Thursday 31 July 2014

Damned if you ban, damned if you don't

My daughter is very concerned about this.

After the Media Develoment Authority (MDA) banned the gay wedding issue of Archie (which became international news), someone at The Independent website pointed out that there is a gay wedding issue of X-Men which is not banned in Singapore.

According to the website:
The availability of Astonishing X-Men #51 – but not Archie: The Married Life V3 – raises questions over MDA’s review process.
I almost felt sorry for MDA. You ban, people complain. You don't ban, people also complain.

My daughter, who reads the X-Men comics, had earlier also noticed the inconsistency and asked me why one gay wedding comic book was allowed and not another.

I said shhhhhh! She should just be grateful MDA let the X-Men comic through and not make a big fuss about it. Or MDA will ban it.

Unfortunately, unlike my daughter, The Independent didn't come to me first.

When I read The Independent article, I thought the X-Men were going to become the Axed Men. Get it?

But suprisingly, aftr the article came out, MDA didn't ban the X-Men #51. Instead, MDA actually tried to explain why it didn't ban the issue.

Today reported:
An MDA spokesman said: “The issue featured characters who objected to the wedding and this offered a balanced treatment on the issue of gay marriage.”

The spokesman added that there was no breach of content guidelines, “which allow for the balanced depictions of same-sex relationships if they do not encourage or promote alternative lifestyles”.

The statutory board had assessed the X-Men comic in 2012 after receiving public feedback and queries from its importer.

“The MDA takes a holistic view in assessing content and considers all factors, including the context, presentation and language. While themes may seem similar on the surface, depictions and context often vary across different works,” the spokesman said in response to queries from this newspaper.

While some are relieved the X-Men aren't axed, others aren't buying MDA's explanation. As far as they are concerned, MDA is just inconsistent and incompetent.

But now my daughter is upset about another inconsistency.

She complained that if the X-Men gay wedding issue isn't banned, then why can't she find the book in the public library?

The obvious answer is that, as the gay penguins book saga demonstrated, the National Library Board (NLB) may decide not to stock certain titles even though they're not banned by MDA.

I guess NLB doesn't take "a holistic view in assessing content and considers all factors, including the context, presentation and language".

But that is little consolation for my daughter who has borrowed from the library and read the X-Men issues before and after the mutant gay wedding issue, and now there's a gap in the storyline for her.

Of course, I could offer to buy her the missing issue from the bookstore, but then I'm too much of a cheapskate. Kinokuniya is selling the book for about $24.

These gay weddings can get pretty expensive.

I should just be grateful she doesn't read Archie.

EARLIER: Germany had Nazis, we have... NLB?