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Topic: Sign Language Faux Pas at Madiba's Funeral
Message: Posted by: Devious (Dec 11, 2013 12:11PM)
I find this story not only to be quite odd, but highly disturbing as well.

[i]A man who appeared to provide sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Wednesday.

The unidentified man seen around the world on television next to leaders including United States President Barack Obama "was moving his hands around but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for," Bruno Druchen, the federation's national director, told The Associated Press.[/i]

[img]http://binaryapi.ap.org/e157141ce2f94f9eb01083126abd242f/460x.jpg[/img]
[url=http://www.elpasotimes.com/latestnews/ci_24698339/nelson-mandela-ceremony-interpreter-called-fake]News Link[/url]
Message: Posted by: landmark (Dec 11, 2013 12:51PM)
I guess I'm strange, I think it's funny.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Dec 11, 2013 01:21PM)
I find it funny too. I shouldn't because of the disrespect shown at all levels. It's just so Pythonesque.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 11, 2013 01:27PM)
I thought it was hysterical. Guaranteed this will be parodied on Saturday Night Live. I think this proves that at least the spirit of Andy Kaufmann is still alive. It's pure comedic genius.

Imagine if this all was just a bet that they guy made? Like, "I'll bet you a thousand bucks that I can get up on that dais and stand right next to those world leaders and just meaninglessly wave my hands around for three hours without anyone stopping me."

This guy may well have scored a bundle on this.

And, if I understand correctly, he was a volunteer. He offered or was asked if he could do the sign language. It seems like no one bothered to ask him if he actually knew sign language.
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Dec 11, 2013 01:44PM)
This is where I draw a line. Don't like it at all, personally.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 11, 2013 01:50PM)
Well everyone's got to draw a line somewhere, I guess. But this isn't exactly up there with Colonel Travis drawing the line in the sand at the Alamo. "That's it! I've had it! You've crossed the line you fake hand waver you!"

Throw him in prison and lose the key!
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Dec 11, 2013 01:57PM)
No, but respect for the deceased's family at a funeral is a line I draw, personally.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 11, 2013 02:02PM)
OK, now don't jump all over me ... this is an attempt at a joke .... no political slur intended:

Maybe we should get that guy over here to interpret the new health care law!
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Dec 11, 2013 02:20PM)
Potential! :)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 11, 2013 02:47PM)
I understand your view Chessman and agree that if it was a joke it was in questionable taste. But no one can say that guy didn't have brass ones. It's not like he was hiding behind the scenes making rude noises or something. He was standing right out there where the whole world could see him.

But I've also wondered if the guy might just be mentally disabled and really wanted to participate by doing what he saw other people doing on TV.

No matter his motive, the real blame for this lies with those who had the responsibility to thoroughly vet everyone who was anywhere near the VIP section of the stadium. And making sure that people are actually qualified to do the jobs they have volunteered for seems like a reasonable idea in view of what happened.

But I still think it was pretty funny.
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Dec 11, 2013 02:53PM)
That was done on Saturday Night live many years ago when Garrett Morris translated the top news stories for the hearing impaired. He basically stood behind Jane Curtin and repeated every word she said by bellowing.

On a more serious note, there is more than one sign language in the world. American Sign Language is popular in America. Did anyone check to see if he was speaking a different sign language? Maybe he was making meaningless gestures, but think about what it would take to do that. It is probably harder than real sign interpretation. Faking it would probably entail a lot of repeated gestures. I am not condemning anyone, I just want to be sure.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Dec 11, 2013 02:55PM)
One mutt making-up fake sign language, the other one taking selfies at a wake. Two classless ******.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 11, 2013 03:00PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 15:53, Cliffg37 wrote:


On a more serious note, there is more than one sign language in the world. American Sign Language is popular in America. Did anyone check to see if he was speaking a different sign language? Maybe he was making meaningless gestures, but think about what it would take to do that. It is probably harder than real sign interpretation. Faking it would probably entail a lot of repeated gestures. I am not condemning anyone, I just want to be sure.
[/quote]

It was African deaf people who caught him out in the first place.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 11, 2013 03:12PM)
Here's more about that:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25330672

Security was also incredibly lax. Despite a massive police presence, people without tickets could apparently wander in unchecked.
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Dec 11, 2013 03:12PM)
I could enjoy enjoy it if it was a stupid presidential speech. You can imagine the hand jestures for "I did not have sex with that woman." But this is beyond bad. I'm in a no-tolerance mood today so I shouldn't say what I'd want to do to him, so I'll turn it down and say he should be tied to a post, his shirt removed, and be flogged - one strike for each minute he did that. And it should be televised.

That oughta do it.

Bazinga!
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 11, 2013 03:22PM)
He's not some mentally ill guy who just walked on the stage or slipped past security. Or someone who just happened to volunteer for this event. He's some guy, that for some reason, the ANC continues to trot out as an interpreter. This isn't the first event he's worked for the ANC. The first deaf woman elected to the Parliament of South African said she complained about the guy over a year ago.

You can see him standing up there right next to Jacob Zuma during the ANC Centenery Celebrations in 2012. The link that Devious gave even refers to it [i]"At that appearance, a deaf person in the audience videotaped the event and gave it to the federation for the deaf, which analyzed the video, prepared a report about it and a submitted a formal complaint to the ANC, Druchen said."[/i] I'd be willing to bet he's no volunteer either. He's on someones payroll for sure.
Message: Posted by: Devious (Dec 11, 2013 03:25PM)
@Marlin,
Correct indeed. I was hoping folks would read that part as well.
You can watch the same guy in action [url=http://www.itv.com/news/update/2013-12-11/fake-interpreter-seen-signing-for-jacob-zuma-in-2012/]HERE[/url].
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Dec 11, 2013 03:32PM)
He still oughta be flogged.
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 11, 2013 03:34PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 16:25, Devious wrote:
@Marlin,
Correct indeed. I was hoping folks would read that part as well.
[/quote]

Well, that's the "disturbing" part, like you said. I mean it's all funny and everything, but if you happen to be deaf and tuned in to watch this historic event, and were counting on that guy, then it kinda sucks. Especially if it was already known that the guy doesn't know sign language
Message: Posted by: Devious (Dec 11, 2013 03:37PM)
They could play this song during the flogging because it goes on for quite
some time and certainly inspires many conspiratorial and vengeful thoughts.

[url=http://youtu.be/ViN2bRGrBx8]Midnight Express[/url]

p.s. Someone please notify George Noory for tonight about this.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Dec 11, 2013 03:38PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 14:57, Chessmann wrote:
No, but respect for the deceased's family at a funeral is a line I draw, personally.
[/quote]

It might not have been clear from my first post, but I agree completely. It is deeply disrespectful.

But, there is a basic human part of me that does find the absurdity funny. I don't approve. But it falls in that strange psychological space that can find mirth in the awful. Rather like gallows humour.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 11, 2013 03:39PM)
It's a good thing that it was broadcast with closed captions for the hearing impaired. (As are all major events of this nature. Which, of course, raises the question of why a sign interpreter is needed in the first place.)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 11, 2013 03:45PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 16:12, Bazinga wrote:
.... I'm in a no-tolerance mood today so I shouldn't say what I'd want to do to him, so I'll turn it down and say he should be tied to a post, his shirt removed, and be flogged - one strike for each minute he did that. And it should be televised.

That oughta do it.

Bazinga!
[/quote]

Sure. Publicly flog a black man one hundred and eighty times in South Africa for committing what is at most a non-violent misdemeanor. Isn't that the exact sort of thing that was going on during Apartheid? Wonder what Mandela would have thought about that.
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 11, 2013 03:49PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 16:39, mastermindreader wrote:
(As are all major events of this nature. Which, of course, raises the question of why a sign interpreter is needed in the first place.)
[/quote]

For the deaf people in attendance would be my guess. Unless it was shown on screens in the stadium with closed caption. Not everyone everywhere is capable of pulling closed captioning. In some cases the translation it's as bad as this guy, you should try watching a show with CC and the sound on, sometimes the translation is ridiculous. And it tends to lag and skip a lot of words, especially on live events.
Message: Posted by: critter (Dec 11, 2013 03:50PM)
When a friend of ours died in high school our other friend was sobbing when she told us. We knew a lot of guys named Tom at the time and someone said "which Tom?" Without thinking about it I said "Dead Tom" and everyone started laughing. I was embarrassed but it provided something we all needed.

That said, I don't think this scammer knew any of those people- and the article does indicate that it's a scam. So I don't equate the two. I don't know how offended I am, but I think it's a creep move.
Message: Posted by: Devious (Dec 11, 2013 03:51PM)
I'm still listening to [url=http://youtu.be/ViN2bRGrBx8]Midnight Express[/url].
Please keep it down fellas.

"Dead Tom" freakin' hilarious Critter Done!
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 11, 2013 03:59PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 16:51, Devious wrote:
I'm still listening to [url=http://youtu.be/ViN2bRGrBx8]Midnight Express[/url].
Please keep it down fellas.

[/quote]

Pretty insensitive of you to flaunt your hearing in this particular thread. I think a flogging is in order!
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 11, 2013 04:22PM)
I'm inclined to go along with the theory that this "big speech sign language expert" is on the payroll. Unfortunately, when the South African government changed hands in 1984, many of the ANC henchmen were given positions of authority for which they were not qualified. Despite the obvious chaotic consequences, this practice still continues today.

One of the first acts of the new South African Parliament was that white business owners would have to forfeit one third of their annual income. The idea was that their "contribution" would be allocated to to "Previously Disenfranchised Persons" ... (or something like that ... I may have the term wrong).

My brother, who lives in Pretoria, has an air conditioning business (which incidentally, has for almost 40 years provided employment for more than 30 black workers).

Anyway, at the end of the year 1985, he was informed that someone from the government would come to his house to collect the annual payment. But on the appointed day, instead of a social worker (which he had been expecting), a shiny new Rolls Royce drove up, and a menacing male gangster type jumped out, wearing a very expensive, golden suit. He took the check from my brother, looked at the amount, grunted, and was on his way.
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Dec 11, 2013 04:36PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 15:47, mastermindreader wrote:

No matter his motive, the real blame for this lies with those who had the responsibility to thoroughly vet everyone who was anywhere near the VIP section of the stadium. And making sure that people are actually qualified to do the jobs they have volunteered for seems like a reasonable idea in view of what happened.

[/quote]

No, Bob. First and foremost, the real blame lies with the man who did this. He, and he alone is the one who planned this and then carried it out.

I could only imagine him being brought to trial and trying to plead, "Hey, don't blame me! Blame the people who didn't catch me!"

And Bob, if you think this would be funny if done at the funeral of your immediate family members, well, there's not much more for me to say.

I understand that you can't police all humor, and that humor will often catch someone the wrong way, but like I said, at a funeral...
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Dec 11, 2013 04:40PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 16:22, Marlin1894 wrote:
He's not some mentally ill guy who just walked on the stage or slipped past security. Or someone who just happened to volunteer for this event. He's some guy, that for some reason, the ANC continues to trot out as an interpreter. This isn't the first event he's worked for the ANC. The first deaf woman elected to the Parliament of South African said she complained about the guy over a year ago.

You can see him standing up there right next to Jacob Zuma during the ANC Centenery Celebrations in 2012. The link that Devious gave even refers to it [i]"At that appearance, a deaf person in the audience videotaped the event and gave it to the federation for the deaf, which analyzed the video, prepared a report about it and a submitted a formal complaint to the ANC, Druchen said."[/i] I'd be willing to bet he's no volunteer either. He's on someones payroll for sure.
[/quote]

Now *that* is wild!
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Dec 11, 2013 04:45PM)
Bob, to be clear, I meant if someone did this to your family member's funeral *as a prank*.

From what people are saying, though, it is sounding less and less like a prank (which is how I first took it), and more and more like a guy who is just making money for a skill he doesn't have! Just doing again what he has done for them before.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Dec 11, 2013 04:53PM)
I hate seeing those signing people standing up there beside speakers.

But still, I think this guy should be taken out behind the wood shed and signed real good.


Tom
Message: Posted by: balducci (Dec 11, 2013 05:58PM)
Apparently there are over 200 types of sign languages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sign_languages

"There are perhaps two hundred sign languages in use around the world today. The number is not known with any confidence; new sign languages emerge frequently through creolization and de novo (and occasionally through language planning). In some countries, such as Sri Lanka and Tanzania, each school for the deaf may have a separate language, known only to its students and sometimes denied by the school"

I've read a number of the media reports about this story and the people / experts being interviewed sure make the guy sound guilty of faking it, but at the same time I'm not sure what the politics of the deaf institutions in South Africa are like. I wonder whether there may be a power play going on here, with one particular school and deaf federation in South Africa bad mouthing someone using an alternative system they do not support. It wouldn't be the first time something like that happened.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 11, 2013 06:08PM)
Indeed. We have our own at the card table.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 11, 2013 07:43PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 17:36, Chessmann wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 15:47, mastermindreader wrote:

No matter his motive, the real blame for this lies with those who had the responsibility to thoroughly vet everyone who was anywhere near the VIP section of the stadium. And making sure that people are actually qualified to do the jobs they have volunteered for seems like a reasonable idea in view of what happened.

