“We Saw Your Boobs.”
February 25, 2013 9:50 AM   Subscribe

“We Saw Your Boobs.” The Academy is supposedly a trade group, and yet it devoted its opening number to degrading a good part of its membership.

There are many variations on misogyny, and MacFarlane by no means confined himself to a single one. (A Buzzfeed post called “6 Sexist Things That Happened at the Oscars” was revised, in the course of the evening, to “9 Sexist Things.”)

Beyond cameos and torture, the ceremony engaged in a political fight involving women, and took the dumber side. Movies, and what women do in and to them, are better than the Academy seemed to realize. The same could be said about a lot of women in a lot of jobs. And women can’t forget it.
posted by KokuRyu (824 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Don't forget the homophobia--there was also a joke that in 2015 MacFarlane would turn gay and join a choir.

No there wasn't a setup or punchline, that was the entirety of the joke.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:53 AM on February 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


There were things I liked a lot about this Oscars. It was strikingly designed, it had energy and was pretty well paced, it made an attempt to be fun and fresh and a little more hip.

But I didn't like that the way they interpreted "hip" was lame, juvenile sexist/racist humor they decided was "edgy." This attempt at "bring back the Rat Pack" ironic retro sexism is still sexism. It's really disappointing to me particularly to see, once again, that women are not really people yet in Hollywood.

And the number of incredibly talented women in film - both on and off screen - doing serious, exceptional work deserve better.
posted by Miko at 9:53 AM on February 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


The gifs say it all.

Don't care if they were playing along, they still say how I feel.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:54 AM on February 25, 2013 [55 favorites]


I'm glad to see someone use the word misogyny here, but it should be in the headline. Last night was not sexism. Sexism is, "The award for 'Best Actor' should close the show because it's most important." This was not that. This was a constant barrage of, "Women are fer lookin' at and nailin'." That is misogyny.

Every joke hit the same note. Jennifer Aniston was a stripper. Melissa McCarthy looked like Paul Rudd. Sally Field, one of the most accomplished actresses of any generation, was hot and MacFarlane wanted to get with her. He welcomed nine-year-old Oscar nominee Quevenzhane Wallis by proclaiming that she was still within George Clooney's age range. The Academy introduced a series of talented undergraduate film students, the latter of whom had served with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan, and you could see the joke coming a mile away: She was bed fodder for the producers at the open bar backstage, said MacFarlane.

Sexism would have called for a response. Last night called for someone to stand up onstage and say aloud, "Knock it off." He was belittling women who have all accomplished more than he has, probably more than he ever will, and he did it by reducing them to sexual objects. This was the Academy Awards, not a Comedy Central roast. MacFarlane should have been escorted offstage, and the show's director should have come out and apologized to the actresses present and to women and girls at home watching.
posted by cribcage at 9:55 AM on February 25, 2013 [343 favorites]


If you want to blame the Academy for this misogyny, it's probably not altogether incorrect. I'm pretty sure Seth Macfarlane should get all the credit though. Christ, what an asshole.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:56 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey, have it both ways Hollywood.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:56 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Oscars are not a roast .....in 1962.....So bizarre and off-putting.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 AM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


"You girls think you’re making art, the Academy, through MacFarlane, seemed to say, but all we—and the “we” was resolutely male—really see is that we got you to undress."

MacFarlane: We see your misogyny.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:58 AM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that about sums it up. It all felt pretty gross.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:58 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why Seth MacFarlane Bombed The Oscars—And What It Says About Hollywood.
posted by ericb at 9:59 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought them including the Chris Brown/Rihanna joke on their list of sexist things was a fault. I don't see where the damage comes in reminding the world regularly what a disgusting, remorseless human being Chris Brown is, seeing as the media seems to have otherwise forgotten (as Rihanna!)
posted by opsin at 9:59 AM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


A comic I love (Jesse Joyce) was on the writing team- he shared jokes that didn't make the cut on his Twitter.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love the coward's out: "Oh, see, in case you were offended, the meta portion of this is that I also scripted a man from the future to tell me how much that bombed!"
posted by availablelight at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


Fucking awful. As a parent to three daughters of which two are just now old enough to know and get excited about the award shows, I have to now delete the taped version and sit down and explain to them how fucking juvenile and stupid that show was last night.
posted by repoman at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


In related news: Not Even the Onion Thought Its Quvenzhane Wallis Tweet Was Funny.
posted by ericb at 10:01 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


I was shocked at the song. I couldn't believe that Seth or whomever wrote the jokes resorted to apophasis. I watched the pre-show on the CW, and all you heard about was "what a great year for women" it was, and then to have the Oscar show itself be so mired in misogyny was incredibly insulting.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:01 AM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Though I'll agree with the comment from thinkprogress.org that it was poorly constructed as a joke.
posted by opsin at 10:01 AM on February 25, 2013


I dunno. The buzzfeed post is pretty weak. The joke about Clooney was about Clooney, not about the girl. The Selma Hayek joke was part of a gag that included Javier Bardem as another "attractive person who's hard to understand." The gif reactions were all pre-taped and scripted; I thought the 'boobs' song was actually pretty subversive criticism of an industry that still requires so many of its leading female talents to end up topless at some point.

McFarlane's humour is not everyone's cup of tea, but I think a lot of this misses the mark.
posted by modernnomad at 10:01 AM on February 25, 2013 [44 favorites]


Seth Mcfarlane is definitely happy to peddle misogynist and homophobic humor, so I can't put a huge amount of effort into defending him, but the descriptions of these jokes is deliberately ignoring the way they were framed in the show, which isn't exactly fair. The point of the "we saw your boobs" song was to make a joke about what people expected Seth McFarlane to do (it was an example "from the future" of what he would do to be regarded as the Worst Oscar Host ever). Now, sure, he was having it both ways, but it was definitely framed as "this is a really awful and bad-taste joke of the kind you would expect from Seth Mcfarlane" not "oh ho, watch this, it'll be a riot!"

The gay-choir joke was similar. Seth Mcfarlane does the elaborate "no homo" bit, carefully insisting to Capt. Kirk that he was just singing with the Gay Men's Chorus and not actually a part of it--and then that gets upended by Kirk saying that "we both know" that in a short time that will no longer be true. Again, it's playing it both ways, but its aim was definitely "upend the audience's expectations of what Seth Mcfarlane will bring to this."
posted by yoink at 10:02 AM on February 25, 2013 [16 favorites]


The only reason I thought the gay men’s chorus thing wasn’t really offensive is because Neil Patrick Harris gets big laughs at the Tonys every year for saying things like, “How gay is this?” It’s tired and not funny, but not particularly offensive.

The misogyny and racism was way worse.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:04 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


You'll be happy to know that the Onion regrets calling a 9-year-old a cunt.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:04 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


What did you expect to have happen when the writer of Family Guy hosts the Oscars?

Be mad at the Academy (whatever that is) all you want but McFarlane was doing what he is known for and quite successful at - being crude.
posted by willie11 at 10:05 AM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


I am so fucking sick of misogyny and racism being peddled as edgy. There's nothing edgy or rebellious about acting out the norms of the mainstream culture.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:05 AM on February 25, 2013 [140 favorites]


MacFarlane seemed more like a frat bro trying out PUA (pick-up artist) techniques than a comedian trying to encourage the audience across the stage and at home to have fun.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:07 AM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Neil Patrick Harris gets big laughs at the Tonys every year for saying things like, “How gay is this?” It’s tired and not funny, but not particularly offensive.

Yes, but NPH is an openly gay man. That's COMPLETELY different from the "NO HOMO" nonsense MacFarlane was up to last night.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:08 AM on February 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Seth Macfarlane should get all the credit though. Christ, what an asshole.

No, the director of the production gets just as much credit. MacFarlane didn't just come onto stage with an unknown number. It was rehearsed. And, of course, the producer. This is Seth MacFarlane. You know? Family Guy? And Ted? What did you expect? He wasn't hired because of his reputation as a caring host.

Aside: I know this whole class of names is a complete clusterfuck for spelling correctly, but in this case, it has two caps, and an A, but no space. MacFarlane.
posted by eriko at 10:08 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


mcstayinskool: "If you want to blame the Academy for this misogyny, it's probably not altogether incorrect. I'm pretty sure Seth MacFarlane should get all the credit though. Christ, what an asshole."

See, Macfarlane's jokes were all really gross, but think about this:

Somebody in the planning stages for this awards ceremony recommended him as a host. And other people thought that it was the best decision. It's not like MacFarlane pulled one over on them. If you hire this guy to host a show and make jokes, it's not a giant surprise when his jokes are crude and misogynistic and overall really disgusting. And I think that says a lot about the organizers of the event. Namely, that the 18-25 white frat boy demographic was important enough to them, that they would let MacFarlane open with a song about boobs.
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


Also, seriously, when the entirety of your punchline is "Women/black people/gays AMIRITE?" then you're doing it wrong.

Ugh, what a smarmy self-satisfied asshole.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yes, but NPH is an openly gay man. That's COMPLETELY different from the "NO HOMO" nonsense Macfarlane was up to last night

NPH isn't the only host who has made that joke at the Tonys, though. It's almost default.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2013


Don't forget the homophobia--there was also a joke that in 2015 MacFarlane would turn gay and join a choir.

No there wasn't a setup or punchline, that was the entirety of the joke.


I hate to have to defend MacFarlane, but there was a setup. The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles had just finished performing.
posted by jessssse at 10:10 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Oscars, as a spectacle for the public to absorb, has lost all relevance. It's an industry circle-jerk and little more; winning films are chosen not based on actual merit but rather on how they depict Hollywood or how much they earn. I gave last night's show a try but several seconds into the appalling mysogyny gave up and instead spent my evening doing something genuinely pleasurable: I read a book.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:11 AM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


The buzzfeed post is pretty weak. The joke about Clooney was about Clooney, not about the girl.

Then come up with a way of phrasing it that doesn't imply Clooney having sex with a nine year old who is actually there. You are a professional funny person. Do better.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:11 AM on February 25, 2013 [71 favorites]


It's really quite simple y'all.

If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it isn't.
posted by mazola at 10:12 AM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


opsin: "I thought them including the Chris Brown/Rihanna joke on their list of sexist things was a fault. I don't see where the damage comes in reminding the world regularly what a disgusting, remorseless human being Chris Brown is, seeing as the media seems to have otherwise forgotten (as Rihanna!)"

Are you sure? Because it sure seems like I can't get away from the fact that Chris Brown is literally the worst person on earth for being abusive despite however many other actors/ musicians/ famous people are just as abusive as he is.
posted by boo_radley at 10:12 AM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


In retrospect knowing Macfarlane's oeuvre, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that he was profane, offensive, and not particularly funny. What surprises me is how quick, thorough, and on-point the criticism has been. Davidson's New Yorker piece linked here is an excellent takedown. So are those gifs.

My pet theory is Twitter is a big part of the quick response to Macfarlane. My tweetstream last night was full of comments about "is this really what we're watching? it's offensive". And it never recovered. It's like when a comedian bombs with a bad joke in a club and the audience turns against him, but it's global.
posted by Nelson at 10:12 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


George Clooney joke at the Golden Globes: "This next presenter is so good-looking, he makes young George Clooney look like garbage. Please welcome middle-aged George Clooney."

That is a joke at George Clooney's expense and it ain't even a burn. Why make a joke at all about his sex life, particularly with a CHILD?
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:13 AM on February 25, 2013 [27 favorites]


The whole McFarlane thing, of pointing out sexism by being outrageously sexist, just seems like a classic dodge. If you are an actual racist/sexist/homophobe and can laugh unironically at 99% of the guy's jokes (and people definitely do) then the weakness of his pose is evident. Watching one of his shows makes me feel like I need a shower; it makes me feel exactly the same as if I was being entertained by racist/sexist/homophobic jokes, because, of course, I was.

"I'm just kidding, guys! It's a joke! It's ironic cause I know it's wrong! Hey-hey!" Whatever, Krusty. It's old and it's tired and I am done.
posted by emjaybee at 10:13 AM on February 25, 2013 [25 favorites]


It really wasn't that bad...
posted by zscore at 10:14 AM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


The buzzfeed post is pretty weak. The joke about Clooney was about Clooney, not about the girl.

The joke involves the idea of a nine-year-old child as a sexual object. Whoever the joke is about, it is disgusting.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:14 AM on February 25, 2013 [70 favorites]


I saw this on another blog, and its worth repeating in light of MacFarlane's jokes:

"Irony--an excuse for anything and a reason for nothing" - Robert Chirstgau
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:15 AM on February 25, 2013 [34 favorites]


The joke about Clooney was about Clooney, not about the girl.

That doesn't make it ok, does it? Really? If someone spoke that way about my daughter, even indirectly, I would be pretty disgusted. It's also a really unfair and disgusting joke from Clooney's perspective.
posted by sunshinesky at 10:15 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The joke about Clooney was about Clooney, not about the girl.

Joking about adult Clooney fucking adult women is one thing. Bringing a child -- not just a theoretical child, but a real, live child, WHO IS SITTING RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU, ASSHOLE -- into the joke is a shitty thing to do. And no, postulating that this child will get fucked after she's "legal" is not an out.
posted by maudlin at 10:16 AM on February 25, 2013 [31 favorites]


What did you expect to have happen when the writer of Family Guy hosts the Oscars?

To court a younger generation. I only hope they saw through this shit like most adults did. Hell, I hope they're discussing it. But that's a slim hope at best.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:17 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, wasn't the "Called Jennifer Aniston a Stripper" joke actually directed at the other presenter, Channing Tatum, since he was a stripper at one point in his life? I thought that one was well played because it turned the tables on the standard assumption. If you want bad stripper jokes, look back to the year Diablo Cody was nominated.
posted by Badgermann at 10:18 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


The joke involves the idea of a nine-year-old child as a sexual object.

This seems like really torturing the meaning of the joke. Mcfarlane says "to give you an idea of how young that is [nine]: it'll be sixteen years before she's too old for Clooney." The meaning of that joke seems to me to be "George Clooney only dates people younger than 25" not "George Clooney is likely to screw a nine year old."

Honi soit qui mal y pense.
posted by yoink at 10:19 AM on February 25, 2013 [35 favorites]


I'm not saying that everyone's accusations/examples of misogyny are unjustified (because I certainly don't feel that way), but honestly, the show was sufficiently terrible on its own without any of us needing to manufacture reasons to be offended.
posted by incomple at 10:20 AM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


OK, wasn't the "Called Jennifer Aniston a Stripper" joke actually directed at the other presenter, Channing Tatum, since he was a stripper at one point in his life?

IIRC the joke was something like "And now our next two presenters, one of whom admits to having been a stripper"
posted by saturday_morning at 10:21 AM on February 25, 2013


manufacture reasons to be offended.

I don’t think anyone is manufacturing anything. A lot of people were offended.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:22 AM on February 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


The latter part of the show was useful background noise while I played Angry Birds: Star Wars.

As for courting the younger generation, next time they should recruit producers and directors from Nickelodeon or the Disney Empire.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:22 AM on February 25, 2013


The GIFs were created before the Oscars aired -- they aren't reaction shots from the audience.
posted by armacy at 10:23 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Leaving aside the fact that Jamie Foxx looked like he was worried he left the oven on at home the whole time.
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mcfarlane made the mistake Gervais and others have made. Awards ceremonies are a bit like weddings. Acceptably edgy is defined by the kind of humour everyone can have a nudge and a wink about without actually saying the word "penis." In a bid to liven up some of the dullest television known to mankind, a plastic backslapping ritual in which the voting preferences of 60 something men who may or may not have watched the movies becomes a mark of artistic achievement, he got it badly wrong.

The boobs song was offensive. But it would have been less offensive if we lived in a world in which Mcfarlane could have reeled off an equally long list of famous men, serious actors, whose bits had graced the silver screen. In fact, it might have been funny. But it wasn't. It reduced serious actresses, in serious movies, to a pair of boobs.

Of course the actresses are better than that. They're better than the endless tittle tattle rags that follow them around and drive them to drink or worse. They're better than the OMG web coverage of any time they show some skin. They're better than having their career prospects judged by whether they look good on the red carpet.

It's perfectly valid to see the boobs song as plain old misogyny. However, I don't think it is that, and clearly wasn't seen as that by the writers. It was, arguably, a clumsy attempt at tackling through humour one of Hollywood's lasting taboos - the reductio ad ubera. I'm not defending it as amazing satire misunderstood by the masses. But within a Hollywood bubble in which some truths are more evident than others, the song would have been both funnier and more satirical than it played out.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:24 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


This seems like really torturing the meaning of the joke. Mcfarlane says "to give you an idea of how young that is [nine]: it'll be sixteen years before she's too old for Clooney." The meaning of that joke seems to me to be "George Clooney only dates people younger than 25" not "George Clooney is likely to screw a nine year old."

If the joke is "George Clooney only dates people younger than 25" [note that no lower age limit is given], naming a child who is 9 years old right now is a very sloppy way of attempting that joke. I didn't hear it as "George Clooney is likely to screw a nine year old", but as "Seth McFarlane doesn't give a shit about deeply embarrassing and creeping out a nine year old on her big night in front of a shit-illion people."
posted by maudlin at 10:24 AM on February 25, 2013 [60 favorites]


Dissecting the intended meaning of every bad joke Macfarlane used is not a very effective smokescreen to the fact that the overall tenor of his schtick was heavily misogynistic.

Plus he just stunk.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:25 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ok, I grinned at the "The only man who's really been inside Lincoln's head is Jon Wilkes Booth" and then as the audience gasped and groaned, the "What, too soon?" quip was good. 'Mistaking' one black actor for another was kinda funny. The "I saw your boobs" was not.

Most of the humor fell flat and you could see where it was going from a mile away. Edgy humor can be fun, but the constant anticipation of "OMG what is off color gag is Seth going to do next" was just trite and boring after 5 minutes.

However, Life of Pi winning some awards was great. Beasts of the Southern Wild winning none sucked, especially losing to Django for best original screenplay. Argo winning for Best Picture of the year is extremely disappointing, despite being an enjoyable film.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:26 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I might be giving Seth MacFarlane too much credit, but I think that his performance last night was self aware in the same way The Colbert Report is. Which is to say, what he says is the setup, but the host himself is the punchline. He's a character we can all look at and say "Look at this embarrassing, sexist, mildly anti-semtic asshole and laugh at him (not with him)."

My logic for this is that the show, right at the top, featured a respected fictional character who sends a message from the future to tell the guy that he's being an asshole.

(That said, I thought Ted was kind of funny, and I used to watch Family Guy so I'm ready to give him the benefit of the doubt. And yes, I realize this is a roundabout way of forgiving myself for laughing at his otherwise offensive antics. In the context of a performance where Captain Kirk makes an appearance, I guess I'm willing to accept other kinds of ridiculousness.)

It reminds me of a video I saw where Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are on a speaking tour. At one of the colleges a gay student asks him about the horrible anti-gay lines that come out of the character Jay's mouth in one of the films. Smith's response was to point out which character was speaking the lines. He put the dumbass stuff into the mouth of a guy who the audience can clearly identify as a dumbass. Didn't the boobs song give us a clear signal that the guy was a dumbass?
posted by ben242 at 10:26 AM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


Saturday_Morning, ok, if it was phrased like that, then yeah, very poor choice of words.

A lot of the jokes were awful, and you could even see in on Macfarlane's Face as he read them. I do recall at one point he said something along the lines of "Oh, we're really going with this one?" as the joke came on the teleprompter.
posted by Badgermann at 10:26 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Related: Does anyone know why Michelle Obama announced the winner for Best Picture while standing in front of a contingent from the Sea Org?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:27 AM on February 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


I didn't hear it as "George Clooney is likely to screw a nine year old", but as "Seth McFarlane doesn't give a shit about deeply embarrassing and creeping out a nine year old on her big night in front of a shit-illion people."

But if the meaning isn't "George Clooney is likely to screw a nine year old" (and that meaning never crossed my mind last night, or the minds of any of the people I was watching the show with) then why would it "embarrass and creep out" Quvenzhané Wallis? The sum total of what it said about her was that she was nine and that that is 16 years younger than 25.

As someone said upthread, there was plenty of genuinely crappy stuff in the broadcast last night, it seems a bit odd to have to go out of your way to manufacture bogus "outrage" about things that were not, in fact, said.
posted by yoink at 10:28 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Don't forget the homophobia--there was also a joke that in 2015 MacFarlane would turn gay and join a choir.

No there wasn't a setup or punchline, that was the entirety of the joke.


Maybe it wasn't a joke and we're the meta-homophobes for thinking it was!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:28 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


(everyone had shoulder length hair and beards! I was on the cutting edge of Oscar Fashion just 4 years ago!)
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's how I felt, ben242. Which isn't to say that this effort was at all successful or clever, but it seemed obvious to me that that was the intention.
posted by incomple at 10:30 AM on February 25, 2013


The sum total of what it said about her was that she was nine and that that is 16 years younger than 25.

Jokes are about context and not their logically precise meaning.
posted by kiltedtaco at 10:30 AM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


As someone said upthread, there was plenty of genuinely crappy stuff in the broadcast last night, it seems a bit odd to have to go out of your way to manufacture bogus "outrage" about things that were not, in fact, said.

I think people are upset that this actress pulled off such an amazing performance that she's become the youngest ever nominated for the Best Actress award and all the the host of the ceremony can do is make vague sexual innuendo about her.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:33 AM on February 25, 2013 [55 favorites]


Well, at least it was less racist, less misogynistic, and less offensive than every dinner I've ever had with people who regard themselves as 'from Los Angeles.'
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:33 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's fantasy writer N.K. Jemisin's post this morning about Hollywood's and the Hollywood press's treatment of Quvenzhané Wallis.

Man, that Onion tweet. I understand the idea behind it, it was a stab at much of the same issues that Jemisin cites in her post, but it was piss poor choice of word about a subject that you probably can't decently satire in 140 characters. They were right to yank it and apologize for it unreservedly.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:33 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


why would it "embarrass and creep out" Quvenzhané Wallis? The sum total of what it said about her was that she was nine and that that is 16 years younger than 25.

Because a great many kids that age would find it really awkward to be thought of as a future girlfriend/sexual object? Maybe not 100% of kids -- I'm sure someone will come up with an anecdote about how flattered they were when an adult flirted with them -- but most kids.

Also: she was up for an award, lost it (as she probably expected), then gets held up as a potential appropriate future trophy for Clooney, but that she'd be past her sell-by date by the age of 25. Harsh.
posted by maudlin at 10:34 AM on February 25, 2013 [19 favorites]


I couldn't believe that boobs song. I mean, it just came out of left field, right out of nowhere. And it was so tasteless and wrong. I kept turning the channel to something else, and clicking back, hoping it was done. But, it just went on and on and on.

And, then that Ted thing. Jesus, that stunk.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:34 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


This seems like really torturing the meaning of the joke. Mcfarlane says "to give you an idea of how young that is [nine]: it'll be sixteen years before she's too old for Clooney." The meaning of that joke seems to me to be "George Clooney only dates people younger than 25" not "George Clooney is likely to screw a nine year old."

But what the joke does is frame a nine-year old as a sexual object, even if that framing is in the context of 'she isn't old enough to be a sexual object yet.' It means that because she is female, you can always make a joke about fucking her, no matter what the circumstances or context.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:35 AM on February 25, 2013 [110 favorites]


“We Saw Your Simple, Foul Thoughts.”
posted by mazola at 10:36 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


...a clumsy attempt at tackling through humour one of Hollywood's lasting taboos - the reductio ad ubera.

Which was widely understood as reductio ad boobera.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:36 AM on February 25, 2013


The point of the "we saw your boobs" song was to make a joke about what people expected Seth McFarlane to do (it was an example "from the future" of what he would do to be regarded as the Worst Oscar Host ever). Now, sure, he was having it both ways, but it was definitely framed as "this is a really awful and bad-taste joke of the kind you would expect from Seth Mcfarlane" not "oh ho, watch this, it'll be a riot!"


Dear Academy, Seth McFarlane, and everybody-else-who-thinks-this-way:

Ironic sexism, racism and homophobia are not "not-sexism" , "not-racism" and "not-homophobia". They are just sexism, racism and homophobia plus a wink and a nod.

You should probably stop taking your social cues from /b/.

