I just heard about the Italian comedienne who is facing jail time in Italy for insulting the pope. In Italy, there are laws against insulting religion. If you tell a joke that is against the pope, it can land you in hot water.
According to the story, Italian comedienne, Sabina Guzzanti, a presenter at a rally in Rome this past July, made a joke about what could happen in the after-life to popes who are against gay rights. Now she is facing five years in jail.
Italy is not the only country where people mind their Ps and Qs when talking about certain people and regulations or habits are in place to command respect.
In Thailand, for example, before each movie, there is an ode to the king before the feature film. The audience members stand throughout the king’s anthem and photo montage of images depicting aspects of his life. There isn’t a law that says you have to stand, but everyone does–even tourists like me.
If you don’t stand for the king before a movie, you may feel a bit silly sitting in a sea of waists and legs, but that’s about the worst that can happen, I imagine. If you head to Italy, it seems like when it comes to religion, follow the adage, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
[Here’s an article I came across about the habit of standing up in movies to pay tribute to the king.]