Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who Would Kiss Ratzinger?

The clothing retailer Benetton today pulled an advertisement in it´s "Unhate" campaign showing the homophobe Pope Benedict XVI kissing Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed El-Tayeb, imam of the renowned al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, after the Vatican threatened legal action "to protect the pope's image".

I could actually have understood if the sheikh had protested vehemently but who still thinks it can hurt Ratzinger´s  reputation to be seen kissing a grown man with a full beard? (Deleted sentence)

Way to go, Benetton, the lack of any sense of humour in the Vatican has already made this campaign an unrivaled success.

After reading Eddi´s comment I thought it might be helpful in seeing the comic in the picture of the pope and the sheikh to see it in the full context of the Unhate-campaign so I have added the rest of the ads below.
Chancellor of Germany - President of France
Paramount Leader of the Peoples Republic of China - President of the USA
President of the Palestinian National Authority - Prime Minister of Israel
President of the USA - President of Venezuela
Supreme Leader of North Korea - President of South Korea


  1. Hi Bock,

    If you ask me, it is an ill-thought-out and offensive ad. It will do no good for Benetton -- and the ad has been pulled this afternoon.

    Benetton's massive dealings in the Middle East are probably threatened by this, they have a super store in Jeddah for example. And in the Western World, there are millions who shop at Benetton stores who are Catholics, or people who respect the beliefs of others, such as myself -- who would make it a point of not shopping there as a result of this. (I do not even know if Benetton sells stuff for guys, but its not my style I don't think anyway).

    One thing about pedophilia in the Church. This is an issue that has caused the Church, and the Pope in particular, massive emotional and spiritual heartache. They, as the Penn State football scandal shows, are not alone when it comes to a tarnished history of not coping with it. And it gives their enemies ammunition to use against it.

    But this is the rub -- only a very small fraction of Catholic Priests has ever been accused or suspected of this -- I am not going to quote numbers; I have seen that 4% of priests might be guilty of this (the John Jay Report). And I have seen a study that shows that in the United States, Jewish and Protestant clergy members have also been accused and found guilty of child molestation-- but such incidents are ignored by the media.

    You can accuse the Catholic Church of many things -- opposition for full equal rights for LGBT people is one thing I don't like-- but not "having a sense of humor" for opposing an ad which they see as abhorrent (the Pope kissing a female would be equally as abhorrent to them) is not something that I think is true. I am glad its down.

  2. Hey Eddi, after seeing your comment I have added the rest of the manipulated photos in the Unhate-campaign so that the picture of the pope can be seen in it´s full context.

    I am sorry we do not agree on the humor in the campaign.

    Of course I am not trying to suggest that pedophilia is more widely spread among priests in the Catholic Church than in any other religion or for that matter any other human community (sports or any other social context.) I can see how you or someone else could think so, but that was not my intention.

  3. P.S. As a consequence of my own admission above I am removing the hint to pedophilia.

  4. I think you are playing very fair by doing all this, thanks Bock. And by showing the other ads, its makes sense in context now.

    I did not find the Obama ads funny, but what would have been is if they would have shown him making out with Michele Bachman, the right-wing nut case Republican congresswoman. Or Rick Santorum making out with Gay Democrat Barney Frank. He would even laugh at that. But the one with the religious figures in it would turn people off more than anything if it were to run here.

    Actually, I think the Sarkozy one with Angela Merkel is funny.

  5. It's the worst thing I know, when RL-I work abroad and all the old men going up and loiter in my face.
    What is wrong with an old fashioned handshake instead of this offensive suppression technique?

  6. Well Vanadis, I believe that it that case it could be helpful if you before the trip researched the existing local customs on how people greet each other.

    Besides, I imagine that a simple way to avoid the kissing would be if you stretched out your hand at an early stage to clearly show that you would rather shake hands.

    I cannot imagine most people are trying to suppress you if and when they kiss you on the cheeks. I believe they are only following the local customs on how to greet one another.


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