Welcome to Britain 2018, Where Jokes Are Now Illegal, by James Delingpole.
I’m referring, of course, to the case of the blogger Markus Meechan – Count Dankula – who has now been convicted by the Scottish courts of the “odious criminal act” of teaching his pug dog to do a Hitler salute. He is facing a possible prison sentence. …
Since when did we get to the stage where free speech needs defending? Where jokes – in however poor taste – suddenly become justification for a prison sentence?
Let me spell it out.
All that matters is this: in 2018 — the age of Islamic State terror; underage girls groomed and raped by mostly Muslim gangs; Antifa thuggery; epic financial fraud; acid attacks; an epidemic of knife violence; and flagrant assassination attempts by foreign powers — the British justice system (of which Scotland’s is regrettably a part) now considers it a priority to employ valuable police, courts, and jail time punishing cheeky young men for winding up their girlfriends.
That’s how it started, remember. Meechan, a straight speaking, shambolically entertaining, libertarian-leaning social media shit-poster decided to wind up his more PC girlfriend by teaching her pug dog how to give a Hitler salute. Then he posted the video on the Internet, where, of course, it went viral.
Sure it was tasteless. But then, so was Mel Brook’s “Springtime for Hitler” routine in The Producers. (Made in 1967, by the way, when there were many, MANY more Holocaust survivors still alive to be offended.) So was the stunt pulled by The Who’s Keith Moon and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’s Viv Stanshall when they went out drinking in London’s Chelsea dressed as Nazis. So was John Cleese doing his Nazi goosestep in the “Don’t Mention the War” episode of Fawlty Towers…
That is, after all, the point of tasteless jokes: they’re not in good taste. They push the bounds of acceptability. They taunt social squeamishness. They say the unsayable. And, in doing so, they serve both an entertaining low purpose and an edifying higher one.
The low purpose is that they provide some people with a cheap, naughty, schoolboy laugh: the peculiar kind of laugh you can only enjoy when you’re laughing about something you just know you’re really not meant to laugh about.
The edifying higher purpose is that, whether they intend it or no, stunts like Count Dankula’s are an affirmation of perhaps the most valuable commodity in our entire culture: the right to free speech.
Without free speech, we are little more than slaves. It’s what separates the civilized world from theocracies like Iran, dictatorships like North Korea, eunuchcracies like President Bieber’s Canada, authoritarian states like China: we can say whatever the hell we like, without fear of punishment. This not only frees us from the fear of having to censor ourselves before we speak, but it also enables us to challenge bad ideas wherever they are aired. Countries that celebrate freedom are more prosperous, happy, and advanced than those that don’t.
Count Dankula and Buddha on the whole situation: