Archive for October, 2009

A couple of offensive videos

Two videos today, both eliciting negative reactions of a religious nature.

The first from Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm which has got the Catholic League’s wannabe Irishman Bill Donahue in a righteous lather. In this clip, Larry, who is on meds which make him urinate with great force, visits a Catholic friend (watch 1st 2 minutes):
Says Donahue:

Was Larry David always this crude? Would he think it comedic if someone urinated on a picture of his mother? This might be fun to watch, but since HBO only likes to dump on Catholics (it was just a couple of weeks ago that Sarah Silverman insulted Catholics on “Real Time with Bill Maher”), and David is Jewish, we’ll never know.

The other vid is an ad for the German lingerie producer, Liaison Dangereuse, in which a woman dons a niqab over her sexy underwear:
This prompted a Norwegian religion historian to brand the ad “provoking” because it links the niqab with sexuality, rather than morals and virtue.

Hanne Nabintu Herland does not realise that the niqab has the effect of reducing a human being to a purely sexual object.

Laugh at those who insult freedom

Bartholomew observes that this Saturday 31st October there will be four protest groups converging on London. One al-Muhajiroun spinoff by the name of Islam3UK, calling for sharia law, and three counter-demonstrations (the BNP-ish English Defence League, Muslims4UK, and Muslims for Secular Democracy).

This lot are the funniest – and much more British than the BNP could ever be:
Al-Muhajiroun deserve to be laughed out of the public square.

Chicago – two arrested for Jyllands-Posten terror plot

Two men have been arrested (Googlish version) in Chicago in connection with a plot to attack offices of the Danish newspaper which originally published the Motoons.

David Coleman Headley (49), originally Daood Gilani, a US citizen and Tahawwur Hussain Rana (48), a Pakistani Canadian, allegedly liaised with Pakistani terror groups to plan an attack on the Jyllands-Posten.

According to the Justice Department Press Release, Headley conducted surveillance in Denmark during two separate trips arranged by Rana and subsequently passed on the information to terrorist groups in Pakistan.

From the press release:

In October 2008, Headley allegedly posted a message to the “abdalians” internet discussion group stating that “I feel disposed towards violence for the offending parties,” referring to the Danish cartoonists and others who he identified “as making fun of Islam.”


(Hat tip: Islam in Europe)

Abolishing blasphemy in Northern Ireland

A motion by Lord Lester to abolish the law against blasphemous libel in Northern Ireland is being fervently opposed by the fundamentalist group Christian Concern for Our Nation.

They have called on their members to pray.

Doughty defenders of free speech when it involves their right to denigrate homosexuals or disturb their neighbours with amplified God-rock, CCFON always become concerned by the prospect of allowing anyone to disrespect their imaginary friend with impunity. Really – free speech is all well and good, but there are limits, you know!

It would be completely unacceptable for the House of Lords to make a decision which would affect the religious culture of Northern Ireland without proper discussion and without involving Northern Ireland’s elected representatives.

Please pray that the Northern Ireland representatives would have the opportunity to voice their concerns to the Government and that the clause would be defeated.

Pray away.

The Guardian reports Lord Lester as saying:

There is now a grotesque situation in Ireland[…] In the Republic of Ireland, there has been a rebirth of the offence of blasphemous libel for domestic constitution reasons, and in Northern Ireland we have not yet managed to get rid of it.

God no more needs to be protected by criminal law in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain.

Oh Crumbs! Comic Genesis upsets Christian Institute

An illustrated version of the Book of Genesis by Robert Crumb has offended the religious sentiments of a group of Christians.

<b>Who's your daddy</b>: The world's most righteous man (according to God) gets pissed and shags his daughters

Who's your daddy: The world's most righteous man (according to God) gets pissed and shags his daughters

The arch homophobes of the Christian Institute do not like the fact that their sex-and-violence ridden “holy book” has been graphically exposed as being ridden with sex and violence. Spokesman Mike Judge said:

It is turning the Bible into titillation. It seems wholly inappropriate for what is essentially God’s rescue plan for mankind.

If you are going to publish your own version of the Bible it must be done with a great deal of sensitivity. The Bible is a very important text to many many people and should be treated with the respect it deserves.

Er… it is being treated with the respect it deserves, Mikey.

Representing it in your own way is all very well and good but it must be remembered that it is a matter of people’s faith, their religion.

Faith is such an important part of people’s lives that one must remember to tread very carefully.

What on earth for? If you believe that the Bible is “God’s rescue plan for mankind,” then you have made a mistake. You can’t expect people to tiptoe around your mistake-based sensitivities.

