CCTV join anti-9 Songs chorus

New prudes on the block Christian Congress for Traditional Values have piped up over the controversial British-made love story 9 Songs. Not to be outdone by the virginal Anne Widdecombe, who said it was an example of “moral anarchy”, CCTV told Channel 4 News,

There’s no artistic justification for the graphic sex scenes in this tawdry film, which are demeaning and degrading for the voyeur as well as the performer. ‘9 Songs’ is a rank piece of soulless pornography.

It is not known whether or not the spokesperson has seen the film. Or ever will. However, if the purpose of pornography is to cause sexual arousal in the viewer, most critics would not define this film as such.

9 Songs is scheduled for general UK release tomorrow, 11 March.

UPDATE (12 March) – It turns out that CCTV representatives were actually invited to see this film. Unfortunately, their statement on the website still does not make clear whether or not they actually took up the invitation. But what does that matter? They want you to stop it being shown at your local cinema by emailing the British Board of Film Classification, or writing to your local council.

UPDATE: (17 March) A page on the CCTV website revels in the “national prominence” given to them by Channel 4, and gives this extra review by one of their representatives who apparently did see the film:

This is not cinematic art but bleak, coarse and sordid indulgence in carnality and lewdness. There’s nothing prudish in our disapproval of such prurient material. It is the height of pretension for the film’s director to justify his crude creation as art reflecting reality. More explicit does not mean more artistic. It’s the classic trick of the intelligentsia to use the guise of art to justify the most excessive, offensive and abusive use of words and imagery.

“More explicit does not mean more artistic”? “Classic trick of the intelligentsia”? FFS.

29 Responses to “CCTV join anti-9 Songs chorus”

  1. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    Well, if you work out how long it would take to watch every objectionable film, you’d never have time for anything else.

    There are good things to fill one’s life with, so wqhy waste time filling it with grubby things?

    It reminds me of the episode of The Simpsons where Homer has to become an expert on the oeuvre of some pornographic actress in order to prove a point in court.

    The words ‘counter’ and ‘productive’ spring to mind.

  2. Alan Frize says:

    Really? The words ‘King’ and ‘of the Hill’ spring to mind here with me, which is what you’re thinking of.

    Personally, I don’t find sex grubby, nor its portrayals. I can’t speak for 9 Songs, but then I, along with Mediawatch, haven’t actually seen it yet.

  3. Paul Tavener says:

    The discussion of 9 Songs by CCTV really does annoy me. Pornography in ‘our’ cinemas they say. How arrogant to assume that public cinemas are ‘their’ cinemas and that their view that the film should not be shown should overrule the right of the rest of the adult population to make up their own minds. It’s not as if the majority of the population would even agree with them. If I campaigned for the closure of churches on the basis that religion was a serious source of intolerance in society I feel certain they would also feel I was being unreasonable.

  4. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    Yes, you’re right, it was King of the Hill.

    How can sex per se be either grubby or pure? In certain contexts it is one, in other contects it is the other. It all depends on context. This being so, there are some contexts where it is grubby.

    Paul raises several issues.
    (1) Yes – we all have equal interest in the cinemas, Christians no more than anyone else.
    (2) People ‘make up their own minds’ not always on the basis of what they know to be best, but sometimes on the inadequate basis of what tickles their short-term fancy.
    (3) Where is your evidence for what ‘the majority of the population’ would think? 71% call themselves Christian, 1-2% Muslim.
    (4) ‘Tolerance’ of what? Are we to ‘tolerate’ drug addiction, crime etc.? There is an unexamined presupposition that ‘tolerance’ is always a good thing. Where did this presupposition come from, and is it coherent?

  5. Well it seems to me, that we are supposed to tolerate Christians trying to impose their narrow mindedness on us, using media law (ie censorship) to do it. Well if something is harmful enough to justify censorship, it would be obvious to all of us, and that censorship would be to prevent HARM, not to pander to the sensibilities of a few religious people who claim they speak for all Christians, but in fact don’t.

    I am a licence payer too. I should be able to decide what I wish to see. Even explicit pornography shouldn’t be completley censored, in a free country, only confined to channels where the viewer makes his own choice to “opt in” somehow.

    Jerry Springer the Opera, was much sillier that it was in fact offensive.

