Monday, June 13, 2005

Corby: Perspective, Maybe?

Not surprisingly, the Schapelle Corby jokes have come quickly and plentifully, as have opposing opinions as to whether or not they're appropriate. I don't expect to win many friends with this post, but here's my take on the post- Corby judgment world.

I felt almost nauseous on the Friday afternoon when I was on my way to the airport - not because Corby got 20 years, but because of what I was listening to on the radio consequent to the ruling (which, let's face it, was no big surprise). Corby's pleas and wails superimposed over heart-rending ballads and "don't give up" anthems. They were so tacky and overblown they might have been used on a comedy sketch show were they not for real. People calling to say they were in tears over the verdict, as though Schapelle were their own daughter. Boycott Bali, shame Howard, etc.

Only one call came through the anguish that didn't make me want to switch off - the one burning question that if asked can potentially spark a public stoning: What if Corby is guilty?

We don't need to re-hash the for/against arguments. By now the overwhelming majority of Australians clearly believe she is innocent based on undeniably compelling circumstantial evidence, appalling Indonesian police procedure and a guilty-until-proven-innocent judicial system with a judge who has never ruled anything other than guilty in 500 trials.

But none of these in my mind conclusively disprove Corby's guilt of the crime itself. They also don't get us hypocritical Australians off the hook - Australians who were deafeningly silent when it came to David Hicks or Thomas McKoskar but who are now so very vocal, and in some cases vandalic, when articulating our outrage to the Corby verdict.

Perhaps if I didn't have such doubts as to Corby's innocence, I would find the jokes more appalling. But even if I were totally convinced, I wouldn't begin to self-righteously condemn other people for getting some comical mileage out of this. As the linked article highlights, we all enjoy a bit of schadenfreude every now and then. I have chuckled at Diana jokes, Michael Jackson jokes, Tony Abbott jokes (about his "son"), maybe even the odd WTC joke, and I don't believe I'm less of a person for this. Human beings always draw humour from the most unexpected, "inappropriate" places. It's a coping mechanism designed to help us with grief, shock or despair. For anybody reading this who hasn't once ever laughed at any jokes relating to the aforementioned or any other sensitive subjects- and/or you've always reprimanded other people when who have - kudos to you. I imagine such people are a very small minority, however.

Having said that: I keep "those" particular sort of jokes within a limited sphere of close friends and acquaintances. If Corby is innocent and if her parents were to hear a joke about her situation on the radio, they would have every right to be furious and demand an apology from the broadcaster. Maybe this is hypocritical of me, but that's my point: most of us are hypocrites to some extent.

Where do we draw the line as to when a joke is appopriate or not? If Corby were somehow definitively proved guilty, would there be such outrage to the jokes? Don't forget, the Australian public as judge, jury and executioner got it completely wrong when sentencing Lindy Chamberlain; it's possible we've got it wrong again when so readily presuming Corby's innocence.

So I won't put any Corby jokes on this website, but I'm not going to slap a friend who tells me one in confidence.

Only 3 days to go...

7 Comments:

At 13/6/05 10:03 pm, Blogger Nic White said...

OT but Im too lazy to email:

Sam, you are going to want to read this...

http://52nd.blogspot.com/2005/06/hate-in-action.html

 
At 13/6/05 10:56 pm, Anonymous stephen said...

I do hear that Victa have released a new lawn mower called the Schapelle.
It carries 4.5 kgms of grass and lasts for 20 years.

 
At 20/8/05 11:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is ok some people to make jokes about her how would you feel if your family or friend was put in jail for something that they might not have done and be in there for 20 years and for a man who is jailed for less then 3 years for killing inersent people hey so make a joke out of that for the people who are making jokes about her you are low life scums.

 
At 28/12/07 2:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lets face it .Green in Indo is cheap,but that hydo shit is what the turos want and the corbys were making a nice litte earner on the side.fact. i was there.i saw stuff.truth is if the dumb bitch kept her mouth shut and credit card open she,ed be home and free.dems da fax .

 
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