Saturday, August 26, 2006

Scots banned by BBC for insensitivity to Islam

Those crazy Scots - they're so irreverant with their comedy stylings. So irreverant that one comedy group Franz Kafka Big Band has had shows banned by the BBC.

And for what?

The BBC has pulled a radio comedy show featuring sketches of a cow flying into the twin towers and a spoof Rolf Harris drawing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

...

The corporation said the programme's "bold" subject matter required some "fine-tuning" before it could go on air.


Fine tuning indeed.

The show, written and performed by a Glasgow comedy troupe of the same name, featured a segment called Rolf's Blasphemous Cartoon Time, portraying Rolf Harris drawing cartoons of Muhammad and Buddha.

American readers might not quite get the Rolf Harris context - but trust me, it's funny. He's a twerpy, didgeridoo-playing, animal-rescuing, Australian who had a "learn to paint" and "learn to draw cartoons" show on tv for years. (It's deeply unfashionable to admit it, but I kinda like his paintings)

Anyway, the sketch - not only offensive to Rolf Harris, is apparently deeply offensive to Muslims. At least according to the Ramadahn Foundation:

This programme is deeply offending to Muslims and all that we stand for. We are disappointed that the BBC did not realise the hurt this would cause the Muslim community when they commissioned the programme.

We support and defend the right of freedom of speech but this right ends when other human beings are offended and hurt. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is more sacred to Muslims than anything in this world and we will defend his honour and respect.

Boo-hoo. You don't see Rolf Harris hopping to some kangaroo court of sensitivity.

This is a dangerous concept - the right to free speech ends when someone's feeling are hurt. And it's not the first time I've heard it.

Here's what the Glaswegian comedy troupe had to say via one member- Innes Smith's MySpace blog:

What I would like to make clear is that the Sketch, "Rolf's Blasphemous Cartoon Time" features no names and no blasphemy. We were very careful to not include anything which may be considered blasphemous, but felt that the joke could be made by using BLEEPS ~ suggesting that blasphemy was taking place, but without any real blasphemy. The point of the joke ? That we can't make jokes about religion...

AND

Oh yes - there is quite a bit of racism in the shows, but - as is the current fashion - the only racist stereotypes are Scottish ones, which - as is the fashion - is okay, because we're Scottish.

However, we do slag off beliefs - because belief is not race, and should not be immune from criticism, comedy or good old fashioned slagging.

The exception to this is Islam. We don't slag off Islam because...well, you work it out. We do slag off the fact that we can't slag off Islam - which is a legitimate target ...I think.


Oh yes - belief, religious, political and matters of taste must be subject to question - as well as sometimes - humurous derision. Although, of course, judging by other BBC radio comedies, the derision has only about a 40% chance of actually being humorous.

4 comments:

jen said...

"the right to free speech ends when someone's feeling are hurt"

what utter bullshit. i'd say it's not necessary *wise* or *kind*... but it's certainly within the boundaries of free speech.

but then again, in the uk, there's only "free speech" that hasn't yet been outlawed.

Although, of course, judging by other BBC radio comedies, the derision has only about a 40% chance of actually being humorous.

Ha! too true. if *they're* the arbiters of what's funny or appropriate, free speech is already dead in the water.

Bob K said...

this right ends when other human beings are offended and hurt

That's sad that the Beeb caved on this. I'm certain that, in an effort to not offend, this past week's episode on Robert Maplethorpe's "art" was similarly pulled.

I don't like to be offended any more than the next guy, but I don't have a right to demand that my government censor those who offend me.

Of course, this is why it is usually wrong for government to have a role in media (ie, the BBC).

Anonymous said...

How about a bit of Rolf?

http://rapidshare.de/files/30820231/The_Franz_Kafka_Big_Band_Series_2_Show_5.html

Anonymous said...

"The exception to this is Islam. We don't slag off Islam because...well, you work it out"

They will come and kill you?
Maybe we should all resort to violence to supress those we don't like or agree with.