Love, <====(ironic!)
Me.
posted by dersins at 10:37 AM on February 25, 2013 [65 favorites]


My takeaway from this thread, and the various news reports and blogs about the show, is that folks pretty much got what they were expecting to get out of the oscars.
for all the talk of misogyny (and yes there was some), it was not lost on me that the way that they honored 50 yrs of Bond was to have very talented women sing famous songs. it could have been handled many other ways.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:38 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sing your most famous song at a vastly sped up pace!
posted by The Whelk at 10:39 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think this is back-asswards.

What's sexist (and homophobic) about the Oscars isn't Seth McFarlane and his winking, too-knowing, and really not-very-good jokes. My gay friends and I make jokes along the lines of "you'll be in the choir in 2015" all the time. What's sexist (and homophobic) about the Oscars is EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT HOLLYWOOD.

McFarlane didn't make any of those boob movies. McFarlane's not the one responsible for the fact that virtually no Hollywood movies can pass "the Bechdel test" anymore (two women talking together in a scene about something other than a man (or babies, or weddings), or that the proportion is going down, not up. McFarlane's not the guy who decreed that every movie with a gay man in it is ABOUT the gay. McFarlane's not the guy who turned last night's awards into a total sausage fest -- and a nearly all-white one at that. He was actually bringing women on stage, for perhaps cringeworthy routines, but at least they were there. I swear, if Hollywood could figure out how to give "Best Actress" to a man, they would.

McFarlane's a symptom, not the disease. Even the fact that he exists, or that people were wishing for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler instead, shows that TV has taken nearly all the energy away from movies, which are now exclusively the province of John-Williams-scored pomp-fests or sixty-year-old men dodging exploding cars.
posted by Fnarf at 10:40 AM on February 25, 2013 [45 favorites]


The lesson here is pretty simple: Don't hire Seth McFarlane.
posted by fungible at 10:41 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


honored 50 yrs of Bond was to have very talented women sing famous songs

Do you mean one woman? Because Adele only sang because that song was nominated.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:42 AM on February 25, 2013


I might be giving Seth MacFarlane too much credit, but I think that his performance last night was self aware in the same way The Colbert Report is.

Colbert makes it incredibly obvious that he's mocking the persona-- saying insane over-the-top things, having text on-screen that contradicts what he's saying, following his idiotic argument to the point that its poor logic is inescapable.

This is different from saying 'Women aren't useful but they sure are pretty!' in a funny voice.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:42 AM on February 25, 2013 [28 favorites]


We saw your boobs? so? ......oh, there's nothing else to it.

I feel like I've heard these jokes before.
posted by nile_red at 10:42 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


> And, then that Ted thing. Jesus, that stunk.

I got the impression that Wahlberg wasn't kidding when he said he wasn't going to be in any sequel for "Ted".
posted by Burhanistan at 10:43 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The comparison to Colbert is a useful one, I think, if only to point out how brilliant Colbert is and what an absolute high-wire act his show is each and every night. I think MacFarlane might have been going for "they think they know what to expect from me? I'll show them!" kinda thing, hoping to make a caricature of himself a la Colbert, but ultimately, nobody can buy that act because we all really believe that he's as big of a jerk as he appears to be.

An aside: For as much as I hate the man and his humor, I have to say that he has a very, very pleasant voice. My wife and I both made that comment, independent of one another - what he's saying is dreck, but he was blessed with a very sonorous voice. He should get out of "comedy" and go into audiobook narration.
posted by jbickers at 10:46 AM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile the guy that "doesn't even own a tv" is just sitting there with the smarmiest look on his face. He raises his latte to his lips, smirking, and never breaking eye contact.
posted by hellojed at 10:47 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Let the wrath of Metafilter descend upon me --

I laughed my feminist pro-gay, anti DV ass off. I love comedians who make themselves the joke, which MacFarlane did throughout. I also appreciate his willingness to hold up a mirror to a lot of Hollywood ickiness.
posted by bearwife at 10:47 AM on February 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


To paraphrase a great response to another FPP: Scratch an ironic [sexist] and you'll usually only scratch off the irony.
posted by availablelight at 10:48 AM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Well yeah, I thought Seth MacFarlane's jokes pretty much sucked.

But I still disagree strongly with most peoples outraged reactions on the thread.

A good example I would use to explain why is the Salma Hayek/Penelope Cruz joke, when he said that they looked good but no-one understood what they said [implied: because of their strong accent].

Whi is this not racist? Because these women are NOT discriminated because of their race or their accent. These women's individuality is celebrated and they are universally recognized as having great talent and individuality; and their accent is certainly not a source of concern or distress for them.

Racism is actually belittling someone because of their race, impliying that somehow being different makes them worse. I sure didn't get that from that joke.

In the same way, the boobs song was terrible and not funny, and maybe even less funny because the misogyny in it fell flat. But yes, the gifs were pre-recorded. And if the victims of this terrible objectification played along, we shouldn't be too concerned about how offensive they thought it was. I'm pretty sure no-one forced them to do it.

A little icky because unfunny: yes.
Something to get outraged about because it was so offensive: definitely not.
posted by Riton at 10:48 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


And P.S. -- what a great ironic contrast this AM between the title of this post and its subject, and the ongoing sniggering online about whether we got a look at Anne Hathaway's nipples in her Oscars dress.
posted by bearwife at 10:49 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Because a great many kids that age would find it really awkward to be thought of as a future girlfriend/sexual object?

But what the joke does is frame a nine-year old as a sexual object, even if that framing is in the context of 'she isn't old enough to be a sexual object yet.' It means that because she is female, you can always make a joke about fucking her, no matter what the circumstances or context.

So we retreat from the repeatedly expressed outrage that he made a joke OMG having sex with a NINE YEAR OLD (which is explicitly alleged multiple times in this thread--and seems to me clearly false) to a new position: OMG he made a joke about a nine year old eventually growing up and dating George Clooney!!!.

Which is A) not really all that outrageous (what Victorian world of innocent childhood wonder do you imagine nine year olds living in that they would be baffled and amazed by the mere mention of dating someone when they get older?) and B) is still not what the joke was about. It said nothing at all about the probability or improbability of Wallis eventually dating Clooney. It did not hint or suggest that this might happen. It was a joke purely about Clooney's well-known proclivity for dating beautiful women who are a great deal younger than him.

I can see that everyone in this thread is determined to read absolutely everything Seth Mcfarlane did as uncharitably as possible, and hey--he's definitely earned that mistrust in the past, so I guess I'll just check out of the conversation. But you're not, at this point, analyzing what actually happened out there last night, you're analyzing a profoundly and tendentiously distorted version of it.
posted by yoink at 10:49 AM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


Racism is actually belittling someone because of their race, impliying that somehow being different makes them worse.

Not to totally derail the thread, but this isn't true. Saying that people of African descent are natural athletes is still racism, even though it is a positive stereotype.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:51 AM on February 25, 2013 [30 favorites]


Dude, he made a joke about fucking using a 9 year old that was present in the audience as a prop. The sophistry you're engaging in is misguided.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:51 AM on February 25, 2013 [62 favorites]


MacFarlane's always kidding on the square, and it means that I just generally don't watch because I don't care to put the effort into contorting myself into a post-ironic tangle in order to make the jokes not actually harmful for anyone who isn't a straight white male.
posted by klangklangston at 10:52 AM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


It would be nice if being a woman meant that you could go places without people always thinking about you in terms of your sexual interactions with men. It would be super nice if being a nine-year-old-girl meant that.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:53 AM on February 25, 2013 [154 favorites]


Not to totally derail the thread, but this isn't true. Saying that people of African descent are natural athletes is still racism, even though it is a positive stereotype.

Agreed. Argument still holds with updated definition.
posted by Riton at 10:55 AM on February 25, 2013


Last night was like the high school reunion in Grosse Pointe Blank if Martin Blank had never shown up.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:55 AM on February 25, 2013


When he introduced the LA Gay Men's Chorus, I thought they would add a verse along the lines of "We saw your wang . . . " for those (few) actors who have gone "full-frontal" on film.

Here's a link from the Gay Voices section of Huffington Post, with a collection full-frontal male nudes in mainstream movies . . . very, very NSFW


posted by MoxieProxy at 10:57 AM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


It was a joke purely about Clooney's well-known proclivity for dating beautiful women who are a great deal younger than him.

What part of "people are pissed because the joke included a real live nine year old, who was at the ceremony because she's the youngest ever nominated for a Best Actress award" are you not getting?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:59 AM on February 25, 2013 [47 favorites]


yoink, I'm one of the people you're quoting, but I never said he was making a joke about fucking a nine year old today. Please don't conflate everyone arguing with you into a single person holding a single opinion.

In short: if you're going to joke about a kid, be gentle. Telling a nine year old that at some unspecified date in the future, she'll be appropriate for Clooney, but only for a little while: not gentle. Also: definitely transgressive, potentially funny, definitely misapplied, pretty shitty. He should have found another accessory if the world really needed to be treated to yet another joke about Clooney liking 'em young.
posted by maudlin at 11:00 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mcfarlane made the mistake Gervais and others have made. Awards ceremonies are a bit like weddings. Acceptably edgy is defined by the kind of humour everyone can have a nudge and a wink about without actually saying the word "penis."

Ricky Gervais was actually funny and witty. Seth MacFarlane is not funny and he's definitely not at all witty.

I wouldn't mind if they did get Tina and Amy to host more awards shows. Tina and Amy are actually funny and witty. Seth MacFarlane is immature and off-putting.
posted by discopolo at 11:02 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe you saw Seth McFarlane host. All I saw was a boob.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:03 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why CAN'T Tina and Amy host everything?
posted by caryatid at 11:04 AM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


I liked the Onion joke, which followed three hours of isn't-she-adorable pablum from the Academy. If you think they were actually calling Wallis a cunt, you're totally tone-deaf to satire. It was in no way a joke about her (unlike McFarlane's joke, which was gross).
posted by eugenen at 11:04 AM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


Expanding a little on the idea that the MacFarlane Oscars host was a character:

2009 NYTimes Interview with MacFarlane

Q: Personally, I find the show’s rape jokes especially unfunny. In one episode, Peter learns that three co-eds were raped and murdered. He says to himself, “Everyone’s getting laid but me.” Why is that funny?

A: Because he’s so oblivious. You’re not laughing at rape; you’re laughing at him being an idiot.
posted by ben242 at 11:04 AM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


When in "host" mode, the core of Colbert's humor is self-effacing, comically undermining his own character, not attacking his invited guests. Also, he would be the greatest Oscar host of all time.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:04 AM on February 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


Most of the sexism didn't really surprise me, but I was fairly surprised that the end song featured one of those "about to say offensive word in a song...NOT REALLY HERE'S A WORD THAT DOESN'T RHYME!" jokes with the word cunt. That was a moment of genuinely surprising offensiveness.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:04 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mcfarlane made the mistake Gervais and others have made.

Gervais is funny, McFarlane not. End of discussion.
posted by Pendragon at 11:05 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is almost like that time when pop culture non sequitur!
posted by shakespeherian at 11:05 AM on February 25, 2013 [16 favorites]


I've said it before and I will keep saying it: Just because you should know better doesn't make it ironic.
posted by ckape at 11:07 AM on February 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


The Amy Davidson article misses the point entirely. The song wasn't misogynistic at all, it was deliberately juvenile and silly in a pythonesque way, and if anything made fun of men for their obsession with seeing boobs.
posted by w0mbat at 11:07 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because he’s so oblivious. You’re not laughing at rape; you’re laughing at him being an idiot.

No, people are laughing at both rape and at Peter being an idiot, and they feel OK about laughing at rape because they're "really laughing at Peter being an idiot."

I'm not the sort of person to say that there's no funny jokes about rape, or no funny jokes involving a 9 year old being the sexual target of a grown fucking man, but I don't think MacFarlane's jokes succeed in either case.
posted by muddgirl at 11:09 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


The thread quickly cuts away to a shot of a horse shooting a box of lasagna with a gun.
posted by The Whelk at 11:10 AM on February 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


OH GOD IT'S ANOTHER SEVERAL HOURS OF THE SETH MACFARLANE COMEDY COLON-BLOCKAGE, AND IT'S NOT EVEN GOT THE DECENCY TO STAY ON ADULT SWIM THIS TIME!
posted by JHarris at 11:10 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Piggy backing off of Dersins and Fnarf :
Making irony-laden and meta-humor jokes is DIFFICULT. While lampooning is the point (I'm assuming), you (the writer/performer) still have to wallow in the morass to do so.
An analogy: you're making fun of people who cover themselves in pigshit by covering yourself in pigshit. Guess what? You're still covered in pigshit.
posted by mfu at 11:10 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


. If you think they were actually calling Wallis a cunt, you're totally tone-deaf to satire. It was in no way a joke about her (unlike McFarlane's joke, which was gross).

Context matters. If you're trying to make an injoke like that, don't be surprised when most of the world doesn't get it, 'cause they haven't spent all day covering the Oscars and still find Wallis adorable.

That's the sort of joke that should be made when you're with your best buds, who get you and where the joke is coming from. Tweeting it so that billions of people can read it and not get the context is pure self absorbed amateur hour.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on February 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


He made a joke about Rihanna/Brown abuse? Oh my God, I am so sorry ever watched anything that Seth MacFarlane has ever done.
posted by angrycat at 11:11 AM on February 25, 2013


He made a joke about Rihanna/Brown abuse? Oh my God, I am so sorry ever watched anything that Seth MacFarlane has ever done.

I actually mind the Rihanna joke less because at least it has the (probably unintentional) effect of reminding people that Chris Brown is someone who punches women in the face, which is something some people seem to forget. It's still in bad taste, but it's more useful than a song to help me remember what movies I can see Kate Winslet naked in.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:15 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


A problem with defending the maybe-could-be-not-offensive-if-you-look-at-it-my-way jokes is that they were surrounded by tons of yes-definitely-offensive jokes. If you lie with the pigs, everything smells like shit for a reason.

And that's my biggest problem (of many) with MacFarlane's style of meta-racist/sexist/misogynist-jokes about racist/sexist/misogyny. I know enough about him that I think his heart, as wrong as it is, may be in the right place. But landing the aforementioned metajoke requires a deft touch and the ability to paint with a thin brush. And 9 times out of 10, MacFarlane only has a really thick roller brush.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:15 AM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


Context matters. If you're trying to make an injoke like that, don't be surprised when most of the world doesn't get it, 'cause they haven't spent all day covering the Oscars and still find Wallis adorable.

That's the sort of joke that should be made when you're with your best buds, who get you and where the joke is coming from. Tweeting it so that billions of people can read it and not get the context is pure self absorbed amateur hour.


I disagree that The Onion is obliged to pander to people who don't pay attention and instead lock into knee-jerk outrage without bothering to figure out what they're talking about.
posted by eugenen at 11:16 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Post Oscar Thoughts From Grantland
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on February 25, 2013


If I thought Hollywood was capable of it, I'd suspect the general crappiness of the Oscar telecast, year after year after year, was some sort of metacommentary on, you know, Hollywood.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:17 AM on February 25, 2013


I disagree that The Onion is obliged to pander to people who don't pay attention and instead lock into knee-jerk outrage without bothering to figure out what they're talking about.


If you think that refraining from carelessly calling a nine-year-old girl a cunt is 'pandering', you need to work on yourself as a human being.
posted by Kit W at 11:18 AM on February 25, 2013 [41 favorites]


I didn't realize it was on ABC, which I don't get since I dropped cable. So, I gess that worked out for me.

You've got the best actors in the business, all dressed up and wanting to have fun. Show clips, do some well-choreographed song & dance numbers, show us a little bit more than the same 10 women whose dresses will be announced to be worth paying attention to. No? A comedian doing sexist schtick is the best you've got? pathetic.
posted by theora55 at 11:18 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also Jennifer Lawrence Is A National Treasure
posted by The Whelk at 11:18 AM on February 25, 2013 [49 favorites]


It's still in bad taste, but it's more useful than a song to help me remember what movies I can see Kate Winslet naked in.

But that wasn't the purpose of the joke. The purpose was to insinuate the fact that Rihanna thinks that being a victim of domestic violence is romantic.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:19 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


To my mind, that Zero Dark Thirty joke was way, way worse than the boobs song. At least the boobs song could have plausibly been interpreted as a self-aware dig at MacFarlane himself (except for maybe the Kate Winslet jab) - the Zero Dark Thirty joke was basically just, "women!! *cymbals*" (And his obvious giant boner for the 1950s makes it harder to give him the benefit of the doubt - I mean at some point you stop making a parody and start making a straight-up homage.)

On preview, I think what MCMikeNamara said.

I thought the John Wilkes Booth joke was fucking funny though
posted by en forme de poire at 11:20 AM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


I actually mind the Rihanna joke less because at least it has the (probably unintentional) effect of reminding people that Chris Brown is someone who punches women in the face, which is something some people seem to forget. It's still in bad taste, but it's more useful than a song to help me remember what movies I can see Kate Winslet naked in.

Point taken. The "abuse is funny" thing is also pretty tame when compared to framing a nine-year-old nominee as a sexual object.
posted by angrycat at 11:21 AM on February 25, 2013


When in "host" mode, the core of Colbert's humor is self-effacing, comically undermining his own character, not attacking his invited guests.

I don't know. When Morrissey was on, Colbert bascially attacked Moz the whole time.
posted by The World Famous at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2013


I was fairly surprised that the end song featured one of those "about to say offensive word in a song...NOT REALLY HERE'S A WORD THAT DOESN'T RHYME!" jokes with the word cunt.

That gag has become so old and trite. Now that it's been on the Oscars, the nursing home of comedy, maybe all the young writers who use it to signal that they're hip will move on to other things, like watching a character kill someone and then be comically unconcerned.

The thing about MacFarlane is, he used to be fairly promising. He was one of those young animators who got involved back with Cartoon Network's "What A Cartoon" creator program, and there's a cartoon he made for it that can clearly be seen as the prototype of Family Guy, about a dumb guy and his intelligent talking dog. It mostly works for seven minutes, maybe partly because it doesn't have the time to pop culture non-sequitur. And Brian is probably the best thing about Family Guy, even if, when viewed from three-quarters perspective, he looks almost exactly like an albino Q*Bert. (That mental image is my gift to you. The second-best thing about Family Guy would be the new, less abrasive Stewie.)
posted by JHarris at 11:25 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jennifer Lawrence is also from my fair city of Louisville, KY, and let me tell you this whole town is BUZZING today. She is awesome.
posted by jbickers at 11:25 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you think that refraining from carelessly calling a nine-year-old girl a cunt is 'pandering', you need to work on yourself as a human being.

The charge against the joke appears to be that some people who weren't paying attention might misinterpret it. I think that's a bullshit charge. This isn't some in-joke among "buds." It's a joke about a major event watched by tens of millions of people. That's fair game, and I don't think kid gloves to make sure no one misreads anything and accidentally gets offended are necessary.
posted by eugenen at 11:25 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Speaking of context has anyone pointed out that a lot of the 'we saw your boobs' scenes were rape scenes?

Sexy sexy rape scenes!
posted by shakespeherian at 11:25 AM on February 25, 2013 [35 favorites]


MuffinMan: "In a bid to liven up some of the dullest television known to mankind, a plastic backslapping ritual in which the voting preferences of 60 something men who may or may not have watched the movies becomes a mark of artistic achievement, he got it badly wrong."

Well, seeing as MacFarlane's got a plastic face and a brittle sense of humor that gets recycled so frequently, I figure it works.
posted by Samizdata at 11:26 AM on February 25, 2013


"So, L.A. Gay Men's Chorus, pop quiz, hotshot. We want to sing this offensive song with Seth MacFarlane, but if you do, you also get to sing back up for Adele. What do you do? What DO YOU DO?"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:26 AM on February 25, 2013 [32 favorites]


kinnakeet: The Oscars, as a spectacle for the public to absorb, has lost all relevance. It's an industry circle-jerk and little more; winning films are chosen not based on actual merit but rather on how they depict Hollywood or how much they earn.
You mean, as opposed to the Golden Age of Hollywood when the Oscars were bought outright?
posted by IAmBroom at 11:26 AM on February 25, 2013


Shoot the hostage
posted by hellojed at 11:27 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


The charge against the joke appears to be that some people who weren't paying attention might misinterpret it. I think that's a bullshit charge. This isn't some in-joke among "buds." It's a joke about a major event watched by tens of millions of people. That's fair game, and I don't think kid gloves to make sure no one misreads anything and accidentally gets offended are necessary.

Please proceed, Governor eugenen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:29 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


To my mind, that Zero Dark Thirty joke was way, way worse than the boobs song. At least the boobs song could have plausibly been interpreted as a self-aware dig at MacFarlane himself (except for maybe the Kate Winslet jab) - the Zero Dark Thirty joke was basically just, "women!! *cymbals*"

Totally agree. This was the joke about how Jessica Chastain's character in ZDT hunted Bin Laden for years, proving how women are never able to "let anything go." Har har har.
posted by eugenen at 11:29 AM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wow, how stupid. I'm glad I missed that part.
posted by homunculus at 11:30 AM on February 25, 2013


MacFarlane: 'But Jennifer Lawrence, we haven't seen yours at all...'
Lawrence: Aaaaand now the world knows why.
posted by Kit W at 11:30 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Hollywood establishment needs to be offended and often. I'm tired of these hypocrites always wagging their finger at the rest of America.
posted by republican at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2013


B-but women be different from men!
posted by JHarris at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2013


"The ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons. Offensive, barbarous and innately corrupt." - George C. SCott
posted by destro at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think it was clearly MacFarlane to blame, though, and not the writers, who came up with some funny bits, including the Christopher Plummer thing, which, while sort of including Nazis, was actually funny.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:32 AM on February 25, 2013


A news article last Friday claimed MacFarlane as a host would bring "relevancy" to the Oscars.

At first I laughed, to think that may actually be a true reflection of the Academy's "relevancy." But now that I'm sober, it's kinda depressing.
posted by CancerMan at 11:32 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Michelle Obama's Oscars dress too revealing for Iranian media: Iran's Fars news agency Photoshops First Lady's dress to cover up her neckline in coverage of Academy Awards ceremony
posted by homunculus at 11:33 AM on February 25, 2013


A Love Letter to Quvenzhané Wallis
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:34 AM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


I was fairly surprised that the end song featured one of those "about to say offensive word in a song...NOT REALLY HERE'S A WORD THAT DOESN'T RHYME!" jokes with the word cunt.

That gag has become so old and trite. Now that it's been on the Oscars, the nursing home of comedy, maybe all the young writers who use it to signal that they're hip will move on to other things, like watching a character kill someone and then be comically unconcerned.


Hasn't it always been old and trite? I mean, I remember singing Miss Suzy Had a Steamboat when I was, like, 8.
posted by misskaz at 11:36 AM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


angrycat: He made a joke about Rihanna/Brown abuse? Oh my God, I am so sorry ever watched anything that Seth MacFarlane has ever done.
He made a joke about what a human shitball Chris Brown is, and how celebrity culture is so shallow it eagerly overlooks this. If you find that offensive... oh, wait: you just admitted you didn't hear the joke, but are judging it anyway. Carry on.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:38 AM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


I enjoyed watching "Family Guy" for the longest time, but lately I've been referring to it as "The 'Really?' Show". When I watch it now, there's always a joke that depends on some racial stereotype about as sophisticated as the Frito Bandito, and I say to the screen "Really?". Five minutes later there's another "Really?" and I turn it off.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:38 AM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Can we all at least agree that the "needs no introduction" joke for Meryl Streep was pretty good?
posted by eugenen at 11:39 AM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


The Oscars only exist — the hosts only get away with acting like boors — because we pay them attention.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:39 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


He made a joke about what a human shitball Chris Brown is, and how celebrity culture is so shallow it eagerly overlooks this.

As I said above, the joke wasn't remotely about Chris Brown. It was about Rihanna.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:40 AM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


I guess I was the only one frantically copying down movie names during the song and adding them to my Netflix queue?
posted by Renoroc at 11:40 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


What was the joke eugenen?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:40 AM on February 25, 2013


I should clarify that what I found surprising was specifically the fact that the implied word was cunt; the "I'm not really saying it" rhyme joke is, indeed, old and trite. It was just that that particular word is surprising to me, even if I know it's got more mainstream acceptance than it used to.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:41 AM on February 25, 2013


shakespherian: The joke involves the idea of a nine-year-old child as a sexual object.

See, I totally didn't get that. The assumption that "she's got 16 years before she's too old for Clooney" in any way indicates that the joke also includes "but she's old enough for him now" is... presumptious? an artifact of your own prejudices?

Note: it's not a funny joke. I'm not defending the joke. But I think people are reading a crapton more into it than is actually there.
posted by hanov3r at 11:42 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it was clearly MacFarlane to blame, though, and not the writers, who came up with some funny bits, including the Christopher Plummer thing, which, while sort of including Nazis, was actually funny.

I am absolutely certain that this was MacFarlane (or his 'team') that came up with that. It was the most obvious Family Guy-style bit of the night.

(When we're using the term Family Guy-style to mean "pop culturally amusing and a bit absurd" and not "lowest common denominator 'edgy'")
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:42 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


But I think people are reading a crapton more into it than is actually there.

This starts to get into a debate about authorial intent vs. reader interpretation that's probably way too deep for an Oscar joke. But suffice it to say, I believe that if a large majority of people read that as an offensive joke, it's an offensive joke.
posted by muddgirl at 11:43 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


What was the joke eugenen?

"This next presenter needs no introduction." *walks off stage*
posted by eugenen at 11:44 AM on February 25, 2013


I remember the moment Gervais lost me. It was a bit during one of his shows where this little girl goes crying to her dad about a man in the park and her father asks her for the details in supposed concern but it turns off that Gervais (or his character) is actually jerking off. It was just, there's a level of foul man, don't go there.

I get that there was a funny associated with Rihanna/Brown (and I have watched it now, angry dude), as there was a funny associated with the boob stuff and the whatever. Doesn't matter. You wrap a good joke around a pile of steaming shit, you have a good joke around a pile of steaming shit.
posted by angrycat at 11:45 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, no, I don't think "George Clooney will fuck 9 year old actresses, including this young actress who is nominated for an Oscar's for the first time" is an unwarranted interpretation of "She's got 16 years till she's too old for him." Of course that may not be the intended interpretation, in which case maybe they should have more carefully edited their jokes prior to broadcast?
posted by muddgirl at 11:45 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we all at least agree that the "needs no introduction" joke for Meryl Streep was pretty good?

Insofar as it was a joke that basically wrote and told itself, which is right up MacFarlane's lazy-comedy-writer alley.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:45 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: He made a joke about what a human shitball Chris Brown is, and how celebrity culture is so shallow it eagerly overlooks this.

As I said above, the joke wasn't remotely about Chris Brown. It was about Rihanna.
Ah, this joke. I swear I heard another joke about Brown, during the opening monologue IIRC, that was about "unlikeable people" (or words to that effect).
posted by IAmBroom at 11:45 AM on February 25, 2013


Note: it's not a funny joke. I'm not defending the joke. But I think people are reading a crapton more into it than is actually there.

No, that joke is totally creepy and totally out of line. But then again, it's show business.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:46 AM on February 25, 2013


Note: it's not a funny joke. I'm not defending the joke.

Generally speaking, most of the same people who are outraged by this unfunny joke wouldn't have a problem with a better joke that had the same amount of "offensive" content. Shock comedy is what, fifty, sixty years old? People used to get their knickers in a twist about that terrible thing Lenny Bruce said about the Pope. But Seth McFarlane is no Lenny Bruce.
posted by Fnarf at 11:46 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's really hard to infer 'a large majority of people' thinking anything about the oscars based on a few next day (predictable) rage articles. 'a billion' people watched the thing, and i doubt that 500 million have been heard on the subject.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:46 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


See, I totally didn't get that. The assumption that "she's got 16 years before she's too old for Clooney" in any way indicates that the joke also includes "but she's old enough for him now" is... presumptious? an artifact of your own prejudices?

No, the issue is that this nine-year-old child is seen primarily through the lens of her sexual availability to a dude, because she is female.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:47 AM on February 25, 2013 [53 favorites]


This reminds me of Chris Rock's rants about cell phones in comedy clubs. How a lot of jokes are crap, and you need time to work them. And you do that with an audience. The Onion didn't have one. Seth couldn't test his jokes. The "groans" or the wrong laughs would have really made it clear what worked and what didn't.

I'm not defending either, but just go read a comment page on anything public and you'll see so much worse. These sucked, but they could have sucked more... And actually smart english speaking people are such a small segment of the viewing audience that it doesn't really matter much.

It's sad. The worst of them have gotten their requisite apologies, and now we move on.
posted by DigDoug at 11:47 AM on February 25, 2013


When in "host" mode, the core of Colbert's humor is self-effacing, comically undermining his own character, not attacking his invited guests.

So you didn't see the 2006 White House Correspondent's Association Dinner, then.
posted by Etrigan at 11:48 AM on February 25, 2013 [16 favorites]


it's really hard to infer 'a large majority of people' thinking anything about the oscars based on a few next day (predictable) rage articles.

I will amend to "a large majority of people talking about the Oscars." Is there some reason to assume that Oscars-watchers are particularly looking to be offended?
posted by muddgirl at 11:50 AM on February 25, 2013


And the deal with the Quvenzhane Wallis joke is that, with Hollywood, it gets easier every year to forget that there are real people behind the personas we see on the show. But she's nine years old; there's an objective correlative there that ought to be out of bounds for shocking jokes -- a real live nine-year-old girl. So the logic of the joke (OMG that terrible thing you said about someone who so patently isn't) is broken; what might be funny about someone else loses it when it's about a nine-year-old.

Again, I would place a fair amount of the blame -- not all or even most, but some -- on the people who put her there. I don't think kids should be on the Oscars. I think she's being turned into a commodity before her time; she's a kid, she should be doing kid things, not performing quasi-religious commercial rituals on television.
posted by Fnarf at 11:52 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Did anyone else notice the comment "the actor who really got inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth? "
posted by mermayd at 11:52 AM on February 25, 2013


This reminds me of Chris Rock's rants about cell phones in comedy clubs. How a lot of jokes are crap, and you need time to work them. And you do that with an audience. The Onion didn't have one. Seth couldn't test his jokes.

I once happened on Paul Reiser testing out his monologue for the Emmys at a comedy club. Unannounced, squeezed between the opener and the headliner, and full of entreaties not to spread the jokes around, because it was stuff he was working on for the Emmys. Granted, it was pre-YouTube and cell phone videocameras, but it can't be that difficult to do a few guerilla shows with pre-selected audiences.
posted by Etrigan at 11:54 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would be more likely to start watching the Oscars again if there weren't any jokes at all, or just some very mild stuff that would allow me to watch it with kids, and it was just a forum to talk about what good movies have come out each year and the various crafts that go into making them. I would find that interesting on its own. I guess I am not the target audience.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:56 AM on February 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


I would place a fair amount of the blame -- not all or even most, but some -- on the people who put her there. I don't think kids should be on the Oscars.

She was nominated for Best Actress. It's unfair to say she shouldn't attend the ceremony because it's impossible for the host not to make jokes about her sexual availability. Given 1) the number of women who receive more than one Oscar nomination and 2) the number of sizable parts for African American women, there's a great chance that last night was her only chance to be a nominee. I think she gets to go to the ceremony.
posted by gladly at 11:56 AM on February 25, 2013 [55 favorites]


See, I totally didn't get that.

The same Shakespherian comment you quoted helped me think of it this way: if someone asked you to come up with a joke about how young a nine year old girl is, and you knew you were going to tell the joke in front of said nine year old girl, would you go for a joke about her sexual eligibility? Would you go for a joke that was sexual in any way?

Would you go further, and make it about when she will lose her desirability as a sexual partner?

I sure wouldn't... but maybe I'm not funny.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 11:57 AM on February 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


I remember singing Miss Suzy Had a Steamboat when I was, like, 8.

And if you were about 70 years old, it would have been cutting edge humor (the earliest known form is from the 1950s in Michigan).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:58 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


A Love Letter to Quvenzhané Wallis

This, while obviously oppositional in every respect to McFarlane's joke, is just the other side of the same weird coin to me. I don't want kids to be nominated for Oscars. I don't want people to make gifs of them. I don't want people to write public letters to them. If we must eat our actors alive, can't we wait until they're old enough to have opted in to this shitshow?
posted by distorte at 11:58 AM on February 25, 2013 [21 favorites]


What distorte said.
posted by Fnarf at 12:02 PM on February 25, 2013


Ugh. As far as I'm concerned, smug little "too cool for the room" Seth MacFarlane showed his ass last night. Now maybe that's what he was going for but as best as I could tell, he's no Michael Fassbender. Shame indeed.

MacFarlane: We see your misogyny.

And it's not a good look.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:04 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Generally speaking, most of the same people who are outraged by this unfunny joke wouldn't have a problem with a better joke that had the same amount of "offensive" content. Shock comedy is what, fifty, sixty years old? People used to get their knickers in a twist about that terrible thing Lenny Bruce said about the Pope. But Seth McFarlane is no Lenny Bruce.

Lenny Bruce's "Religions, Inc" was from the mid 1950s, again making MacFarlane over half a century late, and lazy to boot. Religions, Inc. was poking fun at a sacred topic, while misogynistic jokes aren't edgy or shocking.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:04 PM on February 25, 2013


Is there some reason to assume that Oscars-watchers are particularly looking to be offended?

My take is that the folks looking to get pageviews and sell tabloids and so forth are going to be divided among "look at the pretty clothes" and "the oscars sucked because...", so yes, those looking for a reason to be offended were going to find offense and write about it. it's not really news that hollywood, whose circle-jerk this was, is misogynistic, has moments of racial tone-deafness, can be homophobic and a host of other offense worthy crimes. mix in a controversial host and an attempt at cultural relevance across a worldwide audience and this is what you get. ymmv.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:05 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else notice the comment "the actor who really got inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth? "

I thought that was funny, along with the "too soon?" right after it, the joke being that it's ludicrous for it to be too soon for a Lincoln's assassination joke. That, and the Christopher Plummer thing was pretty cute. I like Family Guy, though I agree it's gone off the rails with the racism and misogyny lately, but the performance last night didn't remind me of what's best about Family Guy or MacFarlane's humor.

It's one thing for Peter Griffin to mix up Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy in the context of the show. It's another for the host of the Academy Awards to do it, in front of him, on a night he was nominated for one of the most important awards. It's incrfedibly reductive and is making a cheap joke about "all black people look alike." This isn't edgy or new or different in the slightest. It's reductive and insulting. By putting it up on a stage it reinforces the belief that t's OK to insult blacks, women, gays, etc, which is a pretty strongly and deeply held belief in our culture. It's not a new. insightful or edgy thing, which is what a lot of people seem to be claiming in defense of MacFarlane.

Peter Griffin doesn't really have cultural power in the same way that MacFarlane does, which is why I don't think claiming MacFarlane's performance lasr night was a character or an extension of Family Guy really works. However, a lot of people are offended/put off by Family Guy even though I am less so, so they don't watch the show. But claiming "What did you expect from Seth MacFarlane" doesn't work for those people because it's not like they sought him out, they were watching or attending the most important event Hollywood presents to celebrate film achievement and culture, and this is who was put in front of them.
posted by sweetkid at 12:05 PM on February 25, 2013 [43 favorites]


One good thing about MacFarlane hosting the Oscars (and having a kinda crazy month) meant that I wasn't really that jazzed for the show and have not paid any attention to any of the pre-hype, so when, after the 007 montage, someone said "Ladies and gentlemen, Dame Shirley Bassey", I was able to gasp with a fairly delightful noise that was a very genuine moment of wonder.

Because, awesome.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:12 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


Yeah, wtf was with that Denzel/Murphy "joke"? I'm just glad I don't have to live inside MacFarlane's head.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:15 PM on February 25, 2013


It just means that there’s a whole army of producers to blame.

Worth noting that the producers of last night's misogyny-fest are gay men: Craig Zadan and Neil Meron actually received Outfest's Visionary Award last fall for their "contribution to LGBT arts and media visibility."

What a shame they couldn't manage to translate their commitment to queer visibility into a similar commitment to respect for women's visibility. I couldn't believe the offhand slap at Jennifer Anniston and the "women can't let anything go" bit. It was like being dropped into the middle of a 1959 salacious joke book. That the Gay Men's Chorus let themselves be used like that is just horrid. So many ughs to go around.
posted by mediareport at 12:15 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Okay, so in my head I'm writing "We Saw Your Dong," and it's equally funny. You even have Ewan MacGregor to sub in for Kate Winslet. OF COURSE it's reductive and absurd to take someone's well-crafted performance and go "Tee-hee, genitals," and that's exactly why the song is funny. Joking about seeing Meryl Streep's boobs is pretty funny, and joking about seeing Ewan MacGregor's dong is funny in the same way.
posted by skullhead at 12:19 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


making MacFarlane over half a century late

Shock humor is everywhere today as well. You'll hear more misogynistic material on the roundtable on Chelsea Lately four nights a week, and crude-as-hell gay jokes, and every other kind of "offensive" joke you can imagine (and usually a couple that will surprise no matter how jaded you are). McFarlane isn't in the top quartile for "over the line" material these days. That "you'll be in the choir in 2015" joke? That's ludicrously mild.

It's about context; Oscar telecasts are supposed to be reverent, because the movie stars need to be worshipped, not slammed or tripped up.

What was primarily wrong with McFarlane's material is that it wasn't very funny, not that it was too transgressive. If anything, it was not transgressive enough -- or, rather, not transgressive in a cutting, smart way. The Denzel business was indeed tragically lame -- not racist, but stupid and obvious -- "here's the joke about black guys all looking alike". A snoozer. Lazy.

The Lincoln joke actually worked, BECAUSE it got the intake of breath -- and the release afterwards, because you're not supposed to shock at the OSCARS, for heaven's sake, but it's OK, because 150 years. That was a successful dig at the pretense that these are interesting or valuable people we're talking about.

I liked the Sally Field bit, too. A little. Because it was so stoopid.
posted by Fnarf at 12:19 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Speaking of, because if you didn't see it, the video is here at Did Dame Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” Performance Save The Oscars?

(The answer is "no, it did not, but it still made the whole experience worth watching.")

My favorite bit is the crowd reaction of Reese Witherspoon at the end which said to me "Thank God I'm not singing tonight."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:19 PM on February 25, 2013


Yeah, Shirley Bassey was just about the only truly great thing on the telecast.
posted by Fnarf at 12:20 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The song was part of a larger skit whose premise was that William Shatner, as Captain Kirk, sends MacFarlane a message from the future about the dumb things he might do while hosting the Oscars.

So, not only was it offensive and stupid, but it was basically the framing device behind Movie 43? MacFarlane's originality continues to astound me.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:21 PM on February 25, 2013


The during-the-credits song that apparently inspired the now-apologized-for Onion tweet. Look for the mention of Helen Hunt, about halfway through.
posted by raysmj at 12:21 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Note also: Shirley Bassey is 76 years old.
posted by Fnarf at 12:21 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's kind of suprising that people expected anything different from the man from Family Guy. You were expecting something more sophisticated from a man who peppers his shows with jokes about paedophiles, gays, Jews and America's fucked up relationship with race?

Me - Not that offended by most of it, but there's little point me mansplaining that. I'm a little shocked at some of the films they choose for the boobs section, a little offended, but the George Clooney joke seems to have been blown out of all proportion. This is no different from random family friends telling me "Ooh - She's going to break some young man's heart when she gets older."

Getting less press is some of the weirdness surrounding Quvenzhane Wallis. Being told by an AP reporter that she was going to call her Annie was pretty clumsy and inconsiderate(*). Some of the hero worship is full-on weird.

(*) My Twitter Timeline has been full of Levar Burton being angry about The Onion's Tweet. Am I the only person wish he'd been as eloquent about the Annie comment - because that would have been awesome.

And this here from comments in a Jezebel article about a young girl waving her arms excitedly about: "Am I the only one who saw this and was disgusted? I immediately decided I didn't want her to win because I don't want her to get any more full of herself than she seemed right there." may have been the thing that sparked The Onion's tweet.
posted by zoo at 12:21 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


call her Annie

Yeah, what's up with all these reliable Hollywood liberals all of a sudden going all "oh you black people have such FUNNY NAMES, I'll never be able to pronounce that, you adorable little pickaninny you, I'm just going to call you 'Little Q' or 'Annie'".

WTF? It's not THAT hard to pronounce; ten seconds with Wikipedia and you should have it down.
posted by Fnarf at 12:26 PM on February 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


"The ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons. Offensive, barbarous and innately corrupt." - George C. SCott

He then added: "Turn it off! Turn it off! TURN IT OFF!"
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:26 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's kind of suprising that people expected anything different from the man from Family Guy.

I wasn't, but that doesn't mean it isn't ugly.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:26 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also Jennifer Lawrence Is A National Treasure

Man, talented and funny. I want to give her so many high fives.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:29 PM on February 25, 2013


It's kind of suprising that people expected anything different from the man from Family Guy.

Expecting someone to behave and act somewhat like an adult shouldn't be surprising.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:31 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought the Annie comment was because of QW getting cast as the Little Orphan in a new movie.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:33 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


eugenen: Can we all at least agree that the "needs no introduction" joke for Meryl Streep was pretty good?
Ellen DeGeneres was next on stage, saying "Our next performer needs no introduction," and then promptly left the stage, because, hey, Lady Gaga doesn't need an introduction. -- at the Decade of Difference concert in 2011
posted by tzikeh at 12:34 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I only watched part of it, and I missed most of this. However, I honestly laughed when someone (Travolta?) mentioned hairspray and they showed an actress in the crowd who hair was this sort of breaking wave of hair, obviously held up with a pint of Final Net.

It wasn't misogynist, it was just....a lot of hair while someone was saying the word "hair." Mind you, if that's the only funny, non-sexist thing that was said all night, I wouldn't be surprised. (And yes, I did see the remark about "coeds and drunken producers" after those nice college kids were paraded out.)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:34 PM on February 25, 2013


It's kind of suprising that people expected anything different from the man from Family Guy. You were expecting something more sophisticated from a man who peppers his shows with jokes about paedophiles, gays, Jews and America's fucked up relationship with race?

No one is complaining because their expectations of Seth McFarlane were too high.
posted by almostmanda at 12:36 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


kill your t.v.
posted by rahnefan at 12:37 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also Jennifer Lawrence Is A National Treasure

Man, talented and funny. I want to give her so many high fives.


Talking about the stigma of mental illness, making Steve Martin Father of the Bride references, nearly swearing. I want to do shots with Jennifer Lawrence so bad.

(And if you don't watch the whole video, skip to the end to see her response to whether she's worried about peaking too soon. So much love.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:38 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I thought that was funny, along with the "too soon?" right after it, the joke being that it's ludicrous for it to be too soon for a Lincoln's assassination joke. That, and the Christopher Plummer thing was pretty cute. I like Family Guy, though I agree it's gone off the rails with the racism and misogyny lately, but the performance last night didn't remind me of what's best about Family Guy or MacFarlane's humor.

Yes, the "inside Lincoln's head" joke and the Sound of Music bit were the only two actually funny jokes of the night. The remainder of the jokes were a lot of weak jokes that tried to make up for their weakness by being "edgy". That they were sexist, homophobic, whatever is all true, but it misses the point that they were still just lazy, lazy jokes. Macfarlane has never written a joke he didn't use. He doesn't need the political correctness police, he just need a fucking editor who can say no to the guy.
posted by GuyZero at 12:39 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's one thing for Peter Griffin to mix up Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy in the context of the show.

Yeah, and I'd add one other thing about this "He was playing a character!" nonsense. That's also what Michael Brutsch, aka Violentacrez said on Day Three or thereabouts of his public meltdown, that he had been posting horrible pictures and comments on Reddit and shaming women because he was "playing a character."

I think that's bullshit. I think it is a stupid line that makes all of us dumber for having heard it. But you know what, just for argument's sake, let's accept it. Okay. Seth MacFarlane writes Peter Griffin to be a misogynistic boor (I don't watch Family Guy, I'm just taking people's word from this thread), and that's what Seth MacFarlane decided to play as host of the Oscars: a misogynistic boor. How does that absolve him? He wasn't in costume as "Mr. Shorty Shortstuff, this year's wacky and misogynistic-boor host of the Oscars." He billed as Seth MacFarlane. I don't care if that's a person or a character. It's who I blame.

If your point is to tell me that in his private life, he's really a caring, gentle husband to his wife and father to his daughters...? I don't care. I'm not condemning him for his private life. If he were a sexist boor in private it wouldn't make last night any worse, and nothing he does in private could make last night any better.

It's kind of suprising that people expected anything different from the man from Family Guy.

I don't watch Family Guy. I expected something different from the Academy Awards. But again, this is an irrelevant point. Nobody is criticizing him for confounding expectations or doing something "unexpected." He's being criticized for misogyny. That fact that you treated women like sex objects on Monday and Tuesday and on your television show on Wednesday, doesn't mean that on Friday I can't tell you to quit treating women like sex objects.
posted by cribcage at 12:39 PM on February 25, 2013 [34 favorites]


Best joke of the night was the Sound of Music bit. "The Von Trapp Family!" Solid.

This opening bit was typical Macfarlane. Here's a bunch of awful offensive crap in a frame meant to let you know that I don't really mean it! Hee hee! Next time let Trey and Matt host it. Or fuck it, put Cartman up there--we at least know that he's truly repugnant and isn't trying to pretend he isn't.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:40 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


The problem with the boobs song was that the timing (minute-long song with dancers) didn't match the intent (hey, let's imagine how inappropriate I can get).

If it was a 10-second snippet, instead of a 100-second song-and-dance routine, the joke works, just like the Family Guy rapid-fire smash cut jokes work.

Also, poor choices of movies. When we saw Jodie Foster's boobs in The Accused, it wasn't a sexy moment.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:41 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, when Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the stairs, did anyone notice who bolted out of his chair to help her?

Hugh Jackman.

Australia represent!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:42 PM on February 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


The best thing about the "I Saw Your Boobs" song was thinking about how great Amy and Tina's "I Saw Your Dick" song will be next year.
posted by chowflap at 12:44 PM on February 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


thinking about how great Amy and Tina's "I Saw Your Dick" song will be next year

Sadly, it's going to be a pretty short song.
posted by GuyZero at 12:45 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


But claiming "What did you expect from Seth MacFarlane" doesn't work for those people because it's not like they sought him out, they were watching or attending the most important event Hollywood presents to celebrate film achievement and culture, and this is who was put in front of them.

Repeating people who say it better than I could.

I didn't seek out MacFarlane to get my outrage fix. I had no interest in his works whatsoever. I tuned in to watch the biggest annual award show on the planet, and found the host offensive and unfunny.
posted by fatehunter at 12:45 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Boy, that six-hour-long annual event at which women who have been sewn into skintight gowns are worshipped for their sex appeal sure was ruined this year by that misogynist guy.
posted by nicwolff at 12:47 PM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


Fnarf: " I don't think kids should be on the Oscars."

Jesus, blame the victim much?
posted by notsnot at 12:48 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sadly, it's going to be a pretty short song.

Not for Michael Fassbender.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:48 PM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


Also, when Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the stairs, did anyone notice who bolted out of his chair to help her?

Hugh Jackman.


Yeah, I saw a bit this morning where some reporter at an after party told Jennifer Lawrence that Hugh Jackman jumped up to help her. She hadn't noticed or known about it yet.

Her response: "What? He did? Are you lying to me? Oh my God! And it’s on camera?" And then she did a silly dance. And then she asked if she fell right now, if he'd do it again.

And joked about how she forgot to thank Harvey Weinstein and might never work again.

Again, so much love.

On preview, the video I just described is here.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:49 PM on February 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


Jesus, blame the victim much?

I'm not blaming the victim even a tiny little bit. I'm blaming Hollywood for putting her there.
posted by Fnarf at 12:51 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


thinking about how great Amy and Tina's "I Saw Your Dick" song will be next year

Sadly, it's going to be a pretty short song.


HEY!!
posted by found missing at 12:51 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


GuyZero: Except that Kevin Bacon showed his in Wild Things, so ... So much potential there, so many Degrees of Bacon.
posted by raysmj at 12:52 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gervais is funny, McFarlane not. End of discussion.

Hilarious, end of discussion as if serious. Good one.

Of course such things are subjective. Gervais is one the nastiest, meanest comedians I've ever seen. I don't find him funny at all. He's painful to watch and boring. McFarlane is consistently hilarious.

