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Posts tagged "censorship"

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast #7

Our newest podcast (that’s also a video) is up! Here, Marge, Ria and Red discuss the current protest of some Christian groups against the Lady Gaga concertthe difficulties of satire in a country where the news reads like stories out of The Onion, and how beauty queen Miriam Quiambao’s courage in defiance of popular opinion has contributed to the awareness of LGBT rights.

By Red Tani

MANILA, Philippines–The fire was over, but the worst was yet to come. After putting out the last of the flames, firemen began searching for survivors in the rubble of what was once the SM Mall of Asia concert grounds. This was where Lady Gaga performed a concert as part of her “Born This Way Ball” tour.

But what was supposed to be just another concert in the tour became one of the worst disasters the country has ever seen. An eyewitness is yet to be found, but surviving CCTV footage caught the unfortunate series of events.

It all started when Lady Gaga sang “Born This Way,” a song that has become an anthem of the LGBT community. Upon hearing the chorus, straight couples separated from each other and immediately French kissed the same-sex person closest to them.

With only minimal foreplay these same-sex couples fornicated on the ground, and to make matters worse, they used condoms…

Read the rest of this satire post on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

By Red Tani

Lady Gaga will perform in the Philippines, but not if some bigots can help it. Biblemode Youth Philippines has gone on Bible Mode, calling for the blasphemous concert to be canceled. Their protest leader, former Congressman Benny Abante, threatened to file a lawsuit if she sings “Judas,” a performance protesters consider obscene, and therefore, illegal.

Penal Censorship

Former Manila Mayor Jose Atienza agrees, saying that such obscenity is punishable by six months to six years in prison under the Revised Penal Code. According to Article 201 — which was also used against Mideo Cruz’s Jesus-Penis-Juxtaposition in Polyteismo — obscenity applies to immoral displays that

(1) glorify criminals or condone crimes;

(2) serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence, lust or pornography;

(3) offend any race or religion;

(4) tend to abet traffic in and use of prohibited drugs; and

(5) are contrary to law, public order, morals, good customs, established policies, lawful orders, decrees and edicts.

Judas vs. Jesus

The music video of “Judas” depicts “Jesus and his disciples as a motorcycle gang and tells the story of Jesus’ betrayal, with Lady Gaga playing the role of Jesus’ girlfriend, who is torn between her loyalty to Jesus and her love for Judas.”

Out of the 5 criteria for obscenity, “Judas” is guilty — by my judgment — of just one: (3) offending any race or religion. (1) doesn’t count (unless the motorcycle gang Jesus belonged to was a criminal one). Nor does (2) because beyond the stunts and gimmicks, many people actually like her music. (4) is arguable but unlikely. And (5) refers to laws, public order, and other supposedly non-sectarian rules — not the doctrines and opinions of a single sect or religion.

Fans vs. Fanatics

Lady Gaga is no stranger to such controversy — South Koreans protested to prevent infecting the youth with “homosexuality and pornography,” and in Indonesia, the Islamic Defenders Front said “they were ready to die to stop the concert.”

But should the concert be canceled — like in Indonesia — or censored — like what could happen here — it’s not Lady Gaga who’ll be affected most — it’s the fans. The right to freedom of expression implies the right to freely access artistic expressions in their uncensored form. To defend their right to enjoy an artist they admire — and to protect the ideals of free speech in general — Lady Gaga’s fans should counter-protest, and I’m suggesting this is how they do it.

Gaga vs. Bible

They should file a case against Biblemode Youth Philippines for giving the youth access to the most obscene artistic expression ever made: the Bible. Compared to the Bible, a Lady Gaga concert looks like an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. No one will dispute this, at least not anyone who has read the Bible — cover to cover, not just homily material. The Bible is so obscene that other than criterion (4), it is guilty of violating criteria (1), (3), and (5) many times over, and of (2) as well — unless you consider “being terrified of God” as a valid purpose.

The Bible is full of obscenity, filled with verses and verses not only of sex and violence, but every form of injustice, intolerance, and incitement of hatred against women, LGBTs, and even children.

