Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Interesting moral standards prevail.
Max Mosely the President of the FIA was accused in the tabloid press of taking part in a sado-masochistic orgy with a Nazi theme. Mosely has been keen to refute the allegation that the event had any Nazi overtones. He has not sought to repudiate the allegation of participation in an orgy and has resisted calls for his resignation.
Speaking of the criticisms he had received, he said: "They're based on the idea that somehow you can't have in your life any sort of sexual activity that's at all eccentric. Most people say if somebody likes doing that, if it's not harming anybody, if it's in private and it's completely secret and personal, it's nothing to do with me."
This philosophy does not seem to apply in respect of the Nazi element, which is interesting. Also interesting is the idea that nobody is harmed. Mosley admitted his wife Jean was "not best pleased" and his sons were "embarrassed" at the revelations. Does this not count as “harm”, how does he assess the harm that may have been caused to any of the other participants in his “eccentric sexual activity”?
A similar mindset prevailed in the England Rugby Team when four of their players were accused of sexual assault. The precise allegations appear to be that two of the team had sex in a hotel room with a dancer they picked up in a club while two others watched. The defense was that the woman had, in fact, consented to this behaviour. There does not appear to have been any acknowledgement from either the players or the management that this may not be morally acceptable behaviour for young men, never mind those representing their country as professional athletes.
There is talk of a new code of conduct for the players. It will be interesting to see what it is based on.
In a culture with no shared moral framework and no objective basis for morality it is not easy to arbitrate when consensus collides with conscience. Orgies and group sex seem to be ok but Nazism and sexual assault are not. Apparently it is okay to pass public moral judgements on Robert Mugabe or when a man locks his daughter in a basement for years and label them as evil, (which they undoubtably are) but it is by no means clear what standards are being applied in passing these judgements.
A.W. Tozer , the 20th Century writer and preacher wrote : “No sin is private. It may be secret but it is not private. It is a great error to hold, as some do, that each man's conduct is his own business unless his acts infringe on the rights of others. "My liberty ends where yours begins," is true, but that is not all the truth. No one ever has the right to commit an evil act, no matter how secret. God wills that men should be free, but not that they be free to commit sin.”
There can only be consistent and meaningful morality with reference to God. This might not be comfortable or popular but it is, nevertheless, true.
Monday, June 23, 2008
This is the tee shirt that Brad Jayacody was told to remove at Heathrow Terminal 5 if he was to be allowed to board his flight. Apparently having an image of a gun was enough to trigger serious concerns. I am all in favour of security and safety on flights but quite how a transformers cartoon threatens safety I am not sure.
This range of tee shirts with arabic script is designed to assert personal liberty/provoke a really hard time at the airport (delete as appropriate according to political persuasion). It translates "I am a not a terrorist". Interesting what makes different people choose different shirts and what meaning if any they attach to them.
The latest Adidas advertising campaign makes clear that this is not a jersey or a shirt at all.
THIS IS NOT A JERSEY. THIS IS A PORTAL THROUGH WHICH MEN PASS. THIS IS NOT MATERIAL. THIS IS FABRIC THAT BINDS US TOGETHER. THIS IS NOT A SOUVENIR. THIS IS A REMINDER OF ALL WHO HAVE WORN IT BEFORE US. THIS IS NOT BLACK. THIS IS THE ABSENCE OF FEAR. THIS IS NOT A UNIFORM. THIS IS A COUNTRY UNIFIED. THIS IS NOT A JERSEY ONLY 22 MEN WEAR. THIS IS A JERSEY FITTED FOR FOUR MILLION PEOPLE. THIS IS VICTORY AND LOSS, BUT WILL NOT BE DEFEATED.
THIS IS EVERYTHING BUT A “JERSEY”.
Part of the campaign is that any baby born on the day of a home All Blacks test match this year is presented with a mini all black jersey.
Adidas New Zealand Marketing Manager John Beckett says the All Black jersey is a symbol of opportunity, achievement and success and seeing the jersey on a brand new life, is a reminder that every child born is a superstar of the future.
“The All Black jersey belongs to the team – a family. And providing the All Black jersey to a newborn signifies that the family, community and country as a whole are all part of a team that can help give children the best start in life."
Reaction to the campaign has been mixed. Some people seem to think that it is a little bit hyped. All I can say is that when I pull on my black jersey it is part of a fabric that connects and reminds and I can wear it secure that I won't be stopped from boarding a plane. At least not in New Zealand.