Thanks, London School of Economics SU, for giving me extra work to do.

Discussion (68)¬

  1. Paul Sellick says:

    Brilliant Author. Genius!
    LSE should be ashamed.

  2. MarkyWarky says:

    Brilliant, simply brilliant!

    I have to ask Auther, does what you’ve created ever scare you now that it’s seriously “out there”? I mean the whole business of what human beings are capable of in the name of religion scares me, but do you ever find yourself thinking “Oh shit, the dangerous ones are bound to notice now”? I admire you a lot for doing this.

  3. MarkyWarky says:

    “Author”, not “Auther”! Bloody hell Marky!

  4. Uncle Mort says:

    Fantastic response to the reactionary religious bigots at LSE

  5. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Nanny demands to censor every thing
    That offends her, the old ding a ling
    The stunned old cow
    With the brains of a sow
    Leads todays progressive sucker lemming.

  6. The LSE Student Union has a secret crush on you, Author. This is just their shy way of saying hello.

  7. Stuart Burns says:

    I am an evangelical, ordained Anglican. I find Jesus and Mo to be subtle, funny, insightful and challenging. It is hard to believe that the LSE SU cannot see just how contrary to the spirit of open, critical academic pursuit the incident (as reported) has been.

  8. Gerhard Lohmann-Bond says:

    No wonder the LSE is a bit prickly where religion is concerned. After all, economics is a faith rather than a science. May the farce be with you.

  9. David Amies says:

    I am sickened and saddened by the actions of the LSE brass. Surely, points of view of all stripes are acceptable at a seat of learning as long as they are not promoting racial vilification or are encouraging violent behaviour.

    I am offended by Islamic dress, especially that worn by women. I find it confronting and often just plain eerie. However, I realise that in diverse societies, it is necessary to put up with such things in the interest of public harmony.

    The UK has a long tradition of taking the piss out of people, ideas, ideologies and religions. Is this no longer permissible? if not, then ‘gawd ‘elp us!

    David Amies

  10. two cents' worth says:

    Wow, two comics in one week! J&M doesn’t come with a soundtrack, but I imagine that this is might be their spiel before they start singing “National Brotherhood Week,” with a nod to LSE when they get to the line, “as long as you don’t let them in your school.” (See the first half of

  11. Acitta says:

    If those students were members of the religion of satireism, then they couldn’t be harrassed!

  12. Martin says:

    “…the LSE Legal and Compliance Team and Head of Security told the members of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society that the wearing of the t-shirts could be considered “harassment”, as it could “offend others” by creating an “offensive environment”.

    Why isn’t the Quran and the Hijab and Niqab considered harassment? Surely those ‘badges’ indicate support of the Quran and the Quran has some pretty uncomfortable things to say about non-Muslims. How offensive is the Quranic environment to non-Muslims? Isn’t it about time complaints were made about the Quran being offensive, and as such mosques promoting it should be severely restricted if not closed?

    Interesting development at Tescos where a few Muslims have just won a discrimination case because their privileged special arrangements weren’t sufficiently special. It seems that if Muslims are treated in a secular non-privileged manner that is to be regarded as oppression! Thereby making the Islamic way the accepted non-discriminatory non-privileged ‘norm’. It’s all there as a sub-text in the decision.

  13. RobJHitch says:

    Suggested new T shirt slogan.
    If you find something offensive, have a moan by all means … but that’s where your entitlement should stop.

  14. WalterWalcarpit says:

    This is brilliant.
    It was only because of the last debacle at the LSE SU that I ever heard of Jesus & Mo. And I doubt that I was alone at that.
    Author, prepare yourself for a flood of new initiates.
    And to them I say “Welcome to one of the most special places on the entire interweb, a place that is blessed with all the nourishment that mind, heart and I dare say it, soul, might need.”

  15. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Ah! Bollocks.
    I tried, but my hrefs must be rusty. But to prove my point; Hey, commentariat, where did I go wrong?

  16. Author says:

    Fixed it for you, WW.

  17. Fauziah Petra Court says:

    I’m a Muslim and I’ve been following Jesus and Mo for a few years now, I find the humour very refreshing and food for thought. Sadly the majority won’t find it funny. I know the rules about images of the Prophet,but in this day and age surely we must move on… ah well c`est la vie I love Jesus and Mo 😀

  18. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Ah! Author. Ta ever so. I have to love you for that but it rather undermines my opportunity to illustrate the wonders to be entertained on this site, although perhaps it actually underlines it. The Is works in wonderful ways.
    Not that this should make it sound like I made a deliberate mistake for purely pedagogical purposes.

