Sunday, June 19, 2011

What Seinfeld Has Done For Us

Sometimes it takes a look at other parts of the world to make you appreciate how things are here.

In 2008, a radio host named Jon Gaunt in the U.K. was interviewing a local official named Michael Stark. According to the BBC:
The pair had been debating the council's decision to ban smokers from fostering children when Mr Gaunt called Mr Stark a "Nazi", a "health Nazi" and an "ignorant pig".
Mr Gaunt lost his job, appealed the decision, and lost. The judge said that "The broadcast was undoubtedly highly offensive to Mr Stark and was well capable of offending the broadcast audience..."

I don't know about the "ignorant pig" part, but the term "Nazi" and the more specific "health Nazi" certainly seem appropriate. At least to those of us who have seen the famous "Soup Nazi" episodes of Seinfeld.

There were, according to the BBC story, 53 complaints from the public. It does not say how many of those complaints objected to the accurate, if metaphoric, description of Mr Stark and his Redbridge council as a Nazi; how many objected to the other metaphor; how many were offended at the notion that government can deny people the right to foster children because they have habits that are no longer popular; and how many thought the "ignorant pig" comment was demeaning of swine. I would go out on a limb and guess that no complainants in the U.K., which suffered great destruction in World War II, thought Mr Gaunt was demeaning genuine Nazis by applying the label to Mr Stark.
Redbridge Council During a Lull?
(photo by Maqi)

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