27 April, 2010

The dictator-pig and the smoking president

This isn't about Orwell's Animal Farm, honest. Rather, this story starts with a Nebraska (?) county official who couldn't (he claims) get an official photo of the president despite repeated requests (he claims), so he put up a photo he found of the president… smoking. Naturally,* this drew a complaint, so the photo came down.

For some reason this reminded me of a story my Italian Nonno used to tell of a relative's pig named Benito. The blackshirts got wind of it soon enough, and came around to inquire about it. Nonno used to tell the story in dialect, which made it much funnier, but the conversation boiled down to something like this:

Why did you name your pig Benito?

Why, is there something wrong with the name Benito?
The way Nonno told it, they didn't have an answer for that, and left him alone.

I'd joke that this illustrates how Fascist Italy had more freedom of speech than the contemporary USA, but making such comparisons, even in a hyperbolic sense, is inflammatory and ridiculous, don't you think?

Well, don't you?

*By contrast, had it been a photoshopped image of the previous president snorting a line or two, no number of complaints would have taken it down without several lawsuits getting in the way: if, that is, it weren't funded by an NEA grant.


Clemens said...

So you're suggesting Frum is right?

(this once).

jack perry said...

Quite the contrary; I thought Frum's comment was undignified and beneath him. It's the sort of exaggeration for which he (rightly) criticizes other conservatives.