  6. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    ‘Narrow-mindedness’ – the best parents and teachers always set boundaries. The way that children (and adults) without boundaries turn out is clear to all of us.

    The ‘choice’ you are speaking of is a ‘choice’ made by animal instincts. It is confusing to use the word ‘choice’ in such contexts, since the word ‘choice’ is connected with reason and rationality – and therefore it could be argued that rational choice and instinct are polar opposites.

  7. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    Dr Shell,
    You are neither my parent, nor my teacher and have no right to set any boundaries around me. Only the government and its quangos has a right to impose censorship and the only right THEY have to set boundaries which restrict me, are those which can be shown to be necessary, proportionate, strictly justified, and fulfil a pressing social need to resolve a pressing social need, involving SECULAR harm. Outright censorship to reduce offense to a few moaning and whinging Christians (not all christians believe in such censorship by the way) isn’t a pressing social need by any sense of the imagination.

    If watching an adult porn film “gets me off” or helps my marriage survive, or helps me live a life as a single man if I was single, or whatever, and the people in the film are happy to be in it, and they are there by consent and free will , then what business is it of yours ? None. Similarly if I want to watch a horror film or whatever. I simply do not see why I have to be subject to the so called “tastes” of Christian and other religious people. Oh, you think you’ve got God and Jesus on your side ? Don’t be so sure about that…

    If the censorship which you appear to want, was so necessary, you’d have no problem whatsoever, in showing that it was necessary, using argument that even I couldn’t refute. Personally I think more able, wiser people than yourself have tried, and failed miserably. The BBFC for one. Even when I have had a few, I believe I am reasonable AND rational. Unlike some religious people seem to be.

  8. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    Dr Shell,

    Choice – even if it is a choice made because of animal instincts and/or reason and rationalty is still a choice. It might even be a choice between the two.

    On the other hand, there are many people who argue in favour censorship from the basis of raw hysteria. Indeed I would suggest it is nearly all of them. Ah, hysteria! An animal instinct in itself I would suggest.

    In anycase, even if people’s desire to watch sex films is fueled by their animal instincts, there’s no reason to prevent this, provided no harm is done, and there IS no evidence to suggest harm is done. The desire to have sex at all, is fuelled by animal desires, and no one tries to completely prohibit that. Well maybe some would if they could…

  9. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    Hi Shaun

    If hysteria is at work, then why is the first thing that characterises all my comments an insistence upon logic and proper argumentation?

    Proper argument is the opposite of mere rhetoric (your ‘moaning and whinging’ being an example of rhetoric). This is in addition stereotyping, which is never the way to specific nuanced understanding of particualr pointa made by particular individuals.

    If children are to keep within boundaries, how much more adults?
    Because it stands to reason that mature people will (or at least should) demonstrate more maturity than immature people.

    I don’t understand the point about ‘no harm’. It would no doubt do ‘no harm’ for someone to dress up as Peter Pan and march down the street banging a dustbin lid and shouting ‘niggly noggly noo’. But that is no reason for doing it. One doesnt do things becuase they cause ‘no harm’, but because they cause some positive good.

    Choice on the basis of animal instincts may still be choice – I agree. That depends on how broadly you define ‘choice’. But what is certain is that one has to distinguish between (a) choices made on the basis of rational argument, weighting of factors etc, and (b) choices made on the basis of animal drives. These are two different things, and much of the previous argument was falsely assuming that they were one and the same.

    You have a very western individualistic view of morality. What if the actors’ parents who loved them , sacrificed for them and brooght them up well were not happy to see them involved in such a film. Or perhaps you want such a lack of openness that the actores would do such things behind their families’ backs? Neither of these would be a positive option.

    Arent you aware of the correlation between abandonment of Christian family/sexual morals / family breakup and social unrest / crime?

    One thing is sure, films that offer the mirage of physical pleasure with no emotional attachment could never help any marriage – apart from being a betrayal of the marriage partner.

  10. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    “Arent you aware of the correlation between abandonment of Christian family/sexual morals / family breakup and social unrest / crime? ”

    No, because quite simply there isn’t any, to any significant degree. We had repressive “christian values” for long enough, and censorship for too long. Been there, done that.
    Personally I prefer things as they are now, rather than as they were when girls got packed off to have their babies, who were then forced to be adopted. My wife, by the way was one of those babies…. So yes, we have been affected by it, not for the better I might add.