    Great strip, by the way. Tell ’em how it is.
    I don’t go much for cussing in a comment but what feckin’ idjits they are. Could you imagine turning your irony meter on in the LSE SU’s vicinity? It would have sproinged before one got it out of it’s case!

  19. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Oh, and apparantly Maryam is after a T-shirt for her debate on the Burka at – believe it – the LSE. Never a better moment or my favourite “Thank You for not provoking my uncontrollable lust”.
    I have really got this feeling now that the time is a bit like the mid 1930’s when the civilised, mature, liberal, enlightened world could have stopped fascism dead in its tracks once and for all in the Spanish CIvil War by turning up and shouting out “You shall NOT pass!”

  20. mary2 says:

    WalterWalcarpit, good points about 1930s. I find it a little frightening (as a confirmed member of the PC brigade) that we now HAVE to be PC but only to protect extremists. As a grown woman, of reasonably sound mind, I find the burka confronting and offensive – every time I see one I see a person saying that men’s self control is my responsibility and I should be restrained because of other people’s problems. This IS offensive and confronting to me but I would see no reason to ban other people from wearing one if they see fit. I also find many bogan (google ‘bogan’) t-shirts offensive – the ones with slogans about women only being fit for the wearers conquest etc. I still believe idiots have the ‘right’ to wear them but I retain the ‘right’ to sneer at anyone doing so.

    This crazy placating of extremists is the beginning of a dangerous slippery-slope. Next step: all gay people have to go back in the closet so our mere presence in public doesn’t offend a fundamentalist?

    The State of Queensland has always been considered a political joke and throw-back by the rest of ‘Straya but we now have the entertaining situation where the conservative (read fundamentalist Christian of the American variety) government has made an exemption to the compulsory wearing of bicycle helmets for Sikhs only. The contradiction between ‘we must make this compulsory because you can’t be trusted to make your own decisions’ and ‘except where god tells you to wear a turban which is more important than protecting the taxpayer from paying for your brain damage’ is mind-numbing. It’s not like we even have a high proportion of Sikhs – no idea what the actual percentage of population is but it can’t be higher than 3%. Either the law is fricking compulsory or it is not compulsory. Who worships a god/guru/whatever (forgive my ignorance) who believes you hat is more important than brain damage???????

  21. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    David Amies says:
    [………….] The UK has a long tradition of taking the piss out of people, ideas, ideologies and religions. Is this no longer permissible? if not, then ‘gawd ‘elp us.

    I’ve been pondering this and have an idea what’s gone wrong; satire is suffering from what I think of as ‘Health and Safety Syndrome’, manifesting itself in this case as political overcorrectness.
    Just from the point of employment, right from the birth of the Industrial Revolution the average workplace was a death-trap, a place where the safety of the worker was of low prority. Some employers had concern for the well-being of their staff but for most the worker was expendable; in a time of no workers’ rights and no welfare system there was never a shortage of people needing work, so as far as safety in the workplace was concerned, it was the individual’s responsibility to stay safe.
    That in itself (the self-responsibility, not the lack of rights or welfare system)wouldn’t have been a bad thing had the employers at least tried to provide basic standards of safety, but the majority of the workforce took their health, if not their lives into their own hands whenever they went to work.
    Even after the introduction of the employment acts, of unions, and of a state welfare system, the employers still had little motivation to improve, so although things changed, profit was still king and the workers still disposable commodities.
    Things changed only very recently when ordinary people started suing employers for injuries caused at work – and winning. With profits at stake, all of a sudden every company had its H&S department, and they worked wonders, going through the workplace with a fine toothed comb and generally making going to work far safer than ever.
    What happened next was inevitable in hindsight. What were all those H&S officers to do once the workplace was safe? Well, what they did was to start finding risk where non existed simply to justify continued employment for themselves, and it continues apace in this brave new world of hard-hats, high-visibility jackets, and endless risk assessment forms and proficiency training sessions for everything from changing a bulb to using the coffee machine and training. H&S has turned into a massive inconvenience, it’s primary concern its own survival.

