had taken issue with the street vendor's initial picture, causing its removal. She spouted:
This is a sexualized picture. A prime example of an poorly-thought through act and a traditional gender approach with the aim of drawing in customers.
Lundqvist, however, was shocked that politicians could remove an ad for reasons of gender equality without even reporting it first to the advertising ombudsman. Furthermore, Lundqvist says that she can't understand why gender experts are
given such lofty platforms to speak, claiming that Simrishamn's gender expert's salary should be donated towards preschools in the area instead.
Patrick Trueman, the head of Morality in Media, has told the conservative Daily Caller that he was quietly promised that fighting porn will be a top priority in a Romney White House.
Trueman said he and an anti-porn prosecutor from the 1980s Justice Department, Bob Flores, met earlier this year with Alex Wong, Romney's foreign and legal policy director. Trueman said:
Wong assured us that Romney is very concerned with this, and that if he's elected these laws will be enforced. They promised to vigorously enforce federal adult obscenity laws.
Around the time Trueman says he received those assurances, Romney signed Morality in Media's anti-porn pledge along with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, whom he was still battling for the GOP nomination. Since then, he hasn't mentioned the issue
Romney has however promised that if elected president he would require every new computer be sold with a porn filter.
There may be another reason Romney isn't talking up porn: he needs the support of millions of primary voters who supported Ron Paul, who notably did not make opposition to sexually explicit materials a campaign plank.
Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is co-founder and a member of the faculty of Zaytuna College. They have authored a widely circulated open letter to hoteliers, moralising about
the supposed evils of hotel room porn:
We are, respectively, a Christian and a Muslim, but we appeal to you not on the basis of truths revealed in our scriptures but on the basis of a commitment that should be shared by all people of reason and goodwill: a commitment to human dignity
and the common good. As teachers and as parents, we seek a society in which young people are encouraged to respect others and themselves--treating no one as an impersonal object or thing. We hope that you share our desire to build such a society.
Pornography is degrading, dehumanizing, and corrupting. It undermines self-respect and respect for others. It reduces persons--creatures bearing profound, inherent, and equal dignity--to the status of objects. It robs a central aspect of our
humanity--our sexuality--of its dignity and beauty. It ensnares some in addiction. It deprives others of their sense of self-worth. It teaches our young people to settle for the cheap satisfactions of lust, rather than to do the hard, yet
ultimately liberating and fulfilling, work of love.
We recognize that we are asking you to abandon a profitable aspect of your business, but we hope that you will muster the conviction and strength of will to make that sacrifice and to explain it to your stockholders. We urge you to do away with
pornography in your hotels because it is morally wrong to seek to profit from the suffering, degradation, or corruption of others. Some might say that you are simply honoring the free choices of your customers. However, you are doing much more
than that. You are placing temptation in their path--temptation for the sake of profit. That is unjust. Moreover, the fact that something is chosen freely does not make it right; nor does it ensure that the choice will not be damaging to those
who make it or to the larger community where degrading practices and materials flourish.
We beg you to consider the young woman who is depicted as a sexual object in these movies, as nothing but a bundle of raw animal appetites whose sex organs are displayed to the voyeurs of the world and whose body is used in loveless and utterly
depersonalized sex acts. Surely we should regard that young woman as we would regard a sister, daughter, or mother. She is a precious member of the human family. You may say that she freely chooses to compromise her dignity in this way, and in
some cases that would be true, but that gives you no right to avail yourself of her self-degradation for the sake of financial gain. Would you be willing to profit from her self-degradation if she were your sister? Would you be willing to profit
from her self-degradation if she were your own beloved daughter?
Furthermore, we trust that you need no reminding of the fact that something's being legal does not make it right. For example, denying black men and women and their families access to hotel rooms--and tables in restaurants, as well as other
amenities and opportunities--was, for countless shameful years, perfectly legal. In some circumstances, it even made financial sense for hotel owners and operators in racist cultures to engage in segregationist practices even when not compelled
by law to do so. However, this was deeply morally wrong. Shame on those who denied their brothers and sisters of color the equal treatment to which they were morally entitled. Shame on you if you hide behind legality to peddle immorality in the
pursuit of money.
Our purpose is not to condemn you and your company but to call you to your highest and best self. We have no desire to hurt your business. On the contrary, we want you and your business to succeed financially--for your sake; for the sake of your
stockholders, employees, and contract partners; and for the sake of the communities that your hotels serve. We believe that the properly regulated market economy serves the good of all by providing products and services at reasonable prices and
by generating prosperity and social mobility. But the market itself cannot provide the moral values that make it a truly humane and just institution. We--owners, managers, employees, customers--must bring those values to the market. There are
some things--inhuman things, unjust things, de-humanizing things--that should not be sold. There must be some things that, for the sake of human dignity and the common good, we must refuse to sell--even it if means forgoing profit.