[/quote]

No, Bob. First and foremost, the real blame lies with the man who did this. He, and he alone is the one who planned this and then carried it out.

I could only imagine him being brought to trial and trying to plead, "Hey, don't blame me! Blame the people who didn't catch me!"

And Bob, if you think this would be funny if done at the funeral of your immediate family members, well, there's not much more for me to say.

I understand that you can't police all humor, and that humor will often catch someone the wrong way, but like I said, at a funeral...
[/quote]

I understand where you are coming from, but I'd actually hire someone to do something like this at my funeral, but that's just me. (You should have seen some of the wakes we've had. We accidentally set indoor trees on fire in the church at my dad's funeral which created a pretty memorable moment for everyone.) I'm also puzzled why some are advocating a public physical flogging of this man. I thought that was the kind of thing Mandela fought against.

And I'm surprised you don't even acknowledge that those who allowed this guy in bear a significant portion of the blame. Particularly regarding security.

Yes, it was disrespectful. But I guarantee this will be a highlight on this weeks Saturday Night Live.

I'm starting to seriously consider the theory that this guy may just be a hired goon given what was supposed to be basically a no-show job in order to justify his paycheck for other activities. You know, like mob guys given ceremonial positions that normally don't require them to show up. If the whole thing wasn't a joke, that's really one of the few motives I can think of. Of course, as has been suggested, this might also be evidence of internecine warfare between competing deaf factions. (But that would strike me as pretty funny, too.)
Message: Posted by: balducci (Dec 11, 2013 08:02PM)
"But I guarantee this will be a highlight on this weeks Saturday Night Live."

The Today Show tried that ...

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/12/11/today-show-sign-language-joke-offends-deaf-community/
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 11, 2013 08:54PM)
Yes, but Saturday Night Live and the Today Show are two different beasts. After Miley Cyrus offended half the country, SNL immediately booked her as a host and she proceeded to do the same routine that caused the controversy in the first place.

I wonder if the deaf community was offended back in the days when Garrett Morris was doing the "closed captions" for the hearing impaired.
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Dec 11, 2013 09:56PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 16:45, mastermindreader wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 16:12, Bazinga wrote:
.... I'm in a no-tolerance mood today so I shouldn't say what I'd want to do to him, so I'll turn it down and say he should be tied to a post, his shirt removed, and be flogged - one strike for each minute he did that. And it should be televised.

That oughta do it.

Bazinga!
[/quote]

Sure. Publicly flog a black man one hundred and eighty times in South Africa for committing what is at most a non-violent misdemeanor. Isn't that the exact sort of thing that was going on during Apartheid? Wonder what Mandela would have thought about that.
[/quote]
I did not say that with any thought about his skin color, and I still don't care. I was refering to flogging as in the oldtime English method of punishment. I sincerely hope no one thought otherwise.

I was taught at an early age that showing disrespect to the dead is a morally capital offense. I have no tolerance for it. Unintentional is different and often seems to come at just a needed moment. But purposeful... flog him or take him to the woodshed.

Bazinga!
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 11, 2013 10:33PM)
If you think that flogging (which is whipping) a shirtless black man (180 times, no less, which is a likely death sentence) is an appropriate punishment for a non-violent offense there's really nothing else to say.
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Dec 11, 2013 10:48PM)
Bob Cassidy,

GET THIS STRAIGHT!!!!!

BLACK HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

I can see why people get so p****ed off at you. DO NOT PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH, TWIST MY WORDS, ADD OR SUBTRACT TO OR FROM WHAT I SAY [b]EVER[/b] AGAIN!

Got it?

Bazinga!
Message: Posted by: stoneunhinged (Dec 12, 2013 01:52AM)
Take a chill pill, brother Bazinga.

All Bob is saying is that "flogging" has connotations that don't fit the situation.

Did you ever see the movie, "Glory"?
Message: Posted by: alexander_may (Dec 12, 2013 01:57AM)
So... this guy was just interviewed on the radio over here. His explanation? "I got too happy and suffered a schizophrenic episode." His actual words. He couldn't even show them how to sign 'I love you.'

According to DeafSA they already complained about him last year, but the ANC still used him. That's what happens when people are appointed because he is friends with someone, as opposed to qualifications and merit. An everyday thing over here, unfortunately.
Message: Posted by: Danny Kazam (Dec 12, 2013 02:37AM)
Let's not talk about Mandela's controversal past, but let's laugh at someone making a mockery of the sign language for the death at Mandela's funeral. Hyprocrites!

My daughter, who is deaf thought it was disrespectful to Mandela's funeral and to deaf people.
Message: Posted by: alexander_may (Dec 12, 2013 03:47AM)
I can't get my head around the utter disrespect shown to deaf people by our government. And that at the funeral of the great man who fought for equal treatment of all people. But then again, we have learned not to expect much anymore.

The government's spokesperson had only this to say: "The concerns regarding the interpreter have been noted." Knowing how things work, that interpreter will simply be back at the next event.
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Dec 12, 2013 03:55AM)
Alexander,

If I may go off topic what was the young guy before Zuma spoke yelling about?
I thought Cyril Ramaphosa was mighty annoyed with him but then towards the end everyone round the podium had a 'oh well he did his best sort of smile".
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 12, 2013 04:21AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 03:37, Danny Kazam wrote:
Let's not talk about Mandela's controversal past, but let's laugh at someone making a mockery of the sign language for the death at Mandela's funeral. Hyprocrites!


[/quote]

Judgmental much? You'd rather slur Mandela than laugh at the idiocy of the interpreter?

Point out the mote but ignore the log.
Message: Posted by: alexander_may (Dec 12, 2013 04:37AM)
Destiny - I think you are referring to the 'praise-singer' or imbongi. In traditional Xhosa culture the King has a full-time person in his court whose job it is to recite poetry and sing the praises if the king.

This has now been adopted to the modern culture, where such a praise-singer will perform at certain official ceremonies where the president appears. While it may appear that he is screaming and shouting like crazy, he was actually praising Mandela and reciting poetry about how great he was :)

While not everyone is a big fan of this, traditions are sacred in their culture and you simply have to endure it, like it seemed Ramaphosa did :)
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Dec 12, 2013 05:33AM)
Ah thanks for that Alexander - much more interesting now I understand - obviously they had a massive event to organise on short notice so those of us unfamiliar with the country and culture sort of had to make up our own explanations for things we didn't understand.

For a moment there I thought perhaps he'd done a Kanye and invaded the stage and no one knew what to do. :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 12, 2013 05:48AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-11 21:54, mastermindreader wrote:
Yes, but Saturday Night Live and the Today Show are two different beasts. After Miley Cyrus offended half the country, SNL immediately booked her as a host and she proceeded to do the same routine that caused the controversy in the first place.

I wonder if the deaf community was offended back in the days when Garrett Morris was doing the "closed captions" for the hearing impaired.
[/quote]

Now that was a seriously funny routine, but probably offensive in retro...
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 12, 2013 06:06AM)
Cool

http://sunsite.utk.edu/pisl/videos.html
Message: Posted by: gypsyfish (Dec 12, 2013 07:47AM)
Puts the FUN in funeral!

I still think he will turn out to be someone's (official's) cousin who got the job through nepotism.

Disrespectful, probably, but that's why it's funny. Good comedy is edgy. That said, I don't think he was taking the **** out of anyone, that he wasn't pulling a prank. I think he thought he was doing it for real (though there were moments he seemed confused). I wonder if it would have bothered Nelson Mandela. He seemed to have a sense of humor and didn't take himself seriously.
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 12, 2013 08:07AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 08:47, gypsyfish wrote:
I wonder if it would have bothered Nelson Mandela. He seemed to have a sense of humor and didn't take himself seriously.
[/quote]

That's true. He'd probably get a big kick out of that idiot up there screwing with all those stupid deaf people.
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 12, 2013 08:18AM)
[quote]

I'm starting to seriously consider the theory that this guy may just be a hired goon given what was supposed to be basically a no-show job in order to justify his paycheck for other activities.
[/quote]

This has been pretty much my thought from the very start. This guy didn't sneak into the event or anything. He was brought in to do that job. I'm not buying the whole schizophrenic episode "I saw angels" thing. No warring factions of deaf federations nonsense, or that he was doing a different form of the 5 million types of sign language out there. Come on. Someone gave this guy a job as an interpreter knowing full well he wasn't qualified. As alexander_may said, it's how things are often done. Had they not pulled this at an event of such magnitude, what few complaints they got about the guy would have been ignored. Like they have been doing until now.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Dec 12, 2013 08:50AM)
Bazinga, I'm with you. There is no 'excuse' for something like this.

Being disrespectful to the deaf, family, close love ones left behind, and heads of state that took part in the event
is not all that funny in my book. Sounds to me like even he thinks it was wrong since he is now trying to come up with an
medical excuse for doing it.

Still, I guess I would give him a fair opportunity to explain it, while out behind the woodshed.


Tom
Message: Posted by: Russell Davidson (Dec 12, 2013 08:58AM)
Take him out back, tie him up, flog him.

What's wrong with you people?
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 12, 2013 09:18AM)
Which one?
Message: Posted by: General_Magician (Dec 12, 2013 09:37AM)
In the news, the interpreter is claiming that he had a "schizophrenic episode:" http://news.yahoo.com/mandela-memorial-sign-language-interpreter-39-fraud-39-004855924.html

Now that is funny!
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Dec 12, 2013 10:38AM)
[quote]On 2013-12-12 09:50, TomBoleware wrote:
Bazinga, I'm with you. There is no 'excuse' for something like this.[/quote]
How about schizophrenia? Is that an excuse?

(I'm not saying I believe that his claim is true. But if it were, would it be explanation enough?)
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Dec 12, 2013 11:14AM)
Yes, if it turns out he is a mental health patient, that too would be no laughing matter.

Then, those who laughed may need to take his place behind the woodshed. :)


Tom
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 12, 2013 11:19AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 09:18, Marlin1894 wrote:
[quote]

I'm starting to seriously consider the theory that this guy may just be a hired goon given what was supposed to be basically a no-show job in order to justify his paycheck for other activities.
[/quote]

This has been pretty much my thought from the very start. This guy didn't sneak into the event or anything. He was brought in to do that job. I'm not buying the whole schizophrenic episode "I saw angels" thing. No warring factions of deaf federations nonsense, or that he was doing a different form of the 5 million types of sign language out there. Come on. Someone gave this guy a job as an interpreter knowing full well he wasn't qualified. As alexander_may said, it's how things are often done. Had they not pulled this at an event of such magnitude, what few complaints they got about the guy would have been ignored. Like they have been doing until now.
[/quote]

Guys, as I had stated earlier, this is the more likely scenario. Here's my original quote, in case you missed it:

"I'm inclined to go along with the theory that this "big speech sign language expert" is on the payroll. Unfortunately, when the South African government changed hands in 1984, many of the ANC henchmen were given positions of authority for which they were not qualified. Despite the obvious chaotic consequences, this practice still continues today."
Message: Posted by: Devious (Dec 12, 2013 11:22AM)
I just don't see how [i]Frogging[/i] is going to help in this situation?
[img]http://www.hutmansbeagles.com/images/frog/john_frog_7-16-02.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 12, 2013 11:30AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 12:19, arthur stead wrote:

Guys, as I had stated earlier, this is the more likely scenario. Here's my original quote, in case you missed it:

[/quote]

I know, I didn't miss it. I was the first person on this thread to say I have no doubt whatsoever that he's on someones payroll. Of course he is. The people responsible for using this guy didn't get tricked or anything like that. They will say now that they were, but that's nonsense.
Message: Posted by: Danny Kazam (Dec 12, 2013 03:22PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 12:14, TomBoleware wrote:
Yes, if it turns out he is a mental health patient, that too would be no laughing matter.

Then, those who laughed may need to take his place behind the woodshed. :)


Tom

[/quote]

I have to fully agree. I have worked as a special needs worker for both severely and mildly intellectually and physically challenged children, and have a daughter who was born deaf. Am I judgemental towards those who find humour in this? Darn right I am. Especially towards hyprocrites. However, I am glad to see most here have some morals.
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 12, 2013 03:40PM)
I think schizophrenia would be a very valid excuse but there is no way I'm even going entertain that notion in this case. Unless he's going to claim that he had a schizophrenic episode at the other events he worked where people complained about his non-existent sign language skills.

I mean come on. I heard in an interview yesterday that he claimed this was the sign for Uraguay.

[img]http://img819.imageshack.us/img819/1718/9tcc.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 12, 2013 05:53PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 16:22, Danny Kazam wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 12:14, TomBoleware wrote:
Yes, if it turns out he is a mental health patient, that too would be no laughing matter.

