Thread: Purgatory: The BBC - Now Springer! Board: Limbo / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Well it seems to be high season for taking the p*** out of religion by gratuitously offensive means. Enter "Jerry Springer - the Opera" to be shown on the BBC on January 8th.

Here's a review for those who don't know what it's about ...

Theatre Review

This musical, notorious for containing over 8,000 expletives, depicts the characters of Jesus, Mary and God as self-centred decadents who give and receive extreme verbal abuse and a horrific series of blasphemies all in the name of comedy.

Even the BBC concedes that this intended broadcast, "pushes back the boundaries of taste and decency". The show's artistic director admits that it is a deliberate attack on good taste. Nevertheless, it is planned to transmit the programme without any cuts.

There is all the difference in the world between paying for a ticket to go and see a show in London and having such material available for public viewing on the screens of the national broadcaster.

The question here is whether there should be any boundaries when dealing with any significant religious figure in the media AND in particular, should Christians mobilise.

(If you wish to complain it's info@bbc.co.uk)

[ 01. March 2005, 12:56: Message edited by: Alan Cresswell ]
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Believe it or not, it could be worse. You could have Jerry Springer's "talk show" on the BBC--and I presume you don't.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
I saw it at the National last year on a works jolly (before the present job). I sincerely wish I hadn't. It was lousy, not very funny, gratuitously offensive and musically challenged. Poor art often has no way of getting attention other than a juvenile descent to the outrageous. Quite frankly without it, this one wouldn't even have got on.

It depresses me more than I can say that the BBC will fall over itself to broadcast this sort of sewer material and make self-regarding and pompous statements about artistic freedom etc., when what is being broadcast is insulting and injurious to peoples religious sensibilities but becomes all coy and prim and guardian of the nations taste when a pro-life party wants to broadcast a election ad. they don't like. I bet they'll not be so anxious to pick up the rights to the Gibson movie. The most depressing thing about the whole thing is the sheer predictability of it.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Father Gregory asked: The question here is whether there should be any boundaries when dealing with any significant religious figure in the media.
If you're referring to Jesus, Mary, and God, then no.

If you're referring to living persons, they should get the same legal protections afforded to other public figures -- no greater and no fewer.

The answer, Father Gregory, is if it sounds like it might offend you, don't watch it.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Was that your reaction to Timberlake's tacky mammary exposure? Surely the issue here is the accessibility of objectionable material ... it's dissemination as an instrument grossly to offend ... even to stir up ill will. There is a difference between paying to go to a show and public service broadcasting.

[ 31. December 2004, 23:44: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
Apparently unlike Father Gregory's, my television has on OFF switch.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
Unlike Fr Gregory, you can watch your television without paying for a Government licence which goes, in its entirety, to fund the public service broadcaster that is purchasing and proposing to show this stuff.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I don't like the 'You can always turn it off if you don't agree with it' argument.

That is a recipe for looking the other way and pretending it doesn't concern you.

Doesn't it?

Does it not concern us that someone is using the f word 2000+ times ans the c word nearly 300 times?
Does it not concern us that our Lord is being blashemed?

No, of course not. If I don't see it, it's not really happening.

So, if my wife is being verbally abused by a drunk in a street, perhaps I'll just pop into the Co-op so i don't have to see it and get all upset by it.

If an offensive programme is on and you know about it and do nothing, you might just as well watch it and consent to its content.
The stuff is wrong whether you watch it or not and therefore Christians have a right and a duty to complain.

I have emailed the BBC and Ofcom.

Just imagine the riots if Allah and Mohammed and Mohammed's mother were the subject of the production...

[ 01. January 2005, 10:41: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
I was wondering if it is legitimate4 for christians to become like the sikhs in Birmingham?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
No, violence is not right.
But I don't think we can just 'tut' quietly in the church tomorrow morning when we discuss it over post-service coffee.

Peaceful protest is always right.
Letter writing, etc.
Our voices must be heard but violence must never be a part of our protest.
 
Posted by Nicodemia (# 4756) on :
 
I've emailed the BBC, and got an acknowledgment.

Mudfrog - could you give me the email address for Ofcom? Thanks.

Nicodemia
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
complain to ofcom

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/contact_ofcom/tv_radio_other
 
Posted by Balaam (# 4543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
[QB]Even the BBC concedes that this intended broadcast, "pushes back the boundaries of taste and decency". The show's artistic director admits that it is a deliberate attack on good taste. Nevertheless, it is planned to transmit the programme without any cuts.

The problem with "pusing back the boundaries" is that these becomr the new boundaries, so that in order to shock in the future you have to be even worse.
 
Posted by Paul Mason (# 7562) on :
 
On what basis can Christians require that non-Christians show reverence to Christian objects of reverence?

The only argument I consider valid is that they are in part paying for it. Unfortunately, it's neither practical nor desirable that tax-payers be allowed to dictate in detail where their money is spent.

I'm not defending the show, I've heard it's awful. Which is why I won't be watching.
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
We saw Jerry Springer - The Opera and thought it extremely funny and, in a strange way, thought-provoking. The first act is set at Springer's show and is a hilarious take-off of his guests and himself, and the whole culture of such talk shows, the people who appear on them, and those of us who occasionally consume such things. The actor playing Springer at the time did this hilariously and the music is also great - opera pastiche and some musicals thrown in, and wonderfully sung.

The second act is set in Heaven and Hell and contains, as the warning said, "gratuitous religious imagery". It has a very Ship-like premise (IIRC, Satan calls God to Hell - no doubt The Spouse™ will be along in a minute to correct me) which, when it's contrasted with the Springer-show of the first act, actually makes you think about what we think God is like, and what we expect of him.

It was compared by one reviewer to Life of Brian and, if you are offended by religious satire, you won't like it; if you are offended by any sort of satire, you definitely won't like it; but if you are offended by satire, religious or otherwise, what are you doing reading this?
 
Posted by Foolhearty (# 6196) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Mason:
On what basis can Christians require that non-Christians show reverence to Christian objects of reverence?

The only argument I consider valid is that they are in part paying for it. Unfortunately, it's neither practical nor desirable that tax-payers be allowed to dictate in detail where their money is spent.

I'm not defending the show, I've heard it's awful. Which is why I won't be watching.

First, I haven't and won't see the show itself, so I won't comment. I have once or twice seen the Jerry Springer show, and found it revolting.

But as to non-Christians revering Christian objects of worship, I'm sorry -- I'm not following here.

If descriptions of the show posted (&/or linked) above are even remotely accurate, how is failing to trash "objects of reverence" equivalent to showing reverence to them?

It seems to me there's quite a large gaps between these stances. I don't accord any reverence to Kali. But out of respect for people who worhip in that tradition (and also, if I'm honest, out of a desire not to foment bloodshed), I also do not create large, publicly-funded productions designed to satirize, denigrate, or trash-talk Kali, either.
 
Posted by lapsed heathen (# 4403) on :
 
Hang on a minute the BBC has a remit to public service broadcasting. Part of this means bringing into the public forum what might be otherwise left out.
If you are offended by the show complain about it's content not it's existence. Censorship is not just the authorities deciding what can and can't be seen or heard. It's also individuals or groups deciding what is or is not 'fit' for others to view.
If it were Allah being parodied I'm sure the Muslim's would complain and we would have sympathy for their point of view. But it's a point of view, nothing more. Let's have more debate and less huff.
 
Posted by J. J. Ramsey (# 1174) on :
 
What I wonder is who is really being made fun of here? Obviously, the portrayals of Jesus, Mary, and God are absurd, gross, etc., but it seems that the joke is "This is your religion. This is your religion on Jerry Springer," that is, this is what taking Jerry Springer to the extreme looks like. The target is Jerry Springer, not Jesus . . . I think.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
It might be a point of view and an object for discussion for you LH but it isn't nor will it ever be for me. Lines are being drawn.
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
The Black and White Minstrel Show (a 'light entertainment' musical show featuring blacked-up white men) was eventually dropped because it was considered racist (at least, I believe that was the reason). If it isn't acceptable any more to show overt racism on TV, why do we have to put up with anti-religious programmes? Which community is actually being served by this sort of material? And if the broadcasters consider it legitimate to offend religious sensibilities in the name of free speech and art, why only Christianity?

I think we have every reason to start complaining about this sort of vile rubbish on our screens. Those who argue that we don't have to watch TV that offends us could actually be conceding ground to those who would disenfranchise us altogether. Maybe in a few years time there won't be anything left on TV that I could watch with a good conscience.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lapsed heathen:
If it were Allah being parodied I'm sure the Muslim's would complain and we would have sympathy for their point of view. But it's a point of view, nothing more. Let's have more debate and less huff.

Excepting that the bloody BBC wouldn't dare broadcast anything like it about Allah and Mohammed.

LH go and see the show before you tell us that my money should be spent broadcasting on public service channels this production, which is, I can tell you, not a contribution to a civilized debate so much as it is a revolting and offensive farago.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
You think that they would have learned something from "Popetown" wouldn't you? Maybe the serpentine forces of darkness are using the festive jollies to probe the Establishment's commitment to legislating against the incitement of religious hatred?

[ 01. January 2005, 15:49: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
You think that they would have learned something from "Popetown" wouldn't you? Maybe the serpentine forces of darkness are using the festive jollies to probe the Establishment's commitment to legislating against the incitement of religious hatred?

Yeah, it's almost enough to make me support that odious piece of legislation. I honestly don't think you can successfully legislate your way around these issues. Concepts such as freedom of expression and incitement to hatred (of pretty much any kind) are best preserved by consideration and the recognition that if you go around pissing on other people and their concerns, the result is often a backlash.
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
It's not an anti-religious show! It's an anti-trailer-trash show. Perhaps we should complain on behalf of the viewers and participants in the real Springer show, as it is them that are being parodied.

To the extent that it is religious satire, perhaps we should complain on behalf of those who hold the beliefs that are parodied - in the first act, the belief that "everyone owes me a living, I shouldn't be accountable for my actions" is parodied, in the second, the idea that "God owes me a living, I shouldn't be accountable for my actions".

If you haven't seen it, you really should. I haven't met anyone that's been offended by it. I know some people haven't found it as hilarious as we did - but the reactions have either been "funny, hits the mark, gets you thinking about belief systems" or "mildly amusing, not my cup of tea, but not a major piece of blasphemy".
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
I am now attempting to get the mosques involved. I have contacts. Sadly (for Christians that is) I think that that will be far more effective. I have some contacts to follow up.
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
Father Gregory, have you seen the show? Have you read a script? I really think you will find you are barking up the wrong tree.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chukovsky:
If you haven't seen it, you really should. I haven't met anyone that's been offended by it. I know some people haven't found it as hilarious as we did - but the reactions have either been "funny, hits the mark, gets you thinking about belief systems" or "mildly amusing, not my cup of tea, but not a major piece of blasphemy".

Read my posts passim. I for one disagree entirely with you and I resent my money being spent by my public service broadcaster on gratuitously offensive crap.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Wuff wuff. I can read transcripts and review summaries. Portraying God as a vindictive old fart crying into his cups about his responsibilities only has one interpretation in my view. NO context can justify that in my book when it is presented as humour ... even satitirical humour directed at those who might believe he is like that ... what over dubious saving grace could there be? No, I think it's just piss taking of the grossest form.

[ 01. January 2005, 16:13: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
According to one of the reviews linked to above, the show contains
quote:
tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan members, a nappy wearing Jesus, and clones of Jerry Springer all singing “This Is My Jerry Springer Moment”.
Nuff said?
 
Posted by Paul Mason (# 7562) on :
 
Foolhearty,

Maybe 'reverence' doesn't work semantically for you but the principle remains - you're asking someone to treat as a sacred cow something they themselves don't see as sacred. The problem is that to the outsider the 'cow' can seem rather arbitrary.

I mean would you object to the Dairylea adverts - the ones that show animated cows doing all sorts of bizarre and non-cow-like things - on behalf of those Hindus who hold them as sacred?

Isaac,

The difference between race and religion is that one can choose one's religion but not one's race. Also religion is, in part, about holding certain ideas. Ridiculing someone for their ideas may be impolite but I think it's not the same as ridiculing someone for their race. Indeed ridiculing what one believes to be ridiculous ideas is an important freedom.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Chorus line Paul ... Mary, "raped by an angel."

All in the eye of the beholder. No, I don't think so.
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Isaac David:
According to one of the reviews linked to above, the show contains
quote:
tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan members, a nappy wearing Jesus, and clones of Jerry Springer all singing “This Is My Jerry Springer Moment”.
Nuff said?
Yep, it's funny.

Like I said, it's a satire on the kind of people who watch/take part in Jerry Springer (including the Confederate Flag brigade).

Just out of interest, do you think Jesus didn't wear nappies? And don't you think the loincloth image begs a little humour?

And Father Gregory, do you think no-one at the time suggested that might be what happened to Mary???

It's satire. It makes fun of people who think everything is someone else's fault. End of story. Except that anyone who thinks it's a serious attempt at blasphemy is going to end up looking Very Foolish. Remember what happened to people who tried to get Life of Brian banned? And that was actually about religion. This just uses a well-known story, which happens to be religious, as a plot device to make some generalisations about human beings and their poor motivations.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Chukovsky

Offence is added to offence. The point is that we are NOT at that time ... nor would the Jews (or Christians) ever have believed such an appalling thing, (Mary being raped by an angel that is). I am utterly speechless.
 
Posted by Foolhearty (# 6196) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Mason:
Foolhearty,

Maybe 'reverence' doesn't work semantically for you but the principle remains - you're asking someone to treat as a sacred cow something they themselves don't see as sacred. The problem is that to the outsider the 'cow' can seem rather arbitrary.

I mean would you object to the Dairylea adverts - the ones that show animated cows doing all sorts of bizarre and non-cow-like things - on behalf of those Hindus who hold them as sacred?
<snip>

Paul, I think I’m having trouble with more than semantics.

First, an advertisement is a different kettle of fish (or cows) than a full-scale operatic performance; in the US, at least, ads are paid for with private money, not public. The intent of advertising is to sell products; the intent of operatic performances is to entertain.

The performance under discussion apparently attempts to entertain by satirizing a belief system.

I know little about Hindu religious belief/practice; but I would probably not object to cavorting cows on my own behalf (I haven’t seen these adverts; I don’t own a television). Such images do not violate my personal religious beliefs/practice.

If, however, my Hindu neighbors persuaded me that showing acrobatic bovines outrages Hindu precepts in an offensive way, I might object. I would do so not on the grounds that the cows are sacred to me, but on the grounds that ridiculing my neighbors’ religion violates Christian practice (we're meant to love our neighbors, not humilate or demean them) and has in addition potential for disturbing the civic peace.

Bottom line question: Can satire, however paid for and whoever presented by, ever be done out of love?
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
I'm unclear whether Father Gregory wants a ban on all offensive broadcast material, just stuff that offends him, or stuff that fails some test of offensiveness.

Banning all offensive material would run entirely contrary to the BBC's public service remit. Satire is almost always offensive, because it is disrespectful of someone or something that expects respect - and that's offensive. It's also very useful: I think the Brass Eye 'Cake' programme did more to illuminate the debate on illegal drugs than any statement coming out of the Home Office in the past twenty years. And as for his paedophilia piece - should that have been banned? It was certainly very offensive. It was also very, very good.

Banning material offensive to Father Gregory would be an interesting exercise. It'd certainly keep him out of trouble, as he'd have to view everything on several hundred channels before transmission. Even if he wants to make the ban BBC only, then there are something like eight TV channels - and goodness knows how many radio stations - to attend to. Perhaps he'd prefer the US system, where a couple of organised people can manipulate the system to bring down massive fines on any programme they don't happen to like. In a culture where s flash of nipple is considered very harmful (and oddly, people getting shot is not), it can lead to very pallid television indeed and the protection of embedded interests.

As for the test of offensiveness - good luck finding one. FG objects strongly to the depiction of God as a drunken sot having problems with his responsibilities: would he also find offensive the story of the Jews in a concentration camp convening a court and solemnly finding God guilty of heinous crimes - and then saying the morning prayer? Would he recommend a ban on a programme that covered the scholarly textual analysis of the Quran, an activity that many Moslems find quite as offensively blasphemous as anything Father Gregory can imagine?

I warmly congratulate the BBC on having the testicles to broadcast what is a very successful and pungent commentary on modern society. I wasn't going to watch it (I dislike Springer a great deal, and opera is second only to washing the dishes in activities I would rather see removed from the universe), but now feel I should.

Thanks for bringing it up.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
If it really bothers you, then you should send out a mass email requesting that everyone who reads it spam everyone they know with a copy of your whinge. That ought to take care of things.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
Apparently unlike Father Gregory's, my television has on OFF switch.

Mine doesn't! I am forced, Clockwork-orange-like, to watch everything they put out! It's horrifying! Aaaaaaaah! I even have to go see things on or off-Broadway I object to in the same manner!
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
Apparently unlike Father Gregory's, my television has on OFF switch.

Mine doesn't! I am forced, Clockwork-orange-like, to watch everything they put out! It's horrifying! Aaaaaaaah! I even have to go see things on or off-Broadway I object to in the same manner!
Well, when you've seen the opera, could you give us am objctive, sane opinion of it hon?

So far all I've seen is polemic on both sides.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Almost anything as far as I am concerned is fair game ... but not things people will live and die for.

Let's say that some jerk does a satire in which Mother Theresa of Calcutta is portrayed as a coke snorting pimping whore who only did nice things for poor people to rake in the money to fund her real nefarious activities. Let's say the name is changed slightly (like cousin Brian) to make it alright. This brings things into sharper focus because it is someone who has lived on earth within the lifetime of many.

Yes, I do believe in self restraint and not propagandising with plain falsehood ... even when it is dressed up as entertainment.

Finally if this was only me then you could have taken me out at dawn and had me shot or put in a secure institution ... that's fine. But, it isn't only me as you will soon discover.

I am moving into Hell teritory now so I will pull back ... but not before this parting shot.

I can understand why many Muslims despise Christianity (as they find it today). Don't kid yourselves.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
Apparently unlike Father Gregory's, my television has on OFF switch.

Mine doesn't! I am forced, Clockwork-orange-like, to watch everything they put out! It's horrifying! Aaaaaaaah! I even have to go see things on or off-Broadway I object to in the same manner!
You've missed the point. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, your owning a TV capable if receiving transmissions doesn't require you to pay a licence that is used, in its entirety, to fund this stuff, off switch or no off switch. There'es something about taxation and representation rattling around in my head...
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Almost anything as far as I am concerned is fair game ... but not things people will live and die for.

So are you saying that almost anything is fair game as long as nobody takes it seriously? That doesn't leave much. Personally, I refuse to live or die for anything that is so fragile as to be disrupted by satire, even tasteless satire.

quote:
I can understand why many Muslims despise Christianity (as they find it today). Don't kid yourselves.
Why (in the context of this thread)? Is the production aimed at Islam? Is it produced by Christians? Your statement looks like nothing more than an gratuitous invokation of interreligious hatred in order to dramatize your complaint, so I'm sure I have misunderstood. Please explain.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
I want the Church to offer positive Christian images and clear statements of the faith. I do not want the Church to try to use means to prevent the speaking or airing or aria-ing of negative images and comments.

If it's true, this stuff that claims my allegiance, it will look after itself and doesn't need to be bolstered by restrictions on broadcasters or blasphemy laws. If God can use only love, and not ever power or coercion to bring about God's purposes, then we who claim faith in the God of love should set our standards no lower.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, your owning a TV capable if receiving transmissions doesn't require you to pay a licence that is used, in its entirety, to fund this stuff, off switch or no off switch. There'es something about taxation and representation rattling around in my head...

Surely you have representative democracy in the UK. Because that's all the taxation and representation thing was about: people had to pay taxes without being represented in the government levying them.

Here in the land of the free and the home of the brave lots of my tax money goes to support US military operations, something that makes me feel a bit sick when I really think about it. So I vote for people who would change US foreign policy, I give money to an organization working toward this objective, and I write to my representatives in government. But I accept the facts that I am in the minority and that it is in the very nature of things that I don't get my way all the time.
 
Posted by Ham'n'Eggs (# 629) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
There'es something about taxation and representation rattling around in my head...

As one entitled to participate in the election of the body with the necessary authority to renew the BBC charter, I sympathise with your unspecified disenfranchisement.
 
Posted by Manda (# 6028) on :
 
I got an e-mail from an organisation I belong to asking me to write and object to this.

But wouldn't it be a more effective sign if people just didn't watch it and it got rubbish viewing figures
Though I haven't seen it, so haven't formed a proper opinion of it
 
Posted by Demas (# 7147) on :
 
I would prefer to live in a country where my faith is tested by mocking television shows than one where my faith is tested by someone else's beliefs being enforced by the State.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Father Gregory wrote: Almost anything as far as I am concerned is fair game ... but not things people will live and die for.
There went M*A*S*H, The Producers, and Life of Brian. In the interest of consistency, I'm sure Father Gregory would be equally agitated about a vicious satirical piece depicting George Bush as a murderous, blood-thirsty cowboy, given that a thousand American soldiers thought it was a cause worth dying for.

quote:
Let's say that some jerk does a satire in which Mother Theresa of Calcutta is portrayed as a coke snorting pimping whore who only did nice things for poor people to rake in the money to fund her real nefarious activities.
OK, let's -- especially since Christopher Hitchens has already come pretty close in his book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. The response shouldn't be for the government to ban the publication of the book. The response is for her supporters to publicize her innumerable good works. The antidote to offensive speech isn't government suppression. It's counter-speech.

quote:
Yes, I do believe in self restraint and not propagandising with plain falsehood ... even when it is dressed up as entertainment.
The operative word being self-restraint, not government restraint.

quote:
But, it isn't only me as you will soon discover.
Ooooooooh. That's rather ominously butch, in a Robert DeNiro "I hear things" kind of way.
 
Posted by J. J. Ramsey (# 1174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:

Let's say that some jerk does a satire in which Mother Theresa of Calcutta is portrayed as a coke snorting pimping whore who only did nice things for poor people to rake in the money to fund her real nefarious activities. Let's say the name is changed slightly (like cousin Brian) to make it alright. This brings things into sharper focus because it is someone who has lived on earth within the lifetime of many.

Question: Is the goal of this hypothetical satire to make fun of Mother Teresa or to make fun of the kind of environment where such a portrayal would make a twisted kind of sense?
 
Posted by lapsed heathen (# 4403) on :
 
Trisaqion;
quote:
LH go and see the show before you tell us that my money should be spent broadcasting on public service channels this production, which is, I can tell you, not a contribution to a civilized debate so much as it is a revolting and offensive farago.
I don't disagree, if that's the opinion you formed of the show, as I haven't seen it. However if you came to this opinion by seeing the show are not others also entitled to form their opinion in the same way, rather than having you decide for them. End of the day, it's the producers and writers who will look foolish not the subject they hoped to parody.

F.G.;
quote:
It might be a point of view and an object for discussion for you LH but it isn't nor will it ever be for me.
Ahh the old 'never never never' augment. I believe Dr. Ian P. has the franchise on that one.
Again F.G.;
quote:
Almost anything as far as I am concerned is fair game ... but not things people will live and die for.
But these are the things that matter, why not examin them more than the things that we would compromise on. Or do you think that some ideas issues or beliefs are beond question? Who decides which things get special exemption from having tomatoes thrown?
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Dear Chukovsky

Offence is added to offence. The point is that we are NOT at that time ... nor would the Jews (or Christians) ever have believed such an appalling thing, (Mary being raped by an angel that is). I am utterly speechless.

Would 'seduced by a Roman soldier' do? Does the name 'Panthera' ring any bells, Freg?
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
Quote Father Gregory: "I can understand why many Muslims despise Christianity (as they find it today). Don't kid yourselves."

Quote Scott: "Why ... "

Those of us who live in a multi-cultural environment with large numbers of Muslims (and therefore inter-faith interaction) will know why. 'Look at what these Christians believe about their faith etc etc'.
For many people, England (UK) is a Christian country - wrong, but that's what they believe and a lot follows from that in their eyes.

And I am not saying that we should water-down our radicalness, although some would argue that this follows from what I have said.

Blessings!
 
Posted by madferret (# 3353) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
Read my posts passim. I for one disagree entirely with you and I resent my money being spent by my public service broadcaster on gratuitously offensive crap.

No, I'm not keen on Eastenders either. But I've discovered that I can change channels on my TV. Amazing.

Isn't it within the remit of the BBC, however, to take a popular theatrical production and let anyone with a licence have the chance to make their own minds up?

It takes a lot for a TV broadcast to offend me. But I have long been of the opinion that I should form my own conclusions on so-called offensive material. As Scot said, I like to think my faith can withstand anything that is so fragile as to be disrupted by satire.

I am presuming you won't have watched the recent "X-Rated" series on Five. This featured some (very diluted) 'scenes the censor wouldn't allow' from the sixties and seventies. And Mary Whitehouse. She hadn't seen much of the material either before making her mind up... To me, that spoiled many of the reasonable arguments the NVLA and Festival of Light may have had.

I have avoided some of the more controversial productions like The Last Temptation of Christ and Mel Gibson's Passion - but that's because I didn't think I would like them, not because of the response of 'religious groups'. As for Jerry Springer The Opera, I guessed it would be loud, offensive - and funny. It was.
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
If it really bothers you, then you should send out a mass email requesting that everyone who reads it spam everyone they know with a copy of your whinge. That ought to take care of things.

Funny you should say that.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lapsed heathen:
I don't disagree, if that's the opinion you formed of the show, as I haven't seen it. However if you came to this opinion by seeing the show are not others also entitled to form their opinion in the same way, rather than having you decide for them.

I am not deciding for them, I am simply suggesting that my licence fee shouldn't be spent in this way. If some fool wishes to take a commercial risk in the market by putting on a production which is extremely offensive to a large minority of people, then that is their look out. If individuals want to use their money to go and watch this bilge, then that's fine by me. What is decidely not fine by me is an unelected quango, the recipient of a hypothecated tax monies of mine spending it in a way that offends my sensibilities on the spurious pretext of fulfilling its mandate to push back artistic boundaries (a pretext that is spurious because it doesn't appear in the BBC's Charter).

Furthermore, I am enraged by the sheer moral cowardice of an organisation choosing to kick sand in the face of Christians because they know what a gutless response they'll get from the chronically lukewarm, whilst falling over themselves to avoid any criticism whatsoever from other religious groups whose response is likely to be rather less restrained.
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
The problem is that free expression of views has has to be equally available to all or none and that does not exist in the present situation. I could uncomfortably live with the Springer Opera on TV if I also saw regularly uncensored postive expressions of Christians and Christianity on mainstream TV channels. Instead, outside of settings like Songs of Praise, such expressions are restricted, filtered and always subject to balancing opposing views. Ask any Christian who has tried to say something radical on slots such as Radio 2's Pause for Thought and they are likely to confirm this. The number of times that Christians appear outisde of such slots and that Christians and their values are accurately represented in mainstream TV drama is tiny.
quote:
Originally posted by madferret:
I am presuming you won't have watched the recent "X-Rated" series on Five. This featured some (very diluted) 'scenes the censor wouldn't allow' from the sixties and seventies. And Mary Whitehouse. She hadn't seen much of the material either before making her mind up... To me, that spoiled many of the reasonable arguments the NVLA and Festival of Light may have had.


I did see some of 'X-Rated and its a classic example of the above problem. At numerous points through the show film critics and former censors would say why in most cases they thought the censorship on various movies had been totally unreasonable. There were two or there points where brief very old clips of Mary Whitehouse were shown where she said why she thought the films in question should have been banned/censored. No doubt if challenged the producer of X-Rated would have used these clips as evidence that a balance of views had been included. However the reality is that there were long present day interviews with numerous people against the censorship set against 30 year old short clips from one person (Whitehouse) giving the opposing view. The underlying message was that only old women from 30 years ago could possibly object. The same underlying assumption is at work in showing the Springer Opera and that is why I do not think it should be shown unless and until Christians get genuinely equal access and fair treatment in mainstream airtime.
 
Posted by Paul Mason (# 7562) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
I am not deciding for them, I am simply suggesting that my licence fee shouldn't be spent in this way.

What mechanism do you propose for ensuring that every individual's license fee is spent in a way that individual approves of down to the level of individual programs?
 
Posted by lapsed heathen (# 4403) on :
 
Undiscovered Country;
quote:
I do not think it should be shown unless and until Christians get genuinely equal access and fair treatment in mainstream air-time.
A valid point. Why don't Christians get equal and fair access to media? What is it in our culture that makes audiences turn off when Christian views are expressed but tune in to see a bit of church bashing? Could it be that it's our fault? or is it all a left wing liberally media plot?

Why do we as Christians not have answers to attacks (real or supposed) rather than objections?.

As to the idea that the BBC would not show a program as offensive to Muslims, no they wouldn't. Simply because the general culture doesn't feel Islam is relevant and as such can be ignored. Yes respect for Islam is a form of ignoring, it's saying "I don't think this applies to me and as such can be granted considerations that Christianity can't because it threatens my comfortable semi-atheistic lifestyle" I don't think the BBC would hold back because of Muslim anger. More because the culture would support that anger. Politically Correctness dose not apply to Christianity.

I still wouldn't ban the blasted show though, I would ask for a right to reply on air. though I don't think that show would top the tam ratings.
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Undiscovered Country:
I did see some of 'X-Rated and its a classic example of the above problem. At numerous points through the show film critics and former censors would say why in most cases they thought the censorship on various movies had been totally unreasonable. There were two or there points where brief very old clips of Mary Whitehouse were shown where she said why she thought the films in question should have been banned/censored. No doubt if challenged the producer of X-Rated would have used these clips as evidence that a balance of views had been included.

I'm not sure X-Rated was intended to be a balanced program at all - though they did present the point of view of some of those inside the BBFC, who were moderately pro-censorship, in much more depth. Which is a lot more relevant than the point of view of Mary Whitehouse, since the BBFC people had actually seen the films in question. The MW segments were just intended as news of what was happening in the field of censorship at the time, and why it affected the BBFC.

I take it you haven't seen Jerry Springer, either, so can't comment first hand on its blasphemy or lack thereof? If you have, what precisely did you object to?

What irritates me more than supposed anti-Christian bias in the media is Christians shooting themself in the foot by saying "Isn't it dreadful, this blasphemous show, of course I haven't watched it." I'd actually say compared to a lot of other milieux the media are not too bad, since they know many of their "stakeholders" will complain loudly, whereas for example when a boss or a colleague makes an anti-religious or anti-Christian colleague the Christian on the receiving end will either shut up in fear of their job, or decide it's not worth mentioning, in order to keep the peace.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Simply put ... I find it bloody offensive that any supposed work of art / entertainment should contain such lines as "Mary was raped by an angel."

As Trisagion as said ... as I private citizen I can choose whether or not to go to a theatre and watch that but to have the BBC, funded by what is essentially a national tax, putting that out knowing that it will gratuitously and deeply offend a (now) minority religion in this country is an abuse of its public (still) privileged position. For any other broadcaster than the BBC I have no position whatosoever outside of the law other tnan to deeply lament that it is has come to this in Britain today.

I repeat, as a deeply offended Christian I shall use every means at my disposal in the next few days to raise hell about this for the BBC ... and that includes the press.

From where I'm standing the so called "whingeing" is being done by those who have been so conditioned to salute the flag of uninhibited expression as to lose much of what was once called "common decency." You don't like what I do? Tough.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
Dear Gregory,
what is so offensive about the line “Mary was raped by an angel”? You put it in your post, so it’s not the words in themselves that are the problem. I used to have a book (until I lent it to a friend) that suggested the phrase ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to your word,’ implies sexual availability – that it carries nuances of a very particular sort of servanthood. The book is scholarly and hedges its claims with many provisos, but makes the comment in all seriousness. Is that offensive?

God’s battles cannot be fought with bombs or purple-faced, 'I'm going to use every means at my disposal to stop this' complaining.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Be my guest. Apply Gamaliel. No comment.
 
Posted by Gill H (# 68) on :
 
You didn't mention 'Talk to the stigmata ...'.

I saw it in the theatre, and found it mostly enjoyable. There were times in the second half which went well beyond my personal 'offensiveness' threshold, but not the concept as a whole. However, I'm torn over whether or not to watch it on TV.

It is, to me, all about the link between religion and talk-shows - the modern confessional. The idea that you can offload responsibility for your actions onto a talk-show host or onto God. And it really does provide food for thought. And a whole new vocabulary (I can't see a step-shuffle-hop-ball-change now without putting the rhythm to 'three-nipple-cousin-f***er').

There's a different way of seeing the second act.

(SPOILER ALERT! DON'T READ ON IF YOU DON'T WANT A MAJOR PLOT POINT REVEALED!)

Jerry is shot at the end of act 1, and his descent into hell is a hallucination. He sees all the people who have been on his show, but as Mary, Jesus, God and the Devil. Sort of like a perverted version of the Wizard of Oz.
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Simply put ... I find it bloody offensive that any supposed work of art / entertainment should contain such lines as "Mary was raped by an angel."

As Trisagion as said ... as I private citizen I can choose whether or not to go to a theatre and watch that but to have the BBC, funded by what is essentially a national tax, putting that out knowing that it will gratuitously and deeply offend a (now) minority religion in this country is an abuse of its public (still) privileged position.


In the spirit of Purgatory, perhaps you could discuss the points I raised earlier about how you expect the BBC to behave about broadcasting stuff you don't find offensive but is offensive to others?

quote:


I repeat, as a deeply offended Christian I shall use every means at my disposal in the next few days to raise hell about this for the BBC ... and that includes the press.


So are you in favour of Islamic jihads and Sikh riots as means at the disposal of 'deeply offended' people of other faiths?

quote:


From where I'm standing the so called "whingeing" is being done by those who have been so conditioned to salute the flag of uninhibited expression as to lose much of what was once called "common decency." You don't like what I do? Tough.

(this IS getting Hellish) But I don't consider the right of freedom of expression as counter to common decency. Your argument is that being offended is a sufficient sole reason to demand that something that other people enjoy be prevented from happening: why is it 'common decency' to remove my ability to hear what offends you? I consider it rude.

I wish you'd answer my question of Quranic theology. Would the BBC be fulfilling its duty as a public service broadcaster if it transmitted a serious academic programme about the possible use of Afrem the Syrian's 4th century Hymns of Paradise in the Quran? Such a proposition is deeply offensive to many holders of a minority religion in this country, after all. And if that's OK by you, what if the same issue was dealt with faceiously - say a play where the Quran is referred to as 'that crappy old copy of Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised'?

R
 
Posted by J. J. Ramsey (# 1174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gill H:

There's a different way of seeing the second act.

(SPOILER ALERT! DON'T READ ON IF YOU DON'T WANT A MAJOR PLOT POINT REVEALED!)

Jerry is shot at the end of act 1, and his descent into hell is a hallucination. He sees all the people who have been on his show, but as Mary, Jesus, God and the Devil. Sort of like a perverted version of the Wizard of Oz.

That would seem to answer my question of who's being made fun of here. Looks like the idea is to view Christianity from the distorted perspective of Jerry Springer and to see the absurd results.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
My offense (albeit it exists) is neither here nor here. It's not my wounded feelings that constitutes a breach of public decency but the actual desacralisation of God and his friends in the culture. So, when it comes to Jesus, the saints, the Trinity ... (call me old fashioned), hands off ... hallucination as literary device or not. I will join forces with Muslims to defend them vis-a-vis Muhammad as well should it come to that. Of course you can always tie the argument round and round in more and more words. Tha's irrelevant to me on this one. It's a visceral thing. It's not just about logic or debate. Sorry. Which is why I have very little to say now on this if we keep on this track, since this is a discussion board.

What do I expect the BBC to do? Well, I expect the BBC to leave it in the theatre ... that's what I expect .... as a PUBLIC broadcaster with my licence fee that is. You see, for all his paternalism, I am still a Reithian.

[ 03. January 2005, 15:51: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Father Gregory wrote: My offense (albeit it exists) is neither here nor here. It's not my wounded feelings that constitutes a breach of public decency but the actual desacralisation of God and his friends in the culture.
So who decides what constitutes "the actual descralisation of God and his friends in the culture"?

Wait. Wait. Don't tell me.

Ah, yes. You.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
I can't believe you said that. Really I can't. If Mary being raped by an angel isn't desacralisation, what is? Are you only dealing with this on my say so? Isn't there some reaction to that image in your own heart to this? Do you know what public service broadcasting is? Do you understanding what the Church as a public cultus is? I fear not otherwise you could not have been capable of asking such an extraordinary question or making such an unbelievable claim against me.
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
But if 'this is a visceral thing; it's not just about logic or debate,' then it is not just your feelings but your gut feelings that you wish to have govern what gets shown on TV. [Roll Eyes]

It isn't obvious to me why 'Mary being raped by an angel' is any more offensive than the Collected Works of Algernon Swinburne, which Father Gregory has never broken a sweat over.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Can God actually be desacrilized? Can anything that really is sacred be made to be not sacred by people not taking it seriously?

There are serious scholars who have put forward the possibility that Mary was got pregnant because she was raped by a Roman soldier. Does that desacrilize her?
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
There are two things here ... Christian sensibilities about Jesus et. al. and the public service broadcasting angle. I don't have to choose between them. They are connected. They were part of Lord Reith's vision ... now sadly neglected by those who would make the BBC like all the other private channels.

I just get the feeling here that protest is alright so long as the protestor is "one of us," ... in this case that means, sharing our assumptions about absolute freedom of expression, the inappropriateness of blasphemy protection in a liberal democracy etc. etc.

Dear Ruth

Yes, to all those questions. What we do with God is just as important as God himself ... arguably more so for we will all be called to account.

It matters not whom Mary has been raped by ... it's the same issue ... given added significance and centrality by the BBC being a public service broadcaster ... which I keep repeating but nobody will deal with.

[ 03. January 2005, 19:03: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
It would help if the connexions between 'Christian sensibilities' (whatever they are) and the late Lord Reith's vision of public service broadcasting were made by something more than a series of ellipses. Then perhaps the discussion could be more coherent.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
You know what I mean! I am losing patience with this now. I am not trying trying to convert anyone. You need to realise though, that people like me (with our views) will never put up and shut up under any kind of expediency or rationalisation ... ever. Sometimes Paisley's word is appropriate!
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
But you still haven't put forth any argument other than "it is because I said so!" Really, you've been around here long enough to know better.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Sorry Erin I am not going down that path. If you are not convinced by my arguments I am not going to keep hammering on. Conceding nothing but drawing a line. All you need to know now is I that am protesting. Presentation over.
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
In the OP...Fr. G. said the following...my question is attached to the following...
quote:
..There is all the difference in the world between paying for a ticket to go and see a show in London and having such material available for public viewing on the screens of the national broadcaster.

The question here is whether there should be any boundaries when dealing with any significant religious figure in the media AND in particular, should Christians mobilise.

I see people having an issue with Fr. G. protesting what he considers offensive portrayal of holy figures and asking people to "spam" the ones responsible for hearing this protest.

If taxpaying citizens have an issue with what they consider irreligious views of Christian icons/figures, how is it wrong for a citizen (like Fr. G.) to protest and raise their voice at such? Off the top of my head, I remember the PissChrist was removed after protest, what this reminds me of in America. It was successful democracy at work.

On one hand, do you feel that the NEA supports less artists because of the past protests?

[eta: trying to get this...honestly, so compared it to the only similar thing I know]

[ 03. January 2005, 19:21: Message edited by: duchess ]
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
If you are not convinced by my arguments I am not going to keep hammering on.

I might if there'd actually been one.

I personally think it's every person's right to express their disagreement with whatever they fancy. That's what we believers in freedom of expression... well... believe in. If you want to organize an e-mail campaign to make it go away, hey, knock yourself out. BUT I think you might be more effective if you went into a little more detail other than "it's wrong because you shouldn't say that about Mary!" Why shouldn't someone say that about Mary? What is inherently wrong with it? And I ask this as one whose regular prayer only ever consists of saying the rosary.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
As I said Erin ... I am a firm believer in not going on and on where there is little if any possibility of resolution.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
How can God be desacrilized? And wouldn't the universe collapse if she were?
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
Great googly moogly, if you would just answer the questions people ask of you then maybe there would be some resolution.
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
In this case, 'God...God's Friends™...the Theotokos' being 'desacralized' seems to be a fancy way of saying 'blasphemy!'.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Father Gregory wrote: Isn't there some reaction to that image in your own heart to this?
Since I believe Mary was the vessel that bore God Incarnate, of course there's a reaction to that image in my heart. But now you've changed the measuring stick from your sense of outrage to the reaction of my heart. A vastly superior standard, I submit, but still not what the law should be in a democrat society.

quote:
Do you know what public service broadcasting is?
Yes, and in the United States, an important component of that is the license holder's obligation to represent a diversity of viewpoints. As Justice Jackson wrote in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion...."

quote:
You need to realise though, that people like me (with our views) will never put up and shut up under any kind of expediency or rationalisation ... ever.
Father Gregory, the only person insisting that another person "shut up" is, well, you. I support the right of citizens to protest in any peaceful fashion and encourage you to exercise that right.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Why do you folks keep prodding me? We have radically different assumptions here about liberal democracies, secular culture and social responsibility. They are NOT going to be resolved. Going on and on in such circumstances is no virtue. There is a limit to talking.
 
Posted by Dwynwen (# 3900) on :
 
Reading through this thread concerning 'The Opera' I feel impelled to respond, not with anger, but with sadness.

I am sad for people who do not know God and yet use their freedom to produce blasphemous material in the name of entertainment. To know God is to love Him. Do we ridicule those we love?

I feel sad that Christianity is so weak in this country that people will condone abuse of their religion, and even encourage obscenities in the name of making capital out of it.

I feel sad that Christianity is fair game for all and sundry while other faiths are protected from such insensitivities.

I feel sad that all faiths and many of no faith at all will be ashamed, and appalled, at the BBC's intention to show such overt sexual rubbish, not to mention intolerable language, in the name of comedy if they are decent, caring citizens.

I feel sad that the BBC programmes are deteriorating rapidly in their bid to attempt to compete with other channels for obscene productions in the name of achieving a high rating value.

I rarely view TV because the more choice of channels one has the less I find anything worth watching.

I feel sad because of the affect this is having on our young people.

I feel sad.

Yours in Christ,

Dwynwen.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Father Gregory wrote: Why do you folks keep prodding me? . . . Going on and on in such circumstances is no virtue. There is a limit to talking.
Father Gregory, you posted the OP on what is defined as "a serious debate space." If you can't stand the heat -- or in the case of Purgatory, the mild warmth -- stay out of the kitchen.
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
Tim Luckhurst in his book profiling the Today Programe has a chapter on the 'Thought for the Day' slot in the programme which casts an interesting light on the attitude towards religion in contemporary British media ('Today' is a high-profile breakfast news programe on BBC Radio 4 and is much listened to by politicians and the 'chattering classes' generally. 'Thought for the Day' is a 5 minute quasi-religous/spiritual slot in the programme with a rotating set of guest presenters). As far as I know, Luckhurst is not a Christian. He highlights the ambivilant/semi-hostile attitude towards Thought for the Day by the production staff which he suggests is reflective of the BBC in general. He quotes Christina Odone (Deputy Editor of the New Statesman and well-known Catholic) as saying 'Religion and the Today programmme do not go hand in hand. It is not tremendously interested in the spiritual life unless it is touchy feely New Ageism. It is so very much part of a self-conscious anti-establishment which is, in truth, really the new establishment, a north London, liberal thinkng left-wingish kind of commmunity...it follows as night follows day that there is an anti-Christian, anti-religious element to (the programme).'

I would suggest that it is this attitude that is at the heart of the above debate. We live in a society (and the media promotes a society) where a general interest in spirituality is acceptable but to have an active faith which has any sense of absolute right and wrong is unacceptable and regarded as fair game for attacking (and this is not just Christianity. It is very instructive to see how very liberal proponant of multi-cultural society actively react against any Muslims or Sikhs that wish to live differently in terms of attitudes to marriage, the role of women etc. Multi-culturalism and spirituality are regarded as wonderful when it involves colourful outfits and dancing but anything that challenges chattering classes values are definately off the acceptable agenda.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Thank you Presleytarian but I don't take my marching orders from you. If I decide I am not pursuing a line of argument because it is going nowhere because of irreconcilable differences in approach I shall follow that instinct.

On the other hand something more productive of debate coming from The Undiscovered Country.

Might it be possible that some Christians have also joined "the enemy?" I don't mean the Infernal One of course ... I mean as unwitting apprentices of the New Regime, not adepts.
 
Posted by barrea (# 3211) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dwynwen:
Reading through this thread concerning 'The Opera' I feel impelled to respond, not with anger, but with sadness.

I am sad for people who do not know God and yet use their freedom to produce blasphemous material in the name of entertainment. To know God is to love Him. Do we ridicule those we love?

I feel sad that Christianity is so weak in this country that people will condone abuse of their religion, and even encourage obscenities in the name of making capital out of it.

I feel sad that Christianity is fair game for all and sundry while other faiths are protected from such insensitivities.

I feel sad that all faiths and many of no faith at all will be ashamed, and appalled, at the BBC's intention to show such overt sexual rubbish, not to mention intolerable language, in the name of comedy if they are decent, caring citizens.

I feel sad that the BBC programmes are deteriorating rapidly in their bid to attempt to compete with other channels for obscene productions in the name of achieving a high rating value.

I rarely view TV because the more choice of channels one has the less I find anything worth watching.

I feel sad because of the affect this is having on our young people.

I feel sad.

Yours in Christ,

Dwynwen.


 
Posted by Ham'n'Eggs (# 629) on :
 
quote:
Father Gregory wrote: Why do you folks keep prodding me? . . . Going on and on in such circumstances is no virtue. There is a limit to talking.
Dear Father Gregory,

I don't know whether you have explained this elsewhere, but I shall ask anyway: what purpose do the ellipses that you favour so much serve?

I find them both distracting and confusing, and trust that it is not your intention to obscure the meaning and disrupt the flow of your posts. I don't believe that I am the only Shipmate that finds this to be the case.

Perhaps I will be able to modify my reading of them once the intended function is made clear.

With grateful thanks,

H&E
 
Posted by Ham'n'Eggs (# 629) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by barrea:

Lost for words? I do sympathise.

Of course, it's so much better than giving way to swearing.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
On the other hand something more productive of debate coming from The Undiscovered Country.

You are no more the absolute judge of what will produce debate than you are of what should be broadcast on the public airwaves.

And I still want to know how God can be desacrilized.
 
Posted by barrea (# 3211) on :
 
Sorry that I pressed the buton too soon, but I was going to say that the last post expresses how I feel,sad but also very angry that such shows should be allowed on our TV screens.
I think that we who profess to be Christians should all make a protest by letter,phone call or email.
Why should we have to see the show before we protest. If God is being blasphemed I dont want to watch it. I have read the review and that is enought. We shouldnt want to watch it. I for one want it stopped.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Just call me an incompetent writer ... that's fine by me. I will try and do better and avoid shorthands.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
Ham'n'Eggs: The ellipses is the quote you selected were mine, not Father Gregory's. His full statement was:

quote:
Why do you folks keep prodding me? We have radically different assumptions here about liberal democracies, secular culture and social responsibility. They are NOT going to be resolved. Going on and on in such circumstances is no virtue. There is a limit to talking.
But back to the OP, Father Gregory, if you don't have the patience to stick to your guns and debate your fellow Christians, how do you plan to get your point across to the BBC, the author of the play in question, secular humanists, and whoever else you see as your opponents in this Battle Royale?
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Ruth

I was not speaking for the whole Board. Whatever gave you that idea? I don't HAVE to respond to everything though if I judge it unproductive. It's good to be silent sometimes.

You're not listening Presleytarian.

When did I stop beating my wife? Uhmmm.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Fr. Gregory: True, you don't have to respond to anything. But your habit of making pronouncements, which is coming out particularly strongly on this thread, make a lot of your judgements sound like they're coming down from on high. You still aren't marshalling arguments for your position that go beyond "This is an outrage!" I'm not outraged. Neither are many of your compatriates, so you'll have to come up with something more concrete or concede.

And for the third time: how can God be desacrilized?
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
It's good to be silent sometimes.
As a non-Host with 9759 posts ought to know.

I am listening, Father Gregory -- waiting for your answer to Ruth's question. If you're going to fire off an OP like the one here, does it really respect the spirit of these boards to respond to dissent by sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "LA LA LA LA. I can't hear you."
 
Posted by Ham'n'Eggs (# 629) on :
 
Apologies to Father Gregory and Presleyterian for inaccurate quotation.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Yes Ruth. But I am outraged and when people are outraged they don't always want to sit down and have a nice sensible discussion. I certainly don't right now so it's probably as well that I am not going to respond to the prodding. You see, I am too disappointed, too saddened ... in a small part of me as well, too angry. At least you'll get the emotional transparency ... once.

(Presleytarian ... this is also your answer).

[ 03. January 2005, 20:53: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dwynwen:
I am sad for people who do not know God and yet use their freedom to produce blasphemous material in the name of entertainment.

Why do you assume that it is prima facie evidence that those people do not know God?

quote:
To know God is to love Him. Do we ridicule those we love?
In a healthy and balanced loving relationship, yes, there is room for some satirical humor and even at times some serious jabs softened with a bit of humor. And I suspect God is much better at discerning the true feelings and thoughts behind even nasty humor than we mere mortals, and defnitely less likely to be hurt by it. [Roll Eyes]

quote:
I feel sad that Christianity is so weak in this country that people will condone abuse of their religion, and even encourage obscenities in the name of making capital out of it.
Perhaps you need to separate your personal faith and God from the idea that your entire society should reflect your personal religious personality. I personally find it rather threatening that so many Christians seem to want to live under a theocracy, even though they would be horrified if someone of another religious persuasion began agitating for a different theocracy.

quote:
I feel sad that Christianity is fair game for all and sundry while other faiths are protected from such insensitivities.
I feel sick to death of hearing this constant whinging from Christians of all and sundry stripes that they are somehow more put upon and maligned and discriminated against than other religions.

Get over it. Christianity is the de facto background religion of Western Civilization, and those of us who lived our lives (I'm talking 50+ years in my case) saturated with Christianity just really can't get too worked up about the fact that you are finally having to acknowledge that a large chunk of the world's population isn't Christian. Trust me, they've received a lot more insults and unfair treatment than the little bit of social discomfort you've experienced.

quote:
I feel sad because of the affect this is having on our young people.
I find that young people are pretty media savvy and don't take this sort of thing anywhere near as seriously as you do. They recognize it for the silly and cheap entertainment it is, have a laugh, and then forget about it.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
I think RuthW is onto the important thing. You can sacralise anything by treating it with great respect. A flag that you salute in the morning and never allow to touch the ground, a person whom you never turn your back on or look in the eye or call by her first name, a book that you never put lower than any other book in the room. And similarly you can desacralise (what a word!) these - burn the flag, shout 'Tara, Liz,' or stand your coffee mug on the book.

But these are artificial sorts of sacredness. They are created by the show of respect. God's sacredness is not something we provide or must protect. God is the very definition of sacredness.

Changing tack, I think that Christian imagery is bound to come in for attack in Western culture because it has for so long been the validating belief system. Christianity is the Microsoft of Western culture. It is hard to challenge views about morality or personal responsibility without the Church and God coming up in some form. We are so deeply embedded in Western culture that, along with parts and functions of the body, we provide the best swear words. God, Jesus and Mary are common property.

On the whole, I think this is a good thing.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Ham'n'Eggs wrote: Apologies to Father Gregory and Presleyterian for inaccurate quotation.
I'll cop to one set. The other 28 on this thread alone are Father Gregory's responsibility. [Biased]

quote:
Father Gregory wrote: But I am outraged and when people are outraged they don't always want to sit down and have a nice sensible discussion.
Which is why there's a board called Hell.
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Yes Ruth. But I am outraged and when people are outraged they don't always want to sit down and have a nice sensible discussion. I certainly don't right now so it's probably as well that I am not going to respond to the prodding. You see, I am too disappointed, too saddened ... in a small part of me as well, too angry. At least you'll get the emotional transparency ... once.

(Presleytarian ... this is also your answer).

If this is the case, then it is a pity that the OP was posted in Purgatory and not in either Hell, which is the place for rants, or All Saints which is the place where the wounded may have their feelings salved by the like-minded.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Two more examples of why I am keeping my counsel.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
What? Are you saying that you won't deign to discuss this in either Hell or All Saints? [Confused]
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
I tried emotional literacy and even that doesn't work. Listen. I am trying to say that I have nothing more useful to contribute here. OK? Just keep beating me ... that's fine.

[ 03. January 2005, 21:12: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
God's sacredness is not something we provide or must protect. God is the very definition of sacredness.

Exactly. God can take it. I don't think Mary is likewise the very definition of sacredness, but I think she can take it too.

quote:
Christianity is the Microsoft of Western culture.
And like Microsoft, Christianity keeps giving people the Blue Screen of Death, but most people aren't stupid. They just reboot.
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
your habit of making pronouncements, which is coming out particularly strongly on this thread, make a lot of your judgements sound like they're coming down from on high.

But many more liberal/secular orientated posters make prononcements every bit as much. Its just that because their comments fit the prevailing culture it is much less noticed and commented on.
quote:
Originally posted by jlg:
Get over it. Christianity is the de facto background religion of Western Civilization, and those of us who lived our lives (I'm talking 50+ years in my case) saturated with Christianity just really can't get too worked up about the fact that you are finally having to acknowledge that a large chunk of the world's population isn't Christian. Trust me, they've received a lot more insults and unfair treatment than the little bit of social discomfort you've experienced.

I would storngly question whether Christianity has effectively been the background religion of western civilisation for the past several decades. It is actually a far greater background in many non-western civilisations. The fact that it is not an effective background in contemporary western civilisation is at the heart of this present issue.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
My goodness. What happens when I go out for a beer with my fellow inmates.

If you do not wish to debate a particular subject, Gregory, then perhaps it would behoove you to not start threads on that subject in our dedicated debate space. And if during the thread you decide you don't wish to discuss it, then you can jolly well keep your trap shut and STOP posting that you won't discuss it. There is a worthwhile discussion to be had on this subject, but your continued proclamations that you won't discuss it are mucking up the works.

Now, for those who aren't Gregory and are able to discuss it, can someone answer the questions that have been put forth on this thread? Namely, how can one desacrilize God, and also, what makes certain subjects off-limits when it comes to secular society?
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
But back to the OP, Father Gregory, if you don't have the patience to stick to your guns and debate your fellow Christians, how do you plan to get your point across to the BBC, the author of the play in question, secular humanists, and whoever else you see as your opponents in this Battle Royale?

But as so often on these boards, there hasn't been any attempt at an engagement with what was originally said. It so often seems that if certain liberal assumptions are challenged by a Shipmate, what he or she gets is a barrage of aggressive bullying. This sort of ganging-up might well work in Hell but I really don't think it belongs here.

Many of us are outraged by this production because it is:
1. being paid for out of our licence fees by an organisation which almost never presents a balanced approach to Christianity;
2. making a mockery of the central figures of Christianity (or any other religion) is an abuse of the self-restraint and self-control those exercising free speech need to accept if they are not to damage that very freedom of expression;
3. public decency depends on showing respect for other peoples sensibilities.

No-one is saying you shouldn't have a serious debate about the virgin birth or whatever. What is being said is that this is nothing of the sort and suggesting that it is is disingenuous.

I am interested that several people who have posted here have also posted on the current thread in Hell on censorship. The offence complained of there was about some extremely unattractive homophobic remarks on a particular website. I share the horror and wonder whether, if the BBC decided to present a programme containing those views in an entirely uncritical way, I'd be able to read the forthright assertions of the right of free-expression for such a programme from those who've been so outspoken about it here. I shouldn't hold your breath FrG.

[ 03. January 2005, 21:29: Message edited by: Trisagion ]
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
I am interested that several people who have posted here have also posted on the current thread in Hell on censorship. The offence complained of there was about some extremely unattractive homophobic remarks on a particular website. I share the horror and wonder whether, if the BBC decided to present a programme containing those views in an entirely uncritical way, I'd be able to read the forthright assertions of the right of free-expression for such a programme from those who've been so outspoken about it here.

Well, I would.

quote:
I shouldn't hold your breath FrG.
But you can feel free to in light of the fact that you feel perfectly justified in calling people hypocrites with no basis in that pesky little arena we call reality.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
But you can feel free to in light of the fact that you feel perfectly justified in calling people hypocrites with no basis in that pesky little arena we call reality.

There are just plenty of examples of that sort of behaviour hereabouts (the current Hell thread being one amongst many) to suggest that my grip on reality is quite strong enough, thank you.

[tangent]I wonder when it is permissable for a Shipmate with less than a thousand posts to remind one with over twelve thousand posts of the differing standards of expression between this board and that where her voice is more often heard?[/tangent]
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
Many of us are outraged by this production because it is:
1. being paid for out of our licence fees by an organisation which almost never presents a balanced approach to Christianity;

Is presentating a balanced approach to Christianity (or anything else) in its charter? If so, then by all means, make a big stink about it. I assume you will make an equally big stink about everything else they don't present in a balanced manner.

quote:

2. making a mockery of the central figures of Christianity (or any other religion) is an abuse of the self-restraint and self-control those exercising free speech need to accept if they are not to damage that very freedom of expression;

There's really no point in having free speech if everyone is supposed to muzzle themselves for fear of offending someone else, because then people really aren't free. It's social control instead of legal control, but it's still control, and it has no place in a free society.

Christianity can take the mockery. If it can't, it's got way bigger problems, and we should be directly our attention to them rather than to cultural phenomena that will be quickly forgotten.

quote:
3. public decency depends on showing respect for other peoples sensibilities.
But courtesy can't and shouldn't be legislated. You can't make policies for a country's media saying people should show respect. And there is no way for the media to respect your sensibilities without offending someone else's.

Furthermore, offending sensibilities is frequently exactly what great art does, and does well. Not that the Jerry Springer opera sounds like great art. But if you want a culture of the blandly inoffensive, and if you'd like to give up a lot of the greatness of British culture through the ages, go ahead and argue for respecting people's sensibilities. You can send all the extant Jonathan Swift manuscripts to me here in California.

quote:
No-one is saying you shouldn't have a serious debate about the virgin birth or whatever. What is being said is that this is nothing of the sort and suggesting that it is is disingenuous.
If we're all very serious and scholarly about arguing that Mary might have been raped, it's okay? But if we're flippant, it's not? It amounts to the same thing in my book.

quote:
I am interested that several people who have posted here have also posted on the current thread in Hell on censorship. The offence complained of there was about some extremely unattractive homophobic remarks on a particular website. I share the horror and wonder whether, if the BBC decided to present a programme containing those views in an entirely uncritical way, I'd be able to read the forthright assertions of the right of free-expression for such a programme from those who've been so outspoken about it here. I shouldn't hold your breath FrG.
If the BBC were to present such a program, I hope you and Fr. G would be among the many protesters. Protesting the Jerry Springer opera is also your right as citizens of a free country. But if you can't see the difference between the Jerry Springer opera and homophobic remarks, you really need to reconsider your thoughts about gay people.
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:


[snip]

So, when it comes to Jesus, the saints, the Trinity ... (call me old fashioned), hands off ... hallucination as literary device or not. I will join forces with Muslims to defend them vis-a-vis Muhammad as well should it come to that.

[snip]


Good luck when the Muslims say 'Father Gregory, old chap, this Trinity of yours... that's polytheism, you know, and it's really very offensive. Lots in our holy book about it, none of it good. You're desacralizing Allah. Mind if you join us in stopping this nasty TV programme about it?'

R (wanders off, talking to himself again)
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
[tangent]I wonder when it is permissable for a Shipmate with less than a thousand posts to remind one with over twelve thousand posts of the differing standards of expression between this board and that where her voice is more often heard?[/tangent]

When you're made a host. However, since you called people hypocrites, you're not in any position to throw stones.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
But if you can't see the difference between the Jerry Springer opera and homophobic remarks, you really need to reconsider your thoughts about gay people.

Really...so, let me get this right...if I share your liberal hanky squeezing viewpoints, then my protest is legitimate and to be encouraged and if I don't then I "have no place in a free society".

I'm afraid I don't believe in the view of self-expression unlimited by self-restraint, that you champion.

You have no idea about my "thoughts about gay people". In any event, my "thoughts about gay people" are not the point. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

As for your remarks about what the BBC is or isn't for, you clearly don't know where it fits in to the UK cultural map and the particular responsibility it has. It has an almost acknowledged status as the national conscience: a conscience which has, in recent years, become almost overtly hostile to Christianity. Of course Christianity can take the mockery. It won't hurt God [i]per se[/] but it will hurt plenty of people and offend them. Express it, sure. Put it on in the theatre or on commercial TV, fine. But it doesn't have a place where it is being put.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Trisagion wrote: I am interested that several people who have posted here have also posted on the current thread in Hell on censorship. The offence complained of there was about some extremely unattractive homophobic remarks on a particular website. I share the horror and wonder whether, if the BBC decided to present a programme containing those views in an entirely uncritical way, I'd be able to read the forthright assertions of the right of free-expression for such a programme from those who've been so outspoken about it here. I shouldn't hold your breath FrG.
Funny. As Trisagion was posting this, I was on that very thread defending Fred Phelps' right to protest peacefully -- and, by analogy, the right of those who don't like the Jerry Springer opera to do the same. So if you are traveling with anyone who is holding his breath, kindly secure your oxygen mask first before assisting them.

I, too, would love to see a system that allows me personally to dictate where my tax dollars go. There's a war or two going on that I'd prefer not to subsidize. However, no one has yet to address Paul Mason's question from an earlier page:

quote:
What mechanism do you propose for ensuring that every individual's license fee is spent in a way that individual approves of down to the level of individual programs?

 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Undiscovered Country:
quote:
Originally posted by jlg:
Get over it. Christianity is the de facto background religion of Western Civilization, and those of us who lived our lives (I'm talking 50+ years in my case) saturated with Christianity just really can't get too worked up about the fact that you are finally having to acknowledge that a large chunk of the world's population isn't Christian. Trust me, they've received a lot more insults and unfair treatment than the little bit of social discomfort you've experienced.

I would storngly question whether Christianity has effectively been the background religion of western civilisation for the past several decades. It is actually a far greater background in many non-western civilisations. The fact that it is not an effective background in contemporary western civilisation is at the heart of this present issue.
I'm talking about the gestalt background, the one that people who are not in the least Christian still pick up as the background. The background that is necessary to make sense of much of the art, literature, and music of a particular civilization.

You're also using "effective" in two quite different senses in your post. Christianity has definitely been "in effect" in its influence on Western Civilization (and I'm not talking about the past few decades of your existence, I'm talking about centuries). That is quite a different concept from what sort of active "effectiveness" you wish it to have on current culture and behavior. Which seems to be a wish for a Christian theocracy, or at least the social equivalent thereof.
 
Posted by J. J. Ramsey (# 1174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by barrea:

Why should we have to see the show before we protest. If God is being blasphemed I dont want to watch it.

Until you watch the show, you don't necessarily know if God is being blasphemed.

quote:

I have read the review and that is enought.

Is it? The review is by its nature selective, giving away enough details of the show to indicate whether one might want to see the show, but not giving away so much that it would spoil some surprise for a potential viewer. That limits how much information you can get from a review.

Now if you had at your disposal an outline of the plot, you might be better able to know if the show was blasphemous without seeing it. As it stands, you don't.

From Gill H:

quote:

(SPOILER ALERT! DON'T READ ON IF YOU DON'T WANT A MAJOR PLOT POINT REVEALED!)

Jerry is shot at the end of act 1, and his descent into hell is a hallucination. He sees all the people who have been on his show, but as Mary, Jesus, God and the Devil. Sort of like a perverted version of the Wizard of Oz.

The line "Mary was raped by an angel" seems to be part of Jerry Springer's hallucination, if I read Gill H, right, which would seem to say more about Springer than Mary.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
I, too, would love to see a system that allows me personally to dictate where my tax dollars go. There's a war or two going on that I'd prefer not to subsidize. However, no one has yet to address Paul Mason's question from an earlier page:

quote:
What mechanism do you propose for ensuring that every individual's license fee is spent in a way that individual approves of down to the level of individual programs?