Christ, I can imagine the reaction to Alan Partridge hosting the Oscars, which I find as about relevant to film as a penny in Canada.
posted by juiceCake at 12:52 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a father of two daughters, I'd just say that if I were Wallis' father and I were present, I would have made that stupid fuck apologize on the spot or get thrown out trying.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:53 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


someone (Travolta?) mentioned hairspray

John Travolta is in no position to be making comments about anybody's hairstyle.
posted by Fnarf at 12:53 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ironic sexism, racism and homophobia are not "not-sexism" , "not-racism" and "not-homophobia". They are just sexism, racism and homophobia plus a wink and a nod.

posted by dersins at 6:37 PM on February 25


No, this is simply not necessarily true, and I regret to say reveals that tired old lack of understanding of what irony is. Ironic sexism and racism can be used to highlight the unacceptability of both, and to undermine them by revealing just how squirm-inducingly wrong they are. In the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, the use of irony is one of the most powerful ways of attacking something. I continue to be really sorry that so many of you folks just cannot seem to understand this. You're really missing out on a whole rich seam of comedic and satirical goodness. No, you really are.
posted by Decani at 12:53 PM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Facebook friends are trying to come up with a list of movie dick shots and they're not doing too badly. (Harvey Keitel can be swapped in for Kate Winslet)
posted by chowflap at 12:53 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Harvey Keitel can be swapped in for Kate Winslet)

The dream has become a nightmare!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:55 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Alan Partridge hosting the Oscars

This I would pay money to see. Partridge, not Coogan.
posted by Fnarf at 12:55 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


As if the boob song wasn't bad enough, four of the moves he named as the ones where boobs were seen were scenes of rape or where the character was raped during the film: Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, Jessica Chastain in Lawless, and Jodie Foster in The Accused.
posted by ShawnStruck at 12:56 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Facebook friends are trying to come up with a list of movie dick shots

I hope your friends don't try TOO hard. I remember pretty good lists of movie dick shots that were online about a decade before Facebook existed.

(Or so I've been told...)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:57 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the boobs song would have been funnier if Channing Tatum had been mentioned (or did Magic Mike come out in 2011?)
posted by vespabelle at 12:58 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


McFarlane is consistently hilarious.

Strangely enough, I find American Dad pretty funny.
posted by Pendragon at 12:58 PM on February 25, 2013


A friend of mine responded to my comment about MacFarlane's hosting with "Let's draft David Letterman for hosting in 2014!" I came back with, "Here's a novel idea: how about we have a non-white non-male host? Or a female host doesn't require male co-host so Hollywood can show diverse and equal we all are?"
posted by Kitteh at 12:58 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hope your friends don't try TOO hard. I remember pretty good lists of movie dick shots that were online about a decade before Facebook existed.

Yes, but perusing the memory banks for them is fun, too.
posted by chowflap at 1:00 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Morgan Freeman would be an excellent Oscar host.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:00 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I didn't seek out MacFarlane to get my outrage fix. I had no interest in his works whatsoever. I tuned in to watch the biggest annual award show on the planet, and found the host offensive and unfunny.

OK - Unfunny is par for the course at Oscar ceremonies, so we can ignore that. My point is that the world appears to be full of people who knew they'd be shocked telling me how shocked they are.

This is pretty much Mary Whitehouse writing to complain about the fact that a show about Sex! had Sex! in it. If you want to complain about the bad choice of host, do that. But a lot of people appear to be taking the line that "we've never been so disgusted with this thing we expected to be disgusting", and this reeks of faux outrage.
posted by zoo at 1:02 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Boy, that six-hour-long annual event at which women who have been sewn into skintight gowns are worshipped for their sex appeal sure was ruined this year by that misogynist guy.

Really, that's your take? Meryl Streep is worshiped solely for her sex appeal? How about the 85-year-old woman nominee and the 9-year-old girl nominee? And women who are admired at least partly for their sex appeal are fair game for demeaning remarks based merely on their sex? I mean, they're beautiful and desirable, so obviously they can't expect to be respected as human beings?

WTF are you trying to say here? Do you honestly think that misogyny against attractive, famous women does not also hurt unattractive, obscure women?
posted by caryatid at 1:03 PM on February 25, 2013 [27 favorites]


Morgan Freeman would be a rubbish Oscar Host.
posted by zoo at 1:03 PM on February 25, 2013


But a lot of people appear to be taking the line that "we've never been so disgusted with this thing we expected to be disgusting", and this reeks of faux outrage.

Curious to know how you can tell real outrage from faux outrage.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:05 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't watch Family Guy and I like movies. Is it okay for me to be annoyed?
posted by angrycat at 1:05 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Curious to know how you can tell real outrage from faux outrage.

I know, right? They both taste like chicken.
posted by Kitteh at 1:06 PM on February 25, 2013


You know who should host the next Oscars? Liam Neeson. He could get on stage and read the goddamned phone book and people would be hanging on every. single. word. There would be zero jokes and it would be great.
posted by GuyZero at 1:06 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Here's a novel idea: how about we have a non-white non-male host? Or a female host doesn't require male co-host so Hollywood can show diverse and equal we all are?"

I know this isn't popular - but I loved Whoopi Goldberg as a host. Bring her back!
posted by stoneweaver at 1:07 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


But a lot of people appear to be taking the line that "we've never been so disgusted with this thing we expected to be disgusting", and this reeks of faux outrage.

I'm pretty sure most Oscar viewers didn't have any hand in choosing the show's host. Besides, there was always the chance that they'd pass on the boobs song.
posted by GuyZero at 1:07 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Unattractive, obscure women" who make movies make movies that are far too interesting to gain the attention of Oscar voters, and thus never appear on this telecast.

Alison Steadman has zero Oscar nominations. Case closed.
posted by Fnarf at 1:07 PM on February 25, 2013


caryatid: My takeaway from the comment is that we're doing the equivalant of killing the Jester for commenting on the reality of the situation. Hollywood treats women like objects + there is a song that treats women like objects = burn the person who sang the song.

Not saying that MacFarlane isn't complicit, or indeed that we all aren't to a degree, but I think that MacFarlane is a scapegoat in all this.

/ or a sineater. Or some other societal thing where we get to blame one person for all the shit we all do.
posted by zoo at 1:08 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wanda Sykes would be great. She is actually hilarious. And a woman of color.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:08 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


On second though - Tracy Morgan for 2014 Oscars host. We just need him to release a movie in the next 12 months.
posted by GuyZero at 1:09 PM on February 25, 2013


What about Troy and Abed?
posted by Aizkolari at 1:09 PM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


It'd be riveting I'm sure, but I'm not sure Neeson is the guy for the job.

He has a very particular set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for hosting award shows.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:09 PM on February 25, 2013 [20 favorites]


I came back with, "Here's a novel idea: how about we have a non-white non-male host? Or a female host doesn't require male co-host so Hollywood can show diverse and equal we all are?"

Like Ellen DeGeneres in 2006, Chris Rock in 2004, Whoopi Goldberg in 2001, Whoopi Goldberg in 1998, Whoopi Goldberg in 1995 or Whoopi Goldberg in 1993? 30 percent of the last two decades. "Novel" indeed.
posted by Etrigan at 1:09 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I found the boobs skit surprising because it turned the Oscars into an ad for Mr. Skin, the porn site that consists of Hollywood nude scenes. On the evening when everyone in Hollywood gathers to celebrate their art, the emcee opened the show by describing an actress's craft as a process for producing images for men to masturbate to. Jodie Foster may have thought she was depicting the reality and experience of rape in the "Accused," but no, she was creating wank material.

Also, my wife and I were both surprised by the joke in the bit with Ted and Mark Wahlberg in which the talking bear got Wahlberg to admit to the location of the post-Oscar orgy: Jack Nickelson's mansion. In my mind, Jack Nickelson's mansion is not a famous site for bacchanals; it is where Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
posted by hhc5 at 1:10 PM on February 25, 2013 [26 favorites]


My point is that the world appears to be full of people who knew they'd be shocked telling me how shocked they are.

No one is shocked, as far as I can tell. You seem to be conflating being shocked with being offended. I'm not terribly shocked that MacFarlene was offensive, but I am offended. My state of being offended is completely independent of whatever it was that I was anticipating before I was offended.

Tell me, how does that make my outrage fake?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:10 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know who should host the next Oscars? Liam Neeson.

Only if he does the entire telecast in the persona from his episode of "Life's Too Short", telling unrelentingly grim "jokes" about AIDS and cancer. That's one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life.
posted by Fnarf at 1:11 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


My bad, I am no longer a regular Oscar viewer. Thank god someone put me, an uppity woman in my place re: female Oscar hosts!

(Seriously, let's bring Ellen DeGeneres: a funny lady who might bring animal rights to the hosting gig!)
posted by Kitteh at 1:11 PM on February 25, 2013


"caryatid: My takeaway from the comment is that we're doing the equivalant of killing the Jester for commenting on the reality of the situation. Hollywood treats women like objects + there is a song that treats women like objects = burn the person who sang the song. "

You missed the important point that the song celebrates treating women like objects, in a kidding-on-the-square way.
posted by klangklangston at 1:11 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Curious to know how you can tell real outrage from faux outrage.
Look - If you're a weird homophobic right-winger and you go to a gay movie theatre to watch a gay film, and you come out of said theatre to proclaim how deeply horrible it all was - and urg, people can see this, and this is disgusting.

Then that's Faux Outrage.

If you take one person who you don't like, and you hold them to a standard you don't expect from anyone else, and they fail to meet that standard and you loudly and publicly criticise them,

Then that's Faux Outrage.
posted by zoo at 1:12 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like Wanda Sykes too much to let her host the Oscars.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:12 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I came back with, "Here's a novel idea: how about we have a non-white non-male host? Or a female host doesn't require male co-host so Hollywood can show diverse and equal we all are?"

We've had Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, and Whoopi Goldberg within the last 15 years. This was about when I quit watching the Oscars, but I seem to recall not liking Whoopie Goldberg that much (although I don't think much of many of the hosts, so she's in good company).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:13 PM on February 25, 2013


Thank god someone put me, an uppity woman in my place re: female Oscar hosts!

That's a crap response and uncalled for.
posted by Justinian at 1:13 PM on February 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


"If you take one person who you don't like, and you hold them to a standard you don't expect from anyone else, and they fail to meet that standard and you loudly and publicly criticise them, "

Man, with that psychic diagnosis, you should get your own 900 number.
posted by klangklangston at 1:14 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Apologies.
posted by Kitteh at 1:14 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


We've had Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, and Whoopi Goldberg within the last 15 years.

I know you didn't mean it that way, but three people who aren't white males in 15 years is pathetic.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:15 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you take one person who you don't like, and you hold them to a standard you don't expect from anyone else, and they fail to meet that standard and you loudly and publicly criticise them,

Then that's Faux Outrage.


Why?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:15 PM on February 25, 2013


you hold them to a standard you don't expect from anyone else

The "we saw your boobs" song was the laziest comedy bit to make it on screen, ever. You think a team of professional comedy writers could come up with nothing better than that? NOTHING?
posted by GuyZero at 1:16 PM on February 25, 2013


Oscars 2013: Bloggers and Twitter condemn Seth McFarlane for juvenile "boobs" song, then go back to discussing how you could kinda-sorta see Anne Hathaway's nipples through her dress if you squinted just right.

I wouldn't wish the job of Oscar host on my worst enemy, tbh.
posted by mstokes650 at 1:16 PM on February 25, 2013


I know you didn't mean it that way, but three people who aren't white males in 15 years is pathetic.

Not to mention the pathetic white males hosts they've had, chief among them, Billy Crystal.
posted by juiceCake at 1:16 PM on February 25, 2013


I think Billy Crystal is great.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:17 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why?
Because it's not the thing, it's the person. It's not the principle, it's an individual.
posted by zoo at 1:17 PM on February 25, 2013


If you take one person who you don't like, and you hold them to a standard you don't expect from anyone else, and they fail to meet that standard and you loudly and publicly criticise them,

But I like Seth McFarlane, have enjoyed Family Guy and edgy, non-pc humor (Archer is the gold standard).

But I didn't like his hosting of the Oscars. Am I faux or real outrage, please do tell me what I'm feeling
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:19 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


Next year: Lewis Black
posted by jquinby at 1:20 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sort of see the outline of nipples?!?! Do you have an HDTV with 1080p resolution?
posted by raysmj at 1:21 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The misogynistic jokes really felt like they were at the expense of the women in question, not the culture and/or perpetrators. Maybe in another context that wouldn't be the case, but the Oscars are an awards show with some comedy in them and the audience isn't in the state that people are when they tune into, say, the Colbert Report. Sexism in that context, even if attempted in irony, is not going to be successfully ironic; it's just going to reinforce cultural tropes that are harmful to marginalized groups.

Also, you know how sometimes you might go into a person's comment history to see if they're making a particular comment in good faith-- not to bring an attack against them, but just to get yourself some context? If Family Guy is McFarlane's metaphorical comment history, I don't have a lot of confidence that he was making those jokes in good faith.
posted by NoraReed at 1:21 PM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]



But I like Seth McFarlane, have enjoyed Family Guy and edgy, non-pc humor (Archer is the gold standard).

But I didn't like his hosting of the Oscars. Am Ia faux or real outrage, please do tell me what I'm feeling.


I was about to say what Brandon Blatcher just said. Except that I haven't seen Archer.
posted by sweetkid at 1:22 PM on February 25, 2013


Not to mention the pathetic white males hosts they've had, chief among them, Billy Crystal.

One might accuse Crystal of being bland, generic or making a lot of safe jokes, but I think "pathetic" is a bit harsh. And I don't remember his routines - maybe he was edgier than I remember (unlikely as that may be).
posted by GuyZero at 1:22 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or a female host doesn't require male co-host so Hollywood can show diverse and equal we all are?

James Franco agrees with you there.
posted by mstokes650 at 1:23 PM on February 25, 2013


This is pretty much Mary Whitehouse writing to complain about the fact that a show about Sex! had Sex! in it.

I wonder how many of the people expressing this sentiment are Family Guy fans who, if they sat down with pen and paper, would honestly have trouble listing ten of their friends who don't also watch Family Guy. Maybe if you watch that show and you only really know other people who watch it, then it's difficult to imagine the perspective of somebody who doesn't.

But I assure you, at least from the perspective of the millions upon millions of people who do not watch Family Guy, the 85th Academy Awards did not have misogyny in the program title. Your comparison is inapt.

And this idea that MacFarlane is a "scapegoat"? Nobody is blaming Seth MacFarlane for, just as a for instance, how Megan Fox was cast and portrayed in Transformers, or how the pre-Oscars red-carpet parade critiques women's hairstyles, dresses, and manicures. If it's important to you that we clarify that, then I'll stand with you: No, MacFarlane is not responsible for generations of sexism and misogyny by Hollywood. Neither is it "scapegoating" to hold him responsible for things he actually, personally said.
posted by cribcage at 1:23 PM on February 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


I think it's interesting that all of the people being bandied about as better hosts next year, as well as this year's host himself, are all from TV. Is it because there are no funny people in movies, or because they're all too rich to bother with the Oscars? Though McFarlane is probably richer than the last five hosts combined.

I think it's the fact that it's the Oscars. People complain that the Oscars aren't funny, but they're not ALLOWED to be funny.

They should just go to all dancing numbers. If they could find anyone who can dance even a little bit (Daniel Radcliffe, I'm lookin' at you).
posted by Fnarf at 1:24 PM on February 25, 2013


Brandon Blatcher : I'm going to go with you're not Real Outraged. Or Faux Outraged. Maybe a bit Real Outraged with me. Given that you've already said that the sideboob retread was just boring, and given that you think you've got a fight with me when actually, I don't really want to fight with you and I'm not really understanding what buttons I'm pressing that are pissing you off.
posted by zoo at 1:25 PM on February 25, 2013


maybe he was edgier

He wore blackface last year. That's pretty, uh, edgy.
posted by Fnarf at 1:25 PM on February 25, 2013


Except that I haven't seen Archer.

You should definitely watch Archer. Smart and scathingly and most importantly, gloriously funny in an un pc manner.

First two seasons are up on Netflix.

and I'm not really understanding what buttons I'm pressing that are pissing you off.

You're telling people whether they're really outraged or not, while ignoring what they're actually saying about why they're outraged.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:28 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


(More and more glad I didn't turn the Oscars on for my young daughter, even though my mother-in-law lobbied for it. Would have been horrified to have to explain several parts of this, apparently. )
posted by newdaddy at 1:33 PM on February 25, 2013


Mike Nelson for Oscar host.

Think about it.
posted by hellojed at 1:34 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


You know who should host the next Oscars? Liam Neeson. He could get on stage and read the goddamned phone book and people would be hanging on every. single. word. There would be zero jokes and it would be great.

Only if he does it in the nude, have you ever seen Rob Roy? Imagine a baby's arm slapping between his knees while he's running out of a Scottish loch.
posted by TungstenChef at 1:35 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I see people are comparing Gervais and MacFarlane, the difference? Gervais would never be asked to host the Oscars because as mean and bitter as he is, the man truly don't give a fuck.

You had the entirety of the white male privilege machine in front of you and you make fun of the nine-year-old girl? Good going Seth you spineless prick.
posted by fullerine at 1:36 PM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


That anyone in this thread can possibly defend the comedic value of anything McFarlane did last night depresses me so much that I can hardly stand it. We go so many steps backward when you defend cockroaches like him. If any of you defending him have daughters, I hope they grow up in a better world despite your efforts to keep the one we've got exactly as backwards and horrible as it is.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 1:36 PM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Some quotes from the thread:

Didn't the boobs song give us a clear signal that the guy was a dumbass?

Yeah. Why does this dumbass get such a visible hosting gig, anyway?

The song wasn't misogynistic at all, it was deliberately juvenile and silly in a pythonesque way, and if anything made fun of men for their obsession with seeing boobs.

What a wonderful world we live in to give such a platform for men and their silly boob fetish?! I agree with Louis C.K. (again), it must be freaking amazing to be a white man. What a country! What a world!

Okay, so in my head I'm writing "We Saw Your Dong," and it's equally funny. You even have Ewan MacGregor to sub in for Kate Winslet. OF COURSE it's reductive and absurd to take someone's well-crafted performance and go "Tee-hee, genitals," and that's exactly why the song is funny. Joking about seeing Meryl Streep's boobs is pretty funny, and joking about seeing Ewan MacGregor's dong is funny in the same way.

Ah. But, sadly, that's a different awards show. In the awards show we got, we got a stupid number about women's boobs. Because: BOOBS! Amirite?! And I really, really, really feel, deep in my heart, that maybe some actors and actresses and audience members would be equally uncomfortable with a "We Saw Your Dong" goof-off number. But, uncomfortable for different reasons. The reason I'm uncomfortable with the BOOBS! number is: jesus h. christ on a bike, can we get a fuckin' break around here, or what?

I thought the last line in the linked article was really good and felt true to me:
"Movies, and what women do in and to them, are better than the Academy seemed to realize. The same could be said about a lot of women in a lot of jobs. And women can’t forget it."
posted by amanda at 1:36 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


One might accuse Crystal of being bland, generic or making a lot of safe jokes, but I think "pathetic" is a bit harsh. And I don't remember his routines - maybe he was edgier than I remember (unlikely as that may be).

And that's fine. I respect your opinion and have no issue with it, mine just happens to differ and pathetic is rather light I'd say, but hyperbole is legion in this thread anyway.
posted by juiceCake at 1:37 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't watch the Oscars. I even tried to mute tweets about it on twitter, but it still got thru. When the Onion tweet came thru, my feed exploded in outrage. I thought it was incredibly bizarre thing to say about a talented nine year old girl. I had no idea that the host of the Oscars had made the Clooney joke which is clearly what the Onion was trying to riff on.

I can actually see now where the Onion was trying to go, even if they probably should have made that point another way. That point is that a talented nine year old girl was told on an internationally broadcast event that her talents are irrelevant because she's female, that male actors who continue to get awesome rolls well into middle and old age (Clooney) only date young women and that she will be a nobody before she's 25. Oh and that part where her only worth is as a sex object. Actually, let me clarify, the host of the Oscars told every young woman watching that her talents are worthless in comparison to her sex appeal because successful men like Clooney (including people who own studios) have no use for women except as sex objects.

The Onion's tweet is nothing in comparison to how incredibly awful that joke "about Clooney" is. I get that plenty of things in Hollywood and the Oscars in general are sexist, but there's no reason to put on a host who re-inforces it. If you want to joke about the sexism in Hollywood, do it in a way that takes power away from those in power. Moreover, surely nine year old girls shouldn't be the subject of jokes if only so they aren't harmed by jokes they may not understand and may not be able to shrug off. I can see why many parents are saying they won't be letting their kids watching it.
posted by R343L at 1:37 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


The BAFTAS were much better than the Oscars this year, and Stephen Fry gets the tone pretty much spot on for an awards host. The Oscars had the whiff of sulphur about them.
posted by Summer at 1:37 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Only if he does it in the nude, have you ever seen Rob Roy? Imagine a baby's arm slapping between his knees while he's running out of a Scottish loch.

I hadn't seen it before but you're damn right I'm gonna watch it now!
posted by Kitteh at 1:38 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to go with you're not Real Outraged. Or Faux Outraged. Maybe a bit Real Outraged with me.

You do realize that your unilateral assignments of other people's levels of outrage, real or faux, are exactly as legitimate as my unilaterally assigning you a level of outrage? For example: I'm gonna go ahead and say you're secretly TOTALLY OUTRAGED by this. There. Despite any protestations you utter to the contrary, you're outraged, case closed.

No? I'm not the arbiter of whether you're outraged? Because that's a ridiculous, impossible thing for one person to dictate to another? Exactly.
posted by Elsa at 1:39 PM on February 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


Why don't they just have the people who won best actor and actress the previous year come back and host the goddamn thing? It's not like there has to be some cheeky fucknut at the helm for it to be a good show, is it?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:40 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, so in my head I'm writing "We Saw Your Dong," and it's equally funny. You even have Ewan MacGregor to sub in for Kate Winslet. OF COURSE it's reductive and absurd to take someone's well-crafted performance and go "Tee-hee, genitals," and that's exactly why the song is funny. Joking about seeing Meryl Streep's boobs is pretty funny, and joking about seeing Ewan MacGregor's dong is funny in the same way.

My question is: why wasn't the song "We Saw Your Dong"?
posted by kmz at 1:40 PM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think a big part of MacFarlane's problem was his relative inexperience as a live performer. I noticed a tendency to shift uncomfortably while standing on stage, for instance. He's a product of the writer's room, where folks are constantly trying to top each other, rather than of live performance, where performers have a feedback loop with an audience.

Good voice, can dance a little...
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 1:41 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mike Nelson Joel for Oscar host.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:41 PM on February 25, 2013 [20 favorites]


Burhanistan, dramatic actors aren't always funny, and wouldn't be able to keep an awards show going for 4 hours.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:42 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think we should just take this and run with it. Next year everyone in the audience will be even more uncomfortable because the host is a drunken Christopher Walken with a loaded handgun that he is contractually obligated to fire into the rafters at least once.
posted by ckape at 1:42 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Mike Nelson Joel for Oscar host.

Joel McHale? Yes. Definitely.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:43 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: "Also, when Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the stairs, did anyone notice who bolted out of his chair to help her?

Hugh Jackman.
"

Bradley Cooper also rushed to help her, although the main camera angle didn't catch it.
posted by sharkfu at 1:44 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fuck the Academy Awards. I'd rather do just about anything than watch a 4 hour infomercial. I was headed out to buy a pack of smokes last night and someone downstairs asked me if I was headed to an Oscar party. I was like "hahaha year right", like they were being ironic. Then I realized they were serious and I was one of those weird bastards that doesn't watch the Oscars.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:46 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Burhanistan, dramatic actors aren't always funny, and wouldn't be able to keep an awards show going for 4 hours.

I'm sure if we lengthen the show to 8 hours then most dramatic actors would be fine.
posted by GuyZero at 1:46 PM on February 25, 2013


I think a big part of MacFarlane's problem was his relative inexperience as a live performer.

cf. the "oh, we kept this joke in, did we?" line. Dude, seriously, there's a billion people watching. Maybe an extra rehearsal or something?
posted by GuyZero at 1:47 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


> dramatic actors aren't always funny, and wouldn't be able to keep an awards show going for 4 hours.

