Archive for November, 2009

Beeb drop papal nun rape ballet for fear of causing offence

The BBC, increasingly jittery about causing offence to anyone, has shelved plans to show a ballet which features a hunchbacked pope with a penchant for raping nuns and eunuchs.

The tribute to Diaghilev is in four parts, and it is part 4 by Javier de Frutos, entitled Eternal Damnation To Sancho And Sanchez, which gave the beeb the heebie-jeebies. Apparently, they thought it might offend.

When we announced we were showing it, at the time we weren’t fully aware of the details of the ballet and had every intention of showing all four acts.

We’re not able to show it after before the watershed because the scenes in this work are particularly strong. Even in a post-watershed slot it would not be possible to show the work in its entirety. As is often the case with performance pieces the programme was commissioned before the final details of the work were established.

While it is plausible that the corporation feared an orchestrated Jerry Springer: The Opera style outrage campaign from angry Catholics, one should not rule out the possibility that they decided to cancel the show because it was crap.

Vatican plugs new vampire movie

Monsignor Franco Perazzolo, of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council of Culture, has decided to give a new vampire movie a publicity boost by publicly condemning it.

Speaking about New Moon, the latest in the vampire saga Twighlight, the biscuit-munching moraliser said:

Men and women are transformed with horrible masks and it is once again that age-old trick or ideal formula of using extremes to make an impact at the box office.

This film is nothing more than a moral vacuum with a deviant message and as such should be of concern

Hmm – “a moral vacuum with a deviant message”? Sounds just like the Vatican.

Support for UN religious defamation rule drops

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference’s ongoing campaign to bring an international religious defamation resolution into effect suffered a decline in support for the 3rd year running.

Last year 85 countries in the UN’s Third Committee on Human Rights voted for the resolution, which a reduction in support from 95, in 2007. This year that number dropped to 81. Similarly, the number of countries voting against the proposal rose to 55 this year, from last year’s 50.

Perhaps the fact that the wording of the resolution is indefensible has something to do with the waning of support.

Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.

However, while support for these non-binding resolutions is dropping, a major maneuver to create a legally-binding blasphemy law has taken place in Geneva. On Oct 30th Pakistan moved to make a binding treaty amendment to the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) which would include a ban on “defamation of religions”.

Belief groups have united with the International Humanist and Ethical Union to oppose the ban.

Matt Cherry, head of the IHEU delegation to the United Nations in New York:

Outlawing ‘defamation of religion’ will create a global law against blasphemy that takes rights from individuals and gives them to governments and religious leaders… The range of belief groups opposing this measure—including Humanist, Muslim, Christian and Hindu organizations—reveals that this proposal is opposed even by the believers it claims to protect

Nanny Pattison soundbite identified

Here it is:

if there is the slightest possibility that X can cause harm, is this worth the risk?

She has said it before, and she’ll say it again. Usually after muttering vaguely about “numerous studies” linking violent films/games to real world violence.

As has been pointed out before, you could replace that “X” with anything. Things with much more reliable evidential links to real world violence.

Things like religion. Is it really worth the risk, Nanny?

Bring on the Mo-movie!

<b>Barry Osborne</b>: Bringing Mo into the glare of publicity

Barry Osborne: Bringing Mo into the glare of publicity

A major Hollywood film about the inventor of Islam is due to begin production in 2011.

Qatar based production company Alnoor Holdings has brought in big-shot producer Barrie Osborne (The Matrix and Lord of the Rings) to make a biopic of Mohammed. The usual restrictions apply: no depictions of the “prophet” or his immediate family.

Wallace Shawn must be bitterly disappointed.

Osborne has apparently swallowed the myth hook line and sinker:

He was a profound genius who founded a religion whose name in Islam signifies peace and reconciliation. This is what our film will aspire to do.

If that wasn’t enough to guarantee a whitewash, they have brought in the demented Sheik “Throw gays from clifftops” Qaradawi as a technical advisor.

In spite of the obvious deficiencies of this proposed project, the appearance of a major film about the life of Mohammed is unequivocally a Good Thing. People, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, are generally ignorant of this semi-historical figure as he is depicted in the source texts of Islam.

There are two Jesuses: the perfect Son of God whom Christians carry around in their heads as an ideal imaginary friend, and the rather sanctimonious, petulant, bad-tempered character as depicted in the Gospels (he had good points, too – but the bad ones are always overlooked or excused by believers).

Mohammed has the same dual nature, but the discrepancy for Muslims is even greater. In their heads he is the paradigm of perfect humanity. In the source texts, he is revealed, among other things, as a paedophile and a torturer.

Yes, the biopic will be a whitewash. It will be strongly criticised for it. This will lead to the evidence of the source texts being revealed to a much wider audience than ever before, educating both infidel and Muslim alike.

And that can’t be bad.

Christians protest Glasgay play

<b>Jesus Christ!</b>: Jo Clifford plays God in a dress

Jesus Christ!: Jo Clifford plays God in a dress

The Herald reports that “more than 300” Christians protested in Glasgow last night against a play they considered blasphemous.

Jesus, Queen of Heaven portrays the famous semi-mythical Jew worshipped by Christians as a transexual woman. This was too much for the Clydeside god-botherers, who held a candlelit vigil outside the Tron Theatre, and waved banners reading:




The paranoid homophobes of the Christian Institute regard the play as

further proof of an agenda to use taxpayers’ money to fund assaults on Christian values.

UPDATE: (11.25) Oh dear. The BBC notes that festival organisers are making dark hints about legal action. They have described the banners as “fairly provocative” and say they could be regarded as “inciting homophobia.”

Shut up. No, you shut up! No – YOU shut up!!

Theo Van Gogh – 5th anniversary

Today is the fifth anniversary of the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh at the hands of a Koran-crazed fanatic.

This is the film, made in collaboration with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which got him killed:
Pass it on.