In the case of the BBC, I would like to see those responsible for editorial policy and programming coming from a much wider philosophical base. There has been much criticism over the last few years about the institutional social-liberalism within the BBC, elements of which are openly hostile to viewpoints other than their own.

I am now breathing again.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
I, too, would love to see a system that allows me personally to dictate where my tax dollars go. There's a war or two going on that I'd prefer not to subsidize. However, no one has yet to address Paul Mason's question from an earlier page:

quote:
What mechanism do you propose for ensuring that every individual's license fee is spent in a way that individual approves of down to the level of individual programs?

It's rather crude, but I have long thought that the federal income tax forms should have a place where one could check off which particular Departments one wished to support. So I could designate my tax monies to the the Dept of Education, and let them know that not a single cent should go to the Dept of Defense. And that these checkmarks should be used as the basis for the first round of allocating funds when developing the Federal Budget.

Oh, and corporations would have to do this, too. [Snigger]

And all the data would be made public.

While it would all be undone in making the details work, it might provide an interesting set of data about who wants what for our country. Gee whiz, BiggieDefenseContractorCorp allocated all their taxes toward the Dept of Defense. Oh my, who would have guessed that they pay so little! Aren't those tax lawyers amazing!
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
But if you can't see the difference between the Jerry Springer opera and homophobic remarks, you really need to reconsider your thoughts about gay people.

Really...so, let me get this right...if I share your liberal hanky squeezing viewpoints, then my protest is legitimate and to be encouraged and if I don't then I "have no place in a free society".
What has hanky-squeezing or even liberalism got to do with anything? Don't you know any any conservative gay people? I do.

The reason I went ahead and took the bait you dangled with the hypothetical homophobic program is because I actually do think there is a limit to what public money should fund. I would draw the line at homophobia but not at a tasteless satire of God and Mary not because homophobia is offensive but because I believe it's wrong the way I think lying and murder are wrong.

quote:
I'm afraid I don't believe in the view of self-expression unlimited by self-restraint, that you champion.
Why not?

quote:
You have no idea about my "thoughts about gay people". In any event, my "thoughts about gay people" are not the point. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Actually, I think when we're comparing homophobia to the Jerry Springer opera, we're talking apples and oranges.

quote:
As for your remarks about what the BBC is or isn't for, you clearly don't know where it fits in to the UK cultural map and the particular responsibility it has. It has an almost acknowledged status as the national conscience: a conscience which has, in recent years, become almost overtly hostile to Christianity. Of course Christianity can take the mockery. It won't hurt God [i]per se[/] but it will hurt plenty of people and offend them. Express it, sure. Put it on in the theatre or on commercial TV, fine. But it doesn't have a place where it is being put.
Again, I don't see the basis of defending a ban on all potentially offensive things on the BBC. If it really is your national conscience, it should offend you from time to time.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
God's sacredness is not something we provide or must protect. God is the very definition of sacredness.emphasis mine

Exactly. God can take it. I don't think Mary is likewise the very definition of sacredness, but I think she can take it too.
Maybe when Fr. Gregory uses the word sacred he wishes to express something like:
1 [adj] (often followed by `to') devoted exclusively to a single use or purpose or person;
2 [adj] made or declared or believed to be holy; devoted to a deity or some religious ceremony or use;

We believe in an incarnate God so His physical body, His mother, His friends and all other bodily objects associated with Him we hold as sacred as they have been set apart for service and worship of the deity. Feel free to use what for us is sacred for any other purposes you want, but please understand that in so doing you desacralize them.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
So when the soldiers spat at Jesus, did that desacralise him?
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:

Now, for those who aren't Gregory and are able to discuss it, can someone answer the questions that have been put forth on this thread? Namely, how can one desacrilize God, and also, what makes certain subjects off-limits when it comes to secular society?

I'm game...but all I can say is I would have to bang my steel-plated bible. one example. Desacrilizing God though is divesting/stripping Him of sacred qualities, so God can not be "stripped" but he sure as hecked can be mocked and stripped in how your represent Him. One does so at his/her own risk (God's wrath) and also getting a cheesed-off e-mail in their inbox from a protestor.

No subject should be off-limits (being an American, I hold the view of no censorship waving blue ribbon)here thinking and all that...however I have supported protesting against things I don't like on tv by writing e-mails since it is my right to voice, also free speech.

When TV shows are rated by the FCC, they do have some kind of system they use (very badly I might bad) in the USA to filter outcrap. They are tending to let more and more through in the family hour of watching tv...so you get a nice shot of something you have to explain to any kidlets there who scream "Leave it!" when you change the channel, wanting to know more. With pressure on the FCC (protests)...there has been some success in advertising pulling their products and the like. But then I am thinking free-enterprise and not Gov't paying for it tv...so oh well.

This system is something decided on by adults...
V-chip pre-rated system

The Broadcasting industry already rated this so that the parental unit has the convience of using this nice device to keep out nasty shows.


That was my shot...Erin but I might be missing something here since I did not start the OP.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
So when the soldiers spat at Jesus, did that desacralise him?

Does Sacred Scripture not tell you that Jesus served as God willed?
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
So where are you going to find the new Religious police for the BBC, Trisagion? Just being practicing Christians doesn't mean that people want to commission radio or television features along ideological or denominational lines. The most powerful BBC commissioning editor for radio I have to deal with is a devout Catholic - he commissioned a series from me about atheists who were still influenced by their religious backgrounds because the subject interested him (and me or I wouldn't have proposed it). His acceptance of the magisterium of the church doesn't make him a knee-jerk commissioner along religious lines. I can think of many people beside myself with religious backgrounds who make programmes - but we don't do it to grind religious axes.

I often make programmes on church history or containing some element of church history but then that doesn't make nice 'How we're being oppressed by the BBC' propaganda to point out producers going about their business making uncontroversial programmes about Covenanters or Protestant revivals or Catholic Apostolics (forthcoming, and ironically, thank you to Father Gregory for helping me) and that's not to mention my colleagues in 'Religion' the vast majority of whose output is aimed at Christians.

I can only imagine the fireworks here if the National Secular Society tried to ban me from making a programme on Billy Graham or on Scottish Jesuits on the grounds that they've paid their licence fee and they don't want it to pay for no stinking religion. Or if one of Trisagion's new mullah-style editors really was a mullah and told me I couldn't have an eight year old reading the Christmas story (as I recently had in a programme) because it was offensive to Muslims to stress the incarnation and call Jesus the son of God.

By deciding to kick up a fuss over a one-off television programme which is primarily taking the piss out of confessional chat shows, we end up starting along a road, the end of which we can see in places like India or Egypt. There you can't make fun of religion and you can't carry out any serious scholarship about it either without being in danger of threats or violence.

If the 'Jerry Springer Show' was stirring up violence against Christians instead of satirising a television genre I'd be happy to join you in protesting against it and man the barricades, but it isn't. However we can see abroad and here (eg. the recent Sikh riot over Bezti) what happens when people start stirring up anti-blasphemy campaigns.

It won't be Trisagion and Father Greg who end up with a brick through their window, or even Roly Keating who commissioned it, it'll be someone like me who just happened to be in the wrong studio recording at the wrong time when the mob turns up. Or maybe it would be our researcher who helped me find the right gospel choir music for a piece, or our evangelical studio engineer who gives his spare time to helping Christian broadcasting abroad or the senior producer who lent me her bible when I didn't have mine to hand - but hey we're all fair game as liberal atheist stereotypes and so are our non-christian colleagues. So go ahead, demonise the whole BBC because one commissioning editor commissioned one programme you don't like. As for stirring up people from the local mosques ... well we saw what happened over Salman Rushdie - do you really think that you not being offended is more important than putting other people in that kind of danger? How can you guarantee that such a thing won't happen? You can't.

What revolts and bewilders me is the idea of a God who needs this kind of protection. Maybe an idol needs protection because people could come round and break it or deface it but does God the creator of Heaven and Earth need to be defended from people laughing at some writer's satirical concept of God? A satirical concept of God is not God. The map is not the the territory. As far as I'm concerned a writer's zany ideas about God are not worth one person being harassed or threatened in the name of Christianity.

L
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Duchess wrote: When TV shows are rated by the FCC....
They're not rated by the FCC. They're rated by the broadcasters and networks themselves. In the United States, no federal agency of any kind rates TV programs, movies, music, or video games.

As for the last post, game, set, match, Louise. [Overused]
 
Posted by JohnBoot (# 3566) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:

There are serious scholars who have put forward the possibility that Mary was got pregnant because she was raped by a Roman soldier.

I assume "scholars" means more than one. Do you care to divulge their names?

And what makes a scholar "serious"?
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
God's sacredness is not something we provide or must protect. God is the very definition of sacredness.emphasis mine

Exactly. God can take it. I don't think Mary is likewise the very definition of sacredness, but I think she can take it too.
Maybe when Fr. Gregory uses the word sacred he wishes to express something like:
1 [adj] (often followed by `to') devoted exclusively to a single use or purpose or person;
2 [adj] made or declared or believed to be holy; devoted to a deity or some religious ceremony or use;

We believe in an incarnate God so His physical body, His mother, His friends and all other bodily objects associated with Him we hold as sacred as they have been set apart for service and worship of the deity. Feel free to use what for us is sacred for any other purposes you want, but please understand that in so doing you desacralize them.

One of the bits of writing that helped push me over the edge into accepting Christianity was this quote from Madeleine L'Engle:
quote:
There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.
I gather, Ley Druid, that you would disagree with this?
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBoot:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
There are serious scholars who have put forward the possibility that Mary was got pregnant because she was raped by a Roman soldier.

I assume "scholars" means more than one. Do you care to divulge their names?
I'll look them up at work tomorrow.

quote:
And what makes a scholar "serious"?
Are you seriously asking?
 
Posted by JohnBoot (# 3566) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBoot:
And what makes a scholar "serious"?

Are you seriously asking?
Yes. You used the adjective "serious" to lend credibility to your assertion that the Blessed Virgin Mary was raped by a Roman soldier.

What do you mean by "serious scholar"?

"Serious" would seem a subjective adjective. It might mean one thing to you and something different to another person.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
So where are you going to find the new Religious police for the BBC, Trisagion?

I imagine the present police would do just fine. Blasphemous libel is defined in Section 1 of the Criminal Libel Act of 1819. Not only does this empower the government to harass and threaten, but also to confiscate the offending material.

quote:
Originally posted by jlg:
One of the bits of writing that helped push me over the edge into accepting Christianity was this quote from Madeleine L'Engle:
quote:
There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.
I gather, Ley Druid, that you would disagree with this?
I agree with it as written:
"nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred"
AND NOT "nothing so secular that it is not sacred".
If something can be sacred then it can also be not sacred, that is, desacralized.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
What revolts and bewilders me is the idea of a God who needs this kind of protection. Maybe an idol needs protection because people could come round and break it or deface it but does God the creator of Heaven and Earth need to be defended from people laughing at some writer's satirical concept of God?

God does not need to be defended, obviously - people need to be protected from blasphemy. Unfortunately, the logic behind that is only accessible if one believes in God and in the possibility of eternal perdition. It's roughly similar to the logic the secular word applies to child porn - it's so bad, one cannot allow it to exist in any form, not even as among adults, for the fear of tainting the mind of the weak. Thus the positions are mutually unintelligible: the believer can't understand why something so evil should be unleashed on the public, the non-believer can't understand what the fuzz is about. Many "modern" Christians are somewhere in the middle between these positions (usually this relies on dropping the perdition bit...).

I think people should scale back the rhetorics and simply ask: "Is it worth it?" Is the point the BBC making with this - whatever it may be - worth the hurt and damage it causes to (part of) the Christian community? And the other way around - is it worth for (part of) the Christian community to try to stop this, does the effort more good than bad? The BBC must be hard pressed for ratings if it runs a piece of cultural codswallop, which apparently just aims to shock. Christians must be seriously deluded if they think fighting it will fill their empty pews.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
So when the soldiers spat at Jesus, did that desacralise him?

Does Sacred Scripture not tell you that Jesus served as God willed?
I don't understand the relevance of your question. Yes, the scriptures tell us that Jesus was obedient to death, even death on a cross.

My point was that, hearing that soldiers spat on Jesus, you don't think 'Gosh! He can't be the Son of God. Look, people are making fun of him. He must be some ordinary secular bloke like me.'

The authorities made a good attempt to desacralise Jesus - arrest, beating, mockery, trial, and finally the shameful, abominable execution. But I would say they failed, and so would you. In fact the humiliation of Christ magnifies his exaltation.

You can't desacralise God. And the offence of blasphemy is always against the sensibilities of people. It's not about God, it's about the person complaining. And don't they just love it; that self-affirming feeling of righteous outrage? 'Goodness I'm so religious I'm getting angry on God's behalf, these days.'
 
Posted by barrea (# 3211) on :
 
Quote
. Christians must be seriously deluded if they think fighting it will fill their empty pews.
It has got nothing at all to do with filling empty pews, more to do with someone that we love being mocked and blasphemed.
If Christians dont protest who will.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
So when the soldiers spat at Jesus, did that desacralise him?

Does Sacred Scripture not tell you that Jesus served as God willed?
I don't understand the relevance of your question. Yes, the scriptures tell us that Jesus was obedient to death, even death on a cross.

My point was that, hearing that soldiers spat on Jesus, you don't think 'Gosh! He can't be the Son of God. Look, people are making fun of him. He must be some ordinary secular bloke like me.'

The authorities made a good attempt to desacralise Jesus - arrest, beating, mockery, trial, and finally the shameful, abominable execution. But I would say they failed, and so would you. In fact the humiliation of Christ magnifies his exaltation.

My point is that in all three synoptic accounts and even echoed in Jn 12:27 it is clearly foretold that the blasphemy Christ would suffer was freely chosen to serve God's will.
Just because some acts of blasphemy were suffered to serve God's will doesn't mean all acts of blasphemy will serve God's will.
quote:

You can't desacralise God. And the offence of blasphemy is always against the sensibilities of people. It's not about God, it's about the person complaining. And don't they just love it; that self-affirming feeling of righteous outrage? 'Goodness I'm so religious I'm getting angry on God's behalf, these days.'

There certainly are a lot of proscriptions against blasphemy in the Bible, and exhortations to set things apart as sacred for the Lord.
Are you telling us these are of no concern to God?
Do you know God's will?
Not coincidentally, your position denies personal repsonsibility:"Nothing I do blasphemes God, the problem isn't with me, but with 'the authorities', 'the sensibilities of the people', 'the person complaining'"
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
Likewise it's clearly foretold(TM) that Christians will suffer persecution, that blasphemies will occur and that the cultural and civil authorities will not always (ever?) be entirely sympathetic to the gospel.

In such cases, I am led to believe by a certain J. Christ of Nazareth, NW6, that we should rejoice and be glad. Insane and unnatural responses, to be sure, Perhaps he was joking.
 
Posted by wesleyswig (# 5436) on :
 
The show “Jerry Springer – The Opera” is one that I have not seen. I therefore will only post on the idea of putting onto television works that some may consider offensive, as if you haven’t seen it you cannot judge it to be offensive.

(Two of my chums have seen it though, and greatly enjoyed it, but then they were the Chair of the Methodist Youth Exec and the Meth Youth President…but then what do we know…. we’re only Methodists.)

I think that that to show such programmes are healthy. It shows a culture that wishes to explore and challenge the beliefs of everyone. Only by showing the things that push the boundaries do we then break through into a new cultural world. Else events such as the enlightenment, the 1960s liberation etc would not have occurred.

The issue of satire and religion is a tricky one. For everyone feels passionate about his or her own religion. Therefore is there a point to be reached where the lines of taste cannot be overstepped? To which I would have to say no! Because by pushing everyone’s preconceptions and personal prejudices then we really grow as as society. Should the BBC not show a programme that illustrates the BNP for being Nazis because some don’t think that? Should the BBC stop showing the Vicker of Dibley because some people refuse to accept woman as ministers? Of course not, as one persons’ freedom fighter is another persons terrorist. We all need to be challenged!

I now my viewpoint might not be the most eloquently placed, but I have grown up enjoying persons such as Rowan Atkinson ridiculing the Christian religion. This has lead, I belief, me to hold a healthier view of my own faith as I can laugh at the absurd parts and accept them as thus. We all need to do this!

Now down to the ol meat and bones – there was this one line about Mary that keeps being quoted. On paper it may seem absurd. Yet that is what people go to entertainment for, the suspension of disbelief. This is a technique that is employed by the successful media to sell you a possibly absurd story so you remain hooked form the first minute to the last. No doubt that line is incredibly plausible in the context it is sung. Who knows – it could be sung by (for example) a chorus who act like a Greek chorus who sing what has gone on – or to illustrate views expressed. Therefore I think that we cannot take single lines to create any form of argument.

Many Regards Ever
John

Fr Gregory, I was wondering, do you think part of this anger you feel is due to the iconography which you use in your denomination – therefore you can visualise the person concerned (as more angelic) then those of us who don’t use iconography?
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
God does not need to be defended, obviously - people need to be protected from blasphemy. Unfortunately, the logic behind that is only accessible if one believes in God and in the possibility of eternal perdition. It's roughly similar to the logic the secular word applies to child porn - it's so bad, one cannot allow it to exist in any form, not even as among adults, for the fear of tainting the mind of the weak.

I'm pretty sure that the basis of the prohibition on kiddie porn is the injury done to defenseless and weak children. Your analogy implies a defenseless and weak God, something that you already admitted does not exist.
 
Posted by GreyFace (# 4682) on :
 
There are two sides to this thing. First, there's the whole idea of taking something sacred and making a mockery of it - should we stand for this, or not? I think we should not, because the benefit to us of keeping things sacred is to remind us of the importance of what they signify. The benefit to those who aren't Christians* is that by showing that we actually care about what the symbols represent enough to want to defend the symbols, we are providing an example of faith that is significant. God isn't damaged in any way if I spit on an image of Christ. I am, though, and perhaps so is anyone who sees me do it and concludes that I therefore think Christ not even worthy of respect, let alone worship.

I say we, when of course, I mean anyone with the spine to do it. I wonder some days how I manage to stand upright, myself.

Second, there's the specific line, "Mary was raped by an angel." This one is, rather than a slur on Mary's honour or a scholarly question on the nature of the Incarnation, a direct assault on God's character. To the materialistic mind, if angels exist then there's no longer any reason to doubt that God does too, and angels that disobey God we have another name for, therefore the line actual translates as "God is a rapist."

Quite a straightforward blasphemy. It's doubtful that it's intended that way, of course - it wasn't stated as truth in the play - but that's what I think Fr G was referring to with the comments about Islamic reaction to this. Will we let anything pass without protest? If that line is offensive to Christians, then it's just as offensive to Moslems.

* Don't kick that one off again. I'm using it in the sense that The Man In The Street would.
 
Posted by wesleyswig (# 5436) on :
 
quote:

The benefit to those who aren't Christians* is that by showing that we actually care about what the symbols represent enough to want to defend the symbols, we are providing an example of faith that is significant.

But is half of the churches problem the fact that so much of it can get so hung up on symbols etc so all we do is go through a series of motions rather than actualy do something meaningful.

Many Regards
John
 
Posted by Tubbs (# 440) on :
 
I’m slightly confused by this … No, truly I am.

“Jerry Springer – The Opera” started out as a National Theatre production in 2003. It transferred to the West End later and has been running to packed houses ever since. It’s been widely reviewed and advertised in the national press and … well, no one has made a fuss about it as far as I know. And the National Theatre is partly State funded. Father Gregory, where were you then? [Disappointed]

Suddenly, the BBC films a successful and popular theatre production that hasn’t toured “in the provinces and we’re being told by Father Gregory that the End of Civilisation At Hand ™. Hmmm. Maybe it’s just that such things are alright in the theatre, where they will only be seen by chattering classes but not on the television where everyone might see them? [Paranoid]

I can’t help disagreeing with the Good Father. Filming and broadcasting such a production strikes me as being completely within the BBC’s “public service broadcasting remit”. It’s part of a wider BBC programme made opera more publicly available and to commission new work. It also gives people a chance to see it who wouldn’t otherwise be able to Or a chance to not see it and go and do something more to their taste instead. As the programme is likely to be on late and has “Opera” in the title … And it’s on BBC Two. It’s not exactly “Eastenders” is it?

A glance at previous mass protests by “The Church” against similar material reveals two things:

1) People are curious – and will tend to make an effort to see things that others have told them are bad for them. “Last Temptation” would have been a small scale art house film that would have made no money and disappeared without a trace in a week or so without the fuss

2) Broadcasters ask people complaining whether or not they’ve actually seen the programme in question – of the people who complained in their thousands to C4 about the showing of “Last Temptation”, only two had actually seen all or part of the film. The rest complained because they’d been told to … And that just makes us all look a bit mindless.

A glance at this thread also reveals that The Good Father cannot debate for toffee.
[Roll Eyes] [Disappointed] [brick wall]

Tubbs
 
Posted by GreyFace (# 4682) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wesleyswig:
But is half of the churches problem the fact that so much of it can get so hung up on symbols etc so all we do is go through a series of motions rather than actualy do something meaningful.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this. What motions are we going through that are not meaningful?
 
Posted by Hugal (# 2734) on :
 
Having seen the production, I think it is good and the second act follows well from first. I agree with my wife (Gill H) on the premise of act two but I will probably not watch it on the telly.
The BBC obvously feels that this is a ratings puller or they could have chosen another show to broadcast.
I felt very uncomfortable in the theartre but I
 
Posted by Hugal (# 2734) on :
 
Sorry the computer at work is upredictable. I almost walked out during the second act. I was offended, may be I should have, It felt like they were insulting my best friend.
The show does indeed push bounderies, but does so with no reason other than to push the bounderies. This is fool hardy, if you know you are going to offend people you should have a reason to do it, not because it is entertainment.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
Likewise it's clearly foretold(TM) that Christians will suffer persecution, that blasphemies will occur and that the cultural and civil authorities will not always (ever?) be entirely sympathetic to the gospel.

In such cases, I am led to believe by a certain J. Christ of Nazareth, NW6, that we should rejoice and be glad. Insane and unnatural responses, to be sure, Perhaps he was joking.

Perhaps you should check your sources again. I don't see any association of rejoicing and gladness with the concept of blasphemy in Sacred Scripture.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
What is this all about, Ley Druid?
quote:
Not coincidentally, your position denies personal repsonsibility:"Nothing I do blasphemes God, the problem isn't with me, but with 'the authorities', 'the sensibilities of the people', 'the person complaining'"
Are you accusing me of blasphemy? In what way have I denied personal responsibility, and in what way would this be typical of my position?

The point I have been trying to drive home, and which you have been evading is not that blasphemy is lovely but that it doesn't actually damage God.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
.. quite correct ... and I think the point that many of us have been trying to make Hatless is that it damages US by coarsening our sensibilities and encouraging us to take the things of God too lightly. That is what desacralising means. No one is immune no matter how personally continent one might be. These are social constructs not private transactions.

The classic instance of this of course is the BBC itself. It keeps doing the "God slot" to keep its believing constituency (or at least part of it) happy whilst here grossly violating the very Charter principles it is legally committed to in the rest of its output. Such sops and tokenism do not impress.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
Jerry Springer: The Opera, or so much of it I of which I am cognisant, does not make me think less of God. It might make me engage with ideas - the strangeness of the current media climate, the way in which religion is perceived in popular culture, even the possibility of redemption - but it does not, in fact, cannot, make me think less of the God who has gripped my very soul.

Therefore it is not blasphemous.

Members of the jury, the question you must ask yourself is whether this is the sort of opera you would like your servant or your wife to see.

Ley Druid, Our Lord told us to rejoice and be glad when persecution comes because of him and his name, at the end of the Beatitudes (that's in a book called the "Gospel" according to Matthew, chapter 5). St Paul decides that the best attitude to the blasphemous hawking of the gospel is to be sanguine about it - at least it is being heard. Likewise, neither of them appear to have laid any foundation upon which a civil state can use religious opinion (for that it what it is) as a cause for prosecution of the destruction of property.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by Greyface:

quote:
Second, there's the specific line, "Mary was raped by an angel." This one is, rather than a slur on Mary's honour or a scholarly question on the nature of the Incarnation, a direct assault on God's character. To the materialistic mind, if angels exist then there's no longer any reason to doubt that God does too, and angels that disobey God we have another name for, therefore the line actual translates as "God is a rapist."

Quite a straightforward blasphemy. It's doubtful that it's intended that way, of course - it wasn't stated as truth in the play - but that's what I think Fr G was referring to with the comments about Islamic reaction to this. Will we let anything pass without protest? If that line is offensive to Christians, then it's just as offensive to Moslems.

It is necessary to distinguish between the dramatist and the drama. If the same line appeared in a novel by a devout Catholic, and were put into the mouth of an anti-Catholic pro-life activist who plays a villainous role in the proceedings, would it be considered blasphemous? Or might a Catholic be expressing reverence by making the character express contempt? In the context of Jerry Springer, is the line an attack on religion or religiosity? Because clearly this makes a difference. A work of drama is not a collection of cracker mottos, in isolation from one another, or even a set of propositions. It contains a plurality of voices, not all of them comfortable or even good. Given that the scene is set inside Jerry Springer's psyche we should no more assume that the author is attacking religion than we should assume from Macbeth's remarks that Shakespeare wanted to become King of Scotland.
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
.. quite correct ... and I think the point that many of us have been trying to make Hatless is that * it *damages US by coarsening our sensibilities and encouraging us to take the things of God too lightly. That is what desacralising means. No one is immune no matter how personally continent one might be. These are social constructs not private transactions.

The classic instance of this of course is the *BBC* itself....

You could easily substitute 'The Ship of Fools' for 'it' and 'the BBC' in the quote above. To what degree does Fregory believe himself to be besmirched by the way in which this website 'encourages us to take the things of God too lightly' (the Fregorian definition of desacralization)? He spends a lot more time amidst the irreverence of this board than he does with the blasphemies of the Beeb.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
If you don't mind me saying Callan that is more than a bit naive. All sorts of vehicles (psychic and otherwise) can be presented ... what matters is the actual effect of the show, (and perhaps the intention of the writers).

On language alone, over 8000 expletives are used, with f*** used 3,168 times and c*** used 297 times. Ofcom confirms that these expressions are found widely to be "grossly offensive" and should be used "with care". I submit that in Springer ON THE TELLY they are not used "with care."

As to blasphemy not causing you to think less of God, that is hardly the point Dyrig ... as I said, language and the referents of language are social constructs not private transactions. It's the overall impact I am looking at here. It is at this level that such widespread and growing dissemination and vernacular useage of intellectually vacuous and coarsening garbage is taking its inexorable toll.

Spending some time in E***'* linguistic cesspit Amos is a risk I have to take. I cannot guarantee to keep myself pure.

[ 04. January 2005, 16:14: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
I think the point that many of us have been trying to make Hatless is that it damages US by coarsening our sensibilities and encouraging us to take the things of God too lightly. That is what desacralising means.

Well I'm probably a lost cause then. Week after week I tear the body of Christ in half, crumbs all over the place. I have pictures in my house of him covered in blood and nasty puncture wounds. I read stories, sometimes read them in church, which tell of people disagreeing with him, trying to trap him, shouting rudely at him. I invoke him, in prayer, in connection with my own sordid little life. My mind wanders during worship (especially the sermons).

I can safely say I persistently fail to take God and the things of God with sufficient gravity.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Do you get off on an image of a delectable angel raping our Lady? Sorry, but that's what we are talking about here.
 
Posted by J. J. Ramsey (# 1174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Do you get off on an image of a delectable angel raping our Lady? Sorry, but that's what we are talking about here.

Is it? Or is it about Jerry Springer getting off on "an image of a delectable angel raping our Lady?"
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
By 'our Lady' do you mean the woman who spoke about God dethroning the mighty? Or do you mean some Queen of Heaven type? We don't believe in her in Baptist churches.

The language and imagery of Christianity, especially as it relates to God incarnate, is so full of contrasts and reversals that any attempt at due reverence is undermined before we get past scripture.

What is in your mind as a result of this rape of Mary thing? Do they act it out on stage? It is seriously put forwards as a theory about how Jesus was conceived? Is it a crude and colourful way of referring to the Annunciation?

On the Vicar of Dibley over Christmas they performed a carol which spoke about Mary being 'fully dilated: she will not need an episiotomy.' Is that blasphemous? Should it have been prevented?
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
A few more thoughts - another thing which troubles me with the notion of 'blasphemy' is the way it is played as a trump card which can't be reasoned with. If I say I have an absolutely visceral loathing of say Radio 4's 'Moneybox' (and I do) that's one thing but why should my subjective opinion suddenly become privileged because I cry 'Blasphemy! This programme is dedicated to the worship of Mammon! It's full of usury and middle class greed! God hates your inflated house prices and unit trusts and will utterly lay waste unto them!' Why should bringing my religious beliefs into it suddenly give me a veto over public service broadcasting which others who equally loathe the programme don't get?


But for those who'd like to put the opera in some context, here is the news story on its commissioning

BBC snaps up Springer opera

It's part of a drive to introduce a new generation of viewers to opera which also includes the commissioning of another six comedy operas by the writers. It's to be broadcast well after the watershed with strong warnings. It's being shown because it's such an unusual thing as an opera, not to pursue any sort of anti-religious agenda. None of the other new operas is anything to do with religion as far as I can see.

It has been around for over two years and you can see a long list of reviews here. Even those bastions of the lefty liberal establishment the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph liked it. It has also won 14 awards to date including Critics Circle and Olivier awards. Which makes it quite obvious to me why they've decided to go ahead with it but to put it on a minority channel late at night with due warnings so those who don't like it can reach for the off switch.

On the subject of the language used in it - it's an opera with an absurd and unreal premise - that's a bit different from 'Trainspotting' or 'Reservoir Dogs'. Is the spectacle of an opera chorus repeatedly singing incongruously naughty words for an opera really going to lead to the end of civilisation? If you go to watch Wagner you can have child abuse, incest, murder and cruelty to horses but it's hardly like watching a harrowing social realist Ken Loach movie on deprivation or CCTV footage of a murder is it?

There is plenty shocking sex and violence in the Bible - just imagine if someone made an opera of the book of Genesis! Should that be banned from public broadcasting because it would contain sex, attempted rape, rape, prostitution, incest and murder, not to mention mass adult circumcision? Isn't it a bit odd to be so puritanical about an opera when the first book of the Bible is full of shocking juxtapositions which make the Jerry Springer show look tame? Just imagine Tamar on the Jerry Springer Show 'How I got widowed, married my husband's brother then when he did nothing but jerk off and got struck down by the Lord I dressed up as a whore and seduced my father in law so I could get pregant!' or poor Dinah 'I got raped, but Shechem the rapist said he'd marry me and my father and brothers said OK but told him he and and all the men in his family had to cut their foreskins off first and they said 'OK' and then when my new in-laws-to-be were all rolling about going 'ow, ow, ow!' my brothers snuck up on them and murdered them all - including my husband-to-be!'

Starting to see where the composer may have got the idea? And an interesting question - would we think that was blasphemous if we saw 'Genesis - The Opera' with God mixed up with all those strange and shocking scenes of sex and violence and betrayal?

L.
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
Next week's Radio Times (the BBC's TV listings magazine) describes 'Jerry Springer-the Opera' as 'magnificently foul-mouthed'. As is clear from the above, there are a variety of views on the production, just as there are on swearing generally. However for the BBC to describe a programme with 3168 f***s and 297 c***s as 'magnificently foul-mouthed' is a sign of an organisation that has lost its way in terms of morality and ethics.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Indeed and no amount of justification in terms of civil liberties will get round that one.

I am no prude and I am not against portrayals of sex and violence if the context is constructive. I was never worried by Clockwork Orange for example because Kubrick wasn't luxuriating in the depravity. It was meant to be shockingly realistic because of the point the film was making and the issues it was raising. Gratuitous exploitation however in the name of entertainment is quite another matter.

[ 04. January 2005, 20:38: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Undiscovered Country: Lots of swearing is a sign of failing morality and ethics? Well, shit, I thought maybe things like how we treated the poorest and weakest among us might be more important.
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
quote:
Duchess wrote: When TV shows are rated by the FCC....
They're not rated by the FCC. They're rated by the broadcasters and networks themselves. In the United States, no federal agency of any kind rates TV programs, movies, music, or video games.

As for the last post, game, set, match, Louise. [Overused]

I stand corrected.
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
So Fr Gregory was the author of the unsolicited round-robin email I received the other day asking me to complain to the BBC about them showing a programme it appears no-one who dislikes it has seen. The OP quotes it almost word for word. Now it makes sense.

Over the weekend I must admit that I watched travesties of the Christian Faith being presented on the TV. They showed scenes of mockery, foolishness, crassness and imbecility. The music on them was often trite and banal. The intellectual content was close to zero. They showed Christians to be a absurd set of lamebrains and the faith they follow to fit for nothing else but foolish old women and credulous children. The names of the programmes were 'The Heaven and Earth Show', 'My Favourite Hymns' and 'Songs of Praise'.

I find it sickening that a public service broadcast network such as the BBC should be spending my money on programmes that lampoon the Christian Faith so effectively as 'Songs of Praise'. After all, the programme isn't real is it? Surely it and 'My Favourite Hymns' (which is on commercial telly and thus is allowed to be shit) are parodies of Christianity and are merely satires written by the late, great Peter Cook or the seemingly late Alan Bennett?

At least with Jerry Springer - The Opera I shall see a programme which, like the stage production that I enjoyed hugely, has some production values, actors and singers who have some talent and a realisation at the end that it was an entertainment not a manifesto.

Some people should get an imagination. If you can't be bothered to use one then fair enough; but leave the rest of us alone and stop tarring all Christians with your unpleasant puritanical, Taleban-esque brushes.

Cosmo
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
What is this all about, Ley Druid?
quote:
Not coincidentally, your position denies personal repsonsibility:"Nothing I do blasphemes God, the problem isn't with me, but with 'the authorities', 'the sensibilities of the people', 'the person complaining'"
Are you accusing me of blasphemy? In what way have I denied personal responsibility, and in what way would this be typical of my position?

The point I have been trying to drive home, and which you have been evading is not that blasphemy is lovely but that it doesn't actually damage God.

Your teflon God is immune to damage so you can do as you wish. Is that it? He won't be any less if you don't love Him either.
If blasphemy isn't lovely then why complain when people protest against it.
I am amused by the attempts to justify what is said rather than the freedom to say it.
I do enjoy the freedom to speak or write racial, religious or homphobic slurs or say scurrilous comments about things that other people hold dear but that does not make it right to do so and I will have to face the consequences if I do it.
quote:
Originally posted by Dyfrig:
Ley Druid, Our Lord told us to rejoice and be glad when persecution comes because of him and his name, at the end of the Beatitudes (that's in a book called the "Gospel" according to Matthew, chapter 5). St Paul decides that the best attitude to the blasphemous hawking of the gospel is to be sanguine about it - at least it is being heard. Likewise, neither of them appear to have laid any foundation upon which a civil state can use religious opinion (for that it what it is) as a cause for prosecution of the destruction of property.

Yes they are pretty poor authorities on civil government. [Roll Eyes]
Of course Saint Paul just had people "handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme" (1 Tim 1:20) which is the same thing he said to do for the incestuous man (1 Cor 5:5). Hardly laissez-faire.

The only way I can see that the Beatitudes call for rejoicing and gladness in the face of blasphemy is if one self-identifies with God [Eek!]
"Blessed are you when people insult you".

Since we're having so much fun proof-texting I wonder if you'd care to give your interpretation of
quote:
he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him
especially in the context of
quote:
Mary was raped by an angel
being used for a good laugh at the expense of
quote:
The angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you'

 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cosmo:
So Fr Gregory was the author of the unsolicited round-robin email I received the other day asking me to complain to the BBC about them showing a programme it appears no-one who dislikes it has seen. The OP quotes it almost word for word. Now it makes sense.

I dislike it. I didn't get a round-robin e-mail. I saw it and I have complained, for all the good it will do me.

quote:
Over the weekend I must admit that I watched travesties of the Christian Faith being presented on the TV. They showed scenes of mockery, foolishness, crassness and imbecility. The music on them was often trite and banal. The intellectual content was close to zero. They showed Christians to be a absurd set of lamebrains and the faith they follow to fit for nothing else but foolish old women and credulous children. The names of the programmes were 'The Heaven and Earth Show', 'My Favourite Hymns' and 'Songs of Praise'.

I find it sickening that a public service broadcast network such as the BBC should be spending my money on programmes that lampoon the Christian Faith so effectively as 'Songs of Praise'. After all, the programme isn't real is it? Surely it and 'My Favourite Hymns' (which is on commercial telly and thus is allowed to be shit) are parodies of Christianity and are merely satires written by the late, great Peter Cook or the seemingly late Alan Bennett?

I've complained about them too.

quote:
At least with Jerry Springer - The Opera I shall see a programme which, like the stage production that I enjoyed hugely, has some production values, actors and singers who have some talent and a realisation at the end that it was an entertainment not a manifesto.

Some people should get an imagination. If you can't be bothered to use one then fair enough; but leave the rest of us alone and stop tarring all Christians with your unpleasant puritanical, Taleban-esque brushes.

Cosmo

Whereas you can go around encouraging the mockery of sacred things in a manner that would at least do credit to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
OK, forget all the stuff about whether we should ban things we don't want to hear, and ignore the context of the Mary raped comments. I think Mary was raped by an angel.

Gabriel at no point asks for Mary's assent. She later gives it, but only after he has simply announced that she will be made pregnant by the Holy Spirit. The Annunciation is of a non-consensual pregnancy. Mary is offered no choice. This is rape.

Admittedly Mary later says that 'be it unto me' line, but this is an unarmed peasant girl face to face with an archangel, {and she probably doesn't realise that he doesn't exist (or that she is largely a fiction in the mind of the chap we usually call Luke)}. Saying 'yes' to a man with a knife wouldn't count as consent. Nor does saying 'be it unto me' to a winged feller with blazing eyes.

So the impregnation of Mary is rape. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I hope you will convict.
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
When I get to the Radio Times site I get the following

Jerry Springer the opera

quote:

Multi award-winning hit musical in which trailer trash meets high culture, filmed live at the Cambridge Theatre, London. Jerry Springer, America's favourite talk show host, suffers the worst day of his career when faced with transsexuals, nappy wearers and a troupe of tap-dancing Ku Klux Klansmen.

So would you care to quote in context for us exactly what you read, UC?

I can think of things I'd describe as 'magnificently foul mouthed', like Viz, or Lenny Bruce or Richard Pryor- but I don't sit there counting the expletives and ignoring the comedy like an eunuch at an orgy. Did you sit through Father Ted counting how many times someone said 'Feck'? If you read a James Kelman or a D H Lawrence novel do you ignore the writing and count how many 'fucks' and 'cunts' and 'arses' are in it amidst much tut-tutting? I'm sorry but I've never tried to gauge the merit of anything by sitting there with a clicker counting how many Fs and Cs I can hear - what could be more Pecksniffianly nonsensical than that?


Do you know how a billing gets into the Radio times? Clue - the producer writes it and their editor checks it. So because of one billing you don't like, the whole organisation has lost it's way, morally and ethically, eh? Just imagine if someone at the BBC made a similarly inane generalisation about your church on the basis of one sermon out of thousands which offended them. Sorry, what was that about judging others as you'd like to be judged?

It makes no difference whether it has 300, 000 fucks, 25, 568 uses of cunt and 68 gratutitous uses of the word 'Belgium' and one of floccipaucinihilipilification, either it's funny and thought provoking or it's not. It's either taking the piss out of a television genre which thoroughly deserves it or it's not. You'd have to see it to judge how the swearing works. As for 'luxuriating in depravity' 'gratuitous exploitation' etc etc. that's almost exactly the sort of over-the-top claim people made about 'Clockwork Orange' without having seen it - I'm sorry to say it, but that post practically satirises itself as an excellent example of 'I haven't seen it and don't intend to but I'm going to be outraged anyway'

I have no idea whether I will like it myself, not having seen it, but as it has had a long and succesful run in my home town without causing the least fuss, and it has garnered a large clutch of awards, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt until I see it - especially if this sort of legalistic 'it has this many fucks in it, you know' and 'somebody mentioned an angel raping the Virgin Mary in the some context which we do not know' argument is the best to be mustered against it.

It's just as well I'm not a member of ECUSA, as well as making programmes for Auntie or I'd have to get a custom title as 'Ship's Great Satan' [Biased]

L.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
OK, forget all the stuff about whether we should ban things we don't want to hear, and ignore the context of the Mary raped comments. I think Mary was raped by an angel.

Gabriel at no point asks for Mary's assent. She later gives it, but only after he has simply announced that she will be made pregnant by the Holy Spirit. The Annunciation is of a non-consensual pregnancy. Mary is offered no choice. This is rape.

Admittedly Mary later says that 'be it unto me' line, but this is an unarmed peasant girl face to face with an archangel, {and she probably doesn't realise that he doesn't exist (or that she is largely a fiction in the mind of the chap we usually call Luke)}. Saying 'yes' to a man with a knife wouldn't count as consent. Nor does saying 'be it unto me' to a winged feller with blazing eyes.

So the impregnation of Mary is rape. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I hope you will convict.

On the contrary, I suspect this will pass as serious debate on the ship of fools.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
Those who have enjoyed Louise's magisterial posts on this thread, and in particular her tour de force about the seamier side of Genesis, might enjoy the Lego version of the story of Dinah and Shechem, at the brick testament . Look at the mouths!
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
Louise, that was excellent. Even without the stark contrast of some of the other contributors of this thread, that was still some brilliant posting.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
I'm pretty sure that the basis of the prohibition on kiddie porn is the injury done to defenseless and weak children. Your analogy implies a defenseless and weak God, something that you already admitted does not exist.

Not at all, God is not hurt by this, those who blaspheme him are. It's like a perfect mirror, the more they blaspheme, the more they doom themselves. The human perpetrator is his own victim in blasphemy, it's spiritual self-mutilation. This exactly mirrors that one does not praise the Lord for the Lord's sake (He clearly gains nothing from praise), but for one's own sake. Now, allowing blasphemy to be visible in the public is like allowing child porn to become visible in the public: chances are that this will increase the number of victims. The difference is that in the case of child porn, more crimes might be committed against others (the children), in the case of blasphemy more crimes might be committed by people against themselves.

But, as I've mentioned, this system is only logical if you believe in God and in the possibility of perdition. If you do not believe in God, or if you do not believe that blasphemy could result in (ultimate) harm to themselves, then this logic collapses.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
I think that this issue has done what no other issue has done in the 3 years 9 months I have been here. It has revealed for me:-

(1) How utterly divided groups / traditions of Christians are on the Ship, (reflecting the wider situation of course).
(2) These divisions are systemic, deep rooted and comprehensive.
(3) They are not susceptible of human resolution.

I am afraid I no longer know what "in Christ" means ecumenically in practical terms.

I shall remain here not with any hope of convergence across the divides but in the (often) vain hope that there might develop some mutual understanding.

Only (3) gives me cause for some hope. Maybe. With God all things are possible.

[ 04. January 2005, 23:40: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
Odd. The divergency here has given me more of a sense of the Church Universal. Because despite the fact we disagree so deeply and unchangeably about these things, here we all are still disagreeing together. And many of us have been doing it for quite a while.

Isn't that in itself a sign that something is at work?

[picked a better word]

[ 04. January 2005, 23:58: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]
 
Posted by JohnBoot (# 3566) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBoot:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
There are serious scholars who have put forward the possibility that Mary was got pregnant because she was raped by a Roman soldier.

I assume "scholars" means more than one. Do you care to divulge their names?
I'll look them up at work tomorrow.

Any luck?
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
I think that this issue has done what no other issue has done in the 3 years 9 months I have been here. It has revealed for me:-

(1) How utterly divided groups / traditions of Christians are on the Ship, (reflecting the wider situation of course).

Interesting. I cottoned on to this fact about five minutes after I walked through the door over six years ago. Did you really think we were all Orthodox underneath and we just hadn't figured it out yet?
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBoot:
Any luck?

Yes. The possibility that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier was first put forward by Jane Schaberg in The Illegitimacy of Jesus (1987) and discussed more recently by Robert Miller in Born Divine (2003).

I used the word "serious" to underline the fact that the idea that Mary might have been raped was not one discussed solely by people who don't take Christianity seriously.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
...in the case of blasphemy more crimes might be committed by people against themselves.

Even God doesn't restrict our freedom in order to keep us from hurting ourselves. Who gave you, Gregory, or the Church such high authority?
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Even God doesn't restrict our freedom in order to keep us from hurting ourselves. Who gave you, Gregory, or the Church such high authority?

Who gave the secular state the right to stop people from seriously mutilating their own bodies or from committing suicide, and to order psychological treatment in such cases? The assumption behind the laws is that these people are not making free decisions in a sane state of mind, but rather that they act under compulsion from mental sickness. Hence their freedom of action is being restricted until they regain a healthy state of mind, i.e., until they stop wanting to harm themselves in this manner. Simply speaking then, we accept that the overwhelming majority has some right to define what is "sane" over and against what the individual may believe.

Of course, with respect to blasphemy the problem is these days that no such overwhelming majority exists anymore. The situation used to be very different - hence my analysis explains the "traditional" attitude. Concerning the world of today, the second part of my post becomes relevant: weighting the cultural benefits against the religious damage. Both are experienced by people and have real impact on them, hence I can see no reason whatsoever why cultural expression should be given an entirely free hand without considering this question.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Read my post Erin.

There was nothing about Orthodoxy either explicit or inferred in that. And don't try and drag into your analysis 1001 other misinterpreted / reconstructed / decontextualised posts of mine over the last 4 years in self justification either.

I was merely talking about my deepening perception of division, (not merely difference or diversity) which is, I contend, generic, systemic and across the board / Boards.

It might help if from time to time if you didn't put words into my mouth ... presumably for your own purposes, who knows?! Thank you.

[ 05. January 2005, 06:55: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
What Cosmo said.

But I'm confused.

At one point Fr Gregory requires us to believe that blasphemy is a bad thing because it "encourag[es] us to take the things of God too lightly", suggesting that the measure of whether something is blasphemous or not is dependent on its effect as experience by real human beings.

When a real human being suggests to Fr Gregory that the things he has enunciated do not encourage me to take the things of God too lightly, such experience of their effect is dismissed as irrelevant and he appeals to some nebulous, undefined society which is brought to its elbows by an opera shown on BBC-2 on a Friday night.

Heigh-ho.

The reason for my confusion is that the things that do encourage me to take the things of God too lightly, despairing at the rapacious and vicious power-games and violations of the human spirit that happen in the name of religion (you can consider these to be comments on your citation of the "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" as well, Ley Druid).

There are the things that cause me to despair and sympathise with those who consider God, if he is anything like his purported representatives, to be a cruel, fickle, cantankerous fool who deserves neither respect nor worship, to take the things associated with Him too lightly because if I didn't laugh, I'd cry.

It is not 8,000 uses of the word fuck or cunt, but rather things like the refusal to return Jewish children to their parents because they had been baptized during their fostering; or when monks and priests of the oldest Christian tradition on the planet harbour a indicted war criminal; when monks and priests of an ancient church burn theological books and seek civil legislation that persecute other Christians; when bishops move priests around parishes to avoid scandal rather than deal head on with their vile acts of abuse; when bishops and priests wring their hands over a fast-spreading disease, but will at the same time insist on a discipline which means that disease spreads even faster; when a sect uses violence and warfare to gain control of a state in the name of "God" and then proceeds to ban Christmas; when ministers of the church are happy to put the boot into any other minister at the drop of a hat; when groups develop theologies that, shock horror, make them the top of the pile in the social order; when churches stand there smugly blaming the rest of the world from having disengaged from Christianity when the churches had a good hand in making that disengagement possible and necessary.

These are "blasphemies", if we insist on defining blasphemy as something that encourages us to take the things of God too lightly.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Dyfrig: [Overused]
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
Dyfrig and Cosmo, what a pair. [Overused]
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
Well, I've set this to record, and I will let you know if I find it just as amusing and satirical, nay, thought-provoking, as I did last time.
 
Posted by wesleyswig (# 5436) on :
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/4147801.stm

Read it and weep - seems like the b*stard offspring of the Viewers&Listeners association is now onto the beeb.

So it seems that we wont all get a chance to watch and judge. I think a much fairer thing if we all watched and then we got to complain if it was offensive! (eg some saw Brasseye as offensive and there was a giant apology).

I am shocked an appaled by the fact that the person who is complaining most here hasnt even seen the show though. That shows an ignorance which gives alot of christians a bad name. Why? Becuase how can we be the candel in teh darkness that stands up for what we belive in if we havent experienced it ourselves in some shape or form? Else we are just hypocrytes. We all laughed at Blunket when he claimed ot have watched a TV show, condemned it and then revieled he hadn't seen it.

I am also cheesed off I shall be at a Methodist meeting (CfMYW) the day that it is on and so dont know if I'll be able to catch it - the mind boggles at what context the swearing will be in...will have to get someone to tape it...
Many Regards
John
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
It doesn't sound like they are planning to axe it, only that they've been asked to. Most of the swearing is sung to operatic music... which makes it funnier.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
It might help if from time to time if you didn't put words into my mouth ... presumably for your own purposes, who knows?! Thank you.

Fregory, let me introduce you to the concept of a question mark. This is what we call a punctuation mark -- a symbolic notation indicating a specific use of speech. In this case, a question mark is used to mark the end of a sentence of direct inquiry. E.g.,
quote:
Did you really think we were all Orthodox underneath and we just hadn't figured it out yet?
This is a sentence of inquiry, requesting specific information. The sentence structure is such that the appropriate response is "yes" or "no".

Now, a rhetorical device such as the one you've accused me of does not, in fact, entail an inquiry. Rather, it's an assumed statement of fact. In that instance, the sentence would end with what we know as a period, which indicates the end of a declarative sentence. E.g.,
quote:
You really think we're all Orthodox and are too stupid to figure it out yet.
This requires a direct refutation or confirmation.

Now, I have been blissfully unaware that a direct inquiry now construes putting words in one's mouth. I have always believed that a direct inquiry was always a request for clarification about one's actions, beliefs or words. So in the future, Fregory, maybe you need to unbunch your panties and just answer the damn question, k?
 
Posted by I_am_not_Job (# 3634) on :
 
A few thoughts:

1) Just a small point on the Mary and the angel thing, my vague memory of when it is mentioned in the show was it made me think of Zeus and all his women, and how, rather than simply dismissing the tale of virginal conception as rubbish, maybe this is how some people, either now or centuries ago, may have tried to understand it when they first heard the story. I didn't take it as a blasphemy on Our Lady, rather an interesting angle for a non-Christian to take on trying to explain (away) the story.

2) Has anyone else mentioned that stage shows when filmed for TV always come across badly anyway?

3) The swearing is intense, but repetition dulls effect and it does actually just come across amusingly, as you realise how bizarre the language of JS contestants are, there again, it's just like what the majority of kids on my bus in the morning sound like, just more inventive, and it's funny as it shows how ridiculous and inane and pointlessly rude the language is.

4)Seriously though, the second act is pretty offensive, however there are lots of interesting questions it raises. The thing that saddened me the most is the conclusion is essentially the marriage between heaven and hell, a ying and yang theory, which is very 'all roads lead the same way' etc. That, not the blashemy is what will be pervasive and anti-Christian in effect. This message, rather than disrespect, will seep into modern culture and will have more effect as it confirms to non-Christians that they're ok. A bit of rudeness or blasphemy they know is naughty but manageable. It's a shame when there are so many interesting issues raised that could have gone somewhere much else.

Ultimately though, the philosophical and theological questions will be lost on the majority of viewers (just as they are on theatre-goers) and the gradual secularisation of the West will simply continue. We end with the question need it be inflicted on the general public? I think not. But I think there are far better things Christians could be spending there time shouting about in public.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wesleyswig:
So it seems that we wont all get a chance to watch and judge. I think a much fairer thing if we all watched and then we got to complain if it was offensive! (eg some saw Brasseye as offensive and there was a giant apology).

I'll tell you what, you spend your own money watching it instead of expecting it to be paid for out of a compulsory levy and we'll call the argument quits.

quote:
I am shocked an appaled by the fact that the person who is complaining most here hasnt even seen the show though. That shows an ignorance which gives alot of christians a bad name. Why? Becuase how can we be the candel in teh darkness that stands up for what we belive in if we havent experienced it ourselves in some shape or form? Else we are just hypocrytes. We all laughed at Blunket when he claimed ot have watched a TV show, condemned it and then revieled he hadn't seen it.
I didn't see the empty tomb but I believe the witnesses, whom I have come to trust. FrGregory hasn't seen the show but believes the witnesses whom he come to trust. That isn't hypocrisy, it's how we got our Scriptures.
 
Posted by I_am_not_Job (# 3634) on :
 
Darn, thought of something else:
by the end of the show I wasn't so much offended by their gross depiction of Jesus as I realised it was SO removed from the Jesus I knew. It was unreal, barely recognisable, only the name was the same. It reminded me of the argument you can give to atheists when they say why they don't believe in God - I don't believe in that God either. I may be temporarily offended by blasphemy, but I find heresy much worse and more dangerous. It is the things most like the truth which are the most subversive. Any Christian or non-Christian watch JS the Opera knows its portrayls of the characters have got nothing to do with real Christianity. However, the underlying moral conclusion the show makes is much more likely to subconsciously affect people (see my 4th point).
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chukovsky:
It doesn't sound like they are planning to axe it, only that they've been asked to. Most of the swearing is sung to operatic music... which makes it funnier.

Shades of the South Park musical, which was broadcast in its full fearsome foulmouthed finery not so long ago on Channel 4 (also a public service broadcaster). Only I don't think anyone complained about that - which was a shame, as there's nothing like a bit of controversy to get the viewing figures up: South Park certainly tries hard on the blasphemy and swearing counts. Wonder what it's doing wrong to be so cruelly ignored?

I can't see the BBC not transmitting Springer. Perhaps Father Gregory and the Whitehousians can chain themselves to the railings outside Broadcasting House.

Down with this sort of thing! Mind how you go now...

R
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
[QB...on Channel 4 (also a public service broadcaster).[/QB]

In what sense "public service". It is a commercial station financed from advertising revenues not by the licence fee.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
[QB...on Channel 4 (also a public service broadcaster).

In what sense "public service". It is a commercial station financed from advertising revenues not by the licence fee. [/QB]
Well, according to Ofcom
quote:
Channel 4, as a critical second provider of public service broadcasting, to remain as a primarily not-for-profit free-to-air broadcaster
Ofcom definition of "Public Service Broadcasting"
quote:
The problem with the term 'public service broadcasting' is that it has at least four different meanings: good television; worthy television; television that would not exist without some form of public intervention; and the institutions that broadcast this type of television.

 
Posted by Leetle Masha (# 8209) on :
 
Yoo-hoo Mother Country: I apologize for the US origination of the Jerry Springer Show! Now you have our rotten taste, in spades. That's a pity.

That television show did bleep most of the profanity and obscenity uttered by its guests, who were chosen specifically for their unedifying personalities and personal issues, so that an audience could feel a little bit superior IMHO. For a while, the ratings were high. I guess the rationale was that everybody needs somebody to look down upon.

I am happy to report that that tv show has been relegated to a cheap channel not on the main networks and not a favorite of the US intelligentsia, but you can be sure that US public tv will show that opera as soon as they can raise the fees with their next begathon. Sophisticated Americans just love British television and British theatre. You will get your money back. [Biased]

I think both our nations have bought such a popular mindset of theological and moral relativism among mainline Christians (and sophisticates of all religions) that we ought not to be surprised to see blasphemy or obscenity on the stage, the big or small screen, or even in mainline churches as some sort of liturgical innovation or as a simple protest against censorship in any form. People asked for profanity and obscenity when they opted both for a distorted sophistication and a concomitant concept of relative truth, relative morality and art as self-expression for its own sake. Over here, people call that sort of self-expression a Second Amendment Right. The National Education Association and the National Endowment for the Arts get both gov't and private grants for such self-expression in the US. Other examples of that sort of taste have existed for quite a while, e.g., the "Crucifix in Urine" exhibited in NYC a few years ago, or the Virgin Smeared with Elephant Dung. In a way, through funding such projects, we are taxed just as you all are. But if it pleased Americans to originate these art forms, maybe we deserve to be taxed to pay for them, especially if we voted for candidates who advocate such freedoms. The BBC seems to me merely to be life imitating art. [Devil]

In sum, America should be blamed rather than the BBC. We set the example, to our shame.

There is only one way to protect against this sort of stuff.

If one doesn't like these things, one needs to vote out or otherwise sanction the representatives (of state, church or political influence) who advocate relativism. If all else fails, hit them in the pocketbook, where it hurts. In the meantime, vote with one's remote.

Leetle Masha, who watched Jerry Springer once or twice and who has not contributed to public tv in a very long time; I have better uses for my charitable contributions. Merry Armenian Christmas to all! [Biased]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
But, as I've mentioned, this system is only logical if you believe in God and in the possibility of perdition. If you do not believe in God, or if you do not believe that blasphemy could result in (ultimate) harm to themselves, then this logic collapses.

So, logically, anyone who doesn't believe in both those things is free to watch. And anyone who does believe in them is free not to watch. Everybody's happy.

Unless you're advocating a Father-knows-best state where even non-Christians are held to a "Christian" way of life for the sake of the souls they don't even believe they have.

Is that what you're advocating? What a nightmare it would be...
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
No YOU haven't got MY point Erin. This is absolutely nothing to do with Orthodoxy whatsover so why did you even use the word whatever the punctuation? I said, and I repeat for brevity! ... "deep disunity rules here." Period.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
There is considerable disagreement here. But does disagreement equate with disunity? And, if there is a correlation between disagreement and disunity I'd have thought that would be much more evident on the assorted threads about important doctrines rather than what boils down to not much more than personal taste.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
[QB...on Channel 4 (also a public service broadcaster).

In what sense "public service". It is a commercial station financed from advertising revenues not by the licence fee.

Well, according to Ofcom
quote:
Channel 4, as a critical second provider of public service broadcasting, to remain as a primarily not-for-profit free-to-air broadcaster
Ofcom definition of "Public Service Broadcasting"
quote:
The problem with the term 'public service broadcasting' is that it has at least four different meanings: good television; worthy television; television that would not exist without some form of public intervention; and the institutions that broadcast this type of television.
[/QB]
Fair enough.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Buggeration.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
No YOU haven't got MY point Erin. This is absolutely nothing to do with Orthodoxy whatsover so why did you even use the word whatever the punctuation? I said, and I repeat for brevity! ... "deep disunity rules here." Period.

I get your point. I just think you are wrong. After all, if you thought we were all really the same deep down, what same did you think we were? If not Orthodox, then WHAT SAME were we?
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Let's look at it again shall we Erin?

quote:
(1) How utterly divided groups / traditions of Christians are on the Ship, (reflecting the wider situation of course).
(2) These divisions are systemic, deep rooted and comprehensive.
(3) They are not susceptible of human resolution.

I am afraid I no longer know what "in Christ" means ecumenically in practical terms.

I shall remain here not with any hope of convergence across the divides but in the (often) vain hope that there might develop some mutual understanding.

Please tell me where I used the word "same." Please tell me where I inferred that the opposite of divided (VERB USED) was "same" rather than it's true opposite which is "united" or perhaps "shared." No matter how quick you peddle you are falling back sreadily downhill. Still no trace of "Orthodox" explicit or implied.

[ 05. January 2005, 14:48: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Concerning the world of today, the second part of my post becomes relevant: weighting the cultural benefits against the religious damage. Both are experienced by people and have real impact on them, hence I can see no reason whatsoever why cultural expression should be given an entirely free hand without considering this question.

You have said that you are concerned about the damage that people might cause to themselves, not to you or to God. Where then is the "religious damage"? There is no damage to God or, presumably, to your belief. The only possible damage is to the religion of people who believe differently than you. You are still implying that people should not have freedom to make their own decisions about what is best for them.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Dyfrig

quote:
At one point Fr Gregory requires us to believe that blasphemy is a bad thing because it "encourag[es] us to take the things of God too lightly", suggesting that the measure of whether something is blasphemous or not is dependent on its effect as experience by real human beings.

When a real human being suggests to Fr Gregory that the things he has enunciated do not encourage me to take the things of God too lightly, such experience of their effect is dismissed as irrelevant and he appeals to some nebulous, undefined society which is brought to its elbows by an opera shown on BBC-2 on a Friday night.

Ah Dyfrig! So you're a Thatherite! No such thing as society eh?! Really, the very thought. You will recall I also said that blashemy was not a private transaction (or even a collection of private transactions, elucd.) but a social construct.

Nebulous? I don't think so. The social artefacts of a society are its shared values, its dissenters and the transactions between the two. When, however, a society begins actually to corrupt and subvert its own memes ... it had better know what it is doing and what the consequences of that are.

Dear Alan

Disagreement there certainly is but I know now that it runs deeper than that. Many traditions represented on the Ship have such deeply antithetical and exclusive Christian infrastructures as to make any engagement only possible at the level of encounter and understanding (fat chance I think more negatively some times). Any hope that we might through our debates be drawing closer together (not same or Orthodox Erin) now seems impossibly ambitious. As I said, though, with God all things are possible.

Angry about Media Watch Wesleyswig? Wait until the Muslim Council of Great Britain wades in. That will no doubt be judged to be tolerable ... somehow.

I'll pop in on your question Scot but defer to Ingo. This is not (as I have explained yet again to Dyrig and all of you concerned) about whether or not you were offended, corrupted or influenced in anyway. It's about the social memes, the shared values, the elasticity for dissent flipping over into new social constructs. I believe that we are now experiencing a new social revilution as secularish and religious iconoclasm become much more aggressive. I am just flagging this up in case eventually real and actual (physical) martyrdom will be the bitter fruit of a democracy gone sour and twisted.

[ 05. January 2005, 15:10: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by J. J. Ramsey (# 1174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leetle Masha:

People asked for profanity and obscenity when they opted both for a distorted sophistication and a concomitant concept of relative truth, relative morality and art as self-expression for its own sake. Over here, people call that sort of self-expression a Second Amendment Right.

Don't you mean First Amendment Right?
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Please tell me where I used the word "same." Please tell me where I inferred that the opposite of divided (VERB USED) was "same" rather than it's true opposite which is "united" or perhaps "shared." No matter how quick you peddle you are falling back sreadily downhill. Still no trace of "Orthodox" explicit or implied.

Are you suggesting that the various branches of Christianity can be united without becoming the same (on significant matters)? This is a great step forward for ecumenicalism!
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Dear Alan

Disagreement there certainly is but I know now that it runs deeper than that. Many traditions represented on the Ship have such deeply antithetical and exclusive Christian infrastructures as to make any engagement only possible at the level of encounter and understanding

You make it sound as though the Ship is somewhere where "traditions" and "Christian infrastructures" engage. Is it not a place where individuals engage with each other? Some individuals may be more closely identified (by themselves or others) with specific traditions, but no one speaks for anyone other than themselves. This is a forum of individuals, not an Ecumenical Council.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
"Same" means exact congruence (as in Leibniz) and in ecclesiology this is ruled out by every Christian tradition ... Orthodox or not, (indeed it is ruled out by creation itself obtologically). If you have two people you can never be "same" even if both share identical commitments to "Incarnation" "Trinity" whatever.

Anyway, this is a diversion from Erin's intervention Scot. She was trying to tar me with naivete about the Ship being an "orthodox-really" thing based on the word "same," (not used, not inferred). I think that one has been killed now although the crocodile may try (vainly) to breathe new life into it.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
It's good, then, that I'm not speaking for, to, or about her.

