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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

What a bunch of winkers!

A picture of a religious figure winking is disrespectful – so disrespectful, in fact, that it’s been banned by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Jesus – not only winking but giving a thumbs-up sign – appeared on a mobile phone ad just before Easter this year. I’ve looked in vain for a picture, but the various news sites that carry the story – well, the ones I could be bothered to look at, anyway – have avoided using the pic, including the BBC and the Independent.

The BBC says that “the Phones 4U advertisement was ‘disrespectful’ to the Christian faith and must not be used again”. The inference we must all draw is that it’s disrespectful to use a figure that’s revered by millions of people, but if it’s Jesus it’s wrong and if it’s, say, John Lennon or Lady Gaga it’s OK.

Sorry, but I don’t see the difference. Either you’re hurting people’s feelings or you’re not.

Oh, I was forgetting. It’s disrespectful only if the figure concerned is part of a myth.

Anyway, I’d have thought a Jesus winking and giving a thumbs-up would please the Deluded Herd. It seems to be saying Christianity is cool.

But, then, the ASA has been known to be a pusillanimous bunch of twats before, as we saw on this blog nearly a year ago when it cosied up to the Catholic Church and banned an ad showing two male priests about to kiss – on the strength of a handful of complaints.

Why doesn’t it concentrate on ads for stuff that’s harmful, such as most fast foods, mobile phones aimed at kids (think of the radiation) and clothes made in sweatshops – to name but a few dodgy products?

UPDATE: Since I wrote the above my helpful commenter Logicelf (see comments) has kindly sent me a link to a picture (for which thanks) on the Sky website:


logicelf said...

Well said.

I trust that, with this being a skeptical blog, your comment about (non-ionising) mobile radiation was in jest?

logicelf said...

Also, after a brief search, I have found the ad in question:

Brad Foster said...

Just do a Google search for "Your Buddy Christ", this drawing is of the statue from the movie "Dogma", so maybe more of a copyright issue than anythingt else!

Adam Highway said...

I find it interesting that you have yet to address the question about mobile radiation?

Andy Armitage said...

No radiation can be good for us. As kids' brains are still growing, anything that may hurt adults could hurt them more.

One source is

It says (inter alia):

"Research groups around the world have concluded that current cell phone radiation standards may not protect children. These concerns have prompted the governments of Switzerland, Germany, France, Finland, Israel and U.K. as well as the European Parliament to recommend limiting cell phone use for children, and encouraging children to keep phone calls short and send text messages instead of calling."

And at see:

"Wireless devices, transmitters and cellphone towers emit non-ionizing 'radio frequency' or 'microwave radiation,' and a growing number of studies suggest prolonged exposure may cause health problems."

I'm no expert, but suspicion is enough. and *any* radiation close to a person's head or vital organis is suspect. We'll no doubt see studies in 20 years' time saying that prolonged exposure has caused this and that.

We didn't evolve with that kind of radiation happening, so it's alien, and only someone hooked on mobile phones would blind him- or herself to the possibility that danger could lurk. I do own a mobile, so am not exactly a Luddite. However, I don't use it much because I simply don't need to. (Just stating my own status here.) But erring on the side of caution when we don't exactly *need* mobile phones to live fulfilled lives (albeit that they can be handy in an emergency) cannot be bad.

Then there's the other thing: kids are so hooked on mobiles that so many of them spend more time using them for texting, speaking and operating apps than engaging with fellow human beings. This can't be good. There's also cyber-bullying and possibilities of cyber-stalking. (The radiation mention in my short piece above was, after all, parenthetical, suggesting that it was one of a number of concerns.)

Diesel B said...

The issue of taste and offence is an interesting one in this context. There are definitely double standards at work here - would they have dared to use a non-Christian religious figure (Answer: no). And while this use of a Christ-like figure is flippant rather than offensive, do atheists necessarily have to applaud every flippant, ridiculing or abusive image? Sometimes they can be used to question religious dogma and assumptions, or remind people not to take their beliefs too seriously, but other times, they exist solely to cause offence or - as in this case - promote a rather empty consumerism. Point?