Archive for April, 2010

No Mo South Park episodes for Sweden

The Swedish affiliate of Comedy Central has announced that it will no show episodes 200 and 201, citing “the safety of our employees” as the reason.

Comedy Central has decided not to air these two episodes of South Park. It is a decision we’ve made with great reluctance. Comedy Central believes strongly in creative freedom of expression; when unique and deeply insightful creative talents like those behind South Park are able to express themselves freely, we all benefit.

However, the safety of our employees is our unquestioned number one priority, and therefore we have decided to take these precautionary measures.

Episode 200 contained what was supposedly Mohammed in a bear suit. In episode 201, it turned out to be Santa Claus. This decision is preposterous.

Hirsi-Ali wins Jyllands-Posten free speech award

From the Montreal Gazette:

The committee did not doubt for an instant that you deserved this award for your unshakeable faith that it was worth fighting for your points of view.
[..]Hirsi Ali’s fight for the freedom of expression is also our fight

Cartoon trouble

Looks like we missed a lot while our server was down over the past few days.

The most significant piece of news, which you no doubt already know about, is that we now have confirmation that it is illegal in the UK to offend religious people. Should you be foolish enough to leave a cartoon in a public place and a religious person claims that the cartoon causes them “alarm and distress”, you could end up like Harry Taylor with a 6 month suspended sentence, £250 costs, 100 hours of community service, and an ASBO banning you from carrying potentially offensive materials in public (no more Private Eye or Viz for you).

A jury of Christians found him guilty, and the judge passed sentence with these words:

Not only have you shown no remorse for what you did, but even now you continue to maintain that you have done nothing wrong and say that whenever you feel like it you intend to do the same thing again in the future.

Quite right too, Harry Taylor. You did nothing wrong and you should feel no remorse. Despair at the fact that the country seems to have stepped back 300 years into the pre-enlightenment world of draconian blasphemy laws, perhaps. Disgust at the inequity of a law that protects the feelings of a few, provided those feelings stem from religious beliefs. Disdain towards the pansy-arsed cleric, Nicky Lees, whose delicate sensitivities were so injured by a handful of drawings that she felt compelled to call in the police, and towards the jury who agreed with her. But remorse? No, Harry Taylor, you should feel pride.

This is the most shocking and regressive verdict the UK has seen this century. Maybe it is time to start a fully-fledged Cartoons on Pews campaign?

In other cartoon news, the South Park farrago (see below) has prompted an international “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day“, the brain child of Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris.

Unfortunately, when her idea went viral Molly got frightened, and has now disowned the campaign. She has removed the above image from her website and replaced it with a drawing of herself.

Kurt Westergaard has had a bad week – first having to cancel his appearance at the Atheist Alliance International 2010 Conference for security reasons, then being placed on indefinite leave by his newspaper Jyllands-Posten as a direct result of the attacks on him by extremists.

And Lars Vilks, the Modoggie artist, had a lecture at a Swedish University cancelled because fears about Muslim protests meant that no venue would allow their premises to be used.

Arab European League acquitted over Jewtoon

Good news from Holland, where the egregious Arab European League has been acquitted of hate crime for publishing a Holocaust-denying cartoon on their website.

The group published the above cartoon to deliberately provoke a prosecution. Group leader Abdoulmouthalib Bouzerda was upset that Geert Wilders was let off for his Motoons, and so was determined to prove that

Freedom of expression is only a pretext to make life bitter for Muslims… and if [they] try to bring this hypocrisy to light, that right is denied them.

Poor Abdoul must have mixed feelings about the verdict: he has been proven innocent and wrong at the same time.

Craven Comedy Central

Not only did they censor the image of Mohammed in episode 201, but they bleeped out every mention of his name. Just to be on the safe side.

Parker and Stone are not happy. A statement on (not viewable in UK, except by proxy), they say:

In the 14 years we’ve been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we’ll see what happens to it.

