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Archive for May 19th, 2008

Gratuitous Blasphemy

Posted by Martin Poulter on 19 May 2008

On 8 May something happened in UK law that needs celebrating: the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel were abolished. Although they were hardly used in recent decades, these made it a crime to offend the beliefs and doctrines of the Church of England.

Politicians including Jack Straw had remarked on the absurdity of legal protections for one faith in a multi-cultural society, and one solution that was discussed was extending the law to cover other religions. Taken to its conclusion, this would have criminalised defecating towards Mecca (blasphemous in Islam). Fortunately, sanity has prevailed.

I’ve thought about how to celebrate this event and, since the effect of censorship laws is usually to restrict our access to art, here’s the poem “The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name” (in tribute to the public figures including Iain Banks, Ludovic Kennedy, Claire Rayner and Philip Pullman who protested against the blasphemy law). I couldn’t find the banned film “Visions of Ecstasy” online, but Google Video offers this film student’s animated tribute.

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Urban Graffiti Taken to the Next Level

Posted by Martin Poulter on 19 May 2008

BluBlu’s film MUTO is awesome not just because it is an inventive and surreal animation, but because it is drawn on public walls and pavements in two different countries. It’s one of those “has to be seen to be believed” things. Thanks to Steve_Ri for the recommendation.

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Stephen Fry lecture on broadcasting

Posted by Paul Ayres on 19 May 2008

Broadcaster, comedian and professional MartinPoulteralike Stephen Fry recently gave a lecture on public service broadcasting.

I always enjoy Mr. Fry and this 40 minute gallop through his experience of the BBC as viewer / listener, employee and now freelance producer is entertaining, thought provoking and never dull. While I am not a fan of everything the Beeb does, I suppose that on reflection I would rather pay my TV Tax via the license fee, than go down the US purely commercial road or the European model of state owned broadcasters. It’s a shame that the Beeb doesn’t fully embrace the 2.0 world and let us embed videos such as this … and while this is presented as a video, it is a lecture in the old fashioned sense so you can just hit play, get on with your day and listen to Mr. Fry’s mellifluous tones … for once I was glad that my rampant insomnia had me up at 1 in the morning flicking onto BBC Parliament.

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