World leaders at Copenhagen have reached a compromise agreement to make Rage Against the Machine Xmas No.1 by 2020. I jest of course. And what if Joe McElderry and RATM are tied for No.1, will it go to Deadlock? I jest again.
Yes, the battle for the Xmas number one spot has been a rich comedy vein (have a look, if you haven’t seen it already, at the brilliant compromise version here). So it was interesting to see a comment from someone responding to my X(mas)-Factor blog that approached it from a (to me) nuttily radical new angle, expressing surprise that I was supporting a group who had professed support for the “racist, antisemitic, homophobic IRA” and the “racist, antisemitic, homophobic Che Guevara”. Hello?!
Now, here’s not the place for me to look at the pros and cons of his statement. Reading between the lines, I think one could dare to say that, broadly speaking, he’s anti-IRA, anti-Che and anti-Rage Against the Machine. I suspect he’s actually Joe McElderry. You can tell from his version of “The Climb” that he’s viciously opposed to Irish republicanism and a radical socialist approach to 3rd world poverty.
The issue for me, as moderator of my own website, was do I “approve” or “unapprove” his comment? Should I let it be visible on my site? If I’m happy to approve people saying “that was funny” (and just so you know, I’m always happy to approve that), shouldn’t I let him have his say too? What about free speech? Shouldn’t I let him NickGriffin himself against the rocks of open debate and reason. Although many felt it was a mistake to let Nick Griffin appear in front of 8 million viewers (as I tweeted at the time, I don’t believe it was that many, more like 50,000. Yes, I’m a viewing figures denier).
His aren’t the first comments I’ve “unapproved” (is that even a word?). When I wrote about doing some jokes on the Holocaust, clearly a subject to be handled with care, a couple of people commented about it “sounding like a gas”. They weren’t being malicious but I still felt I should “unapprove”. Was I wrong?
I think it’s the words “Aprrove” and “Unapprove” I have trouble with. Those are the buttons I’m given to click. Either I “approve” of his comment or I “unapprove”. There’s no in-between, no woolly liberal grey area. Which is where I like to live. Maybe that’s why they’re having such trouble in Copenhagen: because all the world leaders have only got “Approve” or “Unapprove” buttons. (And I’m not saying Copenhagen’s a disaster, but Roland Emmerich’s now turned up and is filming it).
So, for the sake of free speech, should I “approve” of the belief that the IRA and Che Guevara are racist, antisemitic, homophobes? Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Perhaps the only thing that does matter is that “I hate Black Gay Jews” by “Che and the Republicans” beats Simon Cowell to number 1.
Right. Any comments?