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The Daily Rhino
Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hear the one about the Archbishop, the Muslim and the religious hatred bill?
LIKE most old men in their early 20s, I’m spending an increasing amount of time listening to Radio 4. Now I don’t really want to go over old ground about the religious hatred bill, as it has been covered in length elsewhereSunny has done an especially good job on Asians in the Media. To briefly state my position, I believe it to be a fig-leafed token gesture to appease the MCB after Blair pissed off a lot of Muslims. I simply want to bring a few fascinating comments from this evening’s Any Questions to your attention.

The Archbishop

The former Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that ‘redundant’ blasphemy laws should be scrapped. This statement coincided with a cross-party group announcing amendments to the controversial bill – which returns to the Lords on Tuesday.

In a nutshell, the current blasphemy laws can only be applied to Christianity but critics of the bill fear that its imposition will allow the government to extend this archaic law to other religions.

What I found most interesting about George Carey’s comments is that he said “It’s good for a religion to be knocked and challenged…we need that criticism.” I could not agree more and it makes me very happy to hear that. Carey said he enjoyed The Life of Brian and didn’t mind Jerry Springer the Opera.

The Muslim

Ziauddin Sardar was a panellist on the show and started by explaining how any extension to blasphemy laws would be bad news. He cited Pakistan, which had no blasphemy laws until about 15 years ago. “The emergence of blasphemy laws has actually led to an incredible number of injustices against minorities and women.”

But he was in favour of the bill with a rather interesting reason.

“In the Muslim community, anti-Semitism has run riot and it’s becoming a very major problem. So I would like the [bill to come in] so that we can lock all those anti-Semitic Muslims away.”

Now, I heard a few people titter and of course you can’t read a person’s facial expression on the radio. He later confessed he was speaking with some degree of irony and expanded on what he meant. He explained how he thought that a problem in the Muslim community is that “they perpetually see themselves as victims” and this is perpetuated by much of the media and/or public thinking that they are “a soft group in need of protection”. He stated that the Muslim community is very resilient with strong and dynamic characters and one of the key problems is that the leadership of the community is ageing. The ‘community leaders’ have

“no understanding of the modern world, very little understanding of the problems of the young and they have a very archaic and obscurantist view and interpretation of Islam. But right underneath them we have a very dynamic group of young people who understand what modernity is all about and who have a very reformist outlook and what we need to do is promote, promote, promote this generation change. We don’t need a religious hatred bill, we need to go out there and change the leadership of the Muslim community.”

Whilst I’m not entirely sure if he’s in favour or not at this point, don’t you think his words sound very much like something else?

So what’s my point?
Pickled Politics rocks!

If you have some time, you can listen to this edition again

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What did you think of 2046. I watched it first (my stupid mistake cause i didn't get a single bit of it) and then i went back to starting up from As tears go by to In the mood for love. Still haven't watched days of being wild, but have consumed every other Kar Wai Wong film, except for his short films like the Hand. I had a copy of Eros but it was dubbed in italian so...
In the mood for love is def. his best work to date, Christopher Doyle at his very very best in that film. I thought his repetition of songs (California Dreaming) in Chungking Express was a little bit grating, but by the middle of the final segment in CK it somehow seemed to work, and the same goes for ITMFL. If I remember correctly, the musical sequences are his substitute for the heavy sex scenes that were in the script. Surprising that no Indian director chose to at least steal or homage that yet, even tho RGV copied ITMFL in Naach.
Hey man.

I really like 2046, it was very different to what I expected. But I must watch it again (only seen it once) to go over a few things. I watched it in one sitting with Old Boy, so my brain was a bit fried. Have you seen Old Boy? Good golly gosh.

I also haven't seen any shorts by Wong. I found out through SM that Naach was a copy of ITMFL which took me surprise as my gf had shown me a bit of Naach and I never saw the connection. Argh perhaps it was 'good for Bollywood' but if it was a copy it was complete shite. Antara Mali's beach cavorting was a decent consolation prize though!

Interesting point you make about INdians not copying (stealing) his substitution of music for sex - as this is such an obvious thing, but then there's a lot they could lift from his movies which would be appropriate for Indian fillums. Although I do confess, I would wonder about how wide the appeal of a Wong Kar Wai-style film would be in India. The sheer poetry of his films is something a bit lost in Indian cinema, as of late.
Hah..that's funny cause I remember posting on SM about naach and how it was lifted from ITMFL.
I think the music-video style of WKW (which he attributes to french filmmaking of godard) without the characters actually singing the words could be translated very well to Indian cinema, as an evolution of song and dance. Problem is, you can only take that so far, and the artistic notion of using music and song and dance to imply emotion has been clobbered and gutted to death in bollywood. I think i remember posting on SM that bollywood is still not out of its post-Sholay rut.
Personally, I hoped that this new economic boom would somewhat allay the constant stream of 6 different types of bullshit being emitted all over the world from Bollywood's mouth, but it seems to have worsened in fact, as production values go up, script and plot go down. Apt that RGV should call his company "The Factory" because that is exactly what is happening.
Plus NRI nostalgia has increased profit margins overseas and it doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon.
Its interesting to notice that the style in which oldboy was made and edited is not exactly the style employed by the director for his first 2 films, maybe because of less money, but his earlier 2 films JSA and sympathy for mr vengeance are miles away from Oldboy. Also, try tracking down a bootleg copy of Sympathy for lady vengeance (his third film of his revenge trilogy) on the inter-nyet.
Nice piece :-)
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