By giving in to the threats of, Comedy Central has made a tiny band of idiots feel very big and clever.

UPDATE: Comedy Central have also removed the “Super Best Friends” episode from their website.

Titanic blasphemy makes waves in Germany

Carnal Nation reports that the German magazine Titanic (“The ultimate blasphemy magazine. Required reading for blasphemers”) has prompted more than one hundred complaints to the German Press Council from readers who are offended by its latest cover:

The Church Today: Titanic's April cover

The amusing commentary on the Catholic church scandals also drew two further complaints to the Frankfurt Public Ministry claiming “incitement to hatred”.

Titanic’s editor Leo Fischer is remaining calm in the face of the storm:

That cover? You only see a priest praying in front of Christ. I am pleased to say that we have many Christians among our readers.

In addition to the front cover, which is available for free download as wallpaper, Titanic are making available six postcards to send elecronically, each featuring Jesus Christ being put to a number of different uses. They are all captioned “Does Jesus still have a role?” and they are so good that we are featuring them all here:

The Frankfurt Public Ministry will decide next week whether or not to press charges on incitement to hatred grounds.

South Park does Mohammed again, gets threats

Episode 200 of South Park (viewable here) has provoked the wrath of a radical Muslim group which took offence at the depiction of the prophet Mohammed (the inventor of Islam (a middle-eastern theistic belief system)).

Too much to bear: A cartoon of the Muslim prophet Mohammed dressed in a bear suit in South Park

Entitled “200”, the episode revisits the theme of the Motoon taboo. Tom Cruise and a host of celebrities previously insulted by the town of South Park threaten a class action suit against unless Mohammed is brought in. Cruise tells the boys that he has “always wanted to meet” the prophet, but he reveals the real reason for the demand to his co-complainants:

Mohammed has a power that makes him impervious to being made fun of. What if we could harness that power?

They plan to gain that power by “taking his goo”, although the exact procedure for extracting said goo is not explained.

The residents of South Park, still nervous about showing Mohammed in any form, eventually bring him on dressed in a bear suit. Ironically, when the bombings begin, it is not jihadists who are responsible, but ginger fundamentalists who, like the celebs, are keen to obtain his goo and thus gain immunity from ridicule., displaying the sense of humour we have come to expect from such types, have issued veiled threats on their website and released a YouTube video featuring the words of a sermon by Anwar a-Awlaki played over images of Theo van Gogh, Salman Rushdie, Ayan Hirsi Ali, Lars Vilks, Kurt Westergaard, and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them

They also provide the addresses of Comedy Central in New York, and Parker & Stone’s production company in Los Angeles.

Just to “give people the opportunity to protest”, you understand.

Here is a video of Parker and Stone talking sense about the whole affair. It contains footage of the first time Mo made an appearance in South Park – the “Super Best Friends” episode from series 5:

UPDATE (21 April)

The Freethinker noticed that got hacked yesterday. Their front page was replaced by this image.

God’s penis rears its head again

Church goers in Warr Acres, Oaklahoma are outraged that their new crucifix appears to show Christ’s big fat erect penis poking out – balls ‘n’ all – from under his somewhat redundant loincloth.

In fact, the suspected stonker is supposed to be His distended abdomen, painted in the iconographic style of a San Damiano cross. But it seems that most of the members of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church are unconvinced, and some have left the parish in dismay.

One visitor said,

I was horrified. I believe in freedom of expression. I believe in artistic freedom. I believe that a church is a holy place, and I certainly don’t want people telling anyone how to worship, but I was shocked, stunned, and if I hadn’t been prepared already, I think I would have just been ill.

I’m already very sensitive because of the pedophilia issue. This doesn’t make it any better

He is risen: The crucifix is about 10ft tall!

(Hat tip: Nobody’s Business)

UPDATE: (April 18) The Freethinker notes that the US media are censoring the image in their news reports:

Too funny!