Nanny Pattison makes her debut

We are a bit slow to latch on to the new director of MediaWatch-UK’s first foray into the tabloids, but it be honest it was so underwhelming that it seemed hardly worthy of mention. Anyone hoping that the appointment of Vivienne Pattison would inject new life into the moribund anti-smut group will be disappointed with her soundbite offered up by the Daily Express.

To put it in context, she was voicing her support for MP Julian Brazier, who is urging local councils to ban the film Saw VI. He thinks it is too violent for adults to watch, and Pattison agrees:

Studies link exposure to film violence with violent behaviour.

If there is the slightest chance that media violence can cause harm is it worth the risk?

Ho-hum. Vague mutterings about flawed “studies” and an illogical rhetorical question. Apart from the fact that the two sentences are grammatically flawless, they could have been spoken by the Massah himself.

Why try to validate your opinions with “studies” when you have so little respect for “academics”? Look at this from the Mediawatch-UK website:

Academics, on the other hand, tend to deny any causal link suggesting that those who act violently are predisposed to it and are, or have been, influenced by other environmental factors.

Academics – people who devote their professional lives to finding out the truth about such questions – do not support MediaWatch’s opinions. MediaWatch’s opinions are based on what they call “common sense observation.” Yet they are still keen to cite “studies” (in reality one, flawed study from the 70s) if it gains them a bit of credibility. Indeed, in the paragraph following immediately after their denigration of “academics,” they talk about a “Dr Susan Bailey, a forensic psychologist, interviewed by Panorama in 1994” who said something they might agree with.

So academics are unreliable unless they agree with MediaWatch’s “common sense” conclusions? The self-belief of these would-be arbiters of taste and decency is as breathtaking as it is unjustified.

And as for her rhetorical question, it works both ways: if there’s the slightest chance that exposure to media violence could have a cathartic effect and prevent an act of violence, isn’t it worth the risk? The logic is identical, and the point equally worthless without the supporting evidence..

A spokesperson for the British Board of Film Classification is quoted in the Express:

We believe adults should be free to choose their own entertainment.

Not if Nanny Pattison has anything to do with it. Because Nanny knows best.

Brinkmann’s “honour-killing” thriller finds a new German publisher

Der Spiegel (Googlish translation here) reports the good news that the crime novel recently cancelled by a Dusseldorf publisher for fear of violent Muslim reaction has found another publisher.

Leda-Verlag plans to present Gabriele Brinkmann’sEhre, wem ehre… (To Whom Honour is Due) at the Frankfurt book fair this week. Publisher Heike Gerdes conceded that the book “might provoke some,” but insisted that it did not single out “the Turks” or Islam for criticism, focusing instead on traditional misogynic attitudes.

We believe that everyone should form their own impression. We have found nothing in the text which would deter us from publication, and will bring out the book in full.

A percentage of the book’s profits will be donated to the charity Solidarity With Women in Need.

As a precaution, the police have been informed.

UK’s Geert Wilders ban deemed unlawful by Immigration Tribunal

Breaking news: The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in London has ruled that the UK government was wrong to ban Geert Wilders from entering the country.

Earlier this year, Wilders was invited to address the House of Lords and show his film Fitna, but was turned away by immigration at Heathrow. The Secretary of State Jacqui Smith said that showing the film “would threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.”

The government has not yet reacted to the tribunal’s judgement.

UPDATE: (15:06) The BBC reports that the government is disappointed:

We are disappointed by the court’s decision. The government opposes extremism in all its forms.
“The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence. We still maintain this view.

Trafigura/toxic waste & Barclays/tax avoidance?

The question in question?

N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report [PDF] on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.

Further information here.

Pass it on.

The Spectator has joined in.

UPDATE: (13 Oct) Carter-Ruck backs down. Victory to teh internets!

Spanish Catholics whine about Agora

ppagora061009A new film by Alejandro Amenabar has provoked complaints from a Spanish Catholic organisation which claims it will “stir up hatred against Christians.”

The president of the Religious Anti-Defamation Observatory, Antonio Alonso Marcos, has sent an open letter (link to Googlish translation) to the Spanish director:

The reason for my letter is to make you realize something that you already know but have dismissed as unimportant: your film is going to awaken hatred against Christians in today’s society. You present a biased view of the relationship between science and the Church, between faith and reason. It has been pointed out to you directly and indirectly, and you have used a somewhat vague excuse and looked the other way.

The film is a biopic of Hypatia, a 5th century neo-Platonic philosopher who was scraped to death by a howling mob of seashell-wielding Christians. So it is hardly surprising that the OADIR is objecting – they’d be much happier if the bloody past of the Catholic Church was kept hidden from the glare of Hollywood publicity.

Bartholomew has more about this organisation, and the clownish Antonio Alonso Marcos.