Friday, September 21, 2007

Crybabies

"And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." -- Bible





PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. - Members of a Christian theater troupe are spreading the word that they're irate about Kathy Griffin's off-color speech in accepting a creative arts Emmy earlier this month.

The Miracle Theater in Pigeon Forge spent $90,440 on a full-page advertisement in USA Today that ran nationally Monday, proclaiming "enough is enough."

In accepting the Emmy for her Bravo reality show, "My Life on the D-List," Griffin said that "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus."

She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim, "This award is my god now!"

"We at The Miracle Theater consider it an honor to stand for Jesus today," the ad said. "We may never win a national award. We may never be household names. We may never be seen in Hollywood. Although others may choose to use their national platform to slander our God, we are honored as professional entertainers to stand for Christ."

... Griffin's comments have also drawn ire from the Catholic League, an anti-defamation group that called on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to "denounce Griffin's obscene and blasphemous comment" at the Sept. 9 ceremony. The E! channel chose to edit Griffin's speech when it aired the taped event last Saturday night.

Griffin, whose standup comedy shows often focus on mocking and dishing on celebrities, issued a statement through her publicist in response to the Catholic League's criticisms, indicating her statements were meant as a joke.

"Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?" she said in the statement.

Russ Hollingsworth, general manager of The Miracle Theater, said members of the theater's cast were tired of celebrities' joking attitudes toward Jesus. The theater is sponsoring a petition on its Web site, Miracle Theater.

"When word reached our cast that a Hollywood celebrity had stood before TV cameras and said such vulgar things about Christ, they were incensed," he said. "It's just not OK anymore to mock Christians and Jesus with impunity."

Griffin was fired in 2005 from her job as an E! Channel red-carpet commentator after joking at the Golden Globe Awards that child actress Dakota Fanning had checked into rehab.


What level of respect should people's religious beliefs be afforded? Is religion fair game for satire or humor? Would atheists be offended by a joke about them? Was what she said actually offensive?

It's nauseating how many athletes and actors thank God for them scoring or winning something. If there was a God, do you think he would really care who won an Oscar or scored the winning touchdown? Griffin, raised Catholic, was playing on the irony of not thanking God. That's funny.

Here's the unedited quote from her:

Upon winning this past Saturday, Kathy said, "Can you believe this shit? I guess hell froze over. ... a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award."

"I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. So, all I can say is, 'suck it, Jesus.' This award is my god now."


I'll grant you that that quote would obviously rile some Christians. But she was trying to be funny ... and I have to personally attest that she succeeded.

Obviously some people would be up in arms if someone said on stage, "suck it, Allah". So, I'm not denying the effect of such statements. But, is there any real reason that people should take it so personally? Like the earlier Danish Muhammad cartoons flap, it's all just a bunch of religious zealots that need to chill a bit. If you are secure in your beliefs, why would you care what Kathy Griffin thought? Don't you think that as Christians, the Miracle Theater could have found a more noble use for $90K than to spend it on an ad condemning Kathy Griffin?

I think I'm asking more questions than answering. But I don't really have an answer for this one. I get why some people might be offended but at the same time wonder why we live in such a screwed-up society where people would be offended by a joke. I get that there needs to be a line. I took offense by the Don Imus comments earlier this year but am not sure he should have been fired. But who's to decide what the line is? And isn't it a moving target? Christians would probably say it wasn't. But discussions of "absolute" morality are for another time.

"Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have legislated of nothing, "blasphemy" is the most amazing - with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure" fighting it out for the second and third place." -- Robert A. Heinlein

13 comments:

CyberKitten said...

dbackdad said: Don't you think that as Christians, the Miracle Theater could have found a more noble use for $90K than to spend it on an ad condemning Kathy Griffin?

Just think how many mouths that would've fed in Darfur.....

dbackdad said: I get why some people might be offended but at the same time wonder why we live in such a screwed-up society where people would be offended by a joke. I get that there needs to be a line. But who's to decide what the line is?

I'm not entirely sure that there *should* be a line to cross. I don't think that there is much that cannot be joked about. Religion especially should not be ring-fenced against humour. If Christians (or others) are offended by jokes made at the expense of their beliefs - does that mean they shouldn't be said? Everything will offend someone somewhere. What should we do - go around with gags in our mouths because we *might* offend someone? I don't think so....

wunelle said...

I think the humorous element here is exactly that she's saying things that others will find shocking. It's exactly the point.

Personally, I would have thought it a triumph that I took $90G out of some church's hands, unless they were going to spend it on charity.

dbackdad said...

CK said, "I'm not entirely sure that there *should* be a line to cross" -- I'm sure you're probably right.

Wunelle said, "I think the humorous element here is exactly that she's saying things that others will find shocking." -- Yeah, it's definitely the poking-a-stick at a bee's nest element of it that I find amusing.

I think when anyone is shocked by something, it presents a good opportunity for them to evaluate exactly why they are shocked. Typically, I think it says a lot more about that person than the person that originally said the offending statement. We all need to have a stick poked at us once in awhile to make sure that we don't get stuck in dogma and habit.

Eric said...

We've seen Griffin in concert. She's hilarious and irreverent. Funny how some folks forget that the right to free expression of all kinds guaranteed in the constitution also virtually guarantees that you will be offended when someone else exercises the same right.

Shawn said...

Well...Cyberkitten beat me to it. My thoughts exactly.

I just have to believe that anyone who follows the teachings of Jesus should just know that he would have fed children or something with that kind of money long before worrying about a comedian making a joke.

Ahhh...but what do I know? I'm a Buddhist after all and no one ever makes fun of that.

James said...

It's nauseating how many athletes and actors thank God for them scoring or winning something. If there was a God, do you think he would really care who won an Oscar or scored the winning touchdown? Griffin, raised Catholic, was playing on the irony of not thanking God. That's funny.

Amen, oops, I just said amen and I'm not Christian (waits for lightening bolt)...Ah, o.k. I guess I'm fine.

dbackdad said...

Here you go Shawn:

Q: How many Zen Buddhists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, they are the light bulb.

Q: What did a Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?
A: Make me one with everything.

lol

Shawn said...

I can't believe you would make fun of the Enlightened One...good thing he doesn't toss lightning bolts like the God of Abraham and Ismael! I am so taking out a full-page ad condemning you...anyone know where I can get $90,000?

Sadly, I have to admit that it took me a few times of hearing the hot dog one before I got it. I know...sort of pathetic. I can't help it, I'm from Wisconsin.

wunelle said...

Hey... I'm from Wisconsin...

*blink*

(What all have I been missing here?)

shrimplate said...

Certainly $90K could be used to feed a lot of hungry mouths, but the mouths of hypocrisy are also gaping wide.

Sadie Lou said...

"suck it, Jesus"
??

Umm...why does this bother anyone else other than Jesus?
I don't have to get myself in an overheated state over something such as this. People deny Christ on all kinds of levels; this person chose to deny him by telling him to "suck it".
It's none of my business.
I will say that most people maintain certain levels of respect and they choose to keep their mouth shut when they are tempted to make fun of other people's religion in mixed company.
I think this is another example of Christians overreacting and giving way too much attention to something that goes on every, single day--and another example of a wannabe actress shooting her mouth off just to get publicity.
Basic bottomline: Find something more productive to spend time, energy and $$ on.

dbackdad said...

Sadie said, "... another example of a wannabe actress shooting her mouth off just to get publicity ..." -- Certainly she was hoping to elicit a response and she got her wish. But I don't think (obviously I don't know for sure) she was just doing it to be profane. I have friends who have seen her in person (Eric, who you know, and his wife). There are no sacred (no pun intended) cows in her act. Like I mentioned in my post, I have to believe that she was just trying to expose the irony of those that thank Jesus on award shows.

Certainly the provocative comics of our past: Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, etc. have pushed the boundaries of what is safe to make fun of. And I think we are better for it. Bill Cosby's great, but his humor misses a big part of what the "black" experience is. As an atheist in a predominately Christian society, Griffin would be missing a big part if she didn't comment on that. I'm not saying she is above criticism and I'm sure she welcomes it. I'm just saying there is nothing inherent in religion that makes it off-limits.

"Umm...why does this bother anyone else other than Jesus?" -- That's probably the right response for those of faith. If Griffin doesn't believe, that shouldn't affect your ability to believe.

As always, I appreciate your ability to look at these things from a position of faith but also from an academic viewpoint and not be offended.

Sadie Lou said...

"I'm just saying there is nothing inherent in religion that makes it off-limits"

I both agree and disagree wth you.
:)
I think if you can't make fun of yourself and if you can't take a joke--then life is going to be difficult for you and you will always be offended by something.
But I also think that people should be respectful in mixed company. I would never cross a line unless there was a really good reason for it and a joke at someone's exspense doesn't seem like a "good reason".
To me.
:)
Thanks for always listening to my side. I love coming here.