Archbishop Chaput and the Media

Friday, August 26, AD 2011

One of the most irritating aspects of life for faithful American Catholics over the past several decades has been how quiet most of our bishops have been in the face of outrageous attacks on the Church.  Too many of our bishops have acted as if they had their spines surgically removed upon consecration.  Fortunately there have always been a handful who have been willing to speak out and suffer the media attacks that then ensue, along with the ambushes of heterodox Catholics frequently eager to lend a hand to anti-Catholics in their ceaseless war against the Church.  One of the more outspoken bishops is Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who has never been afraid to proclaim the truth, and to do so eloquently.  He is at it again over at First Things.

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32 Responses to Archbishop Chaput and the Media

  • “Some of the usual suspects on the Catholic Left are upset at the Archbishop for naming some of their cherished propaganda organs…”

    I think that’s true for some. I also think that for some on the Catholic Left the NY Times reflects their view of the Church or, perhaps more accurately, what they want the Church to become.

  • Well Phillip, over the years certainly some members of the Catholic Left have been far more faithful to the magisterium of the New York Times than they ever have to the magisterium of the Church!

  • “Some of the usual suspects on the Catholic Left are upset at the Archbishop for naming some of their cherished propaganda organs…”

    They’re also upset that the Archbishop didn’t call out their own fave Catholic publications – Commonweal, America, National Catholic Distorter – as good sources for Catholic commentary. Thing is, they’re not good sources for Catholic commentary, and the Archbishop knows this. The Distorter especially – a vanguard for all that is opposed to Catholic teaching.

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  • An excellent resource on this subject is the Get Religion blog, which examines coverage of all religions and religious traditions in the media and points out gaps or inaccuracies. In many stories, Get Religion says religion is present only as a “ghost” — an unnamed reference to people doing works of charity or attending rallies or “vigils” without mention of the fact that a religious motivation was behind it.

    From reading the mainstream media, you would think that thousands of people feed the hungry, travel to disaster zones, spend long hours at a sick or injured person’s bedside (doing what? PRAYING, maybe?), devote themselves to improving their communities, etc. for no apparent reason, other than, perhaps, some vague reference to their “values.”

  • “We make a very serious mistake if we rely on media like the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or MSNBC for reliable news about religion. These news media simply don’t provide trustworthy information about religious faith”

    and CBS, ABC, NBC, NPR, Wash. Post, Boston Globe, etc, etc, etc

  • We make a very serious mistake if we rely on media like the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or MSNBC, NPR, Washington Post, Boston Globe, for reliable news about ANYTHING.

  • I would include as unreliable the Catholic News Service, which if I mistake me not, is a service of the USCCB. It gave a favorable review to the homosexual movie Heartbreak Mountain. Another disservice of the bureaucracy of the USCCB.

  • “It gave a favorable review to the homosexual movie Heartbreak Mountain”

    I take it you are referring to BROKEBACK Mountain?

    Aside from the movie reviews, whose suitability can and often will be disputed, whether or not Catholic News Service is a “reliable” source of Church news depends on how you define “reliable.”

    In the Catholic press, there is always going to be a tension between the need to promote and adhere to Church teaching and the need to realistically report what is going on in the Catholic world whether or not it is agreeable to Church teaching. I have to admit that I am somewhat biased in favor of CNS due to the fact that I once worked for a diocesan newspaper that relied heavily on CNS news, and some of whose personnel personally knew people from CNS.

    If you rely solely on traditional/conservative leaning publications, you may get the impression that conservative/orthodox/traditional Catholicism is a lot more popular and widespread than it actually is. On the other hand, if you rely on left-leaning sites like National Catholic Reporter, you get the impression that the “spirit of Vatican II” crowd still reigns supreme, which is also not the case. There still needs to be a reasonably middle of the road source of Catholic news which doesn’t actively promote dissent but doesn’t ignore its real-world impact, or ignore the fact that the Church still has a long way to go in getting most of its members fully on board with its teachings.

    While I understand the disillusionment many people have with the mainstream media, and yes they do often get things wrong, still, I think it is VERY dangerous to dismiss them completely and insist on getting ALL your news only from sources that agree 100% with your political or religious leanings. Balance is the key here.

  • Wow Elaine,
    It almost sounds like you should be writing for Vox Nova. 😉
    Well put.

  • Nah, Brett, if Elaine were writing for Vox Nova she would have to say something truly absurd like mentioning Chaput in mouth disease, and I doubt if Elaine would ever say anything like that. Finally, I doubt if Elaine could make it past the Vox Nova entrance interview:

    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/6987327/welcome-to-vox-nova

  • You’re right Don, I would not get past Rule #2. I certainly would flunk out by Rule #5 (“Paul Krugman is the living embodiment of Catholic social teaching.”)

  • Don’t worry Elaine. They let me write whatever I want and I don’t even know who Paul Krugman is!

    Also Don, no one at VN has ever forced me to say anything “truly absurd.” Elaine wouldn’t HAVE to say anything of the sort.
    😉

    All peace and good,
    B

  • “Also Don, no one at VN has ever forced me to say anything “truly absurd.” ”

    That is good to know Brett. Judging from Minion’s posts I assumed there was some sort of requirement.

  • I’ve got to agree with Elaine — the Catholic News Service (and even the movie reviews, though I certainly don’t always agree with them) serves a useful purpose, and I’ve never found it to be an organ used for questioning or undercutting the faith.

    Brett,

    To not even know who Paul Krugman is, you’d have to be skimming MM’s posts pretty thinly. After all, in the very post linked to here MM chides Archbishop Chaput for not listening to Krugman more:

    Why does Chaput not mention any of this? Is he so insecure that he cannot handle criticism of the Church in the New York Times, and must instead run to those who use the Church for their political aims? Does he see no nuance and complexity? Is he not aware that he can learn far more about the economic mess from Paul Krugman in the New York Times than anybody on any alternative media source?