I'm surprised at your claim to have just realized that we are divided, regardless of whether you mean "not the same" or "not united". I'm astounded that you have suggested that we might possibly become united while still holding different (i.e., not the same) beliefs. I agree, of course.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Alan

This is already indicative of a significant difference in approach ... but more mild in its reach and effects.

quote:
You make it sound as though the Ship is somewhere where "traditions" and "Christian infrastructures" engage. Is it not a place where individuals engage with each other? Some individuals may be more closely identified (by themselves or others) with specific traditions, but no one speaks for anyone other than themselves. This is a forum of individuals, not an Ecumenical Council.
"No one speaks for anyone else other than themselves." That's the crux of the issue, although I wouldn't want to separate and isolate that from your other derivative comments of course.

(This is getting a bit tangential .... so, I'll be brief before it gets shunted into the Styx or something).

It is impossile for anyone to speak extraneously to their social context both in meme formation relational identity. So, when anyone speaks here, there is always an infrastructure. When individuals debate here they bring with them these social and ideological contexts. Sometimes when the tips of the icebergs graze it is what's happening beneath the surface that is more important.

We should always examine and make explicit our assumptions, presuppositions, starting points and a priori beliefs.

The discordance I see is at this level. It is not merely a surface level of individually brokered disagreements. Philosophically this is the problematic nature socially of individualism in the west. It feels like an intractable thing sometimes.

Dear Scot

Ah but you and I are not agreed as you well know; for I do believe that it is both possible and desirable to grow into the kind of unity that admits of no incoherence or discordance at any level ... undivided that is but not the same. What you judge to be diversity capable of unity I often judge to be impossible division. The division here on the Ship I contend admits of no possible unity until the deeper infrastructure of which I have spoke with Alan is worked out and resolved.

[ 05. January 2005, 15:31: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:

Disagreement there certainly is but I know now that it runs deeper than that. Many traditions represented on the Ship have such deeply antithetical and exclusive Christian infrastructures as to make any engagement only possible at the level of encounter and understanding (fat chance I think more negatively some times).

I know. But you do so well at presenting a different face of Orthodoxy Father G. [Razz]
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
I'll pop in on your question Scot but defer to Ingo. This is not (as I have explained yet again to Dyrig and all of you concerned) about whether or not you were offended, corrupted or influenced in anyway.

But that's exactly what IngoB was suggesting with his whole kiddie porn analogy: a public display of blasphemy will increase the rate of people harming themselves through blasphemy.
quote:
It's about the social memes, the shared values, the elasticity for dissent flipping over into new social constructs. I believe that we are now experiencing a new social revilution as secularish and religious iconoclasm become much more aggressive. I am just flagging this up in case eventually real and actual (physical) martyrdom will be the bitter fruit of a democracy gone sour and twisted.
If religious speech (even offensive, critical religous speech) is suppressed, how can you expect to remain free to practice your chosen religion? Your own freedom is grounded in the very same memes, values, and flexibility for dissent as this opera. If you find it offensive, speak against it. If you try to use the force of government to suppress it, you create the very thing you fear - religious persecution.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
(This is getting a bit tangential .... so, I'll be brief before it gets shunted into the Styx or something).

Well, I've shunted it elsewhere in Purgatory
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Scot

quote:
If religious speech (even offensive, critical religous speech) is suppressed, how can you expect to remain free to practice your chosen religion? Your own freedom is grounded in the very same memes, values, and flexibility for dissent as this opera. If you find it offensive, speak against it. If you try to use the force of government to suppress it, you create the very thing you fear - religious persecution.
Forlornly and in the vain hope that I might be understood after umpteen reiterations, here goes.

Nowhere have I suggested that the musical be censored, suppressed or banned from showing. I have claimed that for the BBC to broadcast it (unlike EVERY other media outlet) is against their Charter and the legislation covering its operations. Here is the much despised letter from Media Watch that covers such things ...

Media Watch letter

Yes, I do want to see the existing legally enshrined ethical "ring fencing" of the BBC's output and operation continue. It is this that JS -TO compromises. I hope there's a legal challenge as well as public protest.

Why do I want to see this "ring-fencing" maintained?

As I have explained before because in Reithian and Charter terms the BBC is part of the nation's conscience. As such it participates in society's memes and shared values in a way not the case in any other private media channel.

If, therefore, the BBC crosses the line, it heralds not only a new era for the BBC but also yet one more important milestone in the ongoing cultural revolution delivered by an aggressive and anti-Christian secularism. In the UK context this means much more than it might to you.

[ 05. January 2005, 16:41: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
It is impossile for anyone to speak extraneously to their social context both in meme formation relational identity.

Uh??
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Ken

Yes, that was obscure and also missed out "and."

A clarification can be found on Alan's new thread on "Disunity and Disagreement."
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Let's look at it again shall we Erin?

quote:
(1) How utterly divided groups / traditions of Christians are on the Ship, (reflecting the wider situation of course).
(2) These divisions are systemic, deep rooted and comprehensive.
(3) They are not susceptible of human resolution.

I am afraid I no longer know what "in Christ" means ecumenically in practical terms.

I shall remain here not with any hope of convergence across the divides but in the (often) vain hope that there might develop some mutual understanding.

Please tell me where I used the word "same." Please tell me where I inferred that the opposite of divided (VERB USED) was "same" rather than it's true opposite which is "united" or perhaps "shared." No matter how quick you peddle you are falling back sreadily downhill. Still no trace of "Orthodox" explicit or implied.
So what exactly did you mean by "OH MY GOD WE'RE ALL DIVIDED AND BELIEVE DIFFERENT THINGS!!!!!!!"? I'm simply trying to understand what you could possibly have been thinking prior to this startling epiphany. What has been discussed at length on the Ship that could have ever given you the impression that there were anything BUT deep divisions between the traditions? If you thought we were all really united, what was the basis of the unity? Is it a faith tradition, practice, what? If you did not mean "I thought we were united on the underlying tenets of the Orthodox faith", what did you mean? Seriously, I want to know. What were you using as the basis for your clearly erroneous belief that we were all united? And what has come out on this thread, specifically, that opened your eyes?
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Erin

Now that we have established (not that it needed establishing from the plain meaning of the text) that this had nothing to do with Orthodoxy we can proceed to this pertinent question ...

quote:
What has been discussed at length on the Ship that could have ever given you the impression that there were anything BUT deep divisions between the traditions?
The deep divisions have always been apparent to me, (never united, come on now!). It's difficult indicating for each person what degree of division exists and intractability index applies to that division but for me, shall we say, it moved on the register from Hurricane 4 to Hurricane 5.

Whether or not someone else considers one naive for formerly having such a lower register is a relative and subjective judgement unless it is first made explicit and calibrated. I think though that the real awakening was not so much the depth of the division but the intractability involved.

I am quite happy for you to think me naive. It will make a nice change from devious or sickeningly propagandist. [Biased]
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
Father Gregory,
The guidelines are guidelines - not unbreakable rules - if you want to do something exceptional or controversial like this you refer up It's all about being aware and taking advice - it's not a great list of 'Thou shalt nots'

Producer's guidelines - referral and consultation

The relevant section on blasphemy values standards and principles tells people to be aware of potential offence and again to take advice at a higher level before broadcasting anything which might be deemed blasphemous.


quote:
What constitutes blasphemy and how seriously it is viewed, varies within and between different religions and cultures. Blasphemy is a criminal offence in the UK and advice should be sought, through Heads of Department or Commissioning Executives, from Editorial Policy and lawyers in any instance where the possibility of blasphemy may arise.
In this case, I would imagine that someone will have taken advice and asked for permission to broadcast this production despite its controversial aspects because of its unusual nature and its merit - as it has won large numbers of awards. The guidelines provide for exceptional or controversial things to be referred up for advice or for a decision at a higher level. The same would have been done, I imagine, when 'Life of Brian' was screened. If you refer up and ask for advice and are given the go-ahead at a higher level then, to the best of my knowledge, you have complied with the guidelines by doing what they tell you to.

With regard to the charter - here's the link - please quote the relevant clause showing where this production has broken it.

You might also like to note this clause amongst the objectives

quote:
(n) To organise, present, produce, provide or subsidise concerts, shows, variety performances, revues, musical and other productions and performances and other
entertainments (whether live or recorded) in connection with the broadcasting and programme supply services of the Corporation or for any purpose incidental thereto.

Presenting an award-winning opera which has been inaccessible to many people does not conflict with the charter in any way that I can see.

As for the Communications act and 'generally accepted standards' - what generally accepted standards? You can see from this thread that your standards are not generally accepted. That phrase can mean anything - please give more detail.

If saying that the many licence payers who would be pleased to see imaginative new productions on the BBC mustn't be allowed to have them because of the sensitivities of some religious viewers isn't an attempt at censorship of the BBC's output then I don't know what is. It's certainly an attempt to control it.

As for this from the media watch letter suggesting a replacement for 'Jerry Springer', I hope nobody signs up to it in the name of Christianity

quote:
Why not, for example, screen a seasonal pantomime, with well-known and liked television and radio personalities, currently showing at provincial theatres across the country?
That sums it all up, doesn't it? Let's have some hackneyed old kiddie stuff instead and drag TV down to most infantile pap available - lest somebody get offended. I think Cosmo hit it right on the head

quote:
Over the weekend I must admit that I watched travesties of the Christian Faith being presented on the TV. They showed scenes of mockery, foolishness, crassness and imbecility. The music on them was often trite and banal. The intellectual content was close to zero. They showed Christians to be a absurd set of lamebrains and the faith they follow to fit for nothing else but foolish old women and credulous children.
Yes, let's get the BBC to chuck out award winning operas in favour of 'seasonal pantomimes' with well-liked television personalities in the name of not offending Christians! That'll show them how intellectually vital and challenging Christianity can be! We don't need to worry about 'Jerry Springer the Opera' possibly tarnishing our image, we're perfectly capable of making ourselves look like idiots by signing up to this sort of stuff.

L
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
We are not going to agree on the rest of the stuff Louise but the key phrase is:- "generally accepted standards." (Your link was more about process than definition).

Blasphemy is meaningless if it is based on "generally accepted standards." Any amount of profanity can, however, be justified on that criterion ... and has.

I doubt whether Christians (or any other religious group) are asked what blasphemy would entail any more. If you have evidence to the contrary I would be very interested to hear it.
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
When I get to the Radio Times site I get the following

Jerry Springer the opera

quote:

Multi award-winning hit musical in which trailer trash meets high culture, filmed live at the Cambridge Theatre, London. Jerry Springer, America's favourite talk show host, suffers the worst day of his career when faced with transsexuals, nappy wearers and a troupe of tap-dancing Ku Klux Klansmen.

So would you care to quote in context for us exactly what you read, UC?


Its on the actual programme listing for Saturday (rather than the article) in the print version of the magazine (the entry in the electronic version reads differently so perhaps the BBC have thoguht better of it themselves?)
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
I think that this issue has done what no other issue has done in the 3 years 9 months I have been here. It has revealed for me:-

(1) How utterly divided groups / traditions of Christians are on the Ship, (reflecting the wider situation of course).
(2) These divisions are systemic, deep rooted and comprehensive.
(3) They are not susceptible of human resolution.

I am afraid I no longer know what "in Christ" means ecumenically in practical terms.

I shall remain here not with any hope of convergence across the divides but in the (often) vain hope that there might develop some mutual understanding.

Only (3) gives me cause for some hope. Maybe. With God all things are possible.

It is another interesting example though of an issue where orthodox and evangelicals are on more similar lines than they might perhaps expect
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear The Undiscovered Country

It has always encouraged me that "evangelical" and "protestant" do not necessarily mean the same thing. [Smile] For all the divisions to which I have alluded there are many traditions here that I feel very comfortable with on a case by case basis. I like the way of showing this as a Venn diagram of multiple overlapping circles. At the moment I am aware of the circle segments that don't come anywhere near each other and which in many ways disable the whole process of coming together because they are connected to other parts of the puzzle, (to mix metaphors / analogies).
 
Posted by Leetle Masha (# 8209) on :
 
J.J. Ramsey pointed out:

quote:
Don't you mean First Amendment Right?
yes, I suppose I did, but so many are so militant about what they call Freedom of Speech/Religion/Press that perhaps that was what made me confuse it with the Second Amendment. Thank you for your correction.

I'll get me coat and me gun....
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Dear Erin

Now that we have established (not that it needed establishing from the plain meaning of the text) that this had nothing to do with Orthodoxy we can proceed to this pertinent question ...

quote:
What has been discussed at length on the Ship that could have ever given you the impression that there were anything BUT deep divisions between the traditions?
The deep divisions have always been apparent to me, (never united, come on now!). It's difficult indicating for each person what degree of division exists and intractability index applies to that division but for me, shall we say, it moved on the register from Hurricane 4 to Hurricane 5.

Whether or not someone else considers one naive for formerly having such a lower register is a relative and subjective judgement unless it is first made explicit and calibrated. I think though that the real awakening was not so much the depth of the division but the intractability involved.

I am quite happy for you to think me naive. It will make a nice change from devious or sickeningly propagandist. [Biased]

Thank you for being condescending, but you still haven't answered what I asked. In what way(s) did you previously consider us to be closer than we are now? What is the measuring stick that you are using?
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
Father Gregory,
I have checked out the context of the phrase 'generally accepted standards' and it is in a clause from the 2003 Communications act which has made its way into the Ofcom code.


quote:
Section 319 OFCOM’s standards code

(1) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to set, review and revise, standards for the content of programmes to ensure:

(a) that persons under the age of eighteen are protected;

(f) that generally accepted standards are applied to the contents of television services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of offensive and harmful material;

Further explanation here:
Public consultation on Ofcom's code

quote:
Section 2 – Harm and offence
This is a short section. Under the
Communications Act 2003, material
that may be harmful or offensive must
be judged against ‘generally accepted
standards’. It also demands that
‘adequate protection’ must be provided
against this kind of material being
included. However, the wording in the
Act is more flexible than, for example,
its requirements for people under 18,
so this section is less restrictive.
This section of the code explains that
the broadcaster must consider the
context of the programme when
judging whether its content is offensive.
This may include:
· what the programme is about;
· the time of day it is broadcast;
· who is likely to be watching or
listening to it; and
· what the audience is expecting from
the programme.

It means that the broadcaster has to take into account context, likely audience, warnings,watersheds etc - and I think the BBC has done all that deciding that a post-watershed comic opera on late at night on BBC 2 with heavy warnings on bad language is not very likely to be accidentally seen by someone likely to take offence unless they go out of their way looking for it.

You claimed earlier that the programme should not be screened because it breached producer's guidelines - I've pointed out to you how the producer would comply with the guidelines in this case.

You claimed the programme breached the charter - I'm still waiting for you to point out where.

I don't expect you to like the programme, I respect the fact that you think it is offensive and awful and should never be screened by the BBC, but if you want to claim that the BBC is breaking the law or breaking its charter then that's a different matter - I don't think the documents in question support your case.

cheers,
L.

[ 05. January 2005, 19:18: Message edited by: Louise ]
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
... not closer Erin ... I was just more optimistic about the possibility of getting closer.

Dear Louise

It's difficult tio appreciate what may or may not be broken given that the definitions of what generally accepted standards actually means practically, concretely, in real time, is so vague and unspecific. Perhaps we have some Muse sitting and judging ... "Uhmm ... that's probably alright," or more cynically, "Uhmmm, we'll probably get away with that."

I'll withdraw my claim about the Charter though, for now.

[ 05. January 2005, 19:22: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
The reason for my confusion is that the things that do encourage me to take the things of God too lightly, despairing at the rapacious and vicious power-games and violations of the human spirit that happen in the name of religion (you can consider these to be comments on your citation of the "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" as well, Ley Druid).

There are the things that cause me to despair and sympathise with those who consider God, if he is anything like his purported representatives, to be a cruel, fickle, cantankerous fool who deserves neither respect nor worship, to take the things associated with Him too lightly because if I didn't laugh, I'd cry.

It is not 8,000 uses of the word fuck or cunt, but rather things like the refusal to return Jewish children to their parents because they had been baptized during their fostering; or when monks and priests of the oldest Christian tradition on the planet harbour a indicted war criminal; when monks and priests of an ancient church burn theological books and seek civil legislation that persecute other Christians; when bishops move priests around parishes to avoid scandal rather than deal head on with their vile acts of abuse; when bishops and priests wring their hands over a fast-spreading disease, but will at the same time insist on a discipline which means that disease spreads even faster; when a sect uses violence and warfare to gain control of a state in the name of "God" and then proceeds to ban Christmas; when ministers of the church are happy to put the boot into any other minister at the drop of a hat; when groups develop theologies that, shock horror, make them the top of the pile in the social order; when churches stand there smugly blaming the rest of the world from having disengaged from Christianity when the churches had a good hand in making that disengagement possible and necessary.

These are "blasphemies", if we insist on defining blasphemy as something that encourages us to take the things of God too lightly.

Are they wrong? Should you complain about them?

Remember, God isn't damaged by them and we should all just rejoice and be glad.

Saint Thomas Aquinas says it's wrong to blaspheme because God doesn't deserve it. Hatless says even if God doesn't deserve it, it doesn't damage Him; it isn't even about Him, it's about the person complaining.

So what about your blasphemy Dyfrig?
Is it wrong because God doesn't deserve it?

Or is the problem with the people like you that complain about the blasphemy, the relgious types with that self-affirming feeling of righteous outrage? 'Goodness I'm so religious I'm getting angry on God's behalf, these days'?

Or is it personal preference: Fr. G. doesn't like angels raping Mary and Dyfrig doesn't like monks who burn books?
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Nowhere have I suggested that the musical be censored, suppressed or banned from showing.

Selective endorsement is discriminatory and, when practiced by a public agency, amounts to the same thing as suppression of that which is not endorsed. What you are demanding is for the State, as represented by the BBC, to take your side in a religious dispute. You are insisting that they should preferentially protect your sensibilities and beliefs. To the extent that you and others like you are successful, you will reduce religious freedom in your culture and lay the groundwork for the day when your own religious views become the target of govermental discrimination.

P.S. to Ley Druid: I doubt very much whether Dyfrig objects to fictional depictions of monks burning books.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
I doubt that Dyfrig objects to fictional depictions of monks reading books. I doubt that this is any more or less relevant than what you said.

[ 05. January 2005, 21:13: Message edited by: Ley Druid ]
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Scott

I know that you will probably believe that the absolute separation of religion and State as in the US is the best thing since sliced bread but I don't. I don't see how we are going to do anything here except observe one another's positions. As you know the BBC is completely independent of the State but its constitution is governed by Statute.
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Perhaps we have some Muse sitting and judging ... "Uhmm ... that's probably alright," or more cynically, "Uhmmm, we'll probably get away with that."


Most of the decisions on such issues that I am aware of unfortunatly seem to be on the basis of the latter.
 
Posted by madferret (# 3353) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
As for this from the media watch letter suggesting a replacement for 'Jerry Springer', I hope nobody signs up to it in the name of Christianity
quote:
Why not, for example, screen a seasonal pantomime, with well-known and liked television and radio personalities, currently showing at provincial theatres across the country?
That sums it all up, doesn't it? Let's have some hackneyed old kiddie stuff instead and drag TV down to most infantile pap available - lest somebody get offended. I think Cosmo hit it right on the head

I found this article on morality and censorship in today's Guardian quite pertinent in the light of this discussion.

I have no problem with Fr Gregory et al expressing their personal opinons in the strongest terms. But cringe at some of the antics of organisations like Media Watch that claim to be voice of the 'True Christian'. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" is a phrase that comes to mind.

Though now I know why I found JS The Opera funny - I was obviously corrupted by Doctor Who, Frank Spencer and Jackanory as a child and have no morals left! [Eek!]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
So, logically, anyone who doesn't believe in both those things is free to watch. And anyone who does believe in them is free not to watch. Everybody's happy.

Clearly so. However, public TV is hardly a "private" matter. The theory "you can always turn it off" is just that - a theory. In practice, a lot of people won't and will in the long term have their opinions shaped by whatever happens to be shown. This is precisely why behaviour "offensive to society" - like racism - is not shown unless it is in a context which makes completely clear that it is evil.

The show we are discussing apparently shows blasphemy without such a context, perhaps it's even claiming to be "funny" or "sophisticated culture" and hence "good". Thus it will contribute to an attitude in the public mind that blasphemy of the Christian God is "OK" (perhaps "funny" or "sophisticated"). You can hardly blame Christians for being worried about that. Others have made the argument about public funding already, so I will leave that alone.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Unless you're advocating a Father-knows-best state where even non-Christians are held to a "Christian" way of life for the sake of the souls they don't even believe they have. Is that what you're advocating? What a nightmare it would be...

I ask for respect and courtesy, you claim it will lead to religious tyranny. Are we then to conclude that there are exactly two choices: either a completely disrespectful and uncourteous society in which nothing counts but total individual freedom, or complete mind control in a totalitarian state? I think not!

quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
You have said that you are concerned about the damage that people might cause to themselves, not to you or to God. Where then is the "religious damage"? There is no damage to God or, presumably, to your belief. The only possible damage is to the religion of people who believe differently than you.

If all Christians were like Mr Spock, you would have a point. Then they would simply compute the blasphemy, conclude that its entirely baseless, and go on computing something else. But Christians happen to be human beings with feelings. The situation is emotionally similar to a personal insult. Imagine I staged a play in which your parents are being ridiculed and in which one insult is heaped upon them after the next. Imagine I tried to get air time on the BBC for that play, so that everybody will see it. Assume your parents were dead, so they wouldn't care. Would you still feel offended? Would you still try to stop the play? Or would you compute "It doesn't matter, they are dead." and let it slide?

Further, while it is certainly true that God won't be damaged, it's not so clear that there is no additional (non-emotional) damage to the belief of people. There may be those whose faith is so weak that this show snuffs it out. But more probably, this show may prime people against (re-)gaining faith in the first place. Who would want to believe in a perverted laughing stock?

quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
You are still implying that people should not have freedom to make their own decisions about what is best for them.

Uh, yes, I'm most certainly saying that people should not have absolute freedom of choice. Would you support my feedom, if I choose that it is best for me to: not pay taxes, kill my neighbours and take over their house, scream abuse at everybody whose face I do not like, pee in a train cabin, marry ten different women, tell lies to receive state welfare, ...? Individual freedom in a society cannot be absolute. We are here simply discussing where one particular boundary should be set.
 
Posted by Demas (# 7147) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
It has always encouraged me that "evangelical" and "protestant" do not necessarily mean the same thing. [Smile] For all the divisions to which I have alluded there are many traditions here that I feel very comfortable with on a case by case basis. I like the way of showing this as a Venn diagram of multiple overlapping circles. At the moment I am aware of the circle segments that don't come anywhere near each other and which in many ways disable the whole process of coming together because they are connected to other parts of the puzzle, (to mix metaphors / analogies).

I know! Lets get rid of those pesky circle segments that are disabling the whole process of coming together. We can call them heretics.

[Mad]
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
... not closer Erin ... I was just more optimistic about the possibility of getting closer.

On what particular tenets of faith? And who would be doing the moving?
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
It's difficult tio appreciate what may or may not be broken given that the definitions of what generally accepted standards actually means practically, concretely, in real time, is so vague and unspecific. Perhaps we have some Muse sitting and judging

How can the definition be anything other than vague and unspecific? The very phrase "generally accepted" means that it refers to the acceptabilities of society, a society made up of individuals with wildly varying standards of what they consider acceptable.

It's not as though one could quantify standards. Imagine a system of giving a show 10 points for each use of the word "cunt", 7 for "fuck" etc. and then specifying it's below "generally acceptable standards" if the show exceeds 100 points per hour of the show. It would be totally unworkable and pretty silly.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
So, logically, anyone who doesn't believe in both those things is free to watch. And anyone who does believe in them is free not to watch. Everybody's happy.

Clearly so. However, public TV is hardly a "private" matter. The theory "you can always turn it off" is just that - a theory. In practice, a lot of people won't and will in the long term have their opinions shaped by whatever happens to be shown. This is precisely why behaviour "offensive to society" - like racism - is not shown unless it is in a context which makes completely clear that it is evil.
But "blasphemy" isn't offensive to society - only to those members of it that are Christian. ETA: and not even to all of those, either!

quote:
The show we are discussing apparently shows blasphemy without such a context, perhaps it's even claiming to be "funny" or "sophisticated culture" and hence "good". Thus it will contribute to an attitude in the public mind that blasphemy of the Christian God is "OK" (perhaps "funny" or "sophisticated"). You can hardly blame Christians for being worried about that. Others have made the argument about public funding already, so I will leave that alone.
I sincerely doubt anyone would think Jerry Springer is "sophisticated culture" or "good". Have you ever seen the series? It's a freak show designed to make the audience feel better because they aren't like the people in it!

Thusly, if someone in this show blasphemes against God, it's more likely to make people think blasphemy is something to avoid!

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Unless you're advocating a Father-knows-best state where even non-Christians are held to a "Christian" way of life for the sake of the souls they don't even believe they have. Is that what you're advocating? What a nightmare it would be...

I ask for respect and courtesy, you claim it will lead to religious tyranny. Are we then to conclude that there are exactly two choices: either a completely disrespectful and uncourteous society in which nothing counts but total individual freedom, or complete mind control in a totalitarian state? I think not!
You weren't asking for respect and courtesy, you were asking for blasphemy to be censored even if it's said and viewed only by non-Christians.

Your comment that it might make others less likely to convert is crap as well. If the religion isn't strong enough to appeal even to people who have seen and heard a bit of blasphemy then it's got more problems than Jerry Springer's guests!

[ 06. January 2005, 09:40: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
No Demas.... remove the heresies, not the heretics. Stop the hysteria please.

Dear Erin

Any relevant tenet. Everybody would be doing the moving to a greater or lesser extent. There's no half way house for example between unitarianism and trinitarianism. On a case by case basis some would presumably have to move further than others ... but there is no group based bias on that.

Dear Alan

I agree with you ... it's a nonsensical way of going about things, but it's based on the idea that standards are determined by popular consent. Of course, that is in turn based on the idea that there can be no religious or moral input to public mores aside from the usual legal standards of no physical or property infringement. Psychological damage however is a much more contentious grey area. Needless to say that this is a moral discrimination (populism) that many Christians cannot accept.
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
It's not as though one could quantify standards. Imagine a system of giving a show 10 points for each use of the word "cunt", 7 for "fuck" etc. and then specifying it's below "generally acceptable standards" if the show exceeds 100 points per hour of the show. It would be totally unworkable and pretty silly.

Actually that's pretty much exactly ohow the system works at the moment. The recent TV programmes which featured Peter Cook were given limits as to the number of 'fucks' and, especially, 'cunts' that they could use. This went along the lines of the writers asking the director 'well, I'll trade you three fucks for one cunt'. Indeed, those programmes which broadcast bits of the 'Derek and Clive' conversations were far more obscene, scatalogical and blasphemous than Jerry Springer.

To be sure, television, now more than cinema, is the medium which is most capable of stretching boundaries in the most controversial way and, strange to relate, I don't believe in a free-for-all. I found the live autopsy broadcast on Channel 4 a couple of years ago to be ghastly and I believe that it should not have been broadcast. One would not show scenes of blatant incest, paedophilia or necrophilia in a drama (although documentaries on the subjects often come close to providing that titilation).

Ultimately though, the basis of whether or not something should be shown is not whether or not if offends the moral and religious framework of a particular group (if that were true we should not show the cooking or consumption of pork for fear of alienating Orthodox Jews or Muslims) although if it means defamation of a living person held in respect by a particular religious group one should be careful (eg one of the reasons 'Popetown' was scrapped was because of its perceived depiction of the present Pontiff rather than a purely fictional or dead character) but whether or not something is good.

Surely we don't want to return to the days when the Lord Chamberlain censored plays or TV shows were sanitised for fear of corrupting the mindless youth? Dennis Potter is a good case in point. His TV play 'Brimstone and Treacle' was banned by the BBC for nearly twenty years. When it was shown we could see why it should have stayed off the screens; not because of the subject matter but because it was terrible. The same was true of some of his later output.

I would say this to Fr Gregory and his MediaWatch allies. If you really think the BBC and the makers of Jerry Springer - The Opera are guilty of blasphemy then prosecute them just as Mary Whitehouse did in the 1970's. Otherwise, please shut up about it.

Cosmo
 
Posted by Tubbs (# 440) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cosmo:
... Surely we don't want to return to the days when the Lord Chamberlain censored plays or TV shows were sanitised for fear of corrupting the mindless youth? Dennis Potter is a good case in point. His TV play 'Brimstone and Treacle' was banned by the BBC for nearly twenty years. When it was shown we could see why it should have stayed off the screens; not because of the subject matter but because it was terrible. The same was true of some of his later output.

I would say this to Fr Gregory and his MediaWatch allies. If you really think the BBC and the makers of Jerry Springer - The Opera are guilty of blasphemy then prosecute them just as Mary Whitehouse did in the 1970's. Otherwise, please shut up about it.

Cosmo

Interesting that Cosmo brings up Dennis Potter as this does illustrate how the “generally accepted standards” have changed.

The 1969 BBC production of “Son of Man” is described on the BBC’s website as "Potter's controversial story of Jesus; from his 39th day in the wilderness until his death on the Cross. The occupying Romans in Jerusalem put down religious fanatics and their followers with brutality. Jesus, a man capable of friendship and anger, of doubt and laughter, is haunted by the question - "Am I indeed the Messiah?" - and by the knowledge of his fate.". The 1969 BBC production was denounced in terms to the ones Father Gregory is using to denounce “Springer”. Oh yes, and it won some awards as well.

Potter’s play is being re-shown on BBC 4 as part of the Potter season this January and you can read more about it here

Moving on a few more years, and Potter’s play was included in the RSC’s 1995 season. And no one noticed. Ho hum …

I went to see it and thought it was excellent. (There are differences between the RSC and the TV production. The RSC version contained an implied reference to the Resurrection while the TV version stopped at the Crucifiction. Apart from that, nothing was changed)

Tubbs
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
Heh, heh, I have just received one of the round robin e-mails Cosmo talks of (I am truly blessed! [Cool] ) But I won't pass it on, so if anyone hasn't had one yet, they'll have to wait.

The issue in the e-mail seems to be more about whether the programme should be broadcast on TV rather than whether the stage show should have been produced in the first place. A case of Not In My Front Room.

Having seen the stage show of 'Round the Horne Revisited' and then tried to watch the rather poorly adapted TV version last week, I don't hold out much hope of the BBC being able to make it anywhere near as good - or bad, depending on your view - as the stage show version. But the e-mail has interested me enough to want to watch the show, to make my own mind up, which probably wasn't their intention!

Quote: "IF YOU STRONGLY DISAGREE with the BBC's plans to broadcast this material (and I honestly believe you will disagree). Please register your feelings with the BBC"

(BTW my version of the e-mail came originally from very strongly evangelical sources, so in this case I don't think I will blame Fr Gregory. Anyway, he's been far too busy on this thread to have time to go making up and sending e-mails all around the country)
 
Posted by Traveller (# 1943) on :
 
I had the misfortune to see the stage show last year. I was working in London at the time and a colleague had been given some tickets and suggested we fill an empty evening by going. We had been to see a couple of shows in this way, and I enjoy most things theatrical, so I went without reading any reviews in advance. I have to say at this point that I loathe talk shows and the whole interview concept of “Tell me how you feel”.

It was most gratuitously offensive show I have ever seen. The use of swear words was routine and totally lost effect after about 5 minutes - the huge numbers quoted arise because the whole cast of around 30 sing them, so any one use counts as 30. The premise was not funny or thought provoking - just weak: it shows the collosal size of the ego around the Jerry Springer personality. My colleague is a Roman Catholic and apologised afterwards for accepting the tickets. I would not waste an evening to see it again on stage; I will not waste any of my time to see in on TV.

Question: Should we press to get it removed from the schedules? NO! It only generates publicity for the show so the ratings will go up, not down. Mary Whitehouse set up the Viewers and Listeners Forum decades ago to try to stop shows which were mild by the standards of this one, and lost every time even then, so anyone who tries now won’t succeed. By all means protest to the BBC about their quality standards and choice to broadcast material that many will find offensive, but we live in a liberal, multi-cultural democracy, and have to learn what that means.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
I remember seeing 'Son of Man' as a teenager (must have been a repeat) and being moved to tears - I thought it was marvelous. Other of Potter's work I have found repulsive.

I think the changes in TV acceptability over time are complicated, and it is not a simple downward trend into debauchery. Watch The Sweeney, or even The Professionals, and the general level of violence, the sheer brutishness, and the casual contempt for (and violence towards) women from main ('good') characters stands out like a sore thumb. Watch late night cable repeats of '70s comedians to hear racism and sexual violence towards women not satirised, but casually treated as acceptably humourous.

I am happy that that we live in a society were these mores have changed - but then I would be, I was part of the generation during which they changed. It is better that our heroes are not racist, sexist brutes (even if we still enjoy the second-hand thrill of seeing them fight against racist, sexist brutes). This doesn't, though, mean we should expect a sanitised TV world where racism, sexism and violence are not acknowledged to exist.

I haven't seen Jerry Springer - the Opera, so I can't really comment on it's acceptability. I find it difficult to believe that the trailer trash morals of the talk show are being held up for adulation - it seems far more likely that they are being satirised along with the entertainment TV that exploits them - but I'll wait till I've seen it to make up my own mind.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
Instead of getting pious and righteous about this kind of rubbish, neither of which cuts much ice with producers or broadcasters I suggest ridicule and parody as a far more potent weapon against stage and screen trash.

Every time I hear the warning "This program contains strong language" I think "This program contains a weak plot". I'm rarely misled.

The problem with "Jerry Springer - The Opera" is that it parodies the original and could well do so in such an over the top manner that further burlesque would be impossible. After all, how do you make a train smash look worse than a train smash?
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
I find the warnings practically useless (at least in the US). One particularly hilarious version I saw before something on HBO said "a nude scene and some language". I should hope so, given that this isn't a silent movie festival! (Before anyone rushes to tell me, I know what they meant)
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
My wife and i are both intrigued by warnings on several films that they 'contain moderate sex'. We speculated whether that meant that the couple weren't very good at it? [Biased]
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
One of the stations here warns that

quote:
the following programme contains strong language from the beginning
With emphasis on 'from the beginning' or 'from the outset'.

Which I always find peculiar. Like otherwise people are going to say - "Ooh dear, I don't want to hear any strong language, so I'll just watch the first half-hour. Nobody ever swears in the first half-hour".
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
One of the stations here warns that

quote:
the following programme contains strong language from the beginning
With emphasis on 'from the beginning' or 'from the outset'.

Which I always find peculiar. Like otherwise people are going to say - "Ooh dear, I don't want to hear any strong language, so I'll just watch the first half-hour. Nobody ever swears in the first half-hour".

I think such warnings mean that there will be bad words literally straight away, so turn over (or get the kids out of the room) NOW if you don't want to be offended...
 
Posted by wesleyswig (# 5436) on :
 
It is said that 15,000 people have complained - wonder how many have actually seen the show?

Did anyone hear PM yeaterday (wednesday) it was hillarious - the Mediawatch guy sounded like a fool

I will answer all points atmy points next week when exams are over, still waiting for big G's response to my qustion on iconography though

Many Regards
John
 
Posted by wesleyswig (# 5436) on :
 
Just got this in the wonderful Snowmail dispatch from Ch4.....
quote:

Big row over the BBC's decision to screen Jerry Springer - The Opera.
It’s apparently got 3000 swear words in it, beautifully sung. The Bishop
of Manchester, who hasn't seen it, says it's wrong. Characteristically,
the dear old Church of England says that the image of Christ and The
Devil swearing at each other (Christ wearing a nappy and saying he's a
bit gay) is NOT blasphemous. We shall be talking to the Beeb man in
charge.

Makes both viewpoints look just as absurd - well done Jon Snow!

Many Regards
John
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Cosmo

No I won't shut up because this isn't simply about suing for blasphemy .. this is primarily about the special position of the BBC and "generally accepted standards." What gives you the right to shut me up anyway? Who's oppressing whom? I'll damn well say what I want thank you very much! [Mad]

Dear Chorister

Rest assured I have plenty of time for spamming. Once you've got 100 emails on a template it's realy quite easy. Here's the text of a missive I have just sent to the BBC objecting to their quoted condescending riposte on the (at least) 15000 emails ...

quote:
Re Jerry Springer

Your comments quoted ...

"We have had 15,000 emails, calls and letters to date. There is evidence that most of these are from an organised lobby encouraged to contact us," she said.

"Of course we take comments and complaints seriously but many would appear to be misinformed on the content of the show."

(1) So the fact that some of the petitions to you have been orgainsed is evidence of the bogus nature of the complaints is it? Isn't that
rather condescending towards adults who have a choice or not whether to complain?

(2) "Misinformed about the content of the show." You seem to assume that the complainants have not seen the stage show. I wouldn't make that assumption if I were you. Many I have talked to HAVE seen the stage show or trust the fellow Christian witness of family members and friends who have. The quantity of the profanity is in any case well known and attested to even by yourself. Anyone others caring to read reviews and looking for objective factual content would also easily
identity grossly offensive material from Muslim / Christian / Jewish point of view; so ignorance on your part or naivete on ours is most certainly not the case.

The BBC is not constituted as any other media outlet and your operations have specific provision in statute. We are not seeking to have the play banned. This is not about freedom of expression. This is about the BBC violating its trust to the nation as enjoined upon it by on it by law. We are informing you about what "generally accepted
standards" actually means ... in other words, not simply what you can chance on getting away with.

Expect more of this after the broadcast. Much more.

I used to be ashamed of my country after Iraq and praised the BBC for its courage. Now I am ashamed of the BBC as well. One by one the marks of honour fall.

I am sorry if that has raised anybody's blood pressure again here. Just HOW are you going to "shut (me) up" Cosmo?

[ 06. January 2005, 17:00: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Dear Erin

Any relevant tenet. Everybody would be doing the moving to a greater or lesser extent. There's no half way house for example between unitarianism and trinitarianism. On a case by case basis some would presumably have to move further than others ... but there is no group based bias on that.

[brick wall]

Considering your well-documented intransigence on... well... everything, I do not believe this is at all an accurate or honest statement. But you won't actually answer the questions, so I'm done wasting my time on this tangent.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
So you get to call me a liar and storm off. OK.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wesleyswig:
The Bishop of Manchester, who hasn't seen it, says it's wrong.

That would be the Bishop of Manchester who asked the BBC for a preview tape in order that his comments could based on personal experience and whose request was, unusually refused.

I understand that the reason the Controller of BBC2 made no reference to the Producer Guidelines when interviewed on Radio 4 yesterday because there had been a breach of the procedures so helpfully outlined by Louise above. No reference up the chain of command had taken place until yesterday and the Governors are pretty cheesed off. This information came from "sources close to" those in the know at the BBC and was given on unattributable "lobby terms".

FrG, great letter. Unfortunately too stylised to be cut and pasted but I think the point is well made. The "organised group" remark by the Beeb is a cheap attempt at suggesting that they can ignore the largest body of pre-broadcast complaints they or OfCom have ever received on the grounds that it is some kind of sinister conspiracy.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
So you get to call me a liar and storm off. OK.

Actually, I'm sure a host will be along any minute now to administer a good spanking, but I don't care. If I thought you'd actually reply to a Hell thread we'd continue this conversation there. But since I know you don't, there's no point in pursuing it, is there?
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Dear Cosmo

What gives you the right to shut me up anyway? Who's oppressing whom? I'll damn well say what I want thank you very much! [Mad]
blah, blah, blah, blah
Expect more of this after the broadcast. Much more.
blah, blah, blah, blah
I am sorry if that has raised anybody's blood pressure again here. Just HOW are you going to "shut (me) up" Cosmo?

I merely asked you (and your fellow prudes) and, I suspect, it will have just the same level of effectiveness as your funny threats towards the BBC ('expect more, much more and more and more and more.....') and your wish to have Jerry Springer banned because you don't like it.

Anyway, I hope the BBC reply by saying they will damn well broadcast what they want (providing - just like you Fr, that they stay within the law). Otherwise it would be terribly condesending to those adults who have a choice as to watch or not, wouldn't it?

Cosmo
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:

I think the changes in TV acceptability over time are complicated, and it is not a simple downward trend into debauchery. Watch The Sweeney, or even The Professionals, and the general level of violence, the sheer brutishness, and the casual contempt for (and violence towards) women from main ('good') characters stands out like a sore thumb. Watch late night cable repeats of '70s comedians to hear racism and sexual violence towards women not satirised, but casually treated as acceptably humourous.


I recently looked forward to watching a repeat of 'On the Buses' a 1970s comedy - and I was shocked, shocked I tell you, by the attitudes expressed. [Eek!] And yet I'd thoroughly enjoyed this series as a child and not seen any problem with the highly questionable humour.

quote:
Nobody ever swears in the first half hour
[Killing me] well they've obviously never seen 'Four weddings and a Funeral' then! [Killing me]
A couple at our local cinema were so shocked by the opening five minutes that they left in a huff, through the fire exit, and set all the fire alarms off.......
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Erin

No, not really. If you had an argument to speak of we would have heard it here by now. As it is, it should be me calling you to Hell for calling me a liar when you had no good grounds. As it is I will desist. End of exchange.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Host hat on

Erin: As you are all too well aware, calling someone a liar is personal attack and as such is unacceptable in Purgatory. The tangent has been dangerously personal on both sides, but you have crossed the line.

RuthW
Purgatory host
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
UK TV station usually bleep the c-word even after the watershed but not the f-word, which seems a curious distinction but is apparantly on the basis that research showed that many viewers, especially female, found the c-word particularly objectionable. Given therefore that real people saying the c-word on air in documentaries etc. are bleeped out even after the watershed, why is the BBC deeming it OK for it to be used so gratutitiously in the Springer Opera? It seems a strange distinction to say that it can't be broadcast when used by real human beings but if its art, then anything goes!
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
I think it's somewhat sexist unless they chop prick as well since that is also used as a term of abuse. Why is that any less objectionable to a male?
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
I think it's somewhat sexist unless they chop prick as well since that is also used as a term of abuse. Why is that any less objectionable to a male?

Nice use of the word 'chop,' but you surely don't think prick and cunt are equivalent insults? It's like comparing nigger and whitey.
 
Posted by Demas (# 7147) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
No Demas.... remove the heresies, not the heretics. Stop the hysteria please.

Father Gregory, you started this thread with the express purpose of proposing that the State interfere to support and protect the Christian faith.

A couple of pages later, you mention certain groups (which don't include the Evangelicals because, Thanks Be to God, they are not the same as Protestants) which, in your own words, "in many ways disable the whole process of coming together".

You obviously consider these groups or people to be standing in the way of the Church Triumphant and the winding back of the evil secular society.

By your logic, these views should also be suppressed. They harm the Church. They divide and weaken the Body of Christ, and in many ways disable the process of Christian Unity.

Do you understand why this makes me nervous?

Argue against the heresies. But do not call upon the power of the State to remove either heretic or heresy.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
My lexicon knows the difference between heresy and profanity and blasphemy. Moreover everyone is free to be as heretical, profane and blasphemous as he or she wants ... and I would not seek to curtail that in any way. However, we are talking here about the BBC.
 
Posted by madferret (# 3353) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
"Misinformed about the content of the show." You seem to assume that the complainants have not seen the stage show. I wouldn't make that assumption if I were you. Many I have talked to HAVE seen the stage show or trust the fellow Christian witness of family members and friends who have.

Or, to paraphrase, "I confirm that not everyone has seen the show and is responding to heresay".

A very good method of getting your letter - and the bulk of the complaints - ignored, I suspect.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Which is why Round 2 is after the show. Even bigger next time. Just the opening shot. We will certainly enhance viewing figures. The BBC should be grateful.
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Which is why Round 2 is after the show. Even bigger next time. Just the opening shot. We will certainly enhance viewing figures. The BBC should be grateful.

So, Fr, you mean that you will be able to watch the programme and that your rock-like faith will be left unaffected by the profanity, heresy and blsphemy but everybody else's faith is weak and so shouldn't be allowed to make their own minds up about it in case they suddenly become Satanists?

Also, in your promise for 'Round 2' of your so far laughably ineffectual campaign, you suggest you have no concept that, upon watching the programme, you might actually find something that's worth watching or at least stimulating or thought-provoking? If you know that you will hate it and are not going to change your mind about it no matter what (even though you haven't even seen the stage play let alone the telly version) why bother in the first place? Why not just go to bed with a milky drink and a book by Patience Strong?

Sounds to me like someone is secretly going to enjoy it very much indeed. Don't forget to set the video so you can watch the most insulting bits over and over again.

Cosmo
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
quote:
Originally posted by wesleyswig:
The Bishop of Manchester, who hasn't seen it, says it's wrong.

That would be the Bishop of Manchester who asked the BBC for a preview tape in order that his comments could based on personal experience and whose request was, unusually refused.
It's not that unusual for controversial programmes not to go out to critics (and bishops)early, especially when there are possible legal issues. Or dramatic, or whatever. Most programmes are fine, but then Springer is clearly not like most programmes.

On a technology magazine I worked for, we had very strict rules about this -- in our case, because a bad review might provoke an injunction with a view to an eventual libel case. We had no worries about libel in anything we were going to publish, but we knew just how aggrieved parties could abuse the law to hurt us. What could seem more reasonable than letting manufacturers read reviews before publication, just to catch any mistakes? Yet it would have been commercial suicide.

quote:


I understand that the reason the Controller of BBC2 made no reference to the Producer Guidelines when interviewed on Radio 4 yesterday because there had been a breach of the procedures so helpfully outlined by Louise above. No reference up the chain of command had taken place until yesterday and the Governors are pretty cheesed off. This information came from "sources close to" those in the know at the BBC and was given on unattributable "lobby terms".


If that's so (one hesitates to impugn such an inviolable system as reports of lobby basis briefings) then a bad decision was made, and I doubt you'll have anyone say otherwise.

How much that reflects on the programme is another matter altogether. One remembers Campbell versus the BBC with sexed-up WMDs: one wonders whether the worse decision was the broadcast in question or the subsequent reaction. Little has actually happened subsequent to the report to put it in much doubt, after all.

quote:


FrG, great letter. Unfortunately too stylised to be cut and pasted but I think the point is well made. The "organised group" remark by the Beeb is a cheap attempt at suggesting that they can ignore the largest body of pre-broadcast complaints they or OfCom have ever received on the grounds that it is some kind of sinister conspiracy.

But the 'sinister conspiracy' theory fits rather well with what has actually happened in the US over Nipplegate and other moral panics. Once people started to dig into the 'mountains of complaints' received by the FCC, they clearly *were* organised campaigns. The nice thing about outraged morality is that it's untestable, costs nothing to express and is easily deployed for ulterior motives.

I can't offhand find the breakdown for 2004, but according to the Washington Times (which I can only find reported by another site, alas) "according to a new FCC estimate, nearly all indecency complaints in 2003 -- 99.8 percent -- were filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group created by conservative media critic L. Brent Bozell. The number of complaints soared dramatically to more than 240,000 in 2003, up from roughly 14,000 in 2002, and from fewer than 350 in each of the two previous years, FCC Chairman Michael Powell told Congress in February."

It's not as if they're difficult to do, these days, and as the US shows they can work remarkably well - at least until their cover is blown. Remember the Today programme's Man/Woman Of The Year feature?

(Conspiracy theorists might enjoy the observation that the season of fiscally endorsed broadcast morality built nicely over the summer and tailed off just before the US election. But you'd have to ask that head of the independent broadcast regulator FCC, Michael 'son of Secretary of State Colin "I swear they've got weapons of mass destruction" Powell' Powell about that.)

R
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Cosmo

Well I wouldn't want to be accused of not having seen what I am talking about would I? I don't know. You just can't win with some of you folks!

Let's face it. You're angry with my reaction, not my plan as such, (for who would deny me my right of protest?). I can live with that.

[ 06. January 2005, 22:17: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Anselmina (# 3032) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
quote:
Originally posted by wesleyswig:
The Bishop of Manchester, who hasn't seen it, says it's wrong.

That would be the Bishop of Manchester who asked the BBC for a preview tape in order that his comments could based on personal experience and whose request was, unusually refused.
It's not that unusual for controversial programmes not to go out to critics (and bishops)early, especially when there are possible legal issues. Or dramatic, or whatever. Most programmes are fine, but then Springer is clearly not like most programmes.

On a technology magazine I worked for, we had very strict rules about this -- in our case, because a bad review might provoke an injunction with a view to an eventual libel case. We had no worries about libel in anything we were going to publish, but we knew just how aggrieved parties could abuse the law to hurt us. What could seem more reasonable than letting manufacturers read reviews before publication, just to catch any mistakes? Yet it would have been commercial suicide.

R

I don't know how they could have been hurt, legally or artistically, by the Bishop's response if he had been allowed to pre-view it. If he had thought it blasphemy - great, tonnes of fantastic publicity because the Church hates it. If he had thought it mildly amusing - great, tonnes of fantastic publicity because the Church liked it.

The worst response he could have given was 'borinnnggg!' Now that would have been hurtful!
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
No Demas.... remove the heresies, not the heretics. Stop the hysteria please.

Father Gregory, you started this thread with the express purpose of proposing that the State interfere to support and protect the Christian faith.

A couple of pages later, you mention certain groups (which don't include the Evangelicals because, Thanks Be to God, they are not the same as Protestants) which, in your own words, "in many ways disable the whole process of coming together".

You obviously consider these groups or people to be standing in the way of the Church Triumphant and the winding back of the evil secular society.

By your logic, these views should also be suppressed. They harm the Church. They divide and weaken the Body of Christ, and in many ways disable the process of Christian Unity.

Do you understand why this makes me nervous?

Argue against the heresies. But do not call upon the power of the State to remove either heretic or heresy.

Why not?
Remember God isn't damaged by it and the Beatitudes tell you that you should just rejoice and be glad.

Furthermore, you're sounding to me like the complaining kind of person hatless was talking about with all that "self-affirming feeling of righteous outrage".

Dear Fr. Cosmo,
The heir apparent to the throne of England has said he would rather prefer "Defender of Faith" rather than "Defender of the Faith".
Shouldn't you tell him that any laughably ineffectual campaign of defense really isn't necessary because it's not as if everybody else's faith is so weak that they shouldn't be allowed to make their own minds up about it in case they suddenly become Satanists. You could show him, for example, some of the more defenseless members of the clergy of the Church of England.
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:

I recently looked forward to watching a repeat of 'On the Buses' a 1970s comedy - and I was shocked, shocked I tell you, by the attitudes expressed. [Eek!] And yet I'd thoroughly enjoyed this series as a child and not seen any problem with the highly questionable humour.


Quite! Or Love Thy Neighbour. And I saw a clip recently of Ronnie Barker doing a 70s skit on the Two Ronnies about Patrick Moore, which was incredibly crude, sexist and downright embarrassing.

Yet despite this early indoctrination in the dark miasma of illiberal thought and repressive social constructs, I turned into a damnable Guardian reading chap who finds this sort of casual prejudice more than merely tasteless, thinks freedom is nothing to be scared of, and considers respect for others to include not taking their decisions for them. How did that happen?

Perhaps people - even very young people - are more robust than some might think.

R
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
You know, although I am not blameless myself ... I don't want to live in a coarse, aggressive, in your face, f*** you culture. I know. I'm weak and out of touch. Pity me.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:

Remember God isn't damaged by it and the Beatitudes tell you that you should just rejoice and be glad.

Furthermore, you're sounding to me like the complaining kind of person hatless was talking about with all that "self-affirming feeling of righteous outrage".

You keep repeating these comments, Ley Druid. Are you starting to find them convincing?
[Biased]
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
You have convinced me of their worth.
 
Posted by madferret (# 3353) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Let's face it. You're angry with my reaction, not my plan as such, (for who would deny me my right of protest?). I can live with that.

If you're planning your objections before seeing it then that devalues anything you say afterwards.

I have no problem with you protesting personally. Or in asking people not to watch the programme (which is not the same as telling the BBC that they are wrong to broadcast). But isn't it a bit late to say "Ok I'll watch it and be offended then complain further". If I can be allowed to pre-empt my response it will probably be "So why did you watch it then?"
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
But "blasphemy" isn't offensive to society - only to those members of it that are Christian. ETA: and not even to all of those, either!

Indeed. It's generally accepted in modern democracies that majority does not rule absolute, that is, the opinions of minorities are accomodated in order to maintain peace and well-being for everyone. Of course, there are times when a decision has to be made, and whatever way it goes, somebody will be offended. This is however not such a case, I reckon. Again (for the third time?) I ask: Does anybody believe this show is such a great leap forward for the cultural majority that it justifies pissing off the minority of (traditional) Christians? Is this really an important cultural statement which has to be pushed through against an oppressive church? Is this truly the battle cry of freedom? Or is it just a blatant attempt to get good ratings out of ridiculing the beliefs of a minority?

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I sincerely doubt anyone would think Jerry Springer is "sophisticated culture" or "good". Have you ever seen the series? It's a freak show designed to make the audience feel better because they aren't like the people in it!

While clearly Jerry Springer is nothing but cultural dreck, it is quite conceivable that a parody of the show is considered "sophisticated". Certainly some comments seem to indicate just that ("it won awards", etc.). You also conveniently ignored the "funny" keyword. Even if this was just a "Benny Hill" type of parody, it could still convince people that being blasphemous is outrageously funny.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You weren't asking for respect and courtesy, you were asking for blasphemy to be censored even if it's said and viewed only by non-Christians.

Why would you think it is only viewed by non-Christians? Are you invoking the "you can always turn it off" argument? I already dealt with that above. Anyway, I'm indeed asking for "censorship" in a public broadcast out of respect and courtesy towards (traditional) Christians. What's your idea of respect and courtesy, that it can only ever be applied where it means and limits absolutely nothing?

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
If the religion isn't strong enough to appeal even to people who have seen and heard a bit of blasphemy then it's got more problems than Jerry Springer's guests!

In a public climate of negativity and ridicule towards Christianity, it's indeed not so easy to find faith. You are seriously underestimating the power of media and peer pressure. Politicians count every second of air time in a campaign to make sure that they get a fair go.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Anyway, I'm indeed asking for "censorship" in a public broadcast out of respect and courtesy towards (traditional) Christians. What's your idea of respect and courtesy, that it can only ever be applied where it means and limits absolutely nothing?

And here we have the difference. The media should not ever be expected, nor should it take it upon itself, to act with "respect and courtesy". That is so exactly what the media is not -- in fact, respect and courtesy are the very opposites of the media's responsibility to the public. Any media which kowtows to "respect and courtesy" has whored itself permanently.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
And you know a lot about whoring?

(Remember what you explained to Fr. Gregory about the virtues of the question mark.) [Biased]
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
I know about the media and its responsibility to society. Being respectful and courteous is not part of its mandate. It is, alas, a point that is completely lost to those who wish the government to enforce their morality and religious sensibilities. It is too bad. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are what people in other countries die for, and from this thread it seems that many people who are granted those freedoms by an accident of birth can't give them away fast enough.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
and from this thread it seems that many people who are granted those freedoms by an accident of birth can't give them away fast enough.
This is one of the great ironies of certain Western democracies.

[ 07. January 2005, 08:27: Message edited by: Callan ]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
I know about the media and its responsibility to society. Being respectful and courteous is not part of its mandate. [snip] Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are what people in other countries die for, and from this thread it seems that many people who are granted those freedoms by an accident of birth can't give them away fast enough.

It's very telling that you believe that freedom is inherently incompatible with respect and courtesy. It betrays a concept of freedom, due to William of Ockham, which is slowly destroying the world. But that's a discussion for a different thread at another time. For now, I'm delighted with the succinct and clear summaries of your last two posts. Indeed, the woes of modernity in a nutshell.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
Telling of what, I do not know, because that's not what I said. I said that the media is not there to promote or even practice respect and courtesy. That is not the media's job. The media doesn't exist to make us all feel warm and fuzzy; it's there to shine a light where people would rather have the darkness.

Now, you can say that this particular presentation is a cultural crapfest, and I'd probably agree, if for no other reason than I recoil in horror when I happen across a Springer episode. But argue that it's not worth it, not that it's not nice. I like "not nice". It works well for me. It works well for the boards you're hanging out at, too.
 
Posted by Demas (# 7147) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
Argue against the heresies. But do not call upon the power of the State to remove either heretic or heresy.

Why not?
Remember God isn't damaged by it and the Beatitudes tell you that you should just rejoice and be glad.

I can't connect your second sentence with your first.

Serious question: Father Gregory and I have different flavours of Christian belief - which one of these should the State favour?

quote:
Furthermore, you're sounding to me like the complaining kind of person hatless was talking about with all that "self-affirming feeling of righteous outrage".
Whatever.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
Serious question: Father Gregory and I have different flavours of Christian belief - which one of these should the State favour?

Serious answer: This is a bulletin board, any allowable combinations of characters are possible.
 
Posted by Demas (# 7147) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
Serious question: Father Gregory and I have different flavours of Christian belief - which one of these should the State favour?

Serious answer: This is a bulletin board, any allowable combinations of characters are possible.
I am a bear of very little brain, and smart replies bother me.

Are you saying that it doesn't matter what the BBC does because we can always express unsanctioned thoughts on alternate media like this one?

If that is the case, why are we having this discussion?

Or am I misinterpreting you?
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
Serious question: Father Gregory and I have different flavours of Christian belief - which one of these should the State favour?

Serious answer: This is a bulletin board, any allowable combinations of characters are possible.
I am a bear of very little brain, and smart replies bother me.

It could be my fault. Or maybe some things are just difficult to communicate.
quote:
Are you saying that it doesn't matter what the BBC does because we can always express unsanctioned thoughts on alternate media like this one?
You can express here whatever unsanctioned thoughts that are allowed. The same is true at the BBC.
quote:
If that is the case, why are we having this discussion?
I suspect that we all have our reasons for being here.
quote:
Or am I misinterpreting you?
You are making perfect sense to me.
Thank you.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Erin

quote:
The media doesn't exist to make us all feel warm and fuzzy; it's there to shine a light where people would rather have the darkness.
... or in this case shining darkness where people would rather have the light ... or is light darkness now and darkness light?
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
You can express here whatever unsanctioned thoughts that are allowed.

Allowed by whom?
quote:
The same is true at the BBC.
To borrow Erin's argot, that is so not the case. If it were, many of us would have taken a considerably different approach. It is the simple failure to behave in anything like an even-handed manner of issues such as this one that has blown the lid for me.

[ 07. January 2005, 07:32: Message edited by: Trisagion ]
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
The BBC is describing the Springer Opera as a "boundary-breaking show will appeal to all - except the faint-hearted!"-see here. That demonstrates the exact problem with with their attitude. They don't see anyone who objects to the show as having a legitimate difference of view. Rather, they see anyone who objects to their approach as limp and faint-hearted. How can anyone defend that as balance?

[long URLs cause some people problems re: horizontal page width]

[ 07. January 2005, 08:09: Message edited by: Alan Cresswell ]
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by IngoB:

quote:
It's very telling that you believe that freedom is inherently incompatible with respect and courtesy. It betrays a concept of freedom, due to William of Ockham, which is slowly destroying the world. But that's a discussion for a different thread at another time. For now, I'm delighted with the succinct and clear summaries of your last two posts. Indeed, the woes of modernity in a nutshell.
Surely freedom entails both the freedom to say what people applaud and the freedom to say what people find objectionable. The idea that one can be free only to say what others find acceptable is not freedom in any meaningful sense at all. One might even call it one of the woes of pre-modernity.
 
Posted by Tubbs (# 440) on :
 
Well, having listened to Capital Radio this morning, I hope everyone who has posted on this thread saying this is a terrible thing is are planning to go to Broadcasting House this weekend to burn your TV licences in protest. [Biased]

Tubbs
 
Posted by wesleyswig (# 5436) on :
 
I have stepped back on purpose from all this for a while to concentrate on my exams...

What I would though say is that we are time and again going off into near (very) personal attacks which takes away from the (healthy) argument.

This has been particularily shown by the OVER use of the near letter postings starting "dear so and so" ....

I know I am altering how I post..

Therefore just a flag up to watch out...

Many Regards
John
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Dear Erin

quote:
The media doesn't exist to make us all feel warm and fuzzy; it's there to shine a light where people would rather have the darkness.
... or in this case shining darkness where people would rather have the light ... or is light darkness now and darkness light?
No. But anyone who expects the media to exhibit respect and courtesy is woefully uninformed about the role of media in a free society. It's not their role.

[ 07. January 2005, 11:28: Message edited by: Erin ]
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
I've now read through this thread (it's a slow day!) and would like to offer a few comments, and perhaps one or two illuminations.

First, on the Bishop of Manchester: I believe that when the Bishop commented on this, he was not doing so merely as himself, but as the CofE's spokesman on broadcasting. I therefore find it surprising - and something of a snub from the BBC - that he was not afforded a preview tape.

Secondly, I haven't seen the stage production, but I'd caution against overestimating its success. One of the reviews linked to (In the OP, I think) commented on the number of empty seats in the theatre. Nor should we pay too much attention to its capacity for winning awards: arts awards in the UK tend to go to the most offensive productions, because many of those who actually award them have never been reconciled to their inner-naughty-schoolchild - the one who likes to shout "fart!" in a silent library.

Thirdly, what worried me most in reading the thread was my complicity in this. In the UK, everyone who owns a television must pay the "licence fee", which then goes to fund the BBC. One cannot opt out of the licence fee, not even if one swears on a stack of Bibles never to watch a BBC programme again. So all UK television owners helped fund this, and that makes me uneasy. (I wasn't aware of this "opera" before this, so I didn't know that it had already received public funding for its stage run - if indeed it had.)

I think the key test question here - and for all similar cases (we've seen plenty over the last few months) - is, "What would our reaction be - and what would we expect the reaction of others to be - if the work were changed to portray Muhammad (peace be upon him), Guru Nanak, or Krishna in the same way?" In other words, I don't think we should argue from a point of view that expects special treatment for Christianity. I do think we can expect equal treatment, and in the UK media at the moment, I don't think we're getting it.

I was deeply moved by dyfrig's post a couple of pages back, and I must say that I too am far more angered and offended by the blasphemies of my fellow-Christians, than by anything that comes from the ignorant, the agnostic, or the atheist.

Finally, I don't think I'll watch this show. I know what to expect from most contemporary "opera", and I don't think I could cope with the double whammy of the offence to my faith and to my aesthetic sensibilities.
 
Posted by ChristinaMarie (# 1013) on :
 
I've seen a lot of Jerry Springer shows and find them quite funny, even though I'm not probably not supposed to. What I find ironic about this opera, is that it is full of obscenities.

The Jerry Springer shows I have seen, bleep out any obscenities. You don't hear 'f***' on a Jerry Springer show, you hear, 'bleep'. Mind you, they keep in the hate language, which I find much more offensive.

So, some British people are complaining about all these obscenities to be shown in a BBC programme based on Jerry Springer. They are being accused or rather dismissed as conspirators, by the BBC. Yet, the Jerry Springer show itself, does not allow obscenities to be aired, they are bleeped out.

Now, that is ironic.

I'm going to watch the show and see for myself.

Christina
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
The thread is longer than it is interesting. Most passion seems to be spent attacking FG on a personal front - how ironic from those who espouse personal freedom. Some should be more free than others, hm?

I don't think I shall watch the programme. I will then be denied credible comment on it, but so what? The reasons put forward by the BBC for broadcasting it have been - it won awards (yes, but that has never been a mark of art-worthiness), it is funny (yes, but the BBC think endless repeats for the last twenty years of Fools And Horses and Dad's Army are funny), it is sophisticated satire (the BBC think that Eastenders is gritty realism and that Neighbours offers cultural relevance), it is musical (don't even go there!). There have been other theatre productions I'm sure which have been art-worthy in all these respects but never made it to TV. So, pretty weak and no cover-up at all for the real reason that it is sensationalist and part of the insatiable addiction to viewing figures.

