Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not a guy noted for his sense of humor or ability to take criticism. His skin is so thin, he tried to ban Twitter for being mean to him. And now a man’s freedom hinges on one crucial fact: Erdogan looks a lot like Gollum… but is that a negative thing?
If this sounds insane, don’t worry: It is! This all started when Bilgin Çiftçi, a Turkish doctor, posted this meme on his Facebook wall, pointing out that Turkey’s supreme leader, excuse me, president looks a lot like Gollum from Lord of the Rings:
Harmless enough, except in Turkey, insulting the president is, quite literally, a crime, and one he prosecutes vigorously. Çiftçi was fired from his job and brought up on charges, and in what’s either a Hail Mary pass or a brilliant defense, he argued that comparing Erdogan to Gollum was actually a compliment, since Gollum is the hero of the piece.
At this point, you’d think that the courts would either laugh off this defense or cut Çiftçi loose just for the sheer chutzpah of the argument. Instead, the court has appointed a panel of five Lord of the Rings experts to determine the validity of the argument. Two academics, two psychologists and a film professor now decide whether a man goes to jail for two years because he shared a dumb meme.
So, the next time you’re stymied at the American justice system, you can at least take comfort in the fact that your fate does not hang on whether Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis gave Gollum enough nuance.
(Via the Washington Post)