    I think the same is now happening with political correctness. After far too long of ‘anything goes’, the racists, sexists, homophobes, and bigots of all flavours started to find themselves increasingly in the minority, and to facillitate this compliance units were set up in workplaces and universities. Now, I’m not suggesting they have eradicated those problems to the same extent that H&S improved the workplace, but it is undeniable that displays – at least open displays – of racism et al are very much the exception than the rule nowadays.
    But, just like H&S, the people who make up the compliance units have to continue to justify their existance, so once again common sense goes out of the window so those whose continued employment or positions of power on commitees depends on their ability to shoehorn anything deemed offensive to pretty much anybody* who can cry on cue into one of the ‘ism’ boxes; it doesn’t exactly harm their cause when they can re-define Islam as a persecuted minority in order to fight their cause with lots of lovely publicity to boot.
    In brief, when you have one group with a vested interest in taking offence – even when none is given, and a second group with a vested interest in encouraging the first group to be offended – even when group two knows that the offence only exists in the heads of the offended, you just know it isn’t going to end well.

    Both of these modern institutions have a very important role to play in the modern world, but they have both succumbed to the self-interest of those entrusted to run them; they have become victims of their own success, and just like celebrities who turn to ‘reality’ TV when the fame starts to fade, they have to resort to increasingly bizarre and desperate measures to stay relevant.

    *The exception being us atheists, of course. We’re the natural enemy because everybody knows that bigotry and atheism are the same thing.

    What I wouldn’t give to see a hundred people at that LSE event all wearing identical AUTHOR SAYS RELAX tee-shirts (if you were born after about 1985 – ask an old git if you don’t get that reference).

  22. UncoBob says:

    Mary2 says …The State of Queensland has always been considered a political joke and throw-back by the rest of ‘Straya …

    … with good reason. I live there and have relatives on my wife’s side and mine who are god botherers of the fundamentalist persuasion. I have to say that my wife’s relative is less ‘in your face’ than my cousin. After having bitten me for a donation to the Scripture Union Chaplain’s program, he cut me off his Facebook friends list after I circulated a petition calling for religious freedom for all, including non-believers.

    The fun bit, though is that my wife’s relative has just needed to have a stent inserted for a 90% blocked coronary artery. His response to his doctor saying that he was lucky to have got medical attention when he did was to say that God was looking after him, so luck wasn’t the issue.

    I’ve been biting my tongue to avoid commenting that it would have been better for God not to have blocked the artery in the first place, or indeed to have designed homo sapiens so that our arteries were block-proof.

  23. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Mary2 I know the Bogan type – a bunch of them tried to steal my lights from Davies’ Park one night. Sneer – not snigger. I’ll defend anyones’ right to wear what they want, when they want right down to nothing at all, but they in turn have to allow me to respond to it. And therein lies our former constituencies dilemma. But we that have not taken our eyes off ideas of an individual’s right to choose need to tearing off the tinted glasses of others, because in this context we can see what’s happening. And that goes equally for the politically correct and, well, religiously incorrect.

    The slippery slope is steepening in Africa already, lubricated with fundamentalist bile.

    Your Sikh story made me laugh. I always used to think that Australia would be the first country to legislate itself out of existence. I was in Adelaide when the helmet laws came in. I just stuffed an ice cream tub on my head, kept calm and carried on. One officer stopped me once – and checked inside to see if it had any padding.
    Then I picked up a soviet era tank driver’s helmet at an auction and that was still in service for many years in Brisbane. It strikes me that a turban might be the perfectly logical next step. I wonder does one have to sign up to a particular religion to wear a turban for its purpose or do you think we pick one at random or perhaps just start a new one?
    Is this perhaps how they all started? Some body makes a law and another body makes an excuse to duck out of obeying it. I wonder if the real reason for the spread of Christianity is that they could smell the bacon? Then they change the laws and dispense inquisitions, indulgences and infanticide bombers.

    Now back to that design for my next compulsory bicycle helmet.

  24. WalterWalcarpit says:

    AoS Brilliant piece, as ever. I think you are spot on. That is precisely the dilemma I referred to. We have grown up wholeheartedly supporting these things because they are good and it was the correct thing to do. And thus we fixed some of them. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights I suggest as one example, even if universal remains optimistic. On another hand feminism astonishingly remains an unfinished project yet now two of its arms are tied up in the niqab debate to empathise with women or to bow to the culture? Forgotten is the narrative of support for the woman and her right to choose and how freely that choice is made.
    Political overcorrectedness sums it up well.

