Poll: What would you have done with the "gay-books"
Pulp them!
Move them to the adult's section
Leave them in the children's section
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Pulp The Gay Penguins!
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01-09-2014, 04:32 AM
Pulp The Gay Penguins!
Do I have your attention?

Full disclosure / Warning... This is another 'DLJ-special' so sorry, it's gonna be long; requiring an attention span of more than 5 minutes.

Stop reading now, Ferdie.

To set the scene:
There was uproar and political turmoil recently in Singapore over the removal of 3 books from children's section of the national library.

In short, a complaint had been made about the books' gayness Gasp

You can imagine the spectrum of outcry... mild indignation to furor divinus:

From the "that's disgusting" to the
"I don't mind but other people might be offended" to the
"I don't see anything wrong if they keep it to themselves" to the
"we must start teaching all children how normal this is" to the
"ban all heterosexual books, too Angry "

Loads of stuff in the local media; Singapore authors stood up for their brethren and in the end, it was decided not to pulp the offending titles (although this only saved two of them). Instead they were removed to the adults' section.

The reason for not pulping was interesting... the sanctity of books "a deep-seated respect in our culture for the written word."

Pity I thought, there are two books I regularly find in my hotel rooms that could be candidates for pulping on the same immoral grounds (instead of pissing on them and freezing them like a usually do). Laughat

We discussed the morality and the ramifications of this issue at our irregular Philosophy Meetup, under the broader subject of Tolerance (or intolerance (or intolerance of intolerance))

As the subject was discussed, one line of reasoning was used in slightly different ways by two different ladies. This essentially boiled down to "we might have no problem with it but others do".

This position makes my eyes roll. It's the position that allows censorship because others "can't handle the truth". It's also the position that criminalises 'hate speech'.

As anyone who knows me well will know, I'm 100% in favour of free speech / free expression... No exceptions.

So it might surprise you to learn the stance I hold regarding the books: The books should not have been there in the first place.

Here's why....

'Operations' staff are not payed to think, they are payed to do.
If you have an Ops role in life, I don't mean that as an insult; I offer it as your first and best line of defence.
You won't be fired for following process. It's not your job to make moral, strategic or tactical decisions. You are only obeying orders. Dodgy

At least, that is the case unless you a part of a Stage 6 society which is universal ethical principles driven aka Luminon's Utopia Wink

Singapore is not Stage 6. I rate it as a Stage 4 society, so it works like this:
Everyone follows the process that is the vehicle to carry out the policy which underpins the principles which express the values of Singapore

I'll break that down from right to left:
Singapore's values are expressed in their vision statement, the Singapore National Pledge:
We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
progress for our nation.

Key words (principles): united and equality.

No specific mention of unity / equality regardless of sexual preference but meh! so far so good.

It should be noted that as a young country (48th birthday last month) SG has pretty much achieved its vision. It's certainly a prosperous nation even though that cannot be said for all the individuals therein.

It has had a troubled past; casting off the yoke of colonial oppression, riots / power struggles in the early days and so is very quick to respond to anything that might spark more troubles and this adds poignancy to the words "one united people" because, they haven't always been united.

It's not easy to maintain harmony under such circumstances but harmony is what is meant "one united people".

Now, here's rub...
For those who do not know, Singapore has a policy (law), which criminalises homosexuality.

It's called 377A and to understand it one has to look at its mother statute, Section 377:
Quote:Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animals, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Well, of course we all know that homosexuality is most definitely not "against the order of nature" particularly for mammals but it's one of those laws that the leadership consider to be easier to ignore than to change.

Harmony trumps equality this time.

Because that law exists, the library staff had no choice but to remove the books following a complaint, and from a governance perspective the staff should not have been in that awkward position in the first place.

So the flaw is not with the shop-floor, the workers, the operations staff who carry out the policy; the flaw is with the policy itself in that:
a) it is based on fact insofar as it is a fact that the majority of voters are muslim/christian conservatives
b) it is not based on scientific fact
c) it does not align to the principles stated in the vision statement.


As a side note, I recall a similar example discussed over lunch in Malaysia with a couple of students from Brunei regarding the policy of removing hands (forcibly) for certain crimes because the Quran says so. This means that surgeons will be forced to break their Hippocratic oath in order to obey the law.

Obviously in both these case the conservatives (the majority) stick with their traditional yet immoral position and the progressives (the minority) cry foul and campaign to change the law.

So: The NLB decision was made in order to maintain harmony in direct opposition to scientific evidence of inequality.

I can't blame them for that and the compromise which dodged the moral / immoral bullet was the right decision in these circumstances i.e. they went for "parental right" to choose how and when the subject of sexuality was raised with children.

Good call, I say.

