Meanwhile Dr Wayne West in his opening salvo went down the road of lung cancer instead of sticking to the script, as he tried to do a health risk comparison that nearly went off the rails, I was in stitches as he continued claiming that smoking caused cancer but people still smoke and so on and that they are 23 times likely to get it. Then came this:
“But the fact of the matter is if you are male who has intimate relationships with other males, your risk of HIV and syphilis for example in New York as studies have shown can be as high as 140 to 1 ............”
Thankfully Dionne Jackson Miller intervened most appropriately redeeming the going off the deep end journey when she asked:
“Tell me the point you’re making on this one though Dr Wayne West.” (She repeated)
But Dr Wayne West was not deterred by her efforts for a moment as he continued his clear strategy; leaving many of us by virtue of the comments that flowed on Twitter and asking what the hell does that has to do with the topic of discussion? Alternative facts I suppose.
“I think it is irresponsible to argue that there is a right to behaviour that has some high risk with disease,” he continued and tried to out shout the host but Mrs Miller as experienced as is yet again was forced to pull on the reigns.
“Hold on, I do beg your pardon ....... in relation to the specific issues though how do you balance the [West tries to interrupt] the specific issue we are talking about, about content?”
“............Because we are showing cartoons to children and suggesting that same sex behaviour is a variant of normal like heterosexual behaviour when the health risk of same sex behaviour are so staggering.”
I don’t know how the angels in heaven did hear me laughing; Dr West continued the nonsense as Mrs Miller asked:
“When you say ‘we are showing’ though meaning what?”
He said such as Disney and he then went on to suggest someone should take a lawsuit against them although this is supposed to be a cable channel that persons can choose not to engage and also conveniently overlooking the right of freedom of choice and speech, virtues held dear by Americans. The shock of the comment was palpable as the short silence or dead airtime suggested.
The Mrs Miller intervened nicely:
“This is a cable channel, you have to choose to accept it [West says in America] no, no in Jamaica as well. It’s cable you have to choose to have it in your house.”
Even though the point was driven home so forcefully the man still insists, you could hear the pity in Mrs Miller’s cadence of speech almost to suggest why did I invite this idiot to my show?
“I gather that our local stations FLOW did not show some series which had some same sex thing in it and I think that is a wise decision. I wish someone in the United States will take a class action suit against Disney for ...........” [Audio got muffled but the giggling was audible]
Poor Mrs Miller tried her best as before as she intervened to redeem the obviously appearing descent into madness:
“Dr West, Dr West, Dr West its cable channel, you don’t have to have it in your house; you choose to have it .............. What I’m trying to get from you Dr West in a society like ours then especially with different channels, how do you balance it because I hear your concerns about the type of content full stop, right, but given the fact that we do live in a pluralistic society and we live in a society with different kinds of channels so for example I have friends who say they don’t have cable at all in their house, it’s just free-to-air, so what do you think we need to start with?”
Bizarrely this is the same man who suggested a class action lawsuit to supposedly stop Disney just moments before he then says:
“I don’t like censoring I think it’s dangerous for a democratic society ....”
Mrs Miller’s reaction represented the rest of us I imagine as I did die with laughter and some pity when she asked:
“You don’t like censoring!”
“I don’t like to censor .... I think it’s a dangerous path to take, I think you can show various shows one o’clock or two o’clock in the morning accordingly to protect children but I really disagree with censoring information, I think it is a dangerous path follow.
What I would argue is that we must discuss these things in a sensible manner [Mrs Miller asked meaning what?] there are no rights to disease producing behaviour, that is ridiculous.”
Mrs Miller’s audible exhale was enough even as Kay Osbourne and Diana McCaulay tried to get a word in and as my laughter and no doubt others in earshot of this must have been loud at this point. Mrs Miller tried to bring some sense back into the exchange. She sought to reiterate the parameters of the discussion.
“Let me just say one thing I don’t want to spend time on this issue of men having sex with men and AIDS because Dr West I am sure you know it and it has been said to you many times it is a very nuanced discussion, it relates to access to care and discrimination and many other issues that I don’t have time to discuss in this context.”
Diana McCaulay opened with:
“I too don’t want to discuss the HIV question, that’s not what I was asked to talk about.”