    I mean, I agree with those who knock people like Voris for bishop-bashing at the drop of a hat, but this is, if anything, worse.

    I will say, though, that I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts, which are both fair and intellectually curious. (I just wish that you’d keep a separate blog like Kyle does, so that it isn’t necessary for those of us bullies who might be divisive pamphleteers of the verge of kicking off a new Reformation to wade through the main site to read your stuff.)

  • “Judging from Minion’s posts I assumed there was some sort of requirement.”

    “…I don’t even know who Paul Krugman is!”

    Brett is clearly not reading Minion’s paeans to Krugman.

  • The quoted bit from MM on Krugman hardly tells me anything beyond the fact that he writes about economics for the New York Times and that MM thinks he has some insight. Surely that is not enough for me to know whether he is “the living embodiment of Catholic social teaching,” or even if MM considers him to be such.

    Perhaps the very favorable recent posts linking to the Distributist Review should give certain people pause before they announce exactly whom the Vox Novans think accurately represents CST (or is Krugman a Distributist?) or that all Vox Novans must be of the same opinion on such matters.

  • Brett,

    VN is well known for being disobedient to the Magisterium and for attacking orthodox Catholics.

  • Tito,

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any of the current frequent posters on Vox Nova dissent from Catholic doctrine.

    That many of them do specialize in “friendly fire” towards other orthodox Catholics is arguably true, though.

    Brett,

    Well, unless the Distributist Review is not an alternative news source, it would seem that MM does believe Chaput could derive more benefit from reading Krugman than from reading the Distributist Review. (Actually, this is probably not surprising, as MM is probably too educated in regards to economics to be terribly impressed with the Distributists.)

    But to be fair, that hilarious parody dates back to when Henry, MM, MZ and Iafrate were the mainlines of Vox Nova. The place has, somewhat diluted its craziness since then.

  • Tito,

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any of the current frequent posters on Vox Nova dissent from Catholic doctrine.

    That many of them do specialize in “friendly fire” towards other orthodox Catholics is arguably true, though.

    Brett,

    Well, unless the Distributist Review is not an alternative news source, it would seem that MM does believe Chaput could derive more benefit from reading Krugman than from reading the Distributist Review. (Actually, this is probably not surprising, as MM is probably too educated in regards to economics to be terribly impressed with the Distributism, at least where economics is involved. Chesterton and Belloc were admirable in lots of ways, but their economic analysis was not necessarily great. MM is probably right to rely more on Keynes and Krugman than on Chesterton and Belloc when it comes to actual economic theory.)

    To be fair, though, that hilarious parody dates back to when Henry, MM, MZ and Iafrate were the mainlines of Vox Nova. The place has, somewhat diluted its craziness since then — in regards to contributors at least. (Oddly, the comboxes seem to have gone even further off the deep end — though perhaps that’s just a matter of the “other side” not bothering to show up much anymore. I suppose in some ways we’ve had an equal and opposite history here. Given the natural affinities of belief, it may be that political sites natural sort themselves into either right or left with few dissenting voices bothering to show up.)

  • Darwin,

    I wasn’t aware that killing children in the womb was part of Catholic teaching.

  • I’m not either, but I was giving them credit for the fact that Gerald L. Campbell hasn’t posted there in a very long time. (Though I agree it was disgraceful that everyone at the time defended his claim that being pro-choice was a legitimate exercise of subsidiarity.)

    People like MM and MZ do everything possible to support pro-abortion candidates, because those candidates happen to also be leftists, but they insist that they are not in fact pro-abortion themselves (and would vote for anti-abortion leftists if they existed) so I figure it’s fair to categorize them as unwise rather than dissenting.

    Ditto on the tendency to attack pro-lifers far more often than pro-aborts while at the same time claiming to be pro-life.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have no desire to defend them. I just want to be precise in my attacks. 🙂

  • OK, I’ll back track.

    Certain bloggers are disobedient.

    The rest of the bunch are essentially good guys and it would be nice to share a beer with them because it would make for interesting conversation(s)!

    😀

  • Precision is always appreciated. As is beer.

  • As for a personal blog, here you go:
    http://vox-nova.com/category/brett-salkeld/

    I’m only tempted to set up something a little more formal because I think “Ein Brett Vorm Kopf” would be a great name.

  • Can’t let a name like that go to waste!

    I guess I should just bookmark the category link. For some reason, it’s not possible to put the category links into an RSS reader.

  • It would be helpful though if those bloggers on Vox Nova who are not in dissent do correct those who post comments who are. That would make it appear less likely that they are dissenting.

  • “MM is probably too educated in regards to economics to be terribly impressed with the Distributism, at least where economics is involved. Chesterton and Belloc were admirable in lots of ways, but their economic analysis was not necessarily great. MM is probably right to rely more on Keynes and Krugman than on Chesterton and Belloc when it comes to actual economic theory.)”.

    Yes, as regards “economic theory”. But economics in practice? A good antidote to Keynes [Krugman is not worth the effort] is J.K. Galbraith’s ALMOST EVERYONE’S GUIDE TO ECONOMICS. He makes the point that economics is not that difficult to understand. Thus, in the controversy about raising the debt limit, it is not difficult to understand that you cannot keep writing checks on an account without money. Belloc understood this; GKC understood this. Even B. Obama as a senator understood this.

    In May 1939, shortly after learning that unemployment stood at 20.7%, Henry Morgenthau, the secretary of the Treasury, exploded: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.” Morgenthau concluded, “I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!”

  • From the other side of the pond, I rate the orthodoxy of your bishops according to extent that they are excoriated by the liberal media – Burke, Olmsted, Chaput et al. The fact that none of ours has yet to be targeted by the Tablet, the English equivalent of the National Catholic Reporter, is cause for concern.

