Angela Merkel Doesn’t Think That’s Funny

 

merkel burqaOne time my husband and I were having a fabulous dinner with friends — he from France, she American. We laughed about everything all night long, until someone made a joke about food. Our Frenchman instantly sobered up. “Food,” he said reprovingly, “is not funny.” Which of course caused the rest of us even greater hilarity.

Mark Steyn has a blistering, brilliant essay on the case of the German satirist facing a criminal inquiry from the German government (at the request of the Ottoman Empire Turkish government) for making a joke about a goat and Recep Erdogan:

A free society does not threaten a guy with years in gaol for writing a poem. If you don’t know that that’s wrong, you should just cut to the chase and appoint yourself mutasarrıfa of Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman sanjak of Berlin.

What a disgraceful person she is, the worst German chancellor since …well, I don’t want to go all Godwin’s this early in the piece. But a few years ago, when Maclean’s and I had our triple-jeopardy difficulties with the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission, the Ontario “Human Rights” Commission and the British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal, the response of many of my fellow Canadians to the eventual outcome was along the lines of: “Well, I don’t know what Steyn was making such a fuss about. The process played itself out and he was acquitted. So the system worked.”

…As I said, people who say, well, we have a “strong justice system” so let’s let the process play out are either innocents who’ve never been tied up in court or cold cynics. The German Chancellor can hardly be an innocent in these matters. Like the Canadian Islamic Congress, she has a “strategic objective” and regardless of the verdict this trial will help her achieve it: There will be fewer poems, fewer satirical sketches, fewer jokes — not just about Erdogan, but about Islam in general. To reprise my old line: The process is the punishment.

Boris Johnson also has a hircine-laden essay in The Telegraph making the case for being allowed to make jokes, even puerile and offensive ones.

But I don’t think there is anyone of any importance who seriously believes that there has been any kind of romance involving the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and any other non-human mammal, caprine or otherwise.

So, when a young German comedian called the Turkish leader a “goat –––––––”, in a little-watched broadcast on March 31, you might have thought that the best response – from Turkey’s point of view – was a dignified silence. Yes, I suppose it was puerile. And yes, I accept that it was not in especially good taste. But it was what we call a joke. It is utterly bewildering – and slightly shocking – that the Turkish leader has failed to see this.

The episode has, as they say, got his goat, and he has deployed all Turkey’s diplomatic and political weight in an effort to persecute the satirist, 35-year-old TV host Jan Boehmermann. He and the Turkish government have officially demanded that the presenter should be prosecuted for lèse-majesté – in this case causing offence to the leader of a foreign state – under an all-but defunct statute that dates back to 1871 and the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Incredible though it may seem, the journalist could face five years in jail. But what is truly incredible – indeed what is positively sickening – is that the German government has agreed at the express request of Angela Merkel that the prosecution should go ahead. She did not have to do so. She could have said no. The matter was entirely at her discretion. Plenty of German politicians were telling her that any such legal action would be an outrageous infringement of free speech – an act of censorship that smacked of some of the darkest moments in Germany’s 20th century history.

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There are 60 comments.

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  1. drlorentz Member

    Oy vey. The Germans get the government they deserve, good and hard. Let it be an example for others. Maybe it will lead to Brexit in June.

    • #1
    • April 18, 2016, at 12:48 AM PDT
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  2. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Naaaaazi Schmazi!

    • #2
    • April 18, 2016, at 1:35 AM PDT
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  3. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Europe is the world’s version of an American college campus.

    • #3
    • April 18, 2016, at 2:04 AM PDT
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  4. Scott Wilmot Member

    I thought Boris Johnson’s essay was funny (his best line: To the best of my knowledge they are still together) and I learned a new word in the process: hircine. Thanks for the early morning laugh and education.

    • #4
    • April 18, 2016, at 4:10 AM PDT
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  5. Percival Thatcher

    There is an opportunity for a German judge, yet unknown, to enter into the halls of German jurisprudence as the anti-Roland Friesler.

    First, find Jan Boehmermann guilty.

    (… wait for it …)

    Sentence him to time served plus a fine of the contents of his pockets minus car fare home. Order him to make a formal public apology – to goats. Announce that German justice has been served, and if Recep and Nellie don’t like it, they can lump it.

    • #5
    • April 18, 2016, at 4:20 AM PDT
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  6. Percival Thatcher

    I should be a German judge. Do you suppose they’d let me telecommute?

    • #6
    • April 18, 2016, at 4:23 AM PDT
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  7. Tenacious D Inactive

    Ball Diamond Ball:Naaaaazi Schmazi!

    Said Werner von Braun?

    • #7
    • April 18, 2016, at 5:08 AM PDT
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  8. Robert Lux Inactive

    Just remember, Claire Berlinski thinks Merkel is “the only sane person in German politics” (almost a direct quote) for inundating — no, Claire, this is hardly “innumerate” — Germany with unassimilable “refugees,” 70% of whom are males who fist-pump the air rather than express graciousness and gratitude upon arrival at German train stations. Good to remember, too, that 2/3rds of Syrians are illiterate and the vast majority support terrorist organizations.

