The Herald Sun decides to mock a bereaved son for paraphrasing song lyrics in a tribute to his dead mother, just because that son happens to be a convicted murderer. Would any other person who used a line from a song or poem in a death notice be accused of “ripping off” the artist? Isn’t using such lines from songs and poems in death notices in fact so commonplace that it shouldn’t be worth mentioning, unless it is to score a cheap point about how gauche it is to use lines from a pop song instead of from the literary canon (as if they wouldn’t have mocked him for presumption if he’d quoted Keats or Shakespeare)?
The “rips off Celine Dion” headline may be down to a sub-editor, but article author Paul Anderson felt compelled to make the point that Barbara Williams, mother of Carl Williams, used “cheap” champagne to wash down the medication that caused her death. Again, if she’d been drinking Dom Perignon he’d almost certainly be making an issue out of that as well. No wonder this paper is nicknamed “the Hun”.
The various emotional arguments that Carl Williams doesn’t “deserve” to go to his mother’s funeral because of his own murderous acts fail on logical grounds. Sure, the man is an incredibly unsympathetic figure due to his ruthless killings. However, if criminals generally are given leave to attend the funerals of family members, as I believe they are, then Williams too should be allowed to attend his mother’s funeral.
Capricious exceptions to general rules based on emotional outcries are not the hallmark of a society that respects the rule of law. People owe it to themselves to be better than this.