Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Don't Laugh, Live In Fear

Gerard Henderson shows what being a po-faced, humourless, pro-fear, auto-bot is all about with this absurdly miserable take on The Chaser's now worldwide famous jape at the APEC summit last week.

Gerard can barely conceal his outrage : How dare these 'comedians' make fun of terrorism by trying to drive a fake Osama Bin Laden up to President Bush's hotel!

Would relatives of Osama's victims find this "dangerous" stunt amusing, asks Gerard.

Yeah, some of them. Some probably thought it was absolutely hysterical. That's the beauty of humor and humans. You never know what is going to make someone shriek in delight and laugh until they cough. And Australians have one of the darkest, and most morbid, and most well-rounded sense of humour in the world.

But don't let all that stop Gerard. He's wired on his fury at such petulance from "taxpayer subsidised" comedians like The Chaser.

Gerard demands everyone stop laughing right now and instead cower in fear at the wrath of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden :

In Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, terrorism - and the threat of terrorism - is no joke.

And then there is Australia - where the threat of terrorism is a
(taxpayer-subsidised) joke. The Chaser's stunt, whereby the comedians breached security put in place for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in Sydney by posing as the Canadian motorcade, received international media coverage. The image of Chas Licciardello, dressed as the al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, was featured in the print and electronic media on Friday.

Soon after bin Laden's latest video message was released. In it, posing with a newly dyed beard, bin Laden praised the Islamists who attacked the US on September 11, 2001, and called on Americans to "embrace Islam". Needless to say, no one regarded the real (bin Laden) thing as funny. Certainly not in Algeria, Britain, Morocco, Spain or the US, where al-Qaeda, or its affiliates, have been into mass murder in recent years.

Actually, plenty of people thought that new Bin Laden video was funny. Millions of people all over the world in fact. They thought it was funny, stupid, ridiculous and yet another sign of just what a complete dickhead and hopeless joke Bin Laden really is.

Seriously, who saw that new Bin Laden video, or read the transcript, and thought anything else but 'This beard-dyeing freak is telling me what to think and what to believe? Get f..ked, wanker.'

Those who happily mocked the new Bin Laden video included American senators, terror experts and commenters to news blogs and websites all over the world, including people in Britain, Spain and the United States.

But paranoid old Gerard detects an evil Leftoid conspiracy :

...The Chaser has moved to embrace fashionable leftist causes - the latest manifestation of which is that terrorism is not all that serious a problem and that, consequently, national security is not all that important.

Members of The Chaser, when asked by the media to comment on their stunt, said in so many words, "Lucky it was us and not Al Qaeda."

Damn right.

Gerard wants his readers to think that those connected with APEC security didn't find The Chaser's gag funny in the slightest. Rubbish. Police who arrested The Chaser can clearly be seen laughing with 'Bin Laden', and American secret service agents, jogging through the Botanical Gardens the next day, were heard howling with laughter over what "those Auzzies" had tried to pull off.

The Chaser's easy cruise through two levels of checkpoints also sparked an immediate and obviously greatly needed review of APEC security, making President Bush and the other world leaders even safer than they were before.

The real reason for Gerard's seething disgust at The Chaser team becomes obvious two-thirds of the way down his column. Turns out Gerard Henderson himself has been 'punked' by these "taxpayer subsidised" comedians :

...the troupe had unlawfully gatecrashed a booked-out Sydney Institute function (Gerard Henderson's Sydney Institute) and trespassed on private property. I was subsequently informed in writing...that such stunts were approved by the ABC and to expect more of the same.

No one can trespass on ABC property in, say, Sydney or Perth. But the ABC management reckons it's OK for The Chaser to trespass on the property of others.

Heartbreaking stuff.

Some years ago, The Chaser sought to make fun out of the victims of the Soham murders in Britain - as if the sexual assault and killing of pre-teenage girls is a suitable subject for humour.

This year Morrow and his colleagues thought it appropriate to turn the genocidal Nazi regime into a joke. And now we are told that we should all laugh at Licciardello frocked-up as the terrorist bin Laden. Tell that to the Germans and the Algerians.

Yeah, and how many comedians and film-makers have built entire careers off making fun of the Nazis? Hundreds? Thousands? Has Gerard never heard of one of the world's most successful musicals The Producers by any chance?

By Gerard's reckoning, any terror group or fucked-up slaughter outfit should not be subjected to mockery or ridicule because the victims, or the victims relatives, might find it offensive, or the danger and fear generated by such terrorists might somehow be lessened.

Tell that to the Australian Prisoners Of War who made fun of their World War 2 Japanese torturers through plays and musicals, right to their faces, even when they knew it would result in savage beatings.

Tell that to the British PoWs who relentlessly mocked their German captors during WW2 and then came home and created vastly successful television series and movies based on their experiences.

Tell that to the victims of 9/11 and the July 7 bombings in London who used humour and mockery to help them deal with their pain, their loss and the PTSD that threatened to cripple their lives.

Tell that to every victim of terror, abuse or crime who have managed to recover enough of their old self to not only laugh at their predicament, but to find relief in their ability to do so.

The Gerard Henderson mantra that terrorists like Bin Laden should not be made fun of because it could lessen the seriousness with which people view the threat of Al Qaeda is downright insulting to everyone who laughed at what The Chaser pulled off.

Who does he think he is to tell us what we should and should not find funny?

And as far as The Chaser being "taxpayer-subsidised" - yes, it's true, but the show is clearly a low-budget effort, and their DVDs have already sold by the hundreds of thousands, generating massive profits for the ABC. Plus their weekly show, and its repeats, pull more than 1.5 million viewers. The Chaser is one of the top five most watched programs on Australian television.

Clearly many, many Australians think they are getting value for money from the "taxpayer subsidised" show. The same cannot be said for the Howard government's insipid, endless advertising and propaganda campaigns, which have chewed up more than $2.2 billion of "fully taxpayer funded" air time over the past ten years.

The Chaser provided an invaluable and important release for Sydneysiders during APEC, after more than a solid month of dire warnings from politicians, police and the media about the
"violence" that was set to engulf the city.

They let us laugh at all that security and police state hardware and the snipers in helicopters hovering over our city and the steel cage surrounding the Opera House and entire streets in the heart of Sydney.

It was the first, and only, big laugh most Australians got out of the entire "taxpayer funded" APEC summit, which cost more than $400 million.

The Chaser's impressively successful joke at the absurdity of all the, however necessary, security gave millions of Australians exactly what they needed most : relief from all that fear-mongering. The very same sort of fear-mongering that Gerard Henderson has used to build himself a very profitable business.

But don't you dare laugh. You might upset Osama Bin Laden.

The Chaser's APEC Security Video Can Be Viewed Here