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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sit! Good boy. Beg! Good boy. Shake hands! NO NOT LIKE THAT



Ladies and gentlemen. What you have just witnessed was a man annoying his girlfriend and making fun of a reviled Authoritarian government system. This was uploaded originally in April of 2016. Over a month later, he was arrested. He was found guilty of being "Grossly Offensive" just yesterday. Off all the things I could talk about this week, it absolutely had to be this one.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a free speech supporter. Not just a supporter of the First Amendment, but the idea of freedom of speech and freedom of expression as well. As long as you aren't causing actual harm, you should not face legal consequence; and if you face social consequence, you should have every right to defend your position.

Being of a strong Irish descent, I used to playfully tease an ex-girlfriend of mine who was of strong Scottish descent that "At least the Irish put up a fight! Scotland rolled over and took it after William Wallace." Part of me really did believe it (probably that same part of me that had signed up to the Sinn Fein mailing list for a few years). But either way, I still really wanted to visit Scotland one day.

Not anymore, though. Fair Glasgow, you have been struck from my bucket list; I'm not setting foot in the country that plans on jailing a man for teaching his dog to shake hands in a tastelessly funny way.

From The Great Dictator to Monty Python's "Mr. Hitler" to Captain America: The First Avenger's skits with Cap punching out Hitler, Hitler and the Nazis have been played for laughs at their expense dozens of times. Games from Wolfenstein to Sniper Elite have let you play out the fantasy of being the one that kills Hitler, not to mention scores of Nazi soldiers. And that's not even getting into memes -- how many remixes of that bunker scene have we seen? I don't even need to say the name of the movie for you to know what I'm talking about. Chances are you've laughed yourself hoarse over some version of that scene that you've found particularly hilarious.

But here we are now. A man annoys his girlfriend by teaching his dog to shake to a historically vile set of words, even saying "there's nothing less cute than a Nazi," and his country arrests him, drags on legal proceedings for almost two years, and finds him literally guilty of being offensive.

To the crown of Scotland:
I am Salem and I confess.

I have been #GrosslyOffensive.

I wish to be barred from entering your country.

On pain of death if need be.

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