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Kentaro Kobayashi, the director of the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, was fired abruptly, just as the Games began, for making a really ugly joke about the Holocaust — in the 1990s. It was an indefensibly awful joke, in which he said, “Let’s play Holocaust!” and pretended to be cutting up paper figures of people with a pair of scissors. It’s one of those forms of humour that professional comedians defend as being so entirely offensive as to undermine any notion they should be taken seriously. It was also part of an act during a comedy show 23 years ago, when Kobayashi was 25 and part of a comedy duo looking to make a name for itself. It’s no secret that striving young comics can say some pretty ignorant stuff as they sort out what’s allowable and what isn’t. He’s apologized, but no matter. He’s out. Shouldn’t have been so dumb 23 years ago, Kentaro. Who are you to make mistakes? Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin is also pondering the ruins of his name, reputation and career as he seeks to defend himself against an allegation dating back more than 30 years, to a time when Fortin was a student at the Royal Military College in Saint-Jean, Que.

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