Reasons for me not watching - I know I would be offended by gratuitous bad language; I know I would be saddened by the devaluation of Chritianity; I know I would be disappointed in being entertained by witty writing and interesting subject matter; I would not want to be party to acknowledging the 'Jerry Springer/Trisha/etc' dehumanising of people.
Beyond my personal preferences, however, I have read enough about the show and heard David Soul speak to be persuaded that the BBC should not broadcast it. There are many voices crying 'unfair censorship' etc and 'prude' but these cannot apply to may personal life experience.
I'm with FG on this one.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
Posted by Glimmer:
quote:
I would not want to be party to acknowledging the 'Jerry Springer/Trisha/etc' dehumanising of people.
You make an excellent point, Glimmer. I once saw part of a Jerry Springer Show, and I was so disgusted I've never watched again. What disgusted me was that the presenter and the producers seemed to think it acceptable to make the poor and the uneducated into objects of ridicule. That same attitude seems not entirely absent from those who have commented on this "opera". See, for instance, the many references to "trailer trash" - sorry, but within earshot of me you don't get to call any human being "trash".
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
I would not want to be party to acknowledging the 'Jerry Springer/Trisha/etc' dehumanising of people.

Neither do the people who write the show. Which is why it is a parody of a Jerry Springer show. Which is one of the reasons why its full of swearing, when the TV program isn't. And one of the reasons its full of KKK types, who the real Jerry Springer (a rather sensible lefty type person who was born in London) woudl be unlikely to have behaving on the TV program in quite the way they are portrayed on stage. (You didn't think the TV show was unscripted, spontaneous, or uncontrolled I hope)

I've not seen the stage show. All of the few people I have met who have seen it and talked about it thought it was really good. They were mostly people who are wouldn't want to be seen dead watching Springer on TV & looked on the show as an ironic criticism of Springer. (I'm not sure whether the writers did or not)

The stage show is at least partly about Brits who want to be sophisticated having a laugh at Americans who they think are stupid. That may be a good reason for not watching it, but its not a good reason for banning it.

Actually, the only reason I've not posted on this thread so far is that I can't think of a single reason for banning it & I'm slightly surprised that anyone can. As far as I can tell the two and a half Shipmates who have got their knickers in a twist over this have simply lost the plot. Maybe they didn't get enough brandy on their Christmas pudding.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
Going back to one of Adeodatus' posts re the empty theatre seats; our daughter saw the production last Summer - not through choice strictly speaking - they were on a standby ticket and Jerry was the only show offered to them. I'm sure she mentioned it wasn't that well supported. I'd check with her if it wasn't that she's on hols atm and out of phone contact. I'd be interested to know what she thought of it.

I'm disinclined to watch the programme myself. However, as always with so called 'forbidden fruit' I suspect our 14 year old son and cronies will want to tune in. So I may just join him in order to add the voice of sanity to the proceedings. (And who knows; he'll likely then decide he doesn't want to watch after all!) [Biased]

Whichever way, looks as if the media will win out. (Memories of numerous 'banned' items...'Je T'aime,' 'My ding a ling,' etc).
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Miffy:
Whichever way, looks as if the media will win out.

What is "the media" in this context?

You make it sound like a vast conspiracy to make us all listen to Naughty Things.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Miffy:
Whichever way, looks as if the media will win out.

What is "the media" in this context?

You make it sound like a vast conspiracy to make us all listen to Naughty Things.

Ok, the BBC then. And it is a conspiracy in a way. Schedule something 'controversial.' Publicise it...no, let its critics publicise it, and hey presto! They'll be laughing all the way to the bank!
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Or we could look on it the other way round. Something that is not at all mainstream or commercial (they started it in the Battersea Arts Centre of all places) gets to play on the West End stage & then gets to be broadcast on national TV. Thumbing a nose at the big US networks.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
Give some of the reviews, I'm more mystified than ever as to why the BBC are showing this. Here are a few snippets.

The Guardian:
quote:
The libretto relies on the innate propensity of the mob to regress to prepubescence the moment body parts, homosexuality or swearwords are mentioned....

But two hours of chicks with dicks ... [etc.] ... inevitably feels tiresome.

The Times:
quote:
Act II hasn’t improved with its transfer [to the Cambridge Theatre] and still seems a silly, somewhat blasphemous muddle.
The Telegraph:
quote:
But though the show's first half strikes me as the most startling and enjoyable piece of musical theatre I have seen in years ... the second half is far less impressive. Jerry is shot and is dragged down to hell, where he has to try to reconcile the Devil with God and Jesus. This Shavian notion generates far less humour and often seems downright blasphemous.
And the Times and the Telegraph are supposed to have liked it!

I assume that whatever BBC executive has decided to show the "opera" has read these reviews. So why put it on? I'm led irresistibly to the conclusion that this BBC executive also liked to shout "fart!" in silent libraries when a child. Or perhaps was too scared to, and is making up for it now. Using my money to do so.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Of course, having been humiliated by the Government over Gilligan they have no wish to receive any more body blows ... so having committed themselves to, what shall we say, "Jerry Springer - The Fart in the Library," they must now tough it out.

Meanwhile the pressure increases and the Governors wonder whether they really will get away with it with their reputation and image in tact. In a sense these have already been soiled ... strong word associations how having been made in the public mind between < BBC, blasphemy and profanity.> Really, they just can't win now whatever happens.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Meanwhile the pressure increases and the Governors wonder whether they really will get away with it with their reputation and image in tact.

Nonsense. Its just a musical play.

It won't even be the rudest thing broadcast on TV this month - they played a whole heap of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore sketches the other day that were far ruder (I am told by people who have seen the Jerry Springer Opera - which I haven't of course)

And the original Jerry Springer Show itself, and trash like Big Brother, are far more demeaning and trivialising and potentially insulting to their participants than this. (I say "potentially" because whatever they were like when they started, aftrer a few years the participants on JS and BB were in effect actors, people putting on a show themselves in order to make money, and not any longer naive members of the public having their private lives exposed for others to jerk off to)

A few clue-rinse Daily-Moron-reading authoriTories got it into their excuse for a head to complain about it, and for some reason that the last 7 pages of this tedious thread have not yet explained, a few decent clever chaps like yourself and Adeodatus have been carried along on their bandwagon.

If the BBC gives in to this ridiculous over-reaction it will just show how scared their masters in the government are of the tabloid press, and how much direct control they have managed to gain over the BBC. I hope the Beeb still has enough autonomy to resist.

I'm begining to wish I had a decent TV so I could watch it now. I hadn't intended to but all this fuss is making me feel as if I should, just as a stand for decency and liberty and our English way of life - which is a way of life that does not, on the whole, allow the rotting corpse of Mary Whitehouse to dictate to the rest of us which musical plays we may or may not be permitted to look at by our masters and betters.

[ 07. January 2005, 17:29: Message edited by: ken ]
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
I suppose it's really a matter Ken of judging the public mood isn't it? There will, I hazard, be many more "silent ones" falling in with our view that gratuitous profanity and blasphemy is neither cool nor a safe thing for shared values in a society than those who bang on and on about my freedom to fart in the library.
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
According to Radio 4's 6 o'clock news this evening, various BBC executives have had their contact details disseminated among the protestors and are now receiving 'serious' threats by phone.

I'll be interested to read the anti-Springerites' responses to this.

R
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Serious Threat?

Oh, I think we would need much more information on this than "serious threat." Afrer all I issued a "serious threat" in my last communication to the BBC ... "Expect more after the broadcast. Much more."

Of course if Mrs. Enid Baxter really is ready with the Sarin cannister at BBC Reception that might merit a more serious response.

What is sad in all of this is the lack of appreciation of the real depth of feeling there is about this amongst the protestors. Many still think of them as a harmless and dotty set of killjoys. The chattering classes have lost the "feel" for what blasphemy really means to those whom it affects. It's a lack of empathy. It could be little else since the loss of a sense of the sacred.
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
According to Radio 4's 6 o'clock news this evening, various BBC executives have had their contact details disseminated among the protestors and are now receiving 'serious' threats by phone.

I'll be interested to read the anti-Springerites' responses to this.

R

Why should I or anyone else opposed to the broadcast be expected to respond? If I hated Jennifer Lopez and some nutter were to go out and stab her would I be expected to defend or justify it? Get real!
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
I know about the media and its responsibility to society. Being respectful and courteous is not part of its mandate. [snip] Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are what people in other countries die for, and from this thread it seems that many people who are granted those freedoms by an accident of birth can't give them away fast enough.

It's very telling that you believe that freedom is inherently incompatible with respect and courtesy. It betrays a concept of freedom, due to William of Ockham, which is slowly destroying the world. But that's a discussion for a different thread at another time. For now, I'm delighted with the succinct and clear summaries of your last two posts. Indeed, the woes of modernity in a nutshell.
Hold on. There's a world of difference between the media's responsibility to society and the general nature of respect and courtesy. You can't conflate the two so generally. The media's job is to let us find out about things - some of that will of course involve respect and courtesy and that should be the default, but that cannot be an overriding consideration in all situations.

Only the Polite Society holds respect and courtesy as the most important thing in its world. In every other institution - and in personal relationships - respect and courtesy is afforded as deserved. When you get institutions that think they deserve respect just because they say so then that's precisely when I hope the insolent satirists give 'em both barrels.

There are things in the media I find offensive: the (now, I think and hope, receding) 'candid camera' programmes where people acting in good will are deliberately duped in order to make them look stupid are unacceptable. That's an abuse of power. The same techniques used to reveal hypocrisy, crime or deceit are both good and necessary.

Pinning a minority moralistic outrage onto 'respect and courtesy' demeans the whole idea of respect that it claims to want to uphold, if it is done immoderately and without the respect for other views that it seeks to claim for itself. The BBC has been reporting the dissenting views on the Springer show, and I have no doubt that once it has been transmitted there will be endless discussions about it all.


I am a foul-mouthed heathen at work, as are many of my workmates. There is one person in front of whom I will not swear -- not because she is a Seventh Day Adventist and will find it offensive, although she is and I'm sure she would, but because she behaves herself with such cheerfulness and integrity that I would find it disrespectful. And besides, she never *acts* offended, which makes my shame when I slip up all the worse.

There are other Christians who I positively enjoy winding up, not because they are Christians but because they are obnoxious about it and stand on their dignity. For a while, there was a small core of witnessing Evos at work who saw it as their duty to try and convert everyone else, and believe me that caused a *lot* of offence - to the point where they were officially warned that the disruption they were causing to the office was not acceptable. (it was at this point that my desk sprouted a Darwin fish, a small stone Buddha, a copy of the Quran and a bust of Lenin, a battery of pagan gods to ward off the evil I's. They're probably still there under the drifts of A4, mineralising nicely).

R
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Undiscovered Country:
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
According to Radio 4's 6 o'clock news this evening, various BBC executives have had their contact details disseminated among the protestors and are now receiving 'serious' threats by phone.

I'll be interested to read the anti-Springerites' responses to this.

R

Why should I or anyone else opposed to the broadcast be expected to respond? If I hated Jennifer Lopez and some nutter were to go out and stab her would I be expected to defend or justify it? Get real!
I didn't say 'defend or justify', I said 'respond'.

Other responses are available.

R
 
Posted by Weed (# 4402) on :
 
Christian Voice, who are organising protests outside BBC offices and threatening prosecutions, have a pretty scary site. If that's the impression the general public gets of all Christians as a result of this it will do much greater harm to the cause of Christianity than anything the programme could possibly do IMO. [Frown]
 
Posted by Gracious rebel (# 3523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Weed:
Christian Voice, who are organising protests outside BBC offices and threatening prosecutions, have a pretty scary site. If that's the impression the general public gets of all Christians as a result of this it will do much greater harm to the cause of Christianity than anything the programme could possibly do IMO. [Frown]

eek I think that's the one my father is a member of. He mentioned that he got email alerts from some organisation, and pretty sure that was the name. [Frown]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Many still think of them as a harmless and dotty set of killjoys.

Whoever said "harmless"? Loonies who want to make a fuss aboud rude words in a musical can cause great damage if other take them seriously.

quote:

The chattering classes have lost the "feel" for what blasphemy really means to those whom it affects.

Who does it affect? God? The unbelieving
majority? Christians?

quote:

It's a lack of empathy. It could be little else since the loss of a sense of the sacred.

So its all the fault of us Protestants again?

Nasty individualistic westerners have no "sense of the sacred" unlike our ancestors who realised that Father Knows Best and had the king to beat obedience into them when they dared speak up for themsleves? And who could be flogged for daring to read the Bible themselves, so had to put up with the pretty pictures interpreted by authority?

Your record is stuck.
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
People might be interested to see what the librettist Stewart Lee has to say about it

My show has 7,549 fewer swear words than people say, but who's counting?

quote:
as the personally abusive e-mails began to trickle into my inbox yesterday morning, it was great to be offered an opportunity to set the record straight.

A pressure group called Mediawatch is orchestrating a campaign against the show, which it maintains includes 8,000 swear words, 3,168 of them f---s and 297 of them c---s. There are actually seven c---s in the show - four of them adjectives, and three of them nouns. At the National Theatre, the sentence in which they all appear often received a standing ovation.

There are, in fact, 117 f---s in the show, all of them sung beautifully by a hugely talented cast, leaving Mediawatch with a shortfall of 3,051 f---s. The Daily Telegraph has gone to the trouble of counting all the swear words in the show and pegs the figure at 451, some 7,549 less than Mediawatch's figure, but I think the organisation must have included category B and C obscenities such as "ass", "poop" and "nipple" to hit this score. Perhaps Mediawatch multiplied the swear words by the number of people singing on stage. Who knows?

And a flood of nasty e-mails to the writer too - because God's like that, presumably he can't cope with surreal comic operas where characters hallucinate crazy things about him.

I also just found this very interesting article in Ekklesia
Get a life over Jerry Springer opera, say Christians

quote:
Christians who see some merit in the show and who oppose banning it from late-night TV have told Ekklesia that they do not wish to be named because of what one described as “the unhealthy climate of abuse against dissenters stoked up by moral panic tactics.”
Lovely.

I'm not going to presume to write satire using Islamic or Sikh themes because it isn't my background or religion so I wouldn't know what I was talking or writing about but if a young Sikh or Muslim playwright wants to be critical or satirical I support their right to do so. I would have supported the BBC to screen Bezhti- however the poor author is afraid for her life and so is currently asking people not to stage her play.

I'm amazed at the implication that those kinds of attitudes to blasphemy and criticism which we see in some quarters of Sikhism and Islam are just the sort of thing we should all aspire to for Christianity to make sure nobody ever takes the piss out of us on the TV or radio. A society where free expression is ruled by fear of the mob at the door - what a good idea - it already exists for some of our religious communities here - so let's make sure and extend it to ourselves out of a sense of equality!

'They wouldn't dare do it to the Muslims! We demand equal rights!' cry the would-be censors. One of the biggest problems for Muslims which fuels Islamophobia is that there are sections within their community who will threaten or resort to violence because they think their religion has been insulted. It's precisely the sort of thing which gives Islam a terrible reputation and in some cases rightly so - look at the use of the blasphemy ordinances in Pakistan to threaten Christians. Why would anyone want to emulate something so blatantly prone to abuse?

In fact, people are daring to write and film critical scholarly and satirical pieces about Islam. It's coming slowly and it's being done by brave people who know they are risking their lives to change that culture of shutting down art and thought with cries of 'blasphemy!'. The scholar going by the name of Christophe Luxenbourg whose theories on the origins of the Quran point to the importance of its Christian roots (there was an article on him in the Guardian only a few days ago virgins or grapes scroll down to get it). In Iran, filmmaker Kamal Tabirzi was hounded by the mullahs and forced to withdraw his comic film The Lizard after it poked fun at the clergy. In Egypt, Professor Nasser Abu Zeid dared to write a book suggesting the Quran be treated like any other literary text - he was declared an apostate forced to divorce his wife and he and she had to flee the country after threats. Far from running scared of offending people because some former C of E choirboy has written a comic opera, we should be thinking about how we can bring these books and films and ideas to British audiences to open up debate. We're lucky enough to live in a free society where that should become possible - the price for that is that occasionally we have to put up with somebody having a laugh. I know what I prefer.

L


PS. I thought from the outset that this would lead to some of my colleagues being threatened and that those who were most enthusiastic in banging the blasphemy drum would immediately say 'nothing to do with me, Guv!'. There's a surprise, eh? The laugh of it is I can bet good money that some of those being harassed in this way are Christians like our head of editorial policy or the DG. If Richard Dawkins and co turned their guns on the Bishops or evangelical clergy in a similar way in an e-mail harassment campaign I bet that would count as 'persecution'.

[ 07. January 2005, 20:41: Message edited by: Louise ]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Actually, back to "lack of empathy". I'm pretty sure that more British people will empathise with me on this than you.

I knew about the show. I've never seen it and didn;t intend to see it. I thought it sounded mildly funny. A bit of taking the piss. NOt really very intersting to me.

A few people - and it is only a few - started whinging about it.

My immediate reaction?

"How dare they try to stop me seeing this play?"

So now I feel sort of interested. I think I want to see it.

And I think that reaction is far more common than trying to cloak a piece of perfectly normal authoritarian censorship in guff about some mythical pre-modern community when we all had a sense of the sacred and danced around the maypole in solidarity or whatever.
 
Posted by Paul Mason (# 7562) on :
 
One thing that bothers me about this thread is the number of posts arguing about the quality of the show and/or its contribution to serious debate.

What has that got to do with anything?

If a show has to pass some sort of seriousness test before it's deemed to be acceptable then the battle over freedom has already been lost.

A lot has been made too of the special status of the BBC. Funded by us all, the 'nation's conscience' apparently, guardian of our 'shared values'.

Well I wasn't aware of this, and frankly I can't think how this mission would ever be realistic. Not least because I don't think most people really do share the value that we should offer special protection to other people's sacred cows. I know I don't.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Mason:
posts arguing about the quality of the show and/or its contribution to serious debate.

What has that got to do with anything?

Hear hear!

quote:
I don't think most people really do share the value that we should offer special protection to other people's sacred cows. I know I don't.
I rather fear that the Daily Wail Tendency are claiming that by showing Jerry Springer the Opera the BBC is pandering "to other people's sacred cows" - the sacred cow being free speech.

All that stuff about "chattering classes" gives it away. The idea is that Real People don't care about this sort of thing & its just a metropolitan pseudo-intellectual foible.
 
Posted by Go Anne Go (# 3519) on :
 
I was just in England for the Christmas (and a couple weeks either side of it), and I'm finding this "Jerry Springer is offensive to Christians and we never get other good exposure" argument really quite amusing.

1) It is "Jerry Springer, the Opera." It isn't about God, it is about Jerry Springer. If sacriligeous things get said, they really are no worse or better than the gazillion other sacriligous things that get said.
2) In terms of not getting positive Christian spin on BBC - whoohoo! Which BBC are you watching? I saw the Christmas Carols from Kings, I saw a programme on the journey of the Three Kings to the birthplace of Christ, in the past I've seen all KINDS of things on the Beeb about Christianity, what we believe and why we believe it, and don't be knocking Songs of Praise. Every week, week in, week out, there it is. The Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and other religions don't get anything LIKE the good exposure Christianity gets on the Beeb.
3) Protest all you want. Protest is good. If you think the Beeb is going beyond its remit, then you should tell them, and tell Ofcom. But the biggest protest you can make is to just not watch the thing. Because quite honestly, with the kicking up of all this fuss, a lot of people are now going to watch it who probably never would have in the first place before you kicked up all this fuss.
5) I'd still rather have terrestrial UK telly than my 92 cable channels. Much much much better programming.
 
Posted by Demas (# 7147) on :
 
I was going to post again, but ken and Louise are saying everything I would want to, only in more coherent fashion.

[Overused]

I'm going to be in London next week and will go and see the stage version, if it is still on.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
This is really all quite irrelevant now. Whether the "musical" is shown or not a line has been crossed (in other words, the intention merely of the BBC to show it has been enough) ... more importantly a stifled Christian voice has now been heard. I doubt it will be silenced again.
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
Ken, for once I agree with almost everything you say. Please stop spoiling it by claiming that that it's the Tories who are, as always, to blame. You really shouldn't blame everything at the feet of a Conservative. I suspect that the politics of those opposed to Jerry Springer are pretty well evenly spread; the difference is that the MediaWatch cretins and suchlike (and, I fear, more likely to vote Conservative, are more vocal.

For the record, I've now received eight unsolicited round-robin emails from various 'Christian' groups (including MediaWatch which rather goes against their claim on the News this evening that the complaints sent to the BBC were unorchestrated) asking me to complain. I've replied to all of them saying why I think they are mistaken AND that I don't care to be associated with them. The result: three no-replies, two 'I will pray for you to see the light', one sensible reply, one you are an idiot type reply and one which says in total 'Fuck you you catholic blasphemer. I look forward to watching you and all your fag friends burn in Hell at the Day of Judgement'.

So good to see rational debate making a comeback.

Cosmo
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
You didn't post any details about the sensible reply.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
Hold on. There's a world of difference between the media's responsibility to society and the general nature of respect and courtesy. You can't conflate the two so generally. The media's job is to let us find out about things - some of that will of course involve respect and courtesy and that should be the default, but that cannot be an overriding consideration in all situations.

And so on... My point was exactly that modern man cannot see "freedom" and "respect and courtesy" as anything but a conflict of interest. When "crunch time" comes, one or the other has to lose. That freedom may exactly mean being respectful and courteous has become an unthinkable thought. As we can see in this discussion, modern thought then must revolve around rules and restrictions, for in a war between concepts one has to stake out territory of occupation. Actually, my critique is a bit silly, since I can hardly expect the BBC to behave any different than the rest of society. If society changes back to older (and superior) ideas of freedom one day, these problems will largely disappear...
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
This is the reply I got when I answered the e-mail I was sent (saying I've heard about the show from someone who actually saw it, was going to watch the show to make up my own mind and no, I wasn't going to send the e-mail on to anyone else, or complain to the BBC):

"Thank you for the feedback on the "show"

I think you have a valid point about making complaints.For myself, i am sick and tired of the offensive rubbish that is dished out in the name of entertainment.I don't think you have to be Christian to be cross about them either.Many of my non Christian friends and collegues are pretty fed up with the content of many programmes too.We become desensitised by it over the years.They are depressing and not at all inspiring or life enhancing."

Rather a nicer reply than the ones Cosmo got! [Razz]
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
You didn't post any details about the sensible reply.

OK. The sensible reply dealt with some of the points I had raised with the sender going into a little more detail why they were willing to support such a campaign and why they felt it was justified. The sender was also willing to see that the point of view I hold also had some validity and was consistent and that we should agree to differ - also that I would be taken off their email list. Interstingly this email was the only I know sent to me by somebody who had seen tha stage show.

That seems, to me, more sensible than 'Burn in Hell'.

Cosmo
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If society changes back to older (and superior) ideas of freedom one day...

Which "superior" ideas of freedom are you referring to?
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Freedom from sin? Freedom from injustice? Freedom from poverty? Freedom from neglect? It's a very constricted and bourgeois notion of freedom to exalt freedom of choice above all else.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Gee. So much for God's gift of free will.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Freedom from sin? Freedom from injustice? Freedom from poverty? Freedom from neglect? It's a very constricted and bourgeois notion of freedom to exalt freedom of choice above all else.

And what in holy hell has any of these "freedoms" to do with the subject at hand?
 
Posted by Dave Marshall (# 7533) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Freedom from sin? Freedom from injustice? Freedom from poverty? Freedom from neglect? It's a very constricted and bourgeois notion of freedom to exalt freedom of choice above all else.

I really don't want to be harsh, but have you any idea how that sounds? Have you totally lost the capacity to relate what you say to what you're commenting on? Or maybe you just don't give a shit any more. Either way, time to step back I think.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If society changes back to older (and superior) ideas of freedom one day...

Which "superior" ideas of freedom are you referring to?
The so-called "freedom for excellence", an idea of freedom which was held throughout the "known world" (i.e., Europe, Middle East, Northern Africa) from antiquity through to medieval times until the "freedom of indifference" of William of Ockham spread and took over from the late 14th century onwards. (Although it's probably unfair to blame it all on him, clearly the new idea was "in the air" back then).

Which means that any writings you read from prior to this time, which concern freedom, morals and ethics, will likely be misunderstood since you apply your changed concepts to the text (yes, that includes the Bible). If you want a philosophical treatment, read Alasdair MacIntyre's "After Virtue", if you want a comprehensive Christian account, take a look at Servais Pinckaers' "The Sources of Christian Ethics".

To give a very brief analogy: Given a piano, modern (Ockham's) freedom means to be able to play anything you like on it, when you like it, how you like it - irrespective of any "quality" your play may have. It's a "pure" freedom of choice, the choice itself is indifferent to good, bad or ugly (if you are free, you can choose to play Bach or just randomly slam some of the keys).

An ancient would have seen the situation quite differently: When you first encounter a piano, you have very little freedom: you can play nothing, you can play random crap, or you can play finger exercises. Say you choose the "good": finger exercises. After a while, your freedom grows, you can now play: nothing, random crap, finger exercises or easy pieces. Say you choose the "good": easy pieces (plus some finger exercises). After a while you will be able to add medium pieces to your freedom. Then hard pieces. Then the music of the greatest composers. Finally, your freedom becomes perfect through excellence: you are now in complete control of the piano. But note how you got there - it was a long, hard slog of disciplined striving for good, it was not a given from the very start. The ancients assumed this to be the case for all freedoms, including social behaviour and morals. Somebody without trained virtue could only claim the sad freedom of randomly hitting some keys on the piano...

Once you see where all this is coming from, a lot of problems moderns see in Christian teachings disappear. But this is getting long and I'm not really much of an expert. If you are interested, read the mentioned books.
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
What is really bugging me about this is the number of Christians and Christian groups I have never heard of who apparently presume to speak for me, as well as the way some news media seem to assume that all Christians object. Perhaps some shipmates could comment on the BBC News site to try to get across the range of views held by Christians.

I hate Tennis and would never watch it myself but it has never occurred to me that I should object to the BBC showing Wimbledon for those who do want to watch it. Nor has it occurred to me to burn my TV licence when a series I am watching is taken off air for a couple of weeks because of Snooker or Darts or some other sport I have no interest in. This is one show, lasting 2 hours, and I am sure all the fuss will mean much bigger audience figures than if those who do not want to watch it had just ignored it instead of embarking on a futile attempt to impose their views on everyone else.
My husband and I decided not to see the show at the National Theatre as we have never seen Jerry Springer and find the idea of sneering at those who have to go on talk shows to get help distasteful, but will be watching tonight, if only because those who want to prevent us from doing so are even more distasteful.
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
Dear IngoB

[Overused]
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear IngoB

Make that a double [Overused] [Overused]

You have so much more eloquently than I articulated a notion of freedom which is at once universal, humane and compatible with all human aspirations multi-theist or a-theist.

There is a heck of a lot more to freewill than merely choice, yet "choice" has, above all else, been exalted to divine status by modern secular western liberal democracies. (I should like to think that "do no harm" balanced that but since we all know that not to be true empirically, it cannot be claimed).
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
Well, that's a lovely (though typical) post about the dangers of pesky modern thought where dead hetero white men aren't dictating to everyone else, but really, that's not freedom. It's responsibility. Tiny bit of difference.
 
Posted by Dave Marshall (# 7533) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
[IngoB has] so much more eloquently than I articulated a notion of freedom which is at once universal, humane and compatible with all human aspirations multi-theist or a-theist.

Unless you can give a clear explanation of why this makes any kind of practical sense, I fear you are losing touch with reality in a potentially dangerous way.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
My sanity is committed to God and my spiritual father Dave ... since when did you become my therapist?

We've hit a really, really deep point of division here haven't we? (See Disunity and Disagreement thread).
 
Posted by Anselmina (# 3032) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JoannaP:

My husband and I decided not to see the show at the National Theatre as we have never seen Jerry Springer and find the idea of sneering at those who have to go on talk shows to get help distasteful, but will be watching tonight, if only because those who want to prevent us from doing so are even more distasteful.

'Have to go on talk shows'? I had no idea that in the United States those in personal difficulties were compelled to go on crap confessional shows to boost ratings on profit-orientated networks. I thought most people who went on these shows went of their own choosing.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
I'm possibly getting an alarming idea of what most posters on this thread advocate. To help me understand your views correctly, is there any subject matter which should not be shown on television, or public theatre, in the form of entertainment (musical, satirical, drama or whatever)? Would you like to have the show performed in your church - those who don't want to see it needn't turn up, of course. Are there any programmes which should not be shown at particular times? Have you any sensibilities which you can have grossly offended?
 
Posted by Cartwheel (# 5149) on :
 
I'm deeply confused by this. I saw the show some time ago at the National - and yes, I came out thinking that it was slightly blasphemous because of the moral relativism (and for no other reason). But moral relativism is fairly common in the prevailing culture and I don't tend to form my conclusions based on musical theatre. In my experience very few people do, but maybe I'm not in Kansas any more...

But what I really don't get is - why are people campaigning to ban the show? Why not ask for a right of reply? Why didn't the bishop refuse to comment until after the show and then tell the world why it was or was not in accordance with the Official Christian Message? We seem to have missed a trick here - people might want to know what the opera is based on - as it says itself "Jerry Springer in hell is unsuitable for anyone without a grasp of Judeo Christian mythology".

And what's with the assertion that everything that appears on the BBC is somehow a "public service"? There are lots of things on the BBC that appear to exist for entertainment only, or have I missed the deep moral message in "Men Behaving Badly" and the improving facts embedded in "Holby City". Hmmm.

BTW, anyone who wants to hear the musical style should go to www.jerryspringertheopera.com/trailer but there is an f word in there.
 
Posted by Dave Marshall (# 7533) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
My sanity is committed to God and my spiritual father Dave ... since when did you become my therapist?

Hah! Therapist to Orthodoxy? I think not. But genuine concern nonetheless.
quote:
We've hit a really, really deep point of division here haven't we? (See Disunity and Disagreement thread).
Disagreement, yes. Division here only has meaning in the mind of your disunity demon.

It's your refusal to answer fair questions that is my cause for concern. I don't see any reason for it other than fear that to do so might show your position to be untenable. I wonder what you hope to achieve.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Cartwheel

"Slightly blasphemous" .... only "slightly" blasphemous ... you must have different standards and definitions of blasphemy than I do.

"Moral relativism is common in our culture" ... but how does that inform a Christian response to this play?

Are we able to say ... "it wasn't in a church, so it's OK."? I fear that some here wouldn't bat an eyelid if it was shown in a church ... so bang goes that argument.

"Judeo Christian mythology" indeed! That's already a theology (of sorts). This is not secular freedom of expression at all ... it's ideological comment. 'No-God' forbid that anyone should credence to the idea that any of this stuff might be historically true! After all ... anyone can take the pyth out of a myth ... theologically this is not possible but in common parlance where myth = stupid fairy story ... this is most certainly the case. And all this is just in the use of a commentating introductory phrase ... never mind the content of the play itself. (Don't you just love it when media types say "Christians CLAIM that their founder said this or did that.")

Ban the show? Well, most of us don't want it banned at all - although, even perhaps the most die hard "freedom-of-expressionists" here might cavil at a (different) musical celebrating the "joys of paedophilia." We wanted THIS BROADCAST not to take place.

It's no use objecting that whereas paedophilia is provably harmful and illegal whilst "Jerry Springer - The Fart in the Library" isn't because multiple profanity and religious pyth taking isn't. If Christians consented only to exercise moral discernment in legal matters in the privacy of their own lives and space then we probably wouldn't bat an eyelid at Springer, but rather, as many do here, defend its broadcast.

As it is, the idea that Christian morality is a private moraity is a western heresy arising from the growing secularist mind control of the last 300 years. It's not something most Christians (globally) can sign up to at all. Even those who do deny Christian insights a place at the table of legislation still try to pass laws in some sort of moral framework. Why is the secularist moral framework inherently more true or useful or noble than the Christian one? That would be irrational if it were not driven by political dogma.

Finally, the BBC acting as a public service doesn't mean that you may never say f*** or do anything naughty. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition .... indeed, calm down, there is none. But a line has been crossed when the likes of Springer is hosted by the likes of the BBC with the qualitative difference (whether you liker it or not .... IT'S THE LAW) attached to being a public service broadcaster.
 
Posted by Cartwheel (# 5149) on :
 
In answer to Glimmer, I personally do not think that it would be possible for a work of imagination to raise questions that the Christian faith was incapable of answering (or alternatively of explaining why the questions raised were based on what from the Christian perspective was a false premise).

Blasphemy is only my problem if I'm the one sending out the false picture of God, and I suspect the ways that I do this are subtle and more to do with how I live.

I suspect the same is true of churches in that it's what we do day in, day out in our communities that affects how we are perceived by them - not what shows make it in to the church hall. Though if I thought they'd turn up for Jerry Springer The Opera, I'd be quite happy to see the show in the church - as long as we got to explain Why The Show Is Wrong at some point after. Does this make sense?
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Blasphemy concerns not a "false picture of God." That's heresy. Blaspheme is to "talk impiously, utter profanity about, revile." (OED)
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If society changes back to older (and superior) ideas of freedom one day...

Which "superior" ideas of freedom are you referring to?
The so-called "freedom for excellence", an idea of freedom which was held throughout the "known world" (i.e., Europe, Middle East, Northern Africa) from antiquity through to medieval times until the "freedom of indifference" of William of Ockham spread and took over from the late 14th century onwards. (Although it's probably unfair to blame it all on him, clearly the new idea was "in the air" back then).

Which means that any writings you read from prior to this time, which concern freedom, morals and ethics, will likely be misunderstood since you apply your changed concepts to the text (yes, that includes the Bible). If you want a philosophical treatment, read Alasdair MacIntyre's "After Virtue", if you want a comprehensive Christian account, take a look at Servais Pinckaers' "The Sources of Christian Ethics".

To give a very brief analogy: Given a piano, modern (Ockham's) freedom means to be able to play anything you like on it, when you like it, how you like it - irrespective of any "quality" your play may have. It's a "pure" freedom of choice, the choice itself is indifferent to good, bad or ugly (if you are free, you can choose to play Bach or just randomly slam some of the keys).

An ancient would have seen the situation quite differently: When you first encounter a piano, you have very little freedom: you can play nothing, you can play random crap, or you can play finger exercises. Say you choose the "good": finger exercises. After a while, your freedom grows, you can now play: nothing, random crap, finger exercises or easy pieces. Say you choose the "good": easy pieces (plus some finger exercises). After a while you will be able to add medium pieces to your freedom. Then hard pieces. Then the music of the greatest composers. Finally, your freedom becomes perfect through excellence: you are now in complete control of the piano. But note how you got there - it was a long, hard slog of disciplined striving for good, it was not a given from the very start. The ancients assumed this to be the case for all freedoms, including social behaviour and morals. Somebody without trained virtue could only claim the sad freedom of randomly hitting some keys on the piano...

Once you see where all this is coming from, a lot of problems moderns see in Christian teachings disappear. But this is getting long and I'm not really much of an expert. If you are interested, read the mentioned books.

It's undoubtedly true that since William of Ockham, there have been no good pianists.

R
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
What a silly comment. Ingo's point is that freedom is something to be worked at.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
And Rex's point is that there have been good pianists, even since Wm of O's time.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Cartwheel, I don't have a sufficiently subtle grasp of debate to fully understand your post.
I am trying to find out if those who believe that this show should be broadcast on grounds of defending 'freedom' (and what a lovely revealing sub-discussion is going on there) have any personal limits which they feel should not be breached in a similar way. For instance, if there was a play to be broadcast on television after that critical 9 o'clock point which depicted let's say, primary school teachers mercilessly battering children with severe learning dificulties, teenagers burning animals, or pop stars indulging in canibalism. All with copiuos amounts of bad language, drunkeness, indiscriminate sexual activities and memorable lyrics to catchy tunes. I'm trying to find out if those who scorn others' offence can live with it applying to themselves.
 
Posted by Cartwheel (# 5149) on :
 
quote:
"Slightly blasphemous" .... only "slightly" blasphemous ... you must have different standards and definitions of blasphemy than I do.
Yes. I probably do. Basically, anything that ends up coming to the conclusions that good and evil are arbitrary is blasphemous, insofar as it denies the claims of God. However, this is a musical. It is not intended to inform. I don't think it is intended to be a work of religious insight. Its main target is cheap television that uses people and makes them objects of ridicule. I would say that such television is far worse, because it is denying the image of God in those people. Slightly was probably the wrong word and I'm sorry I offended you but I was trying to get across the idea that I find lots of other things far more shockingly godless.


quote:
"Moral relativism is common in our culture" ... but how does that inform a Christian response to this play?
Arbitrarily calling for the banning of ONE WORK is hardly going to solve the problem, is it? In all the chorus of disapproval, I've heard noone on the radio take issue with the moral relativism it espouses (actually I think those lines come from "The Marriage of heaven and hell, by William Blake" - I could be wrong but I'd certainly heard them before). And banning it rather than engaging with it doesn't address the issue, whereas saying "Actually, God wouldn't do this because..." is assuming people are capable of understanding our message and choosing for themselves.


quote:
Are we able to say ... "it wasn't in a church, so it's OK."? I fear that some here wouldn't bat an eyelid if it was shown in a church ... so bang goes that argument.

"Judeo Christian mythology" indeed! That's already a theology (of sorts). This is not secular freedom of expression at all ... it's ideological comment. 'No-God' forbid that anyone should credence to the idea that any of this stuff might be historically true! After all ... anyone can take the pyth out of a myth ... theologically this is not possible but in common parlance where myth = stupid fairy story ... this is most certainly the case. And all this is just in the use of a commentating introductory phrase ... never mind the content of the play itself. (Don't you just love it when media types say "Christians CLAIM that their founder said this or did that.")

Um. OK, as I understand it, some Christians claim the Adam and Eve story is literally true. Some claim it as mythology. The Adam and Eve story is referenced in the opera. I thought (and I'm not theologically trained so sorry if I'm wrong here) that calling something a mythology was not an automatic denial of historical truth, rather an affirmation that the meaning attached to the story goes beyond the story itself. I personally find "stupid fairy story" offensive because it contains a value judgement (stupid) and noone ever claimed there was a deep meaning innate in the form of fairy stories. I do not find "mythology" offensive, because I think that reflects that all christians attach meanings to the story, whilst they might disagree on their historical truth. In the opera, Adam and Eve are real people.


quote:
Ban the show? Well, most of us don't want it banned at all - although, even perhaps the most die hard "freedom-of-expressionists" here might cavil at a (different) musical celebrating the "joys of paedophilia." We wanted THIS BROADCAST not to take place.
But I keep hearing calls for it not to be broadcast at all - that's effectively a ban for anyone in the provinces without a spare £75 to spend on train fare and a ticket. Or would you be quite happy if people watched it on channel 4?


quote:
It's no use objecting that whereas paedophilia is provably harmful and illegal whilst "Jerry Springer - The Fart in the Library" isn't because multiple profanity and religious pyth taking isn't. If Christians consented only to exercise moral discernment in legal matters in the privacy of their own lives and space then we probably wouldn't bat an eyelid at Springer, but rather, as many do here, defend its broadcast.

As it is, the idea that Christian morality is a private moraity is a western heresy arising from the growing secularist mind control of the last 300 years. It's not something most Christians (globally) can sign up to at all. Even those who do deny Christian insights a place at the table of legislation still try to pass laws in some sort of moral framework. Why is the secularist moral framework inherently more true or useful or noble than the Christian one? That would be irrational if it were not driven by political dogma.

Um. Speaking for myself here I'm going by "Do as you would be done by" - I wouldn't want things that have meaning for me to be banned, so I'm against banning as a form of response. That isn't to say I'm in favour of no response - rather I'm confident that my message is (or has potential to be) better that the one that challenges it - hence my question about the bishop's comments. There may be a Christian principle there, it may just be heretical pragmatism. Who knows?

quote:
Finally, the BBC acting as a public service doesn't mean that you may never say f*** or do anything naughty. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition .... indeed, calm down, there is none. But a line has been crossed when the likes of Springer is hosted by the likes of the BBC with the qualitative difference (whether you liker it or not .... IT'S THE LAW) attached to being a public service broadcaster.
But Jerry Springer has won awards. According to those who arbitrate quality in theatre, this is good at what it does. Who arbitrates quality in theatre if not the critical judging panels?
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
What a silly comment. Ingo's point is that freedom is something to be worked at.

As is playing the piano. Surely the history of the 20th century is precisely that freedom is something to be worked at, often to the death.

Ingo seems to be promoting the idea of rigid hierarchies of 'proper' thought, with the higher levels having complete control over the lower - including how one progresses upwards. I can see why this appeals, but how does it guard against error at the top? If one of the consequences of this Ockhamism (which I'm not au fait with) is the creation of ideas which overthrew slavery and led to the American civil rights movement, I think that's a price worth paying.

Going back to pianos: it used to be that if you wanted to hear good piano music, you had to learn how to do it the oldfashioned way or listen to someone else who had. Records, the radio and cheap music technology now means that people can hear and make keyboard music in many more ways. There's a lot more rubbish, but there's a lot more new and exciting and diverse stuff too - and as people are able to sort out the rubbish for themselves, this is a very good thing.

R
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
For instance, if there was a play to be broadcast on television after that critical 9 o'clock point which depicted let's say, primary school teachers mercilessly battering children with severe learning dificulties, teenagers burning animals, or pop stars indulging in canibalism. All with copiuos amounts of bad language, drunkeness, indiscriminate sexual activities and memorable lyrics to catchy tunes. I'm trying to find out if those who scorn others' offence can live with it applying to themselves.

Well, I for one would be ok with it, because I am able to recognize plays, television shows and movies for what they are: make-believe. In fact, I'm sure a trawl through IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes will produce several movies/tv shows/etc. with those very same subjects.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Cartwheel

quote:
However, this is a musical. It is not intended to inform. I don't think it is intended to be a work of religious insight. Its main target is cheap television that uses people and makes them objects of ridicule.
I would agree with all of that. The crucial question is whether or not the multiple profanities and blasphemy serves the primary aforementioned purpose of the musical or whether it is gratuitous and operating on another level. Such distinctions are made every day by the British Board of Film Censors. I contend that it is gratuitous and, therefore, it does set out to offend large sections of the populace rather than satirise its object and fulfil its avowed theme.

With its public service broadcasting remit I would have expected the BBC to use a little common sense in this regard.

On banning it ... I think I have said before I wouldn't have objected (so much) if it was on a private company channel. That's why I have highlighted the BBC's special provision as provided for in law (whether anyone agrees with that or not).

On "mythology" ... of course there is myth in Christianity. Adam and Eve is a classic case in point. But, "myth" as commonly understood "stupid fairy story" is the lingua franca and the so-called health warning wasn't discriminating (as you have been) in its use and application of the word.

"Do as you would be done by"

Cannibalism? I'm serious. Remember the German testicle fryer?

The fact that Springer has won awards has no more significance for me than Hitler approving of the work of Leni Riefenstahl. I don't accept the category of art critic as "expert."

[ 08. January 2005, 17:30: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Traveller (# 1943) on :
 
The Better Half has just looked at the TV guide and commented that Jerry Springer looks like the best thing on the box tonight.

If I believed in conspiracy theories, I might believe it was planned that way. [Devil]

OTOH, I might just be on the Ship a lot this evening. [Angel]
 
Posted by barrea (# 3211) on :
 
Quote by Ken
A few people - and it is only a few - started whinging about it.

My immediate reaction?

"How dare they try to stop me seeing this play?"

Why would you, if you are a Christian want to see a show That insults and mocks our lord and Saviour
Also it is not just a few people who are protesting against it. We are not protesting so much about the disgusting language which can be heard anynight on TV, as the blasphemy which is
ridiculing God and making nim an object of laughter. I feel angry that this show is going out and angry that so many people on this thread
seem to think that there is nothing wrong with it and some even find it funny' Shame on You.
I think that all true Christians should protst about the showing. As for myselt I would like to see it banned on the TV and in the theatre.
I know I shall be classed by some as a biggot but I don [Snigger] 't care.
In some countries Christians are dying for the faith, here some won't even stand against blasphemy
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Well I shall be watching it. I expect to find most of it terminally boring and tedious, (the profanity part ... a zillion f**** and you long for a real swear word). C.S. Lewis characterised hell as a very boring place because sin was oh so predictable. Perversely I am therefore looking forward to the "naughty bits" as relief from the mind numbing tedium of it all (bad taste joke Barrea) ... but then again I have never liked American or American-style musicals. This will be a REAL Purgatory. [Frown] I shall stand ready with my email of complaint. What matters now is keeping the pressure up.

[ 08. January 2005, 17:36: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by barrea (# 3211) on :
 
Sorry I did not mean to put the snigger in . I just picked the wrong one I meant anger not snigger
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
<tangent>

quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
some rambling nonsense about true Christians

I have had avatars turned off for a while now, but I turned them on yesterday to check something. I am now in absolute hysterics over barrea's, considering that his "let's talk" avatar is half of the graphic for the board Let's Talk TITS & TESTICLES, where we discussed all kinds of sexual things in very graphic detail.

</tangent>
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Well, I for one would be ok with it, because I am able to recognize plays, television shows and movies for what they are: make-believe.

That's cool, but honestly, are you happy that enough other people have your maturity of discernment? What about the power of make-believe to influence real life? There is no doubt that patently make-believe advertising influences real-life behaviour. Don't you get upset at the unquestioning acceptance and emotional involvement of say, soap operas on the television? I bet you do!
 
Posted by Traveller (# 1943) on :
 
The BBC Website has a page Should BBC show Jerry Springer opera? which seems to have a lot of comment on it. Searching for "Gregory" produces no hits? [Confused]
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
IngoB, doesn't "freedom for excellence" imply "freedom of choice"? If you want to learn to play Bach, you have to have the freedom to begin with random crap and progress through exercises, easier pieces, and so on. Having freedom of choice to pursue freedom of excellence means that some people might choose to play something you don't like. The existence of bad music is the price that you must pay in order to be free to play Bach.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
You know Erin ... I have just searched Barrea's posts on Purgatory and I haven't found a single reference to sex. Maybe you've got the wrong end of the stick and so your "joke" falls flat.
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
What comes to mind for me is the 'Springtime for Hitler' number in 'The Producers' - complete with high kicking nazis and also Dennis Potter's play 'Brimstone and Treacle' which was banned by the BBC for eleven years on account of a scene where the Devil rapes a mentally handicapped girl but which was screened in I think 1987. Drama has always dealt with taboo subjects - think for a moment about all the murder and incest in Oedipus Rex or the matricide in Oresteia both of those have been on the BBC in one production or another. I've already mentioned the high body count and sexual deviation with the Gods which you can get in classic operas.


In these kind of surreal dramatic or operatic contexts (especially when your talking about things like a character in a play or an opera hallucinating something bizarre) it's hard to think what would be beyond the pale because we know it's an illusion - it's not real.

L

[ 08. January 2005, 18:15: Message edited by: Louise ]
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
(My last was a response to Glimmer which got rather separated from his query by intervening posts.)

L.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
... as indeed are the violent video games that disturb some young minds into psychopathy. If you are prepared to take that risk Louise then that's a risk you must take strictly for yourself.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
... as indeed are the violent video games that disturb some young minds into psychopathy. If you are prepared to take that risk Louise then that's a risk you must take strictly for yourself.

I don't think anyone has suggested otherwise. You, however, have been insisting on making the decision for everyone else.
 
Posted by ChristinaMarie (# 1013) on :
 
I just want you to know Fr Gregory, that I'll only be watching the 'Opera' to keep me awake until Match of the Day shows Oldham Athletic knocking Man City out the FA Cup! [Snigger]

Christina
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Scot, this really is ridiculous. Would you support a pornographic image (hardcore that is) on a bill hoarding? ... no you wouldn't. Why? Because an impressionable youngster might see it. Additionally, perhaps because it would coarsen our public life. Now, how is that different from limiting other offensive material easily accessible on the TV? The issue here is the degrading effect on everyone, not just the young. The erosion of a sense of the sacred is not something morally neutral ... but we have all been beguiled into thinking that it is ... or something simply a matter for personal choice.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
We're not talking about a pornographic billboard, are we? We're talking about an Opera late at night on BBC2. A minority artform on a minority channel at a time when we may trust that our children and servants will be safely tucked up in bed.

Frankly, if it wasn't for all this free PR you've been doing for them, it would have been watched by a handful of modern opera fans from the wine and cheese belt of Hampstead whose morals, for good or evil, are hardly going to be affected by an opera. My main TV interest this evening was in Exeter's heroic 0-0 demolition of Manchester United, but I shall now feel obliged to watch the Jerry Springer thing out of curiosity. If I turn into a Monster of Depravity, I shall be sure and let you know.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Scot, this really is ridiculous. Would you support a pornographic image (hardcore that is) on a bill hoarding? ... no you wouldn't. Why? Because an impressionable youngster might see it. Additionally, perhaps because it would coarsen our public life.

Interesting, coming from someone who is so sensitive about having words put in his mouth.

I am not concerned about what might "coarsen our public life" and I don't worry about kids getting naughty ideas that sex might be a good thing. I would not support such a billboard because it violates common community standards and cannot be reasonably avoided by those who would be offended. Televisions, unlike billboards, can be turned off.

The question is not whether this production is morally neutral. It isn't. The question is whether individuals are free to watch and judge it, or whether the decision should be made by an authority, such as the state or the church.
 
Posted by M. (# 3291) on :
 
Perhaps it's a bit late now, but I want to go back to what IngoB said about freedom of excellence. I agree absolutely. And as my excellence increases, I am able to challenge the norms I was taught and break the rules. Sometimes it will be good, sometimes not. Often, perhaps usually, it will offend people. But would anything progress if it was not done?
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
... as indeed are the violent video games that disturb some young minds into psychopathy. If you are prepared to take that risk Louise then that's a risk you must take strictly for yourself.

Which young minds are these, precisely? Scanning through the literature, I can find plenty of studies that show kids who behave aggressively tend to play aggressive videogames - you know, I was sure they'd stick to Scrabble - and that playing violent video games can get you pretty hyped over the short term. Long term issues are very far from being shown, and I can find not one case of a clinical case of psychopathic behaviour that's been tied to a videogame. Perhaps that's because the high-risk kids are all still listening to heavy metal backwards, watching snuff movies, going to rock and roll concerts or whatever induces hypercardia in their elders and betters.

Can you point me at a clinical case of videogame-induced psychopathic behaviour, and the stats of how that compares to other causes of mental disorder, such as Christmas?

(Aside: My son (now 19) is a videogame addict, and is also fond of gore in general, in that charming teenage way. He also experienced an aggressive environment (state school in Tower Hamlets, anyone?) for a long time, and for the latter part of his teenage years has had pretty much unfettered access to that scary Internet thing. His politeness puts me to shame, and I grew up listening to Radio 4.)

In a previous post, you said:

quote:

The fact that Springer has won awards has no more significance for me than Hitler approving of the work of Leni Riefenstahl. I don't accept the category of art critic as "expert."

So if you don't count art critics as experts in art, who do you count? Are you like the creation science institutions, which make a basic tenet of their science that first and foremost, it must not conflict with their literalist reading of the Scriptures?

And seeing as you're waving me down the Godwin road, I might recommend you spend a few minutes reading about the history of Entartete Kunst, an excellent example of what happens when a rigid worldview declares that art is only valid if it corresponds to certain political and religious philosophies.

Would you count qualified psychologists as 'experts', by the way?

R
 
Posted by ChristinaMarie (# 1013) on :
 
With regard to Freedom. Whether we live by Freedom for Excellence, or Freedom of Choice, we cannot escape a certain Law. We reap what we sow. In other religions - Karma.

Here's a homily about Freedom of Excellence by a RC Priest.

Homily on Freedom

I find this homily to be rather frightening, not because of its basic ideas, I like the idea of Freedom for excellence. What frightens me, is that this is a call to obedience. As Voltaire cried, 'Remember the atrocities!' There is no mention of those here.

Christina
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Rex Monday and Scot

I am aware of all the chicken and egg arguments about violence in the media and violence in society. What you are all missing here is the truism that what a society manifests in the public arena is taken to establish the norms, possibilities and constraints of its shared values, (otherwise there would be no basis for democratic legislation). Whether a child is allowed to stay up to late or (safely) immerses himself in gore is not really the primary issue here at all ... notwithstanding that I used it to make a subsidiary point. It's what us adults deem to be OK that matters.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
I responded to what you wrote in your post. Are you planning on returning the favor? To reiterate, "The question is whether individuals are free to watch and judge it, or whether the decision should be made by an authority, such as the state or the church."

Or, should I assume that you were weighing in on the side of individual freedom when you wrote, "It's what us adults deem to be OK that matters."
 
Posted by Cartwheel (# 5149) on :
 
Fr G

I say "Do as you would be done by"

You bring up cannibalism. Now as I understand it, this is a way of seeing whether my principles hold in a very extreme case (and it's not something I've ever seriously thought about so I DON'T KNOW, though my immediate reaction to the idea is "yuk".)

Now, as I understood it, Jerry Springer the opera looks at how the Jerry Springer show works on much the same lines - i.e. they take the Jerry Springer format and say "what if instead of 'trailer trash', we used the holiest people we could think of and attempted to fit them into this format". I don't think this is being gratuitously offensive, any more than you were being. Why do you assume it's gratuitous?
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Scot

quote:
"The question is whether individuals are free to watch and judge it, or whether the decision should be made by an authority, such as the state or the church."
Should individuals be free to watch a snuff movie? No. That single example destroys any contention that there should be universal access to any material. The question resolves to:- "why not this material or otherwise?" To answer that would involve me repeating much of my posting on this thread.

quote:
Or, should I assume that you were weighing in on the side of individual freedom when you wrote, "It's what us adults deem to be OK that matters."
No, that meant that we have a responsibility to determine those things.

Dear Cartwheel

As I have already said on this thread, it is my contention that the extent and use of profanity / blasphemy goes well beyond the single claimed intent of the musical. (See my reference earlier to the British Board of Film Censors).

[ 08. January 2005, 19:29: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Should individuals be free to watch a snuff movie? No. That single example destroys any contention that there should be universal access to any material.

Hardly. Your example includes a measurable harm to an actual victim. For that reason, production of the movie is prohibited. Purchasing the movie creates a market and thereby contributes to the harm done to the victim and is therefore also prohibited. However, aside from issues of production and acquisition, simply watching a "snuff movie" is not illegal (here, anyway), nor should it be.

In the case of the Jerry Springer opera, we are talking about people saying some words that you don't like. It is hardly the same thing, quantitatively or qualitatively, as killing people on film for profit.

However, I agree with you that we each have a responsibility to determine which things matter. We should not allow the you (or the state at your behest) to make that determination for us.
 
Posted by Anselmina (# 3032) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Well, I for one would be ok with it, because I am able to recognize plays, television shows and movies for what they are: make-believe.

That's cool, but honestly, are you happy that enough other people have your maturity of discernment? What about the power of make-believe to influence real life? There is no doubt that patently make-believe advertising influences real-life behaviour. Don't you get upset at the unquestioning acceptance and emotional involvement of say, soap operas on the television? I bet you do!
I don't see that Erin is responsible for the exercise of the 'maturity of discernment' in 'other people'. And I wonder who can confidently claim to be.

Funnily enough, (don't know about Erin) but I can a little riled, rather than upset, when I come across the occasional example of someone who lets themselves get pulled into soapland. But I have no wish to stop them watching. Firstly, because if they are ordinary rational people like me and you, being sucked into the fantasy is their choice; and secondly, because most ordinary rational people don't get sucked in to begin with.

If they are not ordinary rational people then the likelihood of them needing soap opera specifically (or tonight's offering) to encourage them in their delusion is small, and their lack of 'maturity of discernment' could be as evident in a trip to the shops for a pint of milk as in switching on BBC2, 10 o'clock on a Saturday night.

Speaking personally, I am anticipating (which is prejudicial of me I know) my reaction to the show to be that certain sections of it are at least impious, and that a part of me will be wondering how the actors dare to 'image' Christ in the way that he is supposed to have been portrayed. And I don't mean 'how dare they!' from an 'is outrage' perspective, but from a 'gosh, aren't they worried about thunderbolts from above' kind of persepective.

I know it's a naive reaction, (I don't think I even believe in a thunderbold dealing God!), but it does speak of the awe that I do feel for the person of Christ, and the disturbance I feel within myself that there should be an impious distortion of that person, albeit in such a plausible context.

I guess I'm in the totally inconsistent position of not wishing to prevent others from viewing it, but also wishing that it had never been created.
 
Posted by Pasco (# 388) on :
 
quote:
Its main target is cheap television that uses people and makes them objects of ridicule.
Shocking Private Revelations Involving Noisy Gesticulations Expletively Reciprocated - ?
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Louise and Scot
Is there any material you would not wish your parents or children to see, that you would object to on their behalf?
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Scot

I think it's both possible and desirable when two people are at an impasse in a discussion with irreconcilable positions for that exchange to come to a natural conclusion. It's not that we misunderstand each other or are being obtuse ... either of us. We just have radically different positions on this one. Peace.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
And it's not on late at night on a minority channel, for Goodness' sake, it's on now - nine o'clock in the evening on BBC2 with other terrestrial channels showing a 'mystery' drama and tabloid stuff.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Louise and Scot
Is there any material you would not wish your parents or children to see, that you would object to on their behalf?

My parents? Absolutely not. They are adults and can choose to watch what they want. I shield my children from viewing some things, but generally only things that would be too confusing (as opposed to corrupting) for them to grasp at their current ages. It is extremely rare for us to encounter something in this category that we cannot readily avoid.
 
Posted by HopPik (# 8510) on :
 
I haven't read this thread, only just looked at it and it's too long. We are going to watch the show tonight with our teenage children, doubtless have a lot to talk about afterwards. What has shocked me about what I've heard in the media these last couple of days, is how so many of my fellow Christians have totally failed to understand what free speech is about. Because freedom of speech doesn't just include the right to offend, it IS the right to offend. It's only when people are offended that they'll want to shut you up, if you're never going to offend anyone you don't need freedom of speech!

And of course if you are offended, you have the right to reply, within the law, which is where those Sikhs went wrong the other week. But there is no such thing as a right not to be offended, or to silence those who offend you. Being offended is part of life. Live with it. Are we Christians so pathetic we can't handle that?
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
And it's not on late at night on a minority channel, for Goodness' sake, it's on now - nine o'clock in the evening on BBC2 with other terrestrial channels showing a 'mystery' drama and tabloid stuff.

Glimmer, that's the feature about the Jerry Springer show which precedes it - not the opera which doesn't start until ten and goes on until midnight and BBC 2 is meant to be a minority channel for arts and things not expected to draw ratings on BBC1.

With regard to your previous post you miss my point about context. In the context of a hallucinatory episode by a character in a comic opera late at night I can't think of any fictional portrayal not involving actual harm/exploitation to those doing the acting/involved with the production which I would automatically want to have banned. If stuff is done in a surreal manner as part of a ludicrous hallucination in an opera, it is simply not in the same ball park as non-fictional depictions of bestiality, child abuse, cannibalism etc.

With regard to my own children, (if I had one apart from part shares in the fiance's teenager) it would depend on the child and what I knew about their ability to cope with fictional depictions of stuff. When one of my friends was very young she couldn't cope with Bambi's mother dying - that doesn't mean the whole of UK television must be pitched at the level of a four year old. I would expect to make that decision - not the broadcasters and if I did have a naughty child who sneaked off to a friend's home and watched a controversial opera on BBC2 instead of drinking vodka shots and playing Grand Theft Auto to all hours, I'd probably be surprised and delighted.

L.

PS the idea of censoring what my parents would watch is just daft to me - they're adults that's up to them.

[ 08. January 2005, 20:50: Message edited by: Louise ]
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Broadcast +9 minutes. First reaction, puerile, boring. Waste of good voices. It's only act 1 though so I don't expect things to change before Act 2. See ya later. Jerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
....Ban the show? Well, most of us don't want it banned at all - although, even perhaps the most die hard "freedom-of-expressionists" here might cavil at a (different) musical celebrating the "joys of paedophilia."....

I realize it's in the movie theaters rather than on BBC, and it's not exactly the "joys of paedophilia", but I really must bring to your attention, Father Gregory, the existence of this movie review.

Perhaps you can take it on as your next campaign to save us all from the horrors of a secular society.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Yes, Louise, I know the first hour is a build-up, but it is still part of the programme (anyone decided to skip the first part? Or anyone watching the first part then switching off?). And my point about Saturday evening is still valid, I think.

quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
BBC 2 is meant to be a minority channel for arts and things not expected to draw ratings on BBC1.

Perhaps it was in the sixties but it's not now.

quote:
Originally posted by Louise:

With regard to your previous post you miss my point about context. In the context of a hallucinatory episode by a character in a comic opera late at night I can't think of any fictional portrayal not involving actual harm/exploitation to those doing the acting/involved with the production which I would automatically want to have banned.

Well, I may not have expressed myself adequately. My interest with this thread is much more with the way people have different moralities when it comes to themselves. From your above comment, it appears that you don't mind very realistic and convincing depictions of horrible acts as long as no-one got actually hurt. [/QB][/QUOTE]

quote:
<snip> their ability to cope with fictional depictions of stuff.
Yes, of course. That's perfectly natural to me. BUT you are taking upon yourself the responsibility to judge what is acceptable to someone else. At times I thought that FG was a fox with the baying hounds after his blood - I just don't believe that those advocating complete freedom of expression for others really have nothing to which they would object themselves. I could go on fetching up examples but that would be pointless and just get us into a wrangle over semantics.
I hope you enjoy the show; I'm sure you will appreciate the irony and satire that will be missed by many who are looking for thrills.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Well, I'm up to the "baby" sketch ... and I honestly don't know how I'm going to endure the next 83 minutes. It's just so unfunny, (no, I actually mean, not funny). The audience are laughing ... I'm asking:- "at what?" It feels like it's seaside humour ... go on say something naughty, go on, go on ... Oh OK (to rather nice music) p***, f***, s*** ... various orifices back to score etc. more of the same tee hee ... how funny! NOT. Stifles yawn.

Of course, it's Act 2 that I'm waiting for.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
I've given up. Boring, boring. And mildly disagreeable, because I hate opera and the Jerry Springer show. Have a great evening, Gregory!
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Well at least we're totally agreed on that Hatless. As I said earlier I am only staying with this for Act 2. I really really really hate American and American style musicals, (only marginally more so than the Springer genre itself. Eh up Jerry's got shot. Good ole Kirsty Wark is warning us now about the blasphemy. She can't use that word of course ... just in case a judge awakes from his slumber.
 
Posted by Talitha (# 5085) on :
 
Imagine if all the people protesting about Jerry Springer: The Opera protested about something really obscene, like child slavery, unfair trade laws, third world debt, imprisonment without trial, torture, <insert your favourite cause here>.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Well, I for one would be ok with it, because I am able to recognize plays, television shows and movies for what they are: make-believe.

That's cool, but honestly, are you happy that enough other people have your maturity of discernment? What about the power of make-believe to influence real life? There is no doubt that patently make-believe advertising influences real-life behaviour. Don't you get upset at the unquestioning acceptance and emotional involvement of say, soap operas on the television? I bet you do!
Not really. In fact, I've never given it much thought. As to others having my maturity of discernment... well, on the whole, people are stupid, so I have no doubt that the world would be a better place if I were in charge. But like it or not, society in the form of the government has decided that people 18 and older are responsible for their very own selves. Neither I nor you nor Fregory have been given the task of deciding what's best for everyone else. Fregory seems to think he has, but he hasn't, not really.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Go on, Talitha, tell me it would make a difference. And precisely to whom should protests be made?
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
As is playing the piano. Surely the history of the 20th century is precisely that freedom is something to be worked at, often to the death.

First, let's not get silly about piano playing - it's largely meant as an analogy, not as a demonstration. Obviously, everybody accepts that a large amount of practice has to go into making a good piano player, whose freedom actually means something (namely, having a large range of music he can play). Practical skills can never go all the way with "freedom of indifference", although some "craftsmen" seem to be trying hard. [Biased] The essential point is that with regards to social and moral (and religious...) behaviour, we have largely lost the idea of "freedom for excellence". At best it has been relegated to child rearing, again because it is unavoidable there. However, for adults "freedom of indifference" rules supreme: "If I choose to do this, what gives you the rights to restrict my freedom?" This argument is essentially absolute, without considering what it is that is being done - pure Ockham.

