Life Just Bounces don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Monday, 19 January 2009

Stupid country of the day.

Step forward Thailand, where having 30 – 40,000 child prostitutes is considered de rigueur, but you can get three years in jail for "insulting the monarch".

The monarch in question is King Bhumibol Adulyadej (right), whose 63-year stint in power makes him the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history and the current longest-reigning monarch in the world. He also has a personal net fortune of US$35 billion and is regarded as a literal demi-god by his people as part of Thai law.

You'd think, therefore, that the poor diddums wouldn't be so insecure as to need another law allowing for anyone who insults him to be jailed for between 3 and 15 years. But nonetheless, you can in fact be jailed for "insulting the monarch" in Thailand for a range of offences, down to and including "failing to stand for the national anthem" in cinemas (though you'd think that wearing hats like the one in this pic could be construed as deliberately trying to catch people out — not quite Bozza Johnson running through Trafalgar Square in a Death to Smoochy outfit threatening arrest for anyone who started sniggering, but not far off).

This case is possibly also the biggest Streisand effect i've ever heard of in my life. If you recall, that's when an attempt to suppress a piece of information backfires and the spread of that information, and desire to find out about it, increases exponentially as a result.

Harry Nicolaides' book Verisimillitude, which got King Bhumi's knickers in such a twist, was a vanity pressing that sold precisely seven copies the world over. The only copy known to be still extant sits in the Thai National Library, freely open for viewing by the Thai public. Meanwhile, the story goes around the world.

A bit like the time the silly sausages tried banning YouTube over a video showing the King "with feet superimposed over his head", leading to "YouTube users around the world ... posting a series of Bhumibol-bashing clips, some even more offensive than the originals", each of which "has been viewed tens of thousands of times". D'oh.

MP3: Run-D.M.C. — "Down With the King" feat. Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

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