I don't watch much network TV and I certainly don't watch Charlie Sheen's new show, Two and a Half Men. So I didn't know that the Christian Right is going bonkers over his mocking of Christ, Christmas and Christians earlier this week. At least that's their version.
Apparently what he did is sing his own version of a Christmas Carol:
"CBS approved Sheen's adaptation of the favorite Christmas carol, making it into a vulgar sex song," said Donald E. Wildmon, Chairman of AFA, in a statement. "The network and sponsors paid Sheen to mock Christ, Christmas and Christians. Many in the Christian community are growing tired of this bigotry by the networks and Hollywood."
Lighting candles in preparation for his Christmas date, Sheen sang: "Joy to the world, I'm getting laid; I'm getting laid tonight. We'll light the yule log, deck the halls, and then we'll play some jingle balls. It's been a real long wait - this is our second date! It's Christmas Eve and I'm getting laid."
He then sings an adaptation of another Christmas hymn. "Glo-oh-oh-oh-oh-ria, tonight I'm boinking Gloria!" (Nathan Black in The Christian Post)
It made me laugh, I'll admit. And of course it isn't very respectful of the traditional carol. So what? I doubt we'd see much uproar from the Christian Far Right if it was disrespectful of Islam or Buddhism -- or God forbid (I think He tried it) -- atheism? Is it OK to bash atheists? If so, why?
Whether this kind of grade school parody can even be called "bashing" is open to question, but you can't win with these nutcases. When Rosie O'Donnell expressed her opinion that Radical Christians are on a par with Radical Islam they also flipped out. The only thing sacred about these guys is embodied in the phrase, "sacred cow." You are forbidden to criticize them, even indirectly, by using the melody of a carol for a parody.
Disrespectful? Damn right! How can you respect people like that?
I know how we could whip Wildmon into an apoplectic fit.\
Just send him a copy of the Dr. Dirty (aka John Valby) Christmas CD with such titles as:
It's Beginning to look a lot like Syphilis
I can see Wildmon listening to the first track and then fall on the floor, spasming and foaming at the mouth. Of course I'd love to be the proverbial fly on the wall when that happened.
Wow,this is pathetic. AFA should not have bothered with the juvenile rantings of a second rate actor. Revere could apparently find nothing better for the weekly Christian bash? Infantile morons who are amused by rewriting Christmas carols to reflect toilet habits or copulation seem beneath you.
carl: I agree, it's not that interesting. But, as you say, I couldn't find anything better. Whether it's beneath me, though, I doubt. There's very little room beneath me.
Now I'm even more happy to have taken part in Cthulhu Carolling yesterday....
I look forward to freethinker sunday sermonette, but this one was weak. Can't your staff do a better job finding interesting items for my enjoyment! I mean, it's the week before Christmas and Saturnalia. Sheesh.
tony: Yeah, it was sort of a loser. What can I say? I really like xmas. But that's for next week.
Tom Lehrer did this parody bit best a while ago. I'd post it in lo-res mp3 for your enjoyment but some X'tian blockhead like carl would turn me in to the RIAA.
Christmas time is here, by golly,
Disapproval would be folly,
Deck the halls with hunks of holly,
Fill the cup and don't say "when."
Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens,
Mix the punch, drag out the Dickens,
Even though the prospect sickens,
Brother, here we go again.
On Christmas Day you can't get sore,
Your fellow man you must adore,
There's time to rob him all the more
The other three hundred and sixty-four.
Relations, sparing no expense'll
Send some useless old utensil,
Or a matching pen and pencil.
"Just the thing I need! How nice!"
It doesn't matter how sincere it
Is, nor how heartfelt the spirit,
Sentiment will not endear it,
What's important is the price.
Hark the Herald Tribune sings,
Advertising wondrous things.
God rest ye merry, merchants,
May you make the Yuletide pay.
Angels we have heard on high
Tell us to go out and buy!
So let the raucous sleigh bells jingle,
Hail our dear old friend Kris Kringle,
Driving his reindeer across the sky.
Don't stand underneath when they fly by.
But what would you expect from a guy who was paying 50K a pop for sex? Must have been some REALLY good stuff. Now he has to do sitcoms because he cant afford it any more and his first kid was with pornstar... Dirty little secrets? Not really. Charlie hasnt had a hit since "Saving Private Ryan". Just kidding. He was good in Platoon but that didnt make him a soldier either. I think he is a an actor who never had a real job.
