Archive for August, 2008

Beyer worried about Wii

John Beyer, head of the slowly-declining anti-smut lobby group Mediawatch-UK, has received a bit of a publicity boost this week because of comments he made to The Daily Mail about an upcoming shoot-em-up game for the Nintendo Wii.

Gamers across the net have been writing about the Massah’s remarks all week. They appear to be under the impression that Beyer is an influential voice, rather than the tabloid press’s go-to guy for ill-informed, inelegantly expressed prude-bites.

MadWorld is due for release in 2009, and is rather violent. Here’s what the Sage of Ashford has to say about it:

This game sounds very unsavoury.

I hope the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will view this with concern and decide it should not be granted a classification

Because Beyer, never having understood the distinction between cause and correlation, thinks that playing violent video games or watching violent films makes people violent. Violent film and games exist; violence occurs in society; therefore violent films and games cause violence.

We need to ensure that modern and civilized values take priority rather than killing and maiming people.


It seems a shame that the game’s manufacturer have decided to exclusively release this game on the Wii.

I believe it will spoil the family fun image of the Wii

Haven’t you missed the tortured syntax and ambiguous phrasing? We’ll miss Mediawatch-UK when they’re gone.

UPDATE: (Aug 15) The gaming news site Spong were so surprised that anyone should have such strong opinions about a game they have not seen that they wrote to Beyer to make sure he hadn’t been misquoted. He replied in his customary style:

Mad World (sic) has yet to be classified and so no one should have seen it.

Fortunately, there is enough information about it in the public domain to enable judgements to be formed. This is sufficient for anyone to express concern about the self proclaimed and stylised brutality the game contains.

Self proclaimed and stylised? Wow, that is bad.

It will be up to the BBFC to grant or refuse a classification and whether or not they listen to our concerns or give in to the demands of the industry.

Sweet Jesus, won’t someone put that sentence out of its misery?

(His arguments have been shot down enough times. So let’s just concentrate on making fun of his grammar.)

Random House unrepentant about burka-ripper ban

According to The Bookseller, Random House do not feel they have acted unreasonably in shelving Sherry Jones’ burka-ripping Mo-ro The Jewel of Medina in the face of imagined threats from radical Islamists.

The Guardian reports that Geoffrey Robinson QC, who defended Rushdie during the Satanic Verses affair, has called on Random House to pay “substantial compensation” to the author.

We can’t be overcritical of American publishers for cowering under terrorist threats. After all, the Guardian, like every other British newspaper, lacked the gumption to publish the Danish cartoons. But all who care about free speech have a duty to make this sort of censorship counterproductive.

The Guardian report comes tantalisingly close to stating that Mohammed married Aisha when she was six years old – but a strategically placed comma keeps them from the brink:

The first person narrative details the life of Aisha, one of Muhammad’s wives, from the age of six until 18 when Muhammad dies.

Sherry Jones herself remains remarkably chirpy about the whole thing:

Frankly I’m more afraid of global warming than of terrorist attacks […] I did expect my book would be controversial, just because I’m a pink woman writing about a culture that was not my own and a religion that is not my own … [but] my aim was not to provoke, it was to portray the difficulty of being a woman in that era, and to portray this wonderful heroine who overcame obstacles to become a prominent figure in Islam.

And in the comments of this blog she reveals that she is already working on a follow-up:

OK, I have to go and work on my sequel now—which is, by the way, even better than the first book. It alternates points of view between A’isha and her (historically documented) nemesis, Ali, and provides a lot of insight into both of these characters as well as the origins of the Sunni-Shi’ite split.

Maybe she’ll have more luck with Profile Books, whose director Andrew Franklin brands Random House “absolute cowards” in the Guardian article.

Goodbye CCTV

<b>Bad Boy Bishop</b>: Michael Reid preached traditional values while doinking the choir mistress

Bad Boy Bishop: Michael Reid preached traditional values while doinking the choir mistress

The final nail in the coffin of the Christian Campaign for Traditional Values was hammered in last week with the official resignation of its PR man Garry Selfridge. It came four months after the resignation of the organisations leader, “Bishop” Michael Reid, who was exposed as a traditional adulterer.

