SHOCKING DEVELOPMENTS

As difficult as this may be to believe, I actually felt bad for Rush Limbaugh once. Once. A little less than ten years ago, he was hired by ESPN as an NFL commentator. If you don't remember this, don't feel bad. He had the job for all of about six weeks before the network fired him for comments he made about Eagles QB Donovan McNabb:

"Sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go," Limbaugh said. "I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

Good to know Limbaugh knows as much about football as he does about anything else. (For the unaware, McNabb was great, especially when he was young. No, he never won a Super Bowl. Neither did Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, or any number of other "greats".)

ESPN initially backed Limbaugh.

Earlier, ESPN executive vice president Mark Shapiro came to the conservative Limbaugh's defense.

"This is not a politically motivated comment. This is a sports and media argument…We brought Rush in for no-holds-barred opinion. Early on, he has delivered."

In other words, they brought in Rush Limbaugh to do exactly what Rush Limbaugh is known for doing. He did it, and then they fired him. The ratings for their NFL show were flagging and they wanted someone to generate some interest in it again. They hired someone for the shock factor and told him to be shocking. My point is not that what he said is defensible; the point is, the network can't act surprised that they hired Rush Limbaugh and he proceeded to act like Rush Limbaugh. The guy is not an unknown quantity. So the issue is not really what he said per se, but why ESPN would hire him in the first place.

OK.

Hypothetically, if the Oscars hired a black bear to host the ceremony, who is to blame when it turns into a trainwreck? Is it the bear's fault, or would it be more logical to ask, "What kind of moron would hire a bear to host the Oscars?"

The world was deluged with "Seth McFarlane offended everyone on Earth and is a raging asshat" pieces today. He was highly offensive, crude, and not even particularly funny (note: if you're going to be incredibly offensive you have to at least be funny). I'm reading all of this and thinking, "What exactly did they expect when they hired Seth McFarlane?" His humor is offensive, crude, sexist, homophobic, and ever since the first Family Guy cancellation, not particularly funny. He proceeded to deliver a performance that was offensive, crude, sexist, homophobic, and not particularly funny. Shocking.

The many criticisms of McFarlane read like they could have been written two weeks ago, with the specific jokes added at the last minute. That makes perfect sense, since anyone with a functioning brain stem saw this coming a mile away: the gay jokes, the awful songs, the attempts to embarrass celebrities in the crudest possible way, the bathroom humor, all of it. So the issue is not McFarlane, as he merely did exactly what could have been expected of him in that situation. I mean, the guy is not going to go out there and do PG-rated Billy Crystal humor. If he tried that, it would probably be excruciating to see. It's not what he does. No, the issue is with the Academy. They hired him. What made them think that was a good idea?

It's so much easier to blame individuals than a faceless organization. The idea that they would hire McFarlane and he would somehow censor himself or deliver a highbrow or family-friendly performance – something he has never done in the history of ever – is an effort to deflect blame from where it belongs. The Academy and the TV networks paid for shock value, they got it, and it worked (look at the coverage the "controversy" generated). So while everyone's beating the dead horse and taking a whack at the asshole who was paid to be his asshole self and proceeded to be an asshole, the bigger issue – the judgment of people who have actual decision-making power – is ignored. Again.

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61 Responses to “SHOCKING DEVELOPMENTS”

  1. localnebula Says:

    This is why I'm *really* worried about his involvement in the Cosmos sequel. I mean, WTF else does anyone expect from Seth MacFarlane?

  2. Patrick Says:

    Makes me remember Steven Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Hilarious, but the people doing the hiring didn't really think that one through either….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Colbert_at_the_2006_White_House_Correspondents'_Association_Dinner

  3. ladiesbane Says:

    MacFarlane wasn't daring or brilliant; he was traveling a rutted road in an old, slow car. Even for the least PC among us, he was not sharp. He seemed nervous a good deal of the time, showing little charm and no defiance. He didn't trick us into going along with his bad boy ways. This gig was a bad fit for his style and he did nothing to overcome it.

    I think he was hired to be audacious. He fell short simply by being rude and dull.

    But I can't imagine why ESPN hired Rusty. Did a racist hire him to speak truth to power? Was he hired coldly as a sure-bet ratings spike? Did Limbaugh's agent think more money was in sports and fight for entry? No idea.