    Since the late ninteen sixties censorship was broadly abandoned in Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Finland, and other countries whilst at the same time our repressive regimes carried on as they always did. There’s nothing to suggest that the societies above are any the worse for a more liberal regime. Indeed, trying to surpress people, as you advocate, is more likely to be the cause of the problems you cite. There may be more social unrest. One of the problems is that a previous regime fostered a culture of greed, selfishness and avarice, the like we have never seen before. The “me me me” culture, of the Thatcher years in fact, and this is something we have yet to fully recover from.

    It was strange that at the same time, that same regime promoted video censorship, as a necessary element to “protect” society.

    Look what happens in catholocism, when sexuallity is denied altogether in males. They go and screw the chior boys don’t they. You cannot deny this happens far too often for comfort. Indeed if there was the same kind of correlation for sex crimes caused by porn, as has been caused because of the sexual denial in the priesthood, there would soon be more restriction. Clearly it seems it is more dangerous to be a celebate priest than to watch porn films.

    Religion should put its own house in order before condemning others, and stop being full of hypocrites.

  11. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    “One thing is sure, films that offer the mirage of physical pleasure with no emotional attachment could never help any marriage – apart from being a betrayal of the marriage partner.”

    Not true, in every circumstance. It is all about what the couple involved want. watching a film, together for whatever reason, is not the same as being unfaithful. Even then, that is a choice for the couple concerned, not one to be imposed on them.

    As for the parents of the actors, I’ve made the point elsewhere what I think about that.

    One think I am certain of, is that todays sexual liberty is less dangerous than yesterday’s sexual repression. Too many countries have allowed such liberty and decided it should remain, rather than turn back the clock.

    On the other hand in Iran they hang young girls, or stone them to death for “acts against chasity”.. I wonder if “Dr” Shell advocates this kind of repression ?

  12. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    You are funny!
    I wonder why you keep putting ‘Dr’ in inverted commas? Perhaps I bought it from the nonexistent University of Hanoi, like a teacher I once knew!

    Your reply is a perfect expression of 2005 western liberal thought with no apparent awareness of (1) any other cultures which might have equal or greater funds of wisdom;
    (2) the rotten statistics for divorce, abortion and STDs which have directly followed any society’s turning away from traditional family morality. Every statistic represents human sadness.
    What kind of evidence would show that what you call ‘sexual repression’ (and what Christians would see as a properly high evaluation of the gift of sexual love) produced anything like as much sadness? Where are the surveys that show that people are happier these days than 40-50 years ago?

  13. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    I agree with you about Catholic celibacy. It is generally unnatural & counter-productive and has no New Testament basis.

  14. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    Well “Dr” Shell, I’ve experience of other cultures in Europe, and elsewhere as I keep saying. They for long enough don’t appear to want the kind of repression of sexual literature and films etc. so clearly advocated by your “good” self. Perhaps you want the type of repression found in Papua New Guinea ? There you can get six months in prison for owning a copy of Playboy. Is that what you wish to happen Doctor ? If not I’d be interested to see what repressive penalties, you’d like to see imposed on me, and the supplier for me obtaining and watching pornographic material, if I ever did do that ?

    One of the reasons for the increase in STDs is that more people are willing to do something about it when they get it. But I’ll tell you this, and that is people were just as rotton, and just as unfaithful, thirty five years ago, as they are now, and in many cases far worse than now. It’s just that then, there was far more hypocrisy then than there is now.

    As for your title of “Dr” I don’t know what you are a doctor of. I imagine it to be theology, and if I am right, I have little respect for it to be honest. As for what is written in the New Testament – as an agnostic, and secularist, I really don’t care what is in it. As far as I am concerned it’s just an outdated crusty old book to be taken with a large pinch of salt.

    There’s nothing wrong with preaching people not to watch porn or appear in it, not to have any sex before marriage (though personally I really do think that this is would be a mistake), to be faithful to ones partner etc. Indeed preach whatever you want, and hope people will follow your advice after gentle persuasion.

    On the other hand there iseverything wrong with advocating repressive laws to ensure people abide by your so called “standards” whatever they are. There are many, who’d like prison sentences for suppliers of adult material for example… That is wrong in a free country..