Then, those who laughed may need to take his place behind the woodshed. :)


Tom

[/quote]

I have to fully agree. I have worked as a special needs worker for both severely and mildly intellectually and physically challenged children, and have a daughter who was born deaf. Am I judgemental towards those who find humour in this? Darn right I am. Especially towards hyprocrites. However, I am glad to see most here have some morals.
[/quote]

You just love name-calling, don't you? Who the **** are you to suggest that others here don't have morals? Your pious pomposity sickens me.
Message: Posted by: critter (Dec 12, 2013 05:58PM)
I won't comment on the content but the alliteration is awesome.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 12, 2013 06:00PM)
Thanks, critter. Took me a while to come up with the right phrase.

BTW- Has anyone contacted Jay Leno and the other "immoral" comics who've been having a field day with this? For the humor impaired it should be pointed out that no one is making fun of the deaf, their making fun of what the guy did.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Dec 12, 2013 06:04PM)
If Obama had a son.......
Message: Posted by: Danny Kazam (Dec 12, 2013 06:38PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 18:53, mastermindreader wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 16:22, Danny Kazam wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 12:14, TomBoleware wrote:
Yes, if it turns out he is a mental health patient, that too would be no laughing matter.

Then, those who laughed may need to take his place behind the woodshed. :)


Tom

[/quote]

I have to fully agree. I have worked as a special needs worker for both severely and mildly intellectually and physically challenged children, and have a daughter who was born deaf. Am I judgemental towards those who find humour in this? Darn right I am. Especially towards hyprocrites. However, I am glad to see most here have some morals.
[/quote]

You just love name-calling, don't you? Who the **** are you to suggest that others here don't have morals? Your pious pomposity sickens me.
[/quote]

I said I was glad to see most people here still have morals. You sir on the other hand like to put words into others posts and make it personally. You like to project a lot, and if you are willing to dish it out, at least be willing to except the same. Sounds like I hurt a nerve. Good. Lol.

Continue to project. I am now enjoying your uneasiness. Karma is a !@#$%. :)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 12, 2013 07:04PM)
Sorry Danny. I read minds, I don't improve them.

You've called people here hypocrites and immoral. And that's just a fact.
Message: Posted by: Danny Kazam (Dec 12, 2013 08:43PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 20:04, mastermindreader wrote:
Sorry Danny. I read minds, I don't improve them.

You've called people here hypocrites and immoral. And that's just a fact.
[/quote]

You are obviously terrible at reading minds then. Lol

You should of figured out by now I was referring to just one person. And, considering only one person has directly responded to my post, you should have a good idea of who that person is. Well...at least your conscious knows who I was referring to. Conviction can sometimes be enough to lure the snake out from it's hole. :)
Message: Posted by: landmark (Dec 13, 2013 06:22AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 19:04, Kevin Connolly wrote:
If Obama had a son.......
[/quote]
... he would have learned lessons of courage and conviction from Mandela? I certainly hope so. Thanks for the thought.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 13, 2013 07:53AM)
And maybe the secret Masonic handshake.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Dec 13, 2013 09:28AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 07:22, landmark wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 19:04, Kevin Connolly wrote:
If Obama had a son.......
[/quote]
... he would have learned lessons of courage and conviction from Mandela? I certainly hope so. Thanks for the thought.
[/quote]

Or like Sammy the Signer facing murders charges or be on the US terrorist list. Your call. Either way, thankfully the World won't have to be subjected to a Barry JR.
Message: Posted by: critter (Dec 13, 2013 09:38AM)
The guy conned his way into being a fake interpreter to world leaders, do we not think the schizophrenia defense might also be a con? The guy is a pro.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 13, 2013 10:24AM)
I think it is very bad. Disrespectful yes but from a security point of view how lucky was it this was a jester and not a nut job?

SO many heads of state so close. Our own president. The lack of vetting by whomever is criminal! Our president deserves much better when he travels.
Message: Posted by: Slide (Dec 13, 2013 10:56AM)
Agreed Danny. It was an incredible lack of security. I personally don't find it funny. I find it scary as hell that at an event with so many world leaders, that someone like this could have been inches away from them. What if he had been carrying a bomb.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 13, 2013 10:59AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 21:43, Danny Kazam wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 20:04, mastermindreader wrote:
Sorry Danny. I read minds, I don't improve them.

You've called people here hypocrites and immoral. And that's just a fact.
[/quote]

You are obviously terrible at reading minds then. Lol

You should of figured out by now I was referring to just one person. And, considering only one person has directly responded to my post, you should have a good idea of who that person is. Well...at least your conscious knows who I was referring to. Conviction can sometimes be enough to lure the snake out from it's hole. :)
[/quote]
Whatever. And I guess you know who I was referring to when I mentioned the humor impaired. Have you considered that show business might not be your best career path?
Message: Posted by: Devious (Dec 13, 2013 11:04AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 11:56, Slide wrote:
Agreed Danny. It was an incredible lack of security. I personally don't find it funny. I find it scary as hell that at an event with so many world leaders, that someone like this could have been inches away from them. What if he had been carrying a bomb.
[/quote]

This is exactly what I found disturbing as well.
Everyone please play nice, for it's friday and life's
too short, Woot-Woot!
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 13, 2013 11:08AM)
Yes. That was indeed the most disturbing thing about the incident. But, like I said, the comics are having a field day with it nonetheless. I love how Jay Leno had the video manipulated so it looked like the guy was making balloon animals while the President was speaking.

But you're right, Devious. I shouldn't have bothered responding to the guy, so in the future I won't.
Message: Posted by: Danny Kazam (Dec 13, 2013 11:45AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 11:59, mastermindreader wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 21:43, Danny Kazam wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 20:04, mastermindreader wrote:
Sorry Danny. I read minds, I don't improve them.

You've called people here hypocrites and immoral. And that's just a fact.
[/quote]

You are obviously terrible at reading minds then. Lol

You should of figured out by now I was referring to just one person. And, considering only one person has directly responded to my post, you should have a good idea of who that person is. Well...at least your conscious knows who I was referring to. Conviction can sometimes be enough to lure the snake out from it's hole. :)
[/quote]
Whatever. And I guess you know who I was referring to when I mentioned the humor impaired. Have you considered that show business might not be your best career path?
[/quote]

I make a pretty good living at it. :)

I always play nice, but throw a stone at me and I will throw one back.

