Monday, February 20, 2006

South Park and its opponents

.
As PC has said, you’ll already know what I thinks and will know what Libertarianz thinks – in short, Canwest owns C4 and has the right to choose, and this is freedom of speech. Those offended have the right to turn off, or boycott advertisers - that is their freedom too. I doubt if any of those calling for it to be off air have seen it, though the description is pretty clear. DPF is also the nominated representative SouthPark fan for Newstalk ZB, I am sure he gave a good defence.
.
The boycott campaign by NZ Christians, trying to mirror the same pressure brought upon US networks, will do one thing above all – ensure a record audience for the programme, and for the advertisers around it. The PM has already said that "Those who publish in these circumstances of course have their right to free speech in New Zealand, but that doesn't take away from others the right to say what they think about it. " which is rather enlightened, a line she should have taken on the Danish cartoons. Although she added the "As a woman I find it offensive." remark. One of those vapid assertions that begs the question "What are you when you don't say "as a woman" and how do you know any different?
.
I look forward to seeing who advertises in the slot – hopefully Inland Revenue! I wonder if the Christians looking to boycott Canwest also boycott The Breeze, More FM and the umpteen other radio stations owned by Canwest - probably not.
.
Anyway, what is notable is the response of politicians – Helen Clark seems less upset about SouthPark than the Danish cartoon that offends Muslims. I guess she couldn’t pretend to have a sense of humour about it – that would be politically unwise.
.
The campaign against it has a website with some tortured English as below (website quotes in italics)...
.
“Why take action against this offensive program?
a) Simple; because we respect love women and we value and respect a New Zealander's right to hold a religious faith without condemnation.
.
(shudder "respect love") Well nobody is condemning anyone’s right to hold a faith – don’t watch the programme
.
However, the true agenda of this group is shown here:
.
Our opposition to Bloody Mary is about more than just this one episode of South Park, it is about opposition to a growing tide of anti-religious ridicule and obscenity that has become ingrained in the NZ media.

.
Tough! Humanity for centuries tortured and murdered people for ridiculing religion, some countries still do. Religion deserves ridicule, as it is a whole field of philosophy based on worshipping ghosts – entities that cannot be objectively proved to exist. I don’t believe in ghosts – the enlightenment came some centuries ago.
.
The usual straw men are placed up that those opposing it aren’t “anti free speech”.
.
“Freedom of speech exists to allow the free debate, discussion, and expression of ideas, philosophies and religious beliefs. This program does not even come close to meeting these criteria.”
.
Yes and it allows the right to humour. This is like saying you can discuss politics but you can’t poke fun at our politicians – just because you don’t like the humour or don’t find it funny, does not mean it isn’t a right. As George Carlin said, anything can be funny.
.
There is nothing positive or redeeming about this episode of South Park, it is merely intended to shock and outrage and it will hurt many people in the process.
.
There is one thing positive and redeeming about this episode – one is that thousands of people will laugh because of it. Laughter is important - the scariest societies are those without it.
.
There is no benefit in this show, unless you consider it beneficial to provide grossly offensive programming that caters only to the lowest common denominator and is a heinous abuse of women.
.
There is no benefit in spending time and money worshipping ghosts – if that is the test, then religion wont stand up to it. This pomposity is akin to saying that the filthy masses shouldn’t be catered for – well women watch SouthPark too. YOU don’t have a monopoly on them. Free speech means accepting that which is offensive.
.
Is it opposing free speech to prohibit the broadcasting of child-pornography? Well, if we accept the logic of CanWest then it is.

.
No crime was committed in the production of the cartoon. Child pornography involves the recording of sexual offences against children – a real crime with real victims. That isn’t about freedom of speech, it is about being an accessory to an offence that magnifies the original offence, by invading privacy and using the image of the victim without his or her consent. Banning child pornography is about publications produced in the commission of an actual crime - not offending people.
.
Why don't you just change the channel if you don't like it?
That’s like a bully getting on a bus and punching a child in the head, taking his lunch, stealing his seat and then telling him that if he doesn’t like it he shouldn’t ride the bus.
.
No it ISN’T. Being offended is NOT violence. There is NO equivalency between seeing and hearing something you don’t like and having your body violated. If there was, you’d have the right to punch anyone who offends you.
.
If CanWest is going to broadcast a program that is so obscene and cause so much offence then they need a legitimate reason for doing so.
.
Canwest is singular so not “they” – I find it obscene that so many New Zealanders butcher the English language like a carcass, so I want to see a legitimate reason for doing so or I will ask the government to shut this website down. Got the picture? Freedom of speech does NOT require a justification – I can say “flibble de gibble nip nep nob neckt pah” and have no legitimate reason. This is NOT a police state and you have NO damned right to ask that legitimacy be proven before expression is made.
.
It is not good enough to broadcast something so derisive and offensive and then tell a huge majority of Kiwis that it's too bad if they don't like it - they should just change the channel.

There comes a time when we have to take objection to this kind of offence, if we don't then where does it stop and we just end up surrendering the power to decide what is acceptable and what is objectionable content to big media corporations who act like bullies.

.
Yes it is good enough - and those who are offended are not “surrendering power”. Canwest is hardly a bully - it doesn't make you pay for it, or watch it or have anything to do with it. It is entirely peaceful.
.
Let’s look at what this is:

1. A privately owned TV channel: The state isn’t involved, so nobody who is offended has a stake in this and can claim that it is “my channel”;
2. Broadcasting free of charge: So those offended don’t have to pay for it, it is free to air;
3. To televisions: Which you don’t need to own and don’t need to watch.
.
No initiation of force!
.
However, I will agree with one thing. Boycotting advertisers is a legitimate form of protest and if those campaigning are NOT calling for the government to intervene or a change in the law, but merely expressing their disgust – then so be it. It is their right.
.
Just as it is my right to disagree and support Canwest broadcasting the episode. Ultimately Canwest must have that choice - if I owned a TV channel I would want that choice.

No comments: