Poking the beast

Today I ran a social experiment…

(I can hear you breathing out there in anticipation) 

I always tend to shy away from anything religious on social media (or this blog) because, well, America. 

This is a country where I was told to watch my language when I said ‘goddammit’. 

Unfortunately I quickly realised they weren’t joking and stopped pointing and laughing at them. 

So, what’s this experiment that I’m taking way too long getting to the point of explaining? 

Well, today I shared this picture on facebook:

Uh oh….(winky face)

I wanted to see exactly what reaction it would generate. 

9 likes. 

All English.

Well…except my wife who, despite being American, doesn’t count because she is an honorary Brit. 

But in all seriousness, poking any fun at religion here in America is like insulting someone’s family or friend (imaginary or otherwise). 

And by religion I mean Christianity. Or is it Catholicism?  Or Judaism?  

No, wait, it’s the Mormons…no, wait, it’s Jehovah’s witnesses isn’t it? 

Erm… 

Wait, which religion is it that has Jesus in it?

It’s…..all of them isn’t it? 

I don’t know, it’s all very confusing. 

At the end of the day, I clearly only mean the ‘Jesusy’ ones and not the many MANY other religions worldwide that surely can’t be proper religions…right?  

(shrugs) I don’t know. 

So, the experiment is underway and I’m curious to see if I get crucified for this. 

Hang around and find out 😉

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Jesus Trucking Christ

My wife and I were in traffic when we saw these two rival gardening and landscaping trucks side by side. 

The one on the left appears to be heavily influenced by religion. 

But that’s nothing… 

With the one on the right, you get to actually speak to Jesus. 

Who you gonna call?

Jesus,  it’s all about the guns. 

At the gym today I saw a man working out with a t-shirt that said:

KNOW GUNS,  KNOW PEACE.

You’ll notice that some of it is in bold. It was an attempt at clever work play that,  frankly,  didn’t suit the wearer. He probably thought the colours were “Real purty”.

I don’t think he realised how oxymoronic that statement is.

Anyway,  on  the machine next to him was a man with the word ‘Jesus’  emblazoned on the front of his t-shirt in huge colourful letters.

It got worse.

The back of the t-shirt read:

‘John 3:3.   Jesus Is coming.  Are You Ready?  Ask me about it.’

Oh,  I wanted to. I wanted to SO much…but I didn’t think it was fair fight.

Only in America would those t-shirts exist,  or be seen in public….let alone be seen side by side!  What I found fascinating was that no one one batted an eyelid, no one stopped to gawp and no one pointed and giggled.

The closest I saw back in England was a t-shirt that had this on the front:

“Jesus loves you…”

And on the back it read:

“…but everyone else thinks you’re a cunt”

I wonder how that would go down over here?

I would probably ‘know peace’  very quickly.

No offense. Oh….wait….

As some of you will know, the over-censorship of media and entertainment in America really pisses me off.

I’m not a child.  I can handle the word ‘fuck’ in a movie filled with uncensored (and apparently child friendly) blood, gore, guts and violence.

Well, this morning as I drove into work I heard censorship on the radio that pushed censorship (and me) to the next level.

It happened during the song, ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic At The Disco; it’s a great song with an incredibly catchy chorus.

The beginning of that chorus goes:

‘I chime in with a “Haven’t you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?!”

No, it’s much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality’.

Guess which word was censored?

Yep, that’s right, the word ‘Goddamn’ was censored. The irony of that second line of lyrics was most definitely lost here.

I love this song, but the joy of singing along was ruined.

You see, in America religion is a big deal and it’s so easy to offend people.  I knew this was the case before coming in, but I had no idea it was this bad.  The phrase “went to church” comes up in more conversations than I’m comfortable with and a lot of my new friends here in the States are very religious.

This is something I have tended to find out when they casually mention going to church or they post something ‘God-ish’ on Facebook.  When this happens I get a real sense of dread because I have to think back over every conversation we’ve ever had.

Did I say something blasphemous or offensive?

Have I made jokes about God or Jesus?

Did I sacrifice that goat in front of them?

In fact, not 10 minutes ago, this very subject came up at work (not instigated by me, I hasten to add) and one of my colleagues said, “I swear a lot.  I use ‘Fuck’, ‘Shit’, ‘Asshole’ and all that, but if I use GD or JC, then you KNOW I’m pissed!”.

It took me a moment to figure out what she meant by GD and JC.  She couldn’t even bring herself to say the words.

To her, saying ‘God Damn’ or ‘Jesus Christ’ is worse than saying ‘Fuck’.

What the Goddamn?

Is it me, or does that seem a bit fucked…er, I mean, ‘Jesus-Christed’ up?  This would go some way towards explaining why the word ‘Goddamn’ was edited out of the song this morning.

A few months ago I said ‘Goddamn it’ at work and got told to watch my language.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was being scolded like a 7 year old by a woman I have heard swear numerous times.

I’ve even started to replace “Oh my God” with “Oh my goodness”.  I hate that I’ve started doing this.

But people here are way too sensitive, and the entertainment business knows this.  Out of fear of being sued,they’re pandering to the masses by censoring the shit out of television.

Unless the customer is paying for it of course.

Netflix anyone?

Nothing on Netflix is censored and I hear it’s a popular service[1].

So, is America OK with bad language, blasphemy and sexual content when they’re charged a premium?  Apparently so.

My wife pays a yearly subscription for something called XM radio in her car.  It’s pricey, but there’s little to no censorship.  It really expands the selection of music they play as they can air otherwise unplayable tracks and, being a premium service, there are no Goddamn, Jesus Christing commercials.

When it comes to TV, the UK have it right with censorship.  Everything is the same as the US until 9pm.  Well, I SAY it’s the same, but that’s not strictly true; they don’t play violent action movies on a Sunday afternoon when kids can see it.  But apparently it’s OK for kids to see heads being chopped off and people being riddled with bullets, as long as there’s no sign of a nipple or someone saying ‘Goddamn it’.

violent tv kids

At 9pm (or the ‘watershed’ as it’s called) it is assumed that your delicate little snowflakes are all tucked up in bed.  After that, it’s the parents’ responsibility to manage what their kids watch.

At 9pm, all bets are off.  The only word that is bleeped out is the word ‘Cunt’.

Sorry; ‘the C word’.

After 9pm, TV is for adults and if you’re easily offended, change the channel.

blasphemy

 

[1] Sarcasm, in case you didn’t realise it.