Saturday, 16 February 2013

Cooking Show Censorship In Saudi

Censorship always takes a bit of getting used to in Saudi.
So much that seems 'normal' to the wicked west comes under the scrutiny of the Censorship Committee.

We get used to faces fuzzed off advertising, blacked out with pen or stamped over with price tags.  Why?  I believe recreating human images is not permitted and women's faces aren't to be seen in public at all.

Bare arms and legs in magazines and packaging are colored in black because the amount of skin shown in public must be within the bounds of modesty.  Musical instruments used to be unnamed in text books although, given the number of shops in Riyadh that are selling the unmentionable piano's, guitars, saxophones and drum sets, I'm presuming this censorship has been lifted.  (You can read more about that in my post 'Is Music Allowed In Islam?'  And, of course, words are bleeped out of movies and TV shows.

I can understand bleeping some oft used derogatory swear words out of TV shows.  Really, I can.
But censoring cooking shows?  What objectionable words could possibly be in a cooking show?

One afternoon while a friend and her Hubby were watching the cooking show "Who's Coming to Dinner" they kept hearing a bleep.  It was rather annoying.  It took a while to figure out what was going on.  The meal being whipped up by one of the contestants was 'Pork Belly', sorry, make that "Bleep Belly".

Every time there was any mention of the 'animal in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates' (thanks for that definition Wikipedia even though I can't actually pronounce some of it) there was a Bleep.

Bleep chops
Bleep belly
Bleep roast
Bleep kebabs
Ham Bleep

Seems a bit weird when you can buy bacon over here.
Everyone knows bacon comes from swine Bleeps.
(I wonder what they called Swine Flu in KSA?)

If The Powers That Be are going to pretend Bleeps don't exist to the extent that they censor a cooking show for any word related to the deplorable P-Beast, they really ought to find another word for bacon.  Perhaps Turkey Bacon manufacturers could run a Middle East wide competition for a substitute name!

Anyway, this story got me pondering, as most stories in Saudi do.  Are Muslims not allowed to say or hear the word pig or any relative of?   Is it considered it a swear word?  Is Piglet to be deleted from Winnie the Pooh books?

My encyclopaedia of information - Google - was searched.  As per usual there was a lot of cross religion hatred that had to be sifted through to find reasonable discussion.  (If any censorship needs to happen it should be for comments on forums - some of them are absolutely obscene).

The result of my search?  Apart from being disgusted by the number of people in this world who are seriously demented, hateful and have limited vocabulary based around the 'F' word, I discovered this.
The majority of Muslims are well balanced folk who, unlike the Censorship Committee in Saudi, are well aware that the animal called 'pig' does exist because it is a creation of God. 
The word 'pig', and any derivative of, can be said in full - you do not have to spell the words when speaking (or whisper them) for fear of eternal damnation because they are words related to an animal that does, in fact, exist as per above paragraph.   It is also possible to read stories about, and look at pictures of, pigs for the same reason.  Just don't eat pork.  
'Pork' is a word that exists to identify the name of the meat from the animal, pig.  Its use assists Muslims to stay on the correct path and utilise good grammar and questioning technique.  When at a Bar-B-Q in the west 'Is this a pork sausage?' is a much better question than, 'Is this sausage from a pig?'
Quite simple really.
(And I'm so glad for Piglet.  He is the cutest Pooh character!)

Discussions regarding why pork is off the menu for Muslims were also in abundance on my Google search and were also the target of obscenities, swearing, name calling and general bad feeling being thrown about from both sides of the issue.

If people don't eat a certain food because of their convictions, that's fine with me.  Given that saying or hearing swine related words doesn't appear to be a problem for most Muslims around the globe (well, the ones who accessed the same internet sites I did), I'm uncertain why the Powers That Be in Saudi find it necessary to censor them off a cooking show.

Ka Kite,

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