Saturday, September 18, 2010

Philip Walton makes complaint about Brian Cowen

Philip Walton with
Ryder Cup. Photo
from ForeIreland Blog.
Much ado about nothing is my take on Philip Walton's "anger" at being impersonated by Taoiseach Brian Cowen last Monday evening. Walton released a statement to Reuters, and not surprisingly it made the news all over the world, eg Reuters Canada! Cowen has since apologized - unnecessarily in my view. Walton's statement shows that he is also concerned about what was actually said about him - he writes: "As a result, we felt the best thing at this point was to write to An Taoiseach (the prime minister) ourselves to get more details and the exact context of the various stories". He also expresses "concern to myself, my wife and also my children".

Brian Cowen on Connemara
Golf Course. Photo from
Irish Independent.
Twenty Major has a hard hitting "Exclusive audio of the complaint", while Rule Hibernia, though a little more sympathetic to Walton, actually calls him a "cry baby". I think he should have stayed quiet and not got into a snot about this - clearly he is not a fan of the Taoiseach, and who knows what his motives are for sending the statement to Reuters. However, as Rule Hibernia puts it - Walton "could have wounded Cowen even further if he wanted to".

Brian Cowen is apparently (I've never heard him) noted for his ability to impersonate other people - reports after Tuesday morning's fiasco for Cowen on RTÉ radio suggest he also impersonated Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh. There are no reports of Mícheal seeking an apology - the man has a sense of humour, and no doubt does not want to get involved in a controversy in the week leading up to his last All-Ireland commentary. 

Brian Cowen is parodied mercilessly and savagely by impersonators like Nob Nation - see this video for a particularly hard-hitting example. I have never heard him seeking an apology from anyone impersonating him - nor should he. I, along with most other people, see him as fair game for all comedians. While I do think that some of the skits on Cowen are over-the-top, for the most part they are intended as comedy and satire - not  personal attack. Wouldn't life be boring without impersonators? Who hasn't laughed at Dermot Morgan's impersonation of Charles Haughey, Mike Yarwood's impression of Prince Charles, or Niall Tóibín doing Brendan Behan? Robin Williams is brilliant doing Michael Jackson, while one of the funniest I've seen is a YouTube video of US Past President George W. Bush taking the piss out of himself in a double act with comedian/impersonator Steve Bridges - watch it and laugh (please note that if you are offended by impersonations that you should not watch this video).

"There is only one thing worse than being talked about,
and that is not being talked about
" (Oscar Wilde).

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