SpeakSpeak News


Springer Opera Not Obscene

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/11/2005 @ 11:32 am

After receiving 16,000 complaints about BBC’s airing of “Jerry Springer: The Opera” — half of which were lodged before the melodrama even aired — Britain’s FCC-equivalent, Ofcom, has determined that the broadcast was not obscene.

Religious groups protested the musical’s Springer-esque poor taste, including a depiction of Jesus in a diaper.

In its ruling, Ofcom said it “appreciated that the representation of religious figures was offensive to some people".

But it said: “The show’s effect was to satirise modern fame and the culture of celebrity. The images that caused the most offence were part of a ‘dream’ sequence serving as a metaphor for the fictional Jerry Springer and his chat show.

“In Ofcom’s view, these were not meant to be faithful or accurate depictions of religious figures, but a product of the lead character’s imagination.

From the Guardian.

Judge Puts Hold on Maryland Sex Ed Curriculum

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/11/2005 @ 11:20 am

A federal judge has imposed an injunction against a Montgomery County, MD, curriculum package that addressed homosexuality. The judge sided with plaintiffs, the Liberty Counsel and Parents and Friends of ex-Gays, saying that the curriculum was unfairly biased against their religious beliefs.

Said Judge Alexander Williams, a Clinton appointee, “It seems to me we are not neutral but more tilted toward a particular view, a sensitivity toward the view of gays and lesbians. Everybody knows that Montgomery County is the largest school system in the state, and they have to be the pace-setter. … I have some reservations about the balance and neutrality of this policy.”

From Maryland’s Gazette.

♫ Oooooh-klahoma, Where the Pols Ban Books They Think Are Gay ♫

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/11/2005 @ 10:50 am

Alabama’s gay book ban died only to be resurrected in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma House of Reps passed a resolution that would ban books about gay families from the children’s sections of public libraries. The resolution asks libraries to “confine homosexually themed books and other age-inappropriate material to areas exclusively for adult access and distribution.”

Resolutions are not laws, and are typically reserved for such hard-hitting action as naming the Month of May Arthritis Awareness Month, or “commending the Frontier High School Mustangs boys and girls basketball teams for winning the Class A Championship; congratulating them for being only the fifth high school to win both the boys and girls championship in the same year; and directing distribution [of the resolution to the public].”

Resolution sponsor Sally Kern pointed to one book in particular, which she calls “obscene.” “King and King” is the story of a young prince who, ordered to marry by summer’s end, sort of falls for another prince. One review calls the book “a joyful celebration that at the same time firmly challenges the assumptions established and perpetuated by the entire canon of children’s picture books.”

“This isn’t censorship,” Kern said, “because I’m not asking that they be thrown away, be burned. I’m asking that they just be put in with adult collections and then if a parent wants their child to see a book like that they can check it out.”

The resolution states that a child’s development “should be at the discretion of a child’s parents free from interference from the distribution of inappropriate publicly cataloged materials” and that public libraries should not expose children to material “that may be deemed harmful and inappropriate.”

“Where’s the stopping point on this?” asked Darrell Gilbert (D-Tulsa)

“If this is a book that you want to have in, quote, an adult-only access part of the library - which there aren’t any such things – you’re going to have to take every anatomy book and put it in there, too, because it has nude bodies in it, pictures of body parts. Where does it stop?”

Full story here.

Give Me a T!

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/11/2005 @ 10:13 am

Reg Henry at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a few things to say about the vague idiocy that, in Texas, qualifies as legislation. (Reprinted at Capitol Hill Blue.)

I can see why Texas lawmakers would want to put the clamps — or is it burkas? — on their cheerleaders. With their seductive melodic chants and nifty moves, they might unleash the birds and the bees both. Why, innocent young fellows in the stands could be provoked to un-football-like thoughts.

The problem, as I see it, is knowing where to draw the line. One person’s sexually suggestive cheerleading is another person’s nimble athletic maneuver. A good Christian cheerleader, dressed demurely head to toe in an overcoat, must still overcome the paradox that she is a young woman leaping around in front of a bunch of guys. This is not her fault, of course, and she is not to be blamed that she did not take up field hockey.

Still, tasteful cheerleading is a fine line to dance, and it would be a terrible tragedy if a faith-based pep squad were caught up in any sanction aimed at heathen vixens.

And then there’s the Christian Science Monitor, which takes a (predictably) more sober approach in exploring the issue.

In his 12 years of cheer coaching and judging, Eric Howze says he has seen maybe five routines that he felt were too sexual.

“It’s a rare, rare thing,” says Mr. Howze, owner and director of the Southwest Cheer Academy in Safford, Texas. Further, he says, lewdness and provocativeness are all in the eyes of the beholder.

“If I go to a hockey game and in the third period a fight breaks out, and I walk away saying, ‘hockey is violent,’ I have missed three periods of excellent skating, great stick work, and wonderful line changes,” he says. “This legislation is much the same way.”

And even if a particular routine does occasionally cross the line, Howze continues, parents are the ones who should be monitoring it. They are the ones who enroll their kids in cheer schools and watch practices.

“Being in Texas, which is a huge Christian-based state … I don’t feel it is the right of somebody else to come in and do the parenting job that somebody else should be able to do,” he says.

Representative Al Edwards, the bill’s sponsor, wants to bring the discussion back to what he feels is the nut of the issue — that high school cheerleaders are sleazy.

“We are telling teenagers not to have sex, but are teaching them how to do it on the football field and applauding them when they do it,” says Rep. Al Edwards of Houston, who sponsored the bill.

He says that over the years, he has watched cheerleading routines get racier and uniforms get tinier - a “distracting” trend that in his view encourages teen pregnancy, boosts dropout rates, and increases the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

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