Selfridge’s letter contains a mixture of shame and bitterness. Shame at having “lacked the intuition to see [Reid’s] true nature over many years of working with him” and playing such a major role in the group’s promotion. Bitterness at having been duped by such a “fake” whose “peerless hypocrisy” and “personal disgrace” caused the “irretrievable loss of reputation of the CCTV” and exposed Selfridge to “loud scornful laughter in the BBC White City newsroom”.

The letter also claims that Reid is “entirely impenitent” and makes several allegations in evidence which MWW will not publish here because of their potentially libellous nature. Suffice to say that they reveal Reid to be a deeply unpleasant character, and as such come as no surprise to those of us who regarded the “Bishop” with the contempt he deserved right from the start.

Not that Essex PR man Garry Selfridge deserves any sympathy in this matter. He is, after all, behind such dishonest and hateful CCTV campaigns as “Gay aim – abolish the family”. And he still hasn’t removed Reid’s image from the slideshow on Selfridge Communications website.

It is with some pleasure that we remove the link to CCTV in our “watching these” sidebar. Good riddance.

Ofcom censures Premier Christian Radio for mayoral election ad

Back in May MWW reported on the alleged censoring of a Christian mayoral candidate’s election broadcast by the BBC and ITV.

As it turned out, Alan Craig, the candidate in question, subsequently lost his case against the BBC because he had raised no objection to the cuts at the time, preferring instead to squeal about it after the broadcast. At this point, it dawned on everyone that the whole thing was just an election stunt.

This suspicion has been confirmed by the news that Ofcom has judged (PDF) Premier Christian Radio (the main instigators of the anti Jerry Springer: the Opera campaign) to be “in breach” for a trailer for The Politics Show about the Alan Craig case.

Introduced by “Macho” George Hargreaves (who, among other things believes the Welsh flag is satanic), the trailer went like this:

Alan Craig, the Christian People Alliance and Christian Party’s candidate for
London Mayor has seen ITV force him to re-write comments in his party
election broadcast about a radical Muslim group. Join me George Hargreaves
on The Politics Programme on Genesis TV and Revelation TV on Wednesday
30 April at 9pm when we ask the question: ‘Has the Christian People Alliance
and Christian Party’s mayoral candidate, Alan Craig, been a victim of political
censorship gone bad and political correctness gone mad?’

Ofcom judged this to show “undue partiality” to Craig, and to present him as a victim of unjust treatment.

Strange that these Christians should seek to dishonestly create and exploit a victimhood scenario in order to try to gain political advantage. Presumably they think that’s what Jesus would have done.

Ezra Levant wins case

The Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission in Canada has rejected the complaint about Ezra Levant, who published the Motoons in The Western Standard. We reported on Levant tearing a strip off the council back in January. It is nice to see him vindicated.

Yasmeen Nizam, the lawyer representing the Muslim complainants in the case, was remarkably frank about their motives.

Our whole idea was to educate people,. We thought the cartoons did (expose Muslims to hatred), regardless of the context, because if you look at the broader context in a post-9-11 world, Muslims are at a higher risk of being discriminated against

We weren’t shopping around for any laws. We thought this was a good way to bring our concerns to the attention of the public. Obviously, we didn’t want this to continue, so (another goal was) perhaps to discourage people from further maligning our prophet and our religion. . . . We wanted this to have a deterrent effect.

It did not work. It will not work in the future. It has never stood any chance of working.


Racy Mohammed romance shelved by Random House

<b>Mo-ro:</b><i>The Jewel of Medina</i> won\'t be published by Random House

Mo-ro: The Jewel of Medina won't be published by Random House

The Wall Street Journal reports that Random House spiked a racy historical novel about Aisha, Mohammed’s child bride, after an American academic branded it ‘offensive’.