I would also like to keep the struggle for democracy and against tyranny a separate issue. On that issue it's enough to point out that St Thomas Aquinas, a champion of "freedom for excellence", actually suggested representative democracy as the ideal form of government. He was also in favor of the separation of church and state (although he acknowledged - correctly - that the pope at that time was both a religious and secular power). All that in the 13th century!

quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
Ingo seems to be promoting the idea of rigid hierarchies of 'proper' thought, with the higher levels having complete control over the lower - including how one progresses upwards.

Actually, no. The very first thing that gets critiqued when you adopt "freedom of excellence" is the rigid morals of obligation that have been introduced - since the time of Ockham (go figure...). It is obvious, really: if faced with a freedom which is indifferent to "the good", the answer which has to be given in order to maintain "the good" is an ever growing catalogue of rules covering all eventualities. Which has meant that Christianity has largely lost its plot, busying itself with being a moral watchdog of the faithful. A perfect example of this is how the "Sermon of the Mount" - a pure piece in "freedom of excellence" - has lost its pride of place in Christian morals, and actually vanished from the moral manuals! It was replaced by the Decalogue and legalistic derivations from it to deal with "cases of conscience". But again, this is much better discussed in Pinckaers' book.

If everybody - or most people - followed "freedom of excellence", our problem here would simply disappear! I assume that this play is actually bad, that it is not is some way or the other a major cultural advance, not even in the sense of a "minority rebellion". Note that I've asked about three times if anyone thinks otherwise, and apparently nobody really does. Thus: an excellent playwright would not have written the play, an excellent theatre manager would not have staged it, excellent actors would not have taken part in it, excellent theatre visitors would not have watched it, excellent critics would not have given it awards, excellent BBC program directors would not have picked it up, and an excellent TV audience would ignore it completely anyway.

If I'm asking for "restrictions", then that's simply a pragmatic response in our current environment dominated by "freedom of indifference". However, my ideal world is quite different.

quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
Records, the radio and cheap music technology now means that people can hear and make keyboard music in many more ways. There's a lot more rubbish, but there's a lot more new and exciting and diverse stuff too - and as people are able to sort out the rubbish for themselves, this is a very good thing.

I'm not opposed to progress in any way. Excellence does not mean ignoring developments, to the contrary. To cite the modern music industry as a sign of good progress seems somewhat ironic though - Brittney Spears vs. Mozart and all that.

quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
IngoB, doesn't "freedom for excellence" imply "freedom of choice"? If you want to learn to play Bach, you have to have the freedom to begin with random crap and progress through exercises, easier pieces, and so on. Having freedom of choice to pursue freedom of excellence means that some people might choose to play something you don't like. The existence of bad music is the price that you must pay in order to be free to play Bach.

"Freedom of choice" is not exactly the same as "freedom of indifference". The additional, detrimental, idea in "freedom of indifference" is that on the level of choice it does not matter what the alternatives are like, what matters is purely that you get to choose between them. Thus, if I'm "free", that means I can choose crap if I'm so inclined. However, note that excellent piano players (to refer back to the analogy) clearly have the freedom of choice to play random crap on the piano, but practically never choose to do so. They are not indifferent to this at all, it hurts their ears! Actually, because that is so, they can make a point by playing random crap. If the greatest pianist of our times chooses to randomly whack the keys, it can mean something. If I do it, I'm just making noise.

"Freedom for excellence" implies an endless learning progress along a trajectory of "good". Clearly, at the beginning I must be allowed to choose to play the piano rather incompetently: nobody is an instant "master", indeed, that's the very point here. But note that right from the start I need to choose "good" in order to progress: I must play finger exercises, as boring as they may be, rather than random crap, as fun as that may be (for a while). Otherwise I will not become more free. Acknowledging this learning process implies also humility: I will not claim that my finger exercises are "great music". (By the way, concerning morals the Decalogue would be exactly the Christian equivalent to "finger exercises", not the "greatest music".)

Thus, yes, lots of "bad music" will be played in the quest for "freedom of excellence". But that's just judging from the final goal of perfection. However, in truth along the way at every point one plays the best music one can! It's just that one gets better with time...
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
<snip>... well, on the whole, people are stupid, so I have no doubt that the world would be a better place if

... someone I could trust ...
quote:
were in charge.
I do so agree.

By the way folks, it did occur to me that why do we need to have a satire on the Jerry Springer thing, if we are smart enough to see through the real thing anyway?
Hope everybody who watched it thought it was worth staying up for. Truly.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Yes, from where I'm standing; my original surmise is correct. It is blasphemy and it doesn't serve the artistic purpose of the satire. It goes well beyond that. Only a culture that thinks the whole thing is a fairy story could have produced something like this. It is indeed sickening. I will listen to the last 22 minutes but I should imagine that I will be making a formal complaint. What sickens me little less is to have endured this thread as well and heard from Christians who think that, according to some sort of higher principle, this execrable garbage can be justified. This is me bowing out now. Nothing more to see here from my point of view at least.

[ 08. January 2005, 22:38: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
Wow, what a fantastic show!!!! [Yipee] [Yipee] [Yipee]

So clever the way the second half linked in with the first half.
Brilliant singing.
Very thought provoking.
Monty Python meets Les Miserables.

How on earth will I manage to keep a straight face in church tomorrow? [Killing me]
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Yes, Louise, I know the first hour is a build-up, but it is still part of the programme (anyone decided to skip the first part? Or anyone watching the first part then switching off?). And my point about Saturday evening is still valid, I think.


quote:
Originally posted by Louise:

With regard to your previous post you miss my point about context. In the context of a hallucinatory episode by a character in a comic opera late at night I can't think of any fictional portrayal not involving actual harm/exploitation to those doing the acting/involved with the production which I would automatically want to have banned.

Well, I may not have expressed myself adequately. My interest with this thread is much more with the way people have different moralities when it comes to themselves. From your above comment, it appears that you don't mind very realistic and convincing depictions of horrible acts as long as no-one got actually hurt.
quote:
<snip> their ability to cope with fictional depictions of stuff.
quote:
Yes, of course. That's perfectly natural to me. BUT you are taking upon yourself the responsibility to judge what is acceptable to someone else. At times I thought that FG was a fox with the baying hounds after his blood - I just don't believe that those advocating complete freedom of expression for others really have nothing to which they would object themselves. I could go on fetching up examples but that would be pointless and just get us into a wrangle over semantics.
I hope you enjoy the show; I'm sure you will appreciate the irony and satire that will be missed by many who are looking for thrills.

If you can't appreciate the difference between two different feature programmes providing context - including an interview from the director of the Churches Media Council - and the very opera which you say represents such a horrid departure from normal standards then you're just discrediting your own case.

And no I don't 'mind very realistic and convincing depictions of horrible acts as long as no-one got actually hurt.' I watch, for example, Quentin Tarantino films and I understand the concept 'this isn't real - it's only a movie' - perhaps because I have been involved with programming and screening films or other media since I was fifteen and was encouraged to think about the issues involved.

I am not taking it upon myself to judge what is acceptable to someone else - I know the programme is unacceptable to Father Gregory and many others - I said so earlier in this thread

quote:
I don't expect you to like the programme, I respect the fact that you think it is offensive and awful and should never be screened by the BBC,
My issue is with public service broadcasters being neutered to spare the religious sensibilities of those who don't want to watch the programme themselves because it conflicts with their religious beliefs, but who won't allow those whose religious beliefs aren't offended and who do want to watch to see it.

And I am not advocating complete freedom of expression for others, or saying that nothing ever offends me. I am saying that in this sort of surreal context (a hallucinatory scene in a comic opera) the fuss isn't IMO justified, and I'd find it fairly hard to be so offended by something done in such a surreal vein that I'd want it banned, and additionally, that stirring up a huge campaign about blasphemy in order to stop something like that sets a bad precedent which may come back one day to bite Christians and others on the bum.

Finally if this sort of debate, where I know I for one have been careful to look at the relevant legislation, provide supporting evidence and give examples and links to back up my arguments, is your idea of being torn apart by a pack of hounds, then I suggest you talk to more foxes.


L.

[saw opera, will stick review in different post]
 
Posted by Dave Marshall (# 7533) on :
 
Exactly my reaction, Chorister. Never thought an opera would keep my interest for 2 hours.

Now, were you being ironic? I'm not.
 
Posted by HopPik (# 8510) on :
 
I'm on the whole with Chorister here, though with some reservations... eg I blinked somewhat at a line in the finale to the effect that there is no right or wrong... though that's not really a religious objection, I'd have blinked as hard in my atheistic years.

Like all everyday art it was a mixture... profound and shallow in turns. Great art is only such with hindsight. Day to day we get what the workers at the coalface turn out, some good and some bad. The depiction of Jesus as a baby who says he's a "bit gay" is a travesty of the Jesus of the gospels, but I'd say it's a fairly accurate satire on the way Jesus is thought of by some Christians. I have in particular mind here the Christian Fellowship at my college!

Fr Gregory I think said something criticising Christians who will accept blasphemy in the name of some "higher principle". To me the hightest principle is that of free expression, and I believe that comes from God. Jesus died on the cross mainly because he refused to keep his mouth shut. When people cannot speak the truth as they see it, all manner of nightmares will fill the vacuum. Springer the Opera wasn't a masterpiece, it wasn't Verdi, it was just workaday art doing its job. And I applaud it.
 
Posted by Ham'n'Eggs (# 629) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
You know Erin ... I have just searched Barrea's posts on Purgatory and I haven't found a single reference to sex. Maybe you've got the wrong end of the stick and so your "joke" falls flat.

Or just maybe Purgatory does not comprise the entire Ship, so a substantial amount sneaks under your radar.
quote:
Originally posted by barrea on "School of Prophesy" :
I have got a copy of the'Act of Marriage'still on my bookshelf. I bought it at the Dales' Bible week about 1978. I don't know why I bought it as I had had been married for 27 years then. Pehaps I wanted to get the Christian view of things. If anyone wants it they can have it,or maybe do an exchange for a book of sex for the well over 70s

However I think that what Erin had in mind was rather his regular diatrabes against "swearing" (read "uncouth language") referred to on threads such as Language:

quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
Take no notice of them Angelfish. You are wasting your time with this lot. Yhey do not understand.


 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
<snip>... well, on the whole, people are stupid, so I have no doubt that the world would be a better place if

... someone I could trust ...
quote:
were in charge.
I do so agree.

WOW. Just wow. Nothing like advocating a complete abdication of personal responsibility that leads to EXACTLY the situation that the real Jerry Springer showcases every single day.

Congratulations. I'm sure all of the men and women who've died so that you could be free are dancing with joy at the thought that you spit on their sacrifice so easily.
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
You can see why it won awards - it was beautifully done, very engaging and intermittently very funny. Wasn't much more morally complex than a Disney movie, but I don't suppose it set out to create a viable humanistic set of mores through deconstruction of medieval religious myth. But it did have what must be the longest sung swearword in musical history, and the warning that knowledge of Judeao-Christian mythology was required went down a treat.

From what I saw, I wouldn't expect an upswelling of popular support for the Christan Voices. Perhaps the shrill opposition campaign will make people think about the dangers of regulating or legislating to protect religion from criticism or 'offence'.

I read recently that there was a proposal, I think in the 70s, for all UK obscenity legislation to be harmonised under one law that dispensed with prescription or description and instead set a test of identifiable, measurable harm. One of those ideas that's far too radical to be adopted, no matter how sane...

R
 
Posted by Paul Mason (# 7562) on :
 
IngoB,

Who decides what is more perfect, more excellent?

Having watched the thing, I can't agree that it was not performed by excellent actors, singers and musicians.

Overall, I thought it was ok. Very funny in places, very good music in places, strangely moving in places, but inconsistent and it seemed too long because of that. It's revealing I think that the piece was essentially workshopped as a series of sketches.

On the depiction of Jesus and Mary and so on - certainly not a Christian one, but I kept thinking it was a reasonable one, one that made sense in the context of the play. It was Jesus and Mary as Jerry Springer show guests. That would be a problem I guess if I thought I needed to protect a particular view of Jesus. If I thought that other people weren't entitled to make their own minds up over what they thought of him.

As for the swearing, to misquote my favourite philosopher - one Malcolm Reynolds -
quote:
They tell you swearing ain't big nor clever, it is, however on occasion, hilarious

 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
Ok I watched it all the way through.

I found Act 1 patchy due to the way it followed the chat show format, which made it into a series of sketches: one of which, the diaper scene, was duff - but it was then followed by better stuff. Loved the sung adverts and operatic duels. Wasn't bothered by the swearing - which is made absurd by being operatically sung. I can hear much worse if I stick my head out my window after pub chucking out time and no I don't think the reason people drift past my window singing obscene sectarian songs is because they've been corrupted by watching BBC 2 opera...


Onto Act 2 - this was so good I was gripped and wondered where the time went - it really picked up. It was great seeing Jerry get his comeuppance for destroying people's lives. I almost choked with laughter when the title came up saying 'warning not suitable for those without a strong grasp of Judaeo-Christian mythology'. Fantastic singing - amazing the way the whole thing shifted seamlessly between musical genres and great comic acting from David Soul. Also very much to my amusement the only times the word cunt is used in the entire production is to describe the Devil. How dare they call Satan a cunt! I hope outraged Satanists are writing in even now.

I wasn't so keen on the depiction of Jesus - (although the supposed nappy struck me as a parody of all those loin cloths you see in biblical movies). It was a bit lame and you think 'this will annoy people but it isn't actually saying anything very worthwhile', though the actor sung beautifully and had some very funny lines. I did get a laugh at Satan and thought the God figure was quite fun - he had a good number. Throughout the expression on David Soul's face 'this can't be happening to me' was very funny. The ascension and apotheosis of Jerry made me fall about laughing - the cheeky buggers!

And I was also surprised by the dying Jerry quoting a fragment from one of my favourite poems: Philip Larkin's Arundel tomb 'What will survive of us is love.'

'There is no good or bad' but 'be good to yourselves and to each other': feel good chat show stuff, but then what did you expect from the apotheosis of a chat show host - words of wisdom? And hilarious tap routines.

I'm sorry but in my opinion it was a high-class bit of zany piss-taking, chiefly aimed at Jerry Springer and all his works and featuring excellent singing, music and acting which I was pleased to see. I understand that people who want to pursue arguments anent blasphemy feel they have to watch it whether they like it or not, and I felt sorry for Father Gregory watching it - because I could see bits that I knew would offend him terribly, but then that's the price of religious activism, I have felt I had to read some ugly homophobic religious works so I could answer points on these boards but I've never suggested that these must be banned or taken off the bookshelves of my local university because my tax money helps pay the library to buy them - in fact I was glad they were there for reference.

If you want to burn your telly licence in protest because a tiny fraction of a pence of it may have gone on that, you're welcome, but I'm glad this campaign to ban that programme didn't succeed.

L.
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
Watched about 5 mins and then turned off. Generally, because I do not like obscenities - even if they are sung to music!

I guess the problem for me would be not so much that it was broadcast (there's a problem when censorship is introduced in any way). The problem is it was broadcast using public money (money that I pay in the license fee). I don't think I've ever come across anything on TV with so many swear words in so many minutes (maybe its my sheltered life!!). I didn't see the "religious" bits, I have better things to do with my time.

However, it seems to me that apart from reflecting the baseness of much popular culture today, it also displayed the hypocrisy of secular, liberal society. It is not OK to use public funds to celebrate religious festivals, i.e. Christmas, but it is OK to use public funds to satirise religion.

In this sense, the Jerry issue is different from the Behzti one. It's not about what's said - but who is paying. If it was broadcast on one of the commercial channels, I probably would be as concerned, would still not watch it, could engage in a critical debate about the content, but at least I wouldn't be paying for it!
 
Posted by Demas (# 7147) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marinaki:
However, it seems to me that apart from reflecting the baseness of much popular culture today, it also displayed the hypocrisy of secular, liberal society. It is not OK to use public funds to celebrate religious festivals, i.e. Christmas, but it is OK to use public funds to satirise religion.

Would this be the same secular, liberal society that funds Songs of Praise?
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
quote:
It is not OK to use public funds to celebrate religious festivals, i.e. Christmas,
What do you think these BBC religious programes for Christmas were made with?


quote:
Counting down to Christmas, the Bishop of Liverpool the Rt Rev James Jones leads live worship programmes for the season of Advent.
In Down to Earth (BBC ONE) he explores the theme of ecology and the environment from a theological perspective, looking at the connections between the gospels and the earth.

On Christmas Eve, the BBC joins the congregation to celebrate Midnight Mass live from Saint George's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark (BBC ONE) and St. Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham (Radio 4).

The Christmas Day Service, Crackers for Christmas (BBC ONE), comes live from Methodist Central Hall in Coventry.

Celebrating Christmas with a selection of well loved carols, John Rutter directs the South Bank Sinfonia and Pegasus in Radio 4's Christmas Morning Service. The service, from St Mary, Islington, is led by the Bishop of Stepney the Rt Rev Stephen Oliver and features the Rev Colin Morris reflecting on the significance of "the Word made Flesh".

50 years after its first televised recording, Carols from King's (BBC TWO) tells the Christmas story afresh in music and prose. The world-famous choir of King's College, led by Stephen Cleobury, performs popular carols such as Once in Royal David's City and O Come All Ye Faithful.

The traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (Radio 4) also welcomes in Christmas for radio listeners throughout the world. The choristers perform traditional favourites and specially commissioned carols including God would be Born in Thee by Judith Bingham and Starry Night o'er Bethlehem by David Willcocks.

The musical celebrations continue with another long-running favourite, Songs of Praise (BBC ONE).
Jonathan Edwards introduces carols by candlelight from Ely Cathedral and actor David Suchet reads the story of Christmas. Renowned for his love of pop hits, Pete Waterman is also passionate about hymns and carols. In the final Songs of Praise of the year, he introduces his choice of Christmas carols and takes a festive trip back in time to look at Christmas customs just before the First World War.

A Seaside Parish returns to BBC TWO over the festive period with an hour-long special to mark the start of the new series. This year, Boscastle became headline news when a devastating flood swept through the town, destroying all in its path. But, at the start of the year, the Rev Christine Musser and her parishioners could have no idea of the disaster that would engulf this sleepy seaside village. The first episode of the new series revisits Boscastle and its residents in the months running up to that fateful day.

Other radio highlights include the Christmas Meditation (Radio 4) from the Roman Catholic Archbishop of St Andrew's and Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien...

On Christmas morning, the Rev Roger Royle is joined by special guests and religious leaders in Good Morning Christmas (Radio 2), whilst Don Maclean looks back at interviews with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Martin Bell, Lionel Richie and Sister Wendy Beckett as he introduces The Best of Good Morning Sunday (Radio 2).


Should my atheist and non-Christian friends object to tiny fractions of their licence fee being used?

L.

[ 09. January 2005, 02:49: Message edited by: Louise ]
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
Unfortunately, the God slot is in the BBC's original remit, so unoriginal rubbish which shows Christianity in a poor light is half-heartedly broadcast in the form of "Songs of Praise" and other such programs. (Personally - they are the best advertisement against Christianity - well, that and the RE taught in most schools - speaking as an RE teacher!). If it was removed it would not be missed by me.

However, if you read the Secular Soceity et. al.'s comments on this "opera" (more a musical - saw some borrowings from Gospel music there), they are worried about the God-botherers protesting outside the BBC yet equally concerned about manifestations of religion in the public arena. That strikes me as basically hypocritical. These people do not want religious broadcasting at public expense, but broadcasting that mocks religion, courtesy of the public purse, is fine. I'm not arguing in favour of religious broadcasting, I'm arguing that anti-religious broadcasting should not be at the public expense either.

I have no problem with this work as a play, I can even see what the authors are trying to get at, can see why gratuitous obscenities are somewhow necessary to make thing work, and can even see the point of sending Jerry to hell and seeing Jerry's vision of it (as a fictional piece). I don't have to watch it and I certainly do not have to pay for its production. Personally, I am never in favour of censorship.

The protests made by many Christians serves to confirm in the secular mind that all believers are fanatics etc. I think, in this wise, such protest does Christianity a great disservice.

However, as a license fee payer I do not think this is appropriate use of the license fee money.If someone really wants to hear two hours of trite profanities in musical form they can take a trip down to the National and see it at there own expense! (I guess some people could say the same about Songs of Praise - if they really wanted to hear old fashioned hymn singing they could go to Church). Also, as a license fee payer I am perfectly at liberty to make that point after the broadcast, as I am about any program. In this case I don't think the BBC was doing what its charter sets out that it should do - and that's the issue.
Maybe with the new charter coming up the expectations of the BBC could be clarified and we would know what we are paying for.
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:

Should my atheist and non-Christian friends object to tiny fractions of their licence fee being used?

L.

Apparently people involved in the various secular and humanist societies think they should!
 
Posted by Demas (# 7147) on :
 
Marinka, the end result of your argument is surely that either:

(a) the BBC only shows programmes which are approved by every single person in the country or

(b) the BBC is disbanded
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Just wow. Nothing like advocating a complete abdication of personal responsibility that leads to EXACTLY the situation that the real Jerry Springer showcases every single day.

No, the world cannot operate as a collective of individuals, who for the most part will act selfishly to the detriment of others. There has to be a hierarchy of government; I just want that hierarchy to be trustworthy.
I think that the real Jerry Springer adequately showcases the inability of people to live harmoniously without a common moral framework. Perhaps the show broadcast on BBC2 demonstrates that, perhaps it shows that everyone is subject to an ultimate Head, perhaps it shows that, yes, anything goes if it feels good.
I didn't watch it, for the reasons I posted earlier.

quote:

Congratulations. I'm sure all of the men and women who've died so that you could be free are dancing with joy at the thought that you spit on their sacrifice so easily.

Good point. But this is a circular argument. I know that many in my country who survived WW2 so that freedom of expression is preserved, frequently bemoan the fact that this freedom is constantly abused. It is a persistent theme in our tabloid newspapers. Your comment indicates that I have abused that freedomm by expressing my view?
No, I don't think you can be saying that, but being 'free' is very difficult to get right. It can go to one extreme where anarchy rules the day or to the other where freedoms of action have to be cicumscribed.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Louise,
Thank you for posting your report on the show. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm happy I didn't watch it and feel it was the right decision for me; I still feel it would have been better not being broadcast on BBC2.
As for the right to protest to the BBC, licencepayers are like shareholders aren't they? Any licencepayer has the right to protest to the BBC (a pity the protestors in this case are assumed to be all Christian Voice supporters). I'm sure there would be howls of protest if the BBC showed a blatantly partisan support for one particular political party, for example.
Anyway, all over now .... but a broadcasting line has been crossed hasn't it?
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by IngoB:

quote:
I would also like to keep the struggle for democracy and against tyranny a separate issue. On that issue it's enough to point out that St Thomas Aquinas, a champion of "freedom for excellence", actually suggested representative democracy as the ideal form of government. He was also in favor of the separation of church and state (although he acknowledged - correctly - that the pope at that time was both a religious and secular power). All that in the 13th century!
Historical revisionism is the politest description of this paragraph. Aquinas argues that the ideal form of government should contain monarchical, aristocratic and democratic elements. He very likely had a feudal monarchy with a strong aristocracy and a parliament in mind. Furthermore he believed that the crime of heresy was sufficiently wicked to warrant execution and that this should be carried out by the secular arm. This falls rather short of a belief in representative democracy and separation of Church and State in my book.

You may be confusing Thomas Aquinas with Thomas Paine.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
I caught the second half of Act 1 and the first half of Act 2. It was then I decided that I would far rather go to bed than watch it.

There were a couple of bits that I loved; the tap dancing Klan members, Satan and the 'sing off between Satan and Jesus. I fail to understand why people have found it so funny. Yes, there was some fantastic singing, but the thing that really caught my attention was trying to work out which cast members were playing multiple parts. I like the bearded nurses. I was not comfortable when Eve started foundling Jesus and did not watch much more.

Going to the theatre is a different experience thatn watching tv at home, but I suspect that I would not have stayed to watch the whole thing in the theatre either. I was bored. Bored with the length of time it look for the story to happen, and bored with the swearing. I kept thinking that the script writers/lyricists needed to learn some new words.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Aquinas argues that the ideal form of government should contain monarchical, aristocratic and democratic elements. He very likely had a feudal monarchy with a strong aristocracy and a parliament in mind.

Well, here's what he says:

quote:
St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica Ia IIae q. 90 a. 3 (translation: Jean-Pierre Torrell, Robert Royal):
Properly speaking, the law first and principally aims at order in light of the common good. To establish this order in light of the common good is the business of the whole people (totius multitudinis) or of someone representing them (gerentis uicem totius multitudinis). That is why the power of legislating belongs either to the whole people or to official figures who have that responsibility (quae totius multitudinis curam habet). The reason for this is that, here as in all other realms, ordering toward the end belongs to the one who is in charge of the end.

and

quote:
St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica Ia IIae q. 105 a. 1 (translation: Jean-Pierre Torrell, Robert Royal):
Two points need to be observed in the good organization of the government of a city of a nation. First, everyone should have a part in government, for in this, according to the second book of the "Politics", there is a guarantee of civil peace, and everyone cherishes and supports such a state of things. The other point concerns the form of the regime or the organization of powers. We know that there are several such distinguished by Aristotle in the third book of the "Politics", but the main ones are kingship, or the predominance of a single ruler according to virtue, and aristocracy, which is to say government by the best, or the predominance of a small number according to virtue. That is why the best organization of government for a city or kingdom is a single ruler, put at the head by reason of virtue, having authority over all, while under his authority are found a certain number of subordinate heads, qualified through virtue, and where nevertheless power thus defined belongs to the whole people, for all have the possibility of being elected or electors. Such is the perfect regime, happily mixed (politia bene commixta) by combining monarchy through the pre-eminence of a single man, aristocracy through the multiplicity of virtuous heads, and finally democracy, or popular rule by the fact that simple citizens may be chosen as leaders, and the choice of leaders belongs to the people.

One should also not forget that the Dominican order, to which he belonged, had a very "democratic" organisation from the outset. Clearly, his model would have been more "top-heavy" than even the US democracy (which has a strong president). But hey, given that we are talking about the 13th century, I think it's fair to call this a pretty good shot at representative democracy...

quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Furthermore he believed that the crime of heresy was sufficiently wicked to warrant execution and that this should be carried out by the secular arm. This falls rather short of a belief in representative democracy and separation of Church and State in my book.

Well, here's again what the man says himself:

quote:
St Thomas Aquinas, In II Sent. d. 44 exposito textus, ad 4 (translation: Jean-Pierre Torrell, Robert Royal):
The spiritual power and the secular power both derive from the divine power, consequently, the secular power is subordinated to the spiritual power only to the extent that it has been subjected by God, which is to say, in what concerns the salvation of souls; in this realm it is better to obey the spiritual power than the secular. But in what concers the political good (bonum ciuile), it is better to obey the secular power than the spiritual, as it is said in Matthew 22:21: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's.

With regards to who does executions, I'm sort of amazed that you consider this a point against him! It's precisely the way modern society works: the Judiciary is declaring the death penalty, but it is the Executive (i.e., "the state") which carries it out - not the judges themselves. Of course, St Thomas Aquinas indeed believes that the "spiritual power" has the right to judge people, even unto death. That's an issue one can discuss - keeping in mind that we are talking about the 13th century! But I see no particular problem in handing the execution to the Executive, once we accept that there is a "Spiritual Judiciary", as well as a "Secular Judiciary".
 
Posted by Traveller (# 1943) on :
 
Wasn't intending to watch it, as explained in my previous post. However, because of this thread and a spam e-mail from Christian contacts, the rest of the family did watch it when they would not otherwise have done so - how is that for the Law of Unintended Consequences? It was impossible to do other things in the house and particularly sleep with three other people laughing themselves silly over bits of it. Our two teenage boys have just the right sense of humour for the absurdity of the show.

I wonder why the Jerry Springer organisation let the stage show take place, let alone televise it. It shows the show on which it is based as shallow, hypocritical, uncaring, staged and scripted for entertainment, not reflecting real life at all. It can't help their "brand" at all. [Snigger]

As for the protests that televising the show has brought, their arguments and actions once again say much more about the protesters than the object of their disgust.
 
Posted by Balaam (# 4543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Traveller:
As for the protests that televising the show has brought, their arguments and actions once again say much more about the protesters than the object of their disgust.

To protest shows you up as narrow minded. Not to protest means anything goes. I'm struggling to see the middle ground.

I saw the first act. Found it very funny. I was too tired to watch part two.

So dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Without this thread I would not have bothered to watch the show. So, "Thank you," to everyone who has posted so far - I loved it! Very funny, very moving, and extremely thought provoking. Overall I found it a deeply moral show (as well as being hilarious).

Now I wish I had videoed the whole thing. Does anyone (Louise?) know where I can get hold of a copy? To my mind clips will be extremely useful in teaching English, RE and Music to secondary kids.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by IngoB:

quote:
Clearly, his model would have been more "top-heavy" than even the US democracy (which has a strong president). But hey, given that we are talking about the 13th century, I think it's fair to call this a pretty good shot at representative democracy...
It's an even better shot at describing a polity consisting of Kings, Lords and Commons which was common in the period in which Aquinas wrote. It is wildly anachronistic to suggest that this was anything like representative democracy as it is currently understood. If you want to argue that Aquinas is an ancestor of constitutional democracy then that is fair enough, one can actually trace the lineal progression from, say, the England of Edward I - which is the sort of thing which Aquinas is describing - and the current British constitution. But to say that Aquinas was advocating anything like the British constitution as currently understood is incorrect.

quote:
With regards to who does executions, I'm sort of amazed that you consider this a point against him! It's precisely the way modern society works: the Judiciary is declaring the death penalty, but it is the Executive (i.e., "the state") which carries it out - not the judges themselves. Of course, St Thomas Aquinas indeed believes that the "spiritual power" has the right to judge people, even unto death. That's an issue one can discuss - keeping in mind that we are talking about the 13th century! But I see no particular problem in handing the execution to the Executive, once we accept that there is a "Spiritual Judiciary", as well as a "Secular Judiciary".
This misses the point about what the separation of church and state is. Under a government where the church and state are separate, the fact that a church condemns someones opinions as heretical does not affect their ability to get a job or an education or to avoid prison or death. Aquinas is advocating a regime where condemnation by the Church leads inexorably to the stake. The fact that the head of the Congregation for the Sacred Doctrine of the Faith does not moonlight as the public hangman, does not really constitute what most people mean by the separation of church and state. I am quite prepared to judge Aquinas in the light of the fact that he wrote in a worse age than our own. This doesn't alter the fact that, as far as he was concerned, the government is obliged to act as the enforcer of religious orthodoxy. Aquinas insisted that the church and the state were separate inasmuch as the King and the Pope are separate offices. But the King is obliged to enforce the Pope's judgements. Again, this may make Aquinas an ancestor of modern liberalism but it is, again, wildly anachronistic to suggest that he was a modern liberal merely because he was not a modern totalitarian.
 
Posted by Huntress (# 2595) on :
 
The show accompanied my coursework efforts last night, so I listened to half/watched half of it.

I was compelled to watch it by:
1, holy friends telling me they would not be doing so
2, an opportunity to see it for a lot cheaper than in Edinburgh or London
3, a simple curiosity
4, despite hearing about the worst bits from other sources, being resolved to switch off if things got *really* bad/offensive.

I laughed at quite a few points in the first half as I thought it was a well-observed pastiche of the Jerry Springer show (and the security guard's cameo was one of the funniest points in it). The second half (with Kirsty Wark providing the warning about the offensive nature of the content - icing on the cake!) I found less amusing, and yes, 'Eve' fondling 'Jesus' raised every eyebrow I had. I missed most of the Virgin Mary's performance and didn't really get God.

However; I found that the flames of anger were not being fanned, as the characters on stage seemed no more than grotesques - and bore as little resemblance ( not in the physical sense) to Mary, Jesus and God as the Madam Tussaud's Christmas (Holy Beckham) exhibition did to the Holy Family.
 
Posted by Cartwheel (# 5149) on :
 
Personally, I still have a problem with the fact that the musical explicitly references "Judeo-Christian mythology" but the only God it comes up with is supposedly equal to Satan in power ("yin and yang" etc) - and such a god is not part of Christian mythology. So there's a major misrepresentation there and I'm uncomfortable with the musical itself because of it.

But I still don't get how you get from this to banning the musical outright or even banning it from the BBC. I know why I'm uncomfortable and I'm capable of expressing why I'm uncomfortable -and in practise the BBC allowed some Church bigwig on to comment before the musical was shown, so there was a right of reply. Isn't that what public service broadcasting should be - providing some award winning theatre for those who like such things, but putting it in a context where the content is clearly signalled and offended parties able to state their case beforehand?
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
One of the BBC news items over the past few days said that they're commissioning several new "comedy operas" from the writers of JS-tO. I look forward to seeing some of them ridiculing the key figures of other world religions - then I might begin to respect these writers as artists with some courage. But until that happens, I'm afraid I will harbour the doubt that maybe they're cowards in search of an easy taget, a cheap laugh, and a fast buck.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by Huntress:

quote:
However; I found that the flames of anger were not being fanned, as the characters on stage seemed no more than grotesques - and bore as little resemblance ( not in the physical sense) to Mary, Jesus and God as the Madam Tussaud's Christmas (Holy Beckham) exhibition did to the Holy Family.
The fact that they were played by the same actors who played the people on the Jerry Springer show in the first act was a not-so-subtle clue that these were phantasms and not actual sacred personages.

The only thing I found really offensive was Lee Dixon, on Match of the Day, suggesting that Exeter wouldn't win the replay.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by Adeodatus:

quote:
I look forward to seeing some of them ridiculing the key figures of other world religions - then I might begin to respect these writers as artists with some courage. But until that happens, I'm afraid I will harbour the doubt that maybe they're cowards in search of an easy taget, a cheap laugh, and a fast buck.
Apologies for the double post.

Claiming that white middle class people who prefer to lampoon the dominant tradition of their own culture rather than taking a pop at the traditions of minority cultures, whose members are often subject to racism and discrimination is rather like saying that the word 'nigger' isn't offensive because you don't mind being called 'honky'. There's a power imbalance thing going on.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Er ... Callan, Adeodatus said 'world religions' so perhaps there are some which are not minorities?
Now, if we had news of a play similar to JS-tO to be broadcast the only difference being the lampooned religion was other than Judeo-Christian mythology ( [Roll Eyes] ), lets say purely for the sake of example, Sikh or Muslim, there would be an almighty row and the BBC would not broadcast it because of the offence it would cause.

Wasn't it silly, portraying God and Satan as equal adversaries. Maybe the writers aren't Judeo-Christian themselves but another faith or none and they thought having a go was fair game. Wait a minute, the show won awards so it must be that they decided to expose the fallacy of the Manichean Controversy.
Excuse my cynicism, but I can see a lot of double standards around.

too tired to spell properly.

[ 09. January 2005, 12:45: Message edited by: Glimmer ]
 
Posted by Tina (# 63) on :
 
I don't think the show portrayed God and Satan as equals. Satan was explaining that he used to be an angel, complaining that God had cast him out of heaven, and demanding that God reinstate him. Sounds like God had the superior power to me.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:

quote:
I look forward to seeing some of them ridiculing the key figures of other world religions - then I might begin to respect these writers as artists with some courage. But until that happens, I'm afraid I will harbour the doubt that maybe they're cowards in search of an easy taget, a cheap laugh, and a fast buck.
Apologies for the double post.

Claiming that white middle class people who prefer to lampoon the dominant tradition of their own culture rather than taking a pop at the traditions of minority cultures, whose members are often subject to racism and discrimination is rather like saying that the word 'nigger' isn't offensive because you don't mind being called 'honky'. There's a power imbalance thing going on.

I think you misapprehend my point Callan - which is actually that I regard h***y as being as racist as n****r. There is no excuse for either. My analogy is that if the writers for whatever reason won't lampoon Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism... then for the same reason they should not have lampooned Christianity. And the power imbalance thing really doesn't apply, since (practising) Christians are as much a minority in the UK as anyone else is.

As I say, though, I'm afraid I have a dreadfully uncharitable mind: I suspect the writers merely saw an easy target, a cheap piece of offence that they could get away with, and because sufficient of the chattering classes think as they do, they're laughing all the way to the bank. It shocks me that I am sufficiently cynical to believe this.
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Er ... Callan, Adeodatus said 'world religions' so perhaps there are some which are not minorities?

Not within the western world, which is where the power resides.

The Sikh play, Behzti, in Birmingham accused of Blasphemy, which we discussed here, was closed by violence from certain elements of the community in question rather than intervention from authority. (Although authority didn't seem to defend freedom of speech much). After reading some of the information available, I feel that play had important points to make. I'm personally not so impressed at the depth or importance of material in the Springer opera (given limited information I have), but it's hard for me to argue that one should be allowed and not the other without appearing extremely biased.
 
Posted by April* (# 4614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:


I'm personally not so impressed at the depth or importance of material in the Springer opera (given limited information I have), but it's hard for me to argue that one should be allowed and not the other without appearing extremely biased.

I agree. I watched some of the Springer show and found it utterly boring even the music lyrics aside, seemed vile so turned over to Billy Connelly for amusing entertainment.
 
Posted by angloid (# 159) on :
 
I only saw the first 30 minutes or so as I was dead tired and went to bed instead. So I can't comment on the show itself which probably destroys my right to post on this thread. However I can't help wondering why any religious people - Christians, Sikhs, however - get so uptight about the lampooning of their religion . All religions are fair game for comment or criticism because they are all flawed human attempts to contain God. And God can't be contained in our inadequate vessels. Sometimes God can speak through the (even more?) flawed vessels of cheap satire. (example - though I personally would rate it higher than cheap satire - is the Life of Brian)
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by Adeodatus:

quote:
And the power imbalance thing really doesn't apply, since (practising) Christians are as much a minority in the UK as anyone else is.

This line of argument might have more plausibility if the Christian minority didn't include HM the Queen, the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Education etc. etc. or if the government hadn't recently amended one of its Bills at the behest of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. (I have no objection to the Cardinal, or to the result of his intervention. I merely point out that the stereotype of the poor persecuted Christian, the victim of every wicked secularist, may just be slightly overstated.)

quote:
I think you misapprehend my point Callan - which is actually that I regard h***y as being as racist as n****r. There is no excuse for either. My analogy is that if the writers for whatever reason won't lampoon Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism... then for the same reason they should not have lampooned Christianity.
Might it not be the case that criticism of Islam is better expressed by Mr Rushdie and criticism of Sikhism by Ms Bhatt? Or is it the case that religious belief should be above satire and critical scrutiny? I think most thoughtful Gentiles would hesitate before expressing a criticism of Orthodox Judaism. Jews should be bound by no such hesitation. I would have thought that the reason for this hardly needed explication.
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
Asked by Paul Mason of IngoB:
quote:
Who decides what is more perfect, more excellent?
The fact that this question has to be asked is symptomatic of the erosion of common values, which Fr Gregory expressed his frustration about earlier in this thread

St Paul wrote
quote:
whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

He could not, I think, have commended this if he and his readers had no shared notion of what such things were.

Some aspirants to Orthodox monasticism have been recommended to read novels by Charles Dickens; such novels are the product of Western 19th century society, which was certainly not Orthodox, but many of the moral, social and cultural values of English Victorian society which Dickens shared with his contemporaries were (and are) much the same as those to be found in Orthodox societies.

These shared public mores have become so eroded in the 20th and 21st centuries that it is almost impossible for some people to believe that they existed and, furthermore, that they could only now be imposed by some external agency. That Christians should be complicit in this, to the extent that the concept of blasphemy, for example, either no longer exists in their vocabulary or has become distorted, is simply astonishing.
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The essential point is that with regards to social and moral (and religious...) behaviour, we have largely lost the idea of "freedom for excellence". At best it has been relegated to child rearing, again because it is unavoidable there. However, for adults "freedom of indifference" rules supreme: "If I choose to do this, what gives you the rights to restrict my freedom?" This argument is essentially absolute, without considering what it is that is being done - pure Ockham.


Um. I still don't understand what this absolute rule of freedom is. One of my best (and most slacker) pals is currently working (very) hard to finish his Masters in IT. Why? Lots of reasons, but one is that it will give him more consulting options. Sounds like your 'freedom for excellence' idea in full operation. And while I claim the right to write what I like, I know that if I don't make it as good as I can then nobody will bother to read (or pay!) for it. So with all these filters encouraging excellence, and plenty of other limits on my behaviour both cultural and legal, where's this universal Ockhamist Liberty Hall in which we live?

quote:


I would also like to keep the struggle for democracy and against tyranny a separate issue. On that issue it's enough to point out that St Thomas Aquinas, a champion of "freedom for excellence", actually suggested representative democracy as the ideal form of government. He was also in favor of the separation of church and state (although he acknowledged - correctly - that the pope at that time was both a religious and secular power). All that in the 13th century!


Now you've amplified, I'm sure there's no disparity between FFE and modern concepts of personal liberty. So, er, how's it been lost? Are you saying it's been lost to Christianity in particular?

<snip>

quote:


I assume that this play is actually bad, that it is not is some way or the other a major cultural advance, not even in the sense of a "minority rebellion". Note that I've asked about three times if anyone thinks otherwise, and apparently nobody really does. Thus: an excellent playwright would not have written the play, an excellent theatre manager would not have staged it, excellent actors would not have taken part in it, excellent theatre visitors would not have watched it, excellent critics would not have given it awards, excellent BBC program directors would not have picked it up, and an excellent TV audience would ignore it completely anyway.


I couldn't answer that earlier, as I hadn't seen it! But yes, it exhibited excellence in various departments - the music, the players, and in some ways the book. Groundbreaking - probably not. If there hadn't been that huge upsurge in moral outrage, I doubt anyone would have given it much notice beyond finding it a quirky treat unlike most of the schedules.

quote:


If I'm asking for "restrictions", then that's simply a pragmatic response in our current environment dominated by "freedom of indifference". However, my ideal world is quite different.

quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
Records, the radio and cheap music technology now means that people can hear and make keyboard music in many more ways. There's a lot more rubbish, but there's a lot more new and exciting and diverse stuff too - and as people are able to sort out the rubbish for themselves, this is a very good thing.

I'm not opposed to progress in any way. Excellence does not mean ignoring developments, to the contrary. To cite the modern music industry as a sign of good progress seems somewhat ironic though - Brittney Spears vs. Mozart and all that.


But now we have Mozart *and* Brittney! Who loses?

R
 
Posted by Anselmina (# 3032) on :
 
I think the show has a limited shelf-life so far as 'art' is concerned. It will probably always have a bit of a cult following - perhaps in the style of the Rocky Horror Picture Show; and in that way will always find an audience of some sort. But for the most part may generally be seen as a bit of an oddity, perhaps appealing to fewer people than the positive publicity would like to suggest.

The volume of obscenities seemed a little 'naughty-boyish'- especially with some of the audience's reaction - and therefore irritating, which I thought detracted, in the main, from any real appreciation that might have been possible of it as a musical drama. And I was disappointed that there weren't any serious dramatic moments. None that I could see anyway.

I thought that there might have been opportunities to have revealed to us the 'inner' lives of the guests, for example, something moving or touching. But everytime the musical seemed to drift in that direction it veered off into 'naughty boyishness' again, almost as if it couldn't cope with the idea of portraying some realistic emotion or feeling from the more tender or vulnerable side of human life. Interesting, in itself.

I disliked some of the religious depiction, though it was obvious that it was an hallucination within the story of the play. (And as an artistic idea it was coherent, imo.) But that is because I don't like the thought of people associating Jesus Christ with the petulant, smug, immature character he was portrayed to be. I winced particularly when 'Jesus' was told 'to for Christ's sake get some clothes on and grow up!'

But it did make me think seriously about the kind of Jesus that I, and Christianity in general, spend our time trying to introduce people to. If I am to accuse the writers and performers of producing a Christ that is a serious distortion of the scriptural verity, I must check out the plank in my own eye, too.

One thing that wasn't a surprize, of course, was how glamorous and smart the character of Satan was compared to the 'I want to poop in my pants'/ Jesus guy, the frowzy nagging mother/Mary, and the self-pitying self indulgent ineffectual/God characters. Even when he's the source of all the world's woes, Satan always manages to be the funniest, smartest, best-dressed and most attractive one of the bunch! Weird that!

I wouldn't want to watch it again; even without the religious bits at the end of the show, I found the constant obscenity a bit 'samey' and tedious. Though I appreciate it was meant to reflect cleverly and ironically on the level of inarticulateness (real word? inarticulacy?) of the average Springer guest. I think there are ways that it could have been genuinelly clever and ironic without the smokescreen of so much bad language, and some of the music was pretty good. And I did like David Soul's performance.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Apropos of Dickens, in his novel Little Dorrit, we are introduced to the character of Mrs Clenham. Mrs Clenham is an austere and fanatical Calvinist whose proud rectitude is purchased at the expense of any kind of love for her neighbour. Dicken's gives us a glimpse into the psyche of a deeply flawed woman whose view of the divine as a malevolent tyrant is some kind of character flaw. This is the sort of thing that Orthodox postulants are supposed to read.

'Jerry Springer' gives us a glimpse into the psyche of someone who sees the divine as just another series of grotesques as the ones who appear on his talk show. But because the peculiar deities that inhabit his psyche are personified and set to music, Orthodoxy stands aghast and the nation must be protected from such damaging ideas. Perhaps the criticisms of 'Jerry Springer' will one day seem as blinkered as Macaulay's dismissal of Hard Times as 'sullen socialism'.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
I girded my loins and watched the show last night. As much as I could manage that is.

The main problem was that I don't like Jerry Springer and the other confessional shows and I'm not an opera fan either. It was indeed a parody of daytime trailer trash TV using the world's most absurd artform and it made such grim viewing that after fifteen minutes I was bored silly. Yes, it was tasteless, trashy and blasphemous but little more than two hours of EastEnders.
 
Posted by J. J. Ramsey (# 1174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Apropos of Dickens, in his novel Little Dorrit, we are introduced to the character of Mrs Clenham. Mrs Clenham is an austere and fanatical Calvinist whose proud rectitude is purchased at the expense of any kind of love for her neighbour. Dicken's gives us a glimpse into the psyche of a deeply flawed woman whose view of the divine as a malevolent tyrant is some kind of character flaw. This is the sort of thing that Orthodox postulants are supposed to read.

[Confused] Why wouldn't that be good reading for "Orthodox postulants"? Why would the Orthodox object to Mrs. Clenham's view of God as a tyrant being portrayed as a character flaw?
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cartwheel:
Personally, I still have a problem with the fact that the musical explicitly references "Judeo-Christian mythology" but the only God it comes up with is supposedly equal to Satan in power ("yin and yang" etc) - and such a god is not part of Christian mythology. So there's a major misrepresentation there and I'm uncomfortable with the musical itself because of it.


It's not an unfair point to make, though - I've seen Satan described as "Christianity's other god" by a mischeivous Buddhist - as the image of God and Satan locked in conflict for thousands of years (with us in the middle) does imply a certain parity of force. Why doesn't God just wrap this game up now and save a whole heap of misery (and countless more souls condemned to eternal suffering)? I know that there are various reasons why this picture is wrong, but none make sense to the faithless. It remains a paradoxical aspect of Christianity - no wonder it's not directly addressed in the mythos.

R
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
I know that many in my country who survived WW2 so that freedom of expression is preserved, frequently bemoan the fact that this freedom is constantly abused. It is a persistent theme in our tabloid newspapers. Your comment indicates that I have abused that freedomm by expressing my view?
No, I don't think you can be saying that, but being 'free' is very difficult to get right. It can go to one extreme where anarchy rules the day or to the other where freedoms of action have to be cicumscribed.

The capacity for abuse is the price we must pay for freedom. The alternative is that no one has any freedom, ever. I actually do think that saying you'd be willing to sacrifice everyone else's freedom so that the world will be to your tastes is an abuse of that freedom, but hey, that's what freedom is about. In my world, you can say those things, no matter how distasteful or disrespectful others may find them, and all you get is people telling you that you're wrong. In your world, I and people like me would be executed for expressing illegal beliefs.

[ 09. January 2005, 15:26: Message edited by: Erin ]
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
JJ, my point is that if Mrs Clenham can satirise a certain type of Calvinist then Jerry Springer can satirise a certain type of post-Christian. One form of satire is no more deplorable than the other.
 
Posted by Sean D (# 2271) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angloid:
All religions are fair game for comment or criticism because they are all flawed human attempts to contain God. And God can't be contained in our inadequate vessels.

I also rate the Life of Brian highly - brilliant satire of so many things, not just religion (e.g. the proliferation of "judaen people's fronts"). I also have no doubt that God can speak through satire. However your comment that religions are flawed human attempts to "contain" God irritates me. This completely ignores the fact that at least two of them (Christianity and Islam) and probably more for all I know claim to be religions of revelation and whilst the following of such revelation is always flawed that doesn't mean that the religion itself is a flawed attempt to contain God. Unlike you I'm afraid I have yet to go beyond my naive Christian understanding of God to see what God is really like so I have no objective criteria to compare the portrayal of him in Christianity against so I can't know how flawed or otherwise it actually is.

Sorry if that's a little off-topic: if Angloid (or indeed anyone else) would like to debate it in more detail I am game for another thread.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
Artists set out to provoke. So did Jesus. On that basis, I think this opera was excellent.

The music was good. There were some good ironic bits, e.g. the adverts for guns – no wonder pro-Bush moral majority types got offended.

I may be reading too much into it but I think:

Language: The expletives are easy to complain about but the simple fact is that many people use them a lot – those of us work with ‘the public’ know that. Real public access TV would show that, instead of the ‘tasteful’ middle class stuff we normally get.

Conservative morality: There are some interesting moral judgements e.g. the fiancée forgives her fiancée for being unfaithful with another woman but NOT with another man

Fetishes often have religious origins: The man who wants to dress as a baby is later the character who plays Jesus in the Hell scene – there’s a valid point here about people concentrating on the ‘nice side’ of Christianity, i.e.’ baby Jesus’ instead of the man who said some radical things and died a horrendous death.

Later, Jesus wants to draw attention to his wounds (George Bernard Shaw contrasted ‘Crosstianity’ with Christianity) – ‘speak to my stigmata’ but gets asked some good questions; “Where were you when the children were dying?” - a good critique of those Christians who worship the crucifix but do little to help alleviate the suffering of the world or fight for social justice.

Avoidance of real needs: There is a very moving song in the second commercial break when a woman sings about her fear of ageing and losing her looks. Jerry does not want to deal with people’s ‘real ’problems, only those that will add to his show’s fame. Is that a dig at tele-evangelists and some domineering clergy who want to further their own personality cults rather than dealing with real people? Another ‘dig’ is the warm-up man who says that Jerry helped him so he joined the team but is expendable because Jerry doesn’t really care about anyone but himself?

In his hear death experience of hell, Jerry still wants to deal with people in an expedient/utilitarian way instead of dealing with them as real people like himself.

Toxic religion: The fat woman who wants to be a pole dancer seems ridiculous until we meet her moral majority, po-faced mother and realise that she has been deprived of self-expression through introjected guilt for most of her life. It’s a scathing critique of certain types of religion that repress instead of liberating people. Jesus came to bring abundant life, not to damn it up.

There is a also a good critique of some doctrines, e.g. Augustine’s idea of original sin – Eve complains that just because she ate this piece of fruit, humankind has been given all this grief. We should open up the Augustine versus Pelagius debate again.

Self-aggrandisement or self-abandonment: In Hell, Jerry wants to be in control a lot of the time – he calls for his lawyers, he goes up and down a ladder to heaven according to how much he lets God lead him and how much he tries to solve problems by himself – a good metaphor for the way we have to trust God totally.

When Jerry runs out of cue cards, he then realises his total dependence (on God?)

The Devil is just like Milton’s – he blames God for his choices and wants the chance to argue his case.

Blasphemy? When Jesus is accused of being ‘gay’ and says that he is ‘a little bit’ – well if he represents the whole of humanity, then he is. Otherwise, he only represents about 90% of humanity.

God is brilliant: It ain’t easy being me.’ We make choices and then blame him for the consequences that follow. Grow-up religion should take this on board.

Sexism in religion: Adam and Eve and the ‘all women are whores’ scenes are reminiscent of the way the Church has treated women down the centuries, pigeon-holing them either as madonnas or whores.

Anthropology: The ending, where Jerry talks about the human condition, where we have to accept that ’Nothing is right, nothing is wrong’ could be seen as mere relativism. However, a Jungian would say that we have to accept and love our ‘dark’ side. Then the balance between yin and yang, where we not only accept our own shortcomings but those of others, would promote a world of harmony instead of enmity.
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
Thinking about it some more (for it was a thought provoking show, which worked on several levels) - it appeared to be quite helpful to people on the fringes, who would have trouble being accepted by the po-faced fundamentalists.

For example, when Jesus says 'well, I am a bit gay' (wow, if Jesus really was a bit gay - and who is to say he wasn't - then what affirmation to homosexuals and people who are struggling with their sexuality!)

And the show also gave permission to people who feel like they want to have a row with God, to shout and swear at him and call him to account for things he has allowed to happen to their lives (even the ship has had a thread calling God to hell, which several people said they found very helpful)

I personally liked the 'and Grow up for Christ's sake' line said to Jesus - after all, it was Christians who complained that people are very good at keeping Christ as a permanent baby in a manger for 2,000+ years and not allowing him to be portrayed as a man.

The music was also thoroughly enjoyable, particularly the 'fu, fu, fu' (Devil) and 'tor, tor, tor' (Jesus) duet.

Instant feedback from no. 1 son was firstly, "there was more swearing in South Park" and secondly, "I hope they bring out a Schools Performance version". He is already planning (half-seriously) a church youth-group version. Watch this space.......
[Eek!]
 
Posted by dorothea (# 4398) on :
 
Callan wrote (rhetorically but I couldn't resist it!):

quote:
Or is it the case that religious belief should be above satire and critical scrutiny?
Never. Religous beliefs should always be open to criticism - even if the believer finds the criticism unsettling or even nauseating. I remember being unsettled by the ending of 'Life of Brian' when I saw it at the cinema, a lapsed Christian, back in the early 1980's. Ironcially, going to see the film actually strengthened my faith because it made me realise the depth of reverence I had for Christ but which, being lapsed, I forgotton. It woke me up. Likewise I've read many novels which seek to refute or (IMO) misunderstand some significant religious truths, His Dark Materials for example. Such novels, however, can provide a damn good read and often give me real food for thought by challenging me to reflect on and validate (if only to myself) my own position/beliefs.

To anyone troubled by blasphemy issues, If you think an artistic work misrepresents the truth, why not create one which does? Or if you haven't got the skills or the time to do that, live your life according to that truth and stop fussing.

Chorister, reading your post makes me wish I'd have watched 'Jerry Springer the Opera' on telly the other night. You make it sound rather good.
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
Marinka,

Who?
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
To my mind clips will be extremely useful in teaching English, RE and Music to secondary kids.

Except you couldn't show it in school because of the amount of swearing!
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Marinaki - you are kidding? Aren't you?
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
In your world, I and people like me would be executed for expressing illegal beliefs.

[Killing me] I can't imagine why you would be executed, or anyone else for that matter. Who are 'people like you'? And how is it possible for a belief to be illegal?
There must be a workable region inbetween the two extremes of 'total control' and 'total freedom'; isn't that what supposedly civilised democracies try to do?
I see there has been some concern in the United States about attempts to ensure the protection of freedom although I'm unclear as to which side is claiming to protect it. I can't pretend to know much about what is going on over there; as I said, I find it very difficult. [Confused]
There is a very interesting line in this thread which is analysing 'freedom'. All I can offer to this sparkling repartee is - freedom is like a soap bubble. Looks pretty but disappears when you try to grab it for yourself.
 
Posted by dorothea (# 4398) on :
 
Marinaki,

I've not seen Springer the Opera but I have taught Romeo and Juliet to adult students and discovered Mercutio's Queen Mab's speech to be a very naughty thing [Big Grin] . This play is routinely taught to 14-16 year olds, so I wouldn't worry. I'm sure very few teenagers would be shocked by explicit language.

(Edited for typo)

[ 09. January 2005, 17:16: Message edited by: dorothea ]
 
Posted by dorothea (# 4398) on :
 
The above should, of course, read 'Mercutio's Queen Mab speech...'

I'll get my coat.

J

[Biased]
 
Posted by Rex Monday (# 2569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
In your world, I and people like me would be executed for expressing illegal beliefs.

[Killing me] I can't imagine why you would be executed, or anyone else for that matter. Who are 'people like you'? And how is it possible for a belief to be illegal?
How to be executed in the 21st century for blasphemy

R

[ 09. January 2005, 17:27: Message edited by: Rex Monday ]
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
First of all, what Rex said, it's pretty much exactly what you're proposing (although maybe you'd just want people who do indulge in freedom of expression merely jailed, rather than executed, I don't know).

Second, though, there really isn't any degree between total freedom and total control. Anything that is not total freedom IS total control. Freedom means I can express any belief I so choose. If you remove even so much as one option from that selection, there is no freedom. Freedom really is all or nothing.
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
Dear Callan

You wrote:
quote:
Apropos of Dickens, in his novel Little Dorrit, we are introduced to the character of Mrs Clenham. Mrs Clenham is an austere and fanatical Calvinist whose proud rectitude is purchased at the expense of any kind of love for her neighbour. Dickens gives us a glimpse into the psyche of a deeply flawed woman whose view of the divine as a malevolent tyrant is some kind of character flaw. This is the sort of thing that Orthodox postulants are supposed to read.
Do you really suppose we read Dickens in order to look for character flaws? How cheap.

Anyone interested in discovering the real reason behind the Orthodox admiration for Dickens can look here.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
RM, I'm aware of the naughtiness in Nigeria and the Sudan as well. Erin did say 'in your world' and those countries are not my world.
It may have been hinted, of course, that I would like to have a world similar to Nigeria where apparently it is possible to think illegally.
Come to think of it, now you have nudged my poor memory, there was a country where there was some silly talk of making beliefs illegal. A bit embarrassing to think back on it now, I suppose, so better not mention it. No-one was executed, though.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Freedom really is all or nothing.

Sorry to double-post.
Well, there may be something in that, I grant you. But I don't see how everyone can have total freedom without clashing with others'.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
I can only surmise from your posts on this thread that the "clash of freedoms" you are alluding to are the freedom of expression and the freedom not to be offended. Otherwise, there are no competing tensions. Is this what you mean?

Also, nice try with the House UnAmerican Activities thing, but I think it was a particularly disgusting period in US history and I am thankful that it's no longer around. If it were, or if I'd been older than four years old when it was ended, I'd have been protesting it with every fiber of my being.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Re the clash of freedoms stuff, yes that is what I mean for the sake of argument. In the evnt of a clash, who has the greater right, the offendor or the offendee?
You would have loved the eighties over here. We had a super episode when spokespeople for the Republican Movement in Northern Ireland were prohibited from having their voices heard on television, although it was permissable to broadcast the vision. This resulted in the hilarious spectacle of interviews with said representatives being dubbed with the voices of actors. The lip-synching wasn't bad and the accents fairly accurate.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
In the evnt of a clash, who has the greater right, the offendor or the offendee?

The offendee is free to feel offended. Being offended is something one chooses to do. Your choice. Therefore your responsibility.

Where this business of people's "right" to be protected from every unpleasant thing in life comes from, I cannot imagine. Blows my mind. I knew Earth Shoes and peasant skirts were just the thin edge of the wedge.
 
Posted by Dwynwen (# 3900) on :
 
I am very surprised at how many people posting on this thread have conjured up reasons, incomprehensible to my mind, to justify this Opera.

I am mystified that such profanity and decadant behaviour can be considered as creative art form. I call it extremely bad taste but you are free to think otherwise.

No, I did not watch it. I didn't need to, I refuse to subject myself to such banality. I chose instead to go to bed with a good book - The Bible. I am reading the Apocrypha at present and, guess what, the first words I set eyes on were "My people are beyond correction". 2 Es 1:8. The Lord's messenger speaking to Ezra in his first vision and later giving him hope in the glory to come, namely the good Shepherd and Saviour. He came and is still with us. Why do we treat Him with contempt. No, I don't suppose He minds but that is no excuse.

The Chapter goes on - emptiness for the empty, fullness for the full, estrangement for the estranged, torment for those who hate God-fearing men etc. Salutory words indeed.

As for freedom, we should value what is valuable and protect what is precious -"If we had a few precious stones; would you add to their number by putting common lead and clay among them?" 2Es7:52.

Many use precious freedom to trample on the rest of us who are faithful Christians calling it freedom of expression. That is their prerogative and it serves to strengthen us in our commitment to Christ. We will not complain.

Peace to all.

Dwynwen
 
Posted by luvanddaisies (# 5761) on :
 
I watched it - thought I probably couldn't really have an opinion on something I didn't know about!

******************************************************
This is my initial impression
-all entirely IMHO, and probably totally different to your own impressions!
******************************************************

I was quite pleased to see a friend from college in one of the leads (Dwight in 'show' scene, god in 'dream/hell' scene) - which was nice to see his career going along nicely. He's young too, for a singer getting solo work (only 24 or something, I think)
_______________________________________________________

I thought the music had some very good moments, and that the performances were excellent - slick, sharp & musical - didn't feel that there was a weak-link in the cast/chorus. The orchestra were a tight band, which produced some excellent playing (xylophone solo passage during one of the tap-danceing scenes, possibly the KKK one) and there was some imaginative & snappy writing - alongside good use of parodical or derivative material. It's a catchy, bold, brightly coloured score - far better than the usual west-end musicals' fare.
___________________________________________________

I thought the first half was an amusingly observed musicalisation of the "Jerry Springer Show". Yes, there was a high swear-word-count, but from the couple of JS-shows I've seen, there's more bleep than conversation anyway! I tend to find that the impact of that just washes over me afer a while - it gets to be just repeated sounds, like scat-singing.

It showed the way that JS exploits people as they open their hearts on TV, telling those close to them intimate secrets, feelings, leanings or actions at the same time as broadcasting them to the nation as a whole. It showed how people's reaction to these revelations,to the revealer and to the person-being-revealed-to becomes entertainment to the crowd, despite maybe being deeply felt reactions. The crowd are not just titilated; they sit in judgement - a mob-mentality-ridden condemnatory mass boo-ing, chanting "loser" or gesticulating at the protagonists, or at one in particular who has emerged as the day's 'bad-guy'.

Springer is portrayed as riding on this adulation - feeding it, feeding on it, and honing it.

Several characters enter with a dolce bel-canto type motif (cropping up in the orchestra at other times too) with the words;
quote:
this is my Je-rry Spring-er mo-ment
These characters later on (at the beginning of the dream/hell setting of Act II) tell Jerry that their lives are summed up in the phrase;
quote:
eat, excrete, and watch TV
The length, breadth & height of their ambition is to be on TV - and Jerry Springer is a hit show, so they'd get maximum exposure. The way they look forward to being on it is sad, pathetic and even tragic in a small, intimate way. They think it'll improve their life - the show is presented in that way in their eyes - but actually both host & audience stir the situation
quote:
but we've been following you with the JerryCam...
or
quote:
but you've got ANOTHER thing to tell...
Questions designed both to bait the show's 'guests' and to whip up the audience's anticipation and bile.

The JS character never fully engages with the others - alone of all the cast (apart from a security guard who's only got a couple of words, and appears to join in with the chorus at times) does not sing. He's not involved in their lives - he just reads his cards and considers his career.

His fans don't notice this - they think he's intimately interested in them - as some of his team do. JS's warm-up-man, who features as the devil in Act II, sings a mini-aria about how Jerry has redeemed him - given him purpose, direction, a job, self-respect... It is he, when Jerry fires him with no thought or concern at all,who causes JS to be shot at the end of Act I.
____________________________________________________

It is the shooting that provides the context for Act II - the more controversial section of the work, especially among the Christian community.