Danny, I never thought about the security issue, but that is also very disturbing. Good thing nothing happened and a lesson can be learned from this hopefully.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 13, 2013 11:50AM)
Pretty much like I will always respond when called an immoral hypocrite. But why don't we just start over again, as it seems like we may have gotten off on the wrong foot?
Message: Posted by: Devious (Dec 13, 2013 12:05PM)
[img]http://content.presentermedia.com/files/animsp/00000000/207/politician_animals_shaking_hands_md_wm.gif[/img]
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 13, 2013 12:07PM)
Yes most disturbing. I can't sleep at night worrying about the safety of our leaders. He might have been a karate expert doing his warm up exercise for all we know.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Dec 13, 2013 12:19PM)
As some others have stated, he probably was someone's nephew put on the payroll in some little payoff deal. He was known. Not a security risk.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Dec 13, 2013 12:24PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 13:19, landmark wrote:
As some others have stated, he probably was someone's nephew put on the payroll in some little payoff deal. He was known. Not a security risk.
[/quote]

Well, he was probably known and probably had security clearance. I expect that the nations attending will perform an audit of both themselves and the hosts on the issue of security clearance for workers and volunteers.

Let's hope that nepotistic hiring of an incompetent is the extent of the problem.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Dec 13, 2013 12:27PM)
It does make you wonder about security. But most likely our government left something like hiring him entirely up to the host.
Critter may be right, he is a local con man that got caught and now he is conning his way out. That's seems to be the normal
nowadays when you get caught, play crazy and get a lawyer.


I still say take him to the woodshed and find out the real story. :)

Tom
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 13, 2013 12:31PM)
What's with you and the woodshed, Tom? :eek: (That's where we used to go to sneak cigarettes and beer.)
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 13, 2013 12:32PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 13:19, landmark wrote:
As some others have stated, he probably was someone's nephew put on the payroll in some little payoff deal. He was known. Not a security risk.
[/quote]

That gets my vote. The government will now do everything in their power to distance themselves from this issue. No one will be blamed ... unless there's a scapegoat from an opposing political party, or someone who has lost favor with Zuma ...

It's very interesting to note that the agency which hired and vetted this guy has completely vanished.
Message: Posted by: Pecan_Creek (Dec 13, 2013 12:40PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 13:27, TomBoleware wrote:
It does make you wonder about security. But most likely our government left something like hiring him entirely up to the host.
Critter may be right, he is a local con man that got caught and now he is conning his way out. That's seems to be the normal
nowadays when you get caught, play crazy and get a lawyer.


I still say take him to the woodshed and find out the real story. :)

Tom
[/quote]

So?...

Who's your lawyer?




That was too easy!!!
Message: Posted by: Slide (Dec 13, 2013 12:42PM)
"I still say take him to the woodshed and find out the real story."

Is that a pseudonym of water boarding?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 13, 2013 12:43PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 13:19, landmark wrote:
As some others have stated, he probably was someone's nephew put on the payroll in some little payoff deal. He was known. Not a security risk.
[/quote]

With all due respec this post shows how little you know of personal protection. Much less that of our leaders.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Dec 13, 2013 12:44PM)
That's (woodshed) where they keep the hickory sticks, the old fashion lie detector.



I can't believe you people haven't been threatened with a whipping and understand how easy it is to get answers.

Tom
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 13, 2013 01:08PM)
"According to South African news network eNCA, Thamsanqa Jantjie has “faced rape (1994), theft (1995), housebreaking (1997), malicious damage to property (1998), murder, attempted murder and kidnapping (2003) charges.” Despite his record, the station said it was not clear whether Jantjie has ever served time in prison, as “many of the charges brought against him were dropped, [i]allegedly[/i] because he was mentally unfit to stand trial.” [b]Even more bizarrely, it was not clear whether the murder charge against Jantjie from 2003 was ever properly resolved because the court file against him is “mysteriously empty,” eNCA reported."[/b]



Welcome to South Africa.
Message: Posted by: Slide (Dec 13, 2013 01:11PM)
"
I can't believe you people haven't been threatened with a whipping and understand how easy it is to get answers."

Off topic but: I never has threatened with a beating from a hickory stick from my parents and I certainly never threatened my kids. I would hope that any parent that threatened their children with a beating from a hickory stick would be arrested and the key thrown away.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 13, 2013 01:22PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 14:08, Marlin1894 wrote:
"According to South African news network eNCA, Thamsanqa Jantjie has “faced rape (1994), theft (1995), housebreaking (1997), malicious damage to property (1998), murder, attempted murder and kidnapping (2003) charges.” Despite his record, the station said it was not clear whether Jantjie has ever served time in prison, as “many of the charges brought against him were dropped, [i]allegedly[/i] because he was mentally unfit to stand trial.” [b]Even more bizarrely, it was not clear whether the murder charge against Jantjie from 2003 was ever properly resolved because the court file against him is “mysteriously empty,” eNCA reported."[/b]




Welcome to South Africa.
[/quote]

Further proof of either nepotism or ANC membership protection.
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 13, 2013 01:35PM)
[quote]

Further proof of either nepotism or ANC membership protection.
[/quote]

No doubt about it. For whatever progress SA had made over the years, it still a pretty screwed up place. If you try to view it through a prism of the way things are done in America, for instance, you could never understand it.
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 13, 2013 01:37PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 13:42, Slide wrote:
"I still say take him to the woodshed and find out the real story."

Is that a pseudonym of water boarding?
[/quote]

Definitely not a pseudonym. Possibly a euphemism.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Dec 13, 2013 01:38PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 14:11, Slide wrote:
"
I can't believe you people haven't been threatened with a whipping and understand how easy it is to get answers."

Off topic but: I never has threatened with a beating from a hickory stick from my parents and I certainly never threatened my kids. I would hope that any parent that threatened their children with a beating from a hickory stick would be arrested and the key thrown away.
[/quote]

Maybe that's your problem Slide. :)

Slide, I've never had a beaten either, but my parents did keep us in line and there is no question in my mind that had I needed it they would have spanked me. Spanked me hard and I mean real hard. I had no problem with those rules and even today, I appreciate how they handled things. That was the normal way to do things back then.

But yes times are different now and we have learned over time there are better ways. And for the record, I never spanked my kids, and would never spank one now.

Still, sometimes I do wonder if going back to the old ways might not be a bad idea for some.

