In the news today is an award-winning British ice cream manufacturer that intends defying an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ban on one of their clever magazine adverts, by “placing similar posters along the route of the Pope’s London visit.”
The banned advert depicted a pregnant nun eating Antonio Federici ice cream in a church, with the words “Immaculately Conceived” emblazoned on one side of the picture. Apparently it took just 10 prissy readers (presumably Catholic) to get ASA to pull the plug on the advert. Which leaves me wondering why a certain other religion always requires thousands of their followers to rampage through the streets in cities across the world, threatening murder and mayhem, every time they feel offended by similar harmless caricatures.
What I find curious about the banning is the reason given by the ASA: “for ‘making a mockery’ of the beliefs of Roman Catholics.’ This would imply that mere beliefs, no matter how ridiculous, are somehow sacrosanct, especially if they emanate from a religious quarter. Applying the same set of rules, spaghetti adverts should also be banned because they make a mockery of the beliefs of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Taking this reasoning to its ultimate conclusion, science is in great danger of being banned outright because scientific discoveries every day, make a mockery of many religious beliefs.
In fact many of us are all too aware of a large number of religious organizations that would dearly like to see just that: the status of science reduced to a level lower than common superstition and religious belief, or even banned outright.
As for the intentions of the manufacturers of Antonio Federici ice cream to accost the Pope with similar saucy adverts, on his much-maligned trip to Britain, I don’t think his Eminence will be too shocked, seeing as how he accommodates the sexual antics of the priests in his charge.
However, I am still really enamored of this ice cream brand because of the response the company gave to the ASA when the advert was banned. The said that they wished to
comment on and question, using satire and gentle humour, the relevance and hypocrisy of religion and the attitudes of the church to social issues.
Now those are the words of a mighty progressive company, in a typically stuffy country. In future, every time I indulge in some Gelato, those words will resonate through my mind. So, anybody knows where I can get some of this fantastic ice cream?