    Yes, it goes without saying it’s legitimate to fear real Nazis, as Claire does. It’s another thing to be so fearful of Nazis as to occlude one’s ability to see Nazis’ kindred spirit in Islam’s inability to adjust to modernity and to liberal democracy. Funny, Adunis Asbar — the greatest living Arab poet — recently said in no uncertain terms just this.

    Oh, but I guess I’m a crypto neo-Nazi sympathizer for pointing these things out: per Claire: “Because Weimar Germany was also bursting to the seams with refugees, you might recall, which inspired very similar complaints. Identical ones, in fact.”

    But hey, donate now for a book sure to regale you with more sanctimonious, gutmenschen analysis of what’s going on in Europe!

    • #8
    • April 18, 2016, at 6:36 AM PDT
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  9. Western Chauvinist Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad: Mark Steyn has a blistering, brilliant essay on the case of the German satirist facing a criminal inquiry from the German government at the request of the Ottoman Empire Turkish Government for making a joke about a goat and Recep Erdogan.

    Made me snort my tea. Now I’m off to read Steyn. Thanks, MT.

    • #9
    • April 18, 2016, at 6:49 AM PDT
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  10. LC Member
    LC

    We can’t even joke. Western civilization is going out with a whimper, not a bang.

    • #10
    • April 18, 2016, at 6:53 AM PDT
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  11. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Post author

    Robert, don’t be ridiculous. The fact that the justice minister in Germany thinks that billboards of sexy ladies are what is responsible for rape mobs molesting thousands of people has nothing to do with creeping sharia. You’re just delusional, nothing to see here.

    • #11
    • April 18, 2016, at 7:00 AM PDT
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  12. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Post author

    Lidens Cheng:We can’t even joke. Western civilization is going out with a whimper, not a bang.

    We can, and must, joke!

    • #12
    • April 18, 2016, at 7:41 AM PDT
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  13. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Post author

    It really strikes me, seeing the wayback post with the podcast from 2010, that Ricochet needs more Mark Steyn.

    • #13
    • April 18, 2016, at 8:07 AM PDT
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  14. drlorentz Member

    Robert Lux: Just remember, Claire Berlinski thinks Merkel is “the only sane person in German politics”

    Ms. Berlinski has jumped the shark.

    • #14
    • April 18, 2016, at 8:35 AM PDT
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  15. Robert Lux Inactive

    drlorentz:

    Robert Lux: Just remember, Claire Berlinski thinks Merkel is “the only sane person in German politics”

    Ms. Berlinski has jumped the shark.

    Yes, that — and jumped into Herman Kahn’s “educated incapacity.”

    I honestly do not think — I hesitate, as the field is rife with competition — but I do not think I’ve come across a more obtuse statement from somebody claiming to be intelligent as seen in Claire’s recent avowal that the EU an impossibility, only to follow that in the next paragraph with an “all speed ahead” for greater political integration of the EU.

    Genferei has been very perceptive in remarking that the EU has precisely been the very source of the problems Ms. Berlinski otherwise decries…

    • #15
    • April 18, 2016, at 9:02 AM PDT
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  16. Robert Lux Inactive

    Robert Lux:

    drlorentz:

    Robert Lux: Just remember, Claire Berlinski thinks Merkel is “the only sane person in German politics”

    I honestly do not think — I hesitate, as the field is rife with competition — but I do not think I’ve come across a more obtuse statement from somebody claiming to be intelligent…

    I mean by that, coming from an intelligent conservative.

    • #16
    • April 18, 2016, at 9:05 AM PDT
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  17. Kay of MT Member

    Excellent speech by Steyn. To bad that Merkel didn’t equate what the Nazis did and what the muslims are doing. She could have salved her guilt by rescuing the Christians, Jews, Kurds and other undesirables per islamist terrorists, that were lined up and being slaughtered. Instead she brings the terrorists under the guise of refugees to finish the job of the Nazis.

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    • April 18, 2016, at 10:17 AM PDT
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  18. Kay of MT Member

    By Paula R. Stern, A Soldier’s Mother:

    Today In My Little Country

    http://www.israelisoldiersmother.blogspot.com/2016/04/today-in-my-little-country.html

    Tomorrow all over Western Civilization complements of Angela Merkel.

    • #18
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:36 AM PDT
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  19. EThompson Inactive

    Kay of MT:To bad that Merkel didn’t equate what the Nazis did and what the muslims are doing. She could have salved her guilt by rescuing the Christians, Jews, Kurds and other undesirables per islamist terrorists, that were lined up and being slaughtered. Instead she brings the terrorists under the guise of refugees to finish the job of the Nazis.

    You’re right on point Kay particularly because, in many respects, Islamist terrorists are even more of a threat than were the Nazis:

    1. Islamists fight in very unconventional ways making it more difficult for Westerners to defend themselves.
    2. They buy into this cult of death; again, difficult to defend against people who believe martyrdom is a good and honorable thing.
    3. They use women and children as props. (See that scene in American Sniper when a mother hands a grenade to her young son to blow up a platoon of Marines.)

    I believe the world has never witnessed the intensity of such evil and I say this taking serious note of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Idi Amin.

    • #19
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:37 AM PDT
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  20. Cantankerous Homebody Inactive

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad:

    Lidens Cheng:We can’t even joke. Western civilization is going out with a whimper, not a bang.

    We can, and must, joke!

    Is there a distinction between a joke and ridicule? I’m not sure we can really ridicule people anymore. Unless they’re white and/or christian.

    • #20
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:49 AM PDT
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  21. drlorentz Member

    Cantankerous Homebody: Is there a distinction between a joke and ridicule? I’m not sure we can really ridicule people anymore. Unless they’re white and/or christian.

    That is precisely the reason why we must ridicule, because our betters say we can’t..

    • #21
    • April 18, 2016, at 11:06 AM PDT
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  22. drlorentz Member

    Robert Lux:Yes, that — and jumped into Herman Kahn’s “educated incapacity.”

    It’s only slightly amusing that Kahn refers to Veblen in his piece since Veblen was sometimes prone to the affliction.

    • #22
    • April 18, 2016, at 11:10 AM PDT
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  23. Kay of MT Member

    Cantankerous Homebody:

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad:

    Lidens Cheng:We can’t even joke. Western civilization is going out with a whimper, not a bang.

    We can, and must, joke!

    Is there a distinction between a joke and ridicule? I’m not sure we can really ridicule people anymore. Unless they’re white and/or christian.

    WE Must joke and ridicule deliberate or contrived ignorance. Their race or religion doesn’t matter only their ethics.

    • #23
    • April 18, 2016, at 11:11 AM PDT
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  24. Kay of MT Member

    EThompson: I believe the world has never witnessed the intensity of such evil and I say this taking serious note of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Idi Amin.

    The fact that our current politicians, government administrators, heads of other countries have bought into this evil is terrifying to me.

    • #24
    • April 18, 2016, at 12:21 PM PDT
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  25. EThompson Inactive

    Kay of MT:

    EThompson: I believe the world has never witnessed the intensity of such evil and I say this taking serious note of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Idi Amin.

    The fact that our current politicians, government administrators, heads of other countries have bought into this evil is terrifying to me.

    Agree and you have inspired a thought for a post about why history respects the Holocaust and ignores the new one so diligently at work.

    Hint: the Media and where in the hell are the Elie Wiesels of the 21st century? Why hasn’t Ayaan Hirsi Ali been taken more seriously?

    • #25
    • April 18, 2016, at 12:36 PM PDT
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  26. Kay of MT Member

    EThompson: Agree and you have inspired a thought for a post about why history respects the Holocaust and ignores the new one so diligently at work.

    Go for it ET. I recently listened to Ms. Hirsi Ali on You Tube and She is brilliant! Unfortunately, it is not permissible to tie a person in a chair and make them listen. I grind my teeth in frustration! People I have been friends with most of my life, people I though were intelligent, thoughtful, people have become total ignoramuses because they don’t want any “bad feelings” all of a sudden.

    • #26
    • April 18, 2016, at 12:48 PM PDT
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  27. James Gawron Thatcher

    MamaT,

    I just got to your important post. I think the Boris Johnson take is especially relevant. If Merkel is going to suppress Western values on free speech to please Erdogan and Merkel had enough pull to pull EU along with her (or vice-versa) then what does it say about EU membership and individual National values. Should Britain give up its history of tolerance to kowtow to EU creeping intolerance? The answer for any sane Englishman is a resounding NO!

    This is non-trivial. The EU European single Nation is not only irresponsible in its lack of foreign policy duty, but it is a danger if it won’t reflect real free human values such as freedom of speech. Boris swatted it out of the park (someone give me the cricket analogue) and rightly so.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #27
    • April 18, 2016, at 1:48 PM PDT
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  28. Cantankerous Homebody Inactive

    drlorentz:

    Cantankerous Homebody: Is there a distinction between a joke and ridicule? I’m not sure we can really ridicule people anymore. Unless they’re white and/or christian.

    That is precisely the reason why we must ridicule, because our betters say we can’t..

    I agree, I just don’t think it’ll happen. I actually agreed, in part, with Bono’s proposal.

    I’m not even sure why Merkel would give Erdogan the time of day over this.

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    • April 18, 2016, at 2:33 PM PDT
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  29. Paul J. Croeber Inactive

    Let us please rid ourselves of these governing scolds. Her guilt or latent anti westernism is an impedance to the free exchange of ideas. Erdogan will gladly take any goat related slights by comedians if it prompts this response by the chancellor.

    • #29
    • April 18, 2016, at 5:01 PM PDT
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  30. Fritz Member

    Tenacious D:

    Ball Diamond Ball:Naaaaazi Schmazi!

    Said Werner von Braun?

    Nice Tom Lehrer reference there!

    • #30
    • April 18, 2016, at 5:16 PM PDT
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