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For many people residing in the moral universe of liberalism, speech is more important than behavior. The old adages that are self-evidently true, as “actions speak louder than words” and “talk is cheap” mean little to those critics whose self-appointed purpose in life is to perpetually claim offense at the latest failure to adhere to the ever evolving standards of political correctness. The worst consequence of the false piety and phony outrage of the predictable attacks of “sexism” and “racism” launched against comics, commentators, or entertainers who dare to overstep the barely demarcated bounds of free speech is that rather than creating a culture of unity and harmony, it does the opposite. It creates a culture of anxiety in which everyone must live in fear of stepping on landmines that will soon explode in a blast of demonization, condemnation, and alienation.


The latest person to dangerously misstep is Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, who forgot the new schoolhouse rules of acceptable language when he hosted this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.


MacFarlane’s most “offensive” routine, according to the babysitters in the press, was the “We Saw Your Boobs” song that identified attractive actresses in the audience by the movies in which they bared their breasts. Nevermind that all of the actresses mentioned in the song freely participated in the pre-recorded musical number—feigning disgust or in the case of the tantalizingly charming Jennifer Lawrence, smiling and winking at the camera—MacFarlane’s song somehow represents a new low of Hollywood chauvinism and misogyny. Critics of MacFarlane, from writers at Salon and Democrats in the California State Government to the talented and brilliant Jane Fonda, are not only guilty of emotional frailty, but also comical illiteracy.




The song, first of all, was part of a joke featuring William Shatner as Captain Kirk explaining to MacFarlane why he was panned as the worst host of the Oscars the day after the event. The joke of the “offensive” song was that MacFarlane would be so oblivious to not realize it was offensive. Even if MacFarlane actually opened the show with the song, it seems that the humor is aimed at adolescent males, and many adults for that matter, who excitedly watch movies if they know that it contains a nude scene featuring their favorite starlet. Let’s be honest: most among us like to see beautiful women take off their clothes—a reality rejected here by the liberal moral universe.


Later in the broadcast, MacFarlane kidded that the precocious nine-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quvenzhané Wallis, would soon be too old to date George Clooney. In the bizarro world of political correctness this is an example of misogyny, not a witty jab taken at the cradle robbing dating habits of Clooney, one of Hollywood’s recently beatified saints. Clooney is not the first actor to show a sexual preference for younger women, but again, this points out a reality that polite people shouldn’t discuss, much less use for amusement.


MacFarlane’s animated character, Ted, made a few jokes about the large number of Jews making their living in the movie business and accordingly, MacFarlane was labeled with the “anti-Semite” tag. Since the conclusion of the Academy Award broadcast, MacFarlane has become America’s Most Wanted in liberal quarters, and his edgy attempts at humor—some of it funny and some of it boring—are the capital crimes justifying his prosecution and conviction.


Liberal pundits have such ethnic sensitivity that MacFarlane’s benign jokes about the amount of Jewish people in Hollywood are handled with the same scorn as a dog eared copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Meanwhile, the boorish buffoon Alec Baldwin, not in the context of a performance or in an attempt at humor, but in an act of threatening and hostile rage, calls a black photographer and retired police officer a “coon” and “crack dealer”, and receives almost no criticism. Is Baldwin not susceptible to the charge of racism because he votes Democratic and is a vocal supporter of liberal causes? It is a fair question, but one that the mainstream media will never field.


Liberals who self-righteously enforce the laws of language receive the world only as they wish it were, not how it actually is. Living in a state of utopic delusion causes them to fear and hate words more than actions, because the wrong words might articulate troubling, unavoidable realities, whereas actions are easily ignorable as long those actions are buried beneath a flowerbed of pretty rhetoric. When liberals manufacture controversies such as these—and the next incident provoking moral outrage, mark my words, is only weeks away—they reveal that they are oblivious to how they consistently confirm every unflattering stereotype depicting them as humorless bores. They also, in effect, rip open their shirts and flash the country with their hypocrisy.

In 2003, the Academy awarded Roman Polanski “Best Director” for his work behind the camera of The Pianist. Polanski wasn’t in California to accept his award, because he is living as a fugitive in Europe; evading American authorities who have a warrant for his arrest for drugging and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl. Polanski’s brutal rape of a child, and his refusal to face legal consequences for his crime, did not stop some members of the audience of Hollywood producers and performers from giving the absent sex offender a standing ovation.


Unsatisfied with simply giving moral support to a pedophile, in 2009, 138 of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and famous directors, including Martin Scorsese, Darren Aronofsky, and Jonathan Demme, signed a petition requesting that the Swiss government release Polanski after authorities in Switzerland arrested him for his sex crime. Most of the mainstream media maintained disciplined silence in both 2003 and 2009. Wait… defenders of child rape are not worthy of the misogynistic accusation, but MacFarlane’s jokes make him a monster?


Unrepentant former drug dealer and touring misogynist Jay Z is also immune to the attack. A man who regularly refers to women as “bitches” and “hos”, and promises that he will continue to do so, has reached such a level of respectability in American culture that he can share a stage with President Obama the knighted and anointed defender of all things feminine against the Republican “war on women”. So… Mitt Romney’s inartful and awkward phrase, “binders full of women”, was the equivalent of a hate crime on the campaign trail, but glorifying the degradation and humiliation of women in song is not only acceptable, but worthy of applause?


A parade of Hollywood actors issues a tone deaf and pretentious public service announcement denouncing “gun violence” and calling for restrictions on the 2nd amendment, while they profit enormously from movies that stylize and glorify gun violence. The contradiction between reactionary liberal rhetoric and reality makes the PC police appear as little more than keystone cops, comically struggling to maintain consistency, not to mention order, in a world that they cannot control and over a system of arbitrarily invented rules of conduct that only apply to people they don’t like or with whom they disagree politically.


Indeed, the Pulitzer prize winning playwright and screenwriter David Mamet writes in his book The Secret Knowledge, “For, at least, one could say of Hitler and his assassins, that they enjoyed their anti-Semitism. But liberals proceed, from day to day, in a sort of sad, wistful fury at all things of life not recognized in its cosmogony.”

David Masciotra is the author of Working On a Dream: The Progressive Political Vision of Bruce Springsteen (Continuum Books). He is currently writing his second book, Faith That Won't Die, a work of literary journalism about life in the American rust belt. He has written for the Daily Beast, Truthout, Relevant, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is 27 and lives in Indiana. For more information, an article archive, and blog visit www.davidmasciotra.com.


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