United Kingdom: How long before the superstitionists complain about this? I'm going for
before the programme is even broadcast.
EastEnders is to tackle one of the last taboos left in soap, with a storyline featuring a Muslim character embarking on a gay love affair.
MediaGuardian.co.uk can reveal that the plot, which will hit screens in mid-June, will see Syed Masood, a Muslim property developer with a girlfriend who arrived in Albert Square six weeks ago, fall for openly gay Christian Clarke. The pair will share an on-screen kiss.
The BBC has billed the storyline as atraditional love affair, albeit with a modern multicultural twist.
Extra bonus points if the Daily Mail declares this to be
explicit gay sex, or similar.
EastEnders: Muslim character to have gay love affair—The Guardian, 28th May 2009.
United Kingdom: The UK government is on a bit of a roll at the moment, what with letting in people with manslaughter convictions who then go on to commit murder, whilst banning obnoxiously opinionated but non-violent politicians, regardless of the opinion of at least one Muslim organisation, which believes in dialogue and was looking forward to an opportunity to engage in such a subversive activity. Meanwhile, an Islamist bampot is being chucked out, but being sent somewhere where he will be tortured.
The latest preachers of hate to be banned from the country are Fred Phelps and his Merrie Men, who wanted to picket a Basingstoke sixth-form college's production of the Laramie Project.
A father and daughter from a US church which preaches hatred of homosexuals have been banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper from the Westboro Baptist Church had urged protests against a play being put on in Hampshire.
Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke is staging The Laramie Project, a play about a man killed for being gay.
So, no opportunity for the London Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to organise sponsorship of the picket, whereby cash is raised for HIV/AIDS or LGBT organisations based on how long the Westboro Baptist Church hangs around, and no chance for the fundie bampots to remind the British public why the nation is not very religious at all. No doubt a tirade against our royal family will follow, just like when the Queen Mum died, seeing as they don't realise that the British attitude to royalty is as far removed from the Thai one as you can get without chopping the monarch's head off (very often).
Anti-gay preachers banned from UK—BBC News, 19th February 2009.
England: Birmingham council appear to have failed to have paid any attention to the requirements of the law on religious discrimination when they decided to censor the internet for their employees.
The authority's Bluecoat Software computer system allows staff to look at websites relating to Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and other religions but blocks sites to do withwitchcraft or Satanismandoccult practices, atheistic views, voodoo rituals or any other form of mysticism.
Under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, it is unlawful to discriminate against workers because of their religion or belief, which includes atheism.
One also wonders what Birmingham's social workers are expected to do if they have, for example, a Wiccan client, and they need to learn more about that faith in order to deal with them fairly? Perhaps they are expected to dig out those fundie dossiers from the late 80s'
Council ban on atheist websites—BBC News, 29th July 2008.
The Netherlands: A Dutch channel is broadcasting David Attenborough's Life of Mammals, but something is odd about it, as Martin Wisse explains:
However, something strange has happened with that series when it crossed the Channel: for some reason the Dutch version only has nine episodes, while the original has ten --and that's not the only difference.
It turns out that the EO has deliberately removed all references to evolution from the series, as demonstrated by the three videos below. Which is not too surprising, considering the EO is after all a fundamentalist Christian broadcaster and adhers to the doctrine of the literal truth of the bible. What exactly the EO has censored in Attenborough's series is now documented in several youtube movies, uploaded by somebody called Odurodon:
As Martin observes, despite their obvious lunacy, the broadcaster receives public money, and suggests it would show greater integrity to have simply declined to broadcast the series. As they have exclusive rights, no other Dutch broadcaster may show the series, and the Dutch who want to see an unbutchered version will have to resort to their legendary language skills.
Dutch broadcaster censors David Attenborough on evolution—Wisse Words, 30th July 2007.
United Kingdom: Britian's neopagans are upset again. First of all it was Trinny and Susannah daring to change the sex of the Long Man of Wilmington, and now they're upset that a figure of Homer Simpson has been painted in biodegradable paint in the vicinity of another 400-year old cartoon, the Cerne Abbas Giant.
It's not King Kevin complaining, either, but the middle class ladies of the Pagan Federation. And, just like the Mohammed cartoon protesters, they're making threats and promising to get their imaginary friend to fix the problem.
Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said:We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind.
“We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away.
Well, that should solve the problem of heavy rains and flooding in England. It's enough to make you want to turn the Long Man of Wilmington into a depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.
Wish for rain to wash away Homer—BBC News, 16th July 2007
Update: This image by HappyToast at B3ta is glorious:
Further update: The Grauniad is running a caption competition.
The People's Republic of LiveJournal: Internet Jihadists have declared war on LiveJournal, ostensibly
for the sake of the chiiiiiiiiildren. The bampots at Warriors for Innocence (read the comments before clicking this link) claim to be
dedicated to hunting pedophiles where they fester but in reality, they hate fandom and fan fiction. At least the effect of their actions has been to shut down a number of fannish communities devoted to writing about romantic trysts between fictional characters. Most badly affected has been Harry Potter fandom, even though Harry Potter has been over the age of consent in the country in which the stories are based since book 5. A list of banned fannish communities shows a number of Harry Potter related ones.
They also hate literature. One of the banned communities was a Spanish language one discussing the work of Vladimir Nabokov. Nor do they like discussion of sex and censorship, as the banning of porn_debate demonstrates.
And, as you might expect, our crusaders demonstrate a remarkable lack of intelligence. One of the banned communities was called lol_porn, but obviously they didn't look at it before complaining as it was for lolcat style postings using porno as a basis.
Other subcultures are worried. Fans of yaoi are concerned that they will be targetted, not just because of the existence of shōta (where the characters are underage), but because the somewhat effeminate characters can appear younger than they are in the story. The moderators of yaoi_daily and yaoi_daily_cafe have felt the need to set up a status page and make back-up plans.
So far, the Jihad has not noticed Gothic Lolita, which they are bound to misinterpret as soon as they do. The number of actual child abusers affected by the purge appears to be zero. Their victims, on the other hand, have grounds to be worried:
This is not a fandom-only issue. LJ's heavy-handed response threatens support groups and researchers. By telling users (after that fact and in contradiction to their own FAQ) that you can receive a permanent suspension, proactively, for having an "illegal" interest, pretty much everyone's at risk.
A Jihad Against
Innocence LJ community devoted to protesting and fighting back against the extremists.
(written with a lot of help from Red Wolf)
Update (from Red Wolf): Naruto fandom is scared and the Jihad denies attacking innocent sites.
They're all guilty. We're never wrong. And this list of naughty words suggests that Gothic Lolita has, indeed been noticed, and the comments suggest support communities are worried. The last comment references a 12th century Georgian poet—Shota Rustavelli.