  4. J. Dryden Says:

    Oddly, the collective loss-of-shit I picked up on was the Onion's use of the word "cunt" to refer to a nine-year-old girl. When that's stacked against Macfarlane, he seems rather sweet. But the humor of both is derived from the same thing–the desire for the "I can't believe s/he said that" guffaw. That, however, is a joke that's gotten way old–"I'm not racist, but I'm going to say something incredibly racist, so that we can laugh about how naughty it is to say racist things, even though we're not racist!" Or "sexist things." Or "gaybashing things." Or "pedophilia-positive things." It's tired–and it saddens me to say that of the Onion. Macfarlane, less so.

    Also, shrieking about Macfarlane, particularly when it comes from people in places where they ought to know how the world really works, tickles me to no end, because why the hell are they yelling at *him*? I doubt he wrote most of what he said–there were many, many people who typed words onto pages for that show–and every single joke went through several versions, all of which were reviewed by several grown-ups in positions of authority, none of whom are being named or blamed today, and I don't get that.

    Or rather, I do. The people who are to blame–the producers, the advertisers–the folks with actual power–do not choose to let themselves be held accountable, so they have let places like HuffPo know that they may, if they wish, heap scorn on Macfarlane–but to keep their mouths shut if they want continued access to the kind of parties they like to brag about to their readers.

    Poor Macfarlane, really–I've repeatedly insisted that if the people who liked him would just like him and shut up about it, and if the people who disliked him would just ignore him, he would not be the start of so many screaming matches on the internet. But screw it–he's rich, he'll be fine. And frankly, most of the people he offends are grateful for the excuse to be offended–what else would they do with their day?

  5. Elle Says:

    I read somewhere (Twitter? Facebook?) that this Oscars was being trailed to men by some network as something they might like to watch, because of MacFarlane's hosting gig.

    The stale, tired hosting seems congruent with the stale, tired Academy. If you stuff your organisation with old, culturally conservative white guys, then I suppose it seems transgressive to have MacFarlane cracking wise about how women are nagging bitches. Apparently, it also feels transgressive to nominate women or black people for film-making awards.

    I can't help feeling that the world would be a better place without the Oscars, if only so the creative women of Hollywood could experience the added boost to productivity that would come from eating a sandwich between Christmas and now.

  6. J. Dryden Says:

    @ Elle: Oh, come now. In order for women and black people to be nominated for film-making awards, they would first have to be *allowed* to participate in the making of movies, and that's just crazy-talk.

  7. Shifty Eyed Hispanic Guy Says:

    I think the jackass hired and the jackasses doing the hiring are jointly and severally liable for crimes against humor (which is what really offended me).

  8. Arslan Says:

    The bottom line is that Seth MacFarlane isn't funny, and despite all his rampant homophobia, sexism,xenophobia, racism, etc., he still wants us to view him as this progressive, free-thinking liberal. Sorry Seth, for me puberty was a long time ago, and coincidentally that was the time when you were funny.

    I'm surprised he even ATTEMPTED to make jokes, rather than just repeatedly saying: "Hey you think THAT'S bad? Remember that time I (RANDOM POP CULTURE REFERENCE)?"

  9. Brushworth Tarr Says:

    Who are these people of whom you speak? Seth? Oscar?
    & never mind Rush: why can't they bring back Dennis Miller?

  10. Middle Seaman Says:

    Never saw Seth MacFarlane, I don't watch the Oscars anymore (bad actors appear in bad movies presented by bad presenters) and I only watch a few TV programs. Still, I am surprised at your surprise.

    They tried a new approach, ok they went for the cheap, what they believed is the popular approach, it didn't work. That is the way we do everything. This is they we elect presidents. That is the way we run companies.

    It works, why complain?

  11. Arslan Says:

    The Oscars, and Hollywood, are irrelevant anyway.

  12. Stephen Says:

    What is this Oscars show you speak of?

  13. ADM Says:

    Let's say you're right Ed, that the Oscars got exactly what they wanted. Seems like really short-term thinking. Maybe there was a "What will Seth do?" curiosity factor that led to better ratings this year, but come next year, what are people going to remember? That the Oscars are long and boring (mostly), and that the Oscars are really, really out of their element in attempting anything novel. That's how you create a cynical audience, not a loyal one. Surely a group of people who have worked all their adult lives to get people to watch their shows are smarter than this?