  15. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    Come now! You know very well that you cannot possibly be either an agnostic or a secularist if you have never examined the NT evidence in the first place. You’re not yet in a position to come to any decision about the matter, and will not be until you have read the relevant documents.

  16. tom p says:

    Surely it’s incredibly easy to be agnostic or secular (or even an atheist) if one has never read the New Testament.
    An agnostic feels they are without knowledge, surely not reading one side of the argument would put one in that position.
    To be secular, ie without religious interference, isn’t hampered by not reading the new testament either. Indeed, surely the opposite is true.
    And as for atheism (I know you didn’t mention it, but it’s still relevant, and happens to represent my position), that is being without belief. Why should one read a book supposedly based on the life and teachings of someone who claims to be the son of a god in which one doesn’t believe?

    finally, I must take you up on your use of the word “evidence” after new testament. The book was written many years after jesus died, so it’s not exactly genuine contemporary eyewitness recollections, is it? The so-called evidence is descriptions of miracles that he supposedly performed, but all of them require belief in the supernatural powers of this ‘son of ‘god” for them to be taken at face value.
    It contains no actual evidence for belief in either a god or for jesus being his immaculately conceived son.

  17. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    Fine – but if you are without knowledge (let alone deliberately so), then you can’t object when someone points out that you’re in no position to contribute to debate on the topic.

    The basis on which one decides whether or not one believes the claims is the primary documents. Without reading them, there is no chance of either believing or disbelieving, since one is not yet in a position to have any view on the topic at all.

    The NT is not a book but a library of books. What are your views on its dating, as this is one of my favourite topics?

  18. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    But that’s not the topic I am debating on. My topic, is that some people who call themselves “christians” (whatever that actually means is irrelevant to me) want to rob me of the right to watch what I want on television and in the cinema, without demonstrating proper proof of secular harm (which they cannot supply) which would justify (even to none believers) in proportion the draconian restrictions they want to impose.

    Well I am heartily sick of them.

  19. tom p says:

    Precisely Shaun,
    Shell’s point is that he wishes all debate and expression to be limited to Christians (and possibly other gullibles (or believers as they prefer to be called)), however for something to be banned it should cause genuine harm to actual beings, not to the sensitivities of people who believe in some kind of tooth fairy with added powers

  20. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    Hi Shaun-

    Show me a sex offender – even one on death row – and I will show you a stash of pornographic magazines. No connection? (A further connection is that both the magazines and the offenders are examples of depersonalisation / dehumanisation. And a third connection is that both are trying to stand against the Christian view of these things. Do you think their version is an improvement on the Christian one?)

    You mentioned ‘rights’. ‘Rights’ don’t exist in nature – they exist by convention. They only ‘exist’ when some body decides they exist.

    You raised the point about when the New Testament is to be dated – in such a way as to imply that you have good and new information on this. What are your views on this? – as if you have new insights it would be good to hear them.

    I guess this particular tooth fairy must have a lot of added powers – not many tooth fairies have the ability to create a universe with more stars than grains of sand.
    The only appropriate stance is humility, awe and wonder. ‘Two men looked through prison bars: one saw mud, the other saw stars’. If Christians want to fix their eyes on the wonders of the universe, and some nonChristians on swearing and divorce etc, which of them would one want to follow?

  21. tom p says:

    Dr shell,
    I have no more interest in the chronology of when the new testament was written than the chronology of when Winne The Pooh was written. They’re both works of fiction, it’s just that some poor deluded souls have convinced themselves that one imparts the word of god. I only wish it’d been Winnie The Pooh that formed the basis of your beliefs.

    One can be awed by the wonder and the incredible beauty of nature without belief in god. I can’t believe that you gullibles are trying to appropriate awe along with morals, honesty and family values for your own belief system. sheesh. humility my arse. sanctimony, more like.

  22. Christopher Shell says:

    Hi Tom-
    Have you ever read ‘The Pooh Perplex’? It’s screamingly funny.

    Your words ‘The book was written many years after Jesus died’ expresses an opinion on dating. Either you are in a position to express such an opinion or you arent. If you arent then what you should have saiud was ‘I dont know when the 27 books of the NT were written, because I have not looked into this topic.’ The point is important, becauise in debating one needs to make sure that all parties are honest, and genuinely concerned with the truth.

    Again, if ytou have never looked into the topic, you are not yet in a position to classify it as a ‘work of fiction’. Why dont any (and I mean any) NT professors (Christian or nonChristian) agree with you? Is your knowledge greater than theirs?