Palin Responds to Family Guy Attack on Trig

Tuesday, February 16, AD 2010

Sarah Palin and Bristol Palin respond to the vile Family Guy attack on Trig, her son with Down’s Syndrome:

People are asking me to comment on yesterday’s Fox show that felt like another kick in the gut. Bristol was one who asked what I thought of the show that mocked her baby brother, Trig (and/or others with special needs), in an episode yesterday. Instead of answering, I asked her what she thought. Here is her conscientious reply, which is a much more restrained and gracious statement than I want to make about an issue that begs the question, “when is enough, enough?”:

“When you’re the son or daughter of a public figure, you have to develop thick skin. My siblings and I all have that, but insults directed at our youngest brother hurt too much for us to remain silent. People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you’ll ever meet. Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them? As a culture, shouldn’t we be more compassionate to innocent people – especially those who are less fortunate? Shouldn’t we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks. – Bristol Palin”

– Sarah Palin

Perhaps it is partially because I have an autistic son, but words literally fail me to adequately describe people evil enough to mock a handicapped child because they differ with the mother of the child politically.

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79 Responses to Palin Responds to Family Guy Attack on Trig

  • Family Guy is commonly about as tasteless as the imagination permits, exceeded in this only by South Park. It is an indication of how corrupted the media have grown in a modest time frame.

    Amy Carter was overexposed but given only the mildest ribbing by the likes of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players and Chelsea Clinton was left in peace (bar for being called a ‘dog’ by Rush Limbaugh). I think one of Geraldine Ferraro’s children is named ‘John’; do you recall the other two?

  • It is quite amazing that people who allegedly have their full faculties and imaginative creativity will act like the effin’ retards they ascribe people with actual special needs as being.

    The fact is people with mental retardation, autism and other impairments are more enjoyable, joyful and pleasant to be around than any of these monkeys who like to throw mean words around without considering the feelings of those who have impairments and the loved ones who care for them

    If you ask me, that is pretty effin’ retarded, especially when the goal is to attack a defenseless child simply because his mother makes you feel uncomfortable and intimidated.

    Do you think that the fact that we consider children a burden and a punishment for recreational sex or a simple ‘choice’ to kill has anything to do with considering anyone with special needs as a burden on society and fair game for ridicule?

    Sick.

  • One of the things Palin has unquestionably achieved (to her sorrow) is giving the hard left a chance to show the entire country how utterly despicable and hateful the “caring” party can be.

  • Southpark usually has a nuanced and valid point to make, even if it is one we disagree with. It has had pro-life episodes, and many shows about the humanity and dignity of disabled people.

    I simply can’t put that show in the same class as Family Guy, which is nothing but one-sided propaganda.

    In addition to being intrinsically evil, making fun of a down-syndrome child is mind-bogglingly irrational and stupid if your goal is to somehow oppose Sarah Palin.

    In the end this is the same show that depicted Jesus as a pedophile, God as a selfish womanizer, and all Christians as mindless, book-burning, hate-filled bigots. It’s the kind of stuff I might have thought up as an angst-ridden teenage atheist in rebellion against the Church. I’m glad I grew up, and I’m sad others are still stuck there.

    And you know what MacFarlane’s defense always is? And its the same one used by all of these guys: either we can make fun of everything, or we can make fun of nothing. Everything is sacred or nothing is sacred. And somehow our first amendment embodies this idea. Of course this is irrational, illogical, and childish.

  • When a culture makes everything profane, nothing is sacred.

  • I seem to recall that Joan Rivers was interviewed in 1983 or thereabouts and said her aim was to be “the meanest bitch in America”. Asked if any topic was off limits, she said, “deformed children…and religion I’m very careful with…”. Well, that was then.

  • I deleted your comment restrainedradical. No one in this thread will be allowed to speak in defense of this vile assault on human decency. All such comments will be deleted.

  • In my misspent past as a teen, youth, young adult and sadly full grown man I would have found this funny. In fact, I used to like the show as well as other prurient interests. Then I was assaulted by God and only by His Grace I came to my senses and returned to the Church of my Baptism.

    Making that decision meant that I was all in. Of course, I only think I am all in because everyday I am reminded of how not-at-all-in I really am. Yet, I know that morality is not in me it comes from God alone. Adhering to His standards renders this and other things I would have found entertaining and funny in my past as sick and twisted.

    I certainly am not ‘politically correct’ and I don’t think we need to allow coercion, government or social, to limit artistic expression. Yet, I think that social standards, based on ‘mere Christian’ morals must be infused into our culture.

    This ‘joke’ was not funny because it maligns children with inherent limitations and not because it attacks Sarah Palin. She’s a big girl and can take care of herself and she chose public life. I think that children with mental retardation, physical disabilities, Down Syndrome, etc. have a greater opportunity for sanctification than fools that find this kind of crap funny.

    I think if I met myself from several years back, I might kick my own ass.

  • The sad thing is that Family Guy is capable of being hysterically funny without being radically offensive.

  • Sadly, I read restrained radical’s comment before it was deleted. It’s an appalling enigma to me how the left is so adamantly against torture, but at the same time can applaud a wicked and evil cartoon which could be considered one of the most deadly of weapons, the most harmful poison. Society must be nourished with good, not evil, and evil is being preached to an immense audience. Evil such as this corrupts and kills souls. But then, the principles of God’s kingdom and the principles of the world are vastly different. That cartoon caused unnecessary pain to the Palins and countless others. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, a perfect time to contemplate Jesus’ crowning with thorns. Mother Teresa said that mental illness is Jesus’ crown of thorns. Although children with downs’ syndrome are certainly not mentally ill, I think we could extend the meditation to include the parents of these children who suffer greatly with mockery, taunts and insults directed toward their beloved children.

