England Is Now Safe For Irony

A "landmark" court ruling in the UK means that it is now legal to make jokes there (without having to pay millions in defamation damages). Jokes about Elton John, especially.

Elton, a touchy man, sued the Guardian over a satirical piece making fun of him. He did this because libel laws in the UK are absolutely bananas, and if you print anything bad about anybody you will be sued, to death. But in a stunning reversal of tradition, Elton lost!

In a groundbreaking libel decision, the judge said that "irony" and "teasing" do not amount to defamation. The ruling offers protection to writers of satirical articles clearly not meant to be taken seriously and was welcomed last night by media lawyers and journalists.

The Guardian was awarded costs and the singer, who brought the action, was refused leave to appeal by Mr Justice Tugendhat. John's legal team indicated that he might now seek leave to appeal.

I hear Elton John and The Queen wear dirty knickers! USA! [Guardian UK; pic via]