Banned in Burma: The Simpsons?


Joining the ranks of Skype, the band U2 and Rambo IV, The Simpsons Movie is allegedly banned in Burma.

Though news to me — I just learned this via a Thailand-based movie reviewer's Tweet — this is actually old news. This tidbit made the rounds on film review sites years ago and was repeated recently on Flavorwire's "Movies Banned in Foreign Countries for Weird Reasons" rundown. The cited reason for the ban — which can't be verified — is that the cartoon's prominent yellow-and-red color scheme offended censors.

Burma has been notorious for its edicts based on superstition. Perhaps the best-known example is the late 1980s ruling that all currency must be divisible by nine. Burmese who'd stockpiled bills lost their savings overnight.

What I'm now wondering is this: will Burma's rapid reforms and newfound sensitivity to its pariah status bring an end to these superstition-derived rulings?

I haven't seen one in some time.

The most recent example I can come up with is former ruler Than Shwe's call for the population to start growing a nut called Jatropha Curcas. The nut, so the story goes, was said by his astrologer to mute the powers of influential dissident Aung San Suu Kyi.

Banning The Simpsons is a near-meaningless gesture in a country where only the fortunate have TVs, DVD/VCD players and an appetite for American cartoons. I bet you could score a copy in Yangon's pirated-movie stalls.

But it could be that, as Burma adjusts to rule under an army-supervised parliament, officials will have less authority to draft law based on superstitious whims.

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