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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Death is offensive 


On the deaths of real Muslims, fake ewes, Professor Backwards, Horatio Nelson, and Graham Chapman. For context, see the last half of my post (follow the various links).

Here's the reply from KTemoc:


some people can't distinguish between real life evil (laughing at people being stampeded to death) and a joke (no matter how macabre) based on traditional trans-Tasman friendly rivalry, but as they aren't from hereabouts, I suppose one can't blame them. Of ocurse, OTOH, they could eb desperate!

I wonder how they would feel if a radio jock from the ME, Africa, South America or Asia makes fun of people jumping off the TT? But don't worry, that won't happen elsewhere!



And I also received this comment:


I do agree with you, we should not make fun or laugh at anyone's death. For some reason while reading the first part of this post, I kept thinking of Mother Teresa saying whether Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, etc, we are all God's children, that He is the creator of all mankind and we are to show God's love in Action. Her statements changed the way I viewed people in general. Not all accept Him as their Creator, nonetheless, He was and Is.

posted by Live, Love, Laugh : Wednesday, February 01, 2006 4:34:12 AM



Ignoring the religious issue (to me, it's not really relevant whether it's a Jew making fun of a Muslim, or a Buddhist making fun of a Mormon, or whatever), let's get to the basic issue - are there any circumstances in which it is permissible to ridicule death? For example, is it permissible to make up jokes about death, but not permissible to ridicule real death? Take an old Chevy Chase incident, please:


SNL's fangs have gradually retracted, like a gory troglodyte gone vegan. "Update" has never been better, but Tina Fey's wit is fairminded, morally in earnest. If Professor Backwards—the guy whose shtick was talking backward—were to die on her watch, would she have done Chevy's cold joke about his last words being, "PLEH! PLEH!"?


But Chase claims that he didn't realize that Professor Backwards was real person:


There was a man named Professor Backwards who was known for talking backwards. He was murdered. Michael [O'Donoghue] wrote that his last words were "Pleh, pleh." I did him on Weekend Update, and I got a lot of ooh's. I didn't understand until I got letters explaining that he was a real person with a family.


Bear in mind, however, that this was said by the person who constantly repeated the phrase "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead."

So following this logic to the extreme, jokes about real people and real ewes should be forbidden, while jokes about fake people and fake ewes should not. So if Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bill Handel had produced a report about a fake incident in which Muslims died, all would be happy. And sistermt must be evil for admiring this bit of Monty Python work:


So, from the top, what makes me smile is: The death of Nelson ("Kiss Me Hardy")....


And you can just forget about John Cleese's speech at Graham Chapman's funeral:


Graham Chapman, co-author of the 'Parrot Sketch,' is no more.

He has ceased to be, bereft of life, he rests in peace, he has kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the Great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky, and I guess that we're all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, such capability and kindness, of such intelligence should now be so suddenly spirited away at the age of only forty-eight, before he'd achieved many of the things of which he was capable, and before he'd had enough fun.

Well, I feel that I should say, "Nonsense. Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard! I hope he fries. "

And the reason I think I should say this is, he would never forgive me if I didn't, if I threw away this opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. Anything for him but mindless good taste. I could hear him whispering in my ear last night as I was writing this:

"Alright, Cleese, you're very proud of being the first person to ever say 'shit' on television. If this service is really for me, just for starters, I want you to be the first person ever at a British memorial service to say...."



Continued here.

Graham Chapman has not commented on this article that made fun of dead birds (although he was in the vicinity when a penguin exploded on someone's television set):


Reacting to fears that the avian flu outbreak recently reported in Turkey could spread to Linux, anti-virus vendor Horton AV has released what it calls an effective vaccine.

"We know that Linux is vulnerable to viruses," claimed Horton AV spokesman Bob Sinister, "but up until now we have been unable to identify any legitimate threats, in spite of our industry's frequent announcements. Avian flu, however, is a serious threat to Linux, due to Linux's close association with penguins."

Sinister insisted that all Linux users should purchase the vaccine immediately to protect their systems. "We're answering President Bush's call for a vaccine that is rapid to produce and distribute," Sinister said.



But this was too evil for an anonymous poster:


I must be missing something (Score:0)
By Anonymous Reader on 2005.10.16 7:01 (#119029)
Can somebody more in tune with popular culture tell me whether this is classified as humour purely because it's in poor taste? Otherwise, I don't get it. Actually, even if it is, I don't get it.

I have the same problem with Farrelly brothers movies.

Does this mean we can expect some tiresome gags conflating network security with "Homeland Security"? Granted many more people died in 9/11 than from avian flu, and the avian flu victims are generally only asians, but I don't see why any tragedy shouldn't be mined for laboured satire.

Hey: what's the difference between Windows XP and the World Trade Centre? It happens to XP several times a day.



But this comment was in and of itself evil:


Re:I must be missing something (Score:0)
By Anonymous Reader on 2005.10.16 7:41 (#119030)

"Granted many more people died in 9/11 than from avian flu,
and the avian flu victims are generally only asians, but I don't see why any tragedy shouldn't be mined for laboured satire."

Your point being? Jokes about non-US citizens dieing aren't as bad as comparable jokes about Americans?



I'd belabor this further, but suffice it to say that I'm not going to ban Monty Python from my house any time soon.

[OE 3/19/2006: See the Graham Chapman eulogy here.]

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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