Sultan, clown and mother sultan
The almighty sultan known in the east and the west, the south and the north as the cruelest among the rulers was deadly bored. He ordered his clown to entertain him.
“Tell me a joke, the apology of which should be worse than the joke… Else, your head will roll off!” he thundered.
The poor clown thought on the desperate situation for a while, pondered which one of the many jokes he knew would save his head and eventually made up his mind.
While climbing back up the stairs of the palace after seeing off a state guest, the clown approached the sultan and pinched his back. The enraged sultan turned around, saw the clown and the large smile on his face and roared, “What the hell you are doing? How dare you? Don’t you know that the end of such an action will be your head rolling down these stairs?”
The large smile still on his face, the clown replied, “Oh my sultan, sorry I was mistaken… I thought you were the mother sultan!”
Did such a story ever happen? Probably not. Most probably not, because not only in the times of an all-powerful sultan whose every uttered word would become law, even on this day of advanced democracy such a joke would produce a tragedy. But, hold on, can I be mistaken? Were the former sultans, at least a few of them, more tolerant than the tall, bold, bald, ever-angry elected sul… you fill the rest, I can’t risk my head!
This week the Turkish Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) found blasphemous the Halloween special ‘Treehouse of Horrors XXII,’ of the popular sitcom “The Simpsons” that originally aired in the U.S. October of last year and imposed a lofty fine on the private broadcaster that aired it in Turkey. RTÜK later announced that the fine was not aimed at defending God from blasphemy but rather was a move aimed at protecting kids.
Why and from what? “The slitting of one’s throat, cutting one’s body into little pieces and encouraging murder,” were cited by the RTÜK chief as reasons for the fine… Indeed, on paper those expressions look rather odd and cold. But, at issue is the Halloween special of a cartoon series the audience of which – a free of charge service to RTÜK members – is mostly adults.
The elected sultan launching a vendetta against a Turkish soap opera “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century) on the time of Suleiman the Magnificent while his RTÜK is chasing blasphemous American sitcoms…
After all, they aim to do no harm. Their aim is to protect Turkish society from hazardous material. No imposition at all; they just aim to provide the nation with exemplary services with great care.
There is another story of a kitten who died not during a washing but during an “affectionate” wring, but I am afraid that’s too offensive to write here…