April 17, 2006

Playboy in Indonesia.

Since you can go on line in Indonesia and get to all the pornography you want, why is there an uproar over the availability of a version of Playboy that doesn't even have photographs of naked women in it?
In a country that boasts of its embrace of moderate Islam and cultural diversity, many analysts and politicians say the attempt to establish a strict Islamic standard of behavior is at odds with the thinking of a vast majority of the people. They give little chance of Parliament passing such an extreme law. Opponents of the law argue that trying to legislate morality is like trying to protect matrimony by abolishing divorce.

But in the years since the fall of President Suharto, hard-line Islamic groups have grown in strength and organizational ability and are now a formidable social force. They often get what they want through social pressure alone....

Muhyiddin Junadi, a scholar from the Indonesian Ulama Council and Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, acknowledged an agenda to sharply alter the moral character of Indonesia, where it is still possible to buy alcohol, even in the middle of Ramadan.

"We don't want to make Indonesia an Islamic country, but what we demand is that Muslims must apply Islamic teaching and Islamic principles to their lives," Mr. Junadi said in an interview. To him, Playboy is "very dangerous" because it risks spoiling "the morality of Indonesian society as a whole, especially the young generation."

Mr. Carolus, however, takes the position that it is other media, not his magazine, that offer the moral danger. "If I want to see naked pictures," he said, "I go to the Internet. It costs nothing. U.S. Playboy costs me about $12."

Indeed, a Web site with explicit sexual content that claims to have received more than 46 million hits last month lists Indonesia as its No. 1 source of viewers. Malaysia, another majority Muslim country, was listed at No. 4.
It seems that the fight is not over whether people can actually see risqué photographs. It is a struggle for political power on the ground, and, I would guess, the appearance of the famous magazine name on the newsstands means a lot. So I wouldn't laugh off this fight because of the stunning reality of the internet and the tameness of the magazine.


Joe said...

They - jihadists, islamofascists, call them what you want - will take away our rights incrementally. That is what this fuss about cartoons and now magazines is all about. They will use political correctness to do so. The template is therefore already in place, in the US, with certain favored groups who are above criticism. No one will now print an image of Mohammed. Soon any criticism of Islam or Muslims will be frowned upon and forbidden as racist. I foolishly thought 9-11 had put an end to PC, that the terrorist threat was now seen as too important, but I was wrong.

PatCA said...

It is about political power. The success of the cartoon campaign of intimidation has guaranteed more intimidation, and Playboy is merely a convenient symbol, and the visuals of the broken windows on the building and the screaming faces of the jihadis look better on TV than a guy searching the net for porn.

Did you know that a London paper printed a Mohammed cartoon in 1925? Same game plan but with a different outcome: apologies demanded, imams traveled abroad to foment protests. But the British government stood up and refused to punish the paper, and the protests died out. The numbers and organization of radical Islam is much more developed today, but appeasement still guarantees more threats.

SteveR said...

The whole issue of sexuality, lack of sexual freedom, repression of sexuality in Muslim societies seems to me to representa large part of the problems we see. I have no expertise in this other than what I observe but there's a grain of truth in the old saying "make love not war" All these hundreds of young men in Madrassas with raging hormones and not a women in site, except perhaps covered from head to toe, no wonder they don't see a suicide bomb as a big sacrifice.

The common name for the disorder is lackofnookie.

Ricardo said...

Anyone who seeks to control the mind and actions of others, needs a boogeyman. If one is not already part of their psyche and culture, they need to invent one. Actually, this goes way beyond politics and political power and addresses any kind of "control". Churches have "the devil", environmentalists have "global warming", and Peter had "the wolf". Boogeymen cut across national and political and cultural lines, and serve the function of consolidating opinion and support, and often also result in imposing the ideas of "the few" on "the many".

Craig Ranapia said...

Well, the item I saw on the news pointed out there are much raunchier locally produced magazines on the stands - and which have attracted precisely zero reaction. Politically, I guess 'Playboy' is more useful as a sign of evil Amerikkkan cultural imperialism than any principled issue with harlots in lipstick and bare shoulders.

I think these kind of debates would be more useful if we had a better understanding of where sincerely held religious beliefs (which most people have some kind of respect for, even if they profoundly disagree) shades into political opportunism.

IndCoup said...
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