  • restrainedradical is a valued commenter here at American Catholic. This thread however is not one where our usual free-wheeling debate format applies. I feel quite strongly about this and no comments defending the Family Guy spit in the face of decency will be allowed. If handicapped kids can be mocked as entertainment or political attack, then we truly are a culture that is sick unto death.

  • Surprisingly (at least to me), The Anchoress is defending “Family Guy” and criticizing Palin for speaking out:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2010/02/16/family-guy-goaded-palin-into-a-mistake/

    I responded somewhat negatively in her comboxes.

  • I’m not seeing how the clip was an attack on Trig (not saying it wasn’t mind you, just that I don’t see how it was). Maybe someone could explain?

  • “I think if I met myself from several years back, I might kick my own ass.”

    American Knight,

    The desire to go back in time and kick your own backside is the universal sign of maturity. To me, the realization of how we were wrong in the past explains why reconciliation is the greatest of the sacraments.*
    Bill

    * Unless my wife is reading and then my answer is marriage is the greatest sacrament.

  • I’m missing something. I get “former governor of Alaska” is referencing Sarah Palin, but how does Trig fit into this? I don’t get it. I second the call for an explanation.

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indictated by the way that she speaks.

    The Huffington post author here is clear as to what Seth MacFarlane intended.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/15/family-guy-trig-palin-vid_n_462522.html

  • Jay, the Anchoress is simply clueless on this. The insult was directly aimed at Trig as you pointed out. That the Anchoress can’t see this astounds me.

  • I’m not seeing how the clip was an attack on Trig (not saying it wasn’t mind you, just that I don’t see how it was). Maybe someone could explain?

    I think MacFarlane was trying to cover his ass by recasting Todd Palin as ‘an accountant’ and Trig as female.

  • I had deleted this comment but on second thought I am going to post it. It came from someone, now banned from this blog, calling himself FascistHater. His name is apt, but not in the way he intended. It is a monument to the type of hatred that motivates people to attack those they disagree with by attacking their kids. Such hatred ultimately consumes those who revel in it.

    “What a bunch of “knee jerk assholes” you all are. Did any of you watch this entire show? The girl with downs syndrome is treated as a self assured young women who is the superior of the “normal” Chris Griffin. I’m certain if he had made inappropriate suggestions involving a Lufta she would have shoved it up his ass. If only Palin’s “Normal” slut daughter was as self assured and bright as this cartoon character.

    By the way Don sorry about your son but maybe someone with genes as defective as yours shouldn’t be reproducing. Hey . . . if my comments going to be deleted might as well make it good.”

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indictated by the way that she speaks.

    Okay, but how is that an attack on Trig?

  • Governor of Alaska plus Downs Syndrome Child. The Downs Syndrome child is also portrayed as nasty and manipulative. This is not rocket science BA.

  • Don, I caught that comment last night but refrained from commenting because I knew it would be deleted. Obviously the person is quite filled with hate and apparently a proud fascist too (they often go hand in hand dontcha know), but I was wondering if you were able to tell if the person was someone we’re familiar with or just a drive by. I was inclined to think it was the typical leftist type of drive by because I only know of a handful truly hatefilled semi-regulars but their names are well known and they seem to have no shame about associating their name with their venom. However, I got to thinking that this person probably knows more about you than can be ascertained from the post. Nevermind, I’m fairly sure who it is. Sad.

  • Governor of Alaska plus Downs Syndrome Child. The Downs Syndrome child is also portrayed as nasty and manipulative. This is not rocket science BA.

    I grant that it was a reference to Palin/Trig. That much is obvious. What I don’t get is what is insulting about it. The girl didn’t come across as nasty or manipulative in the clip to me, and even if she did, Trig isn’t a teenage girl, so it’s not like these attributes would be ascribed to him.

    I agree this isn’t rocket science, why is what makes the unwillingness/inability of people to say what was insulting about the clip somewhat mysterious.

  • I think I may have watched family guy once, maybe twice. Never thought it funny or entertaining – mostly just stupid. No reason to ever watch it.

  • Nothing mysterious about it BA. You simply do not think it is insulting. I, Trig’s mother and Trig’s sister think it is, along with quite a few other people. I guess we’ll see how this plays out and how many other people fail to see what I think is an obvious attack on a child with Downs Syndrome simply to vent political hatred.

  • FWIW, I could see the, “Well, this isn’t all that offensive,” point were this more or less in isolation. However, given that Palin has been consistently vilified by the left for bringing a child with Downs Syndrome to term ever since she appeared on the national stage, I think it’s reached the point where making a point of it at all (especially in a venue like Family Guy, which has become an all purpose political/cultural attack program over the last couple years) plays as offensive.

  • “but I was wondering if you were able to tell if the person was someone we’re familiar with or just a drive by.”

    Deliberately didn’t attempt to Rick. The person involved wasn’t worth that much effort on my part. Whoever it was I feel pity more than anything else. Living with that level of hate must be like wearing an emotional hair shirt.

  • The girl didn’t come across as nasty or manipulative in the clip to me

    She rebukes him for not helping her to her seat and then rebukes him for not asking about her person. You wouldn’t mind?

  • Nothing mysterious about it BA. You simply do not think it is insulting. I, Trig’s mother and Trig’s sister think it is, along with quite a few other people.

    I’m asking why you thought it was insulting. Saying, “well I and a lot of other people thought it was insulting” doesn’t answer that question.

  • It’s pretty incoherent, which is describes the MacFarlane’s humor in general. Throw everything against the wall and hope to elicit a response.

    South Park actually had a dead-on hilarious parody of the Family Guy writing style during the notorious censored Muhammad episode, depicting FG as being written by manatees who nudge random balls labelled with pop culture references into a mixing machine, thus leading to the attempted gags.

