Comedy Central's hit show "South Park" just won a Peabody, the highest award given to TV shows. The most recent episode dealt with the controversy surrounding depictions of Mohammad.
In the episode, everyone in the country is terrified that the Fox animated show "Family Guy" is going to show Mohammad. All in the town of South Park are afraid for their lives at the thought of Muslim retribution.
But in the end, Fox chickens out and censors the Mohammad character, covering him up with a black rectangle.
The show's main character, Peter Griffin, is told by his wife Lois that she doesn't want to cook dinner for his ex-girlfriend. Peter responds that maybe they can just have tea, to which the talking dog Brian responds, "You mean like the time you had tea with Mohammad, the prophet of the Muslim faith?"
On the front of Monday’s Arts page stands Felicia Lee’s “Gay Moms And Dads Can Bring The Family,” based on Rosie O’Donnell’s new HBO special on “the first-ever cruise for gay families.”
The piece reads more as pro-gay mainstreaming than a news item, leading off with unusual criticism by a reporter of a question from another reporter.
“Rosie O'Donnell, the former talk show host, actress, lesbian mom and a candid blogger, can certainly duck, weave and bob her way through a conversation. But she was caught off-guard by a reporter at a press event for ‘All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise,’ a new documentary about the first-ever cruise for gay families. Did she intend to raise her children to be gay?, the reporter asked.
Conspiracy monger and Hollywood director Oliver Stone apparently isn’t happy with how some in the media – guilty as charged! – denigrate the political views of Hollywoodians. As reported by ContactMusic.com (hat tip to Drudge), Stone “has blasted media groups who ‘slander’ celebrities for their political comments - because intelligent stars have every right to question their leaders.” Intelligent stars? Now there’s an oxymoron.
Stone, who has focused most of his film career on serious subjects, apparently missed the humor in this statement, and mercilessly continued: “‘We're Hollywood wackos and all that stuff, left-wing... (It's) an easy and facile dismissal.’” And continued: “‘I'm still a citizen, I've served my country as a veteran, I've had many jobs before the film business. I know something of life, having lived to this age.’” And then said something rather telling:
Foreign Affairs, the Economist, and certainly U.S.News & World Report are titles you'd expect to see at the two State Department newsstands visited by the public, employees, and their kids, but Playboy and Penthouse? Yikes! Or so thought Condoleezza Rice a while back when she began receiving briefings in Foggy Bottom before her confirmation hearings as secretary of state. Alerted by an aide that the skin magazines, partially clad in brown paper covers, were placed beside newsmagazines and close to candy, nuts, and stuffed animals, she said, "I want them out."
A few weeks later, when she took over from Colin Powell, the eviction began. "The secretary wanted them gone immediately," says senior adviser Jim Wilkinson." She didn't understand how a department that claimed to fight for the rights of women worldwide could sell pornography that degrades women." And, he adds, the magazines "could be seen as contributing to a hostile work environment." He teamed with State's internal manager and several State women who had been campaigning against the publications but had gotten nowhere. Now that they have succeeded, some of those women are eyeing other lad mags like Maxim and FHM. But State News's Richard Williams isn't listening. It was no problem banning the XXX fare: It didn't move very fast. "But Maxim," he says, "is a bestseller."
I’m really beginning to love Alec Baldwin. Honestly. You know, if you want to get a pulse of how the extreme left thinks in our nation, you can visit websites like Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, or Moveon.org. Maybe watch a Michael Moore “film,” listen to a Barbra Streisand tune, or even play a videotape of Howard Dean shouting non sequiturs at the top of his lungs...as if there was much of a difference.
On the other hand, you can just as easily check out the most recent blog entry by actor Alec Baldwin at Huff-n-Puff. The beauty is that whether he’s making himself look like a vacuous political imposter on HBO’s “Real Time,” or auditioning for a position as a talk radio host in New York City only to be so embarrassed by callers Sean Hannity and Mark Levin that he is forced to stomp out of the studio like a two-year-old, Baldwin never disappoints.
This is why his most recent blog entry at Huff-n-Puff on Monday should be must reading for those interested in seeing up close what true liberal media bias is all about. Right from the opening paragraph, the discerning reader was made aware of the great likelihood that Baldwin was apt to stick his foot so far into his mouth that he would end up looking like one of those Mummenschanz performers:
This one wasn’t hard to predict: With the box office failure of newly released “erotic thriller” called “Basic Instinct 2,” Hollywood elites are blaming the slumping interest in such films on Conservatives and the recent return to Christian values rather than the poor quality of the movies. According to Reuters (hat tip to Drudge):
“Paul Verhoeven, director of the first ‘Basic Instinct’ (which scored $353 million worldwide) as well as the widely ridiculed ‘Showgirls’ (now regarded as something of a camp classic), attributes the genre's demise to the current American political climate.
"‘Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States,’ said the Dutch native. ‘Look at the people at the top (of the government). We are living under a government that is constantly hammering out Christian values. And Christianity and sex have never been good friends.’"
Let me clue you in, Paul: People didn’t go to see “Showgirls” because it was a derivative piece of tripe with a bad script, bad acting, bad directing, and bad editing. Other than that, the film was absolutely fabulous. Regardless, another holier-than-though elitist that most readers have never heard of agreed with Verhoeven’s sentiments:
Dan Gainor reports to me that the Norwegian paper Aftenposten noted that a "comedian" named Otto Jespersen took to his TV show to burn pages of the Old Testament, and riots did not ensue:
The burly, middle-aged Norwegian seems to have a thing for fires: He's perhaps best known for an American flag-burning stunt on national TV three years ago, to protest the US-led invasion of Iraq.
This week, with the help of the local fire brigade, Jespersen lit a bonfire in front of Ålesund's city hall. With cameras rolling for his TV show "Rikets Røst," Jespersen first started burning some Norwegian books. Then, with the willing cooperation of Ålesund Mayor Arve Tonning, he threw paper money on the flames.
No not even reviews of kids movies are free from a tinge of liberal bias at the Today show. During Gene Shalit's Critic's Corner the dorky mustached film critic couldn't help himself:
Gene Shalit: "Good morning and welcome to the Critic's Corner. Think global warming isn't real? Ask Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Tiger or Sid the Sloth. They first met in the animated hit Ice Age and they formed an unlikely herd. Now in Ice Age: The Meltdown they're fleeing floods of melting ice and the results are joyous.... Carlos Saldahna's direction and the smart three-scribe script makes this Ice Age very cool. The herd's happy 88 happy minutes will melt away your out-of-theater cares while attesting that global warming is no snow job. Audiences everywhere get ready! Here comes Ice Age: The Meltdown starring the herd shot 'round the world. And that's the Critic's Corner for this morning."
Remember when former Clinton surgeon general Jocelyn Elders suggested that teenagers should be taught how to masturbate as part of sex education? Well, as amazing as it might seem, actress and “AIDS activist” Sharon Stone apparently tells teenagers that they should engage in oral sex rather than intercourse to protect themselves from HIV. As reported by ContactMusic.com (hat tip to Drudge):
“Actress SHARON STONE is adamant teenagers should be prepared to engage in oral sex, if it saves from them the dangers of unprotected penetrative sex. The BASIC INSTINCT [star] spends much of her time away from Hollywood working as an activist raising AIDS awareness, and she always carries condoms with her to hand out in a bid to increase safe sex levels.”
Now, this is certainly fascinating – an “AIDS activist” apparently unaware that HIV can be transferred orally. Regardless, Stone told a nice little story about what she does when she encounters a teenager debating becoming sexually active:
Joel Stein is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times – officially a "humor" columnist, but that’s a matter of debate. A few months ago, he drew attention for baldly stating he did not support the troops in the Iraq war, and that "an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying."
Last week, he decided to mock the Federal Communications Commission for a $3.6 million fine of individual CBS stations for airing a teenager-orgy scene on the Thursday night drama "Without A Trace." But a funny thing happened on the way to the Janet Jackson jokes. He asked CBS for a DVD of the episode: "And, to my shock, I was honestly disgusted."
Actor Sean Penn was apparently interviewed for an upcoming issue of The New Yorker magazine. According to a couple of sources, Penn was quoted in the piece as having a plastic doll with the likeness of Ann Coulter that he “likes to abuse when angry.”
As reported by ContactMusic.com (hat tip to Drudge): “The Oscar-winner actor has hated Coulter ever since she blacklisted his director father LEO PENN in her book TREASON. And he takes out his frustrations with Coulter, who is a best-selling author, lawyer and television pundit, on the Barbie-like doll.”