  14. Jane Says:

    I'm done with Sergio.

  15. c u n d gulag Says:

    Who cares?
    Bob Hope is dead.
    Johnny Carson is dead.
    The movie screens have shrunk.
    Too many movies have way too many make-up and special effects – and too little story and character development.

    HEY YOU KIDS! GET OFF MY FECKIN' LAWN!!!

    Now, where was I?

  16. jon Says:

    There will be another host or hosts next year that will bring just what is needed for that broadcast. And they'll watch it anyway. Zombie Fred Rogers v. Seth MacFarlane would be a small blip on a ratings chart. And the press would discuss the emotional standing ovation as ZFR ate Jack Nicholson's head while the orchestra played a medley of 'You Are Special' and 'It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood'.

  17. grumpygradstudent Says:

    I thought he was pretty funny. Especially considering that he's not a standup and doesn't usually do shit like this. I laughed a few times, which is more than I can usually say for the Oscars.

  18. Jimcat Says:

    I'm not going to pretend to be unaware of the Oscars or MacFarlane. I've never liked MacFarlane's brand of humor, but to my disappointment, there are millions of "Family Guy" fans who do, so I do as J. Dryden recommended and just ignore him. And I find awards ceremonies to be incredibly boring no matter who hosts them, so I wasn't planning to watch the show.

    What really shocked me, and I see that I'm not the only one to mention this, was the Onion's "cunt" joke about Quvenzhané Wallis. For starters, how is that even a joke? You just mention the c-word in the same sentence as a 9-year-old actress? Maybe I'm the one who's out of touch, but my mind just fails to see a path to where that would be funny. And then, the ONION? Seriously? One of the funniest websites for the past two decades and this was the best they could come up with? They can do, and have done, much better. How did someone who thinks like that wind up working there?

  19. anotherbozo Says:

    I've taken Ed's principle to its furthest extension where American politics are concerned and I always dissolve in a puddle of despair. If we blame the hired hand instead of the hiring committee, what then of the American electoral process? (Sorry, I can't help making sweeping analogies) Where government is concerned, isn't the American electorate the hiring committee? And then you think of all the money and talent brought to bear on this poor hulking mass, the American electorate, to get it to vote against its own self-interest… and you can down-size the concept to fit the awards show.

    Re: the Oscars, probably the advertisers, motion picture academy and God knows how many other hands got involved with choosing MacFarlane. When ad hoc committees agree on anything, or anyone, look out.

  20. sluggo Says:

    I have sat through three or four episodes of Family Guy, without even cracking a smile, so that was enough for me. I have tried to put my finger on why it is not funny, since it contains a lot of one liners and the pacing is really fast….two things that I usually like.

    I don't like him because he is a smarmy bully. he is like a popular high schooler who picks on the handicapped kid or makes fun of a teacher behind their back, but never to their face.

    Humor comes from outsiders creating havoc on social order, not from insiders like Seth Mcfarlane picking on people weaker than himself.

  21. RosiesDad Says:

    My 17 year old son is a huge Seth McFarlane fan–loves all his shows–and he hasn't watched the Oscar broadcast yet. He had homework Sunday night and taped it. But he can be my barometer as to whether or not McFarlane scored well with his key demographic.

    I watched the show with half of one eye for about 90 minutes and some of it was amusing. He does have a good singing voice and I thought the "We Saw Your Boobs" song was right on par for him.

    Maybe they can have Matt Stone and Trey Parker host next year. Their presentation of the Tony for best musical in 2012 was singularly the funniest thing I have ever seen on an awards show and they certainly ought to be able to piss off as many of the film industry's tight asses as McFarlane did.

  22. Aaron Says:

    I'd have liked to see the "orgy at Jack Nicholson's House" line go right into a series of Roman Polanski jokes, just to remind the Academy that they're all friends and apologists for a disgusting child-rapist. That would have been great.

  23. Arslan Says:

    MacFarlane make a Polanski joke in front of Hollywood ass-kissers? No way. Seth is "edgy" to teenage boys against people who don't watch his shows.

