Archive for the ‘Christ…’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 7, 2005

Category: Christ...

Hurrah! We have an MP onside….

Lynne Featherstone – Jerry Springer: The Opera DVD: I’ll be writing to the Chief Exec of both Sainsbury’s and Woolworths asking them to change their minds – hope you do too. Emailing their customer services is good idea (as quite a few people are suggesting) but I suspect any such email will be answered by someone relatively junior…

She’s bang on, there. The folks copying and pasting the replies from Woolworths sent me a copy and paste reply when I complained that their initial copy and paste reply did not answer my questions. The folks copying and pasting the replies from Sainsbury’s haven’t even bothered to standardise the fonts:

sainsbury reply

So Lynne suggests that you approach your MP about this freedom of speech issue, and that sounds like a mighty fine idea to me.

She also plans to write to the Chief Execs in order to get past the copy and paste barrier, and I think that this is a fine example to follow:

Justin King, Sainsbury’s, 35 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT
Trevor Bish-Jones, Woolworths PLC, Woolworths House, 242-246 Marylebone Road, NW1 6JL

Finally, there’s that cheeky thought that – perhaps, if we can get 10 people to complain – that Sainsbury’s will stop selling bread.

I’m not entirely on board with this. Surely it would be more to the point to stop them from selling disgustingly phallic objects like cucumbers and candles or – even better – perhaps we can complain about this disgraceful state of affairs…

Both Sainbury’s and Woolworths sell books, both online and in most stores. But they do not sell one of the most popular books of all time. For some reason, both stores refuse to stock the Bible!

I feel a candlelight vigil coming on… perhaps we can follow it up with a good head-kicking.

no bibles here

nope, no bibles here, either

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 6, 2005

Category: Christ...

I think Justin is on the money here regarding Sainbury’s, Woolworths and the Jerry Springer DVD.

[Note – If this is news to you, catch up via this entry at Bloggerheads and the following article from the Independent: Major retail chains have bowed to pressure from a tiny fringe Christian group by withdrawing copies of a DVD of Jerry Springer: The Opera from stores around the UK. Woolworths and Sainsbury have both taken the unprecedented step of removing the film from shelves because of “customer” concerns about the content of the musical, released three weeks ago. Sainsbury has admitted it received just 10 complaints.]

Given the behaviour of Sainsbury’s and Woolworths – especially the dismissive ‘copy and paste’ answer from the latter that simply does not stand up to scrutiny – I think we can confidently replace the word ‘complaint’ with ‘threat’…. and, just in case you’re uncomfortable working on the assumption that Christian Voice is behind this, in this article (via), Stephen Green confirms what most of us already suspected: Stephen Green, the organisation’s national director, said the group had recently managed to stop Sainsbury’s from stocking videos of the opera.

Strangely, there is no mention of this action (or a call to action) on the Christian Voice website. But, as we all know, veiled threats are most effective when made under the cover of darkness.

Christian Voice has past form here…

They beat their drums from the shadows. They ride their Banthas single file to hide their numbers.

And this time, they have the benefit of a favourable season.

Think about it; if you were a High St retailer, would be willing to risk ‘Christian’ vigils pickets during Christmas?

Well, you certainly would if the focus of protest were a popular profitable title like Harry Potter, but in the case of Jerry Springer: The Opera it’s much easier to trust in the ignorance and apathy of the wider public and accept the well-worn path of least resistance.

Stephen Green knows he can rely on this reaction to JS:TO, especially after the success of the very compelling lies about the frequency of swear words (always an attention-getter) and the purpose/meaning/nature of the depictions of God and Jesus in this production.

This is why JS:TO has been his primary target weapon these past 11 months. Taken at face value, the opera appears offensive. Sprinkle a few inventions of your own on the surface, and it seems deliberately offensive. In short, he has found a razor-sharp edge to a very large wedge.

If pressed, it’s likely that Sainsbury’s and Woolworths will also use this as a weapon in order to justify their cowardice. It’s also very likely they will attempt to paint the spontaneous counter-complaints and boycotts as the actions of a pressure group… because they don’t give in to pressure groups.

My own personal shopping boycotts* stand, but I’m not sure a co-ordinated counter-campaign involving boycotts or pickets is the answer here.

(*They are expressions of disappointment from a dissatisfied customer; one month for Sainsbury’s and two months for Woolworths – Woolworths earned an extra month when their Customer Support Advisor Danny Myers dodged my questions and shut me off with a curt “I now consider the matter closed and no further correspondence will be entered into.”)

