Denmark: Satiric cartoon movie self-censured

A new, full-length Danish animation movie "The Trip to Saturn" will premier next Friday and it's not for the sensitive.  In the movie, which is an update and rewrite of the deceased cartoonist and author Claus Deleuran's album classics about a Danish space expedition, there's belching, farting and throwing up.  A series of scenes make fun of religious attitudes and beliefs.  In a scene which takes place in the Christian heaven, the Holy Spirit is peed on, while St. Peter kicks the unfaithful out through the Pearl Gates with curses and brimstones.  The only major character whose belief and convictions aren't derided is the Muslim character, Jamil, who's the cook in the space expedition.

Thirty year old Thorbjørn Christoffersen, one of the three directors of the film, says that it was completely intentional that the Muslim character is exempted from the sharp satire.  Attempts at it were given up by the film team already in the manuscript stage.  The reason was concern for the directors' own safety.

"It's unfortunately been impossible to make fun of the Muslims' religion. I think we make many jabs at the person Jamil in the film, but it's correct that we're not touching his belief.  It's simply too sensitive an area, that I can't take the responsibility to get involved.  I certainly need to think of both my family and my workplace.  I'm not a fighter, and I don't like to have raging Muslims knocking on my door," says Thorbjørn Christoffersen.

He nods affirmatively to the tragedy this involves.

"I 100% support that people should be able to make fun of everything.  but this is not about special consideration for Muslims, it's about consideration for myself and my family," says the director.

But how can the relationship between Danes and Muslim immigrants ever be different if everybody is too reluctant to treat them just as we treat ourselves?

"I don't see this as my or the film's problem.  I will not necessarily be a tool in a campaign, just because I make a cartoon film.  At the design studio we all felt concerned by threats against the Muhammed cartoonist, which I completely support, but at the current time I think that it will be dumb to repeat the demonstration.  Moreover, I don't believe in the confrontation model, as I believe that the Muslims with enough time will adapt to Denmark's standards," says Thorbjørn Christoffersen.

Author Kaare Bluitgen was an indirect cause for the Muhammed crisis, when he couldn't find an artist who dared illustrate his book about the Muslim prophet.  Kaare Bluitgen called Thorbjørn Christoffersen's attitude 'disappointing', since he thinks that Claus Deleuran himself would have made a good satire of both Christians and Muslims.

"I am sure that if Claus Deleuren would have lived today he would have made the 13th Muhammed cartoon, and it would have been the funniest of them all.  Therefore it disappoints me if people push political correctness even here."

Former culture minister and current justice minister Brian Mikkelsen thinks self-censure is 'sad'.

"It's sad it it's become so that individual artists censure themselves out of fear of religious fanatics.  We have in Dnemark a strong and good tradition of satire, also in connection with religious subjects.  And we should hold fast to it," says Brian Mikkelsen.

Source: Berlingske (Danish), h/t Veritas Universalis

6 comments:

Joachim Martillo said...

I am curious how the movie treats Jews and Judaism.

There are not many Danish Jews, but they are heavily overrepresented in entertainment and news media. (Fleming Rose is an example.) Offending them could be disastrous for a career.

In any case, when a Danish Christian makes fun of Christianity, the impression cannot be compared with that made when a Danish Christian satirizes Islam -- especially because European Christians have been invading, occupying, colonizing, exploiting and looting Muslim countries for the last 200 hundred years and justifying this behavior by denigrating or deriding Islam, Muslim practices, and Muslims in general.

joe six-pack said...

I believe that he should have refused to do the movie.

Otherwise, how can he make statements like that and not fight for them? Sorry, I have had my back to the wall before. If you can make a public statement like that and not back it up? Don't do it.

Andrew said...

I agree that it's not worth having Religion of Peacers trying - in accordance with their doctrine - to chop off you and your family's heads after you've mentioned their weird, primitive, barbaric deathcult without a string of arse-kissing superlatives, obfuscation and downright falsehoods.

What he should've done is written the Muslim character out. I mean, a Muslim in space? That's not very realistic. The only times Muslims have been in space is due to buying a ride (i.e. space tourism), not of their own merit. Afterall, partaking in mass murder, threats of genocide, beating of women and general intolerance and hatred a.k.a. devout Islamism, doesn't leave much time for cultural and scientific progression and enlightenment.

Big Shaker said...

“I am curious how the movie treats Jews and Judaism.” – Joachim Martillo

I’m sure you are, Mr. Martillo, because you see everything through the prism of your palpable and undisguised Jew-hatred.

Meanwhile you have willfully ignored the point of the article, which is that Islamists worldwide have made any criticism or satire of Islam punishable by murder and mayhem, and are therefore pushing back hard against one of our most fundamental and precious rights – free speech.

Offending Jews can be disastrous for an entertainment career? The irony of this laughable statement is that offending Muslims, even unintentionally (and it’s hard NOT to offend them anymore, since many of them latch onto any ridiculous excuse, such as a McDonald’s ice cream swirl or a Nike logo) can be disastrous for your jugular. But you don’t seem to find that objectionable. Do you, Mr. Martillo? Do you find riots and murder an acceptable response to satire? You can have the last word - literally, since a simple yes or no will suffice.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Big Shaker: I tried to read your blog but was prevented. What should I do in order to get permission?

I liked your response to Martillo, which was dead-on.

I had a long discussion with him at one time:
http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2008/02/mistranslation-but-they-should-know-bett/index.shtml

Anonymous said...

Joachim, Christians as a group haven't occupied a single country that wasn't once theirs. Furthermore, the only Christian nations which didn't separate Church from state in the last 200 years were Ireland and Spain (both now secular), Italy, Portugal, Latin America, Lebanon before Iran occupied and took it over, and now Georgia. The last time a Christian nation occupied a Muslim nation it was when Mussolini's troops landed in Libya, and they just paid them reparations out the ass for it, not that Libya deserved it after Lockerbie. By contrast, Muslims have occupied many Christian nations in the lst 200 years, including, but not limited to: Greece, Lebanon, Nigeria, Kenya, Eritrea, Mali, the southern Sudan, Thailand, Burma, and the once-Hindu Bangladesh, where Pakis killed 3 million in 1971. Not since the Spanish Inquisition has any Christian nation ever, as a nation, derided or denigrated Islam, Muslim practices (aside from terrorism, despotism, and endless human rights violations), or Muslims in general. Christian European nations did try to help and to civilize Muslims in Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, "Palestine," and just about everywhere else financially. But Muslims can persecute, maim, abduct, forcibly convert, loot, raid, rob, rape, and conduct state-run ethnic cleansing of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, atheists, apostates, homosexuals, feminists, women accused of adultery, animists, agnostics, scientists, poets, artists, musicians, legitimate journalists, cinematographers, photographers, dogs, independent thinkers, teachers who respect the truth regarding science and history, those who don't support despotism and totalitarianism, and those who engage in consentual rimantic relationships independently of incestuous Sharia sex slavery in every Muslim nation, as they've been doing since time immemorial, as well as destroying, taking over, and forbidding the building of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and Zorastrian holy sites. I'm still waiting for Saudi Arabia and Egypt to apologize for their people destroying St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church right down from the WTC. In Egypt they raid monasteries and torture monks every Friday, and every day mosque loudspeakers, aside form the 5 times a day call to prayer, intentionally disrupt church services with the throat-slitting call of 'Allah-hu Akbar!' in Alexandria and Cairo. But you would never take issue with that, or with "Palestinians" peeing on Jewish scrolls in Hebron.

So how are John Mearshimer and Norm Finkelstein in bed during your demopath-love sessions?