Not since Sam Tân stood in a whoopsie, which admittedly was only yesterday M’lud, a microscopic time in outrage land; has there been such a scramble to censor a so far unseen episode of ‘baby sitting for busy parents’.
Sam Tân, for the uninitiated, was the brainchild of two Kent firemen; they wanted to make films in an unintelligible language, where they could feature ‘illegible text’ to their hearts content. Naturally Sam Tân, or Fireman Sam, as you might know it, was made in Welsh…and broadcast on the minority S4C channel which specialises in broadcasting unintelligible Welsh. Not so much Andy Pandy, more Tonypandy.
One episode, first broadcast in 2014, was due to be reshown in a few days, when the ever alert Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, who presumably had a backlog of Welsh language broadcasts to snooze through, noted what appeared to be ‘Surah Mulk (67), verses 13-26’ from the Koran written on a page of ‘illegible text’, which was one of a number of pages that appeared to be thrown up in the air before one page, not necessarily ‘that’ page, ended up under the foot of Sam Tân’s colleague, still gabbling away in unintelligible Welsh…
If you had been wondering why there hadn’t been mass ‘Not in my name‘ protests by the Muslim community about the despicable murder of an 86-year-old priest in Northern France, it is because they were all fully occupied, all 1,000 of them, writing to demand that this episode never be repeated. Not that any of them even noticed when they were glued to the original version in Welsh. As you would be. They have had their way, the Channel 5 is committed to burning, burying or whatever they do with material considered offensive by more than one person, the episode, and the animation studio has been fired.
In South Africa, there is another ‘pre-broadcast’ scandal. The Loud House is a fictional cartoon based around an 11-year-old boy. Sounds harmless enough.
There is one small problem here. ‘A creative team’ based in liberal Los Angeles, might, perchance, have a different definition of ‘family’ or ‘parents’ from your average church-going Christian South African looking for a cartoon on TV to keep their young son occupied while they do whatever church-going Christian South Africans do in their free time.
The Loud House turned out to have two characters depicting parents called, er, Howard and Harold. They lay claim to be the parents of the only black character in the show, young Clyde, who is the second in command to Lincoln, the 11-year-old main character. I would have thought this unusual depiction of the one and only black character as an ‘also-ran’ might have raised hackles, but that it seems is the least of the show’s problems. Gay parents! Arggh.
Consequently, in Africa, the whole of Africa, ‘cos it is too much hard work to adapt the series just for South Africa, Nickelodeon are going to make poor Clyde’s presence in the show even more of a mystery. The only black character – but ‘nobody mention his parents’!
“Nickelodeon has confirmed that an episode of The Loud House featuring two gay dads will not air on its channel in sub-Saharan Africa,” says VIMN Africa.
Not that anyone in Africa has actually seen the show yet. It’s never too early to complain.
These animation studios are positively subversive. A previous Nickelodeon effort was Bubble Guppies for your average pre-school tot, which featured a drag queen, and the animated cartoon ‘The Legend of Korra‘ which dwelt on a ‘gay’ kissing sequence as it explored ‘the boundaries of youth entertainment with respect to issues of race, gender, and sexual identity’.
Meanwhile the rolling news channels feature endless coverage of ‘suicidal Syrian youths’ making their ‘third suicide attempt’ that ‘just happen’ to be standing next to 15 entirely innocent citizens listening to music, as you do when trying to commit suicide for reasons which the BBC say ‘are unclear’.
Sky run a loop of online material featuring flashing blue lights in Munich and panicked citizens for over half an hour, while intoning ‘we don’t know what has happened, we don’t know who it has happened to, we don’t know who did what’ – but aren’t these blue lights exciting, and there may be some blood in a minute – stay tuned!
How is it that we can fret about our children catching a fleeting glance of two gay parents, or a page of the Koran falling to the ground – yet we have 24 hour a day coverage of appalling atrocities, beamed into every household, and not a murmur of complaint?