Sherry Jones’ The Jewel of Medina was bought from her last year for $100,000 as part of a two-book deal. However, an advance copy was sent to Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas in Austin, who apparently decided to take offence on behalf of hyper-sensitive Muslims.

I walked through a metal detector to see ‘Last Temptation of Christ,’ […] I don’t have a problem with historical fiction. I do have a problem with the deliberate misinterpretation of history. You can’t play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography.

You can’t? Who says?

Spellberg contacted the publisher, urging them to shelve the “very ugly, stupid piece of work” and telling them it was “a declaration of war . . . explosive stuff . . . a national security issue.”

Here is an excerpt from the book, in which the 50-year-old prophet consummates his marriage with his young bride:

the pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion’s sting. To be in his arms, skin to skin, was the bliss I had longed for all my life.

All nine years of it. But it’s okay – she was very mature for her age, you know.

Spellberg also informed a visiting lecturer, Shahed Amanullah, that the novel “made fun of Muslims and their history” and asked him to warn Muslims. Which he duly did. Soon it was all over the Muslim net, and activists started planning ways to ensure the book was withdrawn and the writer apologises etc etc.

Sherry Jones and her agent are now looking for a new publisher for the controversial Mo-ro. Fingers crossed!

Cross-rage Down Under

<b>Only Women Bleed</b>: The triptych by Adam Cullen which has upset a judge

Only Women Bleed: The triptych by Adam Cullen which upset a judge

The latest case of Christian-symbol-inspired outrage comes from Australia where the ever-controversial Blake Prize for Religious Art is causing a stir again.

One of the judges, Christopher Allen, has resigned from the panel over the above painting by Adam Cullen. It is not clear whether his objections to the painting are religious or aesthetic.

Last year the prize angered prime minister John Howard and the Catholic Archbishop of Syndey George Pell. The Virgin Mary in a burka, and a Christ / bin Laden hologram were the contentious entries that time.

Christians offended by plane and frog

The Freethinker carries two amusing stories of Christian offence-taking on two contents.

First, the crucified frog in Italy which has Catholics “hopping mad”.

<b>Ecce frog</b>:

Ecce frog: Give him a kiss and he'll turn into a prince of peace

Pope Benedict the Whatever is taking a summer break somewhere near the museum where this particular artwork is exhibited, prompting a local group to collect nearly 10,000 signatures calling for its removal.

Will somebody please disabuse these Catholics of the notion that they have some kind of copyright on the depiction of this form of execution?

Next, we travel to Canada for the Jesus Sucks flyby

<b>The plane truth</b>: Kenny and Spenny and their human-rights-violating banner

The plane truth: Kenny and Spenny and their human-rights-violating banner

The above stunt was part of a competition between TV show hosts Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice who were seeing who could offend the most people in one go. Hotz explains:

I wanted the banner to say ‘Heil Hitler’ or ‘Guys are stupid’ or something, but the airplane company wouldn’t agree to those. So, I said, ‘My friend Jesus [pronounced the Spanish way, Hay-sus] is getting married and I want to play a joke on him.’

Now Dean Skoreyko, of Coldstream, BC, is claiming the banner violated his human rights and has filed a claim with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. This appears to be, at least partly, a protest against the BCHRT itself, which is currently considering a complaint by Muslim students about an article by Mark Steyn in Maclean’s magazine, and is developing a reputation for being anti-free speech.

Danish imams to pay for more Free Speech in Democracy lessons

We have lost count of the number of times Danish Muslim groups have tried and failed to bring a prosecution against the Jyllands-Posten for publishing the Motoons. But each time the judge has explained quite clearly to them how and why such satirical work is not against the law.

They still have not learned.

We believe that Muslims have been treated unjustly and that is why we want to take this case before the Supreme Court

says Assaad Bilal, a spokesman for one of the organisations.

They are seeking the “harshest possible penalty” against editor Carsten Juste and art editer Flemming Rose.

And if the imams still haven’t learned their lesson after the Supreme Court rejects their claim, they have vowed to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

They also had “other plans” which Bilal did not elaborate on.

Is there a special court for plaintiffs with learning difficulties?