Why should a satirist like Bill Leak be forced to explain himself? by John Spooner.
I offered to give evidence in support of the cartoon should [Bill Leak] be formally charged. I couldn’t offer much. I felt like someone who has scaled the walls of a besieged city to offer a friend a thimble full of boiling oil. He will need a lot more help than that and luckily his employer is strenuously supporting him.
Nevertheless I was also aware that hardly any of his cartooning colleagues were supporting him (with honourable exceptions like Mark Knight and Dean Alston). In fact a lot of his fellow cartoonists seemed to be decorating the state battering ram. …
If Leak’s intention was to make some broad racist generalisation about all Aboriginals, then why did he make the policeman, holding the delinquent child, an Aborigine? The policeman represents the voice of moral accountability and ethical authority. He accuses all neglectful fathers in the end. He wants to transfer some of the responsibility for the child’s behaviour onto the parent. …
Wouldn’t it be racist to insist that an Aborigine could not be a policeman? That an Aborigine could not be a delinquent, or a neglectful father?
Free speech brother.
But wait. There is another angle. Why should Leak have to explain his cartoon to the government at all? There is a strong view that he should just refuse to answer to the authority of the commission, that he be a conscientious objector. Should he just insist on his right to freedom of speech and leave it at that?
I disagree with this view. I think he should defend himself … if possible with satire.
Tribalism is the reality that both upends the politically correct view of the world and is responsible for enforcing political correctness:
I’ve come to the view that the most potent but least understood force in modern life is tribalism. A huge number of people would rather die than be disapproved of by their tribe and we all belong to a tribe.
But tribal approval doesn’t guarantee thought. Politically correct box ticking is just a badge. We can all do better than that. The world will not end if we freely discuss everything.
But our civilised world will end if we turn a blind eye to suppression of our freedoms, for whatever reason of plausible politeness. Satirists in particular should get angry when some government demands an explanation for a joke.