Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Porcine Ruminations

I confess that there are 2 pigs whom I have long held in high esteem: Babe, the indominatable sheep-pig, and Piglet the taoist companion of Winnie the Pooh. Both pigs proved to be big things in small packages, possessing great power & virtue although, admittedly, Piglet suffers from a constant fear of the dark and is rather anxious about most things. But that just makes him a 3-dimensional porker. They are truly princes among pigs.

So it was with much raising-of-the-eyebrow-whisker that I learned that the Winnie the Pooh cartoon was recently and unceremoniously yanked off the airwaves in Turkey - at least on Turkey's public broadcasting station. The TRT took exception to Pooh's porcine sidekick for the simple reason that the presence of an albeit animated and fictional pig would offend Muslim sensibilities. This is indeed a sad fact, considering that on the echelon of haraam animals, pigs feature higher than dogs (see yesterday's post). I wonder how Scooby-Doo and Goofy feel about this.

The TRT had qualms about removing Pooh altogether ... initially considered scissoring the scenes showing Piglet, but abandoned the idea because the small pink-skinned character, one of Winnie the Pooh's closest friends, appeared too often, Cumhuriyet and the mass-circulation Sabah newspaper said.

Well, when in doubt, just cut the whole thing - at least, that's what I learned in my Censorship 101 class. You can never be too vigilant against those deceivingly innocuous & insidious children's fictional characters. Such cases of swinophobia are not unique, as evidenced this past year in Britain:

Novelty pig calendars and toys have been banned from a council office — in case they offend Muslim staff. Workers in the benefits department at Dudley Council, West Midlands, were told to remove or cover up all pig-related items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet ... Councillor Mahbubur Rahman, a practising Muslim, backed the ban. He said: “It’s a tolerance of people’s beliefs.”

Tolerance? Hmmmmm ... not the word I would have used. What's next: will the Powder Puff girls have to wear burkas? Will the Velveteen Rabbit have to grow a beard? I wonder ~ if I were an intelligent sentient Muslim, how would I feel about the media taking such great pains to "protect" my sensibilities. I'd like to think that I would resent any assumption that I am unable to think rationally and make my own decisions, or that I would want to eat a haraam cartoon animal. If I want to watch Winnie the Pooh cartoons, surely that's my business. I mean, the world's Jewish population seems to be doing just fine.

As far as I'm concerned, censoring Piglet should be automatic grounds for not allowing Turkey to join the European Union.

That'll do pig.


Blogger knarf said...

That'll do, Pig.

That'll do...

4:45 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

Okay, I posted my "that'll do" comment before I read your whole blog - I should have known you'd beat me to it - it still brings a tear to my eye...

But, on to more "serious" things. I don't understand something: so Muslims don't eat pork. I understand that. Neither do Jews. Neither do vegetarians. (the latter two are really quite irrelevent; I'm merely observing). I also understand that Muslims may feel that pigs are unclean. Fine.

But, did not He Whose Name Can't Be Mentioned create the pig? I mean, maybe it's unclean, but if Allah created it, can it be all bad? Even if it's unclean, since it's merely a charicature, can they not pretend that pigs are cute, clean little animals. Besides, Stretch (you remember Stretch) always said that pigs are actually clean, it's humans that put them in muddy pigsties so they have no choice but to wallow to keep cool.

So, back to my initial question: if Allah created pigs, why can't they be portrayed? Is it not insulting to the Creator to say that we ought not be exposed to something that He in His Glory created for us?

I don't get it.

That'll do, pig. That'll do...

5:55 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Well, if millions of Jews the world over are able to live harmoniously with pigs (choosing, as is their right, not to eat them), why can't Muslims? I don't think that Winnie the Pooh is being subsidized by Pork lobbyists. But you're right - if Allah created pigs as well as humans then doesn't that suggest that there is a bit of a divine spark in pigs too? Or have we just opened up a theological can of worms (or pork and beans)?

6:50 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

And what's up with pork and beans, BTW?