    Most of the NT is letters. How can letters be fiction?

  23. tom p says:

    I haven’t read the Pooh Perplex, but I can reccomend The Tao of Pooh as another funny Winnie The Pooh meets religion book.
    As for the dating of the nu testament, the little I’ve read on it suggests that the stories were passed down as oral tradition and written later, however, I’m happy to retract any comments I’ve made about the chronology of it. The last thing I’d ever want to do is get into a discussion on this issue with anyone, ever. So, as far as I’m concerned, whatever you are about to type or have ever typed or said or may conceivably say on the subject is gospel*. To slightly alter your requested quote, I don’t care when the 27 books of the nu testament were written because it means nothing to me.

    It’s not letters that forms the basis of your belief, is it? it’s Jeebus and his amazing miracles, such as resurrection (fiction) feeding of the five thousand (fiction) water into wine (fiction) and so on.

    *Of course, being an atheist, something being gospel means I’m prepared to accept that some people believe it as truth, but I’m not going to waste my time reading it ‘cos it doesn’t relate to anything that has the slightest relevance to me. The new testament could be jeebus’ bible for all I care, it doesn’t make it true.

  24. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    Hi Shaun-
    “Show me a sex offender – even one on death row – and I will show you a stash of pornographic ”

    This is one of the BIGGEST fallacies the porn censorship advocates use. It patently ISN’T true. There have been lots of sex crimes committed where pornography hasn’t been a factor at all.

    Nor is there a link. Please read kutchinsky at:

    There is even evidence to suggest that Ted Bundy was in fact lying, and it is documented that the police found NO pornography whatsoever.

    Peter sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women, said God told him to do it. Should we ban religion because he blamed God for his crimes ?

    The BBFC who classify porn films in the UK, maintain there’s no evidence of harm when there is no violence.

    All people who commit sex crime, breath air. Is air the cause ? They also drink water. Is that the cause as well ?

    Most men have looked at porn at some stage or other. Many do so regularly. They don’t all become rapists. The vast majority don’t. But the fact that so many men look at porn, means it is hardly surprising that it is found when men do rape. But it is by no means all the time.

    Dr. Shell I accuse you of being guilty of fake science. Which of course is what theology is anyway…

  25. Christopher Shell says:

    Thanks for elevating me to the status of theologian! Im not one & tend to regard theologians with suspicion.
    I do think, tho’, that air and water are more universal, and more intrinsic to being a human being, than reading this sorta stuff.

  26. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    Well fine.

    Don’t read it, or watch it then.
    What I simply cannot accept is the repressive attitudes of people like yourself who want persuade UK lawmakers to deny others the legal right to make a different choice.
    Preach to people by all means, but those who try to use the legal system to prevent people from doing what they merely disagree with are simply using co-ercion, and repression to impose their so called “standards” on others. As such it must be clearly necessary, and justified, not foisted upon others solely because of the moral sensibilities of a few God botherers…

  27. Dr Christopher Shell says:

    ‘Legal’ -you havent yet addressed two points

    (a) what is legal and what is beneficial/good/right are 2 different things – as you probably agree. We all know which things are legal. The question is which things are beneficial. Anyone who wishes to limit the number of harmful things is obviously someone caring. Anyone who doesnt care about whether harmful things are limited or not is obviously someone uncaring.
    (b) Different things are legal in different ages of history and in different countries. What is so normative about the UK in AD 2005?

    ‘Choice’ – you havent yet got to grips with the point that ‘choices’ made by one’s rational natue and ‘choices’ made by one’s physical nature are 2 separate categories of thin which may sometimes conflict with one another. Some so-called ‘choices’ are the result of the physical nature getting the better of the rational – i.e. we all sometimes (because we can be weak-willed) choose to do things which we already knew to be wrong beforehand. The way you speak, one would think that people always choose things that they consider to be right. But you know very well that that is not true.

  28. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    I’ts not that 2005 is normative, it is that I live in it, and as such it is the period I am most interested in.

    Choice should not be limited to people purely on the advice of a few moralising and whinging religious people.

    If you want to rob someone of that choice please prove it really is necessary. Oh, and the rubbish in the Bible, and religious mumbo jumbo is no reason to restrict anyone.

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