‘Jesus and Mo’ hits back at Channel 4 censorship

January 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm (censorship, Civil liberties, Free Speech, grovelling, islamism, Jim D, relativism, religion, satire, secularism, telly)

Channel 4 News’ disgraceful, craven censorship of ‘Jesus & Mo’ on Tuesday night…


…has received a splendid response:


You can find more Jesus and Mo: here

H/t: Howie and Coatesy


  1. Sarah AB said,

    This is funny.

    • RosieB said,

      Can’t they replace Galloway’s mug with a black egg?

    • jimmy glesga said,

      Excellent Sarah AB. I salute your lack of fear in the face of the fruitcakes.

  2. ‘Jesus and Mo’ hits back at Channel 4 censorship | OzHouse said,

    […] Jan 30 2014 by admin […]

  3. Not all atheists are sniggering tossers said,

    I don’t see why its ‘disgraceful’ or indeed ‘craven’. There is a widely held tabu amongst muslims regarding visual depictions of Muhammad. What’s the point in offending significant numbers of members of a minority community for no good reason? How would channel four’s news coverage have been enhanced by showing the full cartoon?

    To make myself perfectly clear here, I am strongly opposed to any suggestion that such depictions should be banned (and of course they won’t be) and I also think that hot heads like Galloway are absolute wankers for calling for people to be fired for sharing these cartoons. However I don’t have much more time for the sniggering and self-righteous pushers of these jesus and mo cartoons either: ‘Oh look we’re getting one over on the muslims, we’re so wadical’. Grow the fuck up.

    • Jim Denham said,

      If you’re an atheist, why would you wish to show any respect or reverence towards any religion or superstition? Unless you think that certain types of people are really children, for whom belief in a Great Sky Daddy is appropriate, because your level of sophistication is beyond their grasp?

      And anyway, ‘Jesus and Mo’ is, by any rational standards, mild and good-humoured. The people who claim to be “offended” are mainly liars, shit-stirrers and professional grievance-merchants (like Mr Galloway and the various self-appointed “representatives” of supposed “Muslim opinion”, including some Lib Dems, who are behind the vicious and cynical campaign against Maajid Nawaz) or, the minority who are genuinely upset are simply wrong, and have to be told so.

      Not all atheists are hypocritical, patronising relativists.

      • R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

        I’ve been linking to a long critical review of Morris Berman’s Jeremiad (see how religious imagery is embedded in our language….) Dark Age America:

        Much of the rhetorical force of Berman’s book comes from its invocation of a society with increasingly aggressive imperialist tendencies, mobilized on a permanent war footing to the benefit of private interests (the military-industrial complex that is inexhaustible in its demands for fortunes and favors from the new Caesar), and a population kept in a state of unquestioning ignorance by the continued supply of panem et circenses, by way of the infantile popular culture that is the modern day equivalent of bread and circuses. But Berman evidently has larger fish to fry than the mere political power grab of a Christian fundamentalist cabal. The United States, he claims, is an empire in irreversible decline; there is ‘no way out of this way of life short of a total breakdown of it’ (DAA, 24). What, then, is this way of life? For Berman, it is a life characterized by the emptying out of the bonds and attachments of community in the commodifed and technology-driven lifestyles of late modernity. Berman borrows liberally from a range of theorists here, including Zygmunt Bauman, Robert Putnam and Albert Borgman. Whether this generates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts is doubtful, particularly if the conclusion is supposed to be the predictable statement that we have lost a language ‘for the life of craft and commitment, for the long-lost world of civic responsibility’ (DAA, 75).

        A significant deficit of Berman’s explanatory frame is that he does not apply this problematic to the understanding of Christian fundamentalism in the United States. Berman is content to subsume this whole issue under the theme of the triumph of Religion over Reason (DAA, 3-5). Whilst it is perfectly true that the brand of Christian fundamentalism that has taken over the levers of power in the United States is describable as hostile to reason, at the same time it is impossible to understand this movement without grasping that it is, in cultural terms, a reaction to certain destructive features of global consumer capitalism. What it is a reaction to, in fact, is precisely those experiences of anomie, meaninglessness, and the loss of control over impersonal forces that Berman wants to depict with Zygmunt Bauman’s phrase ‘liquid modernity’. Christian fundamentalism’s opposition to intellectual reasoning and scientific inquiry is in reality a response to the complicity of what is perceived to be secular reasoning in driving the destructive force of capitalist modernization. It is interesting that Berman, in the context of a discussion of relations between the United States and Islamic nations, suggests that the latter ‘do have one thing that we seem to lack’, namely, a ‘spiritual center, a mode of guidance (focal practice) that is deeper than the world of commodities and the device paradigm’ (DAA, 78-9). But doesn’t this also explain the domestic attraction of a form of fundamentalist Christianity that conceives itself as in a war against encroaching secularization (at the hands of scientists, gays and lesbians, educated women, artists and film-makers)?

