So I’m sure this post is already pretty redundant. Damien has been been pretty on the ball. Alexia covered it (here and here) Gavin, Alan, Suzy… basically I’m the one of the last to jump on the bandwagon.
As everyone in the blogopolis already knows, an artist succeeded in hanging two separate caricatures of Brian Cowen in two well known Dublin galleries without anyone realizing. The galleries were confused and highly intrigued. Understandably, so was RTE who posted it on their website and then during one of its live broadcasts. Well this didn’t go down so well with the powers that be so they decided to throw an unmerciful fit by all accounts.
They wanted the picture taken off the website? Okay, I can sort of see where they’re coming from… They wanted to have the article taken down all together? Slightly less sympathetic…. They ask RTE to issue an apology? People should be rightly infuriated.
Yes I can understand the embarrassment that it would cause to the government and to Cowen himself but where is the crime? It’s an essential freedom in a truly democratic state that people can poke fun at one another. Satire has never been a crime or else Gift Grub would have been convicted for offending our collective intelligence a long time ago.
Rights within Ireland can be qualified in that when two rights conflict, one or both may have to concede some ground to the other but what right does the current administration have that makes them believe they can not only control content on RTE but also take it as a personal injury? It’s not defamatory. In fact its more damaging for them to continue down the road they’re on now than to have taken it on the chin and moved on. I can understand that this is in the government’s eyes not a time to be making a joke out of them but from the reasonable man’s point of view, it should be open season. If you are elected to office or choose to be in the public eye in any way, you understand that you’re opening yourself up for these things to happen – it’s expected that you’re going to get mocked now and then and we should especially have that right now. The economy is melting, the governments idea of fixing it is taxing us to within an inch of our lives and we’re not meant to call them on it? Well then sorry for having a sense of humour.
The mind boggles as to how the FF PR machine works if they think that taking RTE down with them is going to help. Now, along with our lower opinion of them, we can no longer completely trust what RTE tells us because they have been subject to censorship. And not only that, they did it without a significant fight. Fire the DG? If people gave out medals for doing your fucking job, he should get one for this – he should resign for allowing himself to be compromised after that point however.
Oh and this is definitely a long shot but if the guy who painted these things is reading this, here’s some free legal advice – at best you could be fined for putting a nail in the walls to hang the things and even then, a court shouldn’t be wasting its time listening to such trivial matters and they probably won’t. And be aware that if they ask you come to in for questioning, they should really be arresting you and telling you what you’re charged with, anything they gather from voluntary questioning is generally never allowed be used inside a court room.