    I hadn’t considered vested interests perpetuating a struggle for such base gain as keeping a job – not a conspiracy but a human instinct. I am minded that another example might be in Ireland and what prolonged the paralegal military conflict; if you can get away selling drugs or robbing banks behind a terrorist’s mask and enjoyed your work, why would you give it away? I would love to learn if you did all that pondering since David’s comment or have you been formulating that piece for a while?
    A really good read, that was.

    I like the Relax T shirt idea too, but I am undecided as whether it would beat the sight of a hundred people at that LSE event all wearing an identical pair of burka clads. Think of all the eyes!

    Oh, and ‘git’ is the word that chigau was after to offer to NBH in the strip linked to in my first post above. Might not be too late if there’s eventually an anthology.

  25. mary2 says:

    AOS, I think you could be right. This would also explain why I detest ridiculous WHS rules. I used to work in aged care. We would go into old people’s houses and help them with personal care, chores and shopping etc. to enable them to live in their own homes longer. Most of the workers were women in their 20s but I would often go into someone’s house to see a 97 year old with health issues standing on a kitchen chair to clean the windows – workers, of course, were forbidden by WHS from reaching above their shoulders – in the name of injury prevention. While I may applaud the sentiment behind the dumbing down of society, so that everyone can cope, do we really need to dumb everything down to the level of a half-witted snail? ‘No, Einstein, no more of that elitist thinking, we will have no more physics that cannot be equally understood by an unintelligent mollusc. We don’t care that you have the equation for the Theory of Relativity.’

    UncoBob, at least we can laugh at the rest of Australia who’s politics will be fast catching up. Our pollies still have the best hats.

    I LOVE that god. He would be the one I would worship. ‘I won’t stop 48 innocent children dying as the bus plunges over a cliff but, it’s a miracle, I will allow one (usually crabby old bastard) to live because God Is Love.’

    Walter, I wouldn’t be surprised – big landmass; small population – I believe we have more politicians per head of population (and opera singers, believe it or not) than any other nation on the planet. They have to do something!

    If you have to wear something other than a helmet a turban might be the best thing (as long as you don’t mind sunburn and skin-cancer). At least you have so much material wrapped around your head you would probably bounce. The most ironic bit of the law is that I have seen Sikhs wearing modern, lycra hairnets when playing professional cricket, in the police or military etc. So God doesn’t care what your hat looks like when you are playing cricket but he is very concerned with your cycling outfit.

  26. Kathy C says:

    They should get this strip printed on tshirts and wear those to the next LSE event.

  27. JohnM says:

    @Mary2 This crazy placating of extremists is the beginning of a dangerous slippery-slope.

    In case anyone missed it, this is the statement of a principle we all instinctively know needs to spread far-and-wide, but somehow we seem to be failing in our mission. Like the good Doctor Semmelweiss, we need to stop being so damned PC.

  28. JohnM says:

    @ Mary2

    God doesn’t care what your hat looks like when you are playing cricket

    God knows what’s what, when He’s faced with an overwhelmingly superior religion.

  29. @mary2: You may be deeply critical of the political system in Australia, but we poor saps in the rest of the world, in particular we pommies, are generally in admiration at what a generally sane, liberal and relatively decent place it seems to be to outsiders. However, I understand you now match us poms by having a right-wing religidiot at the top of the shitty pole. Sympathies.

  30. Humans eh! says:

    Open minded free thinking people often fail to remind themselves that when it comes to those of a religious persuasion, it is merely the law of the land that keeps irrational self righteous behaviour in check.
    Whatever they say, many many people would justify burning heretics and all those that confront their rigidly narrow world view. Beware the wolves clad in false love.

  31. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Walter: “ I wonder if the real reason for the spread of Christianity is that they could smell the bacon?
    That is genius – and knowing how these things work it’s probably as good an analogy as one is likely to see.

    I would love to learn if you did all that pondering since David’s comment or have you been formulating that piece for a while?
    The H&S aspect is an old bugbear of mine, dating from the days when I would leave meetings having seen the latest piece of ludicrosity added to company policy (and being the only person in the room to voice doubt on the neccessity of it all, as in “Do we really believe it’s neccessary to wear safety glasses and protective gloves to add some toner to the photocopier?” – and that’s genuine!) wondering if I was the last sane person in the company. But the connection with the increasing censorship of legitimate satire and parody only came to me on pondering David’s question.

    Mary “God doesn’t care what your hat looks like when you are playing cricket.
    Then God obviously never faced an over’s bowling from Freddie Flintoff at his peak.

  32. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Walter “… undecided as whether it would beat the sight of a hundred people at that LSE event all wearing an identical pair of burka clads……
    ….especially if those burkas could be made of transparent vinyl )a-la pac-a-macs)….Shame the LSE doesn’t have a fashion dept (I’m assuming so, anyway), ‘cos that would be a lovely project for their student designers to get their teeth into.

  33. Pliny the in Between says:

    Congratulations! You were able to point toward the absurdity of thought surrounding religion just by being. And you’ll sell more T-shirts too 😉

  34. IanB says:

    WW says ” I wonder does one have to sign up to a particular religion to wear a turban for its purpose or do you think we pick one at random or perhaps just start a new one”

    Some friends of mine short of one helmet and some distance from home tried a towel inspired turban in an attempt to circumvent the UK motorcycle helmet law. It would be fair to say that UK traffic officers didn’t share their conviction it was a valid reason not to be wearing an approved helmet.

  35. Okay, Author. This time you nailed it so perfectly that I’m beginning to doubt that you are human. You’re a punch line generating super computer, right? No, really, I’m just looking for a novel way to express my admiration, nay awe, at your ability to succinctly summarize a situation, and point out the ludicrous irony, in four panels. Brilliant seems insufficient.

    Mary2, given that Sikh turbans provide a lot of head protection, I’ve always suspected a racist agenda when people point out that they are allowed to ride a bike without a helmet. I consider their religion to be a disability for which we must make allowances, rather like allowing a paraplegic to drive a car with only hand controls.

    Acolyte, I take your point and I too rebel against the nanny state. But having a relative who is a professional safety inspector I see another side of the issue. Also, I was once working in an eight foot deep ditch, laying drain pipe, when a Workman’s Compensation official showed up. He freaked out, shut us down, and demanded that the boss go to the expense of bringing in a cage for me to work in. My first reaction was disbelief. I’ve been working in ditches since I was old enough to hold a shovel. What’s this fuss about? I was perfectly comfortable working in that ditch. Not worried at all. But then I learned that a bank caving in would have cut me in half, and that the boss himself had his legs crushed when a hole he was working in caved in. I never felt the same about that boss after that. Or about safety inspectors. So, do you know what toner would do to a person’s eyes? I don’t. Perhaps the danger was more real than you know. Many of the apparent absurdities of safety are based on case histories.

    Then, of course, there’s the lady who scalded her vagina with the hot coffee she put between hear legs when she drove away from the takeout window. She won a settlement from the courts, thus ensuring that all the coffee we buy will be lukewarm. I don’t know which way to turn with this stuff. I’m truly torn.

    And yes, I rather miss the days when we could ride in the back of the pickup truck. I rather miss the days when nobody wore a bike helmet. It was a wonderfully innocent time, but now I always fasten my seat belt and I always wear my bike helmet. It’s the price we pay for a safer world.

  36. Mark S. says:

    I remember the woman who got burned by the McDonald’s coffee. She spilled the coffee while sitting in the passenger seat of a stopped vehicle. The burns were so bad that she was hospitalized for 8 days. That’s some pretty serious risk from a food item.

  37. Mark S. I always assumed there had to be more to that story.

  38. Waggle says:

    David Amies,
    I just tell anyone who covers them self head to toe…”I am still imagining you naked”

  39. mary2 says:

    DH, At the risk of ‘she doth protest too much’ I can promise no hidden racism at Sikh turbans. Plenty of ignorance about the nuances of their religion but probably no more so than I have about any other – I learnt heaps from your description of Anglican recitals. I am much more likely to be racist about silly facial hair than I am about god-inspired hats, but even that personal bigotry extends to men of several time-periods and ethnic persuasions including your very own avatar. It probably stems from hailing from a family of men with no chins who found beards a very convenient fashion. I think some Muslim groups win the award for the best religious head-gear: those whose men wear beautiful little white crocheted skull-caps – that is a good look.

  40. Abhijeet says:

    Must have got a huge spike in demand for Jesus and Mo T-shirts now. 🙂

  41. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I don’t know which way to turn with this stuff. I’m truly torn.

    I’m not criticising H&S in its entirety, DH, just pointing out that whilst it undoubtably is a good thing, and provides a vital service, there is a wide gulf between ensuring we are not put at unneccessary risk and insulting our intelligence. The problem doesn’t stem from the governmental body the Health and Safety Executive, nor from the official union-employed safet inspectors and the like; it comes from among those employed directly by companies, local councils, etc, who seem think that the only people on the planet with even a modicum of common sense are themselves, while the rest of us are treated as complete morons with no concept of personal reponsibility, and who need to be protected from our own stupidity.
    In short, there’s health and safety, and then there’s the Stupid-Gene Preservation Society. Guess which one I have a problem with?

    My only problem with the Sikh crash-helmet issue is simply that we are supposed to live in a ‘one law fits all’ society. If the wearing of helmets is optional for some, it should be optional for all. I rode motorbikes for years and always hated helmets, mainly because I hate having my face covered, but also because of the loss of periphial vision, yet even if they were optional I would still have worn one every time I rode; if others don’t wear them, either because they believe they’re such good riders they’ll never crash, or think their head can meet the road at 80mph with no ill-effect, well that’s just natural selection in process.
    But did you know that Sikhs are the only civilians in Britain allowed to openly carry bladed weapons in public because they’re part of their religious ceremonial dress?

  42. LeonG says:

    Personally, I welcome true freedom of speech. say what you like about anything – provided this is an equal playing field and there are no special laws privileging one group at the expense of others. Therefore, time to get rid of the phony “phobia” laws that are nothing more than tyrannical liberal thought and language control. No more islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia etc. Theses are non-existent and the contrivance of the autocratic mentality at the centre of elitist political power. I want free speech for all.
    Bring back freedom of speech.

  43. IanB says:

    AoS says “But did you know that Sikhs are the only civilians in Britain allowed to openly carry bladed weapons in public because they’re part of their religious ceremonial dress”

    Whilst not of a religious significance it’s still legal for a Jock in full highland regalia to carry a sgian-dubh see the 1988 criminal justice act section 38

  44. Last Hussar says:

    To question the Quran is Islamophobia.

    Islam states Christianity is wrong, that the central tenant of Christianity – Jesus is the Son of God is wrong. Thus creating a air of harrassment against Christians.

    Christianity rejects the Judaism it grew out of, stating clearly that Jesus is the Son of God and Messiah, thus demonstrating its anti-semitism.

    Judaism is clear, any one not worshipping the God of Abraham is going to burn in hell, thus repressing Hindus and Sihks.

    I can only assume that LSE security is REALLY busy.

  45. WestWind says:

    Martin, October 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm Mentioned a discrimination case in TESCOland:

    This leads one to wonder if *athiests* could claim to be discriminated against. If they could claim that allowing Muslims time off to pray, allowing Scots and Sikhs to carry daggers and allowing Christians to destroy the peace and tranquillity of a Sunday morning with their hideous metal torture devices – their bells – are all discriminatory. Perhaps atheists could claim a religious necessity to carry swords and axes, to wear propeller beanies when motorbiking, to scream loudly at ungodsly hours of the morning and to take time off to read books?
    After all, isn’t it the priestly ones who claim atheism is a religion?
    If they say it is, they should be fighting for the rights of atheists not to be offended.
    Worth a try?

  46. Billy Eager says:

    While we all know that nobody has the right to demand to never be offended, perhaps one can get around the “I haz offence” issue of ‘Mo’ being on the t-shirts (because we know that it wasn’t the depiction of Big J that was at issue here), by renaming him “Not Mohammed” or “Somebody other than anyone that might cause offence to a Muslim”.
    Exactly how far would one need to go in order to avoid being accused of offending, causing offence, creating an offensive atmosphere? Considering, of course, that the notion of ‘offence’ is utterly subjective and arbitrary.

  47. two cents' worth says:

    Aos, I Googled “AUTHOR SAYS RELAX,” but the results were not enlightening. I have no wish to imply that you are an “old git,” but if you would be so kind as to explain the reference, I would appreciate it.

  48. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    two cents’ worth, it was a reference by an old git (no implication neccessary – guilty as charged!) to the distant past. When Frankie Goes To Hollywood released Relax in 1983, the overtly homo-erotic message of the song, along with what were for the time rather risque lyrics, saw the record banned by the BBC, both radio and TV. Even once the song had reached no.1 in the charts (a feat no doubt helped by the Beeb’s inadvertant publicity drive) it was not played on BBC TV’s Top of the Pops.
    Amid all this fuss over nothing – and it was a lot of fuss; if memory serves questions were even asked in Parliament – lead singer Holly Johnson (and pretty soon most of the under 21’s in the country) was seen wearing a t-shirt with the caption FRANKIE SAYS: RELAX emblazened across the front. I thought the LSE’s unwarranted ado about nowt deserved a similar message.