    It's no big mystery as to why Family Guy sucks. MacFarlane can't write. He is part of a whole disease which says that "pop culture reference = funny." But of course for a pop culture reference to work, people have to know it, so unlike the Simpsons he sticks to big, well-known topics like Star Wars.

    In the older Simpsons episodes, even the pop culture references were often involving classic films, shows, or literature, and if you didn't get the joke, tough shit- go out and rent some old films. As a teenager the Simpsons inspired me to go out and rent a lot of classic films or look up historical politicians so as to fully understand a particular joke. With MacFarlane it's just "Oh look, that guy's from Star Wars. LOL."

  24. Arslan Says:

    Nearly forgot- MacFarlane has a nasty habit(which got progressively worse) of inserting straight versions(i.e. no parody lyrics and sometimes few, if any visual gags) of songs from famous musicals. In one case the song took up at least two minutes, up to the act break, with absolutely no punch line whatsover.

    That brings me to the last problem with MacFarlane. If a joke works once with him, he and his minions will quickly do it as many times as possible, shoehorning it in wherever. The evil monkey and giant chicken gags from Family Guy are two perfect examples of this.

  25. Tim Says:

    I'm glad I wasn't the only one who found Family Guy a bit tiresome after the first season. There's only so many wacky pop-culture-reference-segues you can do before they stop being funny and unexpected.

  26. Hank Says:

    I inadvertently watched a bit of the Oscars. After reading the comments here I now have some idea of who Seth McFarlane is. That being said, the only thing I saw him do was stand and say things like "… and now Person X and Person Y with the Oscar for Thing Z." My take away from what I saw was wondering why they hired a young Donny Osmond impersonator to host the show.

  27. Verbal Says:

    The NYT did, (briefly, and on the 2nd page of their coverage), ask the question Ed asks here in greater depth:

    Asked whether they regretted having included the number, Mr. Zadan and Mr. Meron, in a telephone interview on Monday, both answered,

  28. Verbal Says:

    … sorry, cut off, probably by bogus smartquote issues:
    "No. Mr. Zadan pointed to the show's strong ratings, and said, "You hire Seth MacFarlane, you want something to be cutting edge and irreverent."

    Hawk Koch, the president of the Academy, did not respond for requests for comment. An Academy spokeswoman defended Mr. MacFarlane and the show's producers in a statement.

  29. Dave Delld Says:

    The whole show, which I still faithfully watch, is increasingly overcome with the thought that it has to be a musical variety show in order to draw an audience.

    A full half hour of "entertainment" prior to the first awards. Interludes of from 5 to 10 minutes sprinkled throughout the show for "variety acts" and "music numbers". And then the people who wish to give thanks for helping them have the best jobs they could ever have possibly imagined are "jawsed" off the stage and complaints are made that the show is running a half hour long… Well, all I can say is it's not Seth McF that's the problem.

  30. Dave Dell Says:

    Typed my own name incorrectly. Sigh… Probably some bad grammar as well.

  31. Mo Says:

    I think I win the Cultural Derelict Prize today.

    I didn't know the Oscars were even being presented.
    I didn't know who Seth MacFarlane is until the name was connected to that stupid Family Guy cartoon I once watched for 3 minutes and then never again.
    I'd forgotten what Argo was even about and had to read the Wikipedia entry, not having seen the movie.

    Should I be worried? I mean, they do let me out onto the grounds daily.

  32. Pat Says:

    Sheesh. Ed feels like he perceives an obligation to acquiesce to the majority view before skewing it, but I find it necessary to state the obvious:

    Seth MacFarlane was perfectly funny. His job as a host was just fine.

    Was it worthy of vintage Carlin or Lenny Bruce? Far from it. And it was largely as tired as … well, as the Oscars always are. But the Lincoln joke was great, the Jodie Foster comment wittily insightful, the Mel Gibson and Tarantino jokes at-least-acceptable. The musical number was probably a miss, but honestly, do you ever remember a musical number at the Oscars hitting?

    And Ed, I'll just remind you're now in the position of saying Seth MacFarlane wasn't terribly funny while having previously stated that Daniel Tosh is capable of being funny. Which is embarrassing, for a comedian.

