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I once saw my distinguished compatriot Barbara Amiel give a speech in Washington about Megan’s Law and afterwards I said to her in awe and amazement that it took some guts to stand up in public and attack a law called Megan. But Jonah’s savaging of a beloved children’s entertainer cut down in his prime is positively Hitchensesque in its contrarian disdain for the pieties. And, come to think of it, even Hitchens usually only does it with beloved centenarians who’ve lived a full life.

When I watched the Steve Irwin show with the kids, there’d come a moment when he’d lay on the conservation message a bit thick and my eyebrow would start to twitch upwards, but, in fairness to the great man, unlike all the joyless scolds who infest the enviro-apocalypse movement, he didn’t make the shtick an exercise in societal self-loathing. And to be honest, on the whole enforced public apology thing, there’s way too much of that in contemporary life anyway. The point about the Michael Jackson comparison is that it’s what Jacko’s doing when he’s not dangling kids over a balcony that you have to worry about.


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