She continued that it was hilarious to hear Dr West say he does not support censorship when he wants to decide what is suitable for audiences, even in a situation where persons will drive to a movie and pay to see a film. Meanwhile Miss Kay Osbourne’s remarks were not convincing to me at all, she seemed to dancing between the raindrops given her history and previous comments on homosexuality and the aforementioned hint to the gay ad/PSA court case and her decision not to air the clip which eventually led to a lawsuit. She attempted to try to strike a balance on tolerance but struggled somewhat on how it should be. She then went on to link heterosexual sex with also a disease components, that of cervical cancer and HPV. She tried to make the point that not only gay men who supposed are ‘harmed’ by disease through sexual activity.
Mrs Miller yet again had to intervene:
“Before the discussion goes entirely off the rail [laughter as Miss Osbourne tries to balance her point as she puts it] and I am now shutting the door on STDs and AIDS [laughter] let me try and get ....... we do have plenty of those discussion but in the context of what we are talking about here let me go back to Diana McCaulay”
She said she was offended by the materialism as a new religion, reality television but said her offendedness does not go to the realm of pure censorship. The point was made by Mrs Miller on the Broadcasting Commission’s guidelines as to content for free-to-air television and of course radio. Miss Osbourne said that managers of content have an enormous task to act as gatekeepers to filter some of the materials; frankly it was a laborious listening experience as she sounded as if she was searching for the words.
Then Dr Wayne West jumped off into the nihilistic arguments as usual, claiming Americans have come to accept an anything goes or no absolute morality. He claimed that if we are prepared to accept nihilism then we must be prepared to accept anything in the public square. He said that the filter therefore is up to the individual in their private space to determine what comes in a bid “protect our children from this ethos of nihilism.”
He continued that if the public square is nihilistic then the law is or will become nihilistic (the usual moral panic strategy) and it will be imposed upon children through the education curricula (referencing the HFLE fiasco and Sex Ed course uproar in 2013/4/5).
Mrs Miller brought back the Broadcasting Commission’s regulations on the table and reminded everyone that free-to-air already has strong filters. West linked the Judaeo-Christian framework to the reasons why those regulations are there and sought to suggest that the whittling away of that by itself will lead to moral decay. He claims that the framework has been rejected by the USA & Canada (homosexuality is foreign import ploy) which what causes the nihilism but Mrs Macaulay nailed it when she said that if we are to follow that framework women would be stoned for adultery and she continued that framing that there is no right or wrong in North American countries that are tolerant of diversity is simply not true. West went into the whole bit on the theocracy of Israel while leaving out the Levitical imperative and the holiness codes for a short period of time; finally he seems to have come to some enlightenment however small. He continued that a Christian world view informed those preparations of regulations.
When asked about where we are today and sections of the public objecting to gay content West said that he still does not agree with censorship in terms of speech and that it would be difficult to restrict content in other areas and then he went back on the education curricula and that perception of sneaky methods to bring in homosexuality through the back door. He claimed yet again that if society is nihilistic then homosexuality will work its way in (more moral panic drama). The usual conflation of freedom to be homosexual is directly correlated to nihilism is just plain worn out. It came up in the recent sexual offences bill debate submissions and hinted to in the affidavit in the pending constitutional challenge of the buggery law.
Television Jamaica of which RJR – Radio Jamaica Radio is a part of the recent communications group 1834 Limited already blocks and censor certain content, including some gay themes. The American series Empire continue to have its gay scenes especially those of an intimate nature blocked, despite it appears at 10pm. The daytime South African soap opera import Generations (I am a big fan) also has a gay couple but the screenplay deliberately avoid kissing scenes even after a near successful vigorous campaign to block such and demands of writing out of the story line gay themes. The show then went the route of opposite sex cheating by one of the parties in a bid to bisexualize the character but it seems not to have worked well. The gay couple still remains.
I find it ridiculous frankly that some persons are so still so fearful of just gay themes on a screen as if to suggest there is some invisible gamma ray that is going to ‘homosexualise’ all those who come into view of those themes on screen. A good question to ask of Dr West is if both parties (MSM) are HIV negative and they have anal sex without a condom or a condom but it broke what will they pass? It would be good to get the answer to that one.
Diana McCaulay ended the interview by redeeming the situation, she suggested that the fearmongering has to stop and while the speech may not be violent it can push physical violence.
Peace & tolerance