I wish the holy books were in the adult section too but that won't happen for a long while.

It's the ol' opt in vs. opt out argument.

So what is your opinion?

Was it a fair compromise following a measured risk assessment?

Should it have been freedom of expression at all costs?

Or maybe you're in favour of book-burning to protect those who cannot protect themselves?

Vote now.

Thanks for reading. Heart

DLJ

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01-09-2014, 05:11 AM (This post was last modified: 01-09-2014 05:16 AM by Chas.)
RE: Pulp The Gay Penguins!
D. None of the above.

They could, instead, decriminalize homosexuality on their way to becoming civilized. Drinking Beverage



Quote:As anyone who knows me well will know, I'm 100% in favour of free speech / free expression... No exceptions.

Including yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire? Consider

There are no rights that are absolute. Get over it.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-09-2014, 05:18 AM
RE: Pulp The Gay Penguins!
(01-09-2014 05:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  D. None of the above.

They could, instead, decriminalize homosexuality on their way to becoming civilized. Drinking Beverage

And they probably will at some point soon. It nearly happened not so long ago.

The problem is the religious right and their righteous indignation. This is big one to tackle.

More insipid is the "other people need protection" attitude... it's more embedded and less obviously controversial.

Of course, children and the sick and the weak and those with PTSD need protection but this means the passive acceptance of censorship.

Providing the right to 'Opt in' makes sense in this environment. Or it makes sense to me.

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01-09-2014, 07:11 AM
RE: Pulp The Gay Penguins!
I'm not a parent so parents may may have a different opinion than mine but I think any parent who attempts to limit their children's library access to the children's section is an idiot, for the same reason that censorship is idiotic: it instantly INCREASES access and demand for what's censored - and who's gonna stop a kid from getting his hands on something he knows his parents don't want him to see?

The surest way to get someone to pay attention to something, to seek it out, is to tell him he mustn't see it. You could get a kid all the way to a PhD in advanced calculus by age 9 if you could keep him convinced mathematics was forbidden knowledge to him personally.

So, to the extent the relocated books vital concepts youth should have, the censorship should be applauded because now they're SURE to reach youth, under the blankets with flashlights, lapped up like sugar.
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01-09-2014, 07:19 AM
RE: Pulp The Gay Penguins!
(01-09-2014 07:11 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  I'm not a parent so parents may may have a different opinion than mine but I think any parent who attempts to limit their children's library access to the children's section is an idiot, for the same reason that censorship is idiotic: it instantly INCREASES access and demand for what's censored - and who's gonna stop a kid from getting his hands on something he knows his parents don't want him to see?

The surest way to get someone to pay attention to something, to seek it out, is to tell him he mustn't see it. You could get a kid all the way to a PhD in advanced calculus by age 9 if you could keep him convinced mathematics was forbidden knowledge to him personally.

So, to the extent the relocated books vital concepts youth should have, the censorship should be applauded because now they're SURE to reach youth, under the blankets with flashlights, lapped up like sugar.

Yup. I agree. To an extent. Didn't the Islamic Golden Age flounder after Al-Ghazali declared maths to be "forbidden knowledge"?

The move to relocate the books was a political one. It's the old free-speech vs. community harmony argument again.

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01-09-2014, 08:12 AM
RE: Pulp The Gay Penguins!
They must be removed immediately.
I should know.
I was turned gay by Tinky-Winky.
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Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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01-09-2014, 06:17 PM
RE: Pulp The Gay Penguins!
You had poor style in presentation here to elicit comment. You should always lead with your main point then expand the reinforce. The problem with that is the governance here is not tied to the populace in any way. As such you get an administration at odds with the majority of it's user base.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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01-09-2014, 06:19 PM
RE: Pulp The Gay Penguins!
So now disagreement is censored.

Nice.

At least we can still discuss gay penguins.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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01-09-2014, 06:47 PM
RE: Pulp The Gay Penguins!
(01-09-2014 06:17 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  You had poor style in presentation here to elicit comment. You should always lead with your main point then expand the reinforce. The problem with that is the governance here is not tied to the populace in any way. As such you get an administration at odds with the majority of it's user base.

Yeah well, some people like my rambling style... they're my peeps. Laugh out load

Fair point.

Then it's the old argument of whether a Government is about Leadership (removing the anti-gay law in Singapore or UK Parliament's continued refusal to go for Capital Punishment) against the populace's wishes, or whether it's about following the populace as merely administrators.

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01-09-2014, 06:48 PM
RE: Pulp The Gay Penguins!
(01-09-2014 06:19 PM)Anjele Wrote:  So now disagreement is censored.

Nice.

At least we can still discuss gay penguins.

Yup. So are you for or against gay penguins? Wink

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