06 February 2006

Lets be honest, our media are too scared to publish the cartoons.

The BBC claimed there was no 'artistic argument' for publication. The Guardian justified not printing the cartoons by claiming they were 'too offensive' and anyway victimised a Muslim minority. But these cartoons are not the same as the Nazi cartoons against the Jews. They are mocking ideas not a people.

Armando Iannucci is of course far closer to the truth.

"That's why it's with pride I present perhaps the most dangerous joke I have ever done, in the form of the illustration that you see now in the middle of this column. It's a cartoon depicting Mohammed, Moses and Christ engaged in a disgusting act on the roof of a Hindu temple.[in fact it's a picture of Chantelle from big brother]

I believe there have been long debates in The Observer offices as to whether this cartoon should be censored in some way, or even replaced with some abstract illustration of other parts of the column, and I am glad that, as of my last phone conversation with them at 10 o'clock yesterday evening, the editorial team have put thoughts of their own and their families' safety to one side in order to publish my brave joke.

I know this brilliant cartoon may cause offence to about four billion believers, but I'm sure all of them will eventually see both my point and the funny side. Even if they don't, I will defend to the probable death of an Observer receptionist my right to make this sort of necessary satirical observation (she knew the risks when she took the job on).

I only hope that those of you out there who do not believe in the God-given right satirists have had from the dawn of civilisation to take a pop at stuff are thoroughly ashamed of yourselves. Your views are beneath contempt, though I will defend your right to hold them, unless they're racist, in which case I don't, unless the government is trying to stop you having them, in which case I do."

I don't blame the media for being scared, but lets not dress this up in pretty language. They are scared, they are not taking the moral highground. Trying to argue that they are is dangerous.

Nobody has the right not to be offended. I am offended at being told I can't ridicule someone's absurd beliefs. They are after all just ideas. Mockery, ridicule and satire are essential ways of criticising and highlighting absurdities.

It is the bravery of previous generations that challenged the taboos of Christianity, now it is Islam's turn. The more we shirk from this, the more religion will infringe on our democracy. The choice is ours. The British media have been cowardly. All the media should be as one on this. Even the fascist Daily Mail and Sun have used similar excuses to the BBC and Guardian to avoid publication. Rather than praising them as Jack Straw has done, we should condemn their cowardice. If all the media and public who oppose this restriction on free speech were as one, it would strengthen our democracy. They can't kill us all. By leaving it to a few brave newspapers in Europe, we intensify the pressure on those who fight for our freedom. We should be ashamed of ourselves for letting the religious bullies win. Eventually bullies have to be stood up to, the longer you leave it, the worse it gets.

13 comments:

  1. The Blue Foxxx6/2/06 9:25 am

    " I will defend to the probable death of an Observer receptionist my right to make this sort of necessary satirical observation (she knew the risks when she took the job on)."

    Nice piece of sexism slipped in there...

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  2. "too sensible" rather than "too scared" imho.

    PooterGeek is rather perceptive about Armando Unfunnucci here: http://www.pootergeek.com/?p=1991

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  3. blue fox: How do you know the Observer receptionist isn't a woman?

    Armando does write for the Observer so I would imagine he knows.

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  4. The Blue Foxxx6/2/06 11:57 pm

    "I will defend to the probable death of an Observer receptionist my right to make this sort of necessary satirical observation"

    Receptionist in the abstract.

    "(she knew the risks when she took the job on)"

    Gender specified specific...

    Key section - "an Observer receptionist". Stop being a dick Neil

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  5. Blue fox: If anyones being a dick, it is you. Grow up. Who gives a fuck. If it was sexism, it was accidental. You are reading far too much into this.

    Like I say, for all we know, the receptionist is a woman. Does this matter?

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  6. The Blue Foxxx7/2/06 11:12 am

    Sexism doesn't matter but religious expression does?

    'Grow up'? But it is you giving us the sixth form anti-religion rants...

    "If it was sexism, it was accidental. You are reading far too much into this."
    I assume you would feel similarly, if it was accidental racism, or your current bugbear of prejudice against atheists.

    Who gives a fuck about sexism - dick.

