Pedophiles like institutions that are too-sacred-to-critique.* Whenever we set up institutions for veneration such that the optimal within-institution response is to cover up rather than to punish in response to individual failings, we're going to have problems. Sesame Street has been great on this front; the others, really not so much.
And so iconoclasts do us a service in making sure that nothing is sacred.
Today's edition: the British Royals. I'm a fan of the Queen. But I was still pretty disappointed to see half of Twitter piling onto the couple of radio hosts whose prank call to Kate Middleton's hospital led to the suicide of the switchboard operator who connected the call. Surely there have been hundreds of thousands of prank calls in the last few decades. There's one radio station in every major city that does this kind of thing at least weekly; start adding it up. How many prank calls did the Jerky Boys run? The accident rate seems awfully low, all things considered. If you're going to pile onto these particular radio hosts, what about all of the other ones who took risks no smaller than these guys did and whose calls led only to a bit of fun?
One response in particular disappointed me though - that this prank call was different because it involved the Royal family. I'm not embedding because of coarse language. But no institution is too sacred to prank. Radio hosts prank calling venerable institutions helps to keep those institutions from being too sacred for other forms of critique. Lew, on Twitter, replied with some topics he thought too shocking and offensive for comedy; Gilbert Gottfried's performance at the Friar's Club Roast for Hugh Hefner post 9/11 is the appropriate reply.
And for the Twitteratti baying for blood - what will you do if one of the family of one of the radio hosts commits suicide over your bullying? And when the rest of Twitter decides just which tweet was most to blame and piles onto that Twit, prompting another suicide, and another round of blame, rinse and repeat. I know it's all fun to feel morally righteous by demanding punishment, but who among us has never laughed at at least one prank call on the radio at some point in our lives? You know it's listener demand that drives what's played on the radio, right?
* If you don't believe me on the quasi-sacred status of Penn State, you've not been to Pennsylvania.