Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Magnum Opus of Sorts

Given that Brent Bozell has spent decades whining about the mass media, you'd think he would be better at it by now:

The network Comedy Central has made laughing at religion its bread and butter. Their irreverence has limits, however, and it has nothing to do with taste. When radical Muslims wrote ominously online that the creators of "South Park" could end up like Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh - shot eight times on the street - mockery of Muhammed was formally and publicly censored. [emphasis mine]
Um, what Comedy Central did was self-censorship -- craven, weak, disgraceful, in-house, but not "formal" and only barely "public." It became known to the public only because the creators of South Park fought it out with the network and made it public. "Formal," by contrast, is a qualifier best applied to the kind of censorship where a government entity does the censorship. Is it too much to ask Bozell to achieve clarity on exactly which kind of censorship he's advocating? Yes. Yes it is too much to ask.

Bozell blunders forth:
Within weeks of that very public retreat, Comedy Central announced plans to work up a series laughing at Jesus Christ called "JC," a half-hour animated show about Jesus trying to live a normal life in New York City to escape the "enormous shadow" of his "powerful but apathetic father." God the Father is preoccupied with playing video games while Christ is the "ultimate fish out of water."
Meh. It sounds like a promising premise for a couple of episodes of South Park, but I've been wrong before. Maybe it will be the most smashing comedic and ratings success since Mind of Mencia or that episode of Scrubs they've played over 6,000 times -- you know, all of them.

Bozell's red-faced outrage carries him next to matters usually left to professionals:
Beyond the glaring double standard there is this question: Where is the market demand for an entire television series dedicated to attacks on Jesus Christ?
Hmm. Where is such a market demand? Does Brent Bozell know something that Comedy Central's marketing department doesn't? If so, Bozell has at least two obvious options, neither of which is writing a whiny column: share the market research, and thereby stop the show and solve the "problem" that has him so agitated; or withhold the market research, stand back, and snicker as Comedy Central pours resources into another flop, and learns precisely the lesson Bozell seems to want to seem to want them to learn, namely, that depicting Jeebus in an unflattering way -- a player of video games! Oh dear me! -- will lose money.

But that's not how Brent Bozell rolls. He rolls by whining:
Enough is enough. Citizens Against Religious Bigotry, a coalition of some 20 organizations and leaders, some Christian, some Jewish and some secular, in all representing millions of Americans, has come together ... [emphasis mine]
Hold on there, BB. Bigotry? Where's the bigotry? Irreverence, sure. Misjudgment of its desired audience, perhaps. Heresy -- well, yes, it would have been so called in a bygone age. If there is bigotry afoot -- sweeping, unfair, overbroad characterizations of large numbers of people -- Bozell was too drunk on rage-ahol to type it in.

If he ever retires from whatever his job is supposed to be, Brent Bozell should look back on this column as a distillation of everything he ever brought to the world. I know, I know -- that's harsh.

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