        Instead of trying to comprehend this destructive dialectic, Berman too often seems content to sneer at those who fall for this explanation, berating their lack of intellectual sophistication. Americans, Berman tells us, exhibit a ‘lack of intellectual suppleness or curiosity, [a] distaste for ambiguity’ (DAA, 7). So many Americans possess a kind of ‘life stupidity’, we are told (DAA, 323). Indeed, compared to their (presumably very sophisticated) European counterparts, ‘Americans come off looking like a collection of buffoons’ (DAA, 295). As an explanation, of course, this does nothing except feed a psychological sense of superiority. Berman is certainly not afraid of the accusation of elitism, which need not be such a bad thing. But in this context it simply disguises the intellectual Left’s lack of an alternative narrative for making sense of common life experiences that might compete for attention with a regressive religiosity. This, in a nutshell, is why intellectuals are forced to settle for a sneer rather than an explanation.

        A much more promising approach, I think, is suggested in Arlie Hochschild’s poignant description of the successful right-wing attempt to mobilize blue-collar ‘fear, resentment and a sense of being lost’. [3] This would involve an understanding of how that resentment has been redirected towards an alleged external threat to American values and way of life, in the process, as Hochschild hypothesizes, winning the support of the working class for the business of empire. Faced with a choice between a liberal narrative that has no place for resentment, and a right-wing narrative that nourishes, harnesses, and then re-directs their anger, it is unsurprising that the modern day Republican Party has become the default choice for white working class men. Whilst, of course, the Right wing strategy of ‘Let Them Eat War’, or perhaps even better, ‘Let Them Eat Capitalism’, does nothing to take away the conditions that feed this resentment, this is to some extent beside the point. As in the case of the ascetic priest described by Nietzsche, the present day manipulator of working class resentment knows that he or she only has to combat the suffering, the discomfort of the sufferer, ‘not its cause, not the actual state of being ill’. [4] Every sufferer, for Nietzsche, searches for a meaning in order to make sense of his or her distress. The ascetic priest, whom Nietzsche refers to as the ‘direction-changer of resentment’, anaesthetizes pain by finding a focus for the release of anger and emotion. The result, in the case of the white working class, is a toxic construction of self-identity, where the pivot of individual self-respect as an ordinary American is the construction of an internal (minorities, gays, immigrants etc.) or external (Islamists, Communists, or some combination thereof) threat to this identity, and which serves as a focal point for popular rage. This is why politics, for the majority of the white working class in the United States, has become a channel for the collective expression of ressentiment. It does not matter that the very idea of a ‘war on terror’, or the proposal for amending the constitution to ban gay marriage, are nonsensical on the model of politics as rational problem solving. What they provide are affirmations of self, cathartic rituals in which one can feel good about oneself by externalizing the threat to self, which then becomes a target of rage. What we are dealing with here is not working class stupidity. It is a form of politics as resentment that still remains a complete mystery to left-wing intellectuals.

        In the central chapters of his book, dealing with United States foreign policy, Berman sets out to give us the true story of the role of the United States in the post-Second World War world. Whilst I don’t want to get into disputes about Berman’s scholarship, nor indeed to challenge his assertion that the events of September 11th were ‘the tragic but inevitable outcome of [United States] foreign policy in [the Middle East]‘ (DAA, 159), I do however want to question the operating assumption of this analysis. Berman takes himself here to be giving us the truth, telling us what would be self-evident to the average American if only the scales of ignorance would drop from their eyes. Once again, this is framed in a sneer of intellectual superiority, expressed in the statement that ‘most of the American people’ have not yet ‘figured out the laws of cause and effect’ (DAA, 199). This shares with other analyses of the Left intellectual sort the deficit of a marked naivety about the mechanisms of political belief formation, the most extreme manifestation of which is a Chomsky-like fetishism of facts. I don’t want to say that such an approach is bereft of any worth. But the reeling off of historical sequences of cause and effect – as a political act – does little but provide a modicum of psychological comfort in being smart enough to ‘know the truth’. What I am saying is that a rationalist explanation of ‘why they hate us’ is simply no match for a narrative that lances the boil of resentment. It is not enough for an explanation to be true, it also has to be satisfying. The intellectual’s causal explanation is satisfying only to the intellectual, since it allows him or her to assume a mien of superiority. But, to this intellectualized view of politics, the statement that ‘they hate freedom’ is incomprehensible because it is not intended to be a causal explanation that presages a prescriptive solution to an objective problem. It is rather a form of self-assertion, making the self feel secure by giving body to an external threat. This is the Nietzschean insight that is absent in the world-view of the American left. It is important for the latter to learn the lesson that the Right has adopted as its own, namely that there is an essential psychological dimension to politics. Until intellectuals like Berman learn this lesson, they will forever be shaking their heads at the stupidity of the working class, unaware that, in doing so, they are feeding the very resentment they are continually unable properly to diagnose.


