Are you like me? Do you suspect that most partisan pundits who carry on about the government stealing our liberty are just talking out of their ass? If you do, here’s an affirming point of comparison. If you don’t, here’s an example of what it looks like when governments actually curtail basic human rights.
From yesterday’s Telegraph:
Satire banned in Brazil ahead of presidential election
Brazil’s comedians and satirists have been banned from making fun of candidates ahead of the nation’s presidential election in October.
The legal ban could last until a possible runoff on Oct 31.
Brazilian performers are planning to fight for their right to ridicule with protests in Rio de Janeiro and other cities on Sunday.
Dubbed the “anti-joking law”, the relic of Brazil’s 1964-1985 dictatorship prohibits ridiculing candidates in the three months before elections.
Critics say the ban threatens free speech and is a blight on the reputation of Latin America’s largest nation.
“Do you know of any other democracy in the world with rules like this?” asked Marcelo Tas, the acerbic host of a weekly TV comedy show that skewers politicians and celebrities alike.
“If you want to find a bigger joke, you would have to look to Monty Python.” Marcelo Tas (who looks a lot like Douglas Scott Hessler, my writing teacher, whom I haven’t seen in quite awhile . . . hmm) is right. Brazil is not a dictatorship — not anymore. It’s a democracy, a federal republic with a government not that different from ours. And yet comedians can’t make fun political candidates.
One of our fellow democracies. Remind someone of that the next time they complain about flag burning, or argue that they’re all for freedom of speech, sure, “but that should have limits.” They’d have us be more like Brazil, perhaps?
Incidentally, I’m not at all surprised that Tas is a Python fan. Terry Gilliam directed Brazil, afterall.