Rights of Fictional Characters to be Enshrined in Law

Rights of Fictional Characters to be Enshrined in Law

The days when you can freely abuse Oliver Twist or harass Mr Tumnus from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe may soon be drawing to an end as a campaign to protect the rights of fictional characters gathers momentum. Victor Crosby, MP for Accrington, has tabled a private members' bill that will make being fictional a protected characteristic, meaning that all imaginary, fabricated and made-up persons will be safeguarded from suffering abuse or detriment because of their non-real status.

Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist

The proposal has a gathered a great deal of support from people both within and outside the fictional community. Professor James Moriarty, president of the Amalgamated Union of Literary Villains, says that it is high time that the difficulties that fictional people face on a day-to-day basis are recognised. "For too long now my members have had to bear the brunt of a lot of ignorant, ill-informed invective just because they have, in the course of their fictitious endeavours, tried to despatch good guys, sow the seeds of havoc or take over the world. Such persecution is simply not fair and, if I may say so, it is also tremendously ironic to be mistreated in real life because of maltreatment that you yourself have only carried out in fantasy."

Peppa Pig is frequently denied entry to nightclubs.

It is not only villains that have to suffer derision and insult. Little Nell, Dickens' famous dead orphan from The Old Curiosity Shop, is practically a recluse these days, unable even to visit the corner shop because of the jeers and taunts prompted by her overly sentimental demise. Peppa Pig is frequently denied entry to nightclubs on the spurious grounds that she is animated and therefore a fire risk. And Ian Beale, from the popular BBC soap The EastEnders, struggles to book hotel rooms in his own name because he is constantly being confused with Adam Woodyatt, the actor who plays him.

The EastEnders

The EastEnders

Debate has taken place over whether the bill should also cover fictional animals, with consensus emerging that only anthropomorphised characters need be included. However, there are some vocal opponents who question the need for the legislation at all.

Jumbo Whiffy.

"As far as I am aware, it is not possible for fictional characters to feel offended," claims Jumbo Whiffy, who has been highly critical from the start. "That's been scientifically proven, that has. I can't quote the actual science, but I'm sure I read it somewhere. The point is that if these characters aren't real then, by extension, nothing that happens to them is real and we are ok to discount their opinions. That's my opinion, anyway."

Since Jumbo Whiffy is a minor character from a 1987 episode of Filthy, Rich and Catflap, this probably means we can discount his opinion also.

 

 

Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2022
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