I swear to God that Dad was the only person in the history of humankind who ~actually ate~ that little slimey, limp piece of organic material purporting to be pork. Did you ever meet anyone else who did anything else but gingerly shove it over to the side of the plate when they thought no one was looking?

Who ever came up with the idea to stick that little bit of white snot in the beans anyway?

What was up with that?



Maybe those Islamic clerics should address that question if they want to be really helpful...

7:42 p.m.  
Blogger ByronB said...

The problem for Muslims in the UK is that they really don't have anything to complain or protest about, so they have to manufacture problems.

Knarf is right though - how the hell can a pig be bad if Allah - or God, as he was known for 600 years before Mohammed appeared - created it? Isn't that blasphemy?

I am delighted that you have used an illustration of the REAL Piglet, and not the nasty Disney concoction. If the Turks had banned the cartoon on grounds of taste (er..aesthetic, that is..) then I would have agreed with them.

7:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One day I'll beat Knarf and be the FIRST one to read and comment on cat's blog.

Turkey of all places?? How disappointing.....I didn't see any people on my last trip that appeared as if they would have objections to Piglet- c'mon he is too cute. They don't seem to have a problem with all the girls in bikinis in the daily newspapers, who could have a problem with a pig? And a clothed pig at that!!


11:05 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Estee, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat Knarf to a blog posting!

To say that Piglet is the most innocuous of kiddie icons is the understatement of the century. Maybe Byron is right about Islamicists in the UK but that doesn't explain Turkey. Perhaps people there would like to get a bit steamed over their own animal & human rights violations. Btw, Byron, I would have backed a ban against Disney!

11:42 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Knarf: I'm sure I saw Dad eat raw sausage too.

11:42 p.m.  
Blogger 4xLucky said...

But is Piglet really a pig? My kids and I were having a heated discussion on exactly WHAT Piglet is the other day. One son was adamant that Piglet is wearing a sweater (one he never takes off) whereas I was sure SURE sure that Piglet is in fact an armadillo.
I'm so sure that he is an armadillo and NOT a piglet that I'm about to go scan a bunch of websites to substantiate my claim.

1:45 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Well, I certainly agree that Piglet is rather armadillo-like but his name is Piglet ~ not Armadilloet

10:26 a.m.  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I thought that Jews also considered pigs unclean, though neither Jews nor Muslims are forbidden from looking at pigs.

Amazingly many Muslims I know are totally unaware that Jews also don't eat pork. They are very surprised when I tell them, and even more surprised when I tell them that Jews actually have more rules than Muslims concerning what to eat.

Also, many Muslims eat rabbit, not realizing it is a rodent. But they don't eat rats because rodents are dirty. Just some of the many ridiculous things that happen when uneducated masses get access to demagogic religious leaders.

Regarding Piglet: Um, I think the name gives it away.

10:29 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Elizabeth, I forgot about the sanctions against rabbits ("The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you"). I wonder why Bugs Bunny hasn't been targeted - or am I just splitting hairs (sorry, couldn't resist).

Of course, we also have "The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you" and Muslims clearly eat camel meat.

11:27 a.m.  
Blogger ByronB said...

Yes, 4XL, it certainly looks as though Piglet is wearing a sweater - mind you, if Kanga knitted it for him, it should probably be called a jumper. Arf!

4:55 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Oh groan!

7:21 p.m.  
Blogger Sencer said...

Thi is not a matter of censorship but a choice. TRT, thus the taxpayer in Turkey is going to pay for that cartoon, and I guess they have the right to choose what to watch or not to watch. Saying the opposite is a serious tolerance problem, I must say. The pig may be clean or unclean, but for sure is a dirty animal in our culture. Who can blame Turks for not paying thousands of dollars on something they think their children should not watch. We have our own unique culture, are fed up with these EU regulations imposing a different kind of culture. Where is the tolerance? We have been a part of European culture for 700 years, and Europe is not just you!

3:06 p.m.  

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