"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Friday, May 07, 2010

Comedy Central needs a sense of humor

In a First Thoughts post yesterday, Jody Bottum noted:

Comedy Central—the origin of the South Park program that had its references to Mohammad censored— has apparently announced that it is developing a new cartoon about Jesus Christ, the premise of which will be that God, preoccupied with playing video games, loses track of Jesus, who moves to New York and tries to “adjust to life in the big city.”
There is much that could be said about all this, but here are two quick predictions:

1) It will be far more blasphemous about Christianity than the Danish cartoons were about Islam.

2) There won’t be any riots over it.
Indeed. The explanation might be just cowardice, as Bottum suggests. That smoking car they found near Times Square last week was a reminder of what we're dealing with. But I'm afraid it's also that Comedy Central sees no irony in the disproportion.

After all, it's not just that Christianity is safer to mock, for reasons the mockers don't seem to appreciate. To the worldly mind, the claims of Christianity make it more mockable than its competitors. I am reminded of a song that came out some years ago: "What if God was One of Us?. The writer/singer, Joan Osborne, had obviously not got the message that he has long been one of us in the only way that matters. Why didn't she get it? Well, for a post-Christian culture, it isn't enough that God the Son was born in a stable to a poor couple and died violently at a rather young age, a failure by the world's standards. No, he would only be one of us if he turned up as some shlub on the city bus. If he did, we wouldn't have to feel bad about mocking and patronizing him like the Roman soldiers who tortured and executed him.

They say that the essence of humor is a sense of the discrepant. Comedy Central could live up to its title if they mocked the media elite, including themselves, for the very discrepancy they're all generating. But first they'd have to realize there is one. Apparently that requires a subtler sense of humor than they have.

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