By popular request, I’m sending a special shout-out to Vanessa, my office’s babe-tastic front-woman and one of Deonandia‘s most vocal boosters.
Brother Hrab sends us this tale of India now attempting to block access to certain public blogs. It’s a dark day in supposedly the world’s biggest democracy. When individuals or agencies push for restriction of information, that’s one thing. But when government does so, tyranny is inches away. India, in my opinion, has always been at risk for fascism, hence the ease with which Indira Gandhi implemented the “Emergency” in the 1970s, and hence the rise of the BJP, whose supporters include groups with fascistic tendencies. When forced to govern a nation of such diversity and chaos, the tendency to rule with an iron fist must be overwhelming indeed, especially when extremism begins to manifest as terrorism…. but they must resist this temptation, as must we all.
The exact opposite of censorship is seen in The Netherlands, where the Dutch courts have refused to ban a political party whose platform includes paedophilia. Of course, their platform is vile and disgusting, but I must applaud the Dutch for choosing rights over rhetoric. As Larry Flynt once observed, if the system can protect the rights of a scumbag like him, then the rights of everyone else are well protected, as well. Same applies for political parties: either citizens are free to propose radical or iconoclastic ideas –even disturbing ones– or they are not. The Dutch have wisely erred on the side of freedom of thought. As the judge in the case put it, “It is the right of the voter to judge the appeal of political parties.”
But the Dutch aren’t entirely reasonable. A.G. sends us this story about an ad from The Netherlands that is being pulled from the US markets for “racist” content. The ad features a “stern white woman clutching a black woman by the chin”, with text that reads, “White Is Coming.” It’s actually an ad for a new all-white Sony Playstation. I have no doubt that there was no racist intention in this image… no one is that dumb.
But context is everything. Racial politics aren’t quite as polarized in Europe, so the ad was seen there, presumably, as strictly a play on aesthetics. But in America, with its history of racial violence and a persistent sensitivity to a very real history of White oppression of Blacks, this ad was clearly inappropriate. Again, to be clear, the advertisers have every right to show it. But the reasonable consequence of its display is, of course, outrage from a very vocal and substantial portion of the American populace. Thus, Sony were dumb-asses for not predicting this outcome.
It is unclear whether the ad was actually shown in America, or whether American critics had seen it in Holland… an important distinction, according to my analysis. If indeed, it was merely a local ad, then the opposing argument is that Sony is unreasonably responding to foreign pressure. Thoughts?
Meanwhile, in the USA, anti-war protestors are being labelled as “credible threats” to national security by a Defence Department that apparently isn’t busy enough with it’s 2 wars. Not sure where to put this story, so I’m plopping it down here in the middle of a blog post.
More on the Israel-Lebanon thing tomorrow.