No I'm not suggesting people should beat their kids, I'm simply saying some people today needs the crap beat out of them. :)

Tom
Message: Posted by: landmark (Dec 13, 2013 04:07PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 14:35, Marlin1894 wrote:
[quote]

Further proof of either nepotism or ANC membership protection.
[/quote]

No doubt about it. For whatever progress SA had made over the years, it still a pretty screwed up place. If you try to view it through a prism of the way things are done in America, for instance, you could never understand it.
[/quote]
I think you severely underestimate the level of nepotism, bribery, and corruption in the United States. But you may be right, that we are more discreet about it.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 13, 2013 04:11PM)
I thought nepotism was a great American tradition.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 13, 2013 04:16PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 14:38, TomBoleware wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 14:11, Slide wrote:
"
I can't believe you people haven't been threatened with a whipping and understand how easy it is to get answers."

Off topic but: I never has threatened with a beating from a hickory stick from my parents and I certainly never threatened my kids. I would hope that any parent that threatened their children with a beating from a hickory stick would be arrested and the key thrown away.
[/quote]

Maybe that's your problem Slide. :)

Slide, I've never had a beaten either, but my parents did keep us in line and there is no question in my mind that had I needed it they would have spanked me. Spanked me hard and I mean real hard. I had no problem with those rules and even today, I appreciate how they handled things. That was the normal way to do things back then.

But yes times are different now and we have learned over time there are better ways. And for the record, I never spanked my kids, and would never spank one now.

Still, sometimes I do wonder if going back to the old ways might not be a bad idea for some.

No I'm not suggesting people should beat their kids, I'm simply saying some people today needs the crap beat out of them. :)

Tom
[/quote]

When I was a kid and behaved really badly, my father beat me severely with a leather whip. And at my school, in the 50's and 60's we had corporal punishment. So teachers used to smack our behinds with anything from a rope to a tree twig, to a real cane. Since I was always a rebel and liked to push the limits, I was punished in this way by my teachers on an almost daily basis. For really serious transgressions, students were sent to the principal's office to receive "six of the best" from his choice of several bamboo canes.

And look how I turned out! LOL.
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Dec 13, 2013 04:53PM)
Among those most offended that the interpreter got there based on nepotism, friendships or family connections were Raul Castro, Crown Prince Naruhito, Hamid Karzai, George Bush, King Phillipe, Queen Rania, Prince Moulay Rachid, Sonjia Ghandi, Crown Prince Haakon, Prince Felipe and Princess Victoria.

Kim Jung-un would have been there but he was busy eradicating nepotism at home.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Dec 13, 2013 04:56PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 17:53, Destiny wrote:
Among those most offended that the interpreter got there based on nepotism, friendships or family connections were Raul Castro, Crown Prince Naruhito, Hamid Karzai, George Bush, King Phillipe, Queen Rania, Prince Moulay Rachid, Sonjia Ghandi, Crown Prince Haakon, Prince Felipe and Princess Victoria.

Kim Jung-un would have been there but he was busy eradicating nepotism at home.
[/quote]

Ouch!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 13, 2013 07:06PM)
We never had corporal punishment. Always by someone who had acheived the rank of sergeant or higher.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 13, 2013 07:30PM)
:)

I had 12 strokes of the birch more than half century ago - like you see in IF - but it's something you never forget.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Dec 13, 2013 08:10PM)
Arthur, that reminds me of the one time I went to the school office. I must of been about 8 or 9 years old. The principle opened a filing cabinet and pulled out his huge paddle. That thing felt like it weighed 20 pounds. He had me hold it, feel it, and imagine how bad it was going to hurt. He explained in detail why he had drilled holes in it. Then he gave me one more chance and that was all I needed. I was out of there and never went back. :)

Tom
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Dec 13, 2013 09:08PM)
My 6th grade teacher called his "The Brown Hornet" and after a person got stung by it they had to sign it. It was covered with so many names they were written on top of each other. He kept it hanging on the wall near his desk. The punished one had to pray for God's forgiveness afterward too.

Bazinga!
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 13, 2013 09:25PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 17:11, mastermindreader wrote:
I thought nepotism was a great American tradition.
[/quote]

Is that a code word for covering up child abuse within ones own family?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 13, 2013 10:03PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 22:25, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-13 17:11, mastermindreader wrote:
I thought nepotism was a great American tradition.
[/quote]

Is that a code word for covering up child abuse within ones own family?
[/quote]

Pardon me, but would you mind explaining whatever it is you mean by that? That's got to be one of the strangest responses I've seen from you.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 14, 2013 06:25AM)
Nepotism: Originally, privileges granted to a pope's "nephew" which was a euphemism for his natural son.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nepotism+?s=t


I can't see any resemblance, can you?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 14, 2013 09:23AM)
No. Simply because that's not what the word means today. And besides, in the old meaning, it was not a euphemism for child abuse.

Quite the opposite, actually.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 14, 2013 09:47AM)
Actually I was not adressing your question Bob. Jon is not my name and Jon can answer for himself.

I guess I could take a guess at what Jon means though, and don't know what Jon means, but just to take a guess, I would say Jon means it to be taken as a joke.
Message: Posted by: gypsyfish (Dec 15, 2013 02:41AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 09:07, Marlin1894 wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 08:47, gypsyfish wrote:
I wonder if it would have bothered Nelson Mandela. He seemed to have a sense of humor and didn't take himself seriously.
[/quote]

That's true. He'd probably get a big kick out of that idiot up there screwing with all those stupid deaf people.
[/quote]

Do you reckon that his plan was 'screwing with all those stupid deaf people?' And I hope that Mandela would laugh at the absurdity of it.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 15, 2013 03:01AM)
If Obama had spoke metaphorically would they have needed someone to do sign language?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 15, 2013 11:28AM)
As I anticipated, Saturday Night Live had a field day with this last night. (The interpreter did some interesting dancing as well.)

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/12/15/obama-gets-the-fake-sign-language-interpreter-treatment-on-snl/

It was really pretty funny.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 15, 2013 03:03PM)
Saw it today ... really funny!

Here's a satirical article about the whole sorry affair:

FUNERAL SPICE

Relish the accidental comedy in a humorless world. By Mark Steyn.


"I don’t want to be emotional but this is one of the greatest moments of my life,” declared Nelson Mandela upon meeting the Spice Girls in 1997. So I like to think he would have appreciated the livelier aspects of his funeral observances. The Prince of Wales, who was also present on that occasion in Johannesburg, agreed with Mandela on the significance of their summit with the girls: “It is the second-greatest moment in my life,” he said. “The greatest was when I met them the first time.” His Royal Highness and at least two Spice Girls (reports are unclear) attended this week’s service in Soweto, and I’m sure it was at least the third-greatest moment in all of their lives. Don’t ask me where the other Spice Girls were. It is a melancholy reflection that the Spice Girls’ delegation was half the size of Canada’s, which flew in no fewer than four Canadian prime ministers, which is rather more Canadian prime ministers than one normally needs to make the party go with a swing.