The only positive action must start with the retailers. Sadly, this involves them admitting that they made an error in quietly caving to these threats rather than exposing and denouncing them. This is not an easy move to make. But if Sainsbury’s and Woolworths look closely at Stephen Green’s primary weapons – misinformation, fear and darkness – they should see how easy it will be to turn this around.

These retailers have bigger PR machines, they will earn public support by showing no fear, and they can undermine public support for Stephen Green simply by shining a very bright light in his direction.

And here’s your starter for ten, big boys.

Try Something Different Today. Stand up to religious extremists.

UPDATE – Asda still stock the DVD, which I find odd given the past behaviour of their owners. I’ll try to find out what’s going on there.

UPDATE – Asda state that they don’t sell it, and that they’ve never stocked it (because of ‘poor demand’). And because they never sold it in the first place, the matter of pressure applied by Christian extremists isn’t even a factor because it was never an issue in the first place. Erm… perhaps they will pardon me for being difficult, but what the hell is this? Another story from a retailer that just doesn’t add up? I’ve been promised an update. With you shortly….

UPDATE – It is being sold online, but not in stores. The ‘low demand’ story holds water, as many retailers sell items with lower demand on their website, but not in-store. As far as the Asda press office in concerned, they will continue to sell the product online and they know of no plans to withdraw the item from the website. HOWEVER… this statement came from the same man who – when initally informed of the anomoly – said “I thought I told them to remove that.”

Let’s sit back and see how long the online listing lasts, shall we?

In the meantime, there appears to be a suitable compromise here for Sainsbury’s and Woolworths… they can adopt the line of ‘low demand’ and sell the item online. That way, Stephen Green and his merry band can picket the online store(s) from the comfort of their own bedroom(s), and customers won’t have to put up with being prayed/shouted at. Genius, no?

UPDATE – Tesco still sell the item online. Chasing press office…

UPDATE – Tesco said they trialled the item in stores, but it failed to sell well. Now they only sell the item online. They have not been targetted by Christian Voice. At all. That ‘low demand’ story with the online-only sales option is looking better and better for the Cowardly Crew.

UPDATE – WHSmith sell it online. I fail to see what the problem is here.

UPDATE – How shocking! How disgraceful! I’m dismayed and appalled. In fact, I think I may vomit.

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 5, 2005

Category: Christ...

Media Watch Watch – Woolworths, Sainsbury remove Springer DVD (lotsa links and comments here; go see)

Independent – Stores bow to Christians and ban Jerry Springer DVD: Major retail chains have bowed to pressure from a tiny fringe Christian group by withdrawing copies of a DVD of Jerry Springer: The Opera from stores around the UK. Woolworths and Sainsbury have both taken the unprecedented step of removing the film from shelves because of “customer” concerns about the content of the musical, released three weeks ago. Sainsbury has admitted it received just 10 complaints.

To: Sainburys Customer Care
From: Tim Ireland
Subject: Christian Voice and Jerry Springer: The Opera on DVD

Dear Sirs,

In a typical week, we will spend 60-90 pounds on groceries in your Godalming store. For the next four weeks, we shall be shopping elsewhere.

There is no action you can take to reverse this decision; I only hope that next time you will think twice before caving in to tin-pot pressure groups.

Tim Ireland

To: Woolworths Customer Relations
From: Tim Ireland
Subject: Christian Voice and Jerry Springer: The Opera on DVD

Dear Sirs,

It greatly disturbs me that you would be so gutless and so witless as to cave in to a ragtag bunch of extremists who not only have the gall to call themselves Christians, but also claim that they are the voice of Christianity.

As a family, we would normally spend about 120 pounds in your Godalming and Guildford stores over the Christmas period. This year, we shall be taking our money elsewhere.

There is no action you can take to reverse this decision; the damage is done.

Tim Ireland

To: Santa Claus
From: Tim Ireland
Subject: Christian Voice and Jerry Springer: The Opera on DVD

Dear Santa,

Please don’t bother sending Stephen Green another lump of coal this Christmas:

1) The fires of hell are sure to keep him warm in the millennia to come, so he has no need for fossil fuels
2) I doubt that he believes in fossils at any rate


Tim Ireland

Sainsburys and Woolworths had best watch themselves; once Green and his little gang have finished licking the blood from their lips, they’re sure to take a closer look at the DVD shelves in these stores and decide that this is only the beginning:
“Very Offensive” Films –
“Extremely Offensive” Films –

UPDATE – Oi! Stephen! You missed a spot!

