Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Mark Steyn on Guardian Assassination 'Jest'

Mark Steyn puts in his well-written two cents on the Guardian story I highlighted previously.

By the weekend, the Guardian had thought through the implications of Brooker's comments, and decided that it would be rather embarrassing to be flying in the lucky winners of the big Clark County competition for their US vacation only to discover, as the plane was diverted to Guantanamo, that the entire editorial staff had been placed on a Justice Department watch list. So in re Charlie Wilkes Harvey Brooker, they issued a clarification: "Charlie Brooker apologises for any offence caused by his comments. Although flippant and tasteless, his closing comments were intended as an ironic joke, not as a call to action - an intention he believed regular readers of his humorous column would understand. He deplores violence of any kind."

I can't say I'm a regular reader, so the humour in the column was lost on me - the "joke" is that he wants Dick Cheney to be president, is that it?

Hey-ho. In his mea sorta culpa, he's managed to nail the defects of "the entire civilised world". If by the "civilised world" you mean Europe, Guardian editors, BBC political-discussion panellists, that nice bird from the New Zealand Green Party you met at a conference to demand something be done about something etc, this world is defined almost entirely by its passivity. Whether or not everything is an "ironic joke", hardly anything at all is a "call to action". Does the EU have a position on Darfur? And, if so, who cares?

Brooker's ironic assassination target, being famously moronic, is deluded enough to believe that, when one takes a position on something, one is expected to act on it. But in the "entire civilised world" that's no longer necessary: "Sneer globally, act fitfully" is the watchword.

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