March for Free Expression

The next phase

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Blasphemy

Paul Emmerson has emailed in to suggest that instead of just exhibiting the Danish cartoons we should:
in the same physical space have a video showing ‘The Life Of Brian’ and whichever Woody Allen movie is most irreverent to Jews. If you can also find a movie that shows Hindu gods, even if it isn’t humorous, so much the better.
...
have the text of the Church’s judgment against Galileo prominently displayed.
Maybe call the exhibition "Blasphemy".

There was at one time a contractual issue that prevented the Life of Brian from being shown, and there would be licensing and performing rights issues. But what do you think, in principle?

17 Comments:

Blogger wnw said...

I think that's a brilliant idea and totally in keeping with Labi Sifri's wonderful speech.

Certainly it seems to echo Voltaire's comment on getting together being fun.

I'm sure there is a Mel Brooks Film that would fit the bill, although at the moment all I can think of is The Producers (who can forget the deliciously offensive big production number in the Gene Wilder version, of Spring Time for Hitler?) and Blazing Saddles ( risking offending beaneating campfire watchers across the globe)

And how about 'Monkey' the cult TV series, based upon Buddhist and/or Taoist philosophies, which made the gods (small g) out to be selfish, cruel, spoilt, sexy and self seeking?

3:54 pm  
Blogger wnw said...

Life of Brian was produced by Handmade Films - it might be worth contacting them?

4:12 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Yep, I'm all for that.

4:30 pm  
Blogger aeneas said...

Sounds like a good idea to me,if the right to show the films can be obtained.

6:25 pm  
Blogger Alison said...

Da Vinci Code releases this summer. Youd be better off organising/requesting attending a multi media screening of this and discussion afterwards. This might be more doable than getting the rights to show Life of Brian in public.

6:45 pm  
Blogger aeneas said...

Boadica. Your idea also appears to be a good one.

7:54 pm  
Blogger Polish Solidarity with Denmark said...

Hey, you secularists, atheists, how about you? Are you under some sort of immunity? Protection of believers in God's non-existence.
I am sure I can come up with some pieces of art worthy showing as well. There is a massive store of Socialist Realism movies and art in themselves ridiculing Materialism and atheism.
How about me finding a few candidates :-)))) ?

7:58 pm  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

Why not?

As long as it's FUN!

Humour and fun seem to be a developing theme here.

It's a good idea that the whole thing is not too serious because you stand a better chance of attracting young people that way.

Young people bring vitality to any movement and, in an age of apathy as far as established political parties are concerned, this would be refreshingly different.

9:14 pm  
Blogger infidelious said...

"in the same physical space have a video showing ‘The Life Of Brian’ and whichever Woody Allen movie..."

I was having similar ideas, except re-working commonly acceptable art/entertainment with another religions characters, e.g. 'Father Ted' sketches with immams.

10:50 pm  
Blogger infidelious said...

Comedy is definately the way forward, howabout comedians?

Christian:
Too many to bother listing.

Muslim:
Shabana Rehman
Omar Marzouk (Danish muslim)

Jewish:
Ivor Dembina
Never heard of hime, but must be loads more, he is just the first that came up.

Sikh:
Paul Chowdhry
There is also a scottish sikh comedian who wears a kilt and turban, not sure if this is him.

Couldn't find any hindu or Buddhist, but have only done a quick search.

12:18 am  
Blogger Speak Freely said...

Freedom Of Speech Under Attack in Belgium:

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/936

Father Samuel has been prosecuted for “incitement to racist hatred” by the Belgian government’s inquisition agency, the so-called Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR), because of a remark he made in a 2002 television interview when he said:

“Every thoroughly islamized Muslim child that is born in Europe is a time bomb for Western children in the future. The latter will be persecuted when they have become a minority.”

12:37 am  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

Here's a picture.
http://www.nonali.com/pere_samuel.php3

8:31 am  
Blogger Jack Bauer said...

Hindu? Can't do much better than any Simpsons episode featuring Homer and Arpu, owner of the Kwiki Mart.

The episode where Homer pretended to be Vishnu (the one with all the arms) is particularly amusing.

1:29 pm  
Blogger kaytee said...

>>how about 'Monkey' the cult TV series, based upon Buddhist and/or Taoist philosophies,...<<

You may want some of the "inspirations" for this, too.

The original story was written by a Buddhist scholar-- "Journey to the West". There are lots of translations; Waley did one for kids-- "The Story of Monkey". Also there are a lot of Chinese operas, and at least one manga (Japanese graphic novel)series based on the main character-- "Dragon Ball" (also an anime series). Lots of now outdated "political" digs are in the original story re: the Buddhist/Taoist jockeying for political favors (Monkey started off as a nature spirit... became Taoist... then converted to Buddhism... but not too well....). And yes, the story does NOT treat the heavenly beings in a reverent manner... it's just the Imperial Chinese Court in another location, really.

>>...Protection of believers in God's non-existence.
I am sure I can come up with some pieces of art worthy showing as well. <<
There is a bas-relief called "In God's Image" (Or maybe, "In His Image"), which is of an unshaven, obese man wearing a sweat-stained undershirt with his belly hanging out and baggy/drooping trousers, leaning on a jack-hammer. I think it is/was in Chicago? A picture of it was in a book I had for a high school English class (American Lit.)

And for Buddhist... there are a lot of Zen writings that would doubtlessly do fine.... Even some of the real ones. (e.g.: "If you meet the Buddha on the road-- kill him." )Lots of really dumb jokes abound as well.... There is an Australian Buddhist website that has links to some of them, plus it's own cartoons: www.dharmathecat.com

3:31 pm  
Blogger Emir of Anglia said...

Premonition & Precursor

http://www.metimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20060331-084337-4435r

Perhaps this is a vision of the fate that could befall our attempt at a Blasphemy Exhibition in this country?

Is it possible to verify this story? In any event I’ll repost the article below as a scenario we may have to prepare against. If it is true, I believe it is the sort of behaviour directed against free expression that we need to be on our guard against. Remember the religious affiliation of any troublemakers is immaterial; Christian Voice could just as easily try its hand at spooking any organisers of a Blasphemy Exhibition once they find out about it.

Should the organisers look into hiring bouncers?


March 31, 2006

PARIS -- A gang of young Muslims wielding iron rods has forced a Paris cafe to censor an exhibition of cartoons ridiculing religion, the owners of the establishment said on Friday.

Some 50 drawings by well-known French cartoonists were installed in the Mer a Boire cafe in the working-class Belleville neighborhood of northeast Paris, as part of an avowedly atheist show entitled, "Neither god nor god".

The collection targeted all religions - including Islam - but there were no representations of the Prophet Mohammed such as sparked the recent crisis between the West and the Islamic world, according to Marianne who is one of the cafe's three owners.

"We used to give glasses of water to a group of local boys aged between 10 and 12 who played football across the street. On Tuesday a few came in, flung the water on the ground and accused us of being racists," said Marianne, who did not wish to give her family name. "Later more of them came back with sticks and iron rods and tried to smash the pictures. They managed it with a few of them. With the customers we chased them away, but they kept coming back," she said.

Later the cafe-owners were approached by a group of older youths. "They said they did not approve of what the youngsters had done. But what we were doing was unacceptable, too. They warned us that if we didn't take down the cartoons they would call in the Muslim Brothers who would burn the cafe down," said Marianne. "They kept saying: 'This is our home. You cannot act like this here'," she said.

Refusing to dismantle the exhibition, the owners have placed white sheets of paper inscribed with the word 'censored' over the cartoons that were targeted by the gang.

"To take down the cartoons would have been a surrender. But on the other hand we cannot expose ourselves to this kind of violence. This way you can still see the pictures if you lift the paper," said Marianne.

One of the cartoons that aroused the wrath of the youths was a bar scene, in which the barman offers a drink to an obviously inebriated man who says "God is great". The caption is: "The sixth pillar of Islam. The bar pillar." In France a "bar pillar" is a barfly or drunk.

The aim of the exhibition was to poke fun at all religions, according to cartoonists who took part.

"Putting on this type of show in this place was not in the least a provocation. Unless you think that freedom of expression in itself is a provocation," the cartoonist Charb told Le Parisien newspaper.

The Belleville neighborhood of Paris' 20th arrondissement is racially-mixed, with a large population of North African origin, but Marianne said that there were few outward signs of religious extremism.

"There are areas near here which do have a reputation for Islamists. But here it's different. These are street gangs for whom religion has become a kind of mark of identity," she said.

The owners of the Mer a Boire, which means "the sea you can drink" and opened in September, have filed suit with the police.

9:02 pm  
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1:24 pm  
Blogger Lifewish said...

Hmm, that's a thought - can anyone think of anything satirising us atheists? We'll feel left-out otherwise.

(Also, hello everybody. Damn good idea, this.)

9:38 am  

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