  33. Pat Says:

    … adding, before anyone gives any credence to the sensibilities who were offended by MacFarlane, remember we're talking about Hollywood. As in, the people who were outraged by Ricky Gervais making fun of celebrities. As in, the sole group of people who in 2000 actually bought into the notion that Warren Beatty would be a good president. (Seriously, Google Dustin Hoffman's idiotic statements on that subject.) They're megalomaniacal sociopaths. Who on earth gives a fuck what they think?

  34. sluggo Says:

    @ Pat

    'the Lincoln joke was great'

    You and the moron that told that joke are the only two who think that.

  35. sandstonesun Says:

    Re: Seth McFarlane (and Rush). They hired a dick to be a dick. Dicks get clicks.
    In America you have a right to be stupid. (John Kerry 2/26/2013)

    I rarely threadjack, but if you've never seen the Oscar atrocity of Rob Lowe and Snow White, sit back, relax, and get some knitting needles for your eyes straight through to the brain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ0XGi_LVOU
    I miss the Solid Gold Dancers.

  36. Arslan Says:

    @Tim

    Do not worry, comrade, you are NOT alone by any stretch of the imagination. After I came to the realization that Family Guy sucked(it was actually after seeing an episode which contained one of those 3-minute totally straight musical numbers to which I alluded), I thought that perhaps the problem was that Seth MacFarlane might be better suited to writing short sketches rather than series. Then he made Seth MacFarlane's Comedy Clusterfuck or whatever, and totally proved me wrong. Watch British sketch shows like Big Train, The Mitchell and Webb Look, or the old Monty Python classics and you'll see exactly what is wrong with MacFarlane(and a LOT of American writers) when you compare it to his attempt at a sketch show(animated sketch show). Basically, the "sketches" are prefaced with title cards which give you an idea of what it's going to be about. Big mistake. Your mind has time to turn it over. With British sketches, not every sketch works but they give you no warning. BAM! This is happening; that's how British absurdist comedy works. They take risks, whereas Americans like Seth MacFarlane are too timid and need to preface everything with what amounts to a drunk high schooler saying to his friends, "Hey, wouldn't it be funny if…" Or in Family Guy speak, "You think THAT'S bad? Remember the time I saw a gay Darth Vader fighting with some 80's TV star nobody gives a shit about?"

    In fact if you want conclusive proof that MacFarlane and co. suck balls, try watching some commentary on an old Simpsons DVD(Season 6 is a good start since that's when they started doing commentary for all episodes) and compare it to the commentary of Seth and his friends. Watching Simpsons commentary can often be as funny as the show, and it's often informative as well. The writers are happy to put obscure references into the show without beating you over the head with them. With MacFarlane on the other hand, he laments over jokes which the network censors supposedly insisted on cutting out, but I can't help thinking that they may have been cut because they just weren't funny. He's almost painful to listen to as he talks about the jokes they pitched around the table.

    In fact I blame shit shows like Family Guy for ruining the Simpsons. Any Simpsons fan will be familiar with the long, drawn-out battle the writers and producers had to fight with the network. I know it's cliche to harp on the decline of the Simpsons, but I noticed that something very different started going on around 19 and especially 20. They started throwing in very obvious pop culture references from recent films and TV shows, and they were often shoehorned in at inappropriate times. I couldn't put my finger on it at first but suddenly I could hear a Fox network exec saying something like, "Look, we backed your movie, now you have to do something for us. See that Family Guy show? The kids love that. Can you make the Simpsons more like Family Guy?"

    Ok, my rant has ended, my piece has been spoken. I had the luxury of being like Mo, not knowing about any of this. But curiosity got the better of me, and I have suffered for it.

  37. JazzBumpa Says:

    With my typical exquisite timing I chose this year for the first time to watch the Oscars since adolescence – and that is a long time, indeed. This whole industry fawning paean to itself has always struck as as something akin to masturbation – a fine activity, don't get me wrong – but not something you would want your neighbor to watch you do [though that might depend on the neighbor, but let's not digress.]

    I had no clue who this Seth guy is, and am not familiar with most of the movies, and really didn't give a shit about any of it anyway , so this was a pretty good set up for a cluster fuck, from my perspective.

    Wow, did Seth deliver. Here's naive me, watching in all innocent ignorance, and there's this actually quite handsome dude on the screen, and not a bad singer in a 60 years go pop-style kind of way. So I was expecting – of, I dunno . . . entertainment, maybe?

    Yeah, he was offensive. But what really made the whole thing a disaster was that it was so god-damned lame. The Shatner cameo cast this in bold relief.

    It's possible to be offensive and funny, but that requires a deft touch and some sense of where the limits ought to be. instead, it looked like it was scripted by a bunch of horny high school sophomore boys who spent the weekend sniffing glue. This fiasco was a shit pie in the face of every-fucking-body.

    Except Pat. Of, well.

    High points: The Les Miz cast singing whatever they sang, and Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger.

    Low points: Every other god damned moment of the show.

    Seriously.

    JzB

  38. JazzBumpa Says:

    Twice in the previous rant I typed "of" when I meant "oh."

    Fucking fingers.

    JzB

  39. Pat Says:

    @Sluggo: I see there's no accounting for taste.

    … wait, slight emend: There's no accounting for your taste.

  40. acer Says:

    I've never liked anything MacFarlane has done, and I still thought he was better than James Franco and Anne Hathaway.

    MacFarlane and the internet Outrage Industrial Complex are perfect for each other. Sites like HuffPo and Gawker cater to their fashionably sensitive center-left readers as much as Seth Mac caters to nerdy pubescent boys, neither makes anyone think too hard about anything, and each is as cynical and shallow as the other.

  41. Major Kong Says:

    I'm sure I'll be in the minority here, but I didn't think Seth MacFarlane was that bad.

    Mind you, I'm easily amused and not that easily offended.

  42. Brandon Says:

    Pat, I'm with you. I thought he did just fine as far as Oscar hosts go. I enjoyed the "We saw your boobs" song as a bit of meta-humor, but I can understand why some wouldn't like it. But aside from that, I don't see any foundation for the criticism I've from all across the blogosphere.

    And Ed, regarding your allegations of homophobia, sexism, etc. If I recall correctly, you enjoy the good ole Comedy Central Roast, which contains homophobic, racist, crass humor in large doses. I know comedy is subjective, and some would say that homophobic or racist jokes are fine if they make some larger critique. But is there some more precise boundary that delineates when such jokes are acceptable? I don't really remember anything from MacFarlane's performance so shockingly outside the bounds of typical crude comedy that would merit the allegations of sexism, homophobia, etc.

  43. Mo Says:

    Major – I'm easily amused and not easily offended as well.

    But alas, there's a croaker: I'm also easily bored.

    And now, back to life at the shallow end of the pond…

  44. Rosalux Says:

    Jesus. Christ. Who. Cares. So there was some televised circle jerk for elite entertainers that people watch because they find their own lives crushingly boring and at this celebrity circle jerk some dude said some offensive shit that everybody knew he would say anyway.

    Why are we talking about this? I don't think I can express in words just how little I care about this story, just how deeply irrelevant and meaningless all of this is, nay further, how much my soul and rational faculties are withering merely by being exposed to other people caring in the least about this. Ugh.

  45. mothra Says:

    Seth McFarlane was brought in to entice the all-important 18-24 male age group. Most of whom would never, in a million years, be watching the Oscars. So, stupid move.

    As for the Onion tweet, my guess it was some 18-24-year old male staffer who had to watch the Oscars to "cover" it, got stupid drunk and thought he was being HIlarious. Dude is probably looking for work as we speak.

  46. acer Says:

    @mothra:

    Nailed it. The Onion apologized immediately and insisted that the writers involved were being "disciplined." I didn't think it was as gross as half the stuff I see on Twitter every day, but it was way, way off-brand.

  47. acer Says:

    @Brandon:

    Naomi Watts looked extremely upset about "We Saw Your Boobs." That, at least, was funny.

  48. Brandon Says:

    Acer:

    Were those reaction shots during the song live? I was under the impression that they were recorded or staged, but I could be wrong.

  49. Haydnseek Says:

    Said the guy who was in a band named "Tremendous Fucking."

  50. sluggo Says:

    @ Pat

    Let me get this straight, you think a LINCOLN ASSASSINATION JOKE was funny and I am the one with bad taste.