This might be a refreshing change from the usual. I guess people need everything couched in gags and mock-subversion to hold interest longer than 5 minutes, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:47 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Every time someone claims someone else is "faux outraged" it bugs the shit out of me because it feels like part of a large-scale low-level societal gaslighting that tells people that the emotions that they feel (in this case, outrage) are not valid. This relates to the idea that showing emotion while discussing something like, say, pop culture or whatever else is bad because we are all supposed to be stoically unaffected when we feel like our sex is being insulted.
posted by NoraReed at 1:47 PM on February 25, 2013 [55 favorites]


Joel and Mike co-host; for the first half, Joel MCs while Mike makes color commentary from the front row, and the second half vice versa.

For the afterparty they try and redo their routines while Doug Benson smokes up and interrupts them.
posted by cortex at 1:48 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


This might be a refreshing change from the usual. I guess people need everything couched in gags and mock-subversion to hold interest longer than 5 minutes, though.

You should ask CBS about how many people change the channel when the Tonys aren't doing something like a scene from a musical or a funny bit.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:49 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


So why are awards shows even relevant? And, why do people watch them? Oooooh, so they can talk about the shit that happened afterwards at work. Or on the internets.

What is it with this star nonsense?
posted by Eekacat at 1:49 PM on February 25, 2013


What is it with this star nonsense?

It's more relevant to me than the stupid Super Bowl. When I attacked the Super Bowl players for being irrelevant here, I got a huge smackdown.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:51 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


All of it, the Super Bowl. the Oscars, are an important part of our culture and cultural norms expressed there trickle out and down and around and affect (US) society in strong ways. To say it's irrelevant because you (universal you) think it's silly or you personally don't care doesn't invalidate its impact.
posted by sweetkid at 1:53 PM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Stars are relevant to some people. Football players are relevant to some people. Dropping into a thread with the sparkling contribution that you're above the subject of the post is relevant to no one.
posted by troika at 1:54 PM on February 25, 2013 [19 favorites]


Also Jennifer Lawrence Is A National Treasure

I’ll see your press conference and raise you “Here‘s Jaaack“:
“You look like an old girlfriend.”

“Oh, really. Do I look like a new girlfriend?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJmhsJ5T5L0 [There's an ad first.]
posted by NorthernLite at 1:54 PM on February 25, 2013 [21 favorites]


You're telling people whether they're really outraged or not, while ignoring what they're actually saying about why they're outraged

You'll have to believe me on this, but I'm not ignoring what anyone is saying.

This "Faux Outrage" theme is in response, not specifically to people on metafilter, but to a wider social media climate where the broken misogynistic nature of society manifests its anger towards specific individuals. In this case, specifically towards MacFarlane. Hence comments about sineaters and scapegoats. They're clumsy metaphors, but they're all I've got at the moment.

I too like Family Guy, but I'm not so stupid as to not acknowledge that it's problematic. It is however, held to a standard other shows aren't held to. Peter is raped by Louis and there's internet outrage. Homer is raped by Marge, and nary a whisper.

Seth Macfarlane may not have been funny here, but the whole boobs gag is one he's done before (PTV). Maybe lazy, but completely unsuprising.

I have a theory that comedy is sometimes a mirror, and the more accurate that mirror, the more likely we are to (a) need it and (b) hate it. and we hate it most when we need to hate it the most.

On a theoretical, sociological level, this may be a good thing. But being more angry in specific situations at specific people seems to me to "reek" of Faux Outrage. More worryingly, it's a way of creating or maintaining power. It's not suprising, any more than it's not suprising when a predatory gay catholic bishop is outed at a time when they've voting for a new pope and it's politically expedient to remove him from office.

Step #1 for gaining power is to make everyone guilty. step #2 is to only go after those that are a danger to that power.

As I said right at the start - there were many problematic things about this Oscar ceremony. But Seth MacFarlane is being made a whipping boy.
posted by zoo at 1:55 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think a big part of MacFarlane's problem was his relative inexperience as a live performer. I noticed a tendency to shift uncomfortably while standing on stage, for instance. He's a product of the writer's room, where folks are constantly trying to top each other, rather than of live performance, where performers have a feedback loop with an audience.

That sounds about right. I wasn't rooting for his failure. He got off a few good jokes (I thought the Lincoln and Von Trapp jokes were good) and has a surprisingly decent singing voice. But the combo of bad material and the way he almost visibly deflated after this exchange made me feel a little sorry for him, even while I hated some of his jokes:
“I thought we’d cut this joke but, really? Want to still do it?” MacFarlane asked producers off-camera. “OK. The first time I saw that dark beard, I thought, ‘My God! The Kardashians have finally made the jump into film!”

From the podium, Affleck responded somewhat cryptically: “I thought the show was going pretty well. But maybe you can turn it around.”
posted by maudlin at 1:57 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Christ, it's good to learn that the real victim of power here was Seth. Thanks, Zoo.
posted by ominous_paws at 1:58 PM on February 25, 2013 [21 favorites]


From what I can tell, the presentation was so bad, and the choice of winners was so dull, that media coverage of women's nipples seems to bubble up to the top of my newsfeeds.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:00 PM on February 25, 2013


But Seth MacFarlane is being made a whipping boy.

People are attempting to hold MacFarlane accountable for things that he himself said.

How does that make him a whipping boy?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:00 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


elsa -

Brandon asked me how outraged he was, and I answered with how outraged I thought he was. I may not be right. It was a guess. The whole how faux is your outrage was in response to me highlighting a specific behaviour (detailed with examples) that I said "reeked" of Faux Outrage.

But you telling me how outraged I am. Fill yer boots.
posted by zoo at 2:00 PM on February 25, 2013


Django Unchained should've won over that lame-ass Argo movie anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:02 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Christ, it's good to learn that the real victim of power here was Seth. Thanks, Zoo.
That's your take-home here. That I'm trying to protect this one wealthy man? I need to work on my communication skills.
posted by zoo at 2:03 PM on February 25, 2013


So much potential there, so many Degrees of Bacon.

Sausage, Degrees of Sausage...

get it? sausage? I'll see myself out
posted by j_curiouser at 2:03 PM on February 25, 2013


But Seth MacFarlane is being made a whipping boy.

I really don't understand your point, but it seems to be mostly 'Stop acting like you care.'
posted by shakespeherian at 2:03 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


I too like Family Guy, but I'm not so stupid as to not acknowledge that it's problematic. It is however, held to a standard other shows aren't held to.

It seems like you're hearing criticism of Seth MacFarlane and then rushing to defend Family Guy. Those are two different things. I'm not sure anybody else in this thread is even really talking about Family Guy, let alone attacking it. We are criticizing Seth MacFarlane's performance at the Academy Awards last night. This has nothing to do with Peter Griffin or Homer Simpson.

Did you watch the Academy Awards last night?
posted by cribcage at 2:05 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I need to work on my communication skills.

Yeah.

He's a whipping boy for whom, now?
posted by rtha at 2:05 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


“OK. The first time I saw that dark beard, I thought, ‘My God! The Kardashians have finally made the jump into film!”

I had to explain that joke to my wife who then asked how that constituted a joke. Like I said, MacFarlane left nothing out of that performance. he seemed to use every single joke he thought up, no matter how terrible it was.
posted by GuyZero at 2:06 PM on February 25, 2013


I was not surprised by MacFarlane's schtick. It's what he does. I am also not surprised by this thread. It's what Metafilter does. What else would you expect when unseriousness is taken seriously?
posted by wierdo at 2:09 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


> "If you take one person who you don't like, and you hold them to a standard you don't expect from anyone else ..."

I only vaguely know who Seth MacFarlane is. For a while, I wondered why on earth the guy behind "Spawn" and Image Comics was hosting the Oscars.

I assure you, had the Dalai Lama been hosting, and chose to sing "We Saw Your Boobs" and make a sex joke involving a nine year old girl, I would have been just as offended.
posted by kyrademon at 2:10 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Not only is the "We Saw Your Boobs" bit offensive to women, but it's also offensive to men, yes even heterosexual men, who think there's something distasteful and boorish about putting this stuff on TV.

We have a sex drive, yes. The entire culture seems freakishly dedicated to reminding us of that fact. That doesn't mean we need to be titillated every moment of every day. Believe it or not, there are more important things in life than sex. For one thing, self-respect. Not all men are frat guys.
posted by JHarris at 2:10 PM on February 25, 2013 [27 favorites]


You missed it GuyZero, that was the joke of that joke. He didn't really think they cut it, he was making fun of himself a little while getting to tell a really "naughty" joke. It's the same trick as the Shatner intro: "Wouldn't it be horrible if I was like this? Ha ha! You can laugh cuz I'm coaching it in fictional self-deprecation."

This is why I prefer Daniel Tosh--he at least has the balls to be totally offensive and then dare you to like him--he's really saying in his own voice overthetop hateful stuff.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:11 PM on February 25, 2013


This is why I prefer Daniel Tosh--he at least has the balls to be totally offensive and then dare you to like him--he's really saying in his own voice overthetop hateful stuff.

That is a dare I can easily lose. God I HATE Daniel Tosh. Utterly despise him, him and his show of warmed-over YouTube reruns. What a lazy hack. The Carlos Mencia of a new generation.
posted by JHarris at 2:14 PM on February 25, 2013 [25 favorites]


MacFarlane just seems desperately lonely. But, his target demographic loves his schtick and probably enjoy the media outrage. Look for his new show next fall!
posted by Burhanistan at 2:15 PM on February 25, 2013


I need to work on my communication skills.

Really, yes. Because what I'm getting is this:

Said wealthy man uses his spot at this Oscars to take a hot, luxuriant piss on women in general, a nine-year-old girl, etc. And this does not

A) Cause people to be actually outraged because it is reprehensible, but

B) Gives them an opportunity to pretend to be outraged, thus slowly aiding to create a sinister power held by... someone... which can be used to go after... some people? when they do something?

And (B) is more likely than (A) because... no, no, you definitely need to work on your communications skills.
posted by ominous_paws at 2:16 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


What else would you expect when unseriousness is taken seriously?

The next time someone asks what "privilege" is, at least we can just link them to this comment.
posted by ominous_paws at 2:17 PM on February 25, 2013 [26 favorites]


What else would you expect when unseriousness is taken seriously?

Dude, the "can't take a joke" thing is so trite it's the middle square on anti-feminist bingo. Here's an explanation for why the "taking things too seriously"/"can't take a joke" tactic is harmful.
posted by NoraReed at 2:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [31 favorites]


Seth McFarlane is dating Danaerys Targaryen herself, Emilia Clarke. Weird fact.
posted by Justinian at 2:19 PM on February 25, 2013


There is nothing I take more seriously than comedy, because I respect the hell out of it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:20 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


MacFarlane just seems desperately lonely.

Hey, I'm desperately lonely, and I can't stand his schtick.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:21 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


zoo: “Look - If you're a weird homophobic right-winger and you go to a gay movie theatre to watch a gay film, and you come out of said theatre to proclaim how deeply horrible it all was - and urg, people can see this, and this is disgusting. Then that's Faux Outrage. If you take one person who you don't like, and you hold them to a standard you don't expect from anyone else, and they fail to meet that standard and you loudly and publicly criticise them, Then that's Faux Outrage.”

MisantropicPainforest: “Why?”

zoo: “Because it's not the thing, it's the person. It's not the principle, it's an individual.”

zoo – just a note here:

You've talked a lot about how you think MacFarlane is being used as a scapegoat, and I guess I think I see the point you're trying to make. However – I think it'd probably be worth stepping back and seeing that you're making this about MacFarlane personally in a way that it really doesn't have to be and in fact shouldn't be.

Whenever we talk about a racist or sexist thing that was said or done, this is often the very first place people go in reaction – 'but the person who said or did this isn't so bad! I mean, they're clearly not Hitler! Look at these other things that they've done that are not so bad...' When the truth is that all that is utterly beside the point.

The point here is that what happened is sexist. It's sexist in huge and frankly deeply worrying ways. You've talked about "faux outrage," and I gather that you mean that people are up in arms to crucify Seth MacFarlane as a totem of all their problems. However, there are real reasons to be at least very upset about what happened. Think for a moment about the staged reactions of actresses cringing at mentions of their names in the opening song. Someone made the point that those staged reactions mirror the sensations a lot of women probably had at home. In particular, think about what effect that has on young women – the crass objectification, and the general sense reinforced over and over again through the show that such objectification is unobjectionable and in fact wholly acceptable. I think that's a fair reason to be upset. And the thing that happened with Wallis – that's just one more crass and bitter joke that doesn't serve anybody well, a joke that's likely to make any nine-year-old that happened to be watching hurt and confused about her or his place in this awful world.

Those seem like good reasons for outrage to me. They don't have to do with Seth MacFarlane as a private citizen. They have to do with the things he said and did, things that were sexist and obnoxious. You're right, it's good to avoid pegging people as scapegoats – but as far as I can tell, this conversation so far hasn't been about boycotting Family Guy or getting his shows cancelled or getting him tossed out on a curb; it's been about trying to figure out some way to deal with this problem in a larger way. Because it's bigger than MacFarlane; the Onion's massive blunder made that clear. We need to figure out a way to make society safe and just for all members, and that includes women and nine year olds.
posted by koeselitz at 2:22 PM on February 25, 2013 [35 favorites]


My question is: why wasn't the song "We Saw Your Dong"?

They had 10 times as much time to fill?

I didn't see it but the monday-morning quarterbacking here does lead me to believe an infinitely funnier and more interesting cultural commentary would have been a "we saw you naked" song that goes on a very long time but only has one verse about the dudes. Or maybe 2 verses, with the second one acknowledging they had so much less to work with.

I guess that begs for a 3rd verse explaining that they don't mean size, they mean quantity of scenes.
posted by phearlez at 2:22 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


God I HATE Daniel Tosh

Yeah, I cannot stand even a second of that guy. He seems to not just be as offensive as humanly possible, but to embody the very essence of offensiveness, with not even the barest attempt at wit, irony, or self-awareness. He makes me hate not just Daniel Tosh but the next ten white males I see, through no fault of their own, just residual awfulness. Mean-spiritedness as its own reward. Watching Tosh is like putting cigarettes out on your mom's arm.

Seth M. is a slice of bread next to that. Actually, that's the whole problem; Seth M. is a slice of white bread next to anything. The problem with his schtick isn't the (bland) offensiveness, it's the smarmy pulling back. I want my jokesters to let it rip a little.
posted by Fnarf at 2:23 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


We need to figure out a way to make society safe

Drone strikes on Hollywood movie studios.
posted by Fnarf at 2:25 PM on February 25, 2013


Danerys nooooooooooooo have the dragons eat him
posted by angrycat at 2:25 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


This thread could use a shot of the good side of humanity, so I wanted to note that besides wanting to help Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman is a general all-around awesome person.

Despite his obviously close relationship with his wife, whispers have persisted since he played Peter Allen that Jackman himself might be gay. "I'd be happy to go and deny it, because I'm not," he says. "But by denying it, I'm saying there is something shameful about it, and there isn't anything shameful. "
posted by emjaybee at 2:26 PM on February 25, 2013 [43 favorites]


You missed it GuyZero, that was the joke of that joke. He didn't really think they cut it, he was making fun of himself a little while getting to tell a really "naughty" joke. It's the same trick as the Shatner intro: "Wouldn't it be horrible if I was like this? Ha ha! You can laugh cuz I'm coaching it in fictional self-deprecation."

So I like this post-modern breaking-the-fourth-wall thing as much as the next guy, but like others have said, I think he was just using that as a cover for trotting out lazy jokes. I mean, maybe, maybe that was right up there on the teleprompter, but maybe he was just honestly surprised to see the one joke he cut for being the worst of a bad lot.
posted by GuyZero at 2:30 PM on February 25, 2013


H. John Benjamin in character as Sterling Archer for next year's show. Or actually anyone from Archer, in character. Maybe Pam.
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:30 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


Not only is the "We Saw Your Boobs" bit offensive to women, but it's also offensive to men, yes even heterosexual men, who think there's something distasteful and boorish about putting this stuff on TV.

What about MST3K's "Toobular Boobular Joy" song? Granted, it's not as specifically targeted, but still relies on "Boobs! Amirite?" for its comedy.

I have a feeling that if the same song was sung by Eric Idle he'd be getting a round of applause, but MacFarlane's built-in smugness just makes it easier to believe the song came from an evil place.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:32 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


My take is that a big part of the reason he was selected was because the producers knew that there would be buzz aplenty the day after, no matter what he said or did or how atrocious it was, unless he wasn't doing his usual shtick. And, lo and behold: they were right. They probably encouraged him with everything they had not to be the reincarnation of Cary Grant. The webosphere was being stoked and primed for epic badness days beforehand with all the repetitions of the old Rob Lowe/Snow White Oscar outrage story (including a mention on mefi), and that had to be partly because the Academy was writhing with anticipation that the show would be outrageous -- which was fine with them, as long as it wasn't dull and soporific.
posted by blucevalo at 2:32 PM on February 25, 2013


Ironic sexism and racism can be used to highlight the unacceptability of both...

"Ironic sexism/racism" in this context is usually shorthand for "ironic sexism/racism where the status quo is not challenged"
posted by GenericUser at 2:33 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


"It's frustrating enough to know that 77 percent of Academy voters are male. Or to watch 30 men and 9 women collect awards last night. But MacFarlane's boob song, the needless sexualization of a little girl, and the relentless commentary about how women look reinforced, over and over, that women somehow don't belong. They matter only insofar as they are beautiful or naked, or preferably both. This wasn't an awards ceremony so much as a black-tie celebration of the straight white male gaze." -- Why Seth MacFarlane’s Misogyny Matters:
Jeez, the song was a joke! Can't you take a joke? Yes, I can take a joke. I can take a bunch! A thousand, 10,000, maybe even more! But after 30 or so years, this stuff doesn't feel like joking. It's dehumanizing and humiliating, and as if every single one of those jokes is an ostensibly gentler way of saying, "I don't think you belong here."

[...]

Uh, those are compliments! Now he can't even give women compliments? Compliment away, friends. Let's compliment the shit out of each other. But let's be really cognizant of what we compliment each other on, and what that says about what we expect from each other, and what we consider valuable and worth mentioning. It doesn't matter what Salma Hayek says, because she's so pretty!

[...]

You just don't like Seth MacFarlane's sense of humor. What did you expect? Actually, I do like Seth MacFarlane's sense of humor. ... If MacFarlane had sung "Shipoopi" all night, I'd be writing a really different story right now. Instead, there were jokes about how Rex Reed would probably call Adele fat — because that's what's important about her — and how someday Quvenzhané Wallis will be old enough to date George Clooney — because that's what's important about her — and how sometimes, gasp, a woman might have body hair — because that's what's important about them.
posted by scody at 2:33 PM on February 25, 2013 [49 favorites]


Seth McFarlane is dating Danaerys Targaryen herself, Emilia Clarke. Weird fact.

That fact kills me, as she is The Mother of Dragons, and he is The Mother F'er that makes Family Guy.

But here's an even weirder MacFarlane fact.
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:33 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


but MacFarlane's built-in smugness just makes it easier to believe the song came from an evil place.

That's pretty normal for humans. We tend to give ourselves and people we like the benefit of the doubt while people we do not like are judged by stricter standards. Louis CK makes rape jokes, for example, but tends to get a pass on Metafilter while many other comedians don't.
posted by Justinian at 2:36 PM on February 25, 2013


Do the rape jokes Louis CK makes make fun of the rapist or the victim?
posted by rtha at 2:39 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Louis C.k. Rape jokes?
posted by angrycat at 2:40 PM on February 25, 2013


You know, I think Seth MacFarlane is a pretty okay guy but I really just don't like his tone. I mean, couldn't he have made his point in a different way? It's really very unattractive and ultimately belittles his craft. Major turn-off.

Also, this casting about for a strawman to hold up to make it all okay just strikes me as kind of desperate.
posted by amanda at 2:41 PM on February 25, 2013


Regardless of which, I don't think LCK does get a free pass, and I know I and many others just about developed stomach ulcers watching his bit on when it's ok to say "faggot".
posted by ominous_paws at 2:41 PM on February 25, 2013


You know, I think Seth MacFarlane is a pretty okay guy but I really just don't like his tone. I mean, couldn't he have made his point in a different way? It's really very unattractive and ultimately belittles his craft. Major turn-off.

Given that his point seemed to be that women are for sex and all black people are the same, I don't really think tone argument sarcasm applies.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:43 PM on February 25, 2013


ShutterBun: “What about MST3K's ‘Toobular Boobular Joy’ song? Granted, it's not as specifically targeted, but still relies on ‘Boobs! Amirite?’ for its comedy. I have a feeling that if the same song was sung by Eric Idle he'd be getting a round of applause, but MacFarlane's built-in smugness just makes it easier to believe the song came from an evil place.”

Hm. Well, a couple of things:

First of all, the MST3K bit is slightly different, because the gag doesn't rely on the idea of personally confronting women and informing them that one has seen their breasts. That doesn't make it okay; just different. Still not a good thing. However –

Second of all, this seems to have less to do with Seth MacFarlane and his "built-in smugness" and more to do with the decade we're in. I'm almost certain Eric Idle did do similar things in the 1970s. It was widely accepted then. MST3K did what they did in the 1990s. For a low-budget cable show seen by a few hundred thousand of us, yeah, probably pretty well accepted. I can't imagine even Seth MacFarlane getting this kind of reaction in 1972, or in 1992, if he'd done a similar thing. But times are changing a bit, and we out here in internet-land actually have a voice now and a way we can sit up and say that we aren't really sure we think things are that cool. And attitudes seem to be shifting. I think that's a good thing.

And, yeah, if Eric Idle did this today, I think people would have the same negative reaction they're having right now.
posted by koeselitz at 2:45 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Louis CK routine I remember involves him talking about dating a girl with a rape fantasy and him not being okay with the plans for the evening being "I'm going to really insist that you stop raping me but you go ahead and have sex with me anyway" because holy shit how do you even navigate that shit, etc.

Not to say he hasn't pushed plenty of buttons as a comic, but lately especially he seems to be being pretty exceptionally thoughtful and self-reflective about what he's saying and doing and what deliberate offense in comedy means and is about and for. He's not really a great example to reach for by comparison to MacFarlane's shock-jock schtick.
posted by cortex at 2:46 PM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


I don't really think tone argument sarcasm applies.

You're probably right. It was a reach, maybe. I guess I'd like people to stick to talking about the issue at hand which was pretty clearly stated in the linked article for the post.

I'll throw something else out there which is a direct jab to Seth MacFarlane, himself. He's a young guy. I think he should know better. It's sad to see the same tired tropes again and again from the old guard but we can at least hope that they'll all be dead soon. It's really sad to see it from my peers and from the younger folks. It's a weird time we are living in and at times it feels like things are getting more and more confined for women.

But, as others have said in this thread and will say in every thread that addresses a topic like this: "What do you expect?"

Foo.
posted by amanda at 2:50 PM on February 25, 2013


He's not really a great example to reach for by comparison to MacFarlane's shock-jock schtick.

Believe me, I'm a huge fan of Louis CK and not a fan of McFarlane. I'm not equating them, I'm pointing out that our view of the comic or person informs our view of things they say or do. Consider

Do the rape jokes Louis CK makes make fun of the rapist or the victim?

this question. Because we may think CK has been thoughtful and reflective lately we're more likely to read his jokes in one way where the exact same joke coming out of McFarlane's mouth would be seen in quite another way.

Maybe that's a trivial and not all that useful observation. It's probably a good reason not to have McFarlane host the Oscars, though.
posted by Justinian at 2:52 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The CK routine I remember is something along the lines of 'Rape is always wrong unless you have a really good reason, like you want to fuck someone and they won't let you,' which out of context is awful and apologia but in context comes across as basically saing 'There aren't any good reasons.' I'm not going to defend it as non-problematic, and I think there are jokes he's told that have made me angry (or at least disappointed), but I can't remember them right now.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:53 PM on February 25, 2013


But, as others have said in this thread and will say in every thread that addresses a topic like this: "What do you expect?"

I expect better.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:53 PM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


I do think, cortex, that your comment is a pretty good example of what I'm talking about though. Because you (and I, actually) consider CK thoughtful and reflective, you're giving him the benefit of the doubt and making assumptions. Consider his response to the Tosh rape controversy where he said it came down to
“a fight between comedians and feminists, which are natural enemies. Because stereotypically speaking, feminists can’t take a joke”
Those are extreme fighting words, and would get other people pilloried.
posted by Justinian at 2:55 PM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ah that is a good example of something CK said that made me very angry, yes.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:56 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Last night was like the high school reunion in Grosse Pointe Blank if Martin Blank had never shown up.

