Friday, March 02, 2012

Let the punishment fit the Mad!

In the wake of the Watergate scandals, a 1970s issue of the American satirical Mad Magazine had a spoof of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado" lampooning American senators, congressmen and the would have been impeached President Richard Nixon but Nixon resigned soon after thus sending the unelected Gerald Ford to the White House. 


The"usual Gang of idiots" did not change an iota of the comic opera script but had hilarious cartoons imagining what possible punishment would fit the crime!


My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time —
To let the punishment fit the crime —
The punishment fit the crime;
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment!
Of innocent merriment!


One of the punishments meted was subjecting the Watergate crew to an endless loop of the tapes. Now of course no sane American reader would SERIOUSLY consider subjecting Dick Nixon to an endless loop of the Watergate tapes and the famous "I am not a crook" line,however how perfectly that punishment would fit the crime!


To do so would be violating the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution which clearly prohibits  cruel and unusual punishment.


The Philippine Constitution borrowed the same amendment and made it part of its Bill of Rights. The framers of the US Constitution  never foresaw that there would be a usual gang of idiots elected to the Senate. Not a few Americans may rail that the Democratic and Republican parties are a nothing but a gang of idiots but even though the Constitution restrains the exercise of idiocy in the body politic.


But with prosecution counsel Atty Aguirre covering his ears and thus being charged with contempt, it would have ended there but with two senators suggesting that he be detained and made to listen to Miriam Santiago's verbal productions, then there must be something terribly wrong with the Senate of the Philippines.


After all these types of punishments we know were meted by Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mao's Cultural revolution China and Kim Commie monarchy of North Korea which still bombards the South with Kim il Sung's speeches!


The Senate of the Philippines has raised parody into something that isn't laughable anymore.


Now when the Revolution is triumphant then the punishment will really fit the crime. But until then we have a Constitution.


And praised be Alfred E Neuman for fighting for American liberties and the US Bill of Rights! (which the editors did since some cases against them went up to the US Supremes. It involved the right to parody!)

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