Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bloody Mary and bloody censors

The faithful never learn how freedom works. They don’t like the idea of other’s being able to make up their own minds. They think their beliefs alone are deserving of special protections.

One incident I’ve been watching has been a concocted controversy in New Zealand over a South Park episode. Anyone who has the show knows it irreverent and rude. It is also terribly funny sometimes and often the satire is right on target.

An episode was scheduled to be shown there where a statue of the Virgin (sic) Mary was bleeding. Well that got a handful of Catholics into a tizzy. They whined and cried and complained. And they just didn’t stop. So this dragged on and on especially since the episode in question was not scheduled for showing for some weeks.

Anti-Catholic Christians on the fundie Right also complained. Not that they like Catholics. They don’t. They think them the anti-Christ incarnate. But they never miss a chance to call for state control of speech. They love the lash of the whip when it comes to big brother.

So the local TV station decided that the best thing to do was bring the show up on the schedule. Instead of cancelling it or allowing the controversy to continue they ended it by showing the program last night instead.

Now remember New Zealand is a small country. And normally South Park appears on the televisions of about 30,000 households. The would-be censors shouted and screamed about the show for days. It was major news across the country. The net result was then when it did air last night the audience had increased to 220,000 households instead!

Just like the lunatic Islamists they found out that all the publicity only meant that more people ended up seeing the thing they found offensive. The Timaru Herald editorialized: “Catholic spokeswoman Lindsay Freer said the ...decision to screen the episode was arrogant, cynical and unethical, just a move to boost ratings. Right. But who ultimately ensured that the ratings would be boosted? The very people who were most against it. Her and her colleagues.”

The anti-apartheid satirist Pieter Dirk-Uys used to quip that every time another one of his shows was being produced he would send in an anonymous complaint protesting his own show. This would get the despicable censors investigating and that always generated an audience.


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