    OK. Just so we have that straight.

  51. Major Kong Says:

    @sluggo

    Well, I always thought the Monty Python "Spanish Inquisition" sketch was pretty hilarious, so why is it OK to laugh at that but not at a Lincoln assassination joke?

    I mean, the Spanish Inquisition was pretty darn horrible, but it's OK to laugh because it happened further back in history?

  52. Brian Says:

    To complain about the tastelessness of jokes at the Oscars is akin to complaining about Beyonce too risque for the Superbowl.

    Just shut up and watch the unapologetically self-indulgent wealthy pat each other on the back in an extremely tasteful way.

    I will just sit here and be outraged by Beyonce's clothing while these cheerleaders dance me into the Go-Daddy commercial break.

  53. David Says:

    @ Dave Dell: THIS

    I would rather see the Oscars be more oriented toward film commentary— with the comedy and musical bits themselves being smart first and funny second. Maybe that would drive away other viewers though. I didn't catch the Oscars, but saw quite a few clips.

    Seth McFarlane is pretty hit and miss for me, and his material in this instance seemed a bit shrill/flat (at least from what I saw). Still, on a meta-humor (perhaps unintended?) level, seeing Seth poke holes the uptight, pretentious veneer of the Academy and its Big Important Event was kind of fun.

  54. sluggo Says:

    @ Kong

    1. Yes, time matters.
    2. If you say something offensive, it damn well better really funny. The Pythons get a lack more slack on those grounds.
    3. Offensive or not, the man just does not have a funny bone in his body.

  55. Arslan Says:

    Of all the things one can say about Seth MacFarlane, I can't say I have ever found him offensive, but I am aware that this is because I'm a white male and MacFarlane caters toward that demographic. It's really hard not to offend with humor, but the best humor attacks the powerful, the self-proclaimed "social betters."

    As for this song everyone is talking about if, for any reason, someone disagrees with the Salon piece, there still is the issue of it being 1.not funny, and 2. Ridiculously immature.

    If you want to see a show which has, at times, done banality very well, see Aqua Teen Hunger Force, particularly the so-called "Dickesode."

  56. unclemike Says:

    Sluggo: can we make a McKinley assassination joke? An Archduke Ferdinand assassination joke?

    I get that humor is subjective, and can be tasteless and offensive to some, while being hilarious to others. I thought MacFarlane did fine, more hits than misses (no, that is NOT a Lincoln assassination joke) others didn't like him, fine.

    But to say that some topics are forbidden humor-wise is just mind-numbingly short-sighted.

    Or, as Lenny Bruce said right after JFK was assassinated: "Vaughn Meader is fucked."

  57. jon Says:

    I think MacFarlane's stuff is hit-or-miss, but his competition at 3am is infomercials and SciFi Channel movies about cockroach/Rottweiler hybrids that endanger scantily-clad women. Sleep usually wins, but the half-awake me enjoys things until some better absurdity appears: Mighty Boosh, Venture Brothers, Morning Joe, you know, CRAZY SHIT.

  58. Pat Says:

    @Sluggo… you know what? No. I was going to be snarky about the difference between something 150 years ago and something 500 years ago and how "time matters," but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't get it.

    And I didn't mean to imply you have bad taste! You clearly have no taste at all.

  59. Pat Says:

    @unclemike: Ohhh, I see what you did there. And after I had pulled myself away from a line about MacFarlane's "killer material"! I feel cheated.

  60. Robert Says:

    I read this a while ago: "the second worst thing to happen to Seth McFarlane was family guy being cancelled. The worst thing was it being brought back."

  61. bb in GA Says:

    @Ed

    You can dislike el Rushbo for a lot of reasons, but your football assessment of him is off the mark a little.

    McNabb in his first four years (1999 – 2002) which is what Limbaugh was working with, McNabb had a points defense that was 22nd, 4th, 2nd, and 2nd in the league.

    Of the QBs you mentioned McNabb was comparable to Tarkenton while the other two, especially Marino exceeded him. significantly

    Tarkenton played for an expansion team that only broke 0.500 (8-5) in his fourth year ( I couldn't find team stats from that far back) and I'm sure had a great offensive line as well.

    //bb