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  7. Neil Harding7/2/06 3:10 pm

    Look this is ridiculous. It could 'possibly' have been sexist but we don't know that.

    If he had put 'he' instead of 'she' would that still have been sexism?

    You are just being idiotic and pedantic in the extreme.

    Can we please discuss the real issues rather than this pathetic point.

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  8. The Blue Foxxx7/2/06 5:40 pm

    "Look this is ridiculous. It could 'possibly' have been sexist but we don't know that."

    Automatically assuming those in low status jobs are female is sexist Neil.

    "If he had put 'he' instead of 'she' would that still have been sexism?"

    No, for the reason above - it is based on the continued fact of inequality in the workplace and labour market.

    "You are just being idiotic and pedantic in the extreme."

    Glad you can relegate sexual discriminatory discourse so easily.

    "Can we please discuss the real issues rather than this pathetic point."

    Wow! It's been a while since I heard anyone dismiss charges of sexism in this way so explicitly. Don't worry, you are not alone in regarding sexual discrimination as a non-issue.

    Sorry to impede Harding's pointless crusade against the faithful.

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  9. "Wow! It's been a while since I heard anyone dismiss charges of sexism in this way so explicitly. Don't worry, you are not alone in regarding sexual discrimination as a non-issue."

    This is ridiculous. You can hardly say that an accidental 'she' used in an article is all that big a deal. It is hardly discrimination. I do not dismiss sexual discrimination as a non-issue. This is NOT sexual-discrimination. Accidently typing an 's' in an article is not changing anyone's life. You should get an award for distorting what someone says.

    Yes I will agree with you, that it shouldn't be there, Armando has slipped up, but writing an article to a deadline and making a mistake like this is hardly a world event and I'm absolutely sure that it wasn't meant and that Armando is no more a sexist than you.

    I am the sort of person who likes Polly Toynbee's idea of a 'man tax' to redress the wealth inequalities between men and women, totally unworkable but I like the idea.

    I deplore discrimination in all its forms.

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  10. The Blue Foxxx7/2/06 10:39 pm

    "I deplore discrimination in all its forms."

    Unless against the religious...

    Glad you accept my point that it 'shouldn't be there'; an accident or a typo though... surely it's some kind of press conspiracy to besmirch such a brave fighter for offending people purposelessly (not my opinion of the original cartoons BTW).

    "You can hardly say that an accidental 'she' used in an article is all that big a deal."

    Very revealing though.

    When do I get my award?

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  11. I do not discriminate against the religious, but we should mock, criticise and ridicule their ideas relentlessly because they are nonsense. Religious views are given far too much coverage and are protected from criticism and this is wrong. It is atheists who are discriminated against in this society.

    If you read past posts on here, I have defended religious organisations such as Hizb ut Tahrir on the grounds of free speech.

    If someone is not inciting violence then I defend their right to say it publicly even if (or especially if) it is something I disagree with. But at the same time I condemn what they say with all the venom I can muster and encourage them to be destroyed in debate.

    "Glad you accept my point that it 'shouldn't be there'; an accident or a typo though"

    Well a latent sexist he may be, but on the scale of sexism it ranks extremely low in my opinion. Making a fuss about women's pay is what we should be concentrating on.

    Let's be completely honest here. I grew up in the seventies and I barely met anyone who wasn't sexist or racist either purposely or accidently. I certainly was. Have you never in your life said something that could be construed as sexist or racist or homophobic?

    In all the debates on my blog, I realise there is no black and white on anything. Everything is a shade of grey (except religion of course which is nonsense, lol).

    I think virtually everybody is racist or sexist to some degree. If I was to place myself on the racist/sexist scale in percentiles, I reckon I would register in the 5% least racist/sexist.

    I also think everybody is bisexual, nobody is completely straight or gay, we just have our boundaries, our repressions.

    In terms of religion, I accept there is a possibility I could be wrong, but as John Peel said about there not being a God;

    'I've never been able to argue this point very well, but I mean, come on?'

    I've posted your reward to God, so you will get it in the afterlife.

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  12. "I've posted your reward to God, so you will get it in the afterlife"

    What's his address, I've got some of his mail?

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  13. God@gmail.com

    Trust God to use google eh!

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