Are you saying Jeremy Piven *didn't* help kill a guy with a pen last night?
posted by maryr at 2:57 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Louis C.K. rape joke cortex mentioned. Raping Hitler.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:57 PM on February 25, 2013


Ever since MacFarlane started doing the classic songbook stuff, I've been trying to reconcile our mutual love for great old pop songs (oh, and a shared fascination with the space program) with the crass humor that's made him famous.

And it was only this thread that made me stop and think - hey, a lot of the old crooners who first did those Tin Pan Alley songs were also douchebags in real life. Still, there's some reason I keep wanting to like him, and wish he was [cliche alert] "better than that."

Anyway, the whole thing was a weird pastiche of a show. The producers are B'way guys who've also done music-oriented TV and films. Paired with MacFarlane, who loves standard pop songs and old movies, but has the sense of humor of a 12-y.o. jock. Except for the sock puppets doing Flight - also juvenile, but harmless fun juvenile - it was pretty cringeworthy.

To me, my beloved Tina and Amy know exactly how to walk the line between showing an appreciation for show biz and mocking the rich celebs. (And they're also much more seasoned performers than MacFarlane, and know how to self edit and perhaps take feedback better.)

Also, BTW, my recent obsession, JLaw has turned up one or two remarks of hers that might be deemed a very little bit homophobic. But then again, her generation (she's so much younger than Seth, let alone me) might be so past the history of harmful intent in some things that they think it's OK to say.
posted by NorthernLite at 2:57 PM on February 25, 2013


I saw your junk!
I saw your junk!
In the movie that we saw, we saw your junk
Bruce Willis we saw your junk in Twelve Monkeys
Ewan McGregor in the Pillow Book
Cillian Murphy we saw your junk in 28 days later
It wasn't my imagination, we just saw your schnook
Tom Hardy we saw your junk in Bronson
Michael Fassbender we saw it in Shame
Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator
But Ben Affleck we haven't seen your schwanz, son.
I saw your junk!
I saw your junk!
In the movie that we saw, we saw your junk
Robin Williams we saw your mork in Fisher King
Viggo Mortenson's in Eastern Promises
And we saw Harevy Keitel's ding-a-ling in just about everything.
We saw your junk!
We saw your junk!
posted by dgaicun at 2:58 PM on February 25, 2013 [21 favorites]


You've talked a lot about how you think MacFarlane is being used as a scapegoat

I don't know what zoo is saying but I do personally think all the attention on MacFarlane as a person is... I don't think misdirected, as clearly he's a part of this and wrote at least some of it and went ahead and said everything he said. I think it's inefficient, perhaps. I told someone earlier that I felt like the entirety of the internet was alternating railing about the symptoms while they kept dropping quarters into the Cause Machine.

No, I don't know why it takes quarters.

But I'd be so much happier if people would beat on the Academy as an institution and lump SMcF in rather than tie this all to his choices and his behaviors and whatever other entertainment he makes when he's not hosting an award show.

Someone - more than likely several someones - at the Academy picked him, a team of people okay-ed what got broadcast, other teams made the videos. The Academy has a board of governors (apparently melanin-challenged - I count 1 brown face out of 41) who guide the operation and they are on some level a business. An operation like this - their annual flagship event - doesn't happen without a lot of eyeballs and approvals.

So I guess for me I don't think MacFarlane is a scapegoat. I just think that when he turns out a product like this for a - well, I think that's way more about something bigger than one hack comedian.

I'd like us to focus attention on the machine that's turning out this product as a whole. Going after MacF might eventually convince the Academy and Hollywood that this isn't the shit we want to invite into our brains but I'd prefer to be a little more direct and hope we get faster results. If it's all about MacFarlane then that's cover for the machine to say "oops, our bad - we should have known better" rather than look at the whole system that served up this turd.
posted by phearlez at 2:59 PM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


“a fight between comedians and feminists, which are natural enemies. Because stereotypically speaking, feminists can’t take a joke”

These words are what made me ask for a refund for my tickets to his show last December.

So yeah, them's fightin' words. I expect more from a comedian with a reputation for being "thoughtful" than the threadbare canard that it's feminists' fault that you are not, in fact, funny.
posted by caryatid at 3:01 PM on February 25, 2013


In any case, McFarlane is a no-win choice to host the Oscars. He has no slack to get away with edge case jokes like (my point above) other comedians might. But his entire brand is crossing the line. So, yeah, McFarlane should be called out when he crosses that line but the people who should have known better here are the folks who asked him to host in the first place.
posted by Justinian at 3:01 PM on February 25, 2013


I wanted to note that besides wanting to help Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman is a general all-around awesome person.

PS, yes, can we just have a thread about how great Hugh Jackman seems to be.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:02 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Because we may think CK has been thoughtful and reflective lately we're more likely to read his jokes in one way where the exact same joke coming out of McFarlane's mouth would be seen in quite another way.

Sure? I mean, I challenge the usefulness of the counterfactual—two different comedians making the exact same joke where the only differing element is whose mouth it's coming from—because you can't dissociate a single joke from the comedian telling it, their work, their history, their presentation of the joke in the context of their routine, and so on. Louis CK and Seth MacFarlane do different material, have different career arcs, and have set different expectations, and that's part and parcel of how what they say in the context of being performing comedians is perceived.

And there's a philosophical question there about whether it's correct or problematic or whatever to judge a statement by the speaker and context vs. judging it on the strict objective merits of its content (an idea that I learned a little bit of the history of, weirdly enough, from mefite lewistate's doctoral dissertation about Metafilter and ethos), but outside of the realm of philosophical debate it's pretty common sense that if you're working as a comedian and you build a career on a set of behaviors and comedic choices, those are the context in which your future work will be considered.

MacFarlane's established, very successfully, as reputation as a Can You Believe He Just Said That guy. Family Guy relies heavily on aggressive or shocking humor, on playing off despicable character behavior. I laugh at the show, it works as far as that goes, but it's also a pretty clear context for Seth's Oscar routine that pretty cleanly moots the notion that he was trying to do something subtle and was just badly misunderstood or whatever. Crass is as crass does, and he's been doing crass for a while now.
posted by cortex at 3:04 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


And, yeah, if Eric Idle did this today, I think people would have the same negative reaction they're having right now.

And let's put it in context: if [insert any performer's name] were known to helm a still-current TV franchise that repeatedly plays on sexist, racist, and other bigoted tropes, whether ironically or not?

And [performer's name] sang the same song referencing the same topless scenes, including The Accused and Silkwood and Boys Don't Cry?

And [performer's name] did this under the aegis of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, directly addressing himself to a group of actresses assembled as honored guests and gifted performers and reminding them that a wide segment of the audience both at home and in the theater considers those actresses to be largely reducible to a set of knockers?

In that context, would people have the same negative reaction?

Well, I can't speak for "people," but I am confident that I would have a similarly negative reaction to an entire field of gifted actresses being reduced to a "BOOBIES!" punchline, yes, especially by someone with a long history of non-convincingly-ironic "BOOBIES!" punchlines and acting as a representative of the Academy.

I'm barely disappointed in MacFarlane, because I didn't expect better from him. (In fact, I wasn't planning on watching precisely because I don't think MacFarlane's funny, but my husband writes about TV and film and he wanted to watch.) I did hope for more from the Academy he was representing. As Margaret Lyons concludes in Why Seth MacFarlane’s Misogyny Matters:
I dream of someday watching women win all the non-performance categories, of women making as many films as men do, of women and men being nominated for a comparable number of awards. There are a lot of reasons why that day is far, far in the future. But I'll tell you what's not helping: the biggest night in film being dedicated to alienating, excluding, and debasing women. Actual gender equality is a ways away, but I'd settle for one four-hour ceremony where women aren't being actively degraded.
posted by Elsa at 3:05 PM on February 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


I haven't watched the Oscars since Gladiator beat Crouching Tiger and so last night was the first time I actually watched it. I watched it specifically because of MacFarlane. The guy has made a fortune by putting stuff on TV that is obscenely offensive. Family Guy and American Dad have become "What? Did that just happen?" types of shows and in doing so have pushed Simpsons and Bob's Burgers to do the same. No Family Guy no equals no Archer. I watch these shows for those WTF moments. I can't really say I laugh at them but they are at the very least interesting to me.

The show last night was milquetoast. The jokes were boring and the most entertaining moments were from Daniel Day-Lewis.

The fact that people have pointed out that the movies in the boob song specifically referenced rape scenes should tell you exactly what was trying to be achieved. Yes, here are the "greatest entertainers in the world" sitting here patting themselves on the back but the "average joe audience member" is only concerned with nipslips and boobies. That's all they care about, let's give the masses what they want. It had that hollywood elite feel to it for me and I didn't even really think about it until reading this thread. It was an inside joke through and through.

The Quvenzhané Wallis/George Clooney joke had nothing at all to do with the real person Quvenzhané other than using her name, if time shifted and Anna Paquin was sitting there instead of Quvenzhané the joke would've referenced her. It was all about "our good old boy Clooney ." And honestly the pushback about the joke sexualizing a 9-year-old seems a bit Victorian to me. For me it read as a joke about 25 being too old not 9 being too young.

Someone tweeted that Argo only won because it's about a real life badass thing Hollywood has done so OF COURSE they are going to pat themselves on the back for it. I think that's all you need to know about the Oscars and the offensiveness.

It's not about the audience. If it were about the audience movies like The Avengers and Avatar and Dark Knight would win everything because audiences vote with their dollars. The Oscars are about the Academy, the "storytellers." They could give fuck-all about most of us, just so long as we keep feeding the beast.

I love movies, I just spent an inordinate amount of time on a website that organizes what movies you really like by making you choose them against other movies. So far it says I've spent 133 days of my life watching movies. For the most part those were 133 good days. I won't be watching the Oscars again though, not because MacFarlane or whatever other host, but because it was all just bullshit. I just want to watch movies, I could care less who wins an award for it.
posted by M Edward at 3:06 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ironic racism / sexism only works when it is, in fact, ironic. Taken at face value, Colbert's famous line about how he doesn't see race, but he assumes he's white because police officers call him "sir" could be read as racist, but in fact it's pointing out how ridiculous the idea of "not seeing race" really is. Saying "Oh, you black guys, you all look alike!" isn't ironic no matter how hard you wink at the camera, it's just racist. Similarly, telling a whole room full of talented artists "You may have worked and sweated to get where you are, you may be brilliant, you may move people to tears, you may even be powerful, but IIIII SAAAAW YOOOOUR TIIIIIIITS!" isn't anything but crass, hurtful misogyny.
posted by KathrynT at 3:08 PM on February 25, 2013 [34 favorites]


Yeah, I want to chime in and say while MacFarlane and his schtick is pretty awful, I also think A LOT of blame can be laid on the Academy for saying, "Yeah, this guy! This is the guy we want to host the Oscars!" IIRC, isn't MacFarlane one of the highest paid TV producers right now? It isn't like the Academy can plead ignorance and not know what they were getting when they signed him on.
posted by Kitteh at 3:08 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah that is a good example of something CK said that made me very angry, yes.

Thus proving his point?

I won't be watching the Oscars again though, not because MacFarlane or whatever other host, but because it was all just bullshit. I just want to watch movies, I could care less who wins an award for it.

Hear, Hear!
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:08 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Quvenzhané Wallis/George Clooney joke had nothing at all to do with the real person Quvenzhané other than using her name,

Yes, let's all pat MacFarlane on the back just because he didn't actually drag her up there. If he used her name that makes it pretty damn personal.

Hands up everyone who thinks he would have made this joke about Haley Joel Osmont!
posted by KathrynT at 3:10 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Someone mentioned how young Seth McFarlane is. I'm astonished to find out he's actually 39. He should sell skin creams or something, he looks like 23.
posted by msalt at 3:10 PM on February 25, 2013


Thus proving his point?

In what way?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:11 PM on February 25, 2013


Thus proving his point?

How? shakespeherian already said he finds some of Louis CK's act problematic.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:12 PM on February 25, 2013


It's not about the audience. If it were about the audience movies like The Avengers and Avatar and Dark Knight would win everything because audiences vote with their dollars.

This seems more like it would be an award for most successful marketing campaign.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:14 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thus proving his point?

I think this is the asphinctersayswhat defense.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


No Family Guy no equals no Archer.

That would be awesome. Why do we even need that dreck when we have Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer? If James Urbaniak hosted the Oscars it would be awesome.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, let's all pat MacFarlane on the back just because he didn't actually drag her up there. If he used her name that makes it pretty damn personal.

I didn't meant to let him off the hook for it I was just trying to illustrate that "she" in the joke was irrelevant to the "Clooney" in the joke. Inside ball.
posted by M Edward at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2013


And honestly the pushback about the joke sexualizing a 9-year-old seems a bit Victorian to me.

what
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


I think this is the asphinctersayswhat defense.

No, I was dead serious. Getting angry at a joke like that DOES reinforce the power of the joke.

CK tells a joke; the joke cuts at a person or group of people (because that's what jokes do). Said group gets mad at content of joke rather than laughing, thus reinforcing the joke for the rest of us.

It's why CK is so good - the ability to cut right to the heart of the matter, whether it's himself or someone else under discussion. It's a shame that so many people misunderstand what humor is, and what the point of it is.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't meant to let him off the hook for it I was just trying to illustrate that "she" in the joke was irrelevant to the "Clooney" in the joke.

I doubt it was irrelevant to Quvenzhane.
posted by KathrynT at 3:19 PM on February 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


CK tells a joke; the joke cuts at a person or group of people (because that's what jokes do). Said group gets mad at content of joke rather than laughing, thus reinforcing the joke for the rest of us.

"Ho ho, those people who want to right society's wrongs! What idiots!"
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:20 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I doubt it was irrelevant to Quvenzhane.

Or anyone else who identifies with her and not with Clooney.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:21 PM on February 25, 2013 [23 favorites]


CK tells a joke; the joke cuts at a person or group of people (because that's what jokes do). Said group gets mad at content of joke rather than laughing, thus reinforcing the joke for the rest of us.

Okay but in what way, then, is this not true of, like, racist jokes?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:21 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's why CK is so good - the ability to cut right to the heart of the matter, whether it's himself or someone else under discussion. It's a shame that so many people misunderstand what humor is, and what the point of it is.

Louis CK is good, but I don't think him suggesting feminists are shrill and humorless and then people saying "You see, he's right" when people don't find that specific, tired stereotype funny is an example of his greatness. It's more of a verbal trap than an incisive comment, because feminists are not humorless in any larger or lesser extent than anybody else, and I would defy anybody to show any data proving that they are.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:22 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


No, I was dead serious. Getting angry at a joke like that DOES reinforce the power of the joke.

This is some "the bullies will stop if you show them you're not bothered" bullshit.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:23 PM on February 25, 2013 [27 favorites]


>the "she" in the joke was irrelevant to....

That's just the point. Last night, the SHE was irrelevant because hey women, right?!? Because women are irrelevant and exist only as the butt of fat/DV/anorexic/harpy jokes. Just like it was irrelevant that women's boobs were rape scene boobs because, you know, BOOBS.
posted by cyndigo at 3:23 PM on February 25, 2013 [30 favorites]


Just because someone is on my side doesn't mean I'm on their side, just sayin'.
posted by Justinian at 3:24 PM on February 25, 2013


Gah, I did not present myself well above.

I do not condone the jokes in any way. I just felt that getting outraged over the jokes is moot when you look at the entire farce the thing is.

Or anyone else who identifies with her and not with Clooney.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:21 PM on February 25 [1 favorite +] [!]


THAT was exactly my point, I did a poor job of voicing it. Thank you r_n for being more concise than I.
posted by M Edward at 3:24 PM on February 25, 2013


Okay but in what way, then, is this not true of, like, racist jokes?

Pretty sure that race is an uncontrollable factor, whereas outrage/lack of a sense of humor is in fact a controllable factor. It's simply a lot funnier to make jokes about people's controllable factors than it is about their inherent factors, because they often highlight the inherent ridiculousness of the response - which in this case adds power to the stereotype instead of subtracts from it.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:25 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just felt that getting outraged over the jokes is moot when you look at the entire farce the thing is.

I for one feel outraged by the jokes and the farce.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:26 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


whereas outrage/lack of a sense of humor is in fact a controllable factor

You realize the outrage is about things right

Like, things in the world that you can bump into and shit
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:27 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


> Or anyone else who identifies with her and not with Clooney

I'm more like Clooney than Wallis (I think, it's hard to say: does race and age trump gender?), and I think that was a lousy joke. What was Clooney's reaction?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:28 PM on February 25, 2013


Hands up everyone who thinks he would have made this joke about Haley Joel Osmont!

You know HJO is a boy right?
posted by phearlez at 3:29 PM on February 25, 2013


Pretty sure that race is an uncontrollable factor, whereas outrage/lack of a sense of humor is in fact a controllable factor.

But that presumes that being upset by one joke -- one joke that specifically targets you based on a lazy, unproven supposition -- demonstrates a lack of a sense of humor. Trolls do a variation on this all the time -- they say something terrible, and then insist it must be somehow true because otherwise why would you get so upset about it.

Sometimes having somebody say something mean and untrue about you is going to upset you. Suggesting that this also shows that there is something wrong with you seems deliberately perverse and sadistic.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:29 PM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


Actually, I suspect that if Idle were to pull the same sketch, he'd throw some irony at the audiences and directors, and probably throw in some dicks to skewer the double-standard.

When looking for the lyrics, one of the top hits is this article which seems to argue that the song wasn't that bad because LOL, evening dresses!
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:29 PM on February 25, 2013


This is some "the bullies will stop if you show them you're not bothered" bullshit.

That's not bullshit, it's reality. At least, it was my reality and that of everyone I've ever known.

Like, things in the world that you can bump into and shit

You can bump into someone's lack of a sense of humor? Actually, given the content of this thread, I see that you can do exactly that.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:29 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe you don't know what feminist means? Feminism is belief in sexual equality. If you are not a feminist, you do not believe in sexual equality. Who doesn't believe in sexual equality? Creepy misogynists. Louis CK seems to be saying, in this joke at least, that if you are not on board with creepy misogyny, then you lack a sense of humor.

Fuck that in the ear.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:31 PM on February 25, 2013 [25 favorites]


I'm still not clear on who lacks a sense of humor here. Or must we laugh at every single joke, even when it is a joke specifically designed to hurt us, just to show that we aren't humorless?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:31 PM on February 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


You know HJO is a boy right?

. . . yes. that is my point. Would he have made that joke about HJO and, say, Demi Moore?
posted by KathrynT at 3:31 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


Sometimes having somebody say something mean and untrue about you is going to upset you.

Yes, but the entire point is that your initial emotional response to something that makes you feel upset is rarely the correct path to remedying that feeling. In fact, the exact opposite is true - one almost never gets the desired result, in any situation, by letting their emotions drive their reactions to stimuli.

Or must we laugh at every single joke, even when it is a joke specifically designed to hurt us, just to show that we aren't humorless?

Now you're getting it! But to do even better, reflect upon the idea that every joke that anyone ever found remotely funny had a target, and the fact that the target is occasionally you or something you care about doesn't mean that the joke isn't funny.

For every joke told, someone could decide to get angry or outraged... there's always a stereotype or punchline involved that involves pain, sadness, loss, embarrassment or some other negative emotion or situation.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:32 PM on February 25, 2013


> "The ... reactions were all pre-taped and scripted ..."

I realize these were supposed to be part of the whole failed-attempt-at-a-meta-joke, i.e. "Say, this is a really offensive thing I could theoretically do ha ha! (that I am actually, you know, doing at this very moment, as it happens, what a coincidence)", but ... honestly, who thought that was a brilliant idea?

"Hey, you know what would really sell this humor? Naomi Watts looking utterly hurt and betrayed by the vicious, mean-spirited nature of it! Surely it will let everyone know we are 'in on it' if we demonstrate that the people mentioned in this song would 'feel justifiably appalled' if this actual song performed at the Oscars were an 'actual song performed at the Oscars!'"
posted by kyrademon at 3:34 PM on February 25, 2013


Or even NPH and HJO! to join up a few loose threads!
posted by jfwlucy at 3:34 PM on February 25, 2013


In fact, the exact opposite is true - one almost never gets the desired result, in any situation, by letting their emotions drive their reactions to stimuli.

This is, in my experience, categorically 100% false. I have only ever gotten the desired result in my life by being open and honest about my emotions. Pretending like you have to be a robot in order to be respected is ridiculous. Upsetting things are upsetting, and it's pointless to pretend otherwise.
posted by KathrynT at 3:34 PM on February 25, 2013 [28 favorites]


That's not bullshit, it's reality. At least, it was my reality and that of everyone I've ever known.

Lucky you. I got that bullshit by the ladel. I ate it up. It never made the bullies stop. Fighting back - even once - did.

Yes, but the entire point is that your initial emotional response to something that makes you feel upset is rarely the correct path to remedying that feeling. In fact, the exact opposite is true - one almost never gets the desired result, in any situation, by letting their emotions drive their reactions to stimuli.

Oh, this is some beep-boop bullshit here.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:35 PM on February 25, 2013 [22 favorites]


Yes, but the entire point is that your initial emotional response to something that makes you feel upset is rarely the correct path to remedying that feeling. In fact, the exact opposite is true - one almost never gets the desired result, in any situation, by letting their emotions drive their reactions to stimuli.

You know, I have actually seen public expressions of outrage get responses. I sincerely doubt Seth McFarlane will host the Oscars next year, and I suspect that a lot of the discussion around this, propelled by outrage, will be useful -- it's unearthing a lot of gender issues.

I suppose in an ideal world robotic responses are ideal. In this world, angry responses actually do often get acted on, even if it means some bellyacher might call you humorless.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:36 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're conflating two things and it's muddling your message. Getting pissed does not reinforce the power of the joke, it reinforces the power of the attack (maybe; I'm not quite willing to concede that unilaterally.) What getting visibly angry does do, though, is makes it very clear that it was an attack, and not a joke at all. In this context, that's exactly what needs to happen. Let the Academy either openly accept their misogyny, or make better choices. Either one.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:36 PM on February 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


Family Guy started airing when I was in elementary school. I think it was perhaps on a middle school overnight field trip that I first watched it; I remember liking the hell out of it. Reference humor was new to me, and I liked musical numbers, and Family Guy had both of them in spades. I got the first season DVD for Christmas or a birthday or something, and I remember liking the hell out of it. That FOX had canceled it made it edgy and an underdog; as an outcast I appreciated this fact.

Middle school was also when I discovered boobs, and let me tell you, as a twelve-year-old I appreciated the hell out of boobs' existence. My discovery of boobs on an actual classmate the year later was the sort of sublime delight/agonizing hell experience that I don't really have to describe, because everybody here's been through something like it. Naked boobs in movies was almost as good, maybe even better in some ways, because of the pause and rewind buttons – though not when my parents were watching with me, obvs. Uncomfortable times.

Seth MacFarlane and giving a shit about boobs in movies was literally middle school for me. And, yes, I get that a wide swath of America is still weirdly stuck in that middle school mindset, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable for reasons beyond the mere oddity of that kind of arrested development. The reason for that discomfort should be obvious to anybody and everybody here, but this thread clearly demonstrates how wonderfully diverse MetaFilter is as a community. So I'll say it anyway:

The whole fixation on women's bodies is grossly, grossly hurtful. It tells us that a woman's worth to the world is skin-deep; it teaches us to treat women that way. I wish we were all sophisticated and ironic and capable of separating the untruths of media from the realities of human experience, but none of us are. We are not especially sophisticated lie detectors: truth is difficult for us to discern. So the more we're told that obsessing over boobs and good looks is fine, the more people will believe it, and the worse our world will become for it.

Look, I care about this because I'm not very sophisticated or wise. I've said and done a lot of hurtful shit in my quest to get kissed and laid and approved of, more recently than I'd like to own up to. I'm still an ignorant jackass to this day; I'm just a little bit more aware of that than I used to be. And this shit matters, it really does. Close friends of mine, who are still struggling a bit more than I am with loneliness and with difficulties meeting and connecting to other people romantically, were talking last night about how much they loved Seth's boobs song, and I can't help but think that this is not the healthiest cultural message for them to be digesting. And technically said friends are adults! I don't like to think about what nasty shit children will take away from last night. It will lead to a fuckton of low-grade misery – I can promise you that.

