Dr Ciaran Reilly and Padraig Reidy go head to head and argue whether the Irish famine is a suitable subject for comedy.
NO: The Famine is present in our music, song, and drama. But it does not belong in comedy, writes Dr Ciaran Reilly
At first, I thought it was just some strange scam or publicity stunt. But it isn’t and let’s be clear about this: The recent outcry over the proposed Channel 4 comedy series Hunger, based on the Great Irish Famine, has rightly stoked an outcry across Ireland and among her diaspora.
I don't get what could be possibly be funny.
Outrage as Channel 4 plans sitcom based on Irish famine http://t.co/2VQpPKkA4o— Rachel Morley (@MorleyRA) January 2, 2015
From the same town, more than 700 perished in their bid to cross the Atlantic to a new home in Canada, part of Major Denis Mahon’s ill-fated emigration scheme of 1847 to rid himself as a landlord of his starving tenants, and he was later shot by outraged locals.
Those that survived were described as “ghastly, yellow-looking spectres, unshaven and hollow cheeked”.
The Famine is present in our music, song, and drama. But it does not belong in comedy.
Are Channel 4 seriously making a sitcom about the famine?— Jack Reynor (@jackreynor) January 4, 2015
Dr. Reilly is a historian with Maynooth University and author of a new book, ‘Strokestown and The Great Irish Famine’, published by Four Courts PressYES: We all care about those who starved to death, but history, like religion, is open to artistic interpretation and satire, says Padraig Reidy
THERE’S an organisation called CRAIC that apparently represents me, an Irishman living in Britain.
CRAIC, despite what the name suggests, is a group that takes a dim view of jokes, even jokes that have not yet been made.
Though the script will probably not be broadcast (that is no reflection on Travers, merely the reality of TV commissioning), CRAIC has decided it is wrong, and that it must be stopped.
Funny how same people signing petitions to stop unwritten famine sitcoms are tweeting about importance of Free Speech since #CharlieHebdo— Ryan Cullen (@RyanCullen90) January 8, 2015
Padraig Reidy is editorial director of 89up and former senior writer at Index on Censorship
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