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TV program The Chaser’s War on Everything has been “suspended” for two weeks following a skit in which they advertised a fake charity, the “Make-a-Realistic-Wish Foundation”, obviously based on the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

It maddens me that they actually suspended the program for this reason. The Chasers are hilarious. Their skit could only possibly have offended oversensitive dolts who probably shouldn’t be watching comedies anyway. Do all these complainants seriously think the skit aimed at marginalising the Make-a-Wish Foundation? Do they think that giving kids pencil cases and sticks instead of their wishes was being offered as a serious suggestion?

The skit was not meant to be taken seriously. Most of its skits are not meant to be taken seriously. In the very same episode they tricked five impressionable Americans into eating “hay” (it looked more like grass), telling them a diet fit for elephants was a diet fit for humans. In the very same episode one of them set up in front of Buckingham Palace and offered all its various rooms for rent, incurring a disgusted reaction from the British police. And yet this skit about the “Make-a-Realistic-Wish Foundation” was considered more objectionable than tricking others into eating grass and provoking the British police? Really?

The idea of the “Make-a-Realistic Wish Foundation” was not, I’m sure, to propose the real foundation’s replacement. In fact their skit seemed more about lampooning the hypothetical “realistic” charity. You know, like where the girl says she wants to meet Zac Efron, and Andrew Hansen is like, “We can’t do that, but here, have a stick.” Very few people, if anyone, would say that presenting a dying girl with a stick is reasonable. They were mocking any train of thought which might suggest that this was reasonable, not the opposite.

All those people offended have the right to complain to the ABC, of course, but the ABC should not have responded like this. No, ABC, you have not “let down the community”. You’ve let down a bunch of whiners who’ve never heard of turning OFF the TV if they don’t like its content. They insist on having its content censored from everyone else too, because if a few people are offended the whole community must be protected! And you, ABC, have encouraged this demanding, overbearing train of thought through your surrender to these whiners. Good job.

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3 Comments

  1. Yeah, I agree it’s a tad ridiculous. I can’t believe they would suspend the show for that reason. Anything on TV has the ability to offend someone. Unfortunately, you can’t please everyone all the time. How silly. I agree with you – if it really offends them, they shouldn’t be watching it anyway. It makes me angry that people would even complain so much to try to get it banned. It just makes them look pathetic.

  2. I don’t know enough about Australian laws but doesn’t freedom of speech protect parodies? It sounds to me like they were just trying to parody the Make A Wish Foundation. I don’t really have much to say because you’ve articulated pretty much everything I was thinking… so ditto.

    • I don’t think freedom of speech is really applicable in this case. I’m sure broadcasters have the right to decide what does and does not go to air, and that they can choose to pull things that aren’t illegal. It’s just extremely annoying when they make decisions seemingly at the behest of a vocal minority.

      Also, freedom of speech doesn’t really exist in Australia anyway. We have the “implied freedom” of “political communication”, but that’s all. We can discuss anything we’re not forbidden to say, but the only thing we have the irrevocable right to discuss is politics. The government can block us from saying things at their discretion, and sometimes they even use that authority — e.g. in 2005 they sought to stop euthanasia activists by making it illegal to obtain or provide material on how people could commit suicide (among other restrictions).

      In summary, I guess the Chasers’ right to free speech was definitively not violated. But it’s still frustrating.


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