Social Commentary: What do Dane Rampe, Danny Baker, Israel Folau, Chris Gayle, and Count Dankula have in common?

People recently punished for their remarks or jokes:

 

This week, Dane Rampe, $5000 fine for a critical, light quip to an umpire during a heated moment in a football game, despite his quick apology showing contrition.

 

Last week, Danny Baker, fired from the BBC for making an innocent joke about the birth of the royal baby.

 

Last month, Israel Folau, $4-million-dollar rugby contract potentially annulled for paraphrasing the Bible.

 

A few years ago, Chris Gayle, $10,000 club imposed fine for jokingly asking a reporter out during a game on live television, and calling her “Baby”. Calls for his contract not to be renewed, which it wasn’t, though his club could justifiably argue this was purely on on-field criteria.

 

A few years ago, Scottish comedian, Count Dankula, criminalised in Britain and fined over $1000 for making a video about teaching his dog to Nazi salute. He claimed to be ridiculing Nazis, not supporting them.

 

What do all of these incidents have in common? Fierce, knee jerk over-reactions from the authorities, where talking through the problems, and issuing correct apologies where appropriate, may actually help to promote greater mutual understanding and social cohesion. (Such dialogue could still be an option in the ongoing Folau case.)

 

I suppose that if there is no executioner waving a sword over your head, you might not be so willing to give an apology. But I think all of these fines or reactions were excessive. And ironically for the authorities, such over the top reactions tend to greatly propel into the public sphere the offending comments that they were wishing to suppress.

 

But as I’ve always said, it’s a fine country we live in.

 

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About Michael Viljoen

Michael immigrated to Australia as a boy in the late '60s. His dad, having never seen a game of Australian Rules previously, stepped off the boat Thursday, found a job Friday, and Saturday was terrace side watching the VFL, Carlton v Geelong. He liked it so much he went back to the VFA on Sunday, Williamstown v Sunshine. Consequently, Michael was virtually raised at the MCG.

Comments

  1. Mark Duffett says

    Reckon you’re pretty much spot on with this, Michael.

  2. The world’s gone mad. Apparently you can’t have an opinion these days that is counter to those who have rushed to take the highest moral ground. Whoever take that position first wins.
    No one needs to agree with the opinion of others but, within reason, people have the right to express an opinion so long as its aim is not to overtly incite others (in my opinion!).

  3. Earl O'Neill says

    Michael, I agree wholeheartedly. Far better to have these words out in public, where we can debate them, than to have them hidden and festering.

  4. Michael Viljoen says

    There’s nothing I have in my house, with the possible exception of my car, that’s worth $5000, I can’t see how the punishment fits the crime, even by a factor of 10.
    I feel for Dane Rampe.

  5. For starters, they could get rid of the microphones on the umpires.

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