Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Nun's The Word

I'm afraid to say that I've had another of my "Oh, for God's sake" moments with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Students of this blog will already be aware that I really hate the ASA. They have a habit of poking their not inconsiderable noses into places they should be leaving well alone.

The latest Exhibit: this utterly harmless picture, supporting an advertising campaign for ice cream, from the Italian firm Antonio Federici.

Just for the sake of clarity: you are viewing an image of a heavily-pregnant nun, in a church, eating ice cream. The truly tremendous strap-line is: "immaculately conceived". Now I see what marketing gurus get paid for.

The ASA's reason for goose-stepping in on this is that the adverts "mock Roman Catholic beliefs". "So bloody what ?" you may well ask. So might the wider public, it seems. When the images appeared in The Lady and Grazia magazines earlier this year, the poor ASA's switchboard operators were simply inundated - swept aside - by a total of....ten complaints.

Now, let's be fair just for a moment. If an advert had been brought out which was seen as mocking Islam, and the ASA banned that (which they would, without hesitation) we'd all be saying "I bet they wouldn't ban an ad which mocked Christianity". So at least they're wielding their weapons of free-speech destruction in an even-handed way. But it is completely wrong that no one should be able to take the Mickey out of religion in such a mild-mannered form.

It says a lot about the status afforded to religion by the Establishment in this country that it can enjoy such luxurious protection from any form of mockery or even serious challenge. In becoming ever-more draconian about this, our rulers are demonstrating an increasingly serious disconnection from wider society, which itself is growing ever-more sceptical about the messages handed down to us in the name of religious belief.

Fascinatingly, Antonio Federici have said that they intend to produce new posters along a similar theme, in defiance of the ban, and put them up around Westminster Cathedral to coincide with the Pope's visit. Good on 'em. We need people who are prepared to challenge the power exerted by State-sponsored censorship organisations like the ASA. I'm backing them all the way and I wish them well. I may even seek out their ice cream, just to see if it's as wonderful as they claim.

And I really quite fancy that nun...

1 comment:

Wyrdtimes said...

I see what you mean. This was completely off the radar for me so thanks have twittered it too.

It seems freedom of expression is slipping down the agenda in the UK these days.

English freedoms are being eroded in the name of religion the UK and the EU. Heartily sick of the pandering to religious halfwits and despots.

I reckon only an English parliament will pay any respect to English freedoms. And no it doesn't require more politicians.
What do you reckon?