30 January 2009

Permission to Slap the bench, Your Honour...

Following the news can be dismaying for a comedian. Here I am, trying to craft new ways to make the audience laugh, and then I find a headline that says " 'Magic' goat arrested for armed robbery". How am I supposed to compete with that?

But I must set aside thoughts of felonious farmlife, because it's time to fling the fingers once again. This week, we head into a little contempt of court - all rise for this week's Slapcatcher...

Judge James Pohl.

Calling Guantanamo Bay "controversial" is like calling the surface of the sun "warm", leading to a pre-election promise by President Obama to shut down the detention centre there. As that process begins, the President put out a call to all prosecutors involved in the trials of detainees, instructing them to ask for a 120-day delay in proceedings. Apparently Judge Pohl found the request "unpersuasive". This may possibly be the hard death of an old habit, as Judge Pohl may have trouble agreeing to a Presidential request that is grammatically correct and riddled with English. Whatever the reason for executing as difficult a manoevre as ignoring the head of state, Judge Pohl's reaction of "you're not the boss of me", while not totally inaccurate, is missing a broader perspective.

Guantanamo Bay, or "Gitmo" as it has been called by those who like to give nicknames to locations used to violate human rights, has become a symbol of American hypocracy. The contortions that various members of the previous government went through in order to avoid the word "torture", when describing the interrogation tactics used there, were of Olympic gymnast standard. I won't list the techniques here, as a quick Googling will bring you up to speed, but covering inhuman treatment with whacky wordplay was one of the reasons why Dubya was as popular as plucking nose hair. Judge Pohl's unpersuasion may slow the process of curing this great political coldsore.

So, sneakily asking for permission to approach the bench so that I can get in arm's reach - SLAP!

Links: Guantanamo trial suspension request "unpersuasive"

Judge rejects Obama delay request

and, of course... 'Magic' goat arrested for armed robbery

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