VH-1 watchers enjoying the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction concert Tuesday night received some perhaps unsurprising political commentary along with the music. When rock singer Elvis Costello came on stage to perform with New Orleans music legend Allan Touissant, he took a few shots at the Iraq War and the Bush administration's apparent inability to handle Hurricane Katrina because of that war:
I feel very lucky and very proud that music jumped to the aid of New Orleans back in September...But it’s a drop in the bucket for what is needed. There is a lot of things that I could say. I could say something like we are fighting the wrong wars in the wrong countries and not dealing with the people here that are living in this country that are not living right. You could call to account the people who have the audacity to blaspheme and say that Katrina was a judgment of God on the city of New Orleans. This is absolute nonsense because the devastation that followed Katrina was man-made, as we now know.
Time magazine celebrates an exclusive interview with Mel Gibson, described as an "ultraconservative Roman Catholic" with a Holocaust-denying Dad, as he prepares his new film, "Apocalypto," based on the Mayans and performed in the old Mayan language (more subtitles). Gibson says he doesn't give a "flying f---" about his critics, but the comments Time highlighted suggested he may be trying to get back in the good graces of the people living inside Hollywood's liberal bubble, attacking President Bush and sounding an environmentalist alarm:
Gibson and his rookie cowriter on Apocalypto, Farhad Safinia, were captivated by the ancient Maya, one of the hemisphere's first great civilizations, which reached its zenith about A.D. 600 in southern Mexico and northern Guatemala. The two began poring over Maya myths of creation and destruction, including the Popol Vuh, and research suggesting that ecological abuse and war-mongering were major contributors to the Maya's sudden collapse, some 500 years before Europeans arrived in the Americas.
Dan Gainor of the MRC's Free Market Project alerted me to the potentially left-wing plot of the episode of Law & Order set to air tonight (Wednesday) on NBC at the show's new time of 9pm EST/PST, 8pm CST/MST. The NBC Web site page for the program provides this preview:
WAS VENGEANCE THE REASON BEHIND THE SLAYING OF A PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTOR? -- A private military contractor is found shot to death in his hotel room and Detectives Fontana (Dennis Farina) and Green (Jesse L. Martin) believe vengeance is the motive in a politically charged case that questions the reason America is at war. The detectives soon narrow their focus on a fellow commando Kevin Boatman (guest star Pablo Schrieber) and the younger brother of a man who was murdered by Iraqi insurgents while under the victim's questionable command. But as A.D.A. Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) fights to keep a frightening video of the Iraqi execution out of court, he confronts unexpected political intrigue when more details are revealed about a recently captured terrorist.
Be cautioned, however, that L&O's often take plot twists in which the initially-assumed motivations for crimes turn out to be inaccurate.
The CNN Headline News show "Showbiz Tonight" led Monday night with controversy over the movie "V for Vendetta," and stomped hard on the idea that it was directed at the Bush administration. Host A. J. Hammer began with a promo: "On ‘Showbiz Tonight,’ the war in Iraq, the war on terror and the hottest movie in America. The shock and awe over 'V for Vendetta.' And the controversy. Is art imitating life? A political thriller where the hero is a terrorist. Is that really such a bad thing?"
Is this a rhetorical question? Or is Hammer auditioning for al-Jazeera International?
MRC's Michelle Humphrey tipped me off to the story. Hammer explained: "All right, let me tell you what happened this weekend. America had a big choice of movies. Here's the one they made No. 1: 'V for Vendetta.' This is a movie all about terrorism. This is a movie that raises some serious and unsettling questions about who should really be called a terrorist. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. A movie that has chilling allusions to everything from September 11 to government spying to terror bombings to the war in the Iraq. It`s a movie that opened just as we crossed yet another disturbing milestone in the struggle to end the seemingly unending war in Iraq. It`s enough to make critics and Showbiz Tonight ask, what's going on here?"
The Washington Post reports that anti-American or anti-U.S. military movies and plays are all the rage in Egypt. It's like George Clooney wearing a towel.
CAIRO -- When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited this city last month, Egyptians had an unusual choice: watch her on TV as she expounded on issues of war and peace in the Middle East, or go to a neighborhood movie theater and see her portrayed by a look-alike actress belly-dancing and placed in "adult" situations.
The film in question is "The Night Baghdad Fell," which depicts Egyptian obsessions with war, sex and the United States. Wildly anti-American, it has done a brisk business for two months, a long screen life for Egyptian-made films. In "Night," Egyptians fret about an American invasion of Egypt and the potential destruction of their capital. Americans are bullies, rapists and mindless killers.
