One of the great things about living in America is that we can criticize any world leader we want. I can say, “Obama is a crappy president and I don’t like him,” and the worst thing anybody can do is call me a racist. (Obama is black.) I can’t go to prison for stuff like that. Yet!
The story of German comedian Jan Boehmermann caught my eye for two reasons: 1) I had no idea there was such a thing as a “German comedian,” and 2) Earlier this year he got in legal trouble for mocking a dictator. Keep in mind, Boehmermann lives and works in Germany. Didn’t those people learn their lesson last time?
Well, now the legal mess that never should’ve happened in the first place is over. Jack Moore, Newsweek:
German authorities have dropped criminal proceedings against a TV comedian that Turkey accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a poem he read out on television.
Prosecutors in the western city of Mainz said they had not discovered sufficient evidence to proceed with a probe into Jan Boehmermann, despite Erdogan filing a complaint against the comedian.
I like that “despite” they dropped in there. What, a complaint by a crybaby dictator isn’t considered sufficient evidence?
Here’s a clip of Boehmermann reading the poem, with roughly translated English subtitles. Don’t watch it:
What? Don’t look at me, I told you not to watch it.
For once, the phrase “It was better in the original German” isn’t just a snarky joke. But you get the gist. It certainly wasn’t very nice, which was the whole point. He was mocking Germany’s ban on supposedly abusive criticism against foreign leaders. “If you want to hear some abuse,” he’s saying, “here’s some abuse.” It was deliberately provocative.
Erdogan doesn’t have to like it. You don’t have to like it. Nobody has to like it. But it’s not the role of government to intercede. It’s not the job of “German authorities” to tell people what to say. We’ve all had quite enough of that, thank you very much.
In solidarity with Herr Boehmermann, I have bravely written my own poem about President Erdogan:
There once was a fella named Recep
Who really liked child pornography and bestiality and other disgusting things
He was a bad person
It doesn’t rhyme, because it’s a poem. And nothing really rhymes with Recep (reh-JEHP) anyway. Misstep? Flipped desk? Ehhhh, who cares.
(Hat tip: Kieran Corcoran)
P.S. Here’s Boehmermann’s reaction to the news. I think? It’s mostly in Germanese. The song at the end is nice.