But the star of the show was undoubtedly Thamsanqa Jantjie, the sign-language interpreter who stood alongside the world’s leaders and translated their eulogies for the deaf. Unfortunately, he translated them into total gibberish, reduced by the time of President Obama’s appearance to making random hand gestures, as who has not felt the urge to do during the great man’s speeches. Mr. Jantjie has now pleaded in mitigation that he was having a sudden hallucination because he is a violent schizophrenic. It has not been established whether he is, in fact, a violent schizophrenic, or, as with his claim to be a sign-language interpreter, merely purporting to be one. Asked how often he has been violent, he replied, somewhat cryptically, “A lot.”

Still, South African officials are furiously pointing fingers (appropriately enough) to account for how he wound up onstage. “I do not think he was just picked up off the street. He was from a school for the deaf,” Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the Deputy Minister for Persons with Disability, assured the press. But the Deaf Federation of South Africa said it had previously complained about his nonsensical signing after an event last year. Mr. Jantjie was paid a grand total of $85 for his simultaneous translation of the speeches of the U.N. secretary-general, six presidents, the head of the African Union, and a dozen other dignitaries. Ms. Bogopane-Zulu notes that the going rate for signing in South Africa is $125 to $165. So she thinks a junior official may simply have awarded the contract to the lowest bid.

That would never happen in Washington, of course. But how heartening, as one watches the viral video of Obama droning on while a mere foot and a half away Mr. Jantjie rubs his belly and tickles his ear, to think that the White House’s usual money-no-object security operation went to the trouble of flying in Air Force One, plus the “decoy” Air Force One, plus support aircraft, plus the 120-vehicle motorcade or whatever it’s up to by now, plus a bazillion Secret Service agents with reflector shades and telephone wire dangling from their ears, to shepherd POTUS into the secured venue and then stand him onstage next to an $85-a-day violent schizophrenic. In the movie version—In the Sign of Fire—grizzled maverick Clint Eastwood will be the only guy to figure it out at the last minute and hurl himself at John Malkovich, as they roll into the orchestra pit with Malkovich furiously signing “Ow!” and “Eek!” But in real life I expect they’ll just double the motorcade to 240 vehicles and order up even more expensive reflector shades.

Also pondering security issues was Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He returned home from the service to find that, while he’d been out hailing Mandela as the father of the new South Africa, his house had been burgled. One suspects that Mr. Mandela, for whom a little of the garrulous archbishop went an awful long way, would have enjoyed this rather more than he ought. Speaking of enjoying themselves, back in the VIP seats President Obama, Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and British prime minister David Cameron carried on like Harry, Hermione, and Ron snogging in the back row during the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup presentation. As the three leaders demonstrated their hands-on approach, Michelle Obama glowered straight ahead, as stony and merciless as the 15-foot statue of apartheid architect Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd that once stood guard outside the government offices of the Orange Free State. Eventually, weary of the trilateral smooching, the first lady switched seats and inserted herself between Barack and the vivacious Helle. How poignant that, on a day to celebrate the post-racial South Africa, the handsome young black man should have to be forcibly segregated from the cool Aryan blonde. For all the progress, as Obama himself pointed out, “our work is not yet done.”

Amidst all the jollity, one man was taking things awfully seriously. Ted Cruz ducked out of the service when Raúl Castro rose to speak. I confess I’m not quite sure about the etiquette of walking out during a funeral. Unlike Senator Cruz, whom I doubt Mandela had even heard of, the Castros were old friends. It seems a little churlish to show up at the funeral of a longtime Communist and complain that they’ve booked the president of Cuba. It would be like attending Obama’s funeral and complaining that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright is officiating and Bill Ayers is singing “How Great Thou Art.” Surely Cruz could have done what Obama and Cameron did during the longueurs and found a Scandinavian prime minister to make out with.

Alas, far from the face-pulling selfies, Mandela jokes are no laughing matter. Simon Amstell (who appears to be a comedian in the same sense that Thamsanqa Jantjie is a sign-language interpreter) visited BBC Radio and quipped that “it’s so white in here Mandela would not approve.” Shortly thereafter, the host apologized on air lest anyone was offended. Which they were, because Mr. Amstell himself subsequently apologized on Twitter. Neil Phillips did not get off so lightly. During the final stages of the African leader’s slowly deteriorating health, Mr. Phillips, who runs the Crumbs sandwich shop in the English town of Rugeley, had gone online and complained: “My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.” The Staffordshire constabulary arrested him, seized his computers, and in the course of an eight-hour detention fingerprinted and DNA-swabbed him.

“There are no jokes in Islam,” Ayatollah Khomeini sternly warned, and that’s true even for its “moderate” redoubts, where Shez Cassim, a U.S. citizen from Minnesota, has languished in a Dubai jail cell since April for making a video mildly parodic of United Arab Emirates youth. But, as Mr. Phillips discovered, there are fewer jokes outside Islam, too. Once upon a time, it was Communist Eastern Europe that policed gags, as captured in Milan Kundera’s first great novel. Now even in free societies an infelicitous jest can lead to a rap sheet. In such a world, we should treasure the hilarity of the Mandela service. “Nelson Mandela stood for freedom,” his successor Jacob Zuma said. “He wanted everyone to be free.” Unfortunately, some of the crowd booed Zuma, so he’s now having them investigated for embarrassing him.

Still, let’s take him at his word: Mandela wanted everyone to be free. Free to sign-translate the U.N. secretary-general’s speech into total codswallop. Free to cop a feel from the Danish prime minister. And free, for all the loftiness of the forgettable rhetoric, to relish the low comedy all around it.
Message: Posted by: Devious (Dec 15, 2013 07:19PM)
Either he has an accent in his sign language or he is
The signals coach for the Houston Texans.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 16, 2013 09:30AM)
Thank you, Arthur- great read!
Message: Posted by: alexander_may (Dec 19, 2013 02:13AM)
The now infamous sign language interpreter has been admitted to psychiatric hospital:

http://www.enca.com/south-africa/interpreter-psychiatric-hospital
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 19, 2013 02:50AM)
What were the first signs of madness?
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 19, 2013 12:22PM)
Curious to know: Has Jantjie ever described the angels he saw, or elaborated on the vision he experienced during his "hallucination"? Also, when he then continued signing, was it for the benefit of these extraterrestrial beings?
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Dec 19, 2013 04:33PM)
He was talking in tongues, but with his hands.