Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Porcine Ruminations

I confess that there are 2 pigs whom I have long held in high esteem: Babe, the indomitable sheep-pig, and Piglet the taoist companion of Winnie the Pooh. Both pigs proved to be big things in small packages, possessing great power & virtue although, admittedly, Piglet suffers from a constant fear of the dark and is rather anxious about most things. But that just makes him a 3-dimensional porker. They are truly princes among pigs.

So it was with much raising-of-the-eyebrow-whisker that I learned that the Winnie the Pooh cartoon was recently and unceremoniously yanked off the airwaves in Turkey - at least on Turkey's public broadcasting station. The TRT took exception to Pooh's porcine sidekick for the simple reason that the presence of an albeit animated and fictional pig would offend Muslim sensibilities. This is indeed a sad fact, considering that on the echelon of haraam animals, pigs feature higher than dogs (see yesterday's post). I wonder how Scooby-Doo and Goofy feel about this.

The TRT had qualms about removing Pooh altogether ... initially considered scissoring the scenes showing Piglet, but abandoned the idea because the small pink-skinned character, one of Winnie the Pooh's closest friends, appeared too often, Cumhuriyet and the mass-circulation Sabah newspaper said.

Well, when in doubt, just cut the whole thing - at least, that's what I learned in my Censorship 101 class. You can never be too vigilant against those deceivingly innocuous & insidious children's fictional characters. Such cases of swinophobia are not unique, as evidenced this past year in Britain:

Novelty pig calendars and toys have been banned from a council office — in case they offend Muslim staff. Workers in the benefits department at Dudley Council, West Midlands, were told to remove or cover up all pig-related items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet ... Councillor Mahbubur Rahman, a practising Muslim, backed the ban. He said: “It’s a tolerance of people’s beliefs.”

Tolerance? Hmmmmm ... not the word I would have used. What's next: will the Powder Puff girls have to wear burkas? Will the Velveteen Rabbit have to grow a beard? I wonder ~ if I were an intelligent sentient Muslim, how would I feel about the media taking such great pains to "protect" my sensibilities. I'd like to think that I would resent any assumption that I am unable to think rationally and make my own decisions, or that I would want to eat a haraam cartoon animal. If I want to watch Winnie the Pooh cartoons, surely that's my business. I mean, the world's Jewish population seems to be doing just fine.

As far as I'm concerned, censoring Piglet should be automatic grounds for not allowing Turkey to join the European Union.

That'll do pig.

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