Sunday, May 28, 2006


From the front-line grabbing stories of riots of Muslims screaming for the deaths of Danish cartoonists responsible for the Muhammad cartoons, to world-wide calls for the ban of the supposedly blasphemous works of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, the world has had to deal with the repercussions of the fury of the religious-mad sections of both the Islamic and Christian realms.

While the Islamic counterparts tend to be more violent when it comes to blasphemous works, Christian fundamentalists are no less fervent in their crusades against the concept of liberal arts and freedom of expression. Time and again, we witness Christians witnessing their opinions against such works.

Of course, the conservatives will argue, that secular press and its inherents must respect the beliefs of the various religious sects.; that works of the nature pertaining to Satanism, blasphemy towards the various dieties, and others of the more violent and "deviant" nature should never taint mainstream channels of art and expression.

What these conservatives are essentially telling us is this: Freedom of expression of any nature must take into account of the sentiments of the various groups of people. In short, if you offend certain sensitivities, you or your works will be banned, regardless the consequences of banning books, or book burning (Death threats: in some cases, such as the Satanic Verses written by Salmon Rushdie, Muslims were so incensed that Ayatollah Khomeni issued a death sentence on his life).


Dracula: A comical figure draped in a red cape?

Now, imagine Bram Stoker, huddled in his home, on a raining, gloomy evening, trying to scribble ideas for his now-famous book, Dracula. Now, the very nature of Dracula could be deemed as bloody thirsty, evil and what-have-yous, and the occasional sacrifice of young, nubile women and all the violent stuff. Imagine, if there are taboos or laws that inhibit his ability to narrate his story. What would he make of his legendary, blood-thirsty monster? A toothless corpse with a crimson-coloured cape? Or a parody of Bugs Bunny, red eyes, white face without the fangs?

Truly, Dracula could very well turn out to be a box-office hit --- as a comedy, that is.


Narrating a murder case without the gore: Even the great detective can't figure this out.

Or try picturing this: A detective novel, minus the descriptions of a bloodied, murdered corpse.
The detective, Sherlock Holmes, is investigating the murder of some unknown street urchin; instead of mulling over the corpse and describing the corpse with his associate detective, he comes up with a more mundane, bland description of the crime scene. Wouldn't that dulled the reading experience of the reader, who deserves to be thrilled with every flip of each page?


Bible: A violence-strewn book?

If violence is a probable, or an absolute criteria for banning books, shouldn't the bible be banned?
Besides tales of gory violence and incest, the book has nothing to offer besides nitpicking of few moral lessons, plus a whole bunch of irrelevant religious codes that would most likely be applicable in places like Afghanistan. Why not ban the bible instead?


Slavery: The stuff of fiction. Naw. The Whites never had slaves....right...

Or the writings about 18th century racism, without actually describing actual slaves who were bought into the cruel, inhuman world of slavery by the white men, on the pretext of "protecting the sentiments of the coloured"?
Women of Islam: Well-treated, and well-covered too.

Or, should the press deny itself the right to write about the ills of the Muslim world, such as the abuse of women's rights, in the name of "religious sentimentalities"?

Gulag camps: According to some, the holocaust never happened.

Or better still, claim that no Jews were ever killed in the holocaust, that it was all but vile rumours spread by the occupying Allied forces?

Beautiful, huh? Hitler never killed the Jews, the Catholic Church never covered up for the paedophile priests, you know, none of these ever happened!!! Why?

Because no one dares to write about the truth, that's why. How canned up can our society be, if all that is every expressed is a rosy picture of roses, pretty flowers, little wierd aliens known as "teletubbies" jumping around in a fantasy world?


Once again, the conservative bigots have attempted to stamp self censorship on the largely liberal world, through the screenings of the Da Vinci code.

In Manila, cinemas have been banned from showing the film, for fear that the film "portrays" the wrong version of Christianity.

Christians all over the world have protested against the film; Christians in India have allegedly encouraged hunger strikes over the film's showing.

In the USA, attempts have been made by a particular school board member in Airlington Heights (Click
link). to take off a series of books deemed too gory for students to read, despite the fact that these are, in essence, brilliant works from past illuminaries of a bygone era.

As a liberal and a admirer for great literary works, I find it incomprehensible that these barbarians can be so callous and narrow-minded in terms of executing their petty views on the masses. It is the right of the general public to ascertain what they wish to, or not want to read.

It is a sad fact that while liberals go out of their ways to bring about change and progress in the name of liberalism and progress,conservatives aim to resist change, and in most cases, retard social progress. It is time for these ancient dinosaurs of a conceited era to grab their religious opinions and shove it up the "you-know-where".

Marquis de Sade, anyone???

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