Smackdown in Indonesia

Earlier in the year it was pawn. Butts, navels and midriff. Playboy was evil. And the Indonesian parliament (DPR) was discussing a bill which would outlaw the Javanese kebaya and stop foreigners from sunbathing in Kuta.

But all that’s now been forgotten. And Playboy sales are probably a fraction of what they were now that they don’t get the free publicity courtesy of the radicals.

So what’s taken pawn’s place as the new scourge of society?

Wrestling! Or Smackdown! to be more specific.

And yesterday the authorities took the decision to ban the show for good:

An Indonesian TV station has stopped airing professional wrestling after a demand by the country's broadcasting commission, company officials said on Thursday, amid a probe into the death of a 9-year-old boy.

The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission said late on Wednesday that a popular U.S. wrestling television show, SmackDown, should be banned as authorities looked into the death of a boy who died after playing with friends who mimicked the fighters' moves.

The official cause of the boy's death has not yet been determined, but he suffered blows to his body in October and died a month later.

This whole thing reminds me of that chapter in Freakonomics in which Steven Levitt points out that in America most parents would be far happier if their kids played in a house which had a swimming pool rather than in a house in which the owner had a gun. Even though a swimming pool is 100 times more likely to kill a kid than a gun.

I can’t be bothered to dig out the stats now, but I wonder how many kids in the last month or so have either fallen off a motorcycle, broken a bone playing football, swallowed a dangerous toy and choked to death, been electrocuted, been blown up by a gas explosion in the kitchen or overdosed on some medicines that should have been locked away?

But people don’t wanna know that. So ban Smackdown.

SBY isn’t too pleased though. At his recent meeting with Bush in Bogor he told the US President that the show had given him an idea or two about how to resolve some of his domestic problems. Without getting his hands dirty…


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