Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dear Eric Cartman, Peter Griffin and Robot Chicken

Well, obligatory contextual statements first:

I have a sense of humor. Sometimes it gets a bit out there and I wish I'd reigned it in.

I'm not a prude. Looking back over my life, I wish I had been more of one at certain points.

Those things being said, I can laugh at shows like South Park, Family Guy and Robot Chicken, even when my wife shakes her head and leaves the room.

Lately, however, those shows and others seem to be loading up on material that mocks Jesus. South Park, it might be argued, mocks religion (<- as with the hilariously churned out Christian pop of Faith Plus One)and Jesus comes out looking OK, albeit in some very left handed ways. Stone and Parker at least understand the Christian message enough to give it the occassional prop.

OK, obligatory contextual stuff out of the way,

Why is there no substantial critique of this, outside of what you would expect from offended Christians?

Why are people who ask us to understand Islam in particular but all kinds of other spiritualities in general not offended by irreverent satire of Jesus?

If we should develop tolerancediversityrespectinclusionmulticulturalawarenesssensitivityunderstandingdialogue &c., how is that forwarded by public reverence for some faiths and what is actual blasphemy directed at others - well, one in particular?

Yes, blasphemy: If you are secular (or raised in some of our churches) you might not know this, but Christians believe that Jesus Christ is God. Goofing on Jesus is way more disrespectful of our faith than, say, burning a Bible or vandalizing a church. It is a direct insult toward God as we understand God to be.

OK, final question: Unless you are consistently against all religions, and an equal opportunity jerk about how you express it, why are you OK with the worst kind of irreverence toward just one?


caheidelberger said...

Call me an equal opportunity jerk: I'm all for the right to joke about Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, and any other spiritual figure. My advocacy for tolerance does not demand celebration of diversity in itself, but at least pinning your nose and putting up with difference, even while retaining the right to reasonably criticize difference. I agree that if there is to be mockery of religion, it should be doled out equally to all faiths (although making fun of certain cultists is probably more warranted). But better balance will be achieved not by Christians getting up in arms, but by Muslims getting with the program and lightening up.

TLF+ said...

Thanks, Cory. That's fair enough. I don't think Christians should get up in arms, either.

I can usually lighten up and laugh, even at some of the Jesus stuff. Maybe I just caught an unusual concentration of reruns late one night. But I eventually had to turn off one of the shows - it was overkill.

No question about the freedom to perpetrate such satire - just the question about the imbalance and I think that's an interesting insight you bring in at the end of your comment. Does that mean that some of the goofing is tinged with, well, cowardice or bullying? IOW, "Wow, those Muslims might get nasty with us, so lets stick to mocking the people who won't"? Not a great celebration of free speech in that case.

The Underground Pewster said...

Fear probably does lead to the imbalance. Even South Park changed its tune recently about joking around with the mighty Mo.