And this bothers me on a sillier, more Hollywood-centric level, which is that some of the best movies and TV shows that I've come across lately have been written and directed by women. Many of these are written from a viewpoint that is distinctly not my own – that is, they're about girls and women and what they think and how they see the world – and I have distinctly enjoyed that. As a kid I much preferred novels about girls growing up to novels about boys – Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynne Jones for life! – in part because I think I prefer stories in which the guys I'm most like are ancillary characters in somebody else's experience. I've similarly enjoyed TV shows like Girls and movies like Bridesmaids, which are all about the experiences of complex, hilarious, sympathetic young women going through a world that's as zany as I know it to be but whose zaniness is being perceived from a somewhat different angle than the one I'm used to.

There's still a ridiculous imbalance there. Most directors are still men; most movies and TV shows revolve around a male lead. I'd like that imbalance to go away, both because it's unfair and for the shallow reason that a richer, more diverse media landscape will result in better things for me to watch, and I am somewhat of a junkie. But I'd also like it gone for a deeper reason, and that's that the more we get to hold up women as talented people who are worth respecting, the more our culture will start to accept the fact that women are smart and funny and interesting and inherently worth a damn. Media matters, and when women are held up as role models and great people, a bunch of folks become a little bit more accepting of the idea that people are people, and that this is more important than hormones or puerile jokes about sex. Trust me, the puerility will not be missed: I've found that women are waaaay better when they're actual people than when they're the targets of pubescent fantasies.

So to have Seth MacFarlane, the lord of the lowbrow, the master of mediocrity in entertainment, the guy whose shows take up space that could otherwise be spent airing more of Bob's Burgers, go on stage and specifically sing about women's boobs – and more, to have him specifically target actresses who have been lauded as terrific performers, who have turned out some of the greatest movies in recent history, and reduce their roles to the boobs we got to see on 'em as they delivered them – is fucking reprehensible. Not just because it's immature, not even just because it's sexist, but because it deliberately takes some of the best recent accomplishments by women in film and declares that they're important because boobs.

Fuck him. I've been generally okay with the guy and his shitty TV shows up till now, but fuck him for this.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:39 PM on February 25, 2013 [65 favorites]


Yes, but the entire point is that your initial emotional response to something that makes you feel upset is rarely the correct path to remedying that feeling.

I remedied that feeling by writing some letters and talking to folks about what I thought was a more-apalling-than-usual spectacle at the Oscars where people behaved badly. One of the whole reasons The Oscars works and is paid attention to (and that's a whole nother argument) is because of the long and venerable tradition. And it's weird because you're supposed to go this far and not further sort of gently poking at it. At the same time, they're struggling for ratings and remaining relevant. Macfarlane was a calculated reach. And he was funny on SNL where his brand of humor fits in more.

But he was not only not funny here (in my opinion, if you felt he was, excellent, we are not enemies) but he was taking the same old tired potshots that people might have done forty years ago, back before more or us knew better. And now I keep trying to convince myself that most of us now really DO know better but I'm not so sure. Louis CK, most of the time is astute with his humor which makes the times he steps outside of that so jarring and weird. I mostly like him. I mostly don't like Macfarlane. I don't run the world so they will probably both continue to get work and whatever. But the Oscars seems more not only "not for me" but not even for people like me (people who don't enjoy seeing a little kid be the object of someone else's "he likes 'em young" jokes) and well, I'm sure they can do without my business, but it's a little too bad. Not a lot of outrage, just some disappointment.
posted by jessamyn at 3:40 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


What getting visibly angry does do, though, is makes it very clear that it was an attack, and not a joke at all.

Pretty sure that you have no more right to define someone else's intentions when saying something, than the people trying to call the outrage in this thread 'manufactured' or 'fake' do in their pronouncements.

Are all jokes 'attacks' upon someone? Is nothing 'funny' at all, because someone's ox is always gored? I can't accept that definition of humor.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:40 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, but the entire point is that your initial emotional response to something that makes you feel upset is rarely the correct path to remedying that feeling.

This is such a load of horseshit.

Maybe because we were talking last night during the show about whether or not the documentary about ACT UP would win. I guess the "correct" response all those years ago to people who thought the faggots should be locked up and left to die should have been...what, exactly? The protests and takeovers and die-ins were wrong; throwing ashes of dead lovers over the fence of the White House was wrong. Nothing came of any of that, clearly - no revamp of drug testing protocols, no education about homosexuality and the damage that homophobia does in public health and medical care, no building of community. Yeah, all that outrage and just flat out rage in all the ways it was expressed came to nothing.
posted by rtha at 3:41 PM on February 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


WTF? It's not THAT hard to pronounce; ten seconds with Wikipedia and you should have it down.

Favre (White Guy)
Foyer (place in a place)
Benoit Benjamin (Black Basketball Player)
Stallone (Italian American)

There are a ton of names and words that are mispronounced because they are "foreign" or are not "WASP".
posted by juiceCake at 3:41 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are all jokes 'attacks' upon someone?

I dunno. You tell me:

CK tells a joke; the joke cuts at a person or group of people (because that's what jokes do)
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:42 PM on February 25, 2013


But he was not only not funny here (in my opinion, if you felt he was, excellent, we are not enemies)

For the record, I didn't find McFarlane to be excellent in any way - most of his jokes were pretty boring. But he's hardly some sort of ass, as some here are making him out to be. CK is, I will say, an excellent comedian, who puts more effort into understanding and softening the tragedy known as the human condition than anyone else out there today.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:42 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is nothing 'funny' at all, because someone's ox is always gored?

I reserve the right to not laugh at jokes that are more hurtful than funny, yes.
posted by KathrynT at 3:43 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


who puts more effort into understanding and softening the tragedy known as the human condition than anyone else out there today.

But see in my world a small part of that tragedy is created by people like MacFarlane who just seemed to be gloating about it.
posted by jessamyn at 3:44 PM on February 25, 2013 [25 favorites]


I dunno. You tell me:

Sure, but you're equating 'cutting at someone verbally' with an 'attack.' I do not believe they are the same thing, at all.

Do you find any jokes funny? Are all jokes un-funny, because someone is 'attacked' in their telling? I would have a hard time believing that you haven't laughed at thousands of jokes that others may not find 'funny.' Should you not have done so, all those times?
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:44 PM on February 25, 2013


Are all jokes 'attacks' upon someone? Is nothing 'funny' at all, because someone's ox is always gored? I can't accept that definition of humor.

Nobody here has defined humor that way.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:46 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hint: "Feminists have no sense of humor" is not equal to, say, "a refreshing and novel piece of pardoxical performance art which is nothing more or less than a earnest moment of reflection on the notion that an angered response to the accusation that you are easily angered means that you have allowed your enemy to define the terms of the argument and thereby become an integral part of the cyclical loop of attack and response."

It is equal to, "Jeez, can'tcha take a joke, bitch? Rape jokes are hi-larious!"
posted by kyrademon at 3:47 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


There are lots and lots of jokes that aren't attacking a particular person or a class of people. You made a distinction yourself above, between "controllable factors" and "uncontrollable factors." Not all jokes are the same, and not all jokes are funny. Some have the weight of a lot of horrible things behind them, and it's difficult to assume that the joker isn't aware of that. It's not like sexism is a big surprise to anyone.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:47 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


You seem to have an every joke is funny or no jokes are funny sensibility. Am I misreading this?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:47 PM on February 25, 2013


ominous_paws: "The next time someone asks what "privilege" is, at least we can just link them to this comment."

You could. Of course, it's not actually a great example because I'm not saying people shouldn't be offended, only that it is predictable that they are. Personally, I took "Saw Your Boobs" as a commentary on the film industry and its willingness to exploit ladybits, not on the women, but I'm sure that's also just privilege talking.

Or, you know, it could just be a simple difference of opinion/interpretation and have fuck all to do with anything else.
posted by wierdo at 3:48 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


It is equal to, "Jeez, can'tcha take a joke, bitch? Rape jokes are hi-larious!"

Nope, it ain't.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:48 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, the gang on All That Chat think he should be on Broadway. Musicals floated include "City of Angels" and "The Music Man".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:50 PM on February 25, 2013


Nope, it ain't.

It's possible that we have a fundamental and irreconcilable difference in worldview, then.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:50 PM on February 25, 2013


Personally, I took "Saw Your Boobs" as a commentary on the film industry and its willingness to exploit ladybits, not on the women, but I'm sure that's also just privilege talking.

MacFarlane cited Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive in his bullshit song that you love so very very much. You think Mulholland Drive was EXPLOITING LADYBITS? Because if so then I recommend that you watch Mulholland Drive again, preferably over and over and over again because it is a beautiful mysterious enigmatic masterpiece that hinges on Naomi Watts delivering one of the best performances that I've ever seen on screen.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:51 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


I doubt it was irrelevant to Quvenzhane.

Or anyone else who identifies with her and not with Clooney.


Particularly her mother and sister who were attending the event with her.

that "she" in the joke was irrelevant to the "Clooney" in the joke. Inside ball.

I wonder how "irrelevant" it would have been considered if he'd made the joke about Suri Cruise or one of Will Smith's kids. I guess Seth doesn't have those kind of stones.

Except for the sock puppets doing Flight

Okay, I have to admit I laughed out at seeing the sock people tumbling in a dryer as the plane was spinning.
posted by fuse theorem at 3:51 PM on February 25, 2013


Cycloptichorn: “But to do even better, reflect upon the idea that every joke that anyone ever found remotely funny had a target...”

This is kind of a side-issue, but – I really don't believe this is true. Humor that doesn't target anybody, that is not based even in subtle or ephemeral cruelty, is rare and difficult; but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There are those of us who feel as though that is the most sublime form of humor there is.
posted by koeselitz at 3:51 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


You seem to have an 'every joke is funny or no jokes are funny' sensibility. Am I misreading this?

No, that's not my point at all; rather, that the nature of humor itself creates an endless number of situations in which some group could decide they aren't happy with the topic being discussed.

As a thought experiment, ask yourself if you can remember any really funny jokes (or even situations in comedies) that don't revolve around what are arguably themes of hurt, anger, resentment, embarrassment, loss, or pain. I often think back on some of the worst times of my life, times which I never thought I would laugh about later, but yaknow what? I do now, and I don't think this is uncommon, because humor is a defense mechanism the brain uses to insulate itself from fully empathizing with someone else's pain or loss. Even if it's your pain or loss.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:52 PM on February 25, 2013


> This is some "the bullies will stop if you show them you're not bothered" bullshit.

That's not bullshit, it's reality. At least, it was my reality and that of everyone I've ever known.


I'm sorry that happened to you; it must have sucked.

And now, lots of people are trying to change that reality. You don't have to join that effort, but at least don't get in the way.

Or is it a case of "I had to put with this, so other people should have to put up with it too"? If that's your argument, you won't convince me,
posted by benito.strauss at 3:52 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


fuck all to do with anything else

Nope, I'm pretty sure your decision to stroll in here and loftily tell everyone how unsurprising their offense is, is a function of privilege.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:54 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


Personally, I took "Saw Your Boobs" as a commentary on the film industry and its willingness to exploit ladybits

It could have been that. But it was not. It was, instead, a puerile laundry list of boobs that showed up in Hollywood films.
posted by GuyZero at 3:55 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Offensiveness aside, I just thought MacFarlane's jokes were tired. I mean, Kardashian jokes, really? Work the room, you idiot. Mock the Oscars, something. Make everyone feel like they're part of something bigger with your dark humor. In a world where Zellweger shows up on enough Xanax to kill an elephant, Jack Nicholson shows up looking like a bloated hyena and Barbra Streisand appears as if she's auditioning for the next installment of the Mummy, this should've been no problem.

I thought how strikingly insignificant and arhythmic everything was that night - the comedy, the performances, the speeches - really came to light when DDL took the mic to accept his award. He was bloody brilliant.
posted by phaedon at 3:55 PM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


koeselitz:

I would make some allowance for so-called 'highbrow humor,' but is that really a 'joke?'

I'd love to see some examples of what you are talking about, as - in my experience - these situations just tend to be more subtly worded than your standard joke, or are 'pun-ish' in nature, which is much more likely to generate a groan than a laugh (though I do love puns, personally).
posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:55 PM on February 25, 2013


s a thought experiment, ask yourself if you can remember any really funny jokes (or even situations in comedies) that don't revolve around what are arguably themes of hurt, anger, resentment, embarrassment, loss, or pain.

All right, I think I see what is going on. Because so much comedy is rooted in painful experiences, you are neglecting to distinguish between different kinds of jokes. But there is a difference between jokes that trade in vicious stereotypes, jokes that trade in lazy generalizations, jokes that target the powerless or are cruel once again to people who have had cruelty heaped upon them, and other sorts of humor based in pain.

There is comedy based in puncturing the powerful. There is humor based in exposing one's own pain, and addressing it. There is humor based in common experiences of being humbled or humiliated.

I do not think I can be called humorless because I prefer the latter to the former, and think one is important and the other is bullying.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:56 PM on February 25, 2013 [35 favorites]


Cycloptichorn: “As a thought experiment, ask yourself if you can remember any really funny jokes (or even situations in comedies) that don't revolve around what are arguably themes of hurt, anger, resentment, embarrassment, loss, or pain. I often think back on some of the worst times of my life, times which I never thought I would laugh about later, but yaknow what? I do now, and I don't think this is uncommon, because humor is a defense mechanism the brain uses to insulate itself from fully empathizing with someone else's pain or loss. Even if it's your pain or loss.”

This, too, seems wrong to me. Humor is mechanism by which the brain dissociates itself even from one's own pain or loss? If that were true, how is it that so much humor explicitly discusses pain and loss in great detail? Wouldn't it make more sense to say that humor is a way of dealing with pain or loss? And that, as a corollary, the most successful humor is the humor that deals with pain or loss without causing any more in the process?
posted by koeselitz at 3:56 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Would he have made that joke about HJO and, say, Demi Moore?

If he'd made it about HJO and Clooney, now, THAT would have been funny.

There are a ton of names and words that are mispronounced because they are "foreign"

Yeah, and people don't sit there and burble on about how crazy difficult it is and who would have thought and isn't that just the wackiest thing and oh you people and here, I'm just going to not even try and call you "Little Q" instead.

Nobody ever called Bret Favre "Little F".

I also gotta say, I've never heard anyone have any trouble at all with "Stallone". Or "foyer" for that matter (which is pronounced in English as it is spelled, FOY er, unless you are trying to sell a house to a Stallone, in which case it's foy YAY accompanied by a little hand wave.
posted by Fnarf at 3:57 PM on February 25, 2013


Personally, I took "Saw Your Boobs" as a commentary on the film industry and its willingness to exploit ladybits

It could have been that. But it was not. It was, instead, a puerile laundry list of boobs that showed up in Hollywood films.


I take the song, and the Onion tweet, and the thousand other little moments of misogynistic awfulness mentioned in this thread, to all be reducible to the same basic hateful claim: "It doesn't matter what you've accomplished, you're still just a woman." It's misogyny in just about its purest form.

But then I can't believe they hired MacFarlane in the first place.
posted by gerryblog at 3:57 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


kids at oscars derail: rumor has it that Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen sat Anna Paquin down on the set of the first X-Men and traded notes on how to act and then she let them hold her oscar for a few minutes each.
posted by M Edward at 3:58 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, but the entire point is that your initial emotional response to something that makes you feel upset is rarely the correct path to remedying that feeling. In fact, the exact opposite is true - one almost never gets the desired result, in any situation, by letting their emotions drive their reactions to stimuli.

I'm not certain that many people are upset at this joke in isolation from the double-standards in Hollywood, in which, women are both expected to be sex objects and treated as jokes for meeting that expectation. In my mind, this extends to lurid entertainment reporting of nipples, "side-boobs," and "wardrobe malfunctions" surrounding the events. Thank goodness the trend of paparazzi crotch-shots burned out a while back.

Perhaps he was trying a meta-joke that didn't quite work, because it is network television after all. A subtle change in wording and filming would have more clearly thrown it back onto the writers and directors who created those scenes.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:00 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Why did the chicken cross the road?" is funny. "What's brown and sticky?" is funny. Bill Cosby's "Chocolate Cake for Breakfast" is funny. The idea that every joke needs to target someone and evoke hurt or anger or pain is...well, I'll just say that's a worldview that strikes me as deeply depressing and I am genuinely sorry for however that came to pass.
posted by cribcage at 4:02 PM on February 25, 2013 [22 favorites]


ominous_paws: "Nope, I'm pretty sure your decision to stroll in here and loftily tell everyone how unsurprising their offense is, is a function of privilege."

The privilege of having been part of the MeFi community for many years, perhaps. I guess I'm still confused as to why it's inappropriate for me not to be surprised? Also, you may want to check your own assumptions. You're saying I did something "loftily" when you have no idea what my state of mind was at the time I posted.
posted by wierdo at 4:03 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do not think I can be called humorless because I prefer the latter to the former, and think one is important and the other is bullying.

Well, that depends on the definition of 'humorless.'

Lots of people fall into the same category: they can dish it out, but can't take it. Jokes about other people or what they find important are funny, jokes about ME and what I find important are not. I'm sure you can see that, to an outsider who has different opinions than you on a variety of topics, that attitude may lack a little bit of legitimacy.

I mean, do you think that "comedy based in puncturing the powerful" doesn't hurt the feelings or anger 'the powerful?' Of course it does. But it's them and not you, and anyways they are already powerful, so who cares, right?
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:03 PM on February 25, 2013


Or "foyer" for that matter (which is pronounced in English as it is spelled, FOY er, unless you are trying to sell a house to a Stallone, in which case it's foy YAY accompanied by a little hand wave.

I guess it depends where you're speaking in English. In Canada it's usually foy yay, and in the US it's usually foy er (which sounds as wrong to me as pronouncing the t in fillet). Source: my HGTV habit, and seeing real estate shows from both countries.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 4:04 PM on February 25, 2013


"What's brown and sticky?" is funny.

I'm going to have to disagree here. What's brown and sticky isn't funny. What's brown and sticky is hilarious.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:04 PM on February 25, 2013 [20 favorites]


Well, that depends on the definition of 'humorless.'

I would suggest the definition that you're using makes it very easy for people to be mean to each other and claim it is comedy, and that it mostly benefits people in power and the privileged.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:05 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


A comic I love (Jesse Joyce) was on the writing team...

Both the saddest and funniest thing about this whole sorry affair is that it took a team.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 4:06 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


US it's usually foy er

Really??? Oh, Americans, you're so earnest.
posted by GuyZero at 4:07 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The worst things are often produced by committee.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:07 PM on February 25, 2013


You're saying I did something "loftily" when you have no idea what my state of mind was at the time I posted.

Oh please.
posted by ominous_paws at 4:08 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


it mostly benefits people in power and the privileged.

Not at all. I mean, it gives you license to make fun of the 'people in power and the privileged' all you like, while still feeling okay about yourself. Right? Because that's the acceptable, sensible kind of humor. Or maybe I just misunderstood, when you wrote that doing that is important, while other types of humor are hurtful...
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:08 PM on February 25, 2013


real estate shows from both countries

Real estate agents ALWAYS go for the more pompous pronunciation of anything. It's genetic.
posted by Fnarf at 4:09 PM on February 25, 2013


> "As a thought experiment, ask yourself if you can remember any really funny jokes (or even situations in comedies) that don't revolve around what are arguably themes of hurt, anger, resentment, embarrassment, loss, or pain ..."

OK. Did it. It was pretty easy.

There was a joke in a book I just read about how the elves made a special metal known as "elf metal", or, as it was called in the ancient tongue of the elves, "elf metal".

A comic strip I read recently hinged on a visual joke where some of the dialogue in the word balloons couldn't be seen. The characters told some joke, and the joke was that you couldn't see the joke.

I mean, you may not find these funny out of context or simply "described", but I assure you that I found both of them pretty hilarious when encountered in the wild.

I could come up with lots more. What was the point of this, again?
posted by kyrademon at 4:09 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bill Cosby's "Chocolate Cake for Breakfast" is funny.

I'm watching this clip right now (yay internet!) and Cosby is both making fun of himself and of his wife. Clearly. So yes, somebody's ox is being gored, in a way that reflects negative themes.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:11 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, it gives you license to make fun of the 'people in power and the privileged' all you like, while still feeling okay about yourself. Right?

I think you misunderstand that it is not about if somebody's feelings are hurt, but if it supports or contradicts longstanding injustices. Racist humor might not hurt people's feelings more than, say, making fun of wall street bankers, but the people targeted by racist humor have been hurt more by life, and I guess I have too much respect for comedy for it to be a tool for heaping more pain onto them, whereas it can be a particularly effective tool for revealing hypocrisy or injustice.

Maybe it is a matter of taste, but I think it's more. I think there are ethics in comedy, or at least can be.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:11 PM on February 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


MST3K's "Toobular Boobular Joy" song sucked, too. Yet another reason Mike Nelson turned out to be a deep disappointment after the lovely Joel Hodgson.
posted by jfwlucy at 4:12 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Real estate agents ALWAYS go for the more pompous pronunciation of anything. It's genetic.

At the risk of a total derail, no, I've never heard "foyer" pronounced as "foy-er" in my entire life. I do not think it's because the entire nation of Canada is stuck-up. I suspect it has to do with living with all those French people. it has always been and always will be a "foe-yay".
posted by GuyZero at 4:12 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I recently went to the hardware store and I bought some used paint. It was in the shape of a house."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:13 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


The interrupting cow joke is funny.
posted by rtha at 4:13 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


MOOOgoddamnit.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:14 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


rtha, you should hear the interrupting starfish joke. Or see it, I guess.
posted by KathrynT at 4:14 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, the notion that all jokes that poke fun at a class of people or institutions are on equal footing and should be treated as if the are context-free is breathtakingly ignorant.
posted by rtha at 4:15 PM on February 25, 2013 [26 favorites]


Maybe you don't know what feminist means? Feminism is belief in sexual equality. If you are not a feminist, you do not believe in sexual equality.

We may all wish that that's what feminist meant, and think it should mean that, but words are defined socially. And in the U.S. in 2013, the majority of people do not believe this is what "feminist" means.
posted by msalt at 4:16 PM on February 25, 2013


"I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:16 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


To expand on my previous point, which is setting aside claims of misogyny and just focusing on how old and tired Macfarlane's jokes are, you know, he could have used his opportunity as host to show how far we've come with movies. How insightful movies have become, how much we are willing to examine. How uplifting the experience of working on a movie, or watching a movie, can really be. It's bigger than the individual.

He made a joke towards the end of the show about how California used to be a bunch of cocaine fields and the crowd roared with laughter. It felt like it was the first thing they had laughed at all night, but he immediately cast that response aside, saying something like, "Yeah, I know it's been a long night." But he was wrong. That kind of humor was safe and funny. Like yeah, remember when everyone used to snort a bunch of cocaine? Hilarious. It's Hollywood making fun of itself. In a classy way.

Of course, if you were a really astute observer of MacFarlane, you would have realized by now that his humor is entirely deconstructionist. It relies entirely on breaking down memes and is impotent in terms of creating new ones. The man really has nothing new to say. His Hollywood product, while extremely funny, does not leave anyone inspired. It's no Amour. Another way to put this is, he's funny when you're at home in your underwear, eating a microwaved dinner, farting up a storm and looking for a quick gag to laugh at. Over and over over again. He is quintessential television. Whatever good thing you have to say about Ted - and you're probably wrong - it was no Family Guy. What a man with his disposition is doing hosting an elegant reception like the Oscars is really a testament to how misguided the production of this show has been for many years.

I mean, you really have to focus on how poor the execution was. Norah Jones looked like she would rather be anywhere else on the planet wearing anything else but that. It was embarassing seeing someone with her talent be so uncomfortable.
posted by phaedon at 4:16 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


And in the U.S. in 2013, the majority of people do not believe this is what "feminist" means.

Sources that that's true of the majority of people?
posted by KathrynT at 4:16 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think you misunderstand that it is not about if somebody's feelings are hurt, but if it supports or contradicts longstanding injustices.....

You wrote a bunch of stuff here, but all I read was 'I like the things I think are funny, and don't like the things I don't think are funny.'