I know many of you won’t read the Bible — especially if you’re a Bible-thumping Christian like Manny Pacquiao — so I’ll list just one example for each criterion of obscenity (except the fourth) to prove that more than Lady Gaga, the Bible is deserving of censorship, if not banning.

(1) glorify criminals or condone crimes

The Bible has many graphic stories that depict and even condone slavery, murder, genocide, torture, infanticide, and other atrocities that any non-psychopathic person would consider criminal. Here’s one.

To gain Saul’s approval, not to mention his daughter, Michal, David and his men not only killed a hundred Philistines, they also performed postmortem circumcisions, offering the Philistine foreskins — the 100 they individually counted — as bride price…

Read about the other obscenities in the bible on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

By Dustin Celestino

Disclaimer: Apologies to all the women in the world for the potentially misogynistic contexts that may emerge from my usage of the loaded term “warat” in this article.

Warat is a common Filipino expression often interchanged with “wasak.” It means “broken” or “destroyed” in English, but is also a slang word for “drunk and high on an assortment of drugs” or a devirginized girl.

“Warat” is also the title of a 90′s bold movie starring Joyce Jimenez.


"Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba? (1999)"

Introduction

My years of exposure to the devious underworld of 90′s bold movies — my exposure to videos of naked women — has supposedly corrupted my soul and turned me into a depressed adult who compulsively cries at night when recalling scenes from “Balahibong Pusa” and “Sutla.” These transient images carve themselves into memory, haunting men like naked sirens, beckoning them towards madness. 90’s soft-porn cinema: a truly great evil.

At least, that was what my values teacher told me about bold movies. Thankfully, although many hours of my youth were spent in isolation and many VHS and Betamax devices have malfunctioned after much fast-forwarding and rewinding, I still don’t have a corrupted soul.

The absence of the “artistic factor” was a common criticism tossed around by regulatory boards and “purists” alike to condemn the bold cinema trend of the 90’s. However, I’m not entirely sure what these people meant by “artistic.”

One of the most debated topics in aesthetics and censorship legislation is the nature of art. What is art? While a fair number of people are aware of the principles of art (balance, contrast, proportion), not many are aware of the standard “approaches” used to define what is artistic. Is a 90’s bold movie artistic? Is porn artistic?


"Ligaya ang Itawag Mo Sa Akin (1997)" is another artistic movie from the 90’s which had realistic intercourse-ing.

Why “Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba?” is Art Reason #1: The Plot is Absurd but the Sex Looks Real (and/or Art as Imitation: Plato and Mimesis)

“All artistic creation is a form of imitation.” – Plato

One of the earliest approaches to art was by Plato. Plato believed that the primary element in determining artistic quality is mimesis or an artist’s ability to mimic or re-produce reality. In other words, an artwork’s realism is what defines its artistic quality.

By this standard then, the bold movies of the 90’s are definitely inferior to “Jersey Shore,” Hayden Kho, and contemporary amateur porn. But via the same standard, in terms of realism, “Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba?” is actually more artistic than any movie that implies that Carla Abellana could actually be attracted to Jorge Estregan Jr.


“Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba? (1999)” had several scenes that allowed the audience to feel an approximation of the emotions felt by an individual who was intercourse-ing.

Why “Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba?” is Art Reason #2: The Audience Gets Aroused (and/or Art as Expression: Tolstoy and Authenticity)

“Works of art so often arise from some deep personal feeling or crisis in the lives of their creators that emotion itself is commonly taken as the defining characteristic of art.” – Leo Tolstoy

Art is not art unless it is able to transfer raw emotions. According to Leo Tolstoy, an artist’s ability to make the audience feel what he feels should be the standard of art. This premise, however, postulates that artistic intention and audience reaction is the highest standard of artistic quality.

If a poem about something sad was written in a way that makes a reader sad too, then by this standard, it is art. If a scene exhibiting sexually aroused individuals makes the audience aroused too, it is artistic. With regard to “Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba?,” when Joyce Jimenez was moaning and writhing to express her sexual arousal while she was having make-believe intercourse with an actor, many viewers were also sexually aroused. Needless to say, the scene was successful because it seemed authentic enough to generate an authentic response.

