Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Symbols are important, Women are not"

I love satire.  I really wish I was good at it because it is such a powerful tool.  When done right it's like weaponized laughter.  When done brilliantly it's a thermonuclear weapon of funny.  What else cuts through hypocrisy like satire?  What else in the world can deflate the powerful and their manufactured outrage with the same efficacy?  I guess the only real downside is that once you reach a certain level of hypocrisy you lose the ability to understand satire.  People who are addicted to outrage typically don't understand humour at all.  Umbrage junkies think "irony" is another word for "metallic".  But, if it doesn't cure the delusional, satire can at the very least vaccinate the rest of us against joining the ranks of the perpetually outraged.

That is why I'm a huge fan of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.  I started watching it in 2010 and I haven't missed a single episode!  It keeps me both informed and entertained.  However some people refuse to be informed and don't know what entertainment is and so the clever satire of these shows tend to pass right over their heads.  Case in point, recently someone got really upset after The Daily Show did the following bit:

Now I can understand someone watching that and getting upset.  Here we are in the 21st century and greatest country in the 1st world finding new ways to treat women like they aren't even people!  States are passing one dehumanizing piece of legislation after the next each more ridiculously extreme than the one before.  Everyone should be upset!  Yet here we have one of the biggest and most influential news networks in the country flat out denying that this is even a problem.  That's pretty rich coming from Fox, a network that has yet to meet an issue too insignificant to become hysterical about.  Yet somehow someone saying "Happy Holidays" is a bigger problem than women forced by law to get intrusive medical procedures and using energy saving lightbulbs is more befitting of outrage than a doctor being legally able to lie to a pregnant woman.  But of course that was not what upset the perpetually outraged Catholic League president Bill Donohue.  He is upset because of this:

It's funny, you don't often get to see someone making the point by missing the point.  Donohue is now calling for a boycot of The Daily Show, calling it an "unprecedented assault on Christian sensibilities".  Yes, somehow the act of putting a reminder that Jesus came into the world via a vagina within the vicinity of an actual vagina is nothing less than an assault on Christianity.  I guess I just don't understand why he is so upset.  Are vaginas blasphemous?  Did the Virgin Mary not have such sacrilegious parts?  Pretty sure there would have been no baby Jesus in a manger if she didn't...

Seems to me that all these perpetually outraged conservative Christians have their priorities backwards.  They are fighting tooth and nail for the veneration of a symbol without giving a moment's thought about what the symbol represents.  Isn't the entire point of the Nativity that God cared about people?  Isn't the image of a manger (as opposed to a crib) supposed to be a symbol that God cares more about the well-being of people than He does about comfort, majesty, respect or riches?  How did they get to the point where the meaning is meaningless and the symbol is everything?  Why are they more outraged about a picture than about the violation of a human being?  Isn't the real assault on Christian sensibility the fact that a person is being treated like a thing all while simultaneously demanding reverence and respect for an actual thing?  Surely women are more sacred than graven images!  Symbols mean nothing if you lose touch with what they represent.  If people don't matter to you, if you have no respect for women and their rights then it doesn't matter how highly you value an image of the Nativity, you've completely missed the point.

I honestly don't get why this should be hard to grasp.  People matter.  Women are people.  Women matter.  Images?  They're just images.  If you are going to be judged on anything it will be on how you treated your fellow human beings, not how much respect you showed to a symbol.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stewart and his staff are brilliant. Their reporting is better than any network news. They pursue truth and humanity and shine light where Fox is dark and ignorant. -Sage