The Ban Band

Apropos the previous post, The Guardian consulted five experts on the tricky issue of censorship: when, if ever, should a work be banned?

They hit motherlode with Dr Kanwaljit Kaur Singh, Chair of the British Sikh Education Council.

The good doctor was nothing if not consistent:

About Jim Allen’s Perdition–“If Jews found it insulting and offensive to the memory of the Holocaust, I’m glad it was taken off.”

On Satanic Verses: “It was nothing but an attack on the Muslim religion. It should have been banned but the fatwa was wrong.”

On homophobic dancehall lyrics: “It is nothing but abuse of gay people, and an abuse of freedom of expression. It could incite violence against gay people. It should be banned.”

Eminem stopped short of inviting an absolute ban, but elicited this comment:

“This does not provide children with good role models. I would not want my children to hear it.”

On Dishonour, a priceless response, suggesting that location, location, location is still the way to go for authors who fear death threats:

“This should be banned, it is insulting the religion by portraying murder and sexual abuse in a Gurdwara. If it was in a community centre, with Sikh people carrying out murder and sexual abuse, I would have been offended but I would not have called for its banning.”

But my favourite bit was this riff on the finer points of bans:

“Something should be banned when it insults religion. If it causes offence to people then it should not necessarily be banned.”

Two comments: one, did the journo who interviewed Dr Singh merely salivate, or openly drool while taking shorthand? And two, I must thank the good doctor for making a necessary distinction. Religion is not people. As we all know, Soylent Green is people.

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