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

by Marguerite de Leon


 

(August 21, 2011) Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City – The Filipino Freethinkers marched with Palayain ang Sining to commemorate Kulo’s now-thwarted closing day, and to show solidarity with our country’s fearless and passionate artistic community. Filipino Freethinkers brought placards that, among other things, said the following:

One man’s belief is another man’s blasphemy.
“I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire
Censorship is so 12th century.
Censorship is offensive.
Censorship: protecting you from reality.
Blasphemy is a human right – United Nations
One freethinker marched in a Jesus costume and held a sign that said, “I am not offended.”

“The issue has definitely riled up individuals both in and out of the artistic community,” said Kenneth Keng, spokesperson of Filipino Freethinkers.

“It’s a reminder of our intrinsic right to freedom of expression,” said Keng. “In light of the UN’s affirmation that blasphemy is indeed a human right, it couldn’t have come at a more poignant time.”

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

Please vote for us in “The One” and “The Advocate” categories of the Globe Tatt Awards. Thanks!

By Wesley

As the war between the CCP and the CBCP reached fever pitch during the past few days, culminating in the eventual closure of an artist’s exhibit deemed ‘blasphemous‘,  it has effectively polarized those involved into two camps: those who say that freedom of artistic expression should supersede religious sacred cows or vice-versa. If you were an artist, then you’d support the freedom to express yourself. If you were the conservative type, then you’d prefer that religious symbolism be given special immunity against the more radical artistic interpretations.

But what about those of us on the outside – the regular Juan (or Maria…or anyone in between, for that matter) who doesn’t go to artsy-fartsy art museums and discuss the merits of an artist’s work all day? Why should it even matter to us? Shouldn’t it be left to the art connoisseurs and bishops to duke it out till their lungs explode?

The reason is simple: because art (and artistic expression) is not only limited to painting and sculptures..

Censorship in Music..

Early this year, while the rest of the world celebrated the launch of Lady Gaga’s newest pop anthem ‘Born This Way’, a song about acceptance and embracing diversity, Malaysian authorities decided to ban it on the grounds of possibly offending religious feelings.

Sounds familiar?

Read the full article at the Filipino Freethinkers website.

Please vote for us in “The One” and “The Advocate” categories of the Globe Tatt Awards. Thanks!

By Garrick Bercero

I recently had the pleasure of watching the absurdist play HARING +UBU-L XXX staged by the Sipat Lawin Ensemble at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Surprisingly, the content of the play wasn’t the most bizarre and surreal part of my day hanging around the CCP. At the open forum held on the Kulô exhibit and Mideo Cruz’s controversial Poleteismo, Catholic conservatives composed of priests, businessmen, and anti-choice activists lectured artists on what art is, in CCP. Apologies to the Sipat Lawin Ensemble but even their hilarious avant-garde piece couldn’t possibly compete with the sheer audacity of these conservatives.

What the conservative Catholics kept braying about during the forum was that Cruz’s piece offended the majority of Filipinos, which is still dominated by the Catholic Church, just going by the numbers. They still seem unable, however, to fathom the possibility of dissent among their ranks by naively assuming that every person baptized in the Catholic Church as a baby agrees with their single-minded cause of suppressing individual freedoms.

Yolly Gamutan, National Secretary of the Catholic Youth League of the Philippines, should be commended for saying something in the forum that every other conservative has been thinking these past months but was never brave enough to voice out. She said that “…to be Catholic, we cannot be independent in our thinking….” This brief moment of sincerity perfectly frames all the culture war issues in the Philippines right now—from divorce to the ever-contentious RH bill.

The underlying idea being fought over via church bulletin boards, bumper stickers, and Facebook walls is the seemingly novel concept of freedom. In this issue, the CBCP and its cohorts seem unaware that the concept of free expression is meaningless if…

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website

Please vote for Filipino Freethinkers in “The One” and “The Advocate” categories of the Globe Tatt Awards. Thanks!

By Jeiel Aranal

From the Filipino Freethinkers website:

In the forum held by the CCP over the controversial artworks of Mideo Cruz the Catholic fundamentalists of the CBCP, via their proxy of Pro-Life Philippines, reiterated their demands that their faith be respected over fundamental human rights. With much bellicose shouting, they essentially demanded that freedom of expression must be squashed so that their delicate feelings about their religion won’t be offended.

