I like the Fox TV show Family Guy. I really do. Sure, the humor is juvenile sometimes and there are lots of self-referential in-jokes that become tedious over time, but I’ve laughed 0ut loud at the show when I’ve watched it. I understand that Seth MacFarlane, the show’s creator, writer and voice talent is further to the Left than I am (he’s actually really further to the Left than I am), but heck! I write intentionally offensive humor, he writes intentionally offensive humor…we’re brothers under the skin!
But even people who write intentionally offensive adult-oriented humor need boundaries in their material, things they will not make light of or ridicule. For example, victims of rape or domestic violence deserve society’s protection and as a member of society, I will not make them the butt of jokes or ridicule them in any way. A recent Prez Suit comic depicted women being exposed in public by airport security full-body scanners; this was not to ridicule women, it was to show the abuses to which such technology can be put and how ultimately all we will do is possibly humiliate innocent women and children who should be cherished and protected and the terrorists will still find ways to sneak explosives onto public transportation anyway.
And that is the problem I have with this past week’s episode of Family Guy, which made a not very funny joke at the expense of Sarah Palin’s infant son Trigg who was born with Down Syndrome. Of course, everyone on the Left takes shots at Sarah Palin, but this tendency of people like David Letterman and Seth MacFarlane to take those shots using her children is a new and unwelcome trend in American politics. It used to be that children of politicians were off limits and they still are if those children are the children of Liberal politicians. But the attacks against Sarah Palin’s kids have gone beyond the sort of caricature that Saturday Night Live did of Amy Carter back in the 70’s. The attacks against the Palin kids have been vicious and completely undeserved.
The Family Guy episode went beyond the dumb joke about a DD (developmentally disabled) girl saying her mother is the former governor of Alaska. There was also a sexually-oriented song about a disabled girl and other off-color remarks. Ridiculing children is never right and, although he won’t be, Seth should be ashamed of stooping this low.
I wondered what it would look like if Family Guy went after the President’s daughter after the recent remarks the First Lady made about her daughters being fat. It’s really ugly, isn’t it? Ugly in the way that it should be ugly to ridicule any child. I would never have made this week’s Prez Suit except in reaction to Seth’s FG episode, but I believe it’s the work of the satirist to make these kinds of comparisons, to hold the ugliness up to the mirror, to haul the hideousness in society’s soul out into the sunlight. On occasion, Family Guy has done that and so has South Park, but FG has become so enmeshed in it’s Liberal agenda that it can’t see how wrong it is to attack children, for whatever reason.
I am not one those people who believe that Seth should apologize or that Fox network should ban all future airings of this episode. Seth has a right to make his cartoon show and I support his right even if he does something I find unfunny or offensive. I enjoy my right to, in my small way, satirize his use of a cartoon show to promote a left wing agenda. Part of living in a free society is that you will find yourself offended by something someone says or does or believes. When that happens, it’s a blessing because it reaffirms the rights we have in America. Too many people nowadays are self righteous bores, either being offended themselves or afraid that someone may be offended. When they find an affront to their values or beliefs, they become indignant or angry like characters in some weird modern morality play. Being offended is wonderful! We should learn to revel in being offended and celebrate offensiveness. It is the heart and soul of being an American.
But leave the kids out of it. Kids deserve better than this.