  49. two cents' worth says:

    Thanks for the explanation, AoS! I wonder whether the Author would consider adding AUTHOR SAYS: RELAX” t-shirts to his line of “street-safe” styles 😉 ? The non-steet-safe version could have today’s cartoon on the front and AUTHOR SAYS: RELAX” on the back.

  50. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Were it not for the obvious lack of a sense of reality (and humour) among the fundies, I’d go with:
    Front: If you think I’m offending your imaginary friend…
    Back: ….give it a sense of humour.

  51. Acolyte, ah yes, the Sikhs. In British Columbia, Canada, they were murdering each other over the vitally important issue of whether or not to have chairs in their temple. Their desire to carry a dagger in school has caused endless debate and argument. I think the last suggested solution was that the kirpin must be made of flexible plastic and sewn into their clothing so that it could not be easily unsheathed, but I don’t know how it was all resolved.

    The Canadian rules about weapons are strange indeed. For example, a man spent a lot of money importing blow guns into the country and putting on demonstrations of popping balloons with these toys. The government response was to put them on the prohibited weapons list, along with martial arts supplies like shirukin nunchackas and balasong knives. A switch blade knife with a two inch blade is illegal, presumable because it goes “click” when opened and might startle a senior citizen. It’s a funny old world, eh. Machetes and butcher knives remain legal, for now, and one can carry them in public provided you are dressed as a gardener or wear a butcher’s apron. 🙂

  52. LindaR says:

    Loving the whole LSE debacle. Maybe next year the atheists should set up a stall offering free pasta to everyone and accusing anyone who walks past of offending the FSM (bless his noodly appendages). I’m a bit puzzled by all the questionmarks over Sikhs, however – even in the 60s I remember Sikh men wearing a tiepin fashioned as a kirpan, so that they could follow their religion without offending British law. A sensible compromise, of the sort that we used to be good at.

  53. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    LindaR, I think that demonstrates that all religions have their share of fundamentalists. Sikh and ye shall find them everywhere.

  54. KayeJinn says:

    I’m a devout follower of Dawkins et al (SPOING) but I’d never hear of J&M until I read about the LSESU shenanigans. Have just finished going through the archives. Great stuff! Barmaid, a pint for all my friends!

  55. Mary2 says:

    DH, Canadian laws re weapons sound similar to those in Australia. Flick-knives (switchblade) of any sort are illegal – in public or not – as are, I believe, slingshots/shanghais which we used to happily make as kids. Those were the days …

  56. Rufus says:

    On the subject of turbans and helmets, I vaguely recall that there was a study done when the exemption was written in to the motorcycle helmet laws in the UK, which concluded that a properly folded turban did provide a level of protection more than equivalent to the minimum required for a lid at the time.
    Of course an improperly folded turban (or an impact at too high a speed generally) will likely give you an exciting (if short) future career as an organ donor.

    Kirpans have proved interesting where a friend works (on a nuclear site), where the overriding policy is that the only people who are armed at all are the police (who are heavily armed). Seeing as it’s one of the few nuclear sites that is left on/near an active research lab (with numerous overseas visitors) they have their own “courtesy kirpans” which visitors can have, where the knife is sufficiently thoroughly welded to the scabbard that it would be of more practical use as a short (and not overly effective) club.

  57. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    KayeJinn, welcome to the Cock and Bull.

    DH, I know, I know. My head is hung so low I’ve got a view of myself that only my doctor has seen 😉

    MAry2, it’s no different here. One has to be 18 just to buy a knife, and I don’t just mean a flick-knife or even a pen-knife, but craft knives and even household cutlery; a 17-year old can buy all the cutlery she needs for her student pad – except for the knives (and she’d better be careful with her crockery too, ‘cos if she breaks any she can’t legally buy the glue to repair it).
    There is even a school (for 11 – 18 yrs) close to me that, for reasons of health and safety, has banned the kids from bringing their own pairs of compasses and dividers to lessons. Instead, they use school-provided pieces, and the teachers will hand them out and count them back in at the end of the lesson, just like warders do with cutlery and tools in prison canteens and workshops.
    Because “It’s for your own good, you know”.

