Saturday, June 6, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

The Chaser guys managed to get themselves in some pretty serious publicity trouble this week by making a joke about children with cancer. The ABC have pulled the segment off the online show and from repeat broadcasts but, you know, YouTube. In a complete overreaction to the whole thing, the Prime Minister made a comment on it, and now the Chaser is off air for the next two weeks for an editorial review (info here).

I honestly didn't think it was that bad. It wasn't that funny, primarily because it wasn't very well executed, but it wasn't that bad. Prime time on ABC is not the same as late night television but there is a very similar section in an episode of Family Guy, and an entire episode of South Park about a kid with terminal cancer who dies because his hockey team loses a game. Now, I don't have kids, and I imagine that would maybe colour your opinion on it, but to take a show off air for it is massive overkill.

On to the next point. A lot of the outrage has been caused by the line near the end "Why go to any trouble when they're only going to die anyway?" What foundations like Make-A-Wish do is very nice, but you know what? The Chaser kind of has a point, despite the fact I don't think they were trying to make one. Tragic as it is, the children Make-A-Wish help are going to die despite the best efforts of top notch medical care. Would you really want to look seventy five under-nourished, orphaned Rwandan children in the eye and say "I'm sorry, but I can't give you the clean water so you don't die of dysentery because we're sending little Henry here to Disneyland. Henry's a big fan of Dora the Explorer." Just something to think about.

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