TV3 tonight reported that a number of complaints by David Benson-Pope against TV3 (over the Dunedin South selection) were all rejected by the Broadcasting Standards Authority. This got me interested enough to go to the BSA website. Now sadly that decision is not yet up, but oh what fun it is to go through some of the other recent decisions. Where do I start?
How about this one, where a Martin Taylor complained about Jeremy Wells on Eating Media Lunch starting the programme by saying:
Good evening, kia ora, fuck your mother.
Now this is classic EML, and you wonder why someone would watch it if they were not going to enjoy Wells in your face offensiveness. But Mr Taylor said:
In Mr Taylor’s view, the comment was equivalent to the host “labelling me a ‘motherfucker’”.
TVNZ responded with the wonderful:
he was not suggesting that the audience literally “fucks their mother”.
Mr Taloyr then wrote to the BSA:
Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s decision, Mr Taylor referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. He maintained that “sex with your own mother is not humorous in any context”,
Well personally what I am laughing at is the complaint itself. If all the complaints are like this, I’d love to be appointed to the BSA – it would be great fun.
Then another complaint against EML A Jim Brock complained:
I object to the way an erect penis was waved and whacked about in the forefront of the screen in the item satirising infomercials.
Alas the said penis was in fact only a dildo.
One also has a complaint about a 60 minutes item regarding Jackass imitations.
And finally we have a complaint against South Park. No not the Bloody Mary episode, but the “bi-curious one”. The BSA summarises the episode:
Another character then told Cartman that he was now gay and that the only way to “cancel out the gay polarity” was for Butters to put Cartman’s penis in his mouth. The following scene involved Cartman trying to trick Butters into allowing him to put his penis into Butters’ mouth. Cartman blindfolded Butters and told him that he had a “surprise” for him. Cartman then took down his pants and was about to put his penis into Butters’ mouth when Butters’ father walked into the room and saw what was happening. Butters was still blindfolded and he did not realise what Cartman had been trying to do to him. Believing his son was “bi-curious”, Butters’ father sent him to a Christian camp to “cure” him.
It was a hilarious episode. People either love or hate Southpark. It is crude and offensive but has some very sensible messages underlying it. This one was about tolerance, but anyway onto the complaint:
The complainant argued that the character Butters had been raped while asleep by the “fat child” (Cartman). PB maintained that “the fat child said he was going to give Butters some cough mixture so that he would go to sleep…and the fat child performed oral sex [on Butters] and took a photo”.
I suspect PB has never watched South Park before if he doesn’t know Cartman is not fat, just big boned!
The broadcaster maintained that Cartman’s behaviour was always placed in a context that highlighted his lack of ethics, as opposed to trivialising his lack of ethics. It argued that although Butters was unknowingly suffering abuse at the hands of Cartman, an adult audience would take it for granted that this occurred between two eight-year-olds and not an adult and a child. It considered that while still immoral, this made the item less sinister.
TVWorks stated that “part of the comedy of Cartman’s character was the contrast between his sadistic nature and the innocence he has as an eight-year-old. It pointed out that Cartman was “initially naive to the impression that the photo of Butters’ penis in his mouth gave until his friends pointed out how it looked”.
The broadcaster pointed out that South Park was in its eleventh season and that it was “unlikely that any regular viewers would have been offended by the programme”.
I also note the following:
The complainant maintained that the episode contained rape and scenes of sexual violation, and that the actions of Cartman came under the broad definition of rape on the Wikipedia website.
Hmmn I like Wikipedia, but I’d rather not have it cited as the authority on what constitutes rape – as oppossed to the Crimes Act!
I am going to have to check out the BSA site more often.
And for all those who are offended by Eating Media Lunch and South Park – I respect the fact you find it offensive. I hope you will respect the fact that hundreds of thousands of people like myself find them bloody hilarious, and you of course have the option of simply just not watching them.Tags: Broadcasting Standards Authority, Eating Media Lunch, South Park