UPDATE – That *was* a link showing that Woolworths still sold the JS:TO soundtrack online. Within a few hours, the purchasing description was changed to read; “This product is not currently available. Please check back later.”

I checked back later (6 Dec)… and the page was gone. Can anyone hear clucking?

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 12, 2005

Category: Christ...

Guardian – Christian group may seek ban on Qur’an
Media Watch Watch – Ban the Qur’an




It’s bloody great, isn’t it? Christian Extremists Vs. Muslim Extremists… and Our Glorious Leader (the man who gets testy when you ask if he has prayed with the man who has denied speaking directly with God) is insisting that we choose a side.

PS – I promised to be back by the 15th, but I may be a bit late. I’m building something nifty, and it just took a complicated turn for the better.

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 12, 2005

Category: Christ...

Dinosaur Adventure Land! (via Popbitch)

You want to go scroll straight down to ‘Watch Cartoons and Play Games’, where you are invited to join Danny’s Dinosaur Adventure: Join Danny, Joey, Kenny, and Ashley, on a great Dinosaur Adventure. Their teacher Mr. Woodring is a strong believer in evolution, but they won’t let that stand in the way of exposing the lies of evolution, and spreading the truth of creation. It’s a constant battle to see that the lies of evolution are stopped.

The description alone could pass off as a script for Jack Black. You must watch. Really. It’s the biggest thing since Bibleman.

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 17, 2005

Category: Christ...

BBC – Springer Opera legal bid rejected: A bid to bring judicial review proceedings against the BBC for its broadcast of Jerry Springer – The Opera has been rejected. The Christian Institute said the BBC discriminated against Christians and breached its Royal Charter by screening the opera on BBC Two in January. But the High Court refused to grant the group permission to take legal action.

(Heads-up via Toby.)

Be warned that – as this press release indicates – Christian Voice are still planning something.

More at Media Watch Watch, as well as an interview with Stephen Green.

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 10, 2005

Category: Christ...

Ofcom have ruled on the broadcast of Jerry Springer: The Opera.

(Heads-up via Scaryduck.)

You can read their findings here (PDF). You’ll find the JS:TO report under ‘Not in Breach’.

Media Watch Watch have made a few comments and are kind enough to bring us a HTML version of Ofcom’s findings.

It’s pretty much what you would expect, but does bring up a new player in the game that I previously wasn’t aware of – the Premier Media Group.

Later today, you can expect a response from John Beyer and Stephen Green (who via a sudden rush of publicity and/or funding, has found the resources required to give his site a professional makeover – you can see what the site used to look like here).

They’re sure to reject the report and find Ofcom at fault. Then our political leaders will get the blame, then our moral leaders, and – finally – God. I doubt they’ll ever get time to wonder if they were in any way wrong about this.

But here’s what really sticks in my craw…

We still don’t know where the offensive and dangerous email circular at the centre of this came from and we probably never will.

This deeply irresponsible campaign – that began with this email and was aided by forces from the Christian right and alarm-loving media outlets such as The Sun and the Daily Mail – caused needless anguish in the minds of Christians, put lives at risk, and wasted a considerable amount of licence-payers’ and taxpayers’ money.

And it’s likely to happen again.

This is why I’m greatly disturbed that there doesn’t appear to be an official IT-savvy body with a remit or ability to deal with kind of thing and investigate aspects such as the nature, intention and source of the email and the possibility that many ‘individual’ complaints came from web users using multiple identities.

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 27, 2005

Category: Christ...

Obit: Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen

Number of tears shed: 0

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 8, 2005

Category: Christ...

I’m sorry if you found my lack of faith disturbing.

Posted by Tim Ireland at March 31, 2005

Category: Christ...

Guardian – BBC rejects Springer complaints: BBC governors rejected a record 63,000 complaints from viewers over the decision to broadcast Jerry Springer – The Opera yesterday, prompting renewed criticism from offended Christian and “decency” campaigners. The governors’ programme complaints committee was split on the wisdom of allowing the show to go ahead in January, but ruled by a majority of four to one that the decision was not in breach of internal guidelines… John Beyer, the director of the pressure group Mediawatch, said the decision was “yet another example of the BBC’s stupefying arrogance”.

Pwhahahahahahahaha! Yes, John Beyer not arrogant. Stephen Green not arrogant. BBC arrogant.


Media Watch Watch – BBC rejects Springer complaints: The only member of the Committee to disagree with the decision not to uphold complaints was Angela Sarkis, a former Vice-President of the African Caribbean Evangelical Alliance. Stephen Green has called it “a black day for British broadcasting”.


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