These rules aren't instructions on how to be funny. They certainly won't stop anyone taking offence. These rules are, however, a statement of what I hope is a reasonably clear moral position which preserves the right to criticise and caricature in such a way that the ideals of a liberal society are still upheld.
Following the tragic events in Paris last week, an alleged terrorist expert by the name of Steven Emerson appeared on Fox News over the weekend and proclaimed that there were areas of London that had Muslim gangs patrolling the streets to enforce an Islamic dress-code as well as incredibly writing off entire cities such as Birmingham as being entirely Muslim.
I don't doubt many people would have found the Charlie Hebdo cartoons extremely offensive, and I'm not here to tell you that's wrong, but the insinuation that insulting/offending people may have invited this horrific tragedy on any level is tantamount in my eyes to the old age adage that a rape victim "asked for it" by wearing a short skirt. It's victim blaming at its very worst, and especially against people who fought in many ways for the rights of those who attacked them. So long as offence remains within the bounds of what is legally acceptable, then it is just that - acceptable - whether you personally like it or not.
BUDGET CUTS. The headline has been blasted on the front pages of every newspaper (apart from the tabloids obviously, who opted for more cultured titles such as 'BUDGET CUTS MORE DIFFICULT TO EXPERIENCE THAN THIS VIDEO OF A PREGNANT HAMSTER' and 'PAGE 3 GIRLS USE QUOTES BY PLATO AND ARISTOTLE TO DESRIBE GEORGE OSBOURNE').
I wanted to do a religious game that showed religion in itself could be benevolent, it's just the application and interpretation that's problematic. Yet this gets stale quickly. The usual dividing lines in this argument run similar to those of gun control in the US: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people". Therefore, religion doesn't kill people, people with religion kill people. Drunk drivers don't kill people, drunk drivers who hit people and kill people, kill people... It's a facile argument that gets meaningless very quickly. The thing is, if religion really is so intoxicatingly corruptible, then it doesn't matter how great it is on paper, it's never going to have a happy ending.