Via the AP (Yes, I'm surprised also): Actor and writer Ben Stein spoke Thursday (3/16/06) at a Republican Party fundraising dinner in Michigan. He chastised Hollywood for failing to recognize the sacrifice of our brave men and women fighting overseas during the Oscar ceremonies on March 5.
"Not one prayer or moment of silence for those who have given their lives ... And they complain about (falling box office numbers). Stop spitting in the face of Americans and maybe we will go to the movies," Stein is quoted as saying (emphasis mine).
The "real stars" are not those in posh Beverly Hills, Stein says, but the soldiers "wearing body armor in 130-degree heat, pulling 24-hour shifts" in the Sunni triangle.
First Isaac Hayes, the voice actor for its Chef character left "South Park" over an episode that poked fun of his scientology beliefs. Now it seems the popular animated series has been dealt another blow by Hayes's fellow scientologist, Tom Cruise. The New York Post reports:
Hollywood bully Tom Cruise got Comedy Central to cancel Wednesday night's cablecast of a controversial "South Park" episode about scientology by warning that he'd refuse to promote "Mission Impossible 3," insiders say.
Since Paramount is banking on "MI3" to rake in blockbuster profits this summer, and Paramount is owned by Viacom, which also owns Comedy Central, the tactic worked.
In the liberal British paper The Guardian, reprinted in The Sydney Morning Herald, Annie Proulx, the author of the short story that inspired "Brokeback Mountain," has lashed out at Hollywood and the Academy Awards.
She complains that Hollywood, ironically, is not liberal enough, which explains why they still hate "gays and fags."
On the sidewalk stood hordes of the righteous, some leaning forward like wind-bent grasses, the better to deliver their imprecations against gays and fags to the open windows of the limos - the windows open by order of the security people - creeping towards the Kodak Theatre for the 78th Academy Awards. Others held up sturdy, professionally crafted signs expressing the same hatred....
The people connected with Brokeback Mountain, including me, hoped that, having been nominated for eight Academy Awards, it would get best picture, as it had at the funny, lively Independent Spirit awards the day before. (If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices.) We should have known conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture.... And rumour has it that Lions Gate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash - excuse me - Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline. Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter A, runaway slaves, and the debate over free silver....
For those of you that are unfamiliar, “Boston Legal” is an Emmy-winning television program broadcast by ABC on Tuesdays. In its most recent episode, one of the key attorneys, Alan Shore – played by James Spader – raised various issues facing our nation in his closing arguments (video link to follow). His monologue included references to weapons of mass destruction, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, terrorist surveillance, you name it.
When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out not to be true, I expected the American people to rise up. They didn’t.
"He said 'Hello, Wendy, this is Jay Leno,"' the Sherman Oaks resident remembered. "`I'm calling about the letter you wrote and I want to apologize. I just want to let you know we make mistakes sometimes and we don't mean to hurt people."'
AP reports that actor and legendary soul singer Isaac Hayes has left the role of Chef on the snide adult cartoon "South Park" because he cannot abide its mockery of religion. One of the show's co-creators, Matt Stone, was quick to attack the singer's sudden departure after eight seasons:
Stone told AP he and co-creator Trey Parker "never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin...This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians." Last November, "South Park" aired a Scientology-mocking episode where the child Stan is thought to be the second coming of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and Hollywood celebrities come to visit. When Stan mocks Tom Cruise, the actor locks himself in Stan's closet, allowing the writers to make endless gay jokes about Cruise refusing to come out of the closet.
Fresh from winning an Oscar for his movie "Crash," director Paul Haggis is looking to produce and direct a movie based on the memoirs of Richard Clarke, the disgruntled former anti-terrorism official who accuses the Bush Administration of botching the war on terrorism.
Reuters reporter Tatiana Siegel has the story. Notably missing is when the expected release date for the picture will be. Anyone willing to bet against a summer of 2008 launch?
Hot off his best picture win for "Crash," Paul Haggis is in final negotiations to direct and produce "Against All Enemies," a project based on Richard A. Clarke's best-selling memoir chronicling the Bush administration's handling of terrorist threats.
Certainly, this should come as no surprise – actor George Clooney is a liberal. Yet, in an era when fewer and fewer people want to admit this in mixed company – with polls showing that the ranks of “declared” liberals have significantly declined in the last decade – it is fascinating to see someone – even a Hollywoodian – so proudly proclaim their leftist affiliation.
Yet, that’s exactly what George Clooney did today at HuffPo. In a blog post entitled “I Am a Liberal. There, I Said It!” Clooney couldn’t have been more clear:
“I am a liberal. And I make no apologies for it. Hell, I'm proud of it.”