    After having watched the clip, it sure looks like a manatee job. I agree that it’s offensive, and a secondary shot at Trig, but I think it’s more of an attack on Sarah Palin than her son, projecting the latter’s handicaps on to the former. I say “secondary” because the depiction of the impaired character as an obnoxious, attention-mongering glasses-wearing diva is a direct attack on the former Governor herself.

  • [G]iven that Palin has been consistently vilified by the left for bringing a child with Downs Syndrome to term ever since she appeared on the national stage, I think it’s reached the point where making a point of it at all (especially in a venue like Family Guy, which has become an all purpose political/cultural attack program over the last couple years) plays as offensive.

    I can understand this as a psychological explanation, but if past attacks make people conclude that any reference to Palin is per se insulting then I think they are overreacting.

  • BA, I’ll try this one last time with you and I’ll put it in personal terms. My son is autistic. He is a constant joy to me and to his mother. He is unable to carry on a normal conversation, although he can answer yes and no questions. His autism may have caused retardation although with autism this is difficult to say. He can read although how much he retains is often a mystery for us and his teachers. His autism gives him all sorts of behavioral quirks so that he will never be able to live independently or work outside of a sheltered workshop. Things that other people can do without thinking, he, sadly, will not be able to do. Compared to most people his life will be hard, something thus far he has coped with magnificently.

    If I were to be a public figure, and a “comedy” show decided to feature a character who is mentally handicapped and who is the child of a person who is clearly intended to be me, I would be livid. My son was not brought into this world to be used as a prop by which an attack could be launched against me. That you fail to understand why I would be livid, and why the Palins are livid, I find baffling.

  • If I were to be a public figure, and a “comedy” show decided to feature a character who is mentally handicapped and who is the child of a person who is clearly intended to be me, I would be livid. My son was not brought into this world to be used as a prop by which an attack could be launched against me.

    This begs the question of how it was an attack, which is what I was asking. If I comedy show attacked my family I would be livid too. But I don’t see how the above clip constitutes an attack.

  • Because Trig can’t defend himself BA, just as my son cannot defend himself. Kids of politicians used to be off-limits. Now it is open season on disabled kids of politicians. I guess common deceny is a thing of the past.

  • BA,

    I think Dale summed it up well. The odd thing for me is that the scene was simply not funny. I don’t mean not funny because it was offensive, it was simply not funny period. I’ve watched the Family Guy before and found certain bits extremely funny…even some of the very offensive ones, but this one wasn’t funny and is quite transparent and unnecessary. It’s clear that it was framed with Sarah Palin in mind, which in itself isn’t a problem, but that the cudgel is Down Syndrome because of her son is rather distasteful.

  • Exactly, Don. It wasn’t that Family Guy necessarily depicted the disabled person in a negative light. It was the fact that the show’s creator felt the need to draw the connection between the disabled person depicted and a 2-year-old disabled person actually in existence.

    It would have been objectionable to use ANY of a politician’s kids to make a dig at that politician; to use a politician’s 2-year-old disabled child to do so makes it all the worse.

  • DarwinCatholic:

    Absolutely. And not only has the Left revealed how vicious the “compassionate” can be, they have managed to show that their socialist policies aren’t really motivated by compassion for the poor and downtrodden after all, as they like to pretend. If that was really their motivation, they wouldn’t behave this way.

    Which brings us to the question. If the Left’s socialist policies aren’t driven by compassion, then what’s their real motivation? The answer, I think, is a combination of a desire for control over others, and the worship of the state which they have divinized in their minds.

  • Let’s make it clear, if Rush does it, it is wrong. If Family Guy does it, it is wrong. There. Left and right — are both of them lacking compassion because of Rush or Family Guy? I think many on both sides are; but many are not. Don’t do guilt by association; Family Guy isn’t like Rush, though — one of the big differences is Family Guy is a rude, crude, nasty show and a “comedy” with its axe to grind but yet — it isn’t gearing itself as a piece of political opinion to help energize politics. Rush and Beck and people like them — are. But that doesn’t make Family Guy good. It’s a show which makes Beavis and Butthead look intelligent.

  • Because Trig can’t defend himself BA, just as my son cannot defend himself.

    Defend himself from what? All of your comments make sense only on the assumption that the Family Guy clip above constitutes an attack on Trig. What I’m asking is, how is it an attack?

  • I think Dale summed it up well. The odd thing for me is that the scene was simply not funny. I don’t mean not funny because it was offensive, it was simply not funny period.

    Dale’s theory, as I understanding it, is that the girl is supposed to be Sarah Palin. Watching the above clip, that idea would not have occurred to me in a million years.

  • I watch family guy – it’s very left, it’s very offensive, and occasionally it’s very funny, but that’s hit or miss. I’m generally irritated by the hyper-sensitive jump to offense behavior of people a la the recent hoopla over Rahm Emanuel’s comment which was clearly not directed at or referring to mentally handicapped people (incidentally, the much smarter and funnier South Park recently had a good show about about just this thing except instead of “retarded” it looked a homosexual slur that has now been adopted to mean something else in the culture, but I digress). However, I can understand how this could be hurtful b/c it’s definitely targeted at Palin and her son (the former to a bigger extent than the latter I think). I sort of see what blackadder is saying in that it doesn’t seem like an attack against the DS girl, but rahter that DS was used to tie her to Palin. I think the point is that whether he intended to mock DS itself (or Trig himself), the writer clearly used the real life handicap of one of Palin’s children to mock her. And I do think that crosses a line.

  • BA

    I agree it might be difficult to see, but the girl is not Sarah Palin. The girl represents Sarah’s children morphed into one. It is a girl and apparently has Down’s Syndrome. And it is being used to goad Sarah Palin — mock both her daughter’s dating choices as well as Trig. I can see where it is coming from, and I can see why this is not respectable at all (just like attacks on Chelsea were not respectable). If the girl were Sarah and she was shown careless with her children, that would be one thing; but taking it out on her children for their mother, no, not good.

  • The line goes that once you explain a joke, it’s not funny. This joke wasn’t funny in the first place, so far as I can tell, but we seem to be struggling with a situation where an insult isn’t insulting once you explain it. I’ll give it a shot, though.

    The gag here (to the extent that there is one) appears to be that Chris goes out on a date with a somewhat bitchy and demanding girl who speaks in a “retard” voice. When he asks about her family, she explains that her mother is the governor of Alaska. I guess one could see this either as a “boy, they all seem to be retards in Palin’s family, don’t they” joke or as “oh, Down Syndome, heh heh, Palin, heh heh” joke. Either way, it seems to get what little steam it has from associating mental disabilities and disagreeableness with Palin.

    Now, I suppose one could say, “Why is it offensive to associate Down Syndome or retardation generally with Palin’s family? She has a child with Down Syndrome, but there’s nothing shameful in that.” This would be true in a limitted sense, but it ignores the fact that in the instance in question it’s clearly being treated as something which is humorous or derisive, not just a “Oh, by the way, did you hear a child of the former Alaskan governor has Down Syndrome?” This is where the fact that Palin has been routinely mocked by the left for having a child with Down Syndrome would come into play.

    I suppose a comparison might be, say that the Family Guy episode had featured Chris going on a date with a bitchy and spoiled teenage black girl, who proceeded to wolf down a couple watermelons and speak in a heavily stereotyped “Black English” accent. If when Chris asked her about her family she explained that her father was the president of the United States, people might rightly take this as a racist attack on the Obamas. Now clearly, there’s nothing wrong with being black, so one could question how this was an insult, but the obvious answer would be that the show was attempting to make “Obama’s kids are black” an insult, and thus serving as both racist and anti-Obama.

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indicated by the way that she speaks.

    Thanks for the explanations. But as I watched the clip, my impressions were that reference to the former Alaskan governor was nothing more than a non sequitur. I saw the date as merely having a speech impediment, nothing more. Downs Syndrome never came to mind, because the character’s demeanor was very different to that of people with DS that I have encountered.

  • I suppose a comparison might be, say that the Family Guy episode had featured Chris going on a date with a bitchy and spoiled teenage black girl, who proceeded to wolf down a couple watermelons and speak in a heavily stereotyped “Black English” accent. If when Chris asked her about her family she explained that her father was the president of the United States, people might rightly take this as a racist attack on the Obamas.

    That would be offensive. But unless I’m misinformed, there isn’t a stereotype that people with Downs Syndrome are bitchy and demanding.

  • I had taken the “retard speak” voice as being the negative stereotype generic to mental disabilities, and assumed that eating watermelons and “Black English” would be the equivalent stereotype in regards to race.

  • Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that carries with it various physical characteristics that are easily identifiable even to the average observer. It’s pretty clear (to me anyway) that the intention was to illustrate the character as having Down Syndrome.

    Still, regardless of how ill conceived or executed the scene was, it’s clearly intended to be a dig on Palin which in itself isn’t a problem. Using Down Syndrome to do it would be tasteless in itself, but it’s certainly no coincidence that that means was employed because she has a DS child.

  • employed ugh

    [Fixed it for you Rick. 😉 – Tito]

  • Maybe I’m slow to catch on…

    The physical attributes I get. However, animation is a poor medium to convey that. Upon re-listening, I see your point about the speech, Rick. However, my initial impression was that of a woman with a lisp combined with an Elmer Fudd-ian style of pronunciation. DS never came to mind.

    Oh well, I guess I shall retreat back into my bubble where most pop culture influences do not dare enter.

  • I had taken the “retard speak” voice as being the negative stereotype generic to mental disabilities

    I’m not sure having speech problems is a stereotype about people with Downs as it is a reality. I mean, the actress who plays the girl has Downs Syndrome. That’s her real voice.

  • Let me also make a side point. Both from watching the clip and from reading about it in general, a theme of the episode seems to be that people with Downs Syndrome aren’t all that different from the rest of us. We live in a world where 90% of couples who are told there child has Downs abort, perhaps in part because they have an exaggerated image of the problems associated with Downs. The message of the show, in other words, is one that people desperately need to hear, and particularly for the FG viewer demographic I’m not sure if there would have been a more effective way of getting that message across.

  • Thanks Tito. I’d type this in huge letters if WP would let me. 😉

    BA, so yes, the speech issue is a reality. And based on what you just wrote, the voice actress has DS. Her character claimed to be the child of a former Alaska governor. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to assume that whole gag is about Sarah Palin due to her having a DS child. Yeah, it’s not like they were attacking Trig directly, but it is reflective of a rather nasty attitude. I mean, with all the things someone could use to rib Palin like her botched interviews, writing on her hand, leftist stereotypes of conservatives as dumb hicks, it takes a pretty vicious mind to use their child’s birth defect in an attempt to score a point and/or laugh.

  • Rick,

    Again, I’m not denying that the reference was to Palin. That’s obvious. I just don’t see what’s insulting about it, either to Trig or to Palin.

  • Somehow BA’s unique interpretation of how the mockery of Trig is good for handicapped people eluded Seth MacFarlane who manfully responded to the controversy by sending out his publicist with this statement:

    “The Times asked “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane for an interview regarding the matter. But he opted to send a statement via his publicist: “From its inception, ‘Family Guy’ has used biting satire as the foundation of its humor. The show is an “equal-opportunity offender.””

  • I think Henry Karlson is correct. The girl is a conflation of Bristol and Trig.

  • Dale’s theory, as I understanding it, is that the girl is supposed to be Sarah Palin. Watching the above clip, that idea would not have occurred to me in a million years.

    Just a cobbled together guess, based only on the clip and the one previous bit of venom directed at Palin (Stewie in an SS uniform wearing a “McCain/Palin” button). I bow to anyone who watched the whole thing for context. For my part, it would not have occurred to me in a million years that I would be carefully parsing FG episodes for narrative context. 🙂

    After all, the show peaked with the Benjamin Disraeli sight gag…

  • Somehow BA’s unique interpretation of how the mockery of Trig is good for handicapped people…

    It’s not that I think mocking Trig is good for handicapped people; it’s that I don’t see how the show was mocking Trig.

    My comment about the effects of the show generally was, as I said, a side point. As I understand it, many of the people here who think the show was offensive only have a problem with the reference to Palin, not to the show’s treatment of Downs Syndrome generally (certainly your comments have focused in this direction). So whether you agree that the show could serve a useful purpose in demystifying Downs is separate from whether you think the reference to Palin was out of line (and visa versa).

  • I think Henry Karlson is correct. The girl is a conflation of Bristol and Trig.

    I’m not really seeing this. The girl in the clip doesn’t look like Bristol Palin, Chris neither looks nor acts like Levi Johnson, etc. The only reason I can see for saying that she must be Bristol is that as a teenage girl she obviously can’t be Trig.

  • A link to Seth MacFarlane’s campaign contributions:

    http://www.newsmeat.com/celebrity_political_donations/Seth_MacFarlane.php

    Then we have his comments about the election when he was stumping for Obama:

    Then we have the McCain-Palin are Nazis scene from the Family Guy.

    MacFarlane is a bitter partisan of the Left. That is his right. When he decides to give vent to his hatred by mocking a disabled child of someone he hates, that should go way over the line for any civilized person.

  • Anchoress did not say Palin should not have spoken out. She said she should have done so differently, in a way that would have turned the tables on Family Guy.

  • I speak as a big-time critic of Sarah Palin as a potential political leader- I don’t see any valid point in targeting her as a parent of a child with a disability- she’s a human being- not one of us would find it acceptable for someone to take us on as public bloggers and start picking on our kids- especially our youngest most vulnerable children.

    Joe has pointed out that it is perhaps possible to include the disabled in a joke line that isn’t just picking on someone, but makes some larger relevant point about some issue related to being disabled. But clearly, making sly reference to a politician’s disabled child is cruel and unusual- and unless that part of the Left wing is ok with their alter-ego part of the Right wing, perhaps targeting Obama through sly put-downs of persons meant to bring to mind his daughters- then I would say the more reasonable folks should be able to bring public shame to this type of “humor”. With public shame in the offing, most commercial artists will learn that there is no pay-off for continuing such a trend. Public shaming has a role to play- it can be a check on out-of-bounds expression without having to resort to some kind of direct censorship.

  • I agree with Tim.

    If the tables were turned and a Family Guy clip had Mr. Seth McFarlane mocking President Obama’s precious little daughters using derogatory black stereotypes all hell would break loose in the form of constant media attacks in characterizing conservative Americans as hateful bigots.

    My two-cents worth.

  • A couple months back there was an episode of 30 Rock where one of the characters tried to infiltrate Obama’s “inner circle” by befriending one of his daughters. There were scenes of him talking on the phone with the daughter, etc. in which he adopted a valley girl voice and basically talked like a stereotypical schoolgirl. I don’t recall much of a fuss about this at the time, presumably because while the show quite clearly was referencing the Obama family there was nothing insulting about what was being said about them (one could argue that it was insulting to imply that Obama’s daughters act like little girls, but then they are little girls).

  • BA,

    So acting like a little girl is equivalent to a derogatory black stereotype?

    😉

  • Interesting counter example, BA.

    As per previous discussion, though, I assume that if the 30 Rock character had used a heavily “Black English” voice rather than a schoolgirl voice, people would have seen that as more offensive — because although some black people do indeed talk that way (though not the Obamas) it’s seen as connected to a negative stereotype about black people.

    I think the reason people are taking offense in this case is that although it’s true that people with Down Syndrome do have speech impediments, the social perception of those speech impediments is pretty uniformly negative.

    By which I guess I mean, it seems to me that simply making “hey, did you hear Palin’s kid has Down Syndrome” references (at least in a comedy show, especially one that emphasizes sharp political satire) will end up coming off as derogatory all on its own.

  • I don’t know Blackadder. I guess there are different thresholds or considerations people take into account on things. For example, I have a son who is developmentally delayed. He’s not classified as autistic though he has some similar symptoms. In fact, it sounds like he is not much unlike Don’s boy in functionality and prospects for his future. I didn’t take offense Obama’s Special Olympics joke a few months ago, yet many others did. I didn’t view it as a dig on special needs kids nor indicative of an underlying disrespect or contempt for them. I viewed it as a bit of self-deprecating humor on behalf of Obama and have used the same type on myself (still do in fact).

    In this case, it’s more a matter that I can see how many could be offended because there is nothing really humorous in it though it was an attempt to use a DS as a pretext of slamming a political opponent or at best forcing in a political jab where it has no business. I guess I’m looking at it more from where something like this must have come from. Unfortunately I think there are a number of hate filled people like that Hateful Fascist guy who insulted Don. It’s one thing to have such a hard heart and express it, it’s another to use or tear down innocent or powerless people to vent that hatred. It’s certainly not something in our Christian understanding of the dignity of the person that there is any room for, but it strikes me as the type of thing that just about anybody of good will would avoid. Nay, that it’s not even something they would conceive of. I guess I’m just offended that people think that way and act upon it.

  • Rick,

    I have to admit that President Obama’s joke was self-deprecating.

    The GOP and conservatives were politically opportunistic in bashing him and were not justified in their anger.

    In contrast, I believe Mr. Seth Mcfarlane was deliberately being nasty in this clip. Unfortunately I do watch FG from time to time (rabbit ears television) and I can say that Mr. Mcfarlane is a bitter left-winger who takes every opportunity he can to disparage the GOP and conservatives. Although he “claims” to be an equal opportunity offender, the balance is skewed grossly in disparaging conservatives than liberals by a 10-to-1 margin.

  • I’ve FG a fair number of times myself. I don’t particularly care one way or another about the politics. If something is funny, it’s funny. My uneasiness with the shows I have seen are some of the religious things. Unfortunately I have a higher tolerance for religious jokes than I ought, but FG can still manage to offend me in that regard. However, I find great humor in many of the gags whether they be G rated or R rated. The funniest gag I’ve seen on the show was quite R rated, but was right up my alley from a setup/punchline point of view (the scene with the blow-up dolls).

  • I don’t mind the unbalanced attacks as well. I like to laugh and whatever does it for me makes me happy.

    But you have to admit, FG is definitely not on the family viewing list. In fact if I were blessed with children I would stop viewing FG for the sake of the children not catching me watching such filth.

  • Largebill: “American Knight,

    The desire to go back in time and kick your own backside is the universal sign of maturity.”

    I don’t know if I am mature, but I am certainly more mature than I was when I was caught up in the Spirit of the World. It is easy, tempting, alluring and seductive to go with the flow of the present darkness because when you are in it, it doesn’t seem dark. In fact, it seems fun, light and quite right.

    It isn’t. FG could be funny at times; however, when it disparages the defenseless it crosses the line. That doesn’t mean that people with physical and mental limitations cannot be funny or even made fun of in a lighthearted way, but this was clearly mean-spirited.

  • AK

    I think a good example where there is a lighthearted way this was done, and yet misunderstood, was Tropic Thunder. The whole point was to ridicule the way some people with disabilities are used by Hollywood for the sake of self-glorification instead of any real concern for them. But many people felt disturbed by its representation, not understanding the point.

  • HK,

    Tropic Thunder!

    That is a funny movie, enjoyed it thoroughly.

  • HK,

    I did not enjoy the movie as much as Tito, but it had some good parts. I think those actors have so much talent (acting talent, they seem vapid in everything else) that more could have been done.

    Nevertheless, the scene you reference is funny and I agree, it is not offensive because the object of ridicule is not people with mental retardation or other handicaps.

    Stiller does not seem like the kind of guy who would cater to low humor as pertains to people with special needs. Mary’s brother in Something About Mary, which was funny and extremely inappropriate was not disparaged even though he was made fun of. Stiller’s character comes to his defense. Additionally, Dillon’s character refers to people with special needs when he is lying to Mary about how much he likes working with them as ‘retards’, but he is clearly portrayed as a man with very low moral character.

    We cannot be offended at the slightest mention or inappropriate view about sensitive things without referring to the context. I have noticed that many of us, me included, oft times have a knee-jerk defensive reaction when the Church is portrayed in most media. Sometimes it can be done well, I think Doubt was well done and not offensive, Bill Mahr is another matter all together.

    Humor, even off-color humor, can still be funny without being mean.

  • It will come out shortly that Palin used a couple of babies for publicity, and that Trig is NOT her son. I got this info from several non biased observers of the Internet.

    While I have no comment about Palin not getting an abortion (she certainly considered one), I also do not think she has told the truth about the delivery of her baby. I truly do not think the baby she calls Trig is HER baby. Maybe it is her daughter’s, maybe not. The fact is, we do not know for sure what is real and what is not.

  • Michael,

    It is HER baby. The problem is that she was inseminated by a space alien from Zorcon. The delivery was kept secret because it was performed on a Rian spaceship in the Torary Sector. This is what is real. I got it from non-biased sources. It really is.

  • Phillip,

    I’m afraid your ‘sources’ were a bit confused; insemination implies pregnancy and Palin was not pregnant. Trig was transported from the Zorconites via a Rian spaceship (you’re right about their involvement – too many sources have confirmed it at this point), and given to Palin during her flight back to Alaska from Texas. I am still combing through ‘Going Rogue’ for hints about why she was chosen, though.

  • John Henry,

    They’re Zorconians not “Zorconites.” How can I trust you if you can’t even get that right.

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4 Responses to Obama Funemployment-Take 2

  • Reminds me of the crisis during the Reagan years, you know, the homeless. Every night on the news, all the news specials, stories about how unconscionable that there were homeless people living on the street. Apparently all those homeless people got homes when Clinton came in office. Well, all except for those who were still homeless and had to be rounded up and put in abandoned and condemned buildings whenever the Democratic Convention or major sporting events came to town. Now I suppose we’ll hear about how liberating it is to be free from a mortgage, cuz the Obama years are all about hope, change, and freedom.

  • Rick, when a Democrat is in the White House, for most members of the media it is always “morning in America”.

  • In my town, NPR ran a stories about how the stimulus was working three days in a row. The bad news was that it was about the same road project. Just told it three different ways. Also didn’t mention that the project was slated to last 90 days and the people employed would be out of work again at the end of that time.

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4 Responses to Under Obama It's Funemployment Not Unemployment

  • And I guess your not partisan, right? The economy collapsed last year under the watch of the previous president and under the weight of the Reagan legacy.

  • An Piobaire, the shelf life of blame the other guys is wearing very thin. It is your man who is saddling this country with a debt now that your grandkids will be lucky to pay off:

    http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/05/obamas_debt_tsu.html

  • It’s becoming progressively more difficult not to hate my country…

  • An Piobaired,

    I think the first error is in thinking a President has that much to do with the economy. Even if it is a large amount I think one also has to look at the role Democrats, who were in control on Congress for two years prior to the recession, had in this problem. I think the failure of Democrats to reign in problems like Fannie Mae (which McCain and Bush tried to address) is a significant contributor.