Springer has passed out, and is having some sort of hallucinatory Near-(or Pre)-death-experience. He finds himself in a hell populated by those who were on his show - warm-up-man becomes satan (the guy in the role plays it excellently actually).

He asks each o them how they fared after the show - making small talk rather than being interested. All had become depressed, been dumped, been beaten, or even been killed in the direct aftermath of their show appearence.

The man who wanted to be a baby, and whose deviant fantasy is;
quote:
to go poopy in my pants
emerges as the first guest (after satan, that is) - introduced as Jesus of Nazareth. Springer is forced to run a show in hell, with the theme that the devil wants Jesus/God to apologise to him for kicking him out of Heaven, and to re-instate him.
It could (and probably will) be argued that portraying Jesus like this is a comment on a commercialist society's grasping of Christmas, but rejecting the rest of the Gospel, leaving Jesus the Man out and wanting only Jesus the baby. The portrayal of Christ as;
quote:
a bit gay
is a bit pointless really - it contributes nothing (IMHO, remember) to the play's arguement (if there is one and I'm not utterly bonkers, which is possible, maybe probable [Biased] ).
It is also obviously offensive, although it's so ridiculous that I, personally, found it rather impossible to think of the buffoon bubbling in a diaper as portraying / standing for the Sovereign Lord I know as Jesus!

JS protests at the cards he's been given;
quote:
I can't read this, who wrote this s***?
but he's 'persuaded' by the threat that he will be;
quote:
****** up the ass with barbed wire
if he doesn't.

The next guest called in is Mary;
quote:
Jesus's teenage mom
This, to me, is the single most offensive incident in the whole show. Mary is played by a cold, over-religious puritanical character from the show, whose daughter wanted to be a stripper, and who tells her daughter she wishes she was dead, implying the daughter is the product of rape. Her first 4 words upon her entry are;
quote:
Raped by an angel, raped by God
which I found totally blasphemous, and can find few adjectives strong enough to describe the revulsion that caused a wave of orge to rise in my throat at that. She makes little contribution to the arguement (although maybe I was just too shocked to notice), and 'god' is called in next

(played by Ben, who's a lovely bloke and a very good singer by the way [Biased] )

"God's" aria is on the theme that;
quote:
it's not easy, being me
and he's portrayed as a self-pitying, petty little man. Maybe this is meant to reflect JS's own self-image - he's all-powerful, but it's not always easy, and playing God is too much for one little human.

Like the portrayal of Jesus in this hallucination sequence, it's such a ridiculously small little portrait that I can't begin to equate it with the great "I Am", God of Israel, Creator of the Universe.
it's offensive as an image, but in context it's just a clumsily wielded illustration of a point - I reckon that different pictures could be found to make the same point in a better way!

JS's dream ends and he finds himself back on the show - but not allowed to shuffle off of the mortal coil until he's done
quote:
the final thought
segment - the audience still hang on his every word - but they want their own interest fed rather than to look after Springer's own life - they prefer instant satisfaction to a long-term continuation of their show.
____________________________________________________
****************************************************

relativistic morality
instant gratification
normalising of deviancy
exploitation of people
judgement of others
preying on ill-considered ambition
deification of television
cheapening of sex & fidelity
celebration of celebrities as icons
mob mentality
immunising society to previous taboos (language)

...are all raised in Jerry Springer the Opera.
__________________________________________________

It wasn't as offensive as I was expecting, viewed in context, I'm still not sure that the BBC was wise to broadcast it - especially as its charter is up for renewal this year, and it probably doesn't want to cultivate 40000-odd enemies.

I also think that "The Voice" magazine's reaction was irresponsible & naive (posting of individuals' details on website), and deeply flawed. Their demonstration probably encouraged more people to watch the programme than otherwise would have.

I heard Joel ????? [name?] from Evangelical Alliance on Radio 4 this morning, giving a balanced view - pointing out that the BBC's concessions to viewers (putting up warnings about religious potentially offensive material as well as their standard swearing warnings) had been discussed, and that there would be a discussion / debate on it & issues raised. He accepted that there were offensive things in it - he made no concession to them - but he was reluctant to call for censorship in a free society.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Come to think of it, now you have nudged my poor memory, there was a country where there was some silly talk of making beliefs illegal. A bit embarrassing to think back on it now, I suppose, so better not mention it. No-one was executed, though.

Maybe it is the lessons we learned from ventures such as the HUAC that makes Americans really paranoid about censorship. At some point it becomes less about what you might think you are protecting, and more about what you might be turning yourself into.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Miffy:
Going back to one of Adeodatus' posts re the empty theatre seats; our daughter saw the production last Summer - not through choice strictly speaking - they were on a standby ticket and Jerry was the only show offered to them. I'm sure she mentioned it wasn't that well supported. I'd check with her if it wasn't that she's on hols atm and out of phone contact. I'd be interested to know what she thought of it.

I'm disinclined to watch the programme myself. However, as always with so called 'forbidden fruit' I suspect our 14 year old son and cronies will want to tune in. So I may just join him in order to add the voice of sanity to the proceedings. (And who knows; he'll likely then decide he doesn't want to watch after all!) [Biased]

Whichever way, looks as if the media will win out. (Memories of numerous 'banned' items...'Je T'aime,' 'My ding a ling,' etc).

Sigh. Son was out. When he got back in, he peeped into where I was watching it with Mr M, asked what it was, and went back out again.

As for me; I tried, really I tried. To be positive and broadminded about the show. And failed utterly. Yes, I had a few weak laughs, but in the main my main reaction wasn't shock, but sadness. I may be sliding down the slippery path to liberalism, but IMHO, there are lines you shouldn't cross, and they crossed them.

And no, I'm not going to justify my opinions. After all, freedom of speech and all that... [Biased]

[Projectile]
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
Maybe it is the lessons we learned from ventures such as the HUAC that makes Americans really paranoid about censorship. At some point it becomes less about what you might think you are protecting, and more about what you might be turning yourself into.

Absolutely spot-on, KA. Couldn't agree with you more. At the risk of being tedious by repeating a link from a recent post of mine on this thread, I offered this for comment in exactly the context of what you just said.
I do appreciate there is a difference across the Atlantic in the way we respectively view freedom of expression and censorship.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
The offendee is free to feel offended. Being offended is something one chooses to do. Your choice. Therefore your responsibility.

Where this business of people's "right" to be protected from every unpleasant thing in life comes from, I cannot imagine. Blows my mind. I knew Earth Shoes and peasant skirts were just the thin edge of the wedge.

Exactly, but lay off my Earth Shoes, kay?
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Earth Shoes? You mean physical exercise?
Enough is enough already.
 
Posted by lapsed heathen (# 4403) on :
 
Watched the show and enjoyed it mostly. Yes the entrance scene by the Mary character was blasphemous, no argument. Still can't support a censorious approach though.

BTW I may have misunderstood F. G. on this, Am I right it's the showing by the BBC that bothers you?. If so I think I agree, I think.

Erin is talking rubbish again, assuming that a limit on freedom is equal to the elimination of freedom.For example You are free to drive on the road subject to certain limits, this dose not limit your freedom, in fact it ensures your freedom to drive safely.

10 pages of this, [Eek!] haven't we better things to do? Well you anyway, I haven't obviously [Biased]
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
Sure - Kids swear all the time. As for not being shocked by language - well if I say to students "Please don't say "fuck" in my class". That usually guarantees a shocked look. A responsible adult swearing shows swearing for what it is.

As for Jerry Springer:The Opera- I only saw the first few minutes - so I couldn't really comment on its value. It did not catch my interest. From what little I did see the swearing was gratuitous, the music nothing special, and the work symptomatic of the age. The descriptions I've read of Act 2 makes it seem like some Book of Job parody - nothing new there.

Regarding the real Jerry Springer now I have discussed that in class with students - but that's a different matter altogether.

I guess I must sound like a real prude.I just didn' any merit in it!
I didn't ask that the show be censored (I am never in favour of censorship). I did question its artistic worth and whether it was what public broadcasters should be spending our money on. It's true you could say that about a lot of things. The show was not in my taste and I didn't really watch it.

It does suprise me is so many Christians here seem to have enjoyed it!

Oh well ... one man's meat..., as they say
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lapsed heathen:
Erin is talking rubbish again, assuming that a limit on freedom is equal to the elimination of freedom.

We are talking about freedom of expression here, not traffic regulations. Let's keep things simple and focused.

If you can limit someone else's speech on the grounds that it offends you, then someone else can limit your speech on the grounds that it offends them. Either expression is free, or it is not. It can't be free for some people and not for others.

Public broadcast must be open to all religious speech or to no religious speech. If it is open to some religious speech, but not others, then the state is engaging in censorship and discrimination.
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
Scott -

The Secular Soceity argues that there should be no religious broadcasting on TV.

It also argues that Jerry Springer: the Opera with its anti-religious messages should be broadcast.

They are saying something different from you (ISTM). They are saying that religion is not OK, but freedom of speech demands that anti-religion is fine.

Does nobody else here see the hypocrisy in that basic position?
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
Offensive speech about religious (or anti-religious speech) in still religious speech. I am as opposed to the position you describe as I am to one that allows Christmas productions but not Jerry Springer.
 
Posted by Anselmina (# 3032) on :
 
So far as the swearing goes, as referred to by Leo in his post of the last page; I, too, live and will always live in the real world, dealing with real people, some of whom, including myself, will swear - a number even to the extent of the show's participants.

It's one thing to accept it as a fact of life - it's another to like it because it's a fact of life. My own problem with them swearing was not that it offended me - it didn't - not that I thought it was particularly gratuitous, but because I don't like that level of obscenity. So, for me, it could easily have prevented me from appreciating some of the better points of the drama. (Strangely enough in a way that encountering the same thing in real life wouldn't do.) It certainly is not a case of 'oh, dearie me, what terrible words! Gosh, oh gee, in my pink powdered little haven of life's bliss I've never come across people saying cunt and fuck before!'

I also felt that swearing to the extent that was used by the show was counter-productive, because part of the audience's reaction seemed to be 'oh, how wonderfully naughty! She said 'fuckity-fuckity-fuck fuck out loud in front of people! We'd better show we get the joke and have a giggle!' But I'm prepared to accept that the use of the language is in itself, debateably, a valid commentary on both the Springer 'culture' and our reactions to it.

I think, Leo, you were generous in your assessment of the show. At times I certainly thought it would work through to the great moral climaxes and conlusions that you indicate you deduced. But I think that few people would be willing to work as hard as all that to find those kinds of serious revelations. Even if the writers had intended it. Good grief, not many people watch Shakespeare or Chekov, with the determination or expectation of receiving the kind of theological and philosophical reflection and refreshment you suggest you got from 'Jerry'! [Biased]
 
Posted by lapsed heathen (# 4403) on :
 
Scot;
quote:
then the state is engaging in censorship and discrimination.
Yes it is, the state acts on our behalf and limits things. Some things are criminal, some things are dangerous, some things are wasteful. All things are not equal, discrimination is not just the better part of valour, it's necessary to function as a person or society.

Defining the limits, without limiting the definitions is the problem.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
We'll see if you stick to that position when it's your speech that is criminalized or suppressed.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
It's an even better shot at describing a polity consisting of Kings, Lords and Commons which was common in the period in which Aquinas wrote. It is wildly anachronistic to suggest that this was anything like representative democracy as it is currently understood.

You are conveniently ignoring: 1) The emphasised sentences in my quotes - which quite clearly state that the whole people should able to elect and be elected. 2) The fact that he's basing his politics on Aristotle, who as ancient Greek actually meant democracy when he said democracy. 3) The fact that Aquinas was a member of the Order of Preachers, which enjoyed an egalitarian, rotating leadership with group consensus decisions. It seems fairly obvious to me that he was ahead of his time, although I agree that he didn't predict the entire structure of modern democracies. Which would be asking the impossible, really.

quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
This misses the point about what the separation of church and state is. Under a government where the church and state are separate, the fact that a church condemns someones opinions as heretical does not affect their ability to get a job or an education or to avoid prison or death.

You are not really asking for a separation of church and state here, you are asking for a comprehensive restriction of the powers of the church. That's a related but somewhat different game. Separation in the first instance just means that we are talking about two truly separated entities. You can have a secular judiciary and executive and a religious judiciary and executive co-existing, and both ruling over the lifes of people. In medieval times you had that, but you also often had mixed entities: a king would also be a religious leader, or a bishop would rule in the secular sphere (e.g., the bishop of Cologne was at times a great warlord...).

Now, the modern idea that "separation" means that the Church has no power over people in any other respect than the "internal" one (i.e., they can excommunicate...) is indeed not to be found in medieval times. The difference upon which the separation of church and state was resting back then was their respective goals: salvation of souls versus management of worldy affairs. Consequently, if someone was harming the salvation of souls it was held to be entirely reasonable to impose penalties on him, to throw him into prison or even to kill him - depending on the offense. Just as the state would be dealing with offenses against the worldly order.

Today's situation is really the result of a power struggle between the state and the church, which the church lost comprehensively in the end. It's not so much a separation, it's an elimination of the church's former powers over people. I agree St Thomas did not predict that. However, he insisted on a separation of organisational entities according to the separate goals of church and state.

quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
So with all these filters encouraging excellence, and plenty of other limits on my behaviour both cultural and legal, where's this universal Ockhamist Liberty Hall in which we live?

"Excellence" is only encouraged these days where it "pays off". People still work hard for money, power, or fame - of course. But how many people are sparing no efforts to become prudent [sorry, bad word nowadays - read: wise], just, courageous, temperate, faithful, hopeful, and charitable? Are we judging the "quality" of people on these virtues, or are we judging them on how rich, entertaining and popular they are? Whom do we call a "good man/woman" these days? To be called a "pillar of society" has become almost an insult, it suggests a conservative busybody. Instead we have "heroes", preferably ones in sport or perhaps a firefighter or two. It must be special, so as to be interesting, ordinary goodness is boring. Switch on the TV and tell me that there is no "freedom of indifference" in our society.

quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
So, er, how's it been lost? Are you saying it's been lost to Christianity in particular?

Well, I would say Western societies are leading the way - and since they come from a Christian past, in some sense this is a failure of Christianity.

quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
I couldn't answer that earlier, as I hadn't seen it! But yes, it exhibited excellence in various departments - the music, the players, and in some ways the book. Groundbreaking - probably not.

Well, let's hope it was excellent enough to compensate for the lack of respect and courtesy to Christianity it (apparently) showed. On rare occasions it is clearly necessary to go against "goodness" in order to make a valuable (i.e., good) point. However, going against "goodness" should not be the point itself and just entertainment alone is not enough value. I cannot judge except through what I read, hence I cannot comment further.

quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
But now we have Mozart *and* Brittney! Who loses?

No, we don't have "Mozart" - we still have his historical music available today, but we do not (seem to) have a similar genius writing modern music now.

And just when I'm getting bogged down in details, here's a wonderful statement which shows just how much people have Ockham in their minds:
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Second, though, there really isn't any degree between total freedom and total control. Anything that is not total freedom IS total control. Freedom means I can express any belief I so choose. If you remove even so much as one option from that selection, there is no freedom. Freedom really is all or nothing.

Or this gem:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine :
The offendee is free to feel offended. Being offended is something one chooses to do. Your choice. Therefore your responsibility.

I could not possibly match the precision of these statements. [Smile]
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
Agreed.
 
Posted by Demas (# 7147) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marinaki:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
Marinka,

Who?
Oops, sorry [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
[...]But how many people are sparing no efforts to become prudent [sorry, bad word nowadays - read: wise], just, courageous, temperate, faithful, hopeful, and charitable? [...]

I'll raise my hand...but only because you left out "humble".
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
I would like to see freedom of speech limited not to spare my or other offense, but to spare real harm done to society. For instance, incitement racial violence should not be illegal. But that's a tangent to the thread.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
mdijon - I agree completely with your last statement. However I doubt if any of our American friends will. This is one of those enormous cultural divides which no one seems able to cross. What seems civilised and obvious to us seems like a police state to them. (Please - I am NOT saying America is uncivilised, and would appreciate it if no one used the "Britain is a police state" line in return. I'm just trying to highlight a difference of perception that has com up many times before, and will doubtless come up many times again. It's my own personal nomination for "Topic worthy of Dead Horses".)
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The difference upon which the separation of church and state was resting back then was their respective goals: salvation of souls versus management of worldy affairs. Consequently, if someone was harming the salvation of souls it was held to be entirely reasonable to impose penalties on him, to throw him into prison or even to kill him - depending on the offense. Just as the state would be dealing with offenses against the worldly order.

Thank God we don't have such a situation today.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
Quote by Ken
A few people - and it is only a few - started whinging about it.

My immediate reaction?

"How dare they try to stop me seeing this play?"

Why would you, if you are a Christian want to see a show That insults and mocks our lord and Saviour

I didn't particularly. It had hardly ever crossed my mind. Though I have met some people who saw it and liked it.

But when people started telling us that we couldn't see it I had the perfectly normal human reaction of wanting to do the opposite of what I was being ordered to do.

I didn't watch it, mainly because I don't have decent TV reception. So I went to the pub instead and listened to some crap karaoke while reading the Economist. Of such thrills are metropolitan Saturday nights made.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
RM, I'm aware of the naughtiness in Nigeria and the Sudan as well. Erin did say 'in your world' and those countries are not my world.

They bloody well are in my world.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Talitha:
Imagine if all the people protesting about Jerry Springer: The Opera protested about something really obscene, like child slavery, unfair trade laws, third world debt, imprisonment without trial, torture, <insert your favourite cause here>.

Not long ago a mostly Christian campaign about debt relief for poor countries got a million signatures on apetiution and something like 400,000 marching on a demo in London.

This week no-one mentioned the Jerry Springer opera in our church, but a large proportion of the mostly conservative evangelical, and mostly black, congregation signed two petitions - one responding to the Prime Minister's speech about poverty and corruption in Africa, the other as part of a campaign against the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

And most of the Christians in this country probably are far more concerned about such issues than about this anti-BBC campaign - which is pitched directly, whatever Cosmo says, and despite Fr. Gregory being suckered in to it, at the non-Christian fossil-Christianised remnants of social churchgoing deferential Toryism, GK Chesterton's fossil imprint of a place where Christianity once was.

The whole issue isn't that important. The opera - whatever its artistic merits, I still haven't seen it - is at least partly, if not largely, nothing but a few mildly lefty intellectuals from London trying to take the piss out of US TV in what they probably think of as an ironic manner.

And the real irony (as they are, I am sure, aware) is that the original Jerry Springer show was at least partly a few mildly lefty intellectual (originally from London) trying to take the piss out of US TV, or at any rate its audiences. But he got rich underestimating the taste of the American public.

Oh, and the equivalent of the Sikh protest would have been if irate TV executives had threatened to burn down the studio.

From what is described here it isn't an attack on Christianity, it is an attack on TV celebrity culturem using our society's fossilised half-memories of Christian symbols as part of the ammunition.

And that is exactly the sort of thing that should be on publicly funded TV. Self-satisfied universally popular shows will get shown on commercial TV anyway.

[ 10. January 2005, 11:14: Message edited by: ken ]
 
Posted by Cartwheel (# 5149) on :
 
Rex Monday
Thanks for your explanation - it made sense. It's not a perspective I'd heard before but I can now see where the writers were coming from.
 
Posted by Talitha (# 5085) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Go on, Talitha, tell me it would make a difference.

It couldn't make less of a difference than the protests to the BBC did. [Two face]

OK, sorry, it was a bit of a tangent. I just thought that some people should work on their priorities, and divert their righteous indignation towards some of the things that are really wrong in the world. But that's probably another thread.
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
Dear Talitha
quote:
I just thought that some people should work on their priorities, and divert their righteous indignation towards some of the things that are really wrong in the world.
The logical end of this line of argument is that this world is the only reality and that the spiritual world (i.e. eternal life, the Kingdom of God) can and should be ignored - a view entirely logical for an atheist, but surely not a Christian? Should we not love God as well as our neighbour?
 
Posted by Old Hundredth (# 112) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marinaki:
Unfortunately, the God slot is in the BBC's original remit, so unoriginal rubbish which shows Christianity in a poor light is half-heartedly broadcast in the form of "Songs of Praise" and other such programs. (Personally - they are the best advertisement against Christianity - well, that and the RE taught in most schools - speaking as an RE teacher!). If it was removed it would not be missed by me....................................

However, as a license fee payer I do not think this is appropriate use of the license fee money.If someone really wants to hear two hours of trite profanities in musical form they can take a trip down to the National and see it at there own expense! (I guess some people could say the same about Songs of Praise - if they really wanted to hear old fashioned hymn singing they could go to Church).

Tangent alert!

I can't resist taking up this point about SOP. I do go to Church (nearly every week), and I enjoy SOP precisely because I don't hear old fashioned hymn singing there, so I like to get my fix of traditional hymnody courtesy of Auntie Beeb.

I feel that it would be wrong to start doing the rounds of all the local churches in search of traditional organ-led hymn sandwiches, as I appreciate that the Church is something bigger than whether its music appeals to my aesthetic sensibilities (and of course knowing my luck, as soon as I joined a church, it would no doubt jump on the bandwagon of happy-clappy praise bands which I had tried to escape from).

So actually SOP fills a void for some people (and let's not forget the housebound community, many of whom are older and more traditional in their tastes anyway).

We now return you to your regularly scheduled debate....
 
Posted by Raspberry Rabbit (# 3080) on :
 
I remember the ancient grafito on a stone wall dating from year zonk of a man with a donkey's head on a cross and the words underneath 'Alexander (or whoever) worships his God'. Religious satire is sometimes extremely offensive. It depends on which side of the fence you sit. I'm more concerned with the fact that a half dozen religious traditions feel themselves able to threaten their critics into silence through threats of mob violence than I am with the fact that we no longer have either the will or the clout to do the same.

RR
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
It really bothers me that FG so easily fits an inquisitor's chair for himself. The attitude "This material offends me, therefore you won't be allowed to see it" is the same attitude of "You offend me, therefore you won't be allowed."

I'm going to give the writers behind JStO the benefit of the doubt, here:

=============

"Your speech offends me."

Too bad.

"Your speech offends my heart-felt feelings of devotion toward God."

Too bad.

"Your speech offends my feelings about niggers and fags and broads and dykes and honkies and micks and Commies and kikes and slopes and spics and dicks and limeys and Yanks and rag heads."

Waaaay too bad.

"Your speech offends my feelings about my belief there is no God."

Too God-damned bad.

"Your speech offends my political sensibilities."

Politics has no sense. Too bad.

"Your speech offends my...wait a minute...no, your speech is making me think about things I'd never considered before."

Too right.

[ 10. January 2005, 16:25: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
I agree that I may have read 'too much' theology into it - that's my job, kind of.

The point I was trying to make about the swearing is that many people have used that to write off the whole thing, without paying any serious attention to its contents.

From the few episodes I have watched of the Jerry Springer Show and from the many hours I have spent at work with people from some estates in my city, the amout of "f's" per minute was not much of an exaggeration.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Leo, I see part of the job of theology as looking for the echoes and congruences in earthly things that point us back to God. "This also is Thou; neither is this Thou," as Charles Williams used to say.
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
DJ Taylor has an excellent commentary on the issue in today's Independent at here
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
"Either one has freedom of speech or one does not." --DJ Taylor

And this from a Brit! Bingo!
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
Leo, I see part of the job of theology as looking for the echoes and congruences in earthly things that point us back to God. "This also is Thou; neither is this Thou," as Charles Williams used to say.

And so parts did - pointing away from false images of God - all theology/spirituality has an iconoclastic phase - and to a truer image, of the one who picks up up when we give away control.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
RM, I'm aware of the naughtiness in Nigeria and the Sudan as well. Erin did say 'in your world' and those countries are not my world.

They bloody well are in my world.
This thread's length and circular arguments are nearly as tiresome as the sad theatre show we were talking about, so it's understandable that posts or parts of posts are skipped.
Erin's comment about 'my world' referred to a world that he assumed I wish was mine, not the planet earth upon which most of us live. Erin was incorrect, of course, in his assumption.
(Unless you live in Nigeria and suffer religious persecution, in which case I truly sympathise.)
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Erin's a "she" as far as I know.

And I don't live in Nigeria or Sudan (though I used to live in a country that borders on Sudan), but literally hundreds of my friends, neighbours, and workmates are from those or neighbouring countries, including an actual majority of the worhippers in our church.

But even if that was not the case, to dismiss tens or hundreds of millions of people because their countries are "not in my world" is rephrehensible.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
"Either one has freedom of speech or one does not." --DJ Taylor

And this from a Brit! Bingo!

So you agree with him that Christians should be free to express their desire to control the actions of others whether that be by means of spoken words, telephone calls, e-mails, letters or books?

[ 10. January 2005, 21:19: Message edited by: Ley Druid ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
So you agree with him that Christians should be free to express their desire to control the actions of others whether that be by means of spoken words, telephone calls, e-mails, letters or books?

Free to do so, yes.

I think it's wrong though.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
Would you do anything to prevent them besides just saying a few measly words?
Talk is cheap, you know.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
Would you do anything to prevent them besides just saying a few measly words?
Talk is cheap, you know.

Excuse me?

I believe they have the right to say these things, write these things and believe these things. I disagree with them, but I don't think that should mean they can't say them any more or should be stopped from saying them.

That's not how free speech works [Roll Eyes] .
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
Well that's great then. When the Christian coalition starts talking to it's lawyers and legislators and they start talking to other lawyers and legislators and they all start believing the same thing it's nice to know that you won't lift a finger to stop them from writing or saying whatever they want. The Christian coalition needs more people like you.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
Just out of idle curiosity, Ley Druid, what part of "freedom of expression" is proving too difficult for you to grasp?
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
Well that's great then. When the Christian coalition starts talking to it's lawyers and legislators and they start talking to other lawyers and legislators and they all start believing the same thing it's nice to know that you won't lift a finger to stop them from writing or saying whatever they want. The Christian coalition needs more people like you.

LD, you can drop the snide act, it doesn't become you. I'm going to explain this as clearly and as simply as I can.

Free speech is a good thing.

This good thing covers all different types of people: Christian Coalition, Fr. Gregory, Trisagion, lawyers, judges, you, me, politicians, liberal weenies, conservative rednecks, artists, conservatives, the Putney Women's Guild Tuesday Night Battle of the Sarne River Re-enactment Club, satirists, drunks in the bars and pubs, tv talk show hosts and their guests, people who post on BBSes, activists, clergy, salesmen, Nazis, English soccer fans, weirdos dancing up and down on the street corner, Jews, Muslims, Jerry Falwell, the waitress at your tea shop, veterinarians, Archbishop Rowen, the Dalai Lama...who've I left out?

This good thing deserves to be protected as vigorously as legally allowed.

If someone wants to say, "I think KenWritez should be boiled down for soup and fed to the deserving poor," then that's fine by me, as long as I have the equal right to say the same about him.

I want the freedom to call God a nasty sonofabitch. Only then will I also have the freedom to call him my Father and my God.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Just out of idle curiosity, Ley Druid, what part of "freedom of expression" is proving too difficult for you to grasp?

The part where I hunt him down and pour epoxy resin over his keyboard and duct-tape his flapping maw shut.

[ETA] KW you forgot to add the baglady on the corner who keeps talking to the streetsign. Time for that crap to stop.

[ 11. January 2005, 04:12: Message edited by: Gort ]
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
I don't think Christian Vice should stop at prosecuting the BBC. With my finely-honed skills of finding umbrage, I have identified the following examples of Things We Should Do Something About, Just Think of the Children.

Catherine Fox. Vile woman. Married to a vicar (so obviously getting subsidised, via the church, by the state). Wrote a novel called "Angels and Men", about an ordinand at theological college who is unmarried, but has sex with a man. And that man, at one point, shouts the c-word.

Flannery O'Connor. Practicing Roman Catholic, I believe. Ok, she's dead, but she was encouraged by publicly-funded writers' courses in the US, and I'm sure we can do Faber for publishing her vile novels, one where a character blasphemously sets up "The Church of Christ Without Christ", and another where a disabled child is murdered in a bizarre parody of baptism.

Oh, and that other Roman Catholic, Les Murray. Has the audacity to put "To the Glory of God" at the front of all his poetry collections (published with state funding in the UK) and what do we find? One poem about his father where he encourages the latter to "fuck them", in relation to people who criticise the family, and another where he calls our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ a "divine bastard".

Who will save us from this filth?
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
I find the "close tab" button works.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
"Either one has freedom of speech or one does not." --DJ Taylor

And this from a Brit! Bingo!

Hear, hear! [Big Grin] As Mr M (who incidentally, thought the show was f****** brilliant) indicated last night to Ms M as she tried to cut me off mid rant. Apparently I've earned the right to have my opinion listened to because I at least took the trouble to watch JS. Unlike many of the protestors.

I'm beginning to like this freedom of speech idea!
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Erin's a "she" as far as I know.

And I don't live in Nigeria or Sudan (though I used to live in a country that borders on Sudan), but literally hundreds of my friends, neighbours, and workmates are from those or neighbouring countries, including an actual majority of the worhippers in our church.

But even if that was not the case, to dismiss tens or hundreds of millions of people because their countries are "not in my world" is rephrehensible.

Of course, I erred in misreferring Erin's gender and I was too late to edit. To double-post seemed pathetic so I chose to let the mistake stay.
I don't "dismiss" anyone and I haven't in any post I have made. Erin was being provocative in drawing a picture of what SHE was trying to make me say, ie a world order that would correspond with my supposed views on freedom and censorship. Neither of us were referring to a real world or its real inhabitants. In my own miniscule way, I have given aid to our Sudan Outreach and published articles on the position of fellow Christians there. Whew, I'm tired now, shall we leave it there?

speeling!

[ 11. January 2005, 10:33: Message edited by: Glimmer ]
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Erin was being provocative in drawing a picture of what SHE was trying to make me say, ie a world order that would correspond with my supposed views on freedom and censorship. Neither of us were referring to a real world or its real inhabitants.

Well, actually, I would argue that our worlds do exist. Mine is what the US is at the moment (if the neocons will stop eroding the Constitution, it'll stay that way). Your world exists in such places as China, the Sudan, etc., where "someone I can trust" is already deciding what things can be said and what things can't be said. You have utterly failed to distinguish how your world of "someone I can trust" making those judgment calls is any different from what's happening in those places now. What is going to happen in your "freedom of expression up to a point" world when people pass that point? How are you going to stop them?

[ 11. January 2005, 13:30: Message edited by: Erin ]
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by April*:
I agree. I watched some of the Springer show and found it utterly boring even the music lyrics aside, seemed vile so turned over to Billy Connelly for amusing entertainment.

A historical tangent - I found this quite ironic because Billy Connolly used to be targetted by blasphemy campaigners for exactly the same reasons as 'Jerry Springer'. He used sweary words and he did a sketch about the crucifixion which had the last supper as a drunken night out in Glasgow with Jesus on the bevvy. The late Pastor Jack Glass and his Christian protestors held a demo outside BBC Glasgow - just because the Beeb had shown Billy on telly (I can't remember whether the sketch has ever been on the Beeb or not, though) - but now he's 'amusing entertainment' for Christians who don't want to be offended!

Once, for professional reasons, I had to go through Pastor Glass's 'Protestant Voice' newsletters looking up his stuff on Billy - which was equal parts vile and hilarious. It was all about how Billy was going to burn in Hell and there was, as you might expect, a nasty sectarian tinge to all this because he came from a Catholic background. One of the things which couldn't help but amuse me, was that you could see from the pictures that they had an all-purpose model gallows with effigy which they toted around to their demonstrations. One week it would appear dangling a dummy dressed as a Covenanting martyr, hung at the behest of the evil Popish Bishops (a BAD thing!) and a few issues later the gallows would reappear with the dummy dressed as a priest to represent St John Ogilvie*, one of the Catholic martyrs of Jamie Saxt's reign, (a GOOD thing! - String 'em up!). Not a hint of irony there.

'Christian Voice'/'Protestant Voice' - now there's a coincidence! [Big Grin]

L.

* In those days he was the Blessed John Ogilvie - not yet canonised
 
Posted by welsh dragon (# 3249) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
I don't think Christian Vice should stop at prosecuting the BBC. With my finely-honed skills of finding umbrage, I have identified the following examples of Things We Should Do Something About, Just Think of the Children.

Catherine Fox. Vile woman. Married to a vicar (so obviously getting subsidised, via the church, by the state). Wrote a novel called "Angels and Men", about an ordinand at theological college who is unmarried, but has sex with a man. And that man, at one point, shouts the c-word.

Flannery O'Connor. Practicing Roman Catholic, I believe. Ok, she's dead, but she was encouraged by publicly-funded writers' courses in the US, and I'm sure we can do Faber for publishing her vile novels, one where a character blasphemously sets up "The Church of Christ Without Christ", and another where a disabled child is murdered in a bizarre parody of baptism.

Oh, and that other Roman Catholic, Les Murray. Has the audacity to put "To the Glory of God" at the front of all his poetry collections (published with state funding in the UK) and what do we find? One poem about his father where he encourages the latter to "fuck them", in relation to people who criticise the family, and another where he calls our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ a "divine bastard".

Who will save us from this filth?

What about Shakespeare, then?

Supposed to have Catholic sympathies/poss have been a Catholic - at a time when any sensible person would have been discouraged from this. So Deeply Unsound.

And writes about sex/ witchcraft/sex/incest/sex/ eating children/sex/suicide/sex/communing with the dead/sex/murdering royalty (at a time when this was a Very Dangerous Topic). Oh and inter-racial sex.

Bawdy jokes and bawdier language. Playing to the pit. Sensationalist. A man of less learning than many of the playwrights of the time, relying on any trick he could to get the public into the theatre.

For centuries his work was thought to need "cleaning up" before decent people could read or enjoy it (hence bowdlerization as a word).

Utter filth, see what I mean?

[ 11. January 2005, 14:17: Message edited by: welsh dragon ]
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
Welsh Dragon,
Don't even start me on quoting Robert Burns. I fear my 'Merry Muses of Caledonia - the Opera' may lead to a fatwa. Where do people get the idea that producing bawdy anti-clerical works of art is something new and shocking?

L.

[ 11. January 2005, 14:51: Message edited by: Louise ]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Some weeks ago my teenage daughter asked me if I had any soppy love poetry on my shelves other than what was in the usual anthologies.

So I handed her a copy of the poetrty of John Donne. A few minutes later:

[Eek!] "I didn't know they used words like that in Elizabethan times" [Eek!]
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
I've always felt the Divine Comedy would make a great film. Of course, the Catholics would object to the special area of Hell reserved for over-mighty Popes, the Muslims would object to the depiction of Ali and Mohammed, the Jews would probably regard it as anti-semitic, the Protestants would get aggrieved at Dante's treatment of Purgatory. The gay lobby would object to the sodomites being condemned to hell and the Christian right would be affronted at the suggestion that usury is morally on a par with sodomy. To ensure that the Orthodox didn't feel left out, we could insert a passage where St John Chysostom affirms the value of the filoque and Virgil could speak slightingly of samovars.

Take a stand against this sort of thing! Careful now!
 
Posted by Gill H (# 68) on :
 
I see the producers of the show are offering £10 tickets to anyone with a Bible on them, so they can see for themselves what they are objecting to.

Whatsonstage story

You have to admire their eye for a quick buck!
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Anyone remember the movie "Last Temptation of Christ"?

I was attending a conservative Baptist college in Texas when that movie was released on VHS. My film class professor decided to screen it for us. He either chose to, or was told to, provide a volunteer priest, a pastor and a rabbi to answer audience questions and concerns at the end of the screening.

The storm of negative publicity that hit our school upon news of the upcoming screening generated enough heat (among university trustees, I think) that the screening was canceled.

I remember how angry I was that someone else had decided what movie *I* could or could not see, based solely on *their* feeling of offense. I haven't seen JStO and dunno if ever I will, but damned if I'll let someone else make that decision for me.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Erin - I haven't even tried to distinguish between my idealistic world and the world as it is today. In fact, I trust the leaders of China, Sudan, US, Britain and any other country bigger than one square mile, far less than my expectation that the Man in the Moon will start singing JS-tO. The "someone I trust" is me. I don't have a problem with that.
The neocons are doing a great disservice to your country and to a world looking for fairness and justice. The US is currently in a uniquely powerful position, but the 'I have the freedom to do what I want' ethic which you say works internally, does not work between nations.

Louise - Pastor Jack Glass was a wee bit embarrassing, wasn't he? Attracting publicity but not mainstream following. In the beginning we all thrilled to hear the Big Yin say naughty words on stage, primarily because it was daring, ie against the grain of social sensibilities and would provoke outrage amongst a small minority. But how tiresome to hear the same threadbare stuff being peddled now.
And, yes, whenever I see an organisation called "<insert name here> Voice", I cringe.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
Please let's not dignify JStO by alluding to Dante, Shakespeare and Donne in discussing it.

I've always maintained that the very best way of dealing with this sort of thing is to take a step back from feelings of offence, and to criticise it as art (which is what the BBC thought it was).

Well, I've just been talking with a (non-Christian) friend who saw JStO, and who was completely flummoxed when I called it "art". "Does low comedy count as art?" he asked. So I asked what sort of person he thought might go and see the "opera" - presumably highbrow opera-types, judging from the hype it had been given by the BBC?

"Not really," he said, "More like the sort of people who think the word f*ck gets funnier the more often it's said."

And did it get funnier as it went along?

"No. It got boring and then it got annoying. I only watched it to the end because I thought I should, not because I really wanted to."

Jana Bennett, the BBC's director of television, by contrast thought the JStO was "a really good piece of opera that had something to say". (Source)

Clearly either my friend's artistic judgement is well out of kilter, or Ms Bennett's is. I wonder whose?
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
Glimmer, I am having a problem understanding what you're saying on this thread, then, because all along it appeared as though you were arguing that there are some things that just shouldn't be said. You further appeared to argue that "someone I can trust" should be deciding what should and should not be said. Am I to understand that all along you've been arguing for freedom of expression, and that there isn't anything that shouldn't be said?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
as though you were arguing that there are some things that just shouldn't be said.

Of course there are things that shouldn't be said.

But forcing people not to say them is a worse evil.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Am I to understand that all along you've been arguing for freedom of expression, and that there isn't anything that shouldn't be said?

No, Erin. Let me try to explain. I believe that true, unadulterated freedom of expression (which I take to mean anything can be said through any means) is incompatible with an individual's right to be protected from being offended (which I take to mean suffer genuine emotional hurt). Therefore, an acceptable authority for arbitration is necessary if both sides are to co-exist. The difficulty which all societies faces through the ages is deciding how to acquire that arbiter; by definition it has to be someone/thing trustworthy.
Only a complete fool can argure that freedom of expression is not a Good Thing and I am not a complete fool. It is a good thing and should be encouraged and nurtured. Grounds of taste and relevance aren't sufficient to deny it, but personal offence IS. There needs to be a trustworthy 'judge' in each case as to whether the offence caused is sufficient to curb the freedom to cause it.
Because you are saying that any limitation whatsoever is the same as no freedom, I find it very difficult to understand from your posts what limits there are, if any, in the US on freedom of expression/speech. Could I really say anything I want to there?
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Of course there are things that shouldn't be said.
But forcing people not to say them is a worse evil.

OK, how do you enforce the concept of 'some things that shouldn't be said'? If you don't then the 'shouldn't' has no meaning.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
You are free to express any idea you so choose to express. The obvious limitations on speech include not shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater (unless there really is a fire), which is not an expression of an idea but will most assuredly result in injury due to trampling and/or crushing. I'm sure some lawyer will be along to explain the salient details (assuming, of course, that they haven't killed themselves yet).

But you can express whatever ideas you wish, including those that will most assuredly cause personal offense. Case in point: the Ku Klux Klan is allowed to assemble and demonstrate and say that all niggers should be strung up from the nearest tree. Also, for an interesting case study of the US position on libel/slander, google Jerry Falwell and Hustler magazine.
 
Posted by Emma. (# 3571) on :
 
(just out of curiosity - presumably the ku klux clan *couldnt* do that in england...???)
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
'I haven't seen it but a friend of mine says...' is not a very credible argument.

L.
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Clearly either my friend's artistic judgement is well out of kilter, or Ms Bennett's is. I wonder whose?

I believe this is a category error. Artistic judgement seems to me to be intrinsically personal, therefor both are completely correct. Popular artistic judgements (feel free to read that as OPINIONs) are merely those that are more common.

Right and wrong simply have no place, except the part where you're wrong.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Glimmer wrote: I believe that true, unadulterated freedom of expression (which I take to mean anything can be said through any means) is incompatible with an individual's right to be protected from being offended (which I take to mean suffer genuine emotional hurt). (emphasis added)
You mean all these years I've have "a right to be protected from being offended" and have yet to exercise it? Well then, who do I call to protect me from Birkenstocks 'n' sandals, preprinted condolence cards, crocheted covers for the extra roll of toilet paper, those interminable "Lord of the Rings" movies, and condiment bottles on the dinner table?

Here's the difference, Glimmer: You believe in a right to be protected from being offended. I believe in a right to offend.
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
I believe in a right to offend.

Swoon.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Falwell duly ggogled and case judgement read. But Falwell was 'public figure' and upon that fact the whole case revolved. But I take the point and I' not going to read through the First and Fourteenth Amendments and interpret them.
The KKK would not be allowed to say that in this country as it would be clearly racist and therefore illegal to us. But I am able to stand in the town square and shout at the top of my voice that I swear alleigence to Osama Bin Laden. Apparently one of the Brits soon to be released from the Theme Park in Cuba has been found guilty of 'alleigence to OBL'. I guess this is what lawyers are trained to understand -
"The fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection. [56] For it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas." source

It's certainly a goal to aim for.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
While I merely believe in the right to offend, RooK sets the laudable example of exercising it every hour on the quarter hour, whether needed or not.

Use it or lose it, they say.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
Here's the difference, Glimmer: You believe in a right to be protected from being offended. I believe in a right to offend.

I don't want to cause you extra reading, but I did say "Therefore, an acceptable authority for arbitration is necessary if both sides are to co-exist." If you don't want them to co-exist because you don't believe one side exists then you are quite right. There's the difference.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
Use it or lose it, they say.

RooK is a trademark? [Big Grin]

quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
I believe that true, unadulterated freedom of expression ... is incompatible with an individual's right to be protected from being offended (which I take to mean suffer genuine emotional hurt).

There is no such right. I cannot imagine any way in which you legislate such a right sensibly. Every time I read someone writing something like this, it's as if the sky was green and the trees purple. It just doesn't work. The state cannot protect everyone against emotional hurt. And personally, I don't think it should.
 
Posted by barrea (# 3211) on :
 
What makes me feel sad as I read these posts is the fact that so many of you feel no hurt or shame that God and our Lord Jesus Christ is being mocked and and made an object of ridicule.
Would you like the people that you love and hold dear to be treated that way?
There are highter things than free speach and one of them is to love God and to respect His Name,
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Glimmer wrote: I don't want to cause you extra reading, . . .
ME-OW! You go, Glimmer! I'm sure you'll find that this giving offense stuff is kind of fun now that you're getting the hang of it.

quote:
. . . but I did say "Therefore, an acceptable authority for arbitration is necessary if both sides are to co-exist."
Who precisely is this "acceptable authority for arbitation"? I nominate Pyx_e, RooK, tomb, and that nut job who got banned a few years ago for posting simultaneously on all seven boards that the Bible is a complicated triple acrostic that yields secret information if you transpose every seventeen letter. As far as both sides co-existing, people don't need an "acceptable authority for arbitration." They need a thicker hide.

And, Barrea, I appreciate your point, but my concern is that a government imbued with the right to ban speech that demeans God is a government imbued with the right to ban speech that praises God. Which is why as a Christian, I believe freedom of speech is so important.

[ 11. January 2005, 19:06: Message edited by: Presleyterian ]
 
Posted by luvanddaisies (# 5761) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
... "f's" per minute ...

hee, 0-60 in first 2 minutes for our friendly JerrySpring of joy then [Snigger]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
The KKK would not be allowed to say that in this country as it would be clearly racist and therefore illegal to us.

Newsflash: it's perfectly legal to express racist beliefs in the UK.

What's illegal is incitment to violence. Simply expressing a belief that all blacks must hang is not the same as telling someone to go out and hang blacks, and so isn't incitement (unless causing people to want to hurt you counts. which it doesn't).
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
There are highter things than free speach and one of them is to love God and to respect His Name,

If people wish to live in a free society, this must never be true. Speech is something that can easily be seen as free or not free, and therefore can be achieved plurally. Loving god, respecting it, and even its name are things that can only be determined by some arbitrary authority, and therefore invite corruption and removal of freedom.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
What makes me feel sad as I read these posts is the fact that so many of you feel no hurt or shame that God and our Lord Jesus Christ is being mocked and and made an object of ridicule.
Would you like the people that you love and hold dear to be treated that way?
There are highter things than free speach and one of them is to love God and to respect His Name,

And if you are not a believer...? Do you just have to suck it up and act like one?
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
so many of you feel no hurt or shame that God and our Lord Jesus Christ is being mocked and and made an object of ridicule.

Well, that's a mighty big assumption, barrea. Can't see how you get there.

Laura, If there is no right not to be offended, then there is no right to offend. Trying to be objective, and trying not to re-hash the 'Self-Evident' thread, enforceable rights have to be determined and agreed between people. If your country works on the basis that there is no right to be protected from offence, that's fine. But it doesn't mean that it is or should be the case for the whole of humanity. That a lot of exploited and persecuted people are denied a voice is generally agreed to be Wrong; my view is that, for the benefit of most people most of the time there has to be a concensus on a limit to free expression. And I won't entertain attempts to paint that view as akin to either dictatorship or wimpiness.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by Glimmer:

quote:
Only a complete fool can argure that freedom of expression is not a Good Thing and I am not a complete fool. It is a good thing and should be encouraged and nurtured. Grounds of taste and relevance aren't sufficient to deny it, but personal offence IS. There needs to be a trustworthy 'judge' in each case as to whether the offence caused is sufficient to curb the freedom to cause it.
Of course, if you are offended enough to utter death threats - a la Christian Voice, the Rushdie Affair, the Bezhti Affair et. al. - then obviously the offence is very real and of a sufficient level to majorly upset people. Your ideas, Glimmer, would mortgage our freedom to any religious fanatic with a thin skin. If people don't want to be offended they should switch off the telly/ not read the book/ avoid the theatre et. al. rather than having some kind of Stasi introduced to censor anyone who affronts the sensibilities of the easily offended.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Laura, If there is no right not to be offended, then there is no right to offend.

If you call me a poo-poo head, I have the right to be offended. I have the right to not be offended as well. How I react is up to me.

What I don't have is the right to have the law prevent you from calling me a poo-poo head in the first place. That violates your right to free speech.

See the difference?
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
That a lot of exploited and persecuted people are denied a voice is generally agreed to be Wrong; my view is that, for the benefit of most people most of the time there has to be a concensus on a limit to free expression. And I won't entertain attempts to paint that view as akin to either dictatorship or wimpiness.

Which takes me back to the question you still haven't answered. In the world you paint, where expression of certain ideals is prohibited, what are you going to do when people cross that line? How are you going to stop them?
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Glimmer wrote: That a lot of exploited and persecuted people are denied a voice is generally agreed to be Wrong...
Sorry, but exploited and persecuted people are the ones who have the most to gain from free speech. Ask Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela, and the guy who blocked the tank in Tiananmen Square.

quote:
My view is that, for the benefit of most people most of the time there has to be a concensus on a limit to free expression.
Well, at least from the reaction of the majority of posters on this thread, your view is offensive and therefore should be censored by the state or at least an "acceptable authority for arbitation." Is that how you propose to regulate free expression?

quote:
And I won't entertain attempts to paint that view as akin to either dictatorship or wimpiness.
No "entertaining" necessary. I've already reached the conclusion that your view is akin to either dictatorship or wimpiness. But thanks for the invitation nonetheless.
 
Posted by barrea (# 3211) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
so many of you feel no hurt or shame that God and our Lord Jesus Christ is being mocked and and made an object of ridicule.

Well, that's a mighty big assumption, barrea. Can't see how you get there.
I got there just by reading the posts. The majority of people who have posted on this thread take the view that being allowed to portray the lord in a blasphemous and wicked way is less of an evil than any form of censorship.

[fixed code for quote]

[ 11. January 2005, 20:08: Message edited by: Alan Cresswell ]
 
Posted by Sienna (# 5574) on :
 
Barrea, for me the proposition is simple: I can find behavior to be deeply, repugnantly immoral and wrong without feeling that it is behavior that the state should regulate.

To use another example, adultery is wrong. However, I do not believe the state should impose criminal penalties upon convicted adulterers. I find the use of racial slurs and hate speech repugnant. I do not believe anyone should be criminally penalized for using such words.

I find some of the reported content of the Jerry Springer opera to be personally offensive - but since I very much treasure my right to be offensive in my description of, say, Fred Phelps, I just can't see taking away anyone's right to criticize or mock a belief system.

If you don't like the ideas and concepts floating around in public discourse, put your superior ideas and concepts out there in a more convincing and articulate manner. That's far more likely to win hearts and minds that insisting the government jump in and protect you.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
In the world you paint, where expression of certain ideals is prohibited, what are you going to do when people cross that line? How are you going to stop them?

This is the question I put to Ken who said "Of course there are things that shouldn't be said." (To be evenhanded, I remind viewers that Ken expressed opposition to curbing freedom of speech).
Just because neither he nor I nor anyone else has achieved a satisfactory answer doesn't mean that the attempt to find it should be abandoned. In your country, can I say "I declare alliegence to Osama Bin Laden and I believe that everyone should also" and similar things? Would I be able to artistically express myself by marketing toilet paper which had the USA flag on it (I think I could do that here)? For the love of God there are people locked up in jail without charge without trial because they might be a 'security threat'! No I'm not picking on the US, it's here too. When you look closely, there are restrictions on freedom everywhere, put in place with the best of intentions. There is nowhere on this planet where there is no restriction on freedom, because the right to absolute freedom will be abused.

Marvin the Martian - I do believe that saying the words posted by Erin in her KKK reference would be deemed illegal. Depending on where and to whom you said it, it may give rise to a Breach of the Peace. However, as I'm always learning you may be able to correct me with an accurate legal position.

Can I have a show of hands for the people who objected (at least as strongly as they are on this thread) to the restrictions by the Israelis on the Palestinian candidates, preventing expression of their beliefs, ideals and views during their recent election? That's worth fighting for - not the protection of a self-serving BBC so that they can broadcast blasphemy.
 
Posted by Sienna (# 5574) on :
 
Glimmer said:

quote:
Can I have a show of hands for the people who objected (at least as strongly as they are on this thread) to the restrictions by the Israelis on the Palestinian candidates, preventing expression of their beliefs, ideals and views during their recent election? That's worth fighting for - not the protection of a self-serving BBC so that they can broadcast blasphemy.

Yes, I find the Israeli restrictions on the Palestinians' electioneering offensive, and their right to freedom of expression is worth fighting for (non-violent fighting, of course). However, I'm positive that there are many in the Israeli government who can mount an impassioned and rational defense as to why those restrictions are necessary, and can put forth some fairly compelling reasons. I'm sure those same Israelis feel the Palestinians' potential speeches are a much larger threat to their society than Fr. Gregory feels the Jerry Springer production to be to ours, with pretty good reason.

Tell me, if a radical Muslim had been running in the Palestinian election, and in his speeches, he voiced some of the same slurs against Christianity that the Springer opera did, or voiced similar criticisms of Judiasm, should that blasphemy be prevented, or is that somehow ok, because it's expressing thoughts, ideals and beliefs? Who gets to decide and make these distinctions?

That's why it's just better to allow freedom of expression across the board.
 
Posted by welsh dragon (# 3249) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
What makes me feel sad as I read these posts is the fact that so many of you feel no hurt or shame that God and our Lord Jesus Christ is being mocked and and made an object of ridicule.
Would you like the people that you love and hold dear to be treated that way?

One of the problems in the arguments we are having here is the attitude to narrative on the part of the anti-Springer faction.

What the Opera did was take some themes and ideas from the Judeo-Christian tradition and explore them in fantasy mode.

I think that many works of art have their own theology, and I don't think that the Opera assumed a lack of belief in God in its viewers, nor that it was anti-Christian. I think it assumed a morality. It assumed that a lot of what Springer is doing is wrong, that the way of life of so many of the characters portrayed is wrong and undesirable, that people have real dreams and hopes and ambitions - and spirit - and that behind the yearning for a Jerry Springer Moment is the desire for self fulfilment and meaning in a society of surface values and dumb adverts.

I wouldn't say that it's a glorification of Springer. The people going to see an opera at the National Theatre are going to be liberally educated arts graduates with professional jobs. Not the "losers" who take part in the shows, or watch them either on TV or in the TV studio. There is a level of irony in the NT audience becoming the Springer audience for the evening.

And the treatment of the Show in the last half had a Jungian flavour. It was witty - at least in places - and thought provoking. Like being told about someone's outrageous dream.

Now, this Opera was not supportive of the Christian faith in the way that, say, the Mystery Plays or the Narnia tales are. But there is an imaginative reworking in the Dee cycle, where a shepherd steals a lamb and passes it off as a baby. It's difficult sometimes fully getting the joke several hundred years after it was written, but this is meant to be a gesture towards the Nativity. And it's supposed to be funny.

In the Narnia books, Aslan is a Christ figure, and I noticed that the first time I read the story of his sacrifice on the Stone Table, as a child. I was a bit perturbed by that - I wasn't sure if I was okay with it - but I gave the book the benefit of the doubt and read on. And I think as an adult that it is important to allow writers and artists to have freedom to make sense of the stories of faith in every generation.

Now the Springer Opera wasn't doing this from the perspective of Christianity, but it was doing this from a sophisticated and thoughtful moral perspective. The journey through Heaven and Hell brought moral questions to the fore, questions of responsibility and causality and how we can duck these or how we manage to live with them in our modern meedja infested world. It was light enough to be entertaining, it was funny enough in places to make me laugh, I thought it was doing something interesting and worthwhile. And clearly Unrestful. And I think that in this Subject area that is a Good Thing.

The reason that the production was allowed to go ahead at all is that Springer himself was interested or amused by it, as I understand. Good for him. It seems strange that some of us assume God has less of a sense of humour or forbearance than a chat show host...
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
In the world you paint, where expression of certain ideals is prohibited, what are you going to do when people cross that line? How are you going to stop them?

This is the question I put to Ken who said "Of course there are things that shouldn't be said." (To be evenhanded, I remind viewers that Ken expressed opposition to curbing freedom of speech).
Just because neither he nor I nor anyone else has achieved a satisfactory answer doesn't mean that the attempt to find it should be abandoned.

Still not what I asked. I didn't ask which ideas shouldn't be expressed. I asked how you propose to deal with it when people express whichever ideas have been deemed unexpressable. When people cross that line, what are you going to do?
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
I thought that was what Glimmer's proposed "acceptable authority for arbitration" was for. You know -- sort of like the "Poll the Audience" option on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?".
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
My response to Ken was "OK, how do you enforce the concept of 'some things that shouldn't be said'? If you don't then the 'shouldn't' has no meaning." to his statement that there are some things that shouldn't be said.
I think this is the same question you are asking me and my answer to that is my post above.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
So "you shouldn't commit adultery" has no meaning, since it isn't enforced?
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
I thought that was what Glimmer's proposed "acceptable authority for arbitration" was for. You know -- sort of like the "Poll the Audience" option on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?".

Dear Pres
Yes that's pretty much the gist of what I meant. Each country would have the "Authority" that suits them. Choosing that "Authority" would be done by means of free, fair, democratic elections with universal franchise. Candidates for serving in that "Authority" offer the electorate the basis (moral framework, social framework, practical plans) upon which they would operate. That way you all get the government you deserve.
However, coming back to my original point so very, very long ago, it's a question of trusting your government to be truthful and honour their commitments. My whole idea was that the ideal would be to have a government that could be trusted to make the right arbitration decisions in the event of clashing claims of 'rights'.
 
Posted by Paige (# 2261) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Yes that's pretty much the gist of what I meant. Each country would have the "Authority" that suits them. Choosing that "Authority" would be done by means of free, fair, democratic elections with universal franchise. Candidates for serving in that "Authority" offer the electorate the basis (moral framework, social framework, practical plans) upon which they would operate. That way you all get the government you deserve.

You know, Glimmer---in principal I'm with you. Several months ago, I took your position when there was a Hell thread on men catcalling women. I find that deeply morally offensive, and still consider it a form of assault.

But I've come to the conclusion that Presley, Erin, and all the other free-speech absolutists are right.

And the reason is that if we subject ourselves to your system of arbitration, I will find myself living in a country where it will be illegal for me to stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians, and to publicly support reproductive choice---because these ideas are currently not "popular" in the United States. If you read the "discussion" boards at places like Free Republic, you will see that those people would like to make it illegal to criticize the President or the war in Iraq. They see such speech as treasonous.

I don't want those people voting on what I can and cannot say in my country.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
Glimmer is offending me. Where are the police?
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
So "you shouldn't commit adultery" has no meaning, since it isn't enforced?

There is, and should be, a difference between legally enforced concepts and matters of purely personal significance.

[ 11. January 2005, 21:46: Message edited by: RooK ]
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RooK:
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
So "you shouldn't commit adultery" has no meaning, since it isn't enforced?

There is, and should be, a difference between legally enforced concepts and matters of purely personal significance.
I think that was pretty much my point.
 
Posted by lapsed heathen (# 4403) on :
 
12 pages !!! and not as good as sex secrets of lost Atlantis.

This seems to have become about complete censorship or complete free speech. In fact the objection to JStO is that the BBC which is funded by public money aired this show (OK technically was going to air) Free expression was not being objected to. If the producers felt so strongly let them pay for the show and see how far it runs.

The interesting question is should the BBC operate under some sense of deference to sections of the public. I would say yes. I don't see the same restriction applying to independent commercial TV, for the obvious reason that people get to vote with their feet. With the BBC that choice is not their.

On Thursday their is to be a discussion about the show and reactions to it. Perhaps the discussion should have been first then let the public decide whether to show it or not. After all 'He who pays the piper calls the tune'
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
My response to Ken was "OK, how do you enforce the concept of 'some things that shouldn't be said'? If you don't then the 'shouldn't' has no meaning." to his statement that there are some things that shouldn't be said.
I think this is the same question you are asking me and my answer to that is my post above.

I'm still not making myself clear. What I am asking is what are the penalties for expressing ideas that the authority has deemed to be unexpressable. Do I go to jail? Pay a fine? Forfeit all access to pen, paper and public areas where I might voice some objectionable idea? What happens to me when I say the thing (whatever it is) that the authority shouldn't be said? I want to know what you consider a suitable punishment for violating these standards.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
I can't believe it! I thought my previous post was clear enough - this is what we have ALREADY. The "Authority" is the Government, who pass laws circumscribing what is permitted and what is not permitted. How can anyone imagine I'm talking about anything else? I'm talking about the governments we have NOW and the way they necessarily restrict freedom of speech/expression, but get it wrong.
I have never put the slightest support for anything but the minimum of restrictions on what people may say - and that on the grounds of legitimate offence. The question being how do you define 'legitimate'.
Now, with those who advocate no restrictions at all, there can be no debate about it. It is futile to try to invent a position of complete censorship for me to occupy so that I can be criticised. That's not where I am in the slightest; attempts to personalise the discussion will get nowhere with me.
Those who know me IRL (none on the ship, I should imagine) are well aware of the outspoken and vigorous stance I have publically taken in support of gay, women and disabled rights.
I repeat, for the last time hopefully, I beleive that there cannot be a harmonious state of complete freedom of expression. And why is no-one admitting to, and defending their own Government's blatantly autocratic and severe censorship? Is it because to admit it exists leads to the obvious 'what are you doing about it, or is it one law for me and another for you?'
I had hoped for constructive contributions to a difficult issue in democratic life but there haven't been that many.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Crossposted.
Erin, I don't have that answer.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
That's the part that concerns me, Glimmer -- you're ready to give up the right to freedom of expression, but you're very vague about its execution and consequences. If I'm surrendering my rights then by God it's going to be spelled out exactly how it's going to happen.

That said... I am not sure to whom this bit:

quote:
And why is no-one admitting to, and defending their own Government's blatantly autocratic and severe censorship? Is it because to admit it exists leads to the obvious 'what are you doing about it, or is it one law for me and another for you?'
was directed. If it was directed at the Americans, you can bet your ass that at least I am very, very vocal about the erosion of rights that have come about in recent years. And every time I vote I vote for the candidate who will drag the government back into some semblance of respect for the Constitution and its amendments.

I guess what I, at least, am having the hardest time with is that it seems patently obvious that if you restrict expression of one idea then you are most certianly on your way to restriction of expression of any idea. Your response to this always comes back to some variation of "people might be hurt by what you say, so don't say it". To which I say bullshit, because sometimes people damn well NEED to be hurt terribly by words.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Marvin the Martian - I do believe that saying the words posted by Erin in her KKK reference would be deemed illegal. Depending on where and to whom you said it, it may give rise to a Breach of the Peace.

So could preaching the Gospel.

My understanding is that unless you're actively and expicitly telling someone to commit the crime, your speech isn't illegal.

I'm no legal expert though, so I could be wrong...
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:

I guess what I, at least, am having the hardest time with is that it seems patently obvious that if you restrict expression of one idea then you are most certianly on your way to restriction of expression of any idea.

Exactly. No argument there. My original point about who can you trust? You feel the best way to solve the problem is by having no restrictions; I opt to solve the problem by imagining there is a way to have government that can be trusted somehow. My response to censor-abuse is just the same as yours -
quote:
And every time I vote I vote for the candidate who will drag the government back into some semblance of respect for the Constitution and its amendments.
Thank you; I hope you can understand better where I am. I believe there can be such a thing as 99.9% free speech and that 1% concerns people and the pain they can feel by unnecessary use of the free speech ticket. You and others believe that no-one can be trusted to be a fair judge so 100% free speech is the better option. I'm not interested in protecting governments, politicians, political sacred cows, corporations, organisations. It's people and their faith who need the secular help in a secular world.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:

My understanding is that unless you're actively and expicitly telling someone to commit the crime, your speech isn't illegal.

I'm no legal expert though, so I could be wrong...

Let's meet up sometime. We'll go to a street corner in Slough and I'll stand up and shout "Jesus Christ the Son of God came to earth for your salvation. Accept Him into your heart and you will receive eternal life".
Then we'll go to a street corner in Brixton and you will stand up and shout "all niggers should be strung up from the nearest tree".
What fun! [Devil]
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
I think that was pretty much my point.

A point that would have been clearer to me if, you know, I had been less stupid. Sorry.

lapsed heathen, you do make a fair point. However, I'd argue that the situation of the BBC isn't exactly the same sort of situation as your government - there doesn't need to be a majority appreciation for everything they show. If such a requirement was necessary, how many hours a day could the BBC realistically broadcast? Because I can't imagine there being that many shows so universally enjoyed that everyone would want. I think that as long as the BBC thinks it has a sufficient audience for something - however it determines that - let freedom of expression reign.

[ 12. January 2005, 01:15: Message edited by: RooK ]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
What makes me feel sad as I read these posts is the fact that so many of you feel no hurt or shame that God and our Lord Jesus Christ is being mocked and and made an object of ridicule.

I refer you to Elijah 2:23-24: From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

...and to Numbers 16:29-33 29 If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, [a] then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt."

31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.


The Lord is well able to take care of Himself and doesn't me or you or anyone else to protect him from comic operas or talk shows. Wanting not to see God blasphemed is understandable and commendable, but it is not actionable in the sense of you telling someone other adult they may not blaspheme.

quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
Would you like the people that you love and hold dear to be treated that way?

The people I love and hold dear aren't the Creator of the Universe. You're making your relationship with other people the same weight as your relationship with God, and that's not accurate. Other people are not God.