If you put stock in the actual results of the Memphis GOP straw poll, you've got things . . . Oz backwards. At least, that's Chris Matthews' view.
In Dorothy's adventure, the Wizard cautioned us to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." But this morning, Chris Matthews told us that the way to understand what happened in Memphis was to do just that - look behind the curtain at the Republican heavy-hitters lining up behind John McCain.
Interviewed by Matt Lauer on this morning's Today show, Matthews claimed:
"The big thing for McCain is the strength he showed not in the straw vote [where he finished at the bottom of the pack] but among powerful people. [Haley] Barbour, Lindsey Graham, Trent Lott and [J.C.] Watts all talked up McCain. I think McCain is building up strength."
U.S. Catholic bishops have launched a website designed to debunk claims made in the "Da Vinci Code" book and upcoming movie with Tom Hanks. The "Code" claims that Jesus married and had a bloodline that lived on after his death.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched a new website refuting key claims made in Dan Brown's novel that are likely to be brought to the big screen in Howard's movie, starring Tom Hanks.
"'The Da Vinci Code' is a mess, a riot of laughable errors and serious misstatements. Almost every page has at least one of each," the bishops wrote on the website Jesusdecoded.com.
In further evidence of just how out of touch Hollywood is, the AFP is reporting (hat tip to Drudge) that total worldwide movie ticket sales declined by 7.9 percent in 2005. In North America, the decline was 6 percent.
Potentially more telling from this survey done by the Motion Picture Association of America was what kinds of films moviegoers are interested in: “Most movie-goers in 2005 went out to catch family films, with movies rated PG-13, meaning that children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult, accounting for 85 percent of the most watched films in 2005.”
Washington Post book reviewer Jabari Asim writes in a column on the Post website that he hopes the newfound notoriety for the Oscar-winning rap song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" will make the P-word too mainstream, that it will lose its "luster of hipness," and suggests new African-American slang.
My first suggestion: "scholar."
Imagine yourself amid all the men who used to gather aimlessly on street corners, lounge on the steps of other people's houses and hang out with the rest of the worshipful congregations outside package liquor stores -- all of you deeply absorbed in library books.
Except you can top them all by trundling down the street with -- you guessed it -- a wheelbarrow almost overflowing with the latest volumes by our nation's best authors.
Normally, the news that a film about racism won the Oscar for best picture is pretty much a dog-bites-man type of story. Old hat. Done before. What usually happens.
Not this year, though. The upset victory of "Crash" in the Academy Awards race has proven to be just that, but more for supporters of "Brokeback Mountain" than for anything else. Apparently, hell also hath no fury like a slightly-above-average gay movie scorned.
The backlash against "Crash" has been such that even avowedly liberal film critic Roger Ebert has stepped up to defend the film he had been pulling for to win the Oscar. After listing some of the more ridiculous criticisms from "Brokeback" supporters (see here, here, and here for more), Ebert notes how Academy of Motion Picture critics blithely ignore "Capote," which chronicled gay journalist Truman Capote's attempts to write the story of a murder of a rural family:
Most of you have probably never heard of Bill Robinson. Heck, I’ve never heard of Bill Robinson. I've heard of “Will” Robinson, but now I'm dating myself.
Anyway, Bill Robinson is a movie producer and screenwriter of some note whose blog at HuffPo on Monday must have raised a few eyebrows, and caused many hung-over Oscar revelers to spit up their first cup of coffee. In his piece entitled “Sore Loser Mountain,” Robinson took on his fellow Hollywoodians’ collective concern that “Brokeback Mountain” was robbed of Best Picture honors at Sunday’s Academy Awards due to “the secret homophobia of Academy voters.” Robinson didn’t see it that way:
“Sorry, but I don't agree with the sore losers. Yes, homophobia exists all over the place, including among Academy voters, but the ‘Crash’ victory probably had more to do with the thousands of DVD's sent to voters, and the six-figure Oscar spending spree on its behalf. ‘Brokeback’ had garnered endless awards, and is the highest grossing best picture nominee. Is it really the victim of an anti-gay conspiracy?”
Hmmm. Clearly, Robinson was on thin ice here, for most of the posters and readers at HuffPo – especially the proprietor! – hate it when facts are brought into the discussion. Fortunately, Robinson wasn’t done. Next, he challenged the premise that “Brokeback” was an extraordinary movie deserving of Best Picture status: