I missed this story last week when I was off for a few days and just picked it up via Neil Gaiman‘s blog – the Religious Holier-Than-Thou twonks who know what is best for us (don’t they always?) have put pressure on a couple of large UK retailers over sales of the Jerry Springer: the Opera. After managing to get many stage versions of the show cancelled did Woolworths or Sainsbury’s stand up for freedom from censorship and for the vast majority of their customers to exercise their rights to choose for themselves what they wished to view as adults? Hell, no they caved in faster than an Italian army. A programme, which, incidentally has already been aired on national network television, not some little cult programme which no-one had heard of.
I seem to recall around this time last year I was blogging on some small, extreme Christian cults who were doing their best to get stage shows closed down they didn’t agree with. It is all reminiscent of the outrageous attacks religious figures (mainstream rather than cult in this case) made on Monty Python’s Life of Brian back in the 70s (of course, today we don’t remember those idiots much but the Pythons are immortal – and Brit comedy took its own revenge in a spoof of the chat show where Palin and Cleese defended their movie and adult’s right to choose their own entertainment in a delicious Not The Nine ‘o Clock News sketch).
There is always some small minded person trying to tell us what we can read, what we can watch – Harry Potter promots witchcraft, this book is contrary to Aryan supremacy, this EC horror comic corrupts children, this 80s slasher movie turns viewers into de-sensitised killers, Marilyn Manson songs are what make kids shoot other kids. It isn’t about that – it never was. It isn’t about sex or violence (if it was we’d have to ban the Bible and a fair chunk of Shakespeare and Chaucer too) either. It is about a small group who want to control what we think and how we express ourselves. That’s what Threadworths and Stainsbury’s (every little help, sez chirpy Jamie Oliver – oh, yeah, Mockney Boy? Want to buy a dodgy DVD then?) caved into, so guess what? I’m going to censor my money! My money isn’t allowed to buy anything from these craven, cowardly companies.