Pop Culture
Sep 09, 2008, 11:06AM

From Russia, Without Love

Looks like The Sleeping Bear is wide awake and fed up with blasphemous Western icons such as "South Park" and "The Simpsons." The apex of their discontent centers on the Mr. Hankey Christmas Special. One wonders if the fact that this particular show is led by an upright piece of human feces might have been a dead give away to not take it seriously. "Baywatch" is OK, though. Seriously.

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That would be Sputnik, put to use at last.

A statement by Moscow prosecutors read: "It offends the honour and dignity of Christians and Muslims alike." It could just have easily included Jews, Scientologists, Catholics, Mormons and Moonies all of whom have been mercilessly targeted by American series.

Authorities in the Philippines threatened to ban the programme in 2006 and scores of groups around the world have campaigned against broadcasting the series. The creators respond by describing themselves as "equal opportunity offenders".

The Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith asked prosecutors to ban South Park last week after it said 20 experts had studied the show for its effect on young viewers.

Konstantin Bendas, a spokesman for the group, said "South Park is just one of many cartoons that need to be banned from open broadcast. . . as it insults the feelings of religious believers and incites religious and national hatred.

"It’s one thing if they are on cable TV and viewers pay money and make a conscious choice. But young children should not be able to turn on the TV after school and watch this. They need to be defended.


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