March 26, 2009

You At The Back, Wipe That Smile Off Your Face

A Garda source reportedly says: "This may have started as a prank, but it's now a national embarrassment. A full investigation is under way."

I agree wholeheartedly. The sooner we get to the bottom of the national scandals that are embarrassing us on the world stage, the better.

But I don't think it's the stunt that saw nude portraits of our leading politician briefly displayed in the National Gallery and the Royal Hibernian Academy that is turning Mr. Cowen's cheeks an unseemly shade of red. Surely it's the shenanigans in our banks that are the "last thing the country needs" (to misappropriate a remark made by a Cabinet Minister in response to the foolishness of naked emperors hanging in high places)?

Now don't get me wrong. I'm sure it's a source of considerable embarrassment to Mr. Cowen to see himself portrayed in this way, but don't school-teachers suffer the same ignominy at the hands of their students every day of the week (even if those wicked sketches don't usually find their way to the walls of the National Gallery)?

Stories of the Gardai raiding the offices of a radio station in order to finger the culprit smack of over-reaction. We're told that the hanging up of nude images could be deemed illegal under incitement to hatred, indecency and criminal damage legislation. I'm certain that humiliated teachers scramble to find grounds to bring the full force of the school system to bear on the infuriating pest in Class 1B who has a knack for cruel caricature but grasping at the straws of incitement to hatred, indecency and criminal damage in order to involve the Gardai is probably going a little too far.

How ironic that it's a school-teacher who's owned up to painting the pictures.

Ireland's international reputation would be better served by a mature response from Mr. Cowen's friends in high places, perhaps even the lofty dismissal of the pictures as a school-boyish prank beneath the notice of a serious politician intent on rooting out the rather more compromising wrong-doings of sticky-fingered leaders in our financial system.

Over to you: Do you think that rude pictures or unscrupulous bosses are the greater source of embarrassment for Brand Ireland?

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