E&R’s first birthday!

On the 14th October 2011 I put my first blog post online. Now it’s one year later and this is my 100th post. It’s not a coincidence, I planned that way because it’s a nice round number. This is a chance for me to celebrate where I’ve come from, what I’ve achieved over the year and to highlight a few of my favourite posts.

I started reading blogs when I was doing my honours degree as a way to keep up with what was happening in science. I can’t remember exactly which blogs I started out on but I remember Pharyngula was one of them and, later, why Evolution Is True. They are still some of my favourite blogs, though I must say I much prefer WEIT. This was all after I’d started reading Dawkins, thanks to a professor in first year biology who mentioned the selfish gene during a lecture series on evolution. He didn’t agree with a gene-centred view of evolution but did recommend it for those that wanted to see a different perspective, and after reading it I couldn’t see how anyone could see a different view of evolution. Continue reading

FPB board loses credibility

I want to write a longer post on the outcomes of The Spear saga but for now I just want to point out how ridiculous it’s classification is. The Spear depicts Jacob Zuma with his penis exposed and was sent to the Film and Publications Board (FPB) to be classified. They’ve now decided that it should be rated 16N, meaning:

Any persons or entities wishing to publish and exhibit images and/or replicas of this specific artwork will in future have to put in place mechanisms to regulate access to this piece of art by members of the public below the age of 16.

Continue reading

To be unAfrican seems to me a compliment

When I wrote about The Spear yesterday I said that some people described the painting as “an attack to the very value and moral systems of the majority African people.” I said such criticisms were needed to make sure that we are able to progress in our ethics but now, as more reactions to the painting have come to light, I feel that perhaps that attack on the moral systems of the majority is actually a compliment. Continue reading

The Spear, a test for South Africa’s free expression

The Spear by Brett Murray

There has been a lot of talk about Brett Murray’s depiction of President Jacob Zuma in the picture, The Spear, which already has it’s own Wikipedia entry. Everyone has their opinion on the picture, which was sold for R136 000, and whether it is a legitimate example of freedom of expression or whether it should be removed and destroyed. I want to look at it in light of the 10 principles of free speech I talked about earlier.

While the display of the picture has been defended by City Press and the Goodman Gallery on the grounds of freedom of expression it has been opposed by supporters of Zuman and the ANC by multiple, and often ridiculous, arguments. Continue reading