Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Censorship of Porky

Here in Taiwan, they edit all language, nudity, and other titillating stuff out of TV programs. I think it's pretty silly, but not a big deal. I have grown accustomed to watching programs that have been "sanitized". Until the other night I had never been puzzled why they edited something out of a program.

A few nights ago I was watching an episode of Fear Factor. It's fun to watch if you can get past the host. I think they discovered him at a frat party on a college campus...every other word out of his mouth is "dude". Anyhow, at the end of each program they have a segment where they go to a viewer's house and have them perform one of the eating challenges. If they are successful they win $5000. On this particular episode the family had to stick their faces into a vat of nastiness and pull out several pig's feet with their teeth. The host went about explaining the challenge to the family and every time he said "pig's feet" they edited out the word "pig's". Huh? Is this a pork and Islam thing? Help me out here. The editing process is done for the Asian broadcast of the show, so I am assuming that it was done in deference to the large Buddhist and/or Islamic population. I am not losing sleep over this. Just curious.


Thoth Harris said...

Huh? David, can you clarify? I mean did they censor the Chinese subtitles? Or the English audio?

By the way it wouldn't be censoring for the tastes of an Islamic audience: for one thing, Taiwan has one of the smallest Islamic populations of nearly any place I can think of, but then maybe you mean that AXN is censoring for all of the Far East here? In that case, even for Indonesia, Muslims were not be offended by the mention of eating pigs. Talking about other people eating pigs, or doing anything with pigs is not forbidden in Islam (well, excepting the obvious fatwah-worthy comparison of Mohammed with a pig, but obviously they never do that on Fear Factor, unless it is some weird "Provoke Iranian Immams Edition of Fear Factor I haven't heard of).

I imagine there is a possibility that some reference to pig's feet might be unlucky in some Chinese dialects or ethnic nomenclatures. I don't know. And possibly pig's feet might have some weird sexual connotation I haven't learned yet. There are all sorts of things like that I find in ethnic Chinese and Chinese language culture, even in Taiwan. There seems to be a weird aversion to feet here in Taiwan, too, even among children. Although, I do agree (like many of my Western peers) that feet are often pretty gross.

David said...

i think AXN is throughout the region, not sure. i thought maybe it might stick in the craw of some folks in Indonesia or one of the other predominantly Muslim countries in the far-east.

i dont know if they censored the sub-titles.

good point about chinese superstitions...that might be it.

thanks for the info, i am clueless!