According to Russia Today, nutters from the Orthodox Church are angry at the Facebook's decision to launch same-sex marriage icons, calling them gay propaganda .
The nutters apparently claim that the icons could make young people tempted to explore homosexuality. In fact, the church in the city of Saratov, southern Russia, asked issued an ultimatum requesting that the social network stop flirting with
The nutters have organised a petition to get Facebook banned in the country. Vladimir Roslyakovsky, leader of the Orthodox public organization, spewed:
We demand only one thing: Facebook should be blocked in the entire country because it openly popularizes homosexuality among minors.
The US goal is that Russians stop having children. [They want] the great nation to turn into likeness of Sodom and Gomorrah, Roslyakovsky said. But I am confident that Russian laws and reasonable citizens will be able to protect their children
from a fierce attack of sodomites.
A new Bangkok-based group took to Khao San Road to voice their disapproval of Buddha the cartoon dog and local souvenirs they feel are offensive.
The Knowing Buddha Organization demands an end to all commercialization of Buddha, including retail statues, wall hangings, T-shirts, sex toys, furniture, tattoos and other decorations within Thailand and worldwide.
One particular example particularly rankles the organization. Buddies is a series of children's movies from Walt Disney. It features a big dog named Buddha, who avoids meat and stress, enjoys yoga and meditation, and eats out of a
dish on the floor labeled with his name. The Buddies are named Budderball, RoseBud, B-Dawg, MudBud and Buddha.
Acharavadee Wongsakon says she created the Knowing Buddha protest movement after seeing Walt Disney's Buddha dog in a film rented by her daughter. She said:
If you [Disney] put this with Jesus's name, or Mohammad's, I don't think you'd have a place to stand in the world. Because those people, their religions, they're strong.
We would like to ask the Buddhists around the world to boycott the 'Buddies' movies.
We want Disney to stop using the name Buddha for a dog. No need to cancel the series, just remove that character, or change the name. The public should feel shocked.
We will ask Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do what they can.
During the protest, Knowing Buddha Organization also unveiled a List of Disrespectful Businesses!! naming bars, hotels, shops, spas, restaurants and other venues in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere -- plus their websites.
In Thailand, they targeted Buddhi Belly, a frozen yogurt franchise with several cafe's in Bangkok.
But America is seen as the main offender. Acharavadee explained:
Our major problem cases are in the United States -- in Los Angeles and New York especially -- with the film industry giving the wrong impression of how to treat the Buddha image.
In L.A., it is considered hip if you have a Buddha statue in your place as a decorative item. In New York, there is a tattoo group which tattoos Buddha on peoples' legs. They have a statue of a person, where a dog's head replaces the Buddha
head, she says.
We would ask the [Buddha] Bar in Chinatown, in San Francisco, to stop using his name and image,
The perennial hindu whinger, Rajan Zed, has expressed his 'dismay' over Hi-Rez Studios decision not to remove Hindu deities such as the goddess Kali from the multiplayer online battle arena game, SMITE.
Zed called on Hi-Rez Studios to remove Hindu deities Kali, Agni and Vamana from SMITE. Zed added:
Moreover, portrayal of goddess Kali, who was highly revered by Hindus, appeared like a porno star in the SMITE version shown on the company website, which was quite distressing for the devotees.
Game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects and no faith, larger or smaller, should be plundered. As these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people; it
would create more misunderstandings about Hinduism, which was already a highly misunderstood religion in the West.
Chief Operating Officer Todd Harris said that Hinduism was an inspiration for the deities in the game along with other mythologies from the Norse, Greek, Chinese and Egyptian cultures. He went on to say that the PC title would receive more
deities, not fewer.
A Hi-Rez says the company has no plans to add jewish, christian and islamic figures because they are not that interesting in character design or gameplay. [And of course can be more threatening than a little whinge from Rajan Zed].
Lady Gaga has come under nutter fire for her new song about Princess Diana's death.
She premiered the new track, Princess Die , in Melbourne, Australia and 'outraged' royal fans with her lyrics, which appears to reference the Princess of Wales' tragic death in a Paris car accident in 1997. Gaga sings:
And wish that I would go
In my rich boyfriend's limo
Right after he proposed
With a 16-carat stone wrapped in rose gold
With the papparazzi all swarming around
So bob head your head for another dead blonde.
The lyrics have been blasted as distasteful when she says in the song:
I wish that I could cope but I took pills and left a note.
Suicide charities in Australia have slammed the singer's words and are worried about the message she is sending to impressionable fans. Chris Wagner, communications director for Lifeline, said:
We understand artistic license and we get artistic expression, but celebrities need to recognise that they're role models for young people in the community.
GaGa said during her performance that Princess Die may or may not be included on her next album.