As for the Christmas Carol, Irreverence is not permitted in Islam and only tolerated here. Charlie doesnt know shit from Sheenola and even though his ultra-left wing old man is a Catholic, he is his own boy. Daddy is a hero of mine because he never backed off from his ideals, went to jail, got beaten up and still does to this day protest against what he thinks is wrong. Charlie aint half of what dad is.
Remember, Charlie thinks the WTC's went down because they were blown up and not because someone drove two 250 ton airplanes loaded with fuel into it. Its good we have an engineer in the family now. Sing away Charlie. The Right may be wrong but even a dumbass doesnt bite the hand that feeds it in Somalia.
The "disrespect" shown to the Christmas carols by parodying them in that fashion is considerably less than the disrespect shown to the fine old pieces of medieval dance music many of those "Christmas carols" were before the religiously-insane Victorians got hold of them and Christianised them.
Henry VIII (who wrote the piece) would be appalled at what they did to "Greensleeves," for instance.
Randy, WTFingF?! Can I have some of what you're smoking? I haven't come out with word salad that good in years...
Randy: Agree with you about charlie's pop. I had the privilege of testifying on his behalf once over a trespass at a hazardous waste facility. The trespassers claimed the "necessity defense" (breaking the law was necessary to avoid a greater harm). It almost never succeeds (nor should it most of the time; the law is the law). The case was so egregous, however, that a local jury, which included the prosecutor's mother-in-law, acquitted them.
....ummm, I hate to be a party pooper.... Actors memorize lines and are directed to stand on masking tape stuck to the floor so that the camera person can get the best angle. Charlie may not be as committed to political issues as his dad or even have the same mental handle .... but his dad was like that even when he was working with Francis Ford Coppola.... Coppola is a purest, too. He likes to work with that kind of intensity. Network and corporate dudes don't really like people who think on their own. (Sorry, Charlie, I know it's just a job.) If anyone has issues they should take them up with the producers and the sponsors who think and write and sell cars and pharmaceuticals (it used to be soap) with these shows.
In fact, this little exercise in televised potty-mouth IS important.
The most obvious, glaring, and dangerous thing about the American Taliban is that they are absolutely obsessed with sex, or more to the point, with other peoples' sex lives. On the surface they want to ban anything that doesn't lead immediately to a pregnancy, and under the surface most of them are drooling for teenagers and so on. They are especially intolerant of any public expression of affection or sexuality, and it makes them go ballistic to see people talking about the joys of sex in public.
This is why the Republicans imploded after that Congressman in FLorida was exposed chasing after teenagers ("Let your fingers do the walking through the fellow pages!"): they had no way of dealing with one of their own having a scandal that had sex in it.
Note that the televised Xmas carols did not use any FCC-banned language. Thus the Talibans had to channel their freakout in another direction: blasphemy. Shades of medievalism alright. Now they have to take the position that TV shouldn't blaspheme, which for many Americans, will be going too far across the church/state line.
And in any case, the comparison with commercialism is apt. The other day I was at a supermarket that was playing an Xmas muzak channel, and one of the songs was a sancitmoniously-intoned anthem about Santa Claus delivering presents. When the singer got to the word "Santa Claus," his voice swelled and the instruments swelled and the whole effect was to cast the jolly old elf as a kind of God of Consumption. IMHO that's just downright gross, and also blasphemous as hell because it not only puts the moneychangers back in the temple but elevates them to the position of holy men.
So let's rub the Talibans' noses in this one. Sexy Xmas carols vs. consumptionism. If they want to be consistent, they have to do as the Jehovah's Witnesses do, and refuse to have a commercial celebration of Christmas: no shopping sprees, no gifting sprees, no feast of toys for the kiddies, no decorated dead trees or outdoor lights (bloody waste of electricity, that one), only a properly solemn observance of a religious holiday. Are they willing to put their money where their mouths are, by refusing to spend it like drunken sailors? And what will the Xmas Industry have to say about that one, TV networks full of advertisers included?
And, as a general strategy, we should be encouraging the media to do non-porno depictions of healthy happy sex, including comedy and satire about same, as much as possible. Think of it as "every time someone says Orgasm on TV with a smile, another rightwinger's head explodes." Celebrate eroticism, kill off the Taliban. Good deal, that.
g510: Good points, all. I am planning to do an Ode to Xmas next week, though, and you will see that I am not at all troubled by the consumerism part of xmas. I'll explain then. And of course, your mileage may differ.
I kinda like "Try Being Like a White Christian", myself (by Dave Ross)