Tuesday, 27 June 2006

We should complain more

On 29 February 2012, BBC Director General, Mark Thompson, ‘a practising Catholic’, was interviewed by historian and author Timothy Garton-Ash for the Free Speech Debate, a research project at Oxford University.

At one point, Garton-Ash mentioned Jerry Springer the Opera and wondered:

“It is the case, isn’t it, that the BBC wouldn’t dream of broadcasting something comparably satirical if it had been the Prophet Mohamed rather than Jesus”.
Thompson replied:

“Essentially THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION IS YES… In the end with Jerry Springer, I felt that freedom of expression and the right of the public to judge the thing for themselves was the trump card.”
So, the BBC aren’t prepared to broadcast anything that might upset Muslims but they are quite happy to air the stuff that upsets Christians?

Yep. That's fair. Later Thompson makes his excuses for the double standard.

“The thing about religion I think it's very different to talk about Christianity in the UK… A lot of our thinking about human rights comes out of the Christian tradition. I would argue a pretty broad-shouldered religion compared to religions which have, in the UK, a very close identity with ethnic minorities.”
Is he implying that those whom the PC Crowd imposed upon us against our will are overly-sensitive? Nah. It's just another PC dollop of the same old pity-the-poor-immgrant-we-mustn't-hurt-their-feelings thing they were bashing us with fifty years back.

“The Satanic verses that was an absolute moment for us it after that was before 9/11... and Theo Van Gogh there was a sense that some of this could lead to direct violence against individuals… Solicitation or a threat to murder… massively raises the stakes…

I think it is wrong to imagine that… a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed is no more challenging than a debate about what two plus two equals… The point is that for a Muslim, a depiction, particularly a comic or demeaning depiction, of the Prophet Mohammed might have the emotional force of a piece of grotesque child pornography. One of the mistakes secularists make is not to understand the character of what blasphemy feels like to someone who is a realist in their religious belief…

Without question, ‘I complain in the strongest possible terms’, is different from, ‘I complain in the strongest possible terms and I am loading my AK47 as I write’. This definitely raises the stakes.”
Ah, now I get it! Mr T is happy to broadcast anti-Christian unpleasantness because, when he takes the p*** out of us, we won’t shoot him, whereas, if similarly unpleasant anti-Islamic stuff is aired, your Muslim will.

Thanks for the straightforward explanation there, my son. If you weren’t such a tw*t, I’d be prasing you for an honest man.

“It’s not as if Islam is randomly spread across the UK population. It’s almost entirely a religion practiced by people who may already feel in other ways isolated, prejudiced against and where they may well regard an attack upon their religion as racism by other means.”
Yep, gotta be extra-specially nice to the 'isolated and prejudiced against,' non-native fanatic who might get his AK-47 out if you aren’t.

“I think there are multiple considerations. That it’s not unreasonable to ask what the consquences of broadcasting something or writing something will be for a particularly individual or for a community, especially communities who may reasonably, that’s an important word to use, take the thing to be an attack or to be threatening…

To a Muslim, I think, there are certain things that could be said that might potentially feel like a threat of violence… It’s completely bound up with identity and a particularly racial identity and the idea that you might want to, not just for Muslims but for Sikhs, Hindus, for Jews, a Jew being a interesting example here, think quite carefully about whether something done, in quotes, in the name of freedom of expression, might to the Jew, or the Sikh, or the Hindu, or the Muslim, who receives it, feel threatening, isolating and so forth, I think those are meaningful considerations.”
It seems to me that Thompson, in a roundabout, utterly unintentional kind of way, is suggesting that being an easily offended, touchy b*gger pays. As does intimidation and the threat of terminal violence.

Whereas, tolerance and the quiet British way does not.

And the moral of the story is?

We should complain more. And, perhaps invest in the odd AK-47.

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