As much as I would hate to see someone defaming me or my wife, I would support his right to do so via free speech, as as long as I had legal recourse if necessary against libel or slander.

quote:
Originally posted by barrea:
There are highter things than free speach and one of them is to love God and to respect His Name,

That is a facet of a Christian life, it has no bearing on unbelievers, as Erin(?) pointed out. I love God by allowing people the freedom to love God--or not--as they see fit. I respect His name by respecting the freedom of people to disrespect His name.

To answer Glimmer, there cannot be a "right not to be offended." That's ludicrous. If red-capped garden gnomes offend me, do I have the right to force a homeowner to remove them from his yard? If eating meat offends me, do I have the right to force the State to close all butcher shops? If the cross of Christ offends me, do I have the right to force the State to remove them from sight?

[code]

[ 12. January 2005, 04:35: Message edited by: Scot ]
 
Posted by Amazing Grace (# 4754) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
quote:
Originally posted by Marinaki: It is not OK to use public funds to celebrate religious festivals, i.e. Christmas,
What do you think these BBC religious programes for Christmas were made with?

(lots of examples snipped for brevity - c.)

Should my atheist and non-Christian friends object to tiny fractions of their licence fee being used?

Heh. As a modest proposal, I think they should ALL be refunded the exact proportional amount of their own personal licence fee that was used to produce these, as should Fr. G et. al. be refunded the exact amount of their own license fee that got used to produce the springer program.

No rounding up, though.

Charlotte "do you still have half pence coins in the UK?"
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
If red-capped garden gnomes offend me, do I have the right to force a homeowner to remove them from his yard?

This is between you, your conscience and the Lord.


And verily, it came to pass that in the days of tribulation, KenWritez came upon red-capped garden gnomes and was sorely offended. Ken lifted his voice unto heaven and beseeched the assembled hosts saying, "What curse is this unto my sight, Oh Lord, that I must suffer these abominations? And he heard a sound as if thunder in the distance, "Go forth, Ken. Smite ye, the accursed garden-gnomes and know that I am with you."
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
I'm not interested in protecting governments, politicians, political sacred cows, corporations, organisations. It's people and their faith who need the secular help in a secular world.

So what happens when your hypothetical trustworthy government decides that governments, politicians, political sacred cows, corporations, and organizations should be protected against offensive speech? Don't laugh - we've got about half of that here in the US despite our fanatical obsession with freedom of expression.

Any time you make an exception to freedom of expression, you create a precedent for further restrictions. When one idea is suppressed, all ideas become suppressable.

I'm not sure what you meant about people needing secular help in a secular world, but I think I'm offended.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
This excited me so much that I had to give it a post of its own.

quote:
Originally posted by Paige:
But I've come to the conclusion that Presley, Erin, and all the other free-speech absolutists are right.

Yaaaay!!! Not because you agree with us, but because someone actually reads the discussions, thinks about what is said, and applies it to their own beliefs. Hot damn!

Paige, you have restored my faith in the value of public debate. [Smile]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
Like all absolutes, absolute freedom of speech just doesn't work. We have to consider the "volume" of a voice and take care that one voice doesn't drown out all the others.

For example, the statement "Mr XYZ cheats on his wife by bonking a sheep." acquires different "volumes" according to whether:

Also, of course, the intrinsic "volume" of the above statement is pretty loud compared to for example "Mr XYZ occasionally picks his nose." or the entirely quiet "Mr XYZ's name is XYZ."

The fear of being "shouted down" should not be played out against the fear of "being denied a voice". It's actually the same fear: screaming at someone at the top of your lungs denies them their voice just as much as stitching their mouth shut.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
You are free to make such a statement about Mr. XYZ. If it is a true statement, there is nothing further to discuss. If it is an untrue statement, Mr. XYZ may file a civil suit against you for defamation. The "volume" of your speech may control the amount of damage done to Mr. XYZ and the size of the award. However, in no case is your offensive speech a criminal offense, to be prohibited by the state. You are absolutely free to speak offensively.
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
Admit it, IngoB: You set up that super-fragile logical contruct specifically so that someone could knock it down. You're not-so-covertly working for the unfettered freedom of speach side, aren't you?
 
Posted by Paige (# 2261) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Yaaaay!!! Not because you agree with us, but because someone actually reads the discussions, thinks about what is said, and applies it to their own beliefs. Hot damn!

Paige, you have restored my faith in the value of public debate. [Smile]

Glad to be of service. [Big Grin]

Actually, I find the Ship to be the best place on the Web, bar none, for forcing me to really think about what I believe and why---in matters of faith, politics, and just about anything else I can think of. So for that, I owe you, and quite a few others, a debt of thanks.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RooK:
Admit it, IngoB: You set up that super-fragile logical contruct specifically so that someone could knock it down.

Superfragilisticlogicalconstucticalodosous?
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lapsed heathen:
On Thursday their is to be a discussion about the show and reactions to it. Perhaps the discussion should have been first then let the public decide whether to show it or not. After all 'He who pays the piper calls the tune'

The problem with having the discussion first is that very few people would be able to contribute to the discussion, as the show hadn't been shown few people would have seen it. Rather like the start of this thread in fact. At least now the discussion can be had with those who've seen the show.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
I think you're being a bit snobbish about "art", Adeo.

As comedy, which is what JStO primarily is, it works very well. Ok, David Soul hammed up (a watching companion said, "It's a killer script, and he manages to kill it"), but you cannot actually fault this as a performance.

Does it say profound things? I think it does - about the infantilised Christ and the comedy Devil the West has; about chatshow hosts' hubris; about the fickle nature of public acclaim (at the real end (not the song and dance finale), Jerry sadly goes off stage to the chorus' refrain of "I'm been seing someone else...", suggesting that, now having solved the universe's problems, Springer will himself be discarded by the crowd).

Throw in Stuart "No, Richard, what you're doing is making a bad joke about a childhood mishearing of a hymn" Lee's propensity to make jokes about religion (Christianity, in his case, being the one he knows most about), then it's a heady mix of satire on both media and religion. Probably not as clever as it thinks it is, but nonetheless thought-provoking.

No, it wasn't Hamlet, but then it wasn't meant to be. And we are in a poor state indeed if we insist that people present arguments in some fashion that appeals to our (subjective, limited, often perverse) aesthetic sensibilities. As Chesterton said, it doesn't matter if a man is arguing first principles wearing his pyjamas in a crumpled bed - let him argue first principles.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
I believe there can be such a thing as 99.9% free speech and that 1% concerns people and the pain they can feel by unnecessary use of the free speech ticket. You and others believe that no-one can be trusted to be a fair judge so 100% free speech is the better option.

This makes it sound as if we agree with you about protecting others from the 1%, but decide to stomach it because there's no-one we can trust.

That's not true. I don't agree with you that people should be protected from the 1%. Even if there were someone I trusted completely to make the right decision every time, I'd still go with 100% free speech.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
My response to Ken was "OK, how do you enforce the concept of 'some things that shouldn't be said'? If you don't then the 'shouldn't' has no meaning." to his statement that there are some things that shouldn't be said.
I think this is the same question you are asking me and my answer to that is my post above.

But it is a nonsense answer.

I shouldn't try to make love to your wife. It would be morally wrong. But if I do try, then the government shouldn't send police to stop me.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lapsed heathen:
The interesting question is should the BBC operate under some sense of deference to sections of the public. I would say yes. I don't see the same restriction applying to independent commercial TV, for the obvious reason that people get to vote with their feet. With the BBC that choice is not their.

Arse-elbow translocation error.

The BBC should be showing the unpopular stuff. Popular stuff gets shown on commercial TV anyway.
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
The Old Testament prophets suffered for their opposition to the idolatry of Israel. Many of the first Christians were martyred for opposing idolatry everywhere. They had no qualms about proclaiming Christ the only true God and the gods of the pagans false. I wonder, what is so wrong with opposing the desire of secular society to trample on all that is holy, even if only by declaring 'enough is enough'? Even if we fail and Christianity is defamed yet more, I would rather stand with the martyrs. And I salute Anthony Pitts, a producer who has quit the BBC in protest.
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
I could understand the accusation of blasphemy if the second half of the show was broadcast on its own. But the whole point is that the second half can only be understood in the context of the first half, as a dreadful parody / bad dream, probably in this case brought on by JS having been shot.

Dyfrig's point about it being a comedy, but one which provokes thought about several issues, is the best argument in its favour, IMHO - comedy is often the best way to introduce difficult issues, like holding up a mirror to ourselves and our world, as well as to Jerry Springer himself.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Isaac David:
I wonder, what is so wrong with opposing the desire of secular society to trample on all that is holy, even if only by declaring 'enough is enough'?

Who decides what is part of "all that is holy"? An British priest? A Sydney primate? An American fundamentalist?

And Glimmer, Marvin is right. We aren't disagreeing because we don't trust anyone enough to arbitrate that 1%, we disagree because we don't believe that anyone should be protected from that 1%.
 
Posted by Paige (# 2261) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
And Glimmer, Marvin is right. We aren't disagreeing because we don't trust anyone enough to arbitrate that 1%, we disagree because we don't believe that anyone should be protected from that 1%.

Now this is where I part company with you. I definitely fall in the former camp---I don't trust the rightwingnuts in this country to arbitrate the 1%.

So, in order to keep from being a hypocrite, I have to go with absolute free speech---even if they gave ME the power to do the arbitrating.

But I don't have to be happy about it. I still think certain forms of speech are equivalent to assault---it's just that, when compared to the dangers of silencing, they are the lesser of two evils.
 
Posted by lapsed heathen (# 4403) on :
 
Ken;
quote:
The BBC should be showing the unpopular stuff. Popular stuff gets shown on commercial TV anyway.
I'm Irish, and RTE our national broadcaster is in a similar position to the BBC and has had pressure exerted to influence it's programing. Political and other. RTE is in fact worse off than Auntie because it depends on advertising revenue as well as having the licence fee appropriated by the Gov.
It does however have the right to screen anything without reference to the Censor.

This means that a public forum exists that is free from censorship. They can show anything without getting approval first. I don't really think that what offends should be banned and blasphemy is hardly enforceable in law. The wider issue of whether whats shown should reflect some sort of public good manners or lead and test perceptions and prejudices is what is being discussed.

I remain unconvinced that censorship is either effective or wise. I remain equally unconvinced that insulting or blatantly sensational programing is of any benefit to anyone.

I suppose that saddened by JStO is the worst I felt, apart from angered that this is somehow acceptable when the exact same level of offence to other faiths would not be. I can take the insult of 'Mary, Raped by an angel' but not as well as if 'Muhammad child molester' was also an option for broadcast. It's the supposition that Christian beliefs are fair game that offends most.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lapsed heathen:
I suppose that saddened by JStO is the worst I felt, apart from angered that this is somehow acceptable when the exact same level of offence to other faiths would not be. I can take the insult of 'Mary, Raped by an angel' but not as well as if 'Muhammad child molester' was also an option for broadcast. It's the supposition that Christian beliefs are fair game that offends most.

I agree with you here, but you're talking about a second issue. Every religion ought to be fair game for humorists and commentators, Islam and Judaism as well as Christianity. I look at the fatwas by Muslim clergy against those who have dared to criticize elements or implementations of Islam, or merely even examine Islamic religious tenets or figures via methodologies not approved of by Islamic clergy.

I think people promoting the censoring of JStO are missing the entire point of satire. Satire is: "Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity."

It sounds like JStO is attacking and exposing not God, but rather "folly, vice or stupidity" of the human end of our relationship with God.

I haven't been able to see JStO yet, although I plan to watch it when it becomes available, if for no other reason than I want to see what I'm defending the right to air. I expect I'll dislike it, but that's the price I pay for my right of free speech, and it's a price I'll pay without hesitation every day.

Fr G., I find it ironic and hypocritical you who complain so loudly about Pres. Bush's "totalitarian" agenda are so quick to deny free speech to someone who offends you.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:

That's not true. I don't agree with you that people should be protected from the 1%. Even if there were someone I trusted completely to make the right decision every time, I'd still go with 100% free speech.

quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
And Glimmer, Marvin is right. We aren't disagreeing because we don't trust anyone enough to arbitrate that 1%, we disagree because we don't believe that anyone should be protected from that 1%.

First, due to mis-typing, my intended 0.1% multiplied itself by a factor of ten. But that doesn't change anything of course.
However, I'd like to point out that despite the earnest declarations of devotion to 100% free speech and 0% protection for anyone, none of us has that. In the US under the guise of Patriotism and War on Terror there is an intolerable level of censorship - and recently a majority of the country voted for more of it! The level and power of censorship of unaccountable corporation executives through commercial and advertising means is extraordinary. In the UK I see the equally dreadful situation where (the JS-tO transient protests notwithstanding) anybody who says boo-hoo can claim all sorts of persecution through 'racism', 'sexism' and now 'religionism'. And it looks like this year we in the UK will vote for more of it as well. Where has common sense gone? In the noble championing of both extremes we have lost the reality of what is happening every day. The JS-tO incident is a tiny example and, as I say, transient; why does this distract so many people?
Like it or not, free speech does not exist. To say that no-one should have protection from the abuse of free speech is fine but all around I see an abundance of censorship - protecting in the main the power barons, the hypocritical, the morally bankrupt. Advance the cause of 100% free speech, then, and get rid of them. If you can, then I'd be right there alongside you carrying a torch.
But I don't think that's possible, so I support the view that these 'powers' should be limited and accountable.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Like it or not, free speech does not exist.

But instead of just accepting this we need to fight the restrictions. Saying "well, it's going to happen, how can we make it work" is like saying "well, murder is going to happen, how can we make it work". There are some things are just wrong no matter what, and no compromise should be entertained.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
OK,let's roll with that, in case you can persuade me to agree with your position. How do we fight the restrictions? The way I see it, the smart way to impose censorship is to first disenfranchise potential opposition (ie speaking out against is often tainted with being unpatriotic).
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Glimmer wrote: In the US under the guise of Patriotism and War on Terror there is an intolerable level of censorship - and recently a majority of the country voted for more of it! The level and power of censorship of unaccountable corporation executives through commercial and advertising means is extraordinary.
Four points:

1) Glimmer, what precisely is being censored "under the guise of Patriotism and the War on Terror"? That's a trick question, of course, because if it's being censored, you wouldn't know about it.

2) As to so-called "censorship of unaccountable corporation executives," perhaps the problem is definitional. As was hammered out endlessly on the thread about some television stations' refusal to run the UCC's spot, the kind of "censorship" banned by the First Amendment is government restriction of free speech.

3) Back to Glimmer's "acceptable authority for arbitration." The one right not amenable to the democratic process is freedom of speech because of the substantial risk of the tyrannny of the majority. A democratically elected "acceptable authority for arbitration" reflects, by definition, the popular views of the majority of the electorate. Fifty years ago, the majority of the electorate thought Martin Luther King was a dangerous agitator who should be silenced. Thank goodness Glimmer's "acceptable authority for arbitration" wasn't allowed to shut him up.

4) For about the thirteenth time in this discussion, may I quote Mr. Justice Brandeis' 1927 concurrence in Whitney v. California:

quote:
Those who won our independence . . . believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government....

Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law -- the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed.


 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
The thing that really depresses me isn't that some people are so willing to do away with freedom of speech.

It's that they're willing to do so over a lame opera that hardly anyone would have watched had they not protested so much...
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
You are free to make such a statement about Mr. XYZ. If it is a true statement, there is nothing further to discuss. If it is an untrue statement, Mr. XYZ may file a civil suit against you for defamation. The "volume" of your speech may control the amount of damage done to Mr. XYZ and the size of the award. However, in no case is your offensive speech a criminal offense, to be prohibited by the state. You are absolutely free to speak offensively.

There is quite a bit to discuss about the "volume" even if the statement were true. But let's keep it simple and assume it's false. Then you tell me Mr. XYZ should seek the protection of civil law (established by the Legislative, be it democratic or judicial-oligarchic in case of "common law" in certain countries) by appealing to a court (Judiciary) and then let the police (Executive) enforce the ruling against me. It appears then that all branches of modern government conspire to moderate the "volume" of my free speech. It's simply misleading to say that the state is allowing "absolute freedom" here just because its counter-measures do not go by the label "stopping criminal offenses".

There's only one society that can tolerate "absolute freedom" - and that is the "society" of only one.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
Well, it's a little more complicated than that. The person seeking redress in the civil court system has to prove that the defendant knew it was false and also that it wasn't parody, satire or otherwise intended for humorous effect. Even then there is no guarantee that it falls afoul of our libel/slander laws -- hell, just look at campaign commercials.

But knowingly uttering false statements isn't part of freedom of expression and only a total dumbass would think it is. Freedom of expression is relative to beliefs, thoughts and ideas. I'm starting to tire of these strawmen that keep sprouting up everywhere.

[ 13. January 2005, 02:37: Message edited by: Erin ]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
I believe Australia has laws similar to the UK, but I readily admit I could be wrong about that.

The precise nature of the government-imposed restrictions is certainly of practical interest. However, I just wished to point out that there are some, that freedom of speech (naturally) does not rule absolute. The discussion which rules are best is much more difficult. (And in my opinion ultimately misleading...)

quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
But knowingly uttering false statements isn't part of freedom of expression and only a total dumbass would think it is.

Here's a pretty good definition of "blasphemy" for you: to knowingly utter false statements about God. Now what? Who gets to define "false"?
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
There's only one society that can tolerate "absolute freedom" - and that is the "society" of only one.

This unlikely to be well received on a bulletin board where many feel absolutely free to say whatever they want. A+ for effort.

quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Like it or not, free speech does not exist.

But instead of just accepting this we need to fight the restrictions. Saying "well, it's going to happen, how can we make it work" is like saying "well, murder is going to happen, how can we make it work". There are some things are just wrong no matter what, and no compromise should be entertained.
My first post on the ship of fools was censored. "Gratuitous racial slur" was the offense I believe.
I am also quite proud of having been suspended and and unable to express myself freely on these boards.
Was I wronged?
Should one person or a goup deny another absolute freedom of expression?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
Should one person or a goup deny another absolute freedom of expression?

Certainly not. And the particular beauty of the internet is you can start up your own bulletin board and say whatever you please.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
Analogous to the way one could move to another country to say what one wants?
But please tell, was I wronged?

[ 13. January 2005, 03:10: Message edited by: Ley Druid ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
But please tell, was I wronged?

Guess it depends on what you agreed to abide by when you signed up to join a discussion board owned by somebody else.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
Kinda like the way it depends on what one agrees to abide by when one wishes to join any group consisting of more people than just oneself?
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Here's a pretty good definition of "blasphemy" for you: to knowingly utter false statements about God.

How can one know something to be false about an entity whose existence cannot be proven?

quote:
Originall posted by Ley Druid:
But please tell, was I wronged?

You seem to be confused. The freedom to defecate, which everyone should have in a free society, is not the same as the freedom to defecate ON other people. Sure, you can do it, even earn a reputation for doing it, and perhaps even be perversely proud of doing it. But you also are free to weather the repercussions.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RooK:
How can one know something to be false about an entity whose existence cannot be proven?

You are not helping your case by being blasphemous yourself, see "de fide" no. 1). [Biased]

More seriously though, my question 'Who gets to define "false"?' stands, since it includes the question "Who gets to define the methods and sources allowed in a proof?" Whether the existence of God can be proven from nature by rational means is debatable (unless you are RC...), but His existence is entirely obvious from the bible. Further, one can derive at least some true statements about God by some theological methods. Thus if this source and these methods are accepted, one can obviously define false statements about God, and hence blasphemy.

Whenever any sort of rule is established, and we assume Ockham-free agents, it boils down to the question of who imposes his will on whom. And with Ockham-freedom whoever is on the "losing" end of things, whoever has will imposed on himself rather than imposing his will on others, will feel wronged. And whatever arguments are advanced, they will always sound hollow and contrived. This is of course also the case with "free speech" vs. "blasphemy". The obvious answer in this mode is then a power-struggle, which is what we are witnessing here. There is no peace in this, just cold war and ceasefire.

I think the crucial question to ask is not "Do I have the right to do so?" but rather "Is it right to do so? Is it the best thing to do?" That raises the obvious question - what then is right and best? The Christian answer is a surprising one: that which leads to true happiness. And the answer wherein true happiness is to be found, and how it is best achieved, is perhaps hard to swallow. So let's forget about all that. Let's simply ask whether people on both sides can honestly say of themselves: I did what I - after thoroughly thinking about it - thought was right and best. If so, well, then fair enough as far as I'm concerned.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
Kinda like the way it depends on what one agrees to abide by when one wishes to join any group consisting of more people than just oneself?

I can see where this argument's going, but there's a mistake involved.

You and I are free to choose to freely associate with any group.

However, there are certain things which were not our choices - we did not choose the society into which we were born; we did not choose the countries our parents happened to live in, or the languages, religions or social mores passed onto us be the culture around us. To a degree, a lot of our lives are the consequences of decisions we did not take because they happened months, years or centuries before we were born.

Thus, society - civic, religious or whatever - is not just a club or a website we choose to join, but rather something imposed (in an entirely neutral sense) on us.

Being born into a human society is not like joining the Ship of Fools. The latter is our free choice; the former happened without our consent. There is a difference.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Whether the existence of God can be proven from nature by rational means is debatable (unless you are RC...), but His existence is entirely obvious from the bible.

And the existence of orcs is entirely obvious from Lord of the Rings.

A statement like yours first requires that we (as in society) believe the Bible to be true. If we don't believe the Bible is true, it carries as much weight in determining whether things really exist as The Cat in the Hat.

To put it another way, in a secular legal environment you can't call on the Bible to prove your point.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Here's a pretty good definition of "blasphemy" for you: to knowingly utter false statements about God. Now what? Who gets to define "false"?

That definition is neither good nor useful, because it really does depend on who defines "false". Is it blasphemy to say "God does not exist"? You and I would say that that statement is self-evidently false. An atheist would say it's self-evidently true.

Now it would probably be true that a Christian saying "God does not exist" is blaspheming. An atheist saying the same thing isn't blaspheming, for him he's speaking the truth.

If the producers of a West End show decide to include a scene in the show stating that Mary was raped by an angel is that blasphemous? If those producers are Christians then possibly. But, in those circumstances I'd consider the burden of judging and punishing them to be with the church they're members of. In a secular society there is no possibility of defining blasphemy in a manner that makes any sense. You may have a chance at a workable definition of "bad taste", "obscene" or "intended to incite racial or religious hatred" etc, and legislate against these if society (through the normal democratic processes) decides to do so.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
If we follow IagoB's definition of blasphemy we are faced with a problem - the second paragraph of the Nicene Creed is, indeed, blasphemous to Jews and Muslims alike. These statements are simply not true, from their point of view. Should a public service broadcaster be used to propagate what is, to a sizable majority of UK citizens, offensive nonsense about God?
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
Or, from the other side would we want to stop the BBC broadcasting what to us would be the blasphemous claims of Islam (and some Jews) that Jesus was a great prophet but not the Second Person of the Truine God?
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
My first post on the ship of fools was censored. "Gratuitous racial slur" was the offense I believe.
I am also quite proud of having been suspended and and unable to express myself freely on these boards.
Was I wronged?
Should one person or a goup deny another absolute freedom of expression?

No, you weren't wronged. You were not denied absolute freedom of expression. Being denied absolute freedom of expression means that you are unable to express your thoughts anywhere. Not everywhere. While I certainly understand how you have mistaken the Ship for a goverment with the ability to impose criminal and civil penalties for transgressions, I can absolutely assure you this is not the case.

IngoB, you've got a lovely circular argument going there which only makes sense if you accept a big honkin' IF. There isn't a factually true statement about God out there and you know it.
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
Dear Erin
quote:
Who decides what is part of "all that is holy"? A British priest? A Sydney primate? An American fundamentalist?
Nobody 'decides' - an Orthodox Christian inhabits a milieu in which what is holy is a given, rather in the way English grammar and syntax are givens for English-speaking people. Non-Orthodox Christians may have slightly different but overlapping conceptions of holiness. Some will differ radically (so much is clear from this thread), making agreement impossible. A precise definition is only of interest to rationalists and lawyers. I will still stand with the martyrs.
 
Posted by quantpole (# 8401) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
IngoB, you've got a lovely circular argument going there which only makes sense if you accept a big honkin' IF. There isn't a factually true statement about God out there and you know it.

I'd say there is/are factually true statements about God but we don't absolutely know which ones they are.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
I'm following all of this with interest because I think that freedom of speech is a) incredibly important in theory and b) incredibly difficult in practice. It seems to me that Ley Druid has raised an important issue. There are restrictions on what one is, and is not, allowed to say on the Ship. Why? Experience has shown that without such limitations flame wars break out and the good work that goes on here gets lost.

Now, if that is true of one discussion board, might it not also be true of a nation? That some restrictions may be imposed in order that other good may be done? The restriction that seems most justifiable to me is not being allowed to incite others to racial hatred, or indeed any other kind (but then I'm a Brit, and this restriction "feels" right to me in a way it clearly doesn't to many others). Anyone who finds Britain too restrictive is free to emigrate just as anyone who finds this board not to their liking is free to leave and post elsewhere.

The Hosts and Admins here do a great job in keeping this place running smoothly - and part of that is restricting general freedom of speech. A sincere question to all of you who advocate absolute freedom - would you want to be aprt of an absoultely unmonitered discussion board? And if not, why not? (Not deliberately stirring, rather genuinely interested.)
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
A sincere question to all of you who advocate absolute freedom - would you want to be aprt of an absoultely unmonitered discussion board? And if not, why not? (Not deliberately stirring, rather genuinely interested.)

The difference between a bulletin board and real life is that on a bulletin board one spammer/troll/fuckwit can make life hell for everyone. In real life you can just ignore him.

Also, our actions in real life have certain consequences that just aren't present online. Such as someone punching your lights out for being a twat.

In conclusion, there are plenty of factors that can work to stop people being twats in real life without making the law one of them. Online those factors have no meaning, so "the law" (hosts and admins) has to step in to do the job.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
would you want to be aprt of

hopefully you mean "a part of" and not "apart from"? [Smile]
Nice to hear someone else say what I have been trying to, and more succinctly than me.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Isaac David:
rather in the way English grammar and syntax are givens for English-speaking people.

As loose as that?

I thought you guys were much more in agreement with each other. I bet there is lots of perfectly good English syntax that you think is wrong.

You still dodged the question though - when people differ over whether something transgresses this "given" idea of limits, who judges between them?
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Marvin, I completely respect your view that 100% freedom is whatyou wish to exist. I think you have posted quite vigorous arguments to that effect.

However, I am mystified by this strange comment by you in the 'Marvin Shut Your Cakehole' Hell thread -
"Originally posted by Qlib:
So you’d rather they were locked up in their cells doing nothing other than drugs, bullying and buggery. That’s your idea, is it, of how to deter people from a life of crime?
Response from MtM -
No, I'd as soon see such things stamped out."

Drug abuse may be subject to criminal law, it may be argued. But bullying and buggery? Surely these are things are free to be indulged in, and the bullied and buggered choose to be so? [Big Grin]
There are places where complete freedom is not beneficial.
 
Posted by welsh dragon (# 3249) on :
 
Well, there is a line to draw is there not.

The question is where to draw it.

I would think that it's ok to have creative exploration of Judaeo Christian tradition, in a way likely to cause increased discussion and debate, and more people thinking about the issues, underpinned by implied moral values. I think that's what is happening in Springer.

And I wouldn't want to live in a country where people could not even creatively discuss religious issues using art.

Images would have to be more extreme than this before I personally would feel offended or uncomfortable with them, though I guess that is a personal thing...

However, I would not want it to be legal, for example, for people to publish graphic pornographic material about children. So I wouldn't want complete freedom of speech or publication.

Certainly one consideration for me would be whether harm is being done by a publication, say; I don't think Springer the opera was a harmful exercise. I don't think it harmed me watching it. The image I have of God is of a God who would not be harmed or particularly offended either. It is interesting that we so often insist on a version of God that is petty or vindictive or small minded...
 
Posted by GreyFace (# 4682) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
No, you weren't wronged. You were not denied absolute freedom of expression. Being denied absolute freedom of expression means that you are unable to express your thoughts anywhere. Not everywhere.

Surely by this argument, removing the play at the centre (well, it was about ten pages back) of this discussion from the schedules would not have been an infringement of freedom of speech.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
A statement like yours first requires that we (as in society) believe the Bible to be true. If we don't believe the Bible is true, it carries as much weight in determining whether things really exist as The Cat in the Hat. To put it another way, in a secular legal environment you can't call on the Bible to prove your point.

Which was my point: there is always an explicit or implicit definition behind truth (its sources, its methods, its agents). So we have a situation where secular society does not accept Christian truth and hence sees no reason to restrict speech for it (as it does for accepted truths). But when Christians protest, it is considered by the same secular society as an attack on freedom of speech. It's really just the good old German Kulturkampf (culture war) with appropriately modernized democratic rhetorics. [Smile] But for me both sides miss the point with their fight for "truth dominance".

quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
That definition is neither good nor useful, because it really does depend on who defines "false".

I would say that this makes it a good and useful definition - because it brings out the crucial catch.

quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
In a secular society there is no possibility of defining blasphemy in a manner that makes any sense.

Yes, that's true - given current secular society. All this is strangely reminiscent of a fight about the "rules of cleanliness" in a mixed flat-sharing community. And, of course, in that case also rules dictated by one side are not the solution. Actually, until something fundamental changes "there is no possibility of defining rules of cleanliness in a manner that makes any sense." Yet, it can be done.

quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
Should a public service broadcaster be used to propagate what is, to a sizable majority of UK citizens, offensive nonsense about God?

Very good, because actually the more religions and circumstances to consider, the clearer it becomes that an imposed set of rules (even the freedom of speech rules of current secular society) just can't be the answer. At best we get secular society as "equal opportunity blasphemer". [Biased]

quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
IngoB, you've got a lovely circular argument going there which only makes sense if you accept a big honkin' IF. There isn't a factually true statement about God out there and you know it.

Where any "circularity" is to be found in my arguments I do not know. My point is that truth always depends on a "big honkin' IF". Fights about whose IF is bigger and honkin'er are only rarely of edifying nature. Define "factually true statement" for a start and explain how many "factually true statements" have been used in creating the rules of modern, Western, secular society.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
That definition is neither good nor useful, because it really does depend on who defines "false".

I would say that this makes it a good and useful definition - because it brings out the crucial catch.
OK, so it's a useful definition for identifying why it's impossible to define "blasphemy" for any practical purpose outside a specific religious community.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
You can hardly see the forest through the strawmen in this thread. Freedom of speech isn't about truth or error, whether you should protest, limitations on speech in private venues, religious vs. secular values, or God. It is about whether the state should be allowed to restrict the citizens' right to express their ideas, beliefs, and opinions. This is the very bedrock of democracy and of a free society.
 
Posted by Ann (# 94) on :
 
JS-tO is going on tour.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Scot wrote: It is about whether the state should be allowed to restrict the citizens' right to express their ideas, beliefs, and opinions. This is the very bedrock of democracy and of a free society. (emphasis added)
Yes.
Yes.
And, oh, did I mention Yes?

Of course there isn't "absolute freedom of speech." A Jehovah's Witness doesn't have a constitutional right to lecture me in my living room. I do not have a constitutional right to call my boss an idiot. Ley Druid does not have a constitutional right to say whatever he wants on a Internet bulletin board owned by someone else.

Free speech is about the individual's right to be free from restrictions on expression imposed by the state.

By the state.
By the state.

BY THE STATE.

 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Marvin, I completely respect your view that 100% freedom is whatyou wish to exist. I think you have posted quite vigorous arguments to that effect.

However, I am mystified by this strange comment by you in the 'Marvin Shut Your Cakehole' Hell thread -
"Originally posted by Qlib:
So you’d rather they were locked up in their cells doing nothing other than drugs, bullying and buggery. That’s your idea, is it, of how to deter people from a life of crime?
Response from MtM -
No, I'd as soon see such things stamped out."

Drug abuse may be subject to criminal law, it may be argued. But bullying and buggery? Surely these are things are free to be indulged in, and the bullied and buggered choose to be so? [Big Grin]
There are places where complete freedom is not beneficial.

Category error.

Bullying is not only verbal, especially in prisons. And most of the buggery which goes on therein isn't exactly consensual (otherwise it wouldn't have been raised as a bad thing on that particular thread...).

Freedom of speech doesn't extend to freedom of action as well. Otherwise we'd be killing each other left, right and center without any penalties at all.
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
Dear ken
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Isaac David:
rather in the way English grammar and syntax are givens for English-speaking people.

As loose as that?
Most of the time, neither you nor I have to think about grammar or syntax when writing or speaking; we both absorbed them from the English-speaking milieu we grew up in. Similarly, as an Orthodox Christian, I have absorbed a sense of what is holy from the milieu of the Orthodox Church: the services; time spent with other, more deeply experienced Orthodox Christians; reading Lives of Saints and other spiritual literature.
quote:
You still dodged the question though - when people differ over whether something transgresses this "given" idea of limits, who judges between them?
If I disagreed with Fr Gregory, I might ask my priest or a certain monk I know whose word I trust. If he disagreed with Fr Gregory, I would most probably trust the priest's or the monk's word and live by that. However, that doesn't make me right and Fr Gregory wrong - only God knows what is right - but both of us are bound by our membership of the Orthodox Church to uphold the Orthodox faith which has been transmitted to us and must therefore live it as best we can, even when we disagree.

If one group of Orthodox Christians disagree with another group, the matter might be settled by higher authority within the Church - a priest, a bishop, a synod, a pan-Orthodox council. If some of the people die in the meanwhile, God will judge them.

What I won't do is concede the right of arbitration to some earthly authority like the courts or some pan-Christian body.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by welsh dragon:
Well, there is a line to draw is there not.

The question is where to draw it.

I agree.
This thread contains posts from two viewpoints - those who believe that there are no circumstances where a line should be drawn and those who believe there are but haven't solved the ages-old problem about who draws and upholds the line.
I don't think any "restricted free speech" posts have indicated anything but the absolute minimum of restraint.
Most people, when placed in the position of one grossly offended would want some means of restraint. The example you offer would be generally thought unacceptable and few would shrug their shoulders and say "it's up them if they want to". But the danger is, if everyone does have the right to express themselves so, what is to stop it running to even more extreme subject matter? This being the corollary of the line which says any restriction is the path to complete restriction.
It is interesting to see the debate being sidelined into legalistic definitions of particular words and phrases, as though a result on that battlefield could determine the outcome of the main issue - should the JS-tO have been broadcast on BBC2 on a Saturday evening given the level of protest that it provoked beforehand?
I must admit that I have learned a LOT through this thread. And at times amused, too. Well done everyone so far for keeping the expression of views within the guidelines of Purgatory! [Big Grin]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Isaac David:
Dear ken
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Isaac David:
rather in the way English grammar and syntax are givens for English-speaking people.

As loose as that?
Most of the time, neither you nor I have to think about grammar or syntax when writing or speaking; we both absorbed them from the English-speaking milieu we grew up in.
True, but probably quite different versions of English.

OK, between you and me it might not be such a different version of English cos you've been following me around England for 40 years [Biased] - but Mousethief or Coot will have very different idiolects to us.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
MtM:
quote:
The difference between a bulletin board and real life is that on a bulletin board one spammer/troll/fuckwit can make life hell for everyone. In real life you can just ignore him.

I am not sure that this is a difference. If I am black in real life, and someone is encouraging other people to attack me because of the colour of my skin, just ignoring him isn't much of an option. In fact he is making life hell for me - and everyone else like me. And I'd rather have a troll cluttering up these boards than get beaten up for real, I'm afraid.

Out of interest, is there any state that allows absolute freedom of speech? I thought America did, but Erin and others have said that they are working to achieve this goal. So is there a state that places no restrictions on what its citizens are allowed to say?
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
Out of interest, is there any state that allows absolute freedom of speech?

That would be the state that allows absolute freedom to people to foment sedition.

quote:
According to Erin:
Being denied absolute freedom of expression means that you are unable to express your thoughts anywhere. Not everywhere.

So as long as the state doesn't kill people who foment sedition, according to Erin, they haven't been denied absolute freedom of expression. So first, lets look for the state that has never killed anyone...

By the same logic, as long as Father Gregory or the state don't kill people in any way associated with JStO, Fr. G. or the state can do anything they want without having denied them absolute freedom of expression (without having denied them freedom of expression absolutely).
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
It's a long time since I posted on this one. Time to upset some and provide an occasion of absolute hilarity for others. Here is the latest lame duck reply to an email from myself to the BBC. Emoticons mine and added.

quote:
I am afraid, further to the response you have already received from the BBC, there is little more I can add regarding this matter.

We realise that some people would argue that religion should be deemed off-limits for humorists and are conscious that many people have strong religious sensibilities. Yet we feel there can be good-natured humour in depictions of religious life, just as there is in other 'serious' areas of life. Usually such depictions are very exaggerated and far from the truth, as we would hope would be obvious to those listening or watching. We would certainly never seek to mock the pure essence of religion. [Confused] [Killing me]

Christianity has the largest following in the UK and therefore it is the most represented both in the arts and across all television genres including comedy. Recent programmes such as 'Goodness Gracious Me' [Confused] [Killing me] take a satirical look at the Islamic faith, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism which is a reflection of the changing face of religion in this country. I can only continue to assure you that any references in 'Jerry Springer - the Opera' were by no means a deliberate attack by the BBC upon the religious beliefs of any individual.

Thank you again for contacting BBC.

Regards

Steven Nyguist
BBC Information

This is my reply to the reply ...

quote:
I look forward to hearing what you think the "pure essence" of any religion might be. It seems a very slippery phrase for the BBC now to use in order to defend its actions.

As for "Goodness Gracious Me" ... you are not seriously contending that this is a comparable show vis-a-vis blasphemy are you?!!!!

Maybe BBC producers need a little more training in multifaith and multicultural issues.

I repeat, when do we expect to see a similar broadcast featuring Muhammad?

Fr. Gregory Hallam

For over the pond dwellers ... this is the BBC's own guide to "Goodness Gracious Me"

Goodness Gracious Me!

Not a single fuck or cunt in any of the series! You know what ... Ganesh is never shown as a coprophiliac nappy fetishist, Parvati does not ever swear at Shiva, Kali never has a filthy ding dong with Vishnu and Brahma is quite happy with his vocation as Creator. Satire against Islam? Never seen it. Buddhism? Nah.

Obviously we must be watching different shows in different universes ... or the BBC could simply be on a different planet.

I await with baited breath this "Essence of Religion" that the BBC will ring fence and be oh so keen to defend. [Projectile]

[ 13. January 2005, 16:44: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
Free speech is about the individual's right to be free from restrictions on expression imposed by the state.

No its not. Well not just that. There is nothing magic about the state that means it should be subject to different moral rules from anyone else.

If someone has power over me and they us it for their own advantage against my will then they are restricting my freedom whther they are the state or not.

If, say, I live in a town dominated by one employer or one landowner and they throw their weight around to try to stop me saying bad things about their products, then my freedom is under attack.

This latest nonsense was about one set of provate but powerful interests (certain newspapers and political groups) trying to restrict the freedom of speech of a parastatal organisation, the BBC.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Ken wrote: There is nothing magic about the state that means it should be subject to different moral rules from anyone else.
Yes, there is. The State has the power to incarcerate you, fine you, confiscate your property, or compel you to do any number of things against your will. The Widget Corporation does not. That's why the U.S. Constitution forces the State to adhere to higher standards.

quote:
Glimmer wrote: It is interesting to see the debate being sidelined into legalistic definitions of particular words and phrases, as though a result on that battlefield could determine the outcome of the main issue - should the JStO have been broadcast on BBC2 on a Saturday evening given the level of protest that it provoked beforehand?

The debate hasn’t been “sidelined into legalistic definitions of particular words or phrases.” That is the debate. Father Gregory didn't pose the question of whether it was a wise policy for entities to express themselves in a manner that some deem to be blasphemous. He posed the question of whether it should be allowed, whether there was a line that entities shouldn't be allowed to cross.

And Glimmer, any interest in responding to my question on the previous page: What precisely is being censored "under the guise of Patriotism and the War on Terror"?
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
And Glimmer, any interest in responding to my question on the previous page: What precisely is being censored "under the guise of Patriotism and the War on Terror"?

Why should I have any interest? My questions regarding the freedom to declare obedience to Osama Bin Laden, to produce toilet rolls decorated with the US flag, etc remain unanswered. But I'm not making a noise about that.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Glimmer wrote: Why should I have any interest?
Because this is “a serious debate space” where “all views are welcome – orthodox, unorthodox, radical or just plain bizarre – so long as you can stand being challenged.” You said in an earlier post:

quote:
In the US under the guise of Patriotism and War on Terror there is an intolerable level of censorship....
I’m simply asking for your support for that assertion.

quote:
My questions regarding the freedom to declare obedience to Osama Bin Laden, to produce toilet rolls decorated with the US flag, etc remain unanswered.
I’ve done a word search in Purgatory and can’t find your questions, Glimmer. But if what you were asking was it is legal under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to declare obedience to Osama Bin Laden and to produce toilet rolls decorated with the U.S. flag, the answers are yes and yes.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Glimmer: I Googled around for US flag toilet paper, and these were as close as I could get: US Flag Toilet Cover and Toilet Paper Cover.

As for you declaring adherence to OBL? According to the Constitiution, you can, although I imagine some provisions in the Patriot Act might give you problems. You'd need to refer to an attorney for that one.

Now will you answer Pres' question?
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Forgot to add:

Last night I watched "Life of Brian." Reminded me of this very debate.

I wonder how many supporters of religiously-based censorship opposed LoB when it came out, using the same arguments seen here?
 
Posted by ChristinaMarie (# 1013) on :
 
Towards the end of the Jerry Springer Opera, Heaven and Hell were reconciled because there is no right and wrong. So, this seemed to be the philosophical basis of the Opera, absolute subjectivity.

Why is it when such a philosophy is expressed in an art form, that they go for the lowest form of crassness? It seemed to me, to be the epitome of such reasoning, make it as 'wrong' as possible.

Personally, I found the first 35 minutes to be very funny, but I have been round a bit and can be rather worldly regarding humour. The next 25 minutes I found wearisome, it was too much of an outrageous thing.

I regained interest in Act 2. The first part seemed to be heading in a moral direction, being about bad choices and consequences.

Now, Fr Gregory, this blasphemy thing. I can understand why you think it was blasphemous and I'm not trying to change your mind.

Here's my perspective. If, as Springer was uttering his last words: 'Be kind to yourselves, and each other' (rather similar to what Jesus taught) Heaven and Hell were REALLY reconciled, (in the context of the Opera) then it was blasphemous, IMO. However, they weren't really reconciled. The stuff with Jesus as the Adult Baby, was a fantasy (in the context of the Opera).

In other words, Fr Gregory: Jesus, Mary, Satan, God, etc were not depicted in the Opera.

If I were still an Evangelical Christian, I would be on a roll right now. I'd be explaining to people how philosophies of no right or wrong, lead to crassness, that may be funny, for a while, but can you imagine what TV would be like if that philosophy was adopted fully by the Nation? What do people want? Artistic excellence, or crassness?

Christina
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Kenwritez wrote: As for you declaring adherence to OBL? According to the Constitiution, you can, although I imagine some provisions in the Patriot Act might give you problems.
The First Amendment protects speech and the narrow realm of what is called symbolic speech, defined as nonverbal expression such as burning a flag or wearing a black armband. It doesn't cover overt acts. Therefore, it's legal to declare your allegiance to OBL. It's illegal to conspire with others to take flying lessons so that you can crash an airplane into a skyscraper as a means of demonstrating your allegiance to OBL.

Your turn, Glimmer.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Christina Marie

quote:
In other words, Fr Gregory: Jesus, Mary, Satan, God, etc were not depicted in the Opera.

I might be persuaded of that view if it were not for the final sequence in which Jerry receives his apotheosis as the Fixer ... Jerry Eleison ... irony? Maybe ... but I think not. The characterisation of Jesus (being God of course) and Mary then acquires a more explicit comparative, and in my view, actual blasphemous character.

"Unchain your corrupt and corrupting beliefs you Christians ... it's all yin and yang after all!"

Of course, that's OK as theological comment per se ... but it is it's role in imparting significance to the treatment of the (sic) religious figures that degrades.

It's the soteriology of the Opera that establishes its point ... not Act 1 which is merely a contextualising preamble.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
The First Amendment protects speech and the narrow realm of what is called symbolic speech, defined as nonverbal expression such as burning a flag or wearing a black armband. It doesn't cover overt acts. Therefore, it's legal to declare your allegiance to OBL.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibits Congress from making laws abridging the freedom of speech.
So when Congress makes laws abridging what may be said on television, radio, the press etc. etc. they are not abridging freedom of speech, as Erin has told us, because these things could be said elsewhere.
The Constitution makes no mention and certainly no guarantee of the legality or illegality of saying anything.
The Constitution is irrelevant.
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
Talking of First Amendment rights etc. Would they play Jerry Springer the Opera unchanged in "the land of the free" (supposedly), the USA?
 
Posted by ChristinaMarie (# 1013) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
I might be persuaded of that view if it were not for the final sequence in which Jerry receives his apotheosis as the Fixer ... Jerry Eleison ... irony? Maybe ... but I think not. The characterisation of Jesus (being God of course) and Mary then acquires a more explicit comparative, and in my view, actual blasphemous character.

Dear Fr Gregory,

You should write comedy for the BBC. Jerry Eleison! [Killing me]

When Jerry was fixer, that was the final part of the fantasy.

When Jerry came round just before dying, the fixing that we'd seen, had not taken place. It was just in his mind, a fantasy.

'There is no right or wrong' was part of the fantasy too, but I do think the nature of the play was based on that thinking, and my point is: why does it always gravitate to what would be wrong, if there is such a thing? Why not gravitate to right, or in between?

I've seen many Jerry Springer shows and have watched them throughout because it is a different kind of freedom of speech, and I find it fascinating. One thing I've never seen, is lots of swearing, that's bleeped out. So why constant swearing in the play? Perhaps the show isn't bleeped out, perhaps it is bleeped for the British audience, I dont know.

I did feel that the Opera was a C4 type show, rather than BBC.

The South Park movie had lots of swearing in it, but that was central to the plot. It was about people getting so outraged by naughty words that they would start a war over it. I didn't see any point of the swearing in the Opera, not a 2-hour non-stop profanity marathon, anyway.

Christina
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Christina

quote:
You should write comedy for the BBC. Jerry Eleison! [Killing me]
I may have misread this comment but you do know do you that this was a chorus line at the end? I'm not laughing. I didn't see it as at all ironic or continuing in satirical mode at all. Normally my humour function is in good order. Maybe they totally lost my sympathy much earlier on, (in Act 2 that is).
 
Posted by ChristinaMarie (# 1013) on :
 
No, I thought it was your joke, Fr G, which I found funny. I mentally switched off a bit after Jerry died, didn't hear that bit.

Christina
 
Posted by ChristinaMarie (# 1013) on :
 
PS One thing that REALLY annoys me about the BBC, is that we have to pay a license fee, even if we don't watch it, yet they don't have a decent programme for complaints, such as C4s 'Right to Reply'. The BBC had 'Points of View' hardly a serious complaints programme.

The BBC are very good at slamming other companies that earn complaints (and some that don't) but they won't damn well cater on air for complaints about them.

Christina
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibits Congress from making laws abridging the freedom of speech.
So when Congress makes laws abridging what may be said on television, radio, the press etc. etc. they are not abridging freedom of speech, as Erin has told us, because these things could be said elsewhere.
The Constitution makes no mention and certainly no guarantee of the legality or illegality of saying anything.
The Constitution is irrelevant.

First off, I made no mention of Congress or the Constitution when I said that you weren't wronged when your all-too-short suspension was imposed from the Ship for posting your racist slurs.

Second, I actually explained for you the difference between the Ship, which is a private enterprise, and the state, which is not. A private enterprise can restrict your freedom of expression within areas it has control over (e.g., a privately-owned bulletin board on the Internet). The state, however, is expressly forbidden from restricting your freedom of expression.

As I said, I can understand how you can confuse a small, privately owned and operated bulletin board with a government, but they really are two entirely different instances. It's not even comparing apples and oranges -- it's more like comparing apples and a table.

Now, please cease and desist posting statements purposely and falsely attributed to me.

Isaac David, I'm thrilled that you're standing with the martyrs. Tell me, plese, for my own edification, which martyrs are the ones who were executed because they wanted the state to enshrine their particular beliefs about blasphemy into criminal law. I would like to read about that because it sounds very interesting. Thanks.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Second, I actually explained for you the difference between the Ship, which is a private enterprise, and the state, which is not. A private enterprise can restrict your freedom of expression within areas it has control over (e.g., a privately-owned bulletin board on the Internet). The state, however, is expressly forbidden from restricting your freedom of expression.

I hope someone else has told you about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy but the state in which you live, in spite of being
quote:
expressly forbidden from restricting your freedom of expression
CAN and DOES
quote:
restrict your freedom of expression within areas it has control over
Look what naughty little laws the Congress has passed abridging freedom of speech: Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time.

I have never confused the ship of fools with government. However, both can and do restrict freedom of expression.

In response to
quote:
Originally posted by Marinaki:
Talking of First Amendment rights etc. Would they play Jerry Springer the Opera unchanged in "the land of the free" (supposedly), the USA?

If the material was deemed obscene, then no.
If the material was deemed profane, then not between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
From Ley Druid's link, one of the required criteria for being regarded as obscene includes:
quote:
The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law
So, according to the FCC, only sexual conduct can be regarded as obscene. It would seem that snuff films are OK around midnight, but only as long as no naughty anatomical bits get involved.

I'd argue that as being an internally inconsistent conflict between the FCC and the First Amendment, not any sort of proof that free speech is an unworthy ideal.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
So, we're not so different after all ... except, perhaps, in matters pertaining to religion.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Erin, can you explain this slowly to me because I'm thick and I just don't get it? If it is acceptable (good even) for a private enterprise to restrict your freedom of expression in certain ways, why is it not good when your state does it? To me it seems a measure of restriction is acceptable if it enables the private enterprise/ state to function for the good of all. Why are things suddenly different when the state is the agent?

And I'm still wondering if there is a state anywhere that does not impose some restrictions on the freedom of expression of its members. If there isn't, does that say something about the unattainablity of this particular ideal?

[ 13. January 2005, 21:34: Message edited by: The Wanderer ]
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
So, we're not so different after all ... except, perhaps, in matters pertaining to religion.

Well, minor practical differences. In the USA, this show would primarily be criticized by various loonie fundies, whereas in the UK...
Never mind.

Wanderer, as has been already stated, the state can accomplish things by laws using prisons or other criminal punishments. Whereas the private entities are merely exercising their freedom to not say or do some things.

Is universal love and peace an unattainable ideal? If so, why bother trying? Same answer here.

[ 13. January 2005, 21:37: Message edited by: RooK ]
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
Dear Presleytarian and Kenwritez.
I didn’t desist from responding because I disrespect your views or have a fear of being challenged, but I felt it was unnecessary to respond because it seems to me my statement was ‘self-evident’ to coin a phrase and because of the wealth of knowledge in the public domain.
However, here we go.
Please read about Richard Belmar, who is about to be released from US Army care. Amongst other things he stands accused of declaring allegiance to Osama Bin Laden. Notwithstanding the truth or otherwise of other accusations against him or other detainees (one is accused of planning to fly over the Houses of Parliament and drop anthrax on it, I think), it is clear that declaring allegiance to Osama Bin Laden is part of the justification to detain someone at Guantanamo Bay camp. If not, then why list it as an accusation?
Here is the story.

For example of small State Government restricting the most basic of human rights in a democratic society, the right to vote, see here
and here.

For information about big State censorship, see here and here and here and here and here.

For some examples of Corporate censorship, please see here
and here
and her
and here
and here
and here
and here

Just to show that we too, do not live in the land of Freedom From The State, please read here

Before I hear the cry of more strident ‘challenge’, let me say as clearly as I can, that I am not ‘picking’ on the US. I cited censorship in the US only because of the ardent denials that it exists there. In fact it is endemic throughout the world. As humanity has given up the attempt to define ‘fair and reasonable restraint’ satisfactorily, the rulers all over have exercised their power without restraint.
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
Dear Erin
quote:
which martyrs are the ones who were executed because they wanted the state to enshrine their particular beliefs about blasphemy into criminal law?
I don't remember saying anything about asking the state to enshrine my 'particular beliefs about blasphemy into criminal law' - there are more ways than one to skin a crocodile.

However, if you wish to study the life of a martyr who opposed idolatry you can try Holy Martyr Aquilina; alternatively, if you seriously wish to deepen your knowledge, you can spend a year reading the Prologue from Ochrid by St Nikolai Velimirovich - there are plenty of martyrs mentioned there for your edification.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RooK:
Wanderer, as has been already stated, the state can accomplish things by laws using prisons or other criminal punishments. Whereas the private entities are merely exercising their freedom to not say or do some things.

This of course is no reason why private entities should be allowed to restrict your freedom of expression however they like or have no restrictions on what they do or do not express.

For example, it is illegal for a private entity that advertises houses for sale to merely exercise their freedom not to advertise houses for sale owned by minorities. They have the freedom not to say what the minority house owners want them to, especially when they are in prison.

[ 13. January 2005, 22:06: Message edited by: Ley Druid ]
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
You're right, Ley Druid, it isn't a reason. It was a description of the difference.

However, your example wasn't about expressing opinions, it was about business practices. Said real estate agent would be perfectly free to state that they don't like working with any variety of skin pigment they care to mention, just as long as they didn't discriminate in their business in any way.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
I hope someone else has told you about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy but the state in which you live, in spite of being
quote:
expressly forbidden from restricting your freedom of expression
CAN and DOES
quote:
restrict your freedom of expression within areas it has control over
Look what naughty little laws the Congress has passed abridging freedom of speech: Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time.

quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Before I hear the cry of more strident ‘challenge’, let me say as clearly as I can, that I am not ‘picking’ on the US. I cited censorship in the US only because of the ardent denials that it exists there. In fact it is endemic throughout the world. As humanity has given up the attempt to define ‘fair and reasonable restraint’ satisfactorily, the rulers all over have exercised their power without restraint.

Jesus H Tap-Dancing Christ.

Just because the state DOES impose restrictions does not mean it SHOULD. I think you'll find that I've already said that the US does impose a freedom of restriction that is, IMO, completely unconstitutional and morally repugnant. The question is whether or not the state should impose any restriction on expression of ideals and beliefs. It should NOT. EVER. No excuse, no reason, no nothing that would ever justify in any way, shape or form the restriction of freedom of expression.

If you disagree and believe that there should be a restriction, you are advocating a stance that will, without a doubt, be used to shut your own self up one day. If you're happy to have yourself be muzzled by the state, then we really don't inhabit the same reality.

Isaac David --

quote:
I don't remember saying anything about asking the state to enshrine my 'particular beliefs about blasphemy into criminal law' - there are more ways than one to skin a crocodile.
You said you stand with the martyrs. What we're talking about here is whether or not the state should enforce any particular stream of religious thought. I'm trying to make the connection between your statement about standing with the martyrs and the subject at hand. The only connection I could come up with is that you know of martyrs who were martyred because they wanted the state to enforce a particular stream of religious thought. Otherwise, "I'll stand with the martyrs" doesn't make a damn bit of sense and is a pompous, arrogant non sequitur in an otherwise interesting, if frustrating, discussion.

Wanderer...

quote:
Erin, can you explain this slowly to me because I'm thick and I just don't get it? If it is acceptable (good even) for a private enterprise to restrict your freedom of expression in certain ways, why is it not good when your state does it?
Because I can look at the policies of a private business and decide if I wish to do business with them. If I agree, fabulous. If I don't, I can take my business elsewhere to a place whose policies I do agree with.

When the agent in question is the state, you have no other options. Also, the state can impose a fine, jail time, etc, whereas a business can just say "I don't want you saying X on my property". There's a huge difference.

For those who think that the government should be able to censor expression of ideas, which ideas should the government be free to censor? And why? I'm sure that you won't object when a Muslim comes up with his list of objectionable ideas (including that Jesus is the Second Person of the Triune God). Or when a racist lists his objectionable ideas. And so on. If you do object, what makes your list of ideas any more sacrosanct than someone else's?
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Scanning all those links from Glimmer ... stones and glasshouses come to mind.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
Just because the state DOES impose restrictions does not mean it SHOULD...
If you disagree and believe that there should be a restriction, you are advocating a stance that will, without a doubt, be used to shut your own self up one day.

This is the absolute bottom line for me.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Father Gregory wrote: Scanning all those links from Glimmer ... stones and glasshouses come to mind.
Not to my mind, they don't.

I’ve only got a moment, but I found Glimmer's links unpersuasive.

RE: Richard Belmar. I’m not hear to defend the Guantanamo Bay detentions. I believe many of them to be unconstitutional and the Supreme Court has already made clear that foreign nationals imprisoned without charges at the Guantanamo Bay camps are entitled to bring legal action challenging their captivity in U.S. civilian courts. If Richard Belmar was held for pledging allegiance to OBL, his detention is unconstitutional. If, as some sources have suggested, Richard Belmar was in Pakistan in an Al Qaeda safe house, that’s a different matter. That’s not protected speech.

RE: The Florida Voting Brouhaha. The First Amendment has nothing to do with the right to vote. Why is this at all relevant?

RE: Elton John’s position on censorship. 1) Does Glimmer really derive his or her opinion on American constitutional jurisprudence from a pop singer? 2) No one has “censored” the Dixie Chicks. They’re allowed to say whatever they want. Just as people who don’t like what they say are free to protest at their concerts and not buy their records. How is that censorship? Or is Glimmer suggesting that people should be forced to attend Dixie Chicks concerts against their will? The First Amendment guarantees my right to say controversial things. It doesn’t guarantee that people will like what I say or will like me for saying it. And if I don’t have a thick enough skin to be able to handle opposition, I should exercise my right to shut up.

RE: Alleged censorship of newspaper stories. Newspaper owners are free to run the stories they like and quash the stories they don’t. Just as I am free not to buy their rags and get my news from other sources.

RE: FCC crack-down on vulgarity on TV. The FCC has jurisdiction over broadcast television and radio because the airwaves are legally considered to be public property. The FCC has no jurisdiction whatsoever over cable TV, satellite radio, movies, the Internet, magazines, or newspapers.

RE: Bill Maher and the like. The White House Press Secretary’s comment that Bill Maher’s statement about the 9/11 hijackers vs. the U.S. military was “a terrible thing to say” is hardly government censorship.

RE: The failure of the press to challenge the WMD story. They were lazy and foolish, but how did the government “censor” them?

RE: “Corporate censorship.” As I’ve explained about 47 times already, the First Amendment circumscribes the activities of the State, not private entities. If a citizen doesn’t like the business practices of Cisco or Microsoft or Wal-Mart, don’t do business with them. Of course, SlimFast didn’t renew Whoopie Goldberg’s endorsement contract after she made vulgar references to Bush in public. The company has a right to hire or fire anyone they want and if they believe that her statements will make it less likely that consumers will buy their product, they’re free not to pick up her option. The First Amendment guarantees her right to speak her mind. It doesn’t guarantee her right to speak her mind and keep lucrative endorsement deals.

Free speech isn't free. It often comes with unpleasant consequences. But unlike some, I don't believe it's the role of the government to mollycoddle me if my tough talk results in tough opposition.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
I hope someone else has told you about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy but the state in which you live, in spite of being
quote:
expressly forbidden from restricting your freedom of expression
CAN and DOES
quote:
restrict your freedom of expression within areas it has control over
Look what naughty little laws the Congress has passed abridging freedom of speech: Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time.

quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:
Before I hear the cry of more strident ‘challenge’, let me say as clearly as I can, that I am not ‘picking’ on the US. I cited censorship in the US only because of the ardent denials that it exists there. In fact it is endemic throughout the world. As humanity has given up the attempt to define ‘fair and reasonable restraint’ satisfactorily, the rulers all over have exercised their power without restraint.

Jesus H Tap-Dancing Christ.

Just because the state DOES impose restrictions does not mean it SHOULD. I think you'll find that I've already said that the US does impose a freedom of restriction that is, IMO, completely unconstitutional and morally repugnant. The question is whether or not the state should impose any restriction on expression of ideals and beliefs. It should NOT. EVER. No excuse, no reason, no nothing that would ever justify in any way, shape or form the restriction of freedom of expression.

If you disagree and believe that there should be a restriction, you are advocating a stance that will, without a doubt, be used to shut your own self up one day. If you're happy to have yourself be muzzled by the state, then we really don't inhabit the same reality.

Here are two scenarios that come quickly to mind:

a) Dr. Evil can destroy the state by means of a thermonuclear bomb controlled by a computer with speech recognition software. The computer asks "Dr. Evil, do you want me to destroy the state?" Should the state restrict Dr. Evil's freedom of expression?

b)The Russians can destroy the state. They ask the state "Do you want us to destroy you?" Should Dr. Evil be allowed to express his answer (yes), saying that he represents the state, or should his freedom of expression be restricted, and should he not be allowed to say that he speaks for the state?

The latter seems more compelling to me. The state must, at least, restrict others from speaking for the state.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
Those two scenarios quickly came to mind, Ley Druid? How and, more importantly, WHY? They make no sense whatsoever and furthermore have precisely dick to do with the conversation at hand. Presleyterian, kudos for picking through those links. After I moused over one and the link had "voting" in the title, I couldn't bring myself to look.

I mean, really, what's so difficult about keeping to the subject at hand, which is the role of the government in the suppression of ideas and beliefs?
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
Why has every state that has ever been in existence restricted the ability of others to speak in its name?

Or why has every state that has ever been in existence restricted the ability of others to say things that the state has perceived as a threat to its existence?

[ 13. January 2005, 23:47: Message edited by: Ley Druid ]
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
Does it make any impression that people of insanely divergent political views agree that the gov't not censoring speech is a Good Thing. Why? Because even if I don't agree with everthing Erin has to say, I want to hear it. First, because I might learn something, second because I want to know what my fellow citizens are thinking even if it is bonkers (or even, especially if it is bonkers) and third, I want to be able to speak my own mind. How hard is that?
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
Wow, those are some of the thinnest straws I've ever seen. Ley Druid must have small hands.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
If you disagree and believe that there should be a restriction [on the freedom of speech], you are advocating a stance that will, without a doubt, be used to shut your own self up one day.

quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
It is about whether the state should be allowed to restrict the citizens' right to express their ideas, beliefs, and opinions. This is the very bedrock of democracy and of a free society.

To the extent that you and others like you are successful, you will reduce religious freedom in your culture and lay the groundwork for the day when your own religious views become the target of govermental discrimination.

So when does this day come?
Or is it hard to predict, like the rapture?
Do you believe in this day too Rook?
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Like a sorbet to cleanse one's palate from all the straw men arguments, I thought I'd go back to FG's OP:
quote:
The question here is whether there should be any boundaries when dealing with any significant religious figure in the media AND in particular, should Christians mobilise.
Fair enough. The answers, ISTM, are "No" (if FG is talking about governmental boundaries) and "Yes," respectively.

No, (summarizing others and myself) because (speaking from a civil viewpoint) the State ought not interfere with the airing of speech about "any significant religious figure[s]," (i.e., stating one's beliefs, ideas or opinions about such figures.)

Yes because Christians (and every other religious group) ought to be free to exercise their right of free speech concerning their ideas about such previously-mentioned speech or even about other "significant religious figure[s]."

Religious groups ought to be free to advocate whatever they want: Overturn of Vatican II, French as a national language, institutionalized slavery, mandatory peyote use, golf on Sundays as a sacrament, death to [insert race, religion or sexual orientation here], fried chicken and beer as valid Communion elements, banning of global thermonuclear war, prohibition of the public wearing of spandex and reading of Barbara Cartland novels by pudgy people, and more. This includes public outcry about the Springer opera.

