In the days when I used to try and do stand up comedy there was a saying. In order to get some audience reaction, which any comic needs, an appeal is made for any member of an identifiable group or faction. Depending upon the response, the comics stock reaction was “There goes my act..” or “Oh good, I can tell that one…” and proceeded to deliver a particularly risque joke.
Now we hear about a fairly obscure (well I’ve never heard of him – but that means nothing) comedian being fined CAD$42,000 for making a gag that ‘offended’ a disfigured boy sent to sing badly in front of the Pope. Sorry, but I’m having a really bad case of WTF! right at this minute. Forty two thousand dollars? Almost a years salary for a dumb gag that didn’t get much of a laugh and would therefore be dropped from the act anyway? Over a five year old claim that the singer was supposedly ‘dying’ and hadn’t yet? Okay, the gag was tasteless and obtuse, but seeing as it highlighted a false claim for sympathy, it was apt, and therefore fair comment. On that basis the claim for damages should be thrown out.
This is where so-called ‘Human Rights Tribunals’ are in fundamental conflict with the rest of the society. Such bodies are currently being abused to enforce an egregious middle class morality that George Bernard Shaw was railing at in plays like ‘Pygmalion’ as far back as the 1920’s. Shaw himself I have no love for because he was an outspoken proponent of the evil philosophy of Eugenics, but he did write exceedingly good satires. If Shaw were alive today he’d be writing stuff about how ridiculous ‘hate speech’ laws are.