Belfast Telegraph

Mermaids and free beer ...that's my kind of place

By Robert McNeill

Many leading citizens laugh at the world's nutty countries, but is this really fair? Take that pearl among the pillocks, Iran.

"Oh no," you say. "What have they done now?"

They've only gone and banned The Simpsons, that's what.

Dolls of the controversial cartoon characters have incurred the wrath of the famously hot country's sinister Department for Banning Stuff (DBS). In this, they have my support.

The pathetically anglophiliac, Scotland-hating show has been spreading its evil vision of alcohol-soaked depravity for far too long, and needs now - if I may borrow the words of Karl Marx - to be dumped into the dustbin of comedy. The leading female's hairstyle is also clearly unrealistic.

That much we can all agree on. But there's more good news from the desert-based, Islamic loonocracy. The DBS has given an unveiled thumbs-up to US comic-book heroes Superman and Spiderman, with a leading spokesnutter ululating: "They help oppressed people and have a positive stance."

This is, broadly speaking, correct. The spokesdude slightly spoiled things by adding that any doll on which genitals are distinguishable would also be banned. They've always got to bring genitals into it, haven't they?

But leaving these to one side the news about Superman and Spiderman being acceptable is most welcome.

I can't see Captain America getting the all-clear having said that, but hey, one step at a time, sweet Jesus, or whoever.

If Iran was showing signs of progress, there was a similar outbreak of common sense in its zany partner, Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabweans haven't had an easy time of it, with their leader having ascended long ago to the lunar regions and their economy an even bigger crock than Britain's.

However, a minister in the controversial - and hot - African country's government has discovered the cause of the nation's distress: mermaids.

No kidding. Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the Minister for Fictional Explanations, told a parliamentary committee that mermaids had been hounding workers away from essential work on the country's reservoirs. Workers had refused to return to the site, and Mr Nkomo said the only way to solve the problem was to brew traditional beer and perform rites to appease the mischievous sea-based nymphs.

To sum up, male workers on the reservoirs have been imagining topless burdz and are demanding beer. I think I see a plan at work here. It all makes perfect sense, and is being treated with the utmost gravity in the heat-afflicted republic.

Another minister - Mr Ignatius Chombo - has promised the beer will be brewed and the rituals performed. How wonderful is that? A government that actually listens to its workers and gives them what it wants.

In this country, if you said you weren't going to work any more unless you got beer and a ritual involving topless burdz, your P45 would be in your mitts before you could shout "Mermaid!"

Iran and Zimbabwe are making giant strides. Once besmirched, along with North Korea, as part of an Axis of Evil, they now offer beacons of sanity to oppressed people hither and arguably yon.

With North Korea about to let its citizens have light bulbs again, a new Axis of Good is being born, one that we can all look towards for inspiration, imagination, and downright, rootin'-tootin', loonoramic, phantasmagorical comedy. Whoopee!

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