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Myers smacks down new law

Those crazy Eurocrats in Brussels are planning a new law that would prevent people from smacking their God-given children. I know this because controversial columnist Kevin Myers was railing against it on Wednesday's Lunchtime.

Myers's argument was simple. He accepted that beating up children was a bad thing (bleeding-heart liberal!), but what about those instances where smacking children saved their lives?

Whaaat??? Yes, Kevin 'surprising counter-argument' Myers had done it again. He conjured up a picture of a boy running heedlessly into the road (he insisted it would be a boy; she-children would no doubt be home darning or preparing for marriage to a family friend).

He evoked the image of the boy's parents "in despair" beside a dual carriageway as their idiot progeny repeatedly leapt into the path of oncoming vehicles. Some would say the family should stop hanging out beside dual carriageways or that the state should build a wall. Not Myers. He suggested the child could, no, should be slapped to safety (indeed, I extrapolate from this that if people really cared about road-safety they'd patrol the roadsides with a child-bat).

Okay, there was more to the argument than this. Myers also gave other examples of when palm-justice might be dispensed in the privacy of one's own home.

"If a father finds a son beating up his daughter," he argued, then what option had the father but to give the son a bit of a swipe? And no, Myers didn't feel it would be right for the State to interfere with this idyllic Hobbesian scenario. A hierarchy of calm, ends-justify-means violence was apparently what such a household needed.

Myers's theories, as always, were backed up by a strong feeling in his gut. Meanwhile fill-in presenter Shane Coleman's brief counter-argument was based on mere "statistics". In countries which have already introduced this type of legislation, Coleman said, not only have more at-risk children come to the attention of the authorities but there have actually been fewer prosecutions of parents.



angry

Myers rejected Coleman's "statistics" (statistics are collected by people with agendas, he said), but he was polite about it. He didn't get angry and didn't start to "save him from traffic" (this is a new euphemism I've invented).

On Christmas Eve there was a special documentary, The Reindeer Santa Left Behind about the Mulready family, who last Christmas found themselves caring for Blitzen, an injured reindeer Santa had left on their farm. The fact that they secretly had a flying reindeer was quickly sussed by an RTE documentary team, not to mention Lucien, the precocious boy next door.

This sleuth-like youngster insisted he knew the Mulreadys' secret and repeatedly badgered them about it in a manner that suggested he needed to be "saved from traffic". Luckily everything was eventually resolved by Santa and his big booming voice.

Now, some people would say that The Reindeer Santa Left Behind wasn't a documentary at all, and was, in fact, an enjoyably documentary-shaped radio play.

Those grouchy literalists would love The Infinite Monkey Cage, the popular science programme presented by stud-boffin Brian Cox and snarky comic Robin Ince. This week biologist Richard Dawkins, writer/actor Mark Gatiss and science journalist Roger Highfield helped explore the 'science' of Christmas -- more specifically how Santa could deliver all those gifts in one night.

They considered everything from the utilisation of a warp-drive to quantum teleportation and their highbrow tomfoolery was smugly entertaining.



teleportation

"Is a person really just an emergent property due to the ensemble of their atoms?" asked an identity-doubting Cox at one point during a discussion about teleportation. "Where is the soul? Where's the free will?"

This prompted an anecdote from Richard Dawkins about his friend, the late Christopher Hitchens. When asked if he believed in free will, Hitchens apparently responded: "I have no choice."

On St Stephen's Day RTE 1 aired Irish Pictorial Boatly, a darkly absurdist satire that unlike other Irish radio comedies wasn't just a bunch of funny voices. That said, it also featured funny voices, one of the funniest being the real voice of Enda Kenny, whose actual pre-Budget speech was mercilessly edited to reveal the emptiness within.

Satire really is a cathartic, non-violent way of "saving someone from traffic".

More of this please.


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