A few weeks back I wrote about the case of Count Dankula just after he had been found guilty of being “grossly offensive” for teaching his dog to react to the phrase (heard 23 times in the posted video) “Gas the Jews” and various other phrases.
Yesterday the young man in question, Mark(us) Meechan was fined £800 for the act of telling a joke.
Fortunately he wasn’t martyred on the alter of free speech by facing a custodial sentence but in a case that dragged on for 2 years, based on no complaints at all, you have to wonder, just from a financial point of view, what have we as a nation gained from this because it certainly isn’t swelling of the public coffers and a much needed boost to police budgets.
Though if this is how the police are going to waste their time then they clearly have an abundance of staff and money to waste on frivolous nonsense like this and don’t need any more increase in their budgets.
David Baddiel, comedian AND Jew, so therefore ticking all demographics so the “sides” wanting his opinion on this case can claim the real victory for themselves, wrote a very good article dissecting the trial, what is a joke and what is offensive. Personally the people happy to see Dankula charged and fined are relying on some rather spurious information to back up their side of the argument but then again I would say that.
The thing is, even in my free speech absolutism head I can see why this was taken to court, the phrase “Gas the Jews” when taken completely out of, or completely without context, is offensive. Technically, as that is how the judge (no jury was used in this case) came to his verdict, then as I’ve simply quoted it, now twice in this piece (and once in the original piece) I could be charged with being “grossly offensive.”
Which brings us to the case of Chelsea Russell.
A woman of 19, now with a criminal conviction, £585 less in her savings and a tag so she can observe and 8 week curfew. Her most heinous of crimes…?
Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I’m trippin’
Now I’m clutchin’ on my forty, all I can think about is drillin’
I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga
I think I’m trippin’, I think I’m trippin’
Quoting, on Facebook, the above lyrics, from a song called “I’m Trippin'” by “Snap Dog” (not Snoop).
As I’ve now quoted these lyrics on social media I too am perhaps in violation of some interpretation of a law that says I’m being “grossly offensive.”
The lyric site I copied them from are also in violation.
The websites that host the video for this song, or stream it are in violation also.
The artist himself is also guilty.
The rap in my music collection consists of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice-T (also his metal band Body Count, with their problematic song “Cop Killer”) and N.W.A – whose actual name, for those that don’t know, is “Niggaz Wit Attitudes.”
There lyrics are laden with nigger/nigga pejoratives.
The mere act of typing “the n-word” is a crime.
If we extend this to its natural conclusion, quoting absolutely anything, context be damned is a criminal offence here in the UK.
Chris Rock best not tour the UK again.
Thanks for reading.