  58. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    While I remember, re. the turbans and helmets: there was an episode of Only Fools and Horses in which Del, finding himself with a surplus of hard-hats of some kind, hit upon the idea of customising them with turbans to sell to safety-minded motorcycling Sikhs.
    It’s probably to be found on youtube. I would have supplied a link but you know me (what’s that HFB? Idle bugger? Me? Yup!).

  59. Mary2 says:

    AOS, I love the way we still implement the ‘safety’ laws to prevent terrorists bringing down aeroplanes. My poor 70 year old mother has lost more pairs of nail scissors and crochet hooks to airport security guards than I can count. I do love the idea of hijacking a plane with a crochet hook.

    Mary1 and I flew back from hospital on the day 67 people were murdered (shot) by terrorists in a shopping centre. The security folks insisted on unpacking Mary1’s whole bag to confiscate her embroidery scissors (blades about 1.5cm). The irony of the timing nearly did my head in (so to speak).

  60. Jason says:

    Hey, dudes… so… do you think that if the Fundamentalist Christian Society wore T-shirts with comics about Queerguy and Lesbogirl… and the Ubermensch Nazeee German Society wore T-shirts featuring Jewboy and Nigger-man… that would/should be acceptable?
    … The LSE Security Team does not have dual standards! You can’t protect SOME people, and let others go unprotected.

  61. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    That’s a strange alternative Universe you’re living in there, Jason. Has nobody taught you the difference between legitimate criticism and outright bogotry?
    You’re a dumb fuck, go and vomit your bile somewhere else.

  62. mary2 says:

    Jason, You’re a coward. Come and face us while we are still here, not after we’ve all moved on. But, of course, only a gutless wannabe would use terms like Jewboy and Niggerman to attempt to make a point to an entirely different group of people.

    And the point you make could be seen through by a slow witted seven year old. You don’t think atheists are SURROUNDED by messages just as classy as your Queerguy and Lesbogirl (you’re either American or wannabe Gansta)? You don’t think that eveyday we are reminded on radio or television or see it written on billboards or teeshirts that Christians think we should ‘turn away from sin’ or we will burn in hell for all eternity? You don’t think we see it when our politicians (or clergy) speak in public or when our laws are made so that non-Christians are excluded and/or even criminalised? No leader of the country tries to gain votes by standing up telling the world that your marriage is less valid than anyone else’s and that you should have less rights than other people but they do this to me every day – and they get away with it because they say it is backed up by god’s holy book. So I’m sorry if you can’t tell the difference between legitimate criticism, question raising and persecuting minority groups for their beliefs but, instead of coming here and slanging off at people who are no longer on this page to stand up to you, perhaps you should do yourself a favour and go educate youself – ‘Dude’.

  63. Jason, I think Mary2 nailed it pretty well. I just want to add my own heart felt FUCK OFF. Fundamentalist Christian society waves placards declaring “God Hates Fags” and I defend their right to do that. I would also defend the right of “Ubermensch Nazeee German Society” to wear “T-shirts featuring Jewboy and Nigger-man” provided they aren’t advocating violence against those minorities. If they were making a satirical point I’m all for it. I can despise them, but I will not censor them. Yeah. Just fuck off.

  64. Jewboy says:

    hehehe well said Jason

  65. Jewboy says:

    well said JASON, Jewboy and Niggerman will be next hit on freedom of speech

  66. OtterBe says:

    Regarding helmet laws, I propose that it be legal to ride without a lid only if appropriately licensed. Such a license would have two prerequisites: an insurance policy providing up to, say, $10,000,000 of immediate and long-term care so the State or taxpayers do not have to pay for your persistent vegetative state if you do crack your noggin whilst Riding Free, and that you register as an organ donor. Your tag ( number plate ) would have the phrase, ‘Registered Organ Donor’ on it.

    Note: while I AM a gearhead, I do not ride a motorcycle. I don’t trust other people to value my life as much as I do. I participate in autocross events while wearing a helmet, and have been saving for the appropriate racing seat, harness-bar, and 5-point harness so that I can do a Driver’s Event at a local track later this year( I have also spoken to my insurance agent about a special policy to cover me at such events ).
    -the sticker on the rear of my little performance car reads,
    Buy The Ticket TAKE THE RIDE
    And I live by the implied corollaries.
    Thus, I DO practice what I preach

    Hey, Jason: you weren’t by chance at Charlottesville a few years back carrying a tiki torch, were you?


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