Saturday, December 3, 2011


I had a wild day yesterday because I went to Nation TV to do a show about Steve Jobs.  Not that I knew him personally, but I guess they wanted me to talk about the mystery of creativity.  They are doing a ten-part documentary about him for Nation TV which included a highly entertaining panel discussion plus a session of sound-bites.

While at the Nation, I bumped into a number of journalists who have all been (to one degree or another) outraged by the Mallika scandal, but I had already decided not to pour more fuel on the flames because, after all, isn't this woman bound to self-destruct after a while?  And if the democratic party chooses not to follow my sensible advance, won't it only have itself to blame if it becomes collateral damage to Mallika's spectacular political self-immolation?

The people at Nation-TV said to me, "Let it go ... there are real issues to be discussed.  Issues such as corruption, the weird machinations behind the Thaksin 'pardon', the increasing tendency for people to abuse lèse-majésté laws for their own political gain, a serious discussion of whether Yingluck's regime is actually doing the things we all hoped it would do ... these are real issues whereas the mouthings off of a madwoman are not.

Still, they also told me things that got me rather irritated.  For instance, someone working in the offices of the party's upper echelons told me that Mallika's has dreamed up a conspiracy theory in which this "evil red shirt reporter" ghost-wrote my blog and hoodwinked my innocent self into being part of a huge "red shirt plot."  This is an amazing idea for two reasons: that particular reporter's personal ideology, which he has the professional courtesy of leaving out of his reportage, is in fact that of a centrist democrat.  I never even met this reporter in my life until yesterday when I ran into him at the paper's headquarters.  The second reason is that the idea I would need to have someone ghost-write something for me in English, is patently absurd and shows that the woman hasn't bothered to figure out who anyone is before shooting her mouth off.

But taking the cake is the fact that Mallika, after being confronted with her unethical behaviour by her bosses, reportedly went on another witch-hunt the next morning, filing a police report to try to have the satirist tweeter, NotMallikaBoon, arrested for satirizing her.  I don't know whether it was under Thailand's "criminal libel" statutes or whether she was alleging something even more outlandish like "identity theft" - but she clearly thinks what was done to her is illegal, or ought to be.  I don't know why it would be impersonation, unless K. Mallika doesn't understand the word "not".

Now, the use of satire as political commentary has a venerable history.  Aristophanes lampooned Socrates, but I haven't ever heard of Socrates trying to have him arrested.  I don't recall Tina Fey being served with a warrant for imitating Sarah Palin.  If you are in the public eye or are a "public personality" in anyway, you must accept that the public is not unanimously going to like you.  Ridicule is indeed an important part of "being famous" and indeed celebrities are judged harshly if they do not accept satire with equanimity.

Khun Mallika is has professed admiration for China, for that country's ability to shut off Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.  (Mind you, I was in China for a week and had no trouble accessing any of those services form my hotel room.)  Perhaps she also admires China's ability to imprison dissidents and send people to reeducation camps.  Thailand is behind China in many, many ways, but not in the matter of intellectual freedom.  And all citizens, red, yellow, or chartreuse, need to resist the idea that we should slide further backward.  It is patently not her party's policy to curtail anyone's freedoms to that extent, and her actions therefore make her a traitor.

Well, let's leave it at that.  The woman is not a worthy adversary.

What else has been going on, apart from my endless depression about the state of the country, the opera, and my personal life in general?  For these weightier matters, please give me another day or so....

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