        Which pinpoints a key problem rationalist intellectuals now have – fundamentalist ‘Great Awakenings’ whether in America or Egypt are not just a collective paroxysm of stupidity but fed by radical social changes which drive people to literal despair.

        And a response which is fundamentally one of snobbish contempt for people’s deepest beliefs amounting all too often to epater le proletarian (given that you will find many more flourishing Pentecostalist churches and Salafist mosques in Brixton or Bethnal Green than in the leafy suburbs) makes few converts.

        So yes, a degree of respect for if not religion at least the deepest beliefs of ordinary people being broken by capitalism is not such a terrible thing.

      • R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

        I should admit that I am of course hardly consistent and constantly fall into this trap myself.

        And respecting is not the same as pandering.

        But to defeat an enemy you have to fully understand the real source of its power and take them away.

        And for an ideological enemy you can only win by presenting a more compelling alternative grand narrative.

        The late Marshall Berman (AFAIK no relation to Paul or Morris) ended a piece on the legacy of the Communist Manifesto with this story:

        I’ve saved my favorite Manifesto story for the end. It comes from Hans Morgenthau, the great theorist of international relations who came to America as a refugee from the Nazis. I heard him tell it in the early 1970s, at the City University of New York. He was reminiscing about his childhood in Bavaria before the First World War. Morgenthau’s father, a doctor in a working-class neighborhood of the town of Coburg (mostly miners, he said), had begun to take his son along on house calls. Many of his patients were dying of TB; a doctor in those years couldn’t do much to save their lives, but might help them die with dignity. Coburg was a place where many people who were dying asked to have the Bible buried with them. But when Morgenthau’s father asked his workers for last requests, many said they wanted to be buried with the Manifesto instead. They implored the doctor to see that they got fresh copies of the book, and that priests didn’t sneak in and make last-minute switches. Morgenthau was too young to “get” the book, he said. But it became his first political task to make sure that the workers’ families should get it. He wanted to be sure we would get it, too.


        So a century ago so powerful was our narrative that miners in Coburg would end lives of almost inconcievable hardship with a copy of the Communist Manifesto clutched in their bony wasted hands and the hope that at least their children might live to see a better world.

        And now we piss around with cartoons.

        Seriously, FFS…..

      • Santa said,

        – common decency
        – by any rational standards pointless and unnecessary, especially if you are aware of sense behind first point, unless you feel moral superiority of your race and your ways (which is prime reason)

        being atheist doesn’t mean you have to be idiot

    • Sarah AB said,

      The cartoon was at the heart of the news story so there was a good reason to show it I think even many of the Muslims who signed the petition against Maajid Nawaz would not have objected to the image being shown in that context. Those who seek to censor the image, whether Muslims like Shafiq, or anxious non-Muslims worried about causing offence, are fuelling anti-Muslim bigotry – not Quilliam.

    • RosieB said,

      I don’t really want to piss off ordinary mosque goers and church goers for no good reason. However, the cynical politicising of these issues then makes a good reason in itself. I don’t want to piss off an ordinary guy going to a mosque. But I do want to piss off Mohammad Shafiq, George Galloway and all the repellent Islamists who run with this and make capital out of it, exacerbating bad relations between Muslims and the rest. I know that Mo Shaf et al will see censorship by the broadcasters as a victory – so fuck ‘em.

    • jimmy glesga said,

      If shown to the public it would be further evidence how screwed up Islam is.

  4. RosieB said,

  5. Jim Denham said,

    The Independent on Sunday carries a reasonable article by one Archie Bland on the Jesus and Mo affair and related issues,, but – in a craven decision by the editor (supported by the article’s author) fails to publish the image at the centre of the row. The article even makes the extraordinary (and, I would have thought, self-contradictory) claim that “the image is so simple that to see it adds nothing to the viewer’s understanding of the issues at play” !

    This shameful capitulation by a supposedly “liberal” and “secular” publication is not surprising (the IoS is merely following in the tradition of the Graun on these matters), but it is well answered by LSE student Abhishek Phadnis, quoted in the article: “The editors of Newsnight and Channel 4 News have bought into the fiction that censoring the cartoon is the neutral position, It is not. It is perhaps unique to free-speech issues that those who report on them become part of the story themselves…To show the cartoons is, in fact, the neutral position – in that it can be done without implying support for either side.”


  6. jimmy glesga said,

    I have been reading Jesus and Mo since it started. Then the Islamic head bangers appear on the scene and doing what they do best, having a go at one of their own.

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