Their demand, that their religious sensibilities be not offended by anyone else’ words or actions simply cannot be acquiesced to by any democratic society that values the freedom of expression. Sure, people have a right to take offense  but an expectation that no one can ever say anything which will offend you is unreasonable and has grave consequences for society.

It would mean a society crippled, unable to spread and criticize ideas for fear of offending other people. Without the spread and criticism of ideas, progress would essentially be dead. Society would not be able to move forward scientifically. Society would not be able to move forward ethically. Society would not be able to move forward artistically.

Perhaps one can see the appeal of such a society to religious fundamentalists.

So we stand against people who devalue the freedom of expression, for this freedom of expression gives us the ability to move toward a society that values reason and science. This is why representatives from the Filipino Freethinkers stood up in that forum and spoke out against the loud angry voices of the Catholic fundamentalists.

Interestingly, the Catholics of Pro-Life Philippines seemed to take offense at Red saying CBCP. It’s not a derogatory word folks!

It makes me wonder how all-powerful the fundamentalists really think their God is. I mean, if their God can be offended by a mere artwork, how all powerful can their deity really be?

Please vote for Filipino Freethinkers in “The One” and “The Advocate” categories of the Globe Tatt Awards. Thanks!

by Wesley

It has often been said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” that is, the things we see around us are interpreted differently from viewer to viewer. But what about the flip-side? Is the “profane” just as subjective as the “pleasing”?

In one of my travels, I found myself tagging along with my sister who was meeting her one-time Arts History professor Mr. Ybañez in Madrid. Now being a numbers guy, art was never one of my strong suits, in contrast to my kid sister who’s an Arts graduate. But thinking this was going to be a rare chance to expand my horizons, I begged to be the third-wheel in their art-tripping escapade.

The first stop was the Museo del Prado, one of the world’s largest art museums. Gazing at literally thousands of the world’s most treasured art pieces and listening to my two art-aficionado companions rattle trivia after trivia about the pieces we encountered was educational, to say the least. Turning a corner into another hall, we heard snickering from a group of teenage tourists who were calling their other friends to come see a painting that had piqued their interests. Curiosity got the better of me and I glanced at the artwork they were giggling at.

And there it was. A huge painting showing what looks like the Virgin Mary baring one of her breast, giving it a deft squeeze, and squirting a long stream of breast milk straight into the open mouth of a kneeling monk.

Kinky, I thought.

Some sort of Catholic breast-fetish perhaps? Surely this must be some sort of poe. 

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

By Kenneth Keng

I recently spoke at a small RH forum in De La Salle University where Carlos Antonio Palad, Philosophy doctorate from UP and ardent opponent of the RH Bill, while accompanied by his companion from Defensores Fidei, said that though he might not agree with what I said, he would defend to death my right to say it.

I therefore would like to humbly ask for the good professor’s promised aid in this latest case of CBCP censorship. Their chosen organization for distancing and deniability this time is Pro-life Philippines, with the effort being personally spearheaded by its president Eric Manalang, who has been demanding that an art exhibit containing, among others, the work of Mideo Cruz in the Cultural Center of the Philippines be taken down.

“By Thursday afternoon, we will file a case if they do not stop the exhibit and if they do not also make amends because stopping is not enough. The damage has been done,” Eric Manalang, president of Pro-life Philippines, said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news site on Tuesday.


“Relics”, one of the works by Mideo Cruz

To address their demands, CCP set up an open forum this Friday, inviting the general public and concerned parties to come and openly discuss the issue.

Pro Life Philippines’ response to this invitation has been to ignore it and any other attempts at dialogue, then threaten a lawsuit if the exhibit was not taken down by Thursday afternoon, the day before the open forum which was organized in large part for them.

Since the start of this year, the CBCP and its allies have taken down this fast food commercial with its obviously demonic children, as well as the society destroying pectorals of the Philippine Volcanoes rugby team. Having taken on the imperialist capitalist conspirators Mcdonald’s and Bench Apparel, perhaps they now finally feel confident enough to crush the greatest threat to the cultural heritage of the Philippines: the, er, Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Read the full article at the Filipino Freethinkers website.