If you don't like it, don't want it broadcast on the back of your BBC license fee, then fine; protest your little heart out. Send out those emails, make phone calls, hold public meetings, organize marches, anything you like. Use that right of free speech. You can even advocate that such material ought not to be broadcast. Again, that's your right of free speech.

But I find it bitterly ironic--and hypocritical--that people using their right of free speech are advocating the loss of free speech of someone airing ideas and opinions they find offensive.
 
Posted by anglicanrascal (# 3412) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Like a sorbet to cleanse one's palate from all the straw men arguments, I thought I'd go back to FG's OP:
quote:
The question here is whether there should be any boundaries when dealing with any significant religious figure in the media AND in particular, should Christians mobilise.
Fair enough. The answers, ISTM, are "No" (if FG is talking about governmental boundaries) and "Yes," respectively.

No, (summarizing others and myself) because (speaking from a civil viewpoint) the State ought not interfere with the airing of speech about "any significant religious figure[s]," (i.e., stating one's beliefs, ideas or opinions about such figures.)

Yes because Christians (and every other religious group) ought to be free to exercise their right of free speech concerning their ideas about such previously-mentioned speech or even about other "significant religious figure[s]."

...

If you don't like it, don't want it broadcast on the back of your BBC license fee, then fine; protest your little heart out. Send out those emails, make phone calls, hold public meetings, organize marches, anything you like. Use that right of free speech. You can even advocate that such material ought not to be broadcast. Again, that's your right of free speech.

But I find it bitterly ironic--and hypocritical--that people using their right of free speech are advocating the loss of free speech of someone airing ideas and opinions they find offensive.

Respectfully, isn't your stace just as hypocritical? That people should be encouraged to protest that "that such material ought not to be broadcast" but that the government should not listen to them because:
quote:
the State ought not interfere with the airing of speech about "any significant religious figure[s]," (i.e., stating one's beliefs, ideas or opinions about such figures.)
If the government wasn't allowed to interfere with what could be aired, why should people be encouraged to protest to them about what is aired?
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by anglicanrascal:
If the government wasn't allowed to interfere with what could be aired, why should people be encouraged to protest to them about what is aired?

Because the right of free speech isn't dependent, or validated, upon the result of that speech. In different words: You ought to have the right of free speech regardless if a specific exercising of that right is logical or illogical.

(From Life of Brian) You, AR, as a male, ought to have the *right* to have babies, as in, give birth to them. You can't ever actually have them, but you ought to have the right. That's my exercise of free speech. Ought I be prevented from it because you don't have a womb?

[ 14. January 2005, 04:34: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
So when does this day come?
Or is it hard to predict, like the rapture?

That's easy. It comes only after the citizenry surrenders its right to free speech. How long after hardly matters, does it?
 
Posted by anglicanrascal (# 3412) on :
 
If a government said "You should have the right to be able to call 999 if there's an emergency" but didn't provide a fire bridge, polive force or ambulance service, I would think they were deceptive. Saying "You should have the right to propose whatever law you want" and then ignoring what was suggested seems, to me, to fall into a similar category.
 
Posted by Leetle Masha (# 8209) on :
 
The martyrs with whom Isaac has been standing died because they refused to pinch incense to the Emperor, i.e., they did not wish to worship the government.

Where is the line between obeying a government and paying so much homage to the powers that be that it's tantamount to worship?

Is there a line between free speech and the sort of "free" speech some governments demand?
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Religious groups ought to be free to advocate whatever they want: <snip> institutionalized slavery, mandatory peyote use, <snip> death to [insert race, religion or sexual orientation here], <snip> and more.

But I find it bitterly ironic--and hypocritical--that people using their right of free speech are advocating the loss of free speech of someone airing ideas and opinions they find offensive.

This opinion can be traced back to a loss of belief in any "inherent good/evil". If we assume that "good/evil" is exclusively a matter of negotiation in society, that there is no such thing as an "inherent good/evil", then clearly the negotiations must be protected at all costs. Taking the above as example: if one loses the belief that hate killings are evil in themselves, then the process of discussing their extent becomes important. It is necessary that groups in society negotiate the allowed extent of hate killings. However, if one believes that hate killings are inherently evil, that their allowed extent is precisely zero, then it makes perfect sense to tell its advocates to shut up or face persecution. Why would one attack their speech and not wait for their actions (i.e., actual hate killings!)?

Words have power, words shape minds, words make things happen. Everybody instinctively knows that, but how can a Christian forget it? John 1:1-3,14. The first thing that generally moves is speech, it telegraphs the social and political punch to come. What Hitler would do and what Martin Luther King jr. would change was apparent from their speeches long before their impact on society was felt. For that matter, what is Christianity but "good news" - words shaping action?

So the restrictions to freedom of speech ultimately stem from what we see as "inherently good/evil". What is inherently good should be advocated, what is not - not. Absolute freedom of speech can only makes sense if one holds that there is nothing which is "inherently good/evil", that all is negotiable. Of course, that's precisely the trajectory of Western society for a couple of hundred years now. One could have hoped that for Christians both tables of the Decalogue, and for non-Christians at least the second table of the Decalogue, would serve as minimal inherent good stopping this trend. Apparently not so for some...
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Erin, and others, thanks for the clarification. I can understand where you are coming from, even though I don't agree with you. In particular, when you say:
quote:
If you disagree and believe that there should be a restriction, you are advocating a stance that will, without a doubt, be used to shut your own self up one day.
I think you are overstating the case.

My position is that I think freedom of expression is vitally important for a healthy society. I want the press to unearth all those embarassing secrets that the government of the day would like to keep from us; once we know what they have done we can express our opinions on them through the ballot box. However, if freedom of expression is used to threaten the physical well being of others, through any form of incitement to violence, it seems reasonable to me that that freedom should be curbed. My right to speak should not result in your buises, broken leg or whatever.

Provided I do not go around inciting violence I do not think that the state will take action against me. Nor do I think that just because the state has the right to impose this limit it is likely to impose lots of others, which would mean that I get clobbered. We live in democracies which, however imperfect, mean that has to get a public mandate on a regular basis - particulalry if it wants to make sweeping changes. I don't think totalitarianism (of the right or the left) is poised to take over Britain or the States; therefore I am happy to accept this small but significant limit on my freedom, and I believe that the majority of my fellow subjects feel the same way. Further restrictions should be, and I believe would be, strenuosly resisted but there seems little likelihood of these being imposed. Are we back to another cultural divide here - that (broadly speaking) Americans are far more suspicious of their government than the British are of theirs?

(Sadly I am just about to go away for a long weekend, so it will be four days before I can get back to this. I hate to think how much I will have to read on my return . . . . )
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
So the restrictions to freedom of speech ultimately stem from what we see as "inherently good/evil". What is inherently good should be advocated, what is not - not.

And who gets to decide what is "inherently good/evil"?

That you are making this argument at all tells me that you believe yourself to be in the group of people who would be making that decision. Furthermore, it tells me that you believe the state should enforce your (that is to say, Christian) ideas on what is "inherently good/evil".

Presuming (pace the Wanderer) that the country remains a democracy, what then happens if the majority view in the country changes such that public expression of Christianity is seen as an inherent evil? Would you expect the state to protect your right to profess the faith, or stop you from saying it?

If you would expect the state to protect your rights to free speech in such a situation, you must expect it to protect the rights of those you would have silenced.

Blithely assuming that you are Right and 'they' are Wrong, and thus justifying a contradictory position, is the height of arrogance.

And don't get me started on the "we can start down this road, because there's no chance of getting far enough down it to hurt me" argument that Wanderer just made...
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
And who gets to decide what is "inherently good/evil"?


I believe it was called The Committee for Public Safety in one of its incarnations.
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
We live in democracies which, however imperfect, mean that has to get a public mandate on a regular basis - particulalry if it wants to make sweeping changes. I don't think totalitarianism (of the right or the left) is poised to take over Britain or the States; therefore I am happy to accept this small but significant limit on my freedom, and I believe that the majority of my fellow subjects feel the same way. Further restrictions should be, and I believe would be, strenuosly resisted but there seems little likelihood of these being imposed.

Setting aside whether or not the government will continue its scope creep on this subject, why should they be resisted? By saying "yes, I accept that you may limit freedom of expression in instance A" you have absolutely given them the ability and justifiction to limit freedom of expression in instances B-Z. You've already said you're OK with it. So why should you resist now?

Ultimately, from where I sit, it looks as though all of those who think there should be restrictions on expression boil the argument down to "well, I think X is bad and people shouldn't do it". But again, I fail to see why the government shouldn't accommodate everybody's offenses. If it should accommodate one, it's got to accommodate all.
 
Posted by Tubbs (# 440) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
quote:
Father Gregory wrote: Scanning all those links from Glimmer ... stones and glasshouses come to mind.
Not to my mind, they don't.

I’ve only got a moment, but I found Glimmer's links unpersuasive. <snip>

One of the biggest factors in ending the Vietnam war was, so I have read, the reaction of the public to seeing images of soldiers returning in coffins in the media.

The US Government worked very hard to keep such images out of the media this time around. (And their reaction when private photographs of this ended up in the public domain).

That strikes me as being a better example of what Glimmer is trying to argue.

Tubbs
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
quote:
Ken wrote: There is nothing magic about the state that means it should be subject to different moral rules from anyone else.
Yes, there is. The State has the power to incarcerate you, fine you, confiscate your property, or compel you to do any number of things against your will. The Widget Corporation does not.
Naive fluffy wishful thinking head-in-the-sand liberal nonsense. Corporations do kill people. Even British and American ones. Sometimes they even do it with guns. Not very often perhaps, but it happens.

And it happens much more often that businesses, corporations and rich individuals have some limited degree of political power over their employees, customers, or neighbours, sometimes excercised directly , sometimes though influence of legal or governmental institutions.

That has been the normal state of affairs in most times and most places.
 
Posted by Anselmina (# 3032) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I agree that I may have read 'too much' theology into it - that's my job, kind of.

Exactly. Whereas most people watching it, perhaps, would have tuned in for the entertainment value, rather than the theological message. If it's your job you'll work hard at it, most people won't want to.

quote:
The point I was trying to make about the swearing is that many people have used that to write off the whole thing, without paying any serious attention to its contents.
And I agree. I'm suggesting that for some people - ordinary people at that - it's hard to pay serious attention to the 'contents' of a piece of drama when it's so saturated in obscenity that everything else gets obscured. I think that, possibly, JSTO ran that risk and for a lot of people it didn't work.

quote:
From the few episodes I have watched of the Jerry Springer Show and from the many hours I have spent at work with people from some estates in my city, the amout of "f's" per minute was not much of an exaggeration.
And on the estates where I lived and worked as a kid, and later in life the language of the junior playground could out-Springer Springer any day of the week, if we're still talking about the 'it's real life so it's perfectly valid' argument! I don't disagree with that either.

I'm just saying that for some people tuning in to be entertained, challenged, or whatever the huge welter of swearing - not the fact that there was swearing - was heavy going. I asked a few non-Christian friends to check it out to see what they thought of the religious scenes in Act II. A few felt they really didn't want to work that hard to get the 'message' so they turned over. These are people who laughed their leg off watching Pulp Fiction, and who didn't blink an eyelid during Reservoir Dogs but who still reckoned that if it was artistically 'necessary' to saturate the whole production with swearing then the message must be too weak to weather proper exposure.

For the ones who perservered, their chief complaint was how boring the language was. When someone pointed out that that was how it was in real life, his reply was 'and in real life Big Brother has several hours every day of people going to the toilet and complete silence, but they still edit most of that out so we can see what's really worth watching.'
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
And who gets to decide what is "inherently good/evil"?

Well, if there is such a thing as "inherent good/evil" - and I believe so - then clearly it must be found in everybody. For example, the idea that it's evil to kill everybody you don't like seems to have arisen in all cultures at all times. It's human. Sure, you will find a few "psychopaths" who seem to disagree by nature. Sure, you can make people kill other people. Nevertheless, there is an undeniable underlying trend in humanity that preferably one shouldn't murder. The decalogue (second tablet) is a classical collection of such trends. But of course, similar collections exist everywhere - which is the point.

Now, all this talk about "freedom of speech" is tying you guys into logic knots. [Smile] I'm sure even KenWritez knows in the bottom of his heart that hate killings are evil, and that hence clearly no religious groups should be allowed to advocate them. However, because he has swallowed the ideology of absolute freedom of speech hook, line and sinker, he has to conclude - I'm sure against every gut instinct - that he has to defend the right of some religious nutcases to run around in the world and declare that people should be killed because of race, religion or sexual orientation. I'm sure the devil is laughing his brains out.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
That you are making this argument at all tells me that you believe yourself to be in the group of people who would be making that decision. Furthermore, it tells me that you believe the state should enforce your (that is to say, Christian) ideas on what is "inherently good/evil".

Yes, I'm in that group. So are you and indeed most everybody. Except, you are reasoning yourself out of the group and into the company of Hitler and the like, due to too much freedom of speech on the brain. But that can hardly be called my fault. [Smile] Get a grip. There's stuff really no decent human should do (no, I'm not talking about whatever kinky sex you are into...), and hence one shouldn't allow people to talk others into it. End of story, really.

Well, almost. What about the first tablet, the bit about God? Now, it can hardly be proven that the Christian God is universal to humanity (it has to be believed). On the other hand, a sense for the sacred is and always has been part of humanity everywhere. Even hardcore atheists can be awed by nature and many find an ersatz religion, say humanism. Be that as it may, while special pleading for Christianity can't be derived from "inherent good", a minimal respect for whatever another person holds sacred can.

The rest of your post is entirely besides my point, as I hope you can see now. I'm not, of course, saying that with such minimal morals the job is done. Far from it. But to go further together requires a unity which is just not in existence at the moment. So let's stick to the basics.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
However, because he has swallowed the ideology of absolute freedom of speech hook, line and sinker, he has to conclude - I'm sure against every gut instinct - that he has to defend the right of some religious nutcases to run around in the world and declare that people should be killed because of race, religion or sexual orientation.

Bollocks (*)

quote:

Yes, I'm in that group. So are you and indeed most everybody. Except, you are reasoning yourself out of the group and into the company of Hitler and the like

You have no real idea do you?

And why are you telling us you want to use Hitler's methods? That is using the forces of the state to try to police private morals.

quote:

There's stuff really no decent human should do (no, I'm not talking about whatever kinky sex you are into...), and hence one shouldn't allow people to talk others into it. End of story, really.

Of course there is stuff no-one should say. But why does that require sending men with guns to stop them saying it?

(*) that's the technical term - had I explained in detail what I think of this flimsy argument I woudl have had to use language which would not have been fit for this board.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Well, if there is such a thing as "inherent good/evil" - and I believe so - then clearly it must be found in everybody.

So, since not everybody agrees that blasphemy should be banned, you agree that it's not an inherent evil?

quote:
I'm sure even KenWritez knows in the bottom of his heart that hate killings are evil, and that hence clearly no religious groups should be allowed to advocate them. However, because he has swallowed the ideology of absolute freedom of speech hook, line and sinker, he has to conclude - I'm sure against every gut instinct - that he has to defend the right of some religious nutcases to run around in the world and declare that people should be killed because of race, religion or sexual orientation. I'm sure the devil is laughing his brains out.
There's a difference between saying "all ______s should die" and "you should go and kill all ______s". It's the same as the difference between saying "David Beckham shouldn't have so much money" and "You should steal David Beckham's money".

One is voicing an opinion, the other is planning to commit a crime. Freedom to voice one's opinions and beliefs doesn't mean freedom to plan crimes.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
That you are making this argument at all tells me that you believe yourself to be in the group of people who would be making that decision. Furthermore, it tells me that you believe the state should enforce your (that is to say, Christian) ideas on what is "inherently good/evil".

Yes, I'm in that group. So are you and indeed most everybody. Except, you are reasoning yourself out of the group and into the company of Hitler and the like, due to too much freedom of speech on the brain.
Interesting. Because I advocate freedom for everyone to express their opinions and beliefs you lump me in with someone who was totally against such expression...

quote:
But that can hardly be called my fault. [Smile]
If it was the case, then no it couldn't. It's not the case.

quote:
Get a grip. There's stuff really no decent human should do (no, I'm not talking about whatever kinky sex you are into...), and hence one shouldn't allow people to talk others into it. End of story, really.
Talking someone into doing something illegal isn't expressing an opinion or belief. Talking someone into doing something legal, but which you (or indeed I) disagree with, isn't a problem at all.

quote:
Well, almost. What about the first tablet, the bit about God? Now, it can hardly be proven that the Christian God is universal to humanity (it has to be believed). On the other hand, a sense for the sacred is and always has been part of humanity everywhere. Even hardcore atheists can be awed by nature and many find an ersatz religion, say humanism. Be that as it may, while special pleading for Christianity can't be derived from "inherent good", a minimal respect for whatever another person holds sacred can.
That "minimal respect" isn't violated by this opera. Any more than it was by Life of Brian or Godspell.

What you're asking for is that nobody say anything you consider blasphemous. Clearly you aren't willing to extend that courtesy to other religions (since if you were you'd stop peddling that blasphemous (to Islam) nonsense that God has a Son).
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
So, since not everybody agrees that blasphemy should be banned, you agree that it's not an inherent evil?

I had already mentioned that complete disrespect for anything sacred can be discerned as inherent evil, but "Christian blasphemy" in particular not (that's too specific).

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
There's a difference between saying "all ______s should die" and "you should go and kill all ______s".

Unfortunately, that's a moot point. For experience tells us that the latter is bound to follow the former, if the former goes unchecked.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Interesting. Because I advocate freedom for everyone to express their opinions and beliefs you lump me in with someone who was totally against such expression...

The only connection I see is this: Hitler believed that he had the right to say: "All Jews, gays, handicapped and other human vermin should die." You apparently also believe that he had the right to say so. I don't.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
That "minimal respect" isn't violated by this opera. Any more than it was by Life of Brian or Godspell.

I won't judge without having seen it. "Life of Brian" is one of my favorite movies, by the way.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
What you're asking for is that nobody say anything you consider blasphemous. Clearly you aren't willing to extend that courtesy to other religions (since if you were you'd stop peddling that blasphemous (to Islam) nonsense that God has a Son).

Whatever made you think that? Neither do I require that nothing "Christian blasphemous" may ever be said to me, nor have I lost my Muslim and Buddhist friends by offending their religious sensibilities. What I'm suggesting is a minimum of religious tact. How much is required clearly depends on circumstances.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
I had already mentioned that complete disrespect for anything sacred can be discerned as inherent evil, but "Christian blasphemy" in particular not (that's too specific).

Fair enough. Though I'm sure the atheists would disagree about disrespect for the sacred being an inherent evil...

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
There's a difference between saying "all ______s should die" and "you should go and kill all ______s".

Unfortunately, that's a moot point. For experience tells us that the latter is bound to follow the former, if the former goes unchecked.
I'm sure it could be shown that the former follows on from saying "I hate ______s". Should that be controlled as well?

Of course, there are plenty of perfectly legal things which experience shows are bound to lead to illegal things. Like football.

The line I draw is where an opinion becomes a command. Freedom of speech protects opinions, not commands.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Interesting. Because I advocate freedom for everyone to express their opinions and beliefs you lump me in with someone who was totally against such expression...

The only connection I see is this: Hitler believed that he had the right to say: "All Jews, gays, handicapped and other human vermin should die." You apparently also believe that he had the right to say so. I don't.
Of course I do. How can I claim freedom of speech for myself if I would deny it to anyone else?

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
That "minimal respect" isn't violated by this opera. Any more than it was by Life of Brian or Godspell.

I won't judge without having seen it. "Life of Brian" is one of my favorite movies, by the way.
And yet when it came out, it drew just as much ire as JS-tO...

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
What you're asking for is that nobody say anything you consider blasphemous. Clearly you aren't willing to extend that courtesy to other religions (since if you were you'd stop peddling that blasphemous (to Islam) nonsense that God has a Son).

Whatever made you think that? Neither do I require that nothing "Christian blasphemous" may ever be said to me, nor have I lost my Muslim and Buddhist friends by offending their religious sensibilities. What I'm suggesting is a minimum of religious tact. How much is required clearly depends on circumstances.
Tact is a good attribute for anyone to have, especially around religion. I'm with you all the way on that.

I just don't think it should be legally required.

[ 14. January 2005, 14:37: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The first thing that generally moves is speech, it telegraphs the social and political punch to come. What Hitler would do and what Martin Luther King jr. would change was apparent from their speeches long before their impact on society was felt.

quote:
So the restrictions to freedom of speech ultimately stem from what we see as "inherently good/evil". What is inherently good should be advocated, what is not - not. Absolute freedom of speech can only makes sense if one holds that there is nothing which is "inherently good/evil", that all is negotiable.
I'm suffering from irony-induced intestinal cramps.

Hitler gained his power by preaching things that his countrymen thought to be inherently good. MLK advocated things that many people at that time believed to be inherently bad. Your standard would allow Hitler while muzzling King.

Oh, but I forgot. Your criteria for good and bad will be a religious one (which can historically be counted upon to prevent injustice) and will be interpreted and administered by the government (which is immune from corruption and bad judgement).

Thanks, but I'll stick with free speech.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
So when does this day come?
Or is it hard to predict, like the rapture?

That's easy. It comes only after the citizenry surrenders its right to free speech. How long after hardly matters, does it?
The citizenry?
Who speaks for the citizenry? Who decides when the citizenry "surrenders its right to free speech"?
You?
How much of the citizenry must surrender? Who decides?
Do you think you can evangelize the citizenry and ward off the advent of this fateful day?
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Little Masha wrote: Where is the line between obeying a government and paying so much homage to the powers that be that it's tantamount to worship? Is there a line between free speech and the sort of "free" speech some governments demand?
To paraphrase a trenchant comment from earlier in this thread – OK, it was mine [Biased] – if you give the State the authority to make it illegal to say “Down with God,” you’ve just given it the authority to make it illegal to say “Praise God.” Which is why I believe it's in Christians' interest vigorously to fight government censorship.

quote:
Tubbs wrote: The US Government worked very hard to keep such images out of the media this time around. (And their reaction when private photographs of this ended up in the public domain).
I vehemently disagree with DoD’s policy, but legally it isn’t censorship. The government has no constitutional obligation to make it easy for the press to do its job. If it were truly censorship, then the government could make it a crime to display them. Which it hasn’t – because it can’t.

quote:
Ken wrote: Naive fluffy wishful thinking head-in-the-sand liberal nonsense. Corporations do kill people. Even British and American ones. Sometimes they even do it with guns. Not very often perhaps, but it happens.
When corporations – or their officers – engage in illegal behavior, they can be sued and/or prosecuted in a way that the State cannot. No one disputes that corporations have substantial power, but how precisely can Wal-Mart put you in jail? How can Wal-Mart burst into your house in the dead of night, rouse you out of your bed, and seize your property? How can Wal-Mart force you to hand over 37% of your income on payday? Of course, there are those “naive fluffy wishful thinking head-in-the-sand liberals” who thinks that people can’t be expected to resist the blandishments of advertising, but you hardly strike me as that type.

Oh, any IngoB, I strongly support your proposed Bureau for the Criminal Punishment of Tactless Behavior, but only if I get to be the Chief Prosecutor. 'Scuse me. I've got to go pick fabric swatches for my new office.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
The citizenry?
Who speaks for the citizenry? Who decides when the citizenry "surrenders its right to free speech"?
You?

Yes, I speak for me, and you speak for you. We all speak collectively through our elected representatives.

quote:
How much of the citizenry must surrender? Who decides?
Fifty-one percent. It is decided at the polls.

quote:
Do you think you can evangelize the citizenry and ward off the advent of this fateful day?
Yes, at least the smart ones.

You seem to be very interested in how this all works. There are a number of good civics texts available used. There are also quite a few good books written by people who set up our version of representative democracy. I'm sure you would enjoy reading them.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
quote:
How much of the citizenry must surrender? Who decides?
Fifty-one percent. It is decided at the polls.
I have never seen this question posed let alone decided at the polls.
51 percent could surrender with or without the nefarious example of Fr. Gregory and others of his ilk. So what they do seems completely irrelevant.
Why don't you leave Fr. Gregory alone and keep up your great work of evangelizing the 51 percent?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
When corporations ? or their officers ? engage in illegal behavior, they can be sued and/or prosecuted in a way that the State cannot.

Why can't the state be prosecuted? Over here the State is often prosecuted, and sometimes even loses. The Prime Minister's wife used to make a speciality of it.

Anyway in general, in most times and places, the courts and government tend to work more for the rich and powerful than the poor and weak. There are not many jurisdictions where a poor individual can be sure of justice if they take a rich company to court.

quote:

How can Wal-Mart burst into your house in the dead of night, rouse you out of your bed, and seize your property?

They probably can't, not to you and me, not this week. But there are times and places where businesses do just that. And worse.

It ws not so long ago that agents of US companies sometimes beat up or even murdered trade unionists. And some of them got away with it.

European and US oil companies have employed agents to evict poor people from their land in a number of countries in South America, Africa, and South-East Asia. People who resist have been killed.

In some places government is powerless to enforce the law, in other places government is in the pockets of those who break the law. In most places government is on the side of the rich and powerful.

quote:

How can Wal-Mart force you to hand over 37% of your income on payday?

They probably can't force me to do that. But there are other companies that can force other people to do it. There has been debt-slavery in the US and Australia within living memory. And there still is in India and many other places.

quote:
Of course, there are those ?naive fluffy wishful thinking head-in-the-sand liberals? who thinks that people can?t be expected to resist the blandishments of advertising, but you hardly strike me as that type.

Of course not. I'm a socialist, not a liberal. I recognise that businesses, acting in their own interests, will sometimes act in ways which can only be resisted by collective action by their employees or neighbours. And in extreme circumstances - but not so extreme that they have not often occurred - by violence.
 
Posted by lapsed heathen (# 4403) on :
 
quote:
but legally it isn't censorship. The government has no constitutional obligation to make it easy for the press to do its job. If it were truly censorship, then the government could make it a crime to display them.
I was going to stay away from this argument but this kind of rubbish makes it hard.

So lying and pressurising aren't forms of censorship? Your definition of censorship is too narrow.

quote:
The FCC has jurisdiction over broadcast television and radio because the airwaves are legally considered to be public property.
And that's exactly the case F.G. was making that as the BBC is public property a case for restricting what it can show exists.
Preslyterian you seem to contradict your own reasoning. Either free speech is free from all restrictions or it is'nt free.

14 pages and I'm just as confused by the American definition of free speech, Which IMNSHO dos'nt seem so free at all.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Well the American definition of free speech (which has varied as courts interpret the laws) isn't really relevant to the issue of this topic.

Which is about private citizens (Daily Mail et al) trying to censor the speech of an organ of the State (the BBC).
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
It ws not so long ago that agents of US companies sometimes beat up or even murdered trade unionists. And some of them got away with it.

European and US oil companies have employed agents to evict poor people from their land in a number of countries in South America, Africa, and South-East Asia. People who resist have been killed.

In some places government is powerless to enforce the law, in other places government is in the pockets of those who break the law. In most places government is on the side of the rich and powerful.

As is still, apparently, happening in Columbia.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
quote:
Lapsed Heathen wrote: Your definition of censorship is too narrow.
What I've posted here aren't my personal definitions. They're the definition propounded by the Supreme Court. And in the United States, theirs is the only definition that matters. Lucky for you and others, you're not bound by it. Many Americans who have posted on this thread are quite happy with how they've defined things.

To some extent, the problem may be definitional. No, there is not an absolute right to free speech even in the United States. Slander isn't protected under the First Amendment. Neither is perjury. I don't have a constitutional right to make a false statement in the context of registering securities. The First Amendment isn't a defense if I lie on an application for a bank loan. And words that pose a "clear and present danger" of "imminent lawless action" are unprotected, although I'm not aware of a case in which the Court has found that exceedingly high standard to be met. As Mr. Justice Brandeis said in Whitney v, California:

quote:
Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
In addition, as long as the regulation is content neutral, the government may in certain situations implement restrictions on the time, place, and manner of speech. For example, the government can require protesters to get a permit to block city streets as long as the regulations are applied even-handedly, e.g., the animal rights people, the anti-World Bank crowd, and the National Rifle Association are all treated in the same way.

The principle underlying the First Amendment is that the harm caused to people by being exposed to ideas they find abhorrent is less injurious than the harm caused by suppressing free speech. And the best way to discern the truth is to ensure that free people enjoy a free exchange of ideas. As Woodrow WIlson said, ""Nothing chills nonsense like exposure to the air."

It boils down to this: 1) Is it the role of elected officials to protect you from the discomfort that accompanies the exposure to ideas you find offensive? 2) Are you willing to cede to them the responsibility for determining what falls under that category?

My answers are: 1) No; and 2) No.
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
So when does this day come?
Or is it hard to predict, like the rapture?
Do you believe in this day too Rook?

Wow, you're completely right, Ley Druid. Your logical straws can be seen under a microscope. Let us know when you've finished weaving thousands of them together to fashion a piece of conversational confetti.

[ 14. January 2005, 19:26: Message edited by: RooK ]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Religious groups ought to be free to advocate whatever they want....But I find it bitterly ironic--and hypocritical--that people using their right of free speech are advocating the loss of free speech of someone airing ideas and opinions they find offensive.

This opinion can be traced back to a loss of belief in any "inherent good/evil".
Take back the turban, Swami Ingo; your mind-reading act is crap. So, since you can't read minds, even mine, please allow me to explain to you what's actually in my mind versus what you wrongly assume to be there.

My opinion can be traced back to me believing there is a greater inherent evil in religiously-fueled censorship than there is in airing JStO--or any controversial program--over public airwaves. Your sense of offense does not trump free speech.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If we assume that "good/evil" is exclusively a matter of negotiation in society, that there is no such thing as an "inherent good/evil", then clearly the negotiations must be protected at all costs.

Again, you're wrong. "Negotiations" must be protected at all costs because the civil right of free speech is a greater good than you, LD or anyone feeling offended by JStO. You and FGs and Glimmer's willingness to deny free speech to the BBC and to the producers of JStO are a greater evil than any blasphemy in the show.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
However, if one believes that hate killings are inherently evil, that their allowed extent is precisely zero, then it makes perfect sense to tell its advocates to shut up or face persecution.

Again, wrong. 0 for 3, Sparky. Hate killings are inherently evil. They're bad things, not good things. If some Nazi gasbag advocates a return to the death camps, as abhorrent as I find that philosphy, I find still more abhorrent the idea his speech should be censored. If I do not extend the right of free speech to even those whose speech I loathe, how can I insist that my speech be free?

On a more day-to-day level, people like Nazis and Noam Chomsky aren't fought by shutting them up; that only makes them martyrs and perpetuates status quo. They're fought--and successfully, too--by letting them air their words, letting people see what evil morons they are.

They're also fought by counter-demonstrations. Google "Angel Action" and "Fred Phelps."

Darkness is best fought with light, not with more darkness.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Why would one attack their speech and not wait for their actions (i.e., actual hate killings!)?

Do you really think no hate speech = no hate killings? Do you really think muzzling these racists will somehow stop hate crimes? Actions are actionable, speech is not, or shouldn't be.

Why? Because speech is, or ought to be, free, as actions are not. You're free to say I should be killed and boiled down for soup; you're free to urge Glimmer to kill me and boil me down. What you're not free to do--and shouldn't be, if I have anything to say about it--is to kill me and cook me.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Words have power, words shape minds, words make things happen. Everybody instinctively knows that, but how can a Christian forget it?

By focusing so narrowly on their own limited concept of God, of history and of political reality that he or she loses sight of the fact that civil rights are both the most dangerous threats to freedom as well as its greatest protector.

The instigators of the Patriot Act, whom I'll assume are well-intentioned but misguided, recognize this duality, and have attempted to address it, albeit in a way that threatens all civil rights and IMHO will cause more problems than it resolves. Your solutions is the same in that regard.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
So the restrictions to freedom of speech ultimately stem from what we see as "inherently good/evil".

I agree. You argue religiously-based censorship is inherently good, I argue it's inherently evil. Who gets the moral high ground?

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
What is inherently good should be advocated, what is not - not.

I think what you advocate is inherently bad, it's evil, you're none too many steps away from pulling on that pointy black hood, Torquemada. Now, who gets to referee our dispute? If we go with your rules, and I air a program highlighting and explaining all of this, then there is no dispute, I'm hauled off to a cell someplace or fined into poverty.

If we go with mine, we can have a dispute. To use a sports metaphor, you merely can't kick me off the field and declare a win due to forfeit.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
They're the definition propounded by the Supreme Court. And in the United States, theirs is the only definition that matters.

But this thread is about some otherwise apparently sensible and well-informed British people who think the British government should not be permitted to fund the British Broadcasting Corporation to put on a show they don't like.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Bulletin board debate, like foot fungus, grows.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
So why restrict it to the definitions used in t he laws of just one of all the many countries in the world?
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
Feel free to consider it as an example of trying to move closer to an ideal, and let that apply to the topical considerations of a question about limits on public broadcasts regardless of national context.

Or not. I mean, finding interesting ideas and contemplating them is clearly not as entertaining as just arbitrarily picking a side and defending it regardless of what anyone else thinks. Or doesn't think, as the case may be.
 
Posted by Tubbs (# 440) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
quote:
Tubbs wrote: The US Government worked very hard to keep such images out of the media this time around. (And their reaction when private photographs of this ended up in the public domain).
I vehemently disagree with DoD’s policy, but legally it isn’t censorship. The government has no constitutional obligation to make it easy for the press to do its job. If it were truly censorship, then the government could make it a crime to display them. Which it hasn’t – because it can’t.
You're right. Legally it isn't censorship. But morally it could be. The US Government was actively preventing information from being freely available because it Made Them Look Bad and the networks went along with that. (US sources have commented that reporting of the war is very different in the UK to the US. On the other hand, that US source I saw quoted was Tim Robbins [Biased] )

Tubbs

PS Nice office ... [Big Grin]

[Stupid code - T]

[ 14. January 2005, 20:55: Message edited by: Tubbs ]
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
quote:
Lapsed Heathen wrote: Your definition of censorship is too narrow.
What I've posted here aren't my personal definitions. They're the definition propounded by the Supreme Court. And in the United States, theirs is the only definition that matters.
Not to some people
quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
I think you'll find that I've already said that the US does impose a freedom of restriction that is, IMO, completely unconstitutional and morally repugnant.


 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
Wow. When did I become equal to the US Supreme Court? Some of you need to go ahead and grab your ankles while others might as well go stand by the wall.
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
Maybe Erin or someone across the pond can answer my question, but could Jerry Springer the Opera be shown on American TV (private or public)?
 
Posted by Isaac David (# 4671) on :
 
quote:
You said you stand with the martyrs. What we're talking about here is whether or not the state should enforce any particular stream of religious thought. I'm trying to make the connection between your statement about standing with the martyrs and the subject at hand. The only connection I could come up with is that you know of martyrs who were martyred because they wanted the state to enforce a particular stream of religious thought. Otherwise, "I'll stand with the martyrs" doesn't make a damn bit of sense and is a pompous, arrogant non sequitur in an otherwise interesting, if frustrating, discussion.
With respect, Erin, you are talking about 'whether or not the state should enforce any particular stream of religious thought'. Fr Gregory asked in the OP
quote:
whether there should be any boundaries when dealing with any significant religious figure in the media AND in particular, should Christians mobilise.
and the debate devolved into a discussion about free speech, then about the state's restriction of free speech, as if the only way to regulate human behaviour were through legislation. I decided to offer a different perspective. If my intervention is a non sequitur, perhaps it is because it doesn't follow your way of looking at the issue.

I refer to the martyrs who were executed for their opposition to idolatry in order to suggest that robust Christian opposition to impiety is not abnormal. However, you misrepresent me if you infer from this that I simply wish the state to legislate against blasphemy. Indeed, you misrepresent the martyrs too, since they regarded themselves as belonging to another world and would have been more concerned about their obedience to Christ than for the consequences of their actions for the society they left behind. Nevertheless, society did change. To be sure, legislation was part of this change, but, more importantly, so were the manners and morals. And it is these elements of the social fabric which may be open to influence.

Consider, for example, the way that British social attitudes to homosexuality have changed in the last 40 years; although there have been some changes in the law (e.g. the age of consent), homophobia in the media is not illegal, and yet, as far as I am aware, it has disappeared from our TV screens because society at large no longer finds it acceptable. This change did not happen by itself, but as a result of campaigns going back to the 1960's.

Why should not Christians try to influence Britain's manners and morals to make such things as broadcast blasphemy socially unacceptable? If the Maori's, to cite another example, can persuade the rest of New Zealand society to respect their sacred sites, cannot we attempt a similar persuasion with respect to our sacred figures? Maybe our attempt will fail - we live in spiritually bankrupt times - but do we simply sit on our hands?

Last thought: for Christians, there is more to social change than public campaigns. The true history of the world is the history of God's involvement with His creation and the outpouring of His grace upon the world through both the visible and invisible work of God's people. If we forget the work that goes on in secret (both God's work and ours), then we cannot expect our public campaigns to succeed.
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marinaki:
Maybe Erin or someone across the pond can answer my question, but could Jerry Springer the Opera be shown on American TV (private or public)?

It not only could be shown on cable/satellite TV in America, it almost certainly will. 250 channels don't just fill themselves, you know - they can't afford to be choosy.

The TV channels on the public airwaves would only be able to air the program off peak hours, per the FCC regulations, and many of the broadcasters might turn it into one long bleep noise occasionally punctuated by a stray word.
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RooK:
It not only could be shown on cable/satellite TV in America, it almost certainly will. 250 channels don't just fill themselves, you know - they can't afford to be choosy.

The TV channels on the public airwaves would only be able to air the program off peak hours, per the FCC regulations, and many of the broadcasters might turn it into one long bleep noise occasionally punctuated by a stray word.

So it could not be shown on ordinary terrestial TV on the public airwaves broadcasting to the whole nation as it was in the UK? Why is that? (You have free speech - don't you!?)

Will it be shown by a public service broadcaster in the US?
 
Posted by Erin (# 2) on :
 
Yes it could be shown on broadcast tv, RooK just said that. They'd bleep out the fucks and such, but the real Jerry Springer show in all its glory is shown on local broadcast channels in the middle of the day. So really, a parody of the thing isn't so shocking.

PBS may or may not show it. It all depends on whether or not they think it'd get decent ratings. They tend to go for nature and news shows, though.
 
Posted by Marinaki (# 343) on :
 
But in the UK we watched it with all the swearwords?
And seeing as most of it seemed to consist of sung swearing in pseudo-poperatic style I really cannot see how they could play it and that it would make any sense. It would be one long bleep - with bleeps all over it it would lose any minor artistic merit that it may have had in the first place!

So essentially the US would censor it!
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
There are plenty of us who argue that the FCC standards are puritanical to the point of insanity. That fact notwithstanding, the restrictions on obscenity are content neutral. That is to say, they do not discriminate against or promote any particular viewpoint and do not, therefore, limit anyone's right to express a viewpoint, idea, or opinion. You are just as free to say "[bleep] Michael Powell" as "[bleep] Michael Moore" or "[bleep] Buddha" or "[bleep] Jesus".
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marinaki:
So essentially the US would censor it!

If it was deemed obscene, it could not be broadcast, on cable or otherwise.

Furthermore, cable operators, by law, can decline to carry anything they consider indecent. Of course non of the free-speech advocates here would accuse such a cable company of being "puritanical to the point of insanity" or denying free speech, because they aren't the government.

quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
That fact notwithstanding, the restrictions on obscenity are content neutral. That is to say, they do not discriminate against or promote any particular viewpoint and do not, therefore, limit anyone's right to express a viewpoint, idea, or opinion. You are just as free to say "[bleep] Michael Powell" as "[bleep] Michael Moore" or "[bleep] Buddha" or "[bleep] Jesus".

You obviously have no understanding of obscenity laws. Obscenity is not protected speech. Ignorance is bliss.

[ 15. January 2005, 06:32: Message edited by: Ley Druid ]
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
Returning you briefly from the general censorship department back to Jerry Springer the Opera: I particularly liked what Giles Fraser has to say in the Church Times this week. Christ engages with the real world in all its sordid glory, and doesn't need protecting from it as much as many of his followers seem to think.....
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Fair enough. Though I'm sure the atheists would disagree about disrespect for the sacred being an inherent evil...

As mentioned above, I think atheists have feelings of "sanctity" about places, people, and concepts like everybody else, they just do not attribute them to a "higher power". Which is really not required for respecting them.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I'm sure it could be shown that the former follows on from saying "I hate ______s". Should that be controlled as well?

I do not believe that there is any simple rule one can use to compute the impact of statements. That's why we need people judging them, even though that clearly brings its own problems. But robot-like ticking off "keywords" just doesn't work. I can easily write a speech inciting violence against some group, which only uses "hate" not "kill". In fact, I don't even need to use "hate" if I work a bit harder.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Of course I do. How can I claim freedom of speech for myself if I would deny it to anyone else?

I'm not against freedom of speech, I'm against making it rule absolute. There are other goods in the world, and there's no reason to assume that putting freedom of speech before all other goods at all times optimizes the benefit for society and the individual.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Tact is a good attribute for anyone to have, especially around religion. I'm with you all the way on that. I just don't think it should be legally required.

Actually, I don't think "tact" could be legally required, simply because it's a too sophisticated concept. It belongs to an "advanced" stage of morals, which should be taught by society and perfected by the individual. However, obvious large scale attacks on a religion are a different matter. I also do not think that all the necessary rules need to be "proper law". A public broadcaster has a duty of care and should be self-regulating to some extent even without state laws forcing the issue.

quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Hitler gained his power by preaching things that his countrymen thought to be inherently good. MLK advocated things that many people at that time believed to be inherently bad. Your standard would allow Hitler while muzzling King.

[As an aside, Hitler never won the majority in a free election and he gained votes mainly because of promises that he would restore Germany's ailing economy, reduce the massive unemployment and repudiate Versailles. He was able to grab power with the help of the conservatives, who wanted to use him as fire to fight the fire of Communism. He didn't get into power on anti-semitism, although it didn't hurt him either...]

Your statements simply ignore my argument, since I've advocated restrictions based on inherent good/evil. And this means - as mentioned - only concepts which can be shown to exist in practically all cultures and all times. That one should not murder is such a concept. Clearly, restrictions based on this would not have stopped Hitler after he had gained control. Because as usual in this, he changed the definitions for illegal killing, and for human. That he felt the need to do so is a demonstration of the power of this concept! The only way of making his actions not appear evil was by defining them to not be murder. However, if the restrictions had been in place before he had gained power, when more sensible definitions were still in force, it's not impossible that he could have been stopped. As to King, I fail to see how anything he preached could possibly be at odds with for example the inherent good collected in the Decalogue. And I sincerely doubt that his opponents criticized him using that as argument...

quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
"Negotiations" must be protected at all costs because the civil right of free speech is a greater good than you, LD or anyone feeling offended by JStO. You and FGs and Glimmer's willingness to deny free speech to the BBC and to the producers of JStO are a greater evil than any blasphemy in the show.

I'm not denying free speech, I'm saying it should be restricted. Unfortunately, you have it in your head that a "restricted freedom" can not be freedom at all. Which is weird, because you live precisely such freedom every day - it's the organizing principle of every society. For example, in driving your car you have the freedom to go anywhere (actually, even that is restricted), but you must obey traffic rules or you will be punished by society. So you operate your car under restricted freedom. Nevertheless, you do not whine endlessly about that. Because you realize that without some rules more people would get hurt. Well, just so with "absolute free speech"...

Further, whether this opera is bad enough to wish for a restriction of the BBC I do not know, as I've said before. However, I was actually commenting on something else you wrote - namely, that a religious group should be free to advocate hate killings, slavery and whatever else they wish. Well, no, they shouldn't.

quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
If some Nazi gasbag advocates a return to the death camps, as abhorrent as I find that philosphy, I find still more abhorrent the idea his speech should be censored.

What can I say? I find your priorities naive at best.

quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
They're fought--and successfully, too--by letting them air their words, letting people see what evil morons they are.

Which works well if they are evil morons. In the case of the Nazis, for example, unfortunately some of their people were quite bright and charismatic (although it's hard to see it that way in hindsight). Letting a Goebbels air his words can lead to most devastating consequences.

quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Do you really think no hate speech = no hate killings?

Not "no", "less".

quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
You're free to say I should be killed and boiled down for soup; you're free to urge Glimmer to kill me and boil me down.

You are saying this because of security through obscurity. If I knew your name, address and livelihood, if I had the opportunity to run this opinion non-stop in all the mass media, if I was staging a massive agitprop effort in your home town, the situation would look rather different...

quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
You argue religiously-based censorship is inherently good, I argue it's inherently evil.

Which means it's not inherent. Lucky then, that I did not argue for a "religiously-based censorship". (Although clearly, if you are religious, you are held by your religion to much higher standards than what I'm arguing for.)

quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
I think what you advocate is inherently bad, it's evil, you're none too many steps away from pulling on that pointy black hood, Torquemada. Now, who gets to referee our dispute?

I assume the public. Even if my system was fully in place (and actually I think it is to some extent...), nothing you've said is a strong attack on any inherent good. You didn't agitate for people to kill me, you didn't agitate for them to rob me of my possessions, you didn't invent extensive lies about me to slander my name, ... All you are saying is that I'm wrong. On the day when I come to believe that I am the inherent good of humanity, I'm sure the Lord will smite me for my incredible pride. Or perhaps He will just [Waterworks] with [Killing me] ...
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
Obscenity is not protected speech.

What the fuck are you talking about? When did I say anything about obscenity being protected speech?
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Your statements simply ignore my argument, since I've advocated restrictions based on inherent good/evil.

No, I addressed your argument in the second paragraph of the quoted post, which you've left out.

quote:
I said:
Oh, but I forgot. Your criteria for good and bad will be a religious one (which can historically be counted upon to prevent injustice) and will be interpreted and administered by the government (which is immune from corruption and bad judgement).

If you don't see a problem with having some thinly veiled theocracy enforcing standards of "inherent good/evil", then we truly are living in different realities.
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Isaac David:

Consider, for example, the way that British social attitudes to homosexuality have changed in the last 40 years; although there have been some changes in the law (e.g. the age of consent), homophobia in the media is not illegal, and yet, as far as I am aware, it has disappeared from our TV screens because society at large no longer finds it acceptable. This change did not happen by itself, but as a result of campaigns going back to the 1960's.

This is an extremely relevant point. Homophobia is no longer an acceptable attitude in the broadcast media, neither is racism. Satirising or picking apart of those attitudes, however, is a common tactic - such as some of the Louis Theroux programmes.

For those who are hard of humour, that's exactly what the Jerry Springer Opera is doing. Satirising people with the kinds of language, attitudes, and lifestyles that people seem to object to so much.

I guess I can kind of understand this whole hoo-ha might have arisen if the makers of the show had seriously intended to suggest that these attitudes and behaviour were laudable. But I don't see why people have gotten their knickers in such a twist over a satire.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
No, I addressed your argument in the second paragraph of the quoted post, which you've left out.
quote:
I said:
Oh, but I forgot. Your criteria for good and bad will be a religious one (which can historically be counted upon to prevent injustice) and will be interpreted and administered by the government (which is immune from corruption and bad judgement).

If you don't see a problem with having some thinly veiled theocracy enforcing standards of "inherent good/evil", then we truly are living in different realities.
Now you've simply ignored my argument twice. Thrice lucky?

Although most religions provide a decent list of "inherent good/evil", the point is exactly that "inherent" are those concepts which arise independent of culture, time - and yes - religion. Murdering people is evil. Find a person who truly disagrees, and we call him "insane"! It's always been like that, everywhere. Which is precisely why so much effort is spent on moving the goalposts on what "murder" and "people" means. If it was OK to murder people, you wouldn't have to argue that your war is just, a necessary evil. If it was OK to murder people, holocausts wouldn't be initiated by declaring that the future victims are, in spite of appearances, not people.

Now, the discussion about what "murdering people" means is clearly an important one - and I think modern societies have made considerable progress on what "people" means (not as much on the "murder" side of things...). But since this is an inherent evil, restrictions based on it are always good. If the definition scope is more limited, it simply means less people get protected. But some still are protected by it.

Another valuable discussion is what restrictions on free speech should be like which are derived from "inherent good/evil". I think that discussion should focus on the "volume" of a statement, as already discussed above. However, I think it is wrong to say that any volume of "inherently evil speech" is allowed, i.e., that free speech rules absolute.

[ 15. January 2005, 22:27: Message edited by: IngoB ]
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
quote:
Originally posted by Ley Druid:
Obscenity is not protected speech.

What the fuck are you talking about? When did I say anything about obscenity being protected speech?
You said
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
That fact notwithstanding, the restrictions on obscenity are content neutral. That is to say, they do not discriminate against or promote any particular viewpoint and do not, therefore, limit anyone's right to express a viewpoint, idea, or opinion.

The restrictions on obscenity are not content neutral. The restrictions depend on the content.
They do discriminate against the expression of obscene viewpoints, obscene ideas or obscene opinions.
Obscene speech is not protected from discrimination. It is not protected speech. The expression of obscene viewpoints, ideas or opinions is discriminated against. It is not protected against discrimination.
You would be wrong to suggest that the FCC does not limit anyone from expressing obscene viewpoints, ideas or opinions. But don't let that stop you.
You don't have the right to broadcast obscenity in the United States of America.
 
Posted by Dave W. (# 8765) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

[...] I've advocated restrictions based on inherent good/evil. And this means - as mentioned - only concepts which can be shown to exist in practically all cultures and all times. That one should not murder is such a concept.

What kind of speech exactly do you favor restricting, IngoB? If it really is such a (nearly) universally recognized "inherent evil" I'd think it should be easy to explain. No need to go on and on about murder (in favor of which no one here is arguing.)
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
IngoB, where do you get the extremely silly idea that there is a universal standard for behavior, especially without reference to religion? Many cultures have accepted and even celebrated the killing of collective or individual enemies. That's why we have concepts like heroic warriors, blood feuds, duels to the death, cannibalism, and so on. Maybe you want to start equivocating over what sort of killing is murder but, as I've pointed out before, that judgement would have to be made by some sort of all-powerful morality police.

Ley Druid, give me an example of an obscene viewpoint or opinion which is restricted by the FCC. Not an opinion which can be expressed (but not broadcast) in an obscene manner, but one which is inherently obscene, or even indecent or profane.

The FCC restriction on the broadcast of obscene speech is content neutral in that it does not discriminate on what viewpoint or opinion is being expressed in an obscene manner. It is the form of the speech that is restricted, not the meaningful content.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Ley Druid, give me an example of an obscene viewpoint or opinion which is restricted by the FCC. Not an opinion which can be expressed (but not broadcast) in an obscene manner, but one which is inherently obscene, or even indecent or profane.

[Killing me]
Freedom of expression. Not freedom of opinions. The FCC doesn't restrict viewpoints or opinions, they restrict their expression.
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
The FCC restriction on the broadcast of obscene speech is content neutral in that it does not discriminate on what viewpoint or opinion is being expressed in an obscene manner.

The FCC does discriminate on what viewpoint or opinion is being expressed. The restrictions are based on the content, not neutral to it. The laws pertain to obscene material not obscene manner.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
So should I take it that you cannot provide an example?
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
You should take it that it is irrelevant.
Just because the FCC doesn't restrict opinions doesn't mean they
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
do not, therefore, limit anyone's right to express a viewpoint, idea, or opinion


 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chukovsky:
But I don't see why people have gotten their knickers in such a twist over a satire.

Me neither. It is a mystery.

Pres, Scot: I know the discussion has moved on a bit but - given the US definition of free speech\censorship you've described - is it correct to say that free speech legislation would have been completly irrelevant to the JStO controversy had it happened in the US? Since at no point was the state involved or asked to get involved?
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
As to King, I fail to see how anything he preached could possibly be at odds with for example the inherent good collected in the Decalogue. And I sincerely doubt that his opponents criticized him using that as argument...

You need to re-read your American civil rights history, then. People opposed to King called him a Communist agitator and a liar, accused him of fomenting discord, race riots, murder of whites, et al, all things ruled against in word or spirit by the Decalogue.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
I'm not denying free speech, I'm saying it should be restricted.

Yes, restricted according to the prejudices and opinions of yourself and those few who agree with you.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Unfortunately, you have it in your head that a "restricted freedom" can not be freedom at all.

Nope. What you're saying is you want freedom of speech restricted to the degree it will not offend anyone's religious sensibilities. "You're not allowed to make fun of God" is what you seem to want. That's ludicrous and inane.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
So you operate your car under restricted freedom. Nevertheless, you do not whine endlessly about that.

No, I whine endlessly about the totalitarian-inclined who think the red-line on their personal "Offense-O-Meter" determines what I can say or not say, view or not view. The freedom to drive my car in a certain manner or to a certain location has nothing to do with the freedom of speech in expressing ideas and opinions.

Erin, Scot and I have gone on endlessly about that important facet: The right to express one's views, ideas and opinions, and you don't seem to understand that. I don't know if you're simply glossing over everything we say with some bizarre "They don't know what they're talking about" prejudice or if your reading comprehension is poor.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Because you realize that without some rules more people would get hurt. Well, just so with "absolute free speech"...

Ah, I see now. You want the State as your Mommy. Protect you from those nasty bad ol' opinions that upset your tummy, and coincidentally protect everyone else from what *you* don't like. "No more liver and sprouts for anyone! You don't have to eat those anymore! In fact, anyone who serves them will be fined and jailed!"

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
However, I was actually commenting on something else you wrote - namely, that a religious group should be free to advocate hate killings, slavery and whatever else they wish. Well, no, they shouldn't.

Who died and made you God? Who enshrined your personal sense of offense as the ultimate arbiter of the civil right of free speech? When your sense of offense changes, when the scope of what you consider offensive increases (as is human nature), so will the actionable acts of speech you'll want to control, until finally, logically extending this situation, anyone disagreeing with you is liable for punishment and silencing. "You must be silenced for the good of society and for your own good." Oh, you'll protect people, all right--protect them straight into the grave.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
If some Nazi gasbag advocates a return to the death camps, as abhorrent as I find that philosphy, I find still more abhorrent the idea his speech should be censored.

What can I say? I find your priorities naive at best.
What can I say? I find yours chilling, leading to the grossest of evils while masquerading as good, and utterly caustic to freedom. You should read "1984" sometime, it's got your blueprint in it.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Letting a Goebbels air his words can lead to most devastating consequences.

...and the Klan can make *exactly* the same claim about Martin Luther King, Jr.

"If we didn't let those uppity niggers and their Communist nigger-lovin' white traitors from the North agitate all our niggers, we'd still have peace down here, no race riots in LA or Boston. We shoulda shut them up long time ago for the good o' society."

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
You're free to say I should be killed and boiled down for soup; you're free to urge Glimmer to kill me and boil me down.

You are saying this because of security through obscurity.
Nope, you're wrong again. I'm saying this because I believe it to be true. You're crap at mind-reading, Ingo, I'd drop the act and return the robes and turban to the costume shop.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
You know, I really can't understand American culture. Most porn sites statistically originate in America. Within the law, you can get what you like, (if one is so disposed that is and at least until very recently). This, however, is also the culture that is prudish to the extreme in not saying fuck on TV or which goes ape when Timberlake and Jackson do an innocuous if tasteless breast boogy on MTV. Would someone explain that to me please?
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chukovsky:
But I don't see why people have gotten their knickers in such a twist over a satire.

Or why some people think that opposition to the BBC broadcast of JStO portends the demise of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the undoing of democracy and even the end of free society.

I have found the latter to be far more amusing.
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
You know, I really can't understand American culture. Most porn sites statistically originate in America. Within the law, you can get what you like, (if one is so disposed that is and at least until very recently). This, however, is also the culture that is prudish to the extreme in not saying fuck on TV or which goes ape when Timberlake and Jackson do an innocuous if tasteless breast boogy on MTV. Would someone explain that to me please?

I'm right there with you, Fr. Gregory. It has me quite flummoxed. Apparently it has something to do with "values"? I suppose we could just accept that the hundreds of millions of Americans might have some considerable variation of opinion themselves.

Oh, and thanks for that commentary Ley Druid. A seemingly unproductive thread in Purgatory isn't really complete without you pronouncing that you've been mentally masturbating over it. It's like a litmus test, except stickier.
 
Posted by (gracia) (# 1812) on :
 
FG and Ley,
The critique of American culture is surely a tangent.
Why not open a thread where we can all jump on the bandwagon?
I'd love the opportunity to tell y'all my gripes about our "culture".

I'm sure I'd have just as many gripes, regardless of whatever culture I happened to be a member of.
It's just the way I am - but i'm ready - bring it on.

Then we can start on other cultures.
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
I'm not denying free speech, I'm saying it should be restricted.

Yes, restricted according to the prejudices and opinions of yourself and those few who agree with you.
<snip>
What you're saying is you want freedom of speech restricted to the degree it will not offend anyone's religious sensibilities. "You're not allowed to make fun of God" is what you seem to want. That's ludicrous and inane.
<snip>
Erin, Scot and I have gone on endlessly about that important facet: The right to express one's views, ideas and opinions, and you don't seem to understand that. I don't know if you're simply glossing over everything we say with some bizarre "They don't know what they're talking about" prejudice or if your reading comprehension is poor.
<snip>
You want the State as your Mommy. Protect you from those nasty bad ol' opinions that upset your tummy, and coincidentally protect everyone else from what *you* don't like. "No more liver and sprouts for anyone! You don't have to eat those anymore! In fact, anyone who serves them will be fined and jailed!"
<snip>
Who died and made you God? Who enshrined your personal sense of offense as the ultimate arbiter of the civil right of free speech? When your sense of offense changes, when the scope of what you consider offensive increases (as is human nature), so will the actionable acts of speech you'll want to control, until finally, logically extending this situation, anyone disagreeing with you is liable for punishment and silencing. "You must be silenced for the good of society and for your own good." Oh, you'll protect people, all right--protect them straight into the grave.
<snip>
What can I say? I find yours chilling, leading to the grossest of evils while masquerading as good, and utterly caustic to freedom. You should read "1984" sometime, it's got your blueprint in it.

<snip>
You're crap at mind-reading, Ingo, I'd drop the act and return the robes and turban to the costume shop.

Apart from the obvious fact that resorting to juvenille ridicule (no-one would have taken offence, just exasperation and mild amusement) weakens any case you may be trying to make, you seem to have read posts on this thread through your own pre-judged viewpoint. The idea that I and others are evil is laughable; the idea that anyone has proposed a system of restraint based on one person's views is something you have invented; the idea that your society exemplifies the closest achievement to the perfect ideal of free speech is patently absurd.
This is the view that is being put before you - most people agree that free speech is a laudable aim, essential to a civilised society and furthermore the duty of each citizen to protect it, safeguards must somehow exist to ensure that undue harm is not caused by the abuse of the right to free speech. The body which decides and monitors those safeguards must be transparently accountable for that duty. Not only is the Government the only body which is elected, capable and accountable it is a body which exists only through the majority support of those which it governs - it governs by consent.
It can be said with equal conviction as your assertions, that the greatest evil and betrayal of fellow citizens is to wilfully aquiesce by inaction through denial a governmental system which abuses the rights of its electors through censorship and manipulation of free speech.
This is a view legitimately held by many. And a view which has not led to the world outside becoming totalitarian states ruled by the personal whims and prejudices of one person. It has in fact led to a surprisingly large number of countries opting for a workable relationship with each other. The countries which have twisted truth and misled their electors either retreat from the world or try to impose their particular form of government on the rest.
 
Posted by Traveller (# 1943) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:

The idea that I and others are evil is laughable

Yes, but this post was your 666th! [Devil]
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
You know, I really can't understand American culture. Most porn sites statistically originate in America.

Source for this contention? I though most serious porn (like the illegal sort) originates in Russia and much of the former SSRs and also some countries in the Far East.
 
Posted by Scot (# 2095) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
Pres, Scot: I know the discussion has moved on a bit but - given the US definition of free speech\censorship you've described - is it correct to say that free speech legislation would have been completly irrelevant to the JStO controversy had it happened in the US? Since at no point was the state involved or asked to get involved?

Not quite. The BBC is a public broadcaster and is effectively an agent of the state.

Gregory, as I pointed out above, some of in the US think that the FCC tends to be excessively prudish. Decency standards are an aspect of American culture which is in continuous flux.

Ley Druid, you are going to have to explain to us how the fact that the FCC doesn't restrict opinions doesn't mean that they don't limit anyone's right to express an opinion. You are making somewhat less sense than usual.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
You know, I really can't understand American culture. Most porn sites statistically originate in America. Within the law, you can get what you like, (if one is so disposed that is and at least until very recently). This, however, is also the culture that is prudish to the extreme in not saying fuck on TV or which goes ape when Timberlake and Jackson do an innocuous if tasteless breast boogy on MTV. Would someone explain that to me please?

It's the triumph of image over substance; the subordination of reason to sound-bite and the subjugation of empathy with instant self-gratification. Ain't it great?
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Traveller:
quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer:

The idea that I and others are evil is laughable

Yes, but this post was your 666th! [Devil]

Fantastic!!! I wonder if anyone has ever had a 666th post that was so ironically apposite! God knows just how to stick His finger up to the witchfinders. [Killing me]
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
It's the triumph of image over substance; the subordination of reason to sound-bite and the subjugation of empathy with instant self-gratification. Ain't it great?

It's wonderful. It's so wonderful that we can't get enough of it in this country, either.
 
Posted by Father Gregory (# 310) on :
 
Dear Laura

I believe I specified "within the law." I think you will find that my observation in this class, stands. It still needs some explanation.

Dear Scot

The "explanation" that
quote:
Decency standards are an aspect of American culture which is in continuous flux.
doesn't persuade. Two different but universal media ... the Internet, TV ... both equally accessible or not accessible to minors, (cf., surf safe software and the off button), yet two radically different standards. How come? Surely half of the US population (the prudish half) don't ONLY watch TV and the other (libertine) half don't ONLY surf the Internet? Why aren't the TV viewers storming Capitol Hill for decency on the Web and why aren't Internet surfers campaigning for adult TV / mainstream?

I bring this up (it's not tangential) because it is quite clear now that TV broadcasting standards in the UK (Springer profanity) are considerably more liberal and freedom loving than in the US ... but we can't hope to match you for the sheer number of porn sites. It's the incoherence / incongruence here that makes the freedom of speech defences of Springer difficult to take seriously. It's 'you' indeed that should be catching up with us! Anybody following this tortuous thread might conclude that the US is the bastion of freedom of expression. That is not how it looks to me. We simply aspire to your levels of decency (on TV anyway).

Yes, I couldn't resist a "bit of a dig" but there are serious questions embedded in this post. It's the incongruity that I (genuinely) can't understand and it has not been satisfactorily explained to me yet. Surely the FCC can only act within some sort of public consensus?

[ 16. January 2005, 18:55: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]
 
Posted by J. J. Ramsey (# 1174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Two different but universal media ... the Internet, TV ... both equally accessible or not accessible to minors, (cf., surf safe software and the off button), yet two radically different standards. How come?

The rationale for regulating broadcast content was that the airwaves had a limited number of frequencies, so there was a limit to the number of broadcasters, and since the public owned the airwaves, the government should step in to represent the public and make sure that the content over the airwaves was not objectionable to the public. That's the theory, anyway.
 
Posted by Ley Druid (# 3246) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Ley Druid, you are going to have to explain to us how the fact that the FCC doesn't restrict opinions doesn't mean that they don't limit anyone's right to express an opinion.

The FCC doesn't restrict opinions.
The FCC does limit anyone's right to express obscene opinions; broadcasts are limited to non-obscene opinions. Therefore
quote:
the fact that the FCC doesn't restrict opinions doesn't mean that they don't limit anyone's right to express an opinion.
They do limit anyone's right to express an opinion; anyone and everyone are limited to expressing non-obscene opinions in their broadcasts.

[ 16. January 2005, 19:23: Message edited by: Ley Druid ]
 
Posted by Glimmer (# 4540) on :
 
quote:
<