What if someone else has a different opinion of what is funny and what isn't, than you do? Should they not be allowed to tell jokes that you don't like? Should someone's scorn prevent them from telling such jokes in the future?

I can't imagine being a professional comedian and being dependent on understanding each and every person's sense of humor and sensibilities...
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:17 PM on February 25, 2013


A majority of people think you put two spaces after a period, but that don't make them right. Unless they're using a monospace font, of course.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure getting nitpicky about what a feminist is or is not is super helpful to what is already a complicated discussion, but this is just me-as-jessamyn, not me-as-mod, so feel free to carry on.
posted by jessamyn at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Should they not be allowed to tell jokes that you don't like? Should someone's scorn prevent them from telling such jokes in the future?

Who on earth is suggesting that people be STOPPED from telling hurtful jokes?
posted by KathrynT at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, do you think that "comedy based in puncturing the powerful" doesn't hurt the feelings or anger 'the powerful?' Of course it does. But it's them and not you, and anyways they are already powerful, so who cares, right?

Yeah somehow I think I'd go easier to sleep at night with jokes about rich business owners than with racist jokes.
posted by GenericUser at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The mirror scene in Duck Soup and the crowded-cabin scene in A Night at the Opera.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2013


You wrote a bunch of stuff here, but all I read was 'I like the things I think are funny, and don't like the things I don't think are funny.'

I don't know what to say in response to this, except that if you wish for people to read and respond to what you actually say, it might be nice if you extended the same favor, and not instead rewrite what they have written into a point that is easy for you to refute.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


ominous_paws: "Oh please."

Must be nice to be clairvoyant.
posted by wierdo at 4:20 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and people don't sit there and burble on about how crazy difficult it is and who would have thought and isn't that just the wackiest thing and oh you people and here, I'm just going to not even try and call you "Little Q" instead.

I disagree. Such "burble" I would hazard a guess, occurs regularly and did occur regularly in all sorts of places that were maybe not broadcast. There's a running joke through Agatha Christie's fiction about the English and their apprehensiveness about foreign things that I see in American society regularly. Maybe she just made it all up, I don't know, but I've been in meetings and parties and seen this happen. I seem to recall a fair amount of the Fox News people going on about the French a few years back.

Nobody ever called Bret Favre "Little F".

I bow to your superior knowledge of Brett Favre. I have no idea what he was called by others. Is there a book or something?

I also gotta say, I've never heard anyone have any trouble at all with "Stallone". Or "foyer" for that matter (which is pronounced in English as it is spelled, FOY er, unless you are trying to sell a house to a Stallone, in which case it's foy YAY accompanied by a little hand wave.

That's wonderful. Experiences differ, as do perceptions. The 'e' at the end of Stallone is often never pronounced. The pronunciation for foyer (in English no less where I'm from but I imagine these things differ) is foyeh (I am not versed in correct phonetic spelling, I apologize). I've heard Benoit pronounced as Ben Oyt rather than Benwa. Of course even Benjamin is probably properly pronounced as Benhameen.

I fully recognize that racism can be a factor in making fun of or otherwise fucking up pronunciation of names but I also recognize that this is not always the case. There are other possibilities. Some people think that George R.R. Martin advocates rape due to his books, others, like myself, to do not. Some feel Seth MacFarlane is a heartless misogynist, others do not. I don't know either of them so I can't really say but how we interpret and perceive things can wildly vary, but it doesn't mean that the differences account for what we are, as in if one disagrees that the jokes are distasteful then one is by definition distasteful. I think that extends to people's creative work as well.
posted by juiceCake at 4:22 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah somehow I think I'd go easier to sleep at night with jokes about rich business owners than with racist jokes.

Me too! But at least I'm honest about the fact that, yes, jokes very often have a target, and yes, that person has feelings.

When people tell jokes intended to make fun of me, what should I do? Get mad and huffy about it, or laugh it off? Which one is going to profit me more in the long run?

And even more importantly: why am I getting mad, at all, if there isn't a kernel of truth there? Now, everyone here might be different, but I can say that - in my personal experience - I only really get mad/have gotten mad when people are right to make fun of me. Stuff that's off the wall, and has no validity? Why would I get mad?
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:22 PM on February 25, 2013


"What if someone else has a different opinion of what is funny and what isn't, than you do? Should they not be allowed to tell jokes that you don't like? Should someone's scorn prevent them from telling such jokes in the future?

For a fair number of jokes, yeah, actually. There are a whole slew of racist jokes that no longer get told in public because they're pretty fucking gross.

I can't imagine being a professional comedian and being dependent on understanding each and every person's sense of humor and sensibilities..."

Actually, that's pretty much exactly what being a professional comedian IS about.
posted by klangklangston at 4:22 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't know what to say in response to this, except that if you wish for people to read and respond to what you actually say, it might be nice if you extended the same favor, and not instead rewrite what they have written into a point that is easy for you to refute.

I already refuted the point once, why go to the trouble of doing it twice?

If you can't look in the mirror and see yourself engaging in the exact same behaviors you don't like others engaging in, and then justifying it to yourself under a cloak of 'righting inequities' or some clap-trap, then will my writing one more post about it make a difference? Doubt it.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:24 PM on February 25, 2013


> Should they not be allowed to tell jokes that you don't like?

Of course not. No one is suggesting this, and you sound ridiculous for acting as if anyone is, frankly.

> Should someone's scorn prevent them from telling such jokes in the future?

I would hope, if a joke provokes scorn from any segment of society, a comedian might ask themselves, why is this provoking scorn? Do I wish to provoke scorn? Do I care about the opinion of those whose scorn it has provoked? Why do I care, or why do I not care, about their opinion? Do I feel they have any point at all?

You know, self-examination of why the humor might be offensive, and whether or not that is a desirable end or necessary side effect, rather than a blanket statement that all humor gets a free pass because everything offends somebody.
posted by kyrademon at 4:25 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"And even more importantly: why am I getting mad, at all, if there isn't a kernel of truth there? Now, everyone here might be different, but I can say that - in my personal experience - I only really get mad/have gotten mad when people are right to make fun of me. Stuff that's off the wall, and has no validity? Why would I get mad?"

A kernel of truth? Yeah, ladies do sure have boobs and boy do we like lookin' at 'em haw haw haw.

Also, can you take a moment and realize how fucking privileged it is to know that, say, a rape joke isn't a precursor to diminishing the seriousness of rape and — especially coming from a person with more relative power — possibly threatening?

It's just such a fucking cliche to trot out the Haw haw ladies can'tcha take a joke bullshit, and you've been here long enough to know that. Be smarter.
posted by klangklangston at 4:25 PM on February 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


Real estate agents ALWAYS go for the more pompous pronunciation of anything. It's genetic.

I should clarify that regular people like me say "foy yay" in Canada, and it was US real estate agents that I heard saying foy er.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 4:27 PM on February 25, 2013


Actually, that's pretty much exactly what being a professional comedian IS about.

That's funny, because we're discussing professional comedians here in this thread, who actually engage in cutting humor that offends one group or another quite often. So while they may understand many or most people's sensibilities, they clearly don't understand EVERYONE'S. Or they just don't care.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:28 PM on February 25, 2013


Worth pointing out: Puns are at everyone's expense.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:28 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I already refuted the point once, why go to the trouble of doing it twice? "

You replied; you did not refute. You trotted out a false equivalency between the feelings of rich people and the feelings of oppressed people, which must earn some knowing nods at Eton, but out amongst us peasants, it's some bullshit. The difference between a rick person and a poor person telling a joke about each other is that at the end of the joke, the rich person is still rich and the poor person is still poor. Whitewashing that with some sort of Everybody Hurts mantra is disingenuous at best.
posted by klangklangston at 4:28 PM on February 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


Some care. The Onion issued an apology.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:28 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Worth pointing out: Puns are at everyone's expense.

Puns are the glory of language.

If you can't look in the mirror and see yourself engaging in the exact same behaviors you don't like others engaging in

"When the victim mocks the bully, it's the same thing as when the bully mocks the victim."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:29 PM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Real estate agents ALWAYS go for the more pompous pronunciation of anything. It's genetic.

Next up an offensive joke about Lawyers!
posted by juiceCake at 4:32 PM on February 25, 2013


You wrote a bunch of stuff here, but all I read was 'I like the things I think are funny, and don't like the things I don't think are funny.'

At this point I no longer believe you are interested in a conversation and I am going to be ignoring anything else you say.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:32 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


Must be nice to be clairvoyant.

I daresay. Let's pretend for a second that you're not just trying to get a rise out of me here. When I say you're doing something loftily, I'm not claiming to know a damn thing about you're internal mental state. I'm telling you that you're coming across as lofty, condescending, etc.

If we're really going to pin this thing down and smash its legs in to this level of detail, I'd say when we choose our words, we should think about how others will interpret them, and speak accordingly. To retreat to the defence "well I didn't mean it like that how dare you put words into my mouth you can't see inside my head" - especially with no justification *why* the interpretations of others were unreasonable - is a chickenshit move.

No matter how many long years you have been on Metafilter. (whatever you brought that up for, I guess)
posted by ominous_paws at 4:32 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


You trotted out a false equivalency

There is no false equivalency. Just one group who is acceptable to make fun of, and others who are not, for reasons you define personally.

Eton... if you knew a single thing about my life, and the struggles I went through (and still go through), you really would laugh to have written such a thing. But you don't, and aren't prepared to deal with someone expressing these opinions from the very groups who you say can't be made fun of, so it's straight to casual stereotype. Love it.

You're doing the exact same thing as the poster I replied to: defining who is a legitimate target of humor using your personal political spectrum as a guide for doing so. And there's nothing wrong with that at all! The only thing that I ask is that you admit it instead of trying to justify it, or at the very least stop decrying others whose sense of humor is based on a different set of guidelines.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:33 PM on February 25, 2013


> "When people tell jokes intended to make fun of me, what should I do? Get mad and huffy about it, or laugh it off? Which one is going to profit me more in the long run?"

Rather depends on the joke, doesn't it? Jokes about Those People We Don't Like probably abound right before they all get rounded up and sent to the camps. Wanna laugh those off when you're the target?

> "I only really get mad/have gotten mad when people are right to make fun of me. Stuff that's off the wall, and has no validity? Why would I get mad?"

How nice for you. Personally, I also get mad when people tell lies about me. Takes all kinds.
posted by kyrademon at 4:33 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Confession time. When I saw the boobs song last night, I thought it was kind of funny, albeit in a juvenile way. I had no idea who Seth MacFarlane was before today (so honestly had no preconceived notions about him). I have never seen Family Guy or any of the other shows he's done. I consider myself a strong feminist, I really do. I never would have anticipated the outrage the boobs song has generated and I am really enjoying the discussion here. It's making me really think through a lot of things.

I did find the Quvenzhané Wallis joke, the talking bear Jewish jokes and even the Von Trapp family joke (complete with a guard wearing the Nazi armband) uncomfortable but I'll admit that I was only half watching most of the show so I may have missed some context. I'm also curious at the lack of any real outrage at the "hairy" Kardashian joke. This is a joke that is made a lot about them and seems just as nasty to me as any other joke about women's bodies/appearances but it seems as though people get a pass on nasty Kardashian jokes because no one likes the Kardashians. I am no fan of the Kardashians but I've always wondered about this in the bigger context of feminism.

Anyway, I don't want anyone to jump down my throat on this. This whole thing is making me think a lot about what constitutes acceptable joking, the purpose of comedy and what feminism means to me personally so I am really enjoying reading people's comments.
posted by young sister beacon at 4:35 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


"When the victim mocks the bully, it's the same thing as when the bully mocks the victim."

It is! It is exactly the same.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:36 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm married to a comedian. He spends huge amounts of time worrying about what other people think is funny and, especially, how to tell jokes that he is proud of (by which he means both that his conscience is comfortable with them and that he actually thinks they're funny) that also will make lots of people laugh.

His number one rule for comedy is simple, and it is what Bunny Ultramod and others have said:
Punch up, not down.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:37 PM on February 25, 2013 [39 favorites]


Personally, I also get mad when people tell lies about me. Takes all kinds.

Why?

This is a serious question. Is it because you believe that others will believe the lie, and not know the truth about you?
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:38 PM on February 25, 2013


It is! It is exactly the same.

Just curious, do you really believe this? Because it's not. It is not even remotely the same, and if you really believe this, than you are so far outside a useful frame of reference that it's pointless for me to even discuss this with you.
posted by KathrynT at 4:38 PM on February 25, 2013 [22 favorites]


145 new comments since I opened the thread! Holy cow!

Anyway, with apologizes if anyone has said any of this already:

1. Robert Downey Junior for Oscar host.

2. The show was awful. I thought the joke about no one being able to understand Selma Hayek or Javier Barden (but who cares because they are attractive) was particularly bad - especially because Hayek came up to read the nominees for the next category right after! Basically saying she shouldn't be doing this because her heritage disqualifies her! If I were her I'd have read those out particularly slowly (and with a particularly strong accent) just as a Fuck You, Asshole.

Also "loved" how Barden was thrown in as cover for the 58th women-are-only-good-for-fucking-am-I-right joke of the night. Why even bother to pretend that you are not making a mysogynist joke at that point?

3. The other terrible thing that happened at the Oscars was that there was a protest over non-payment by the Life of Pi visual effects crew going on outside the venue, and when the Pi crew brought it up in their acceptance speech, that part was cut out of the broadcast for being over time. Because the Oscars never runs over its allotted time slot, as we all know...

On a happy note, Ang Lee's speech where he credited Suraj Sharma with carrying the movie and said "thank you" in Mandarin, the two screenwriter acceptance awards, and Jennifer Lawrence being Jennifer Lawrence were all lovely. Honestly most of the acceptance awards were excellent... unlike the hosting....
posted by subdee at 4:38 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


To retreat to the defence "well I didn't mean it like that how dare you put words into my mouth you can't see inside my head" - especially with no justification *why* the interpretations of others were unreasonable - is a chickenshit move.

I wish John Lennon had one just that during the absurd accusations against him when he commented on the ridiculousness of the Beatles' popularity by comparing it the popularity of Christ. He actually didn't mean what people accused him of at all. So it's not always chickenshit.
posted by juiceCake at 4:38 PM on February 25, 2013


His number one rule for comedy is simple, and it is what Bunny Ultramod and others have said:Punch up, not down.

Right - because it's socially acceptable to 'punch up.' We're not worried about the feelings of those who are perceived to be 'up,' because, well, they're going to be fine at the end of the day. But - from an objective point of view - you're still punching, someone is still the butt of the joke, and you're only going after the group you think will appeal to the most people to go after. There's no real moral superiority in such a position, just convenience.

(thanks for sharing the real-world comedian experience, tho)
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:39 PM on February 25, 2013


Punch up, not down.

Also a good rule of thumb for celebrity feuds.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:39 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


We're not worried about the feelings of those who are perceived to be 'up,' because, well, they're going to be fine at the end of the day. But - from an objective point of view - you're still punching, someone is still the butt of the joke, and you're only going after the group you think will appeal to the most people to go after. There's no real moral superiority in such a position, just convenience.

I appreciate your democratically minded concern for the feelings of those with money and power, but you're missing the point. The question is not about hurt feelings, but instead about participating in a system of oppression. Racist jokes are bad because racism is bad, and racism has a murderous history, and a murderous contemporary reality. Jokes about Wall Street Bankers do not target an oppressed minority, and do not participate in or normalize or make light of or celebrate or minimize a vicious historic or modern oppression.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:42 PM on February 25, 2013 [29 favorites]


"There is no false equivalency. Just one group who is acceptable to make fun of, and others who are not, for reasons you define personally."

Uh, when you posit an equivalency (as you just did) based on the squishy and purportedly objective "for reasons you define personally," which reduces the salience of the equivalency not to the reasoning but to the very act of making fun, you are engaging in a fallacy of false equivalency. That you don't recognize this or understand it is your problem.

"Eton... if you knew a single thing about my life, and the struggles I went through (and still go through), you really would laugh to have written such a thing. But you don't, and aren't prepared to deal with someone expressing these opinions from the very groups who you say can't be made fun of, so it's straight to casual stereotype. Love it."

Do you love it? Aww. I'm glad. I hope you clutch your cliched bromides to your heart — perhaps they can provide some comfort during your Woe Is Me maunderings.

And I didn't say that anyone couldn't be made fun of. For example, I have no problem with people making fun of you for being dense or parroting the propaganda of the privileged; I'd be bothered if they made fun of you for your poverty.

"You're doing the exact same thing as the poster I replied to: defining who is a legitimate target of humor using your personal political spectrum as a guide for doing so."

Yes, and you're still using a moronic oversimplification to pretend that's the salient point.

"And there's nothing wrong with that at all! The only thing that I ask is that you admit it instead of trying to justify it, or at the very least stop decrying others whose sense of humor is based on a different set of guidelines."

It's all relative d00d LOLLERCAUST!

That's bullshit and you know it.
posted by klangklangston at 4:43 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]



It is! It is exactly the same.

Just curious, do you really believe this?


I absolutely do. If you will bother to take a minute to examine the cycle of violence and bullying, what you will find is that those who victimize others the most were those who were victims themselves - and turned to attack when defense failed.

Sorry if that doesn't match up with your worldview to the point where you can't even have a conversation with me, anymore, which is a rather sad statement, really. There must be a gigantic percentage of the human race who you just can't have a conversation with.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:43 PM on February 25, 2013


So you really live in a world where telling racist jokes is exactly morally equivalent to telling jokes making fun of Seth MacFarlane for being a talentless but extremely wealthy man? Because that must be a really nice place to live. In my world, racist jokes perpetuate social injustice and cause real people pain, while jokes told on the blue at Seth MacFarlane's expense hurt absolutely no one, especially not Seth MacFarlane. Objectively.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:44 PM on February 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


> It is! It is exactly the same.

Are you joking? I know this is a derail, but that reminds me of the scene in The Bully Project where the totally clueless school administrator calls the kid who was beat on and teased "just as bad" as the little shit who was perpetrating it because he didn't want to shake his hand. Maybe go watch that movie and then we can continue the derail.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:44 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


And even more importantly: why am I getting mad, at all, if there isn't a kernel of truth there? Now, everyone here might be different, but I can say that - in my personal experience - I only really get mad/have gotten mad when people are right to make fun of me. Stuff that's off the wall, and has no validity? Why would I get mad?
Joking about the sexuality of a 9-year-old black girl exposes the kernel of truth that in the US, the sexuality of women and girls', especially women and girls of color, and also women and girls in entertainment, are for general public consumption. I suppose there is a way to turn that into incisive commentary, but that joke wasn't it, and I don't know if I would have really felt like using a 9-year-old rocking out at the Oscar's as my lynchpin for a "truth speaking" like that. Joking about how women show their breasts a lot in movies exposes the kernel of truth that, no matter what the subject matter (rape, violence, sensuality, love, etc.), women's bodies are for general public consumption and titillation. Joking about how the Jews run Hollywood exposes the truth that there is deep-rooted, and still apparently accepted, anti-semitism whirling about the cultural milieu that's fun to chortle at.

It's true that all of these jokes could have been elevated to some sort of social commentary. I don't think it's true that any of them were.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:44 PM on February 25, 2013 [21 favorites]


"It is! It is exactly the same."

Only in the most reductive and meaningless way! Congrats on sophistry! High five!
posted by klangklangston at 4:45 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


“a fight between comedians and feminists, which are natural enemies. Because stereotypically speaking, feminists can’t take a joke”

It's funny that this caused such debate, because I actually find it hard to read this as anything other than lampooning the stereotype and identifying with the feminist side against any "comedian" who believes the two groups are enemies (or even believes the groups are disjoint).

i.e. To me it's exactly the type of satire that should have been made with the material that Seth MacFarlane was using with his irony figleaf. And the fact that not everyone read it that way, especially people with much less privilege in this manner than me, shows quite how sensitively the irony/satire stick needs to be wielded even in the hands of someone like Louis CK.
posted by ambrosen at 4:45 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Do you love it? Aww. I'm glad. I hope you clutch your cliched bromides to your heart — perhaps they can provide some comfort during your Woe Is Me maunderings.

I am the one here with 'woe is me maunderings??' Have you even READ the thread?

See, now this is funny. But it doesn't make me mad, because you're so far off base as to be ridiculous. I will say that I always like walking away from a thread with a chuckle.

Okay guys, it's been fun; you've been a great audience. Don't forget to tip your waiters!
posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:47 PM on February 25, 2013


Jokes about Wall Street Bankers do not target an oppressed minority, and do not participate in or normalize or make light of or celebrate or minimize a murderous historic or modern oppression.

Maybe someday, though, with a little luck!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:47 PM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


I have previously not knowingly been exposed to Seth Mcfarlane. Having now been exposed I can definatly say I see see why people find him awful - its not that his jokes included faux-edgy, kidding on the square racist misogyny and homophobia, it's that those were his only jokes. Every single one. And they all landed with a thud.

Well... I liked the Von Trapp family singers one I guess.
posted by Artw at 4:48 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


[Putting my mod hat on, it's time to move on in general from Cycloptichorn's personal views, because we've hit full circularity. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 4:49 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I am the one here with 'woe is me maunderings??' Have you even READ the thread?"

You were pretty quick to complain when you didn't think what I said was accurate. But hey, that's only for you because you're special. No one else gets to complain about inaccurate stuff.

Enjoy your tasty privilege sandwich om nom nom.
posted by klangklangston at 4:49 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry to see Cycloptichorn go, mostly because the next guy up is a prop comic.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:49 PM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


But he had such an awesome straw man!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:50 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, it's one of THOSE threads.
posted by Artw at 4:50 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


> "Why? This is a serious question. Is it because you believe that others will believe the lie, and not know the truth about you?"

That's one reason. I mean, in a greater social context, this is one of the reasons jokes that, say, portray broad stereotypes are problematic. So yeah, if someone tells an "all Jews are greedy" joke, then one of the reasons I find it offensive is that it reinforces something that a certain group of people genuinely believes about me and all other Jews.

On a more personal level, however, I think I take offense because jokes that tell lies about me are *unfair*. Jokes directed at me that have a kernel of truth in them I can often acknowledge as, on some level, being merited by me and therefore funny. Jokes that define me wrongly anger me precisely because they don't resonate. It's unfair for someone to say that about me, and I have a pretty strong desire to be treated fairly.
posted by kyrademon at 4:50 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


"When the victim mocks the bully, it's the same thing as when the bully mocks the victim."

Cycloptichorn: It is! It is exactly the same.


Let's all abandon this sub-thread of the discussion, please, since really, what is there to say to that. We're into Pauli's "Not Even Wrong" territory, here.
posted by tzikeh at 4:51 PM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Whoops; didn't see r_n's mod comment when I posted. Fast thread. Sorry.
posted by tzikeh at 4:54 PM on February 25, 2013


This is some "the bullies will stop if you show them you're not bothered" bullshit.

That's not bullshit, it's reality. At least, it was my reality and that of everyone I've ever known.


Yeah, all those kids who killed themselves for being bullied, what dopes. They should have controlled their responses!

I don't know how many people you've known, but I can tell you, there are a lot of people you don't know shit about.
posted by emjaybee at 4:56 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


This whole thing seems weirdly reminiscent of Jason Fortuny's "green hair" idea to me.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:01 PM on February 25, 2013


Gender issues aside, the song just isn't all that great of a punchline, just 90 seconds of "boobs, boobs, boobs" in response to "What's the worst I could do?" I know the Eric Idle reference was perhaps a hundred responses back, but I can't help but think he could have done more in 90 seconds than just enumerate famous actresses who have and have not been topless on screen.

There's stuff that I find to be offensive that I'll defend by virtue of demonstrating comic brilliance. Country Dick Montana's revision of "Lucile," and Gottfried's delivery of "The Aristocrats" are two examples. MacFarlane was just flat.

EDIT: Lucile, not Jolene. Got my country songs mixed up.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:02 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think there's some kind of point to be made about how movies (and now cable TV) are the mainstream, culturally-sanctioned way to see boobs in a society that is still pretty uptight in a lot of ways about sexuality and human bodies, and that for all the hard work and seriousness and dedication professional actresses put into their craft it is fairly clear that their industry expects them to show their boobs at some point in their career, and maybe it just has to do with the kind of movies I seek out as I get older but it seems like the more the old standard T&A comedy of the 80's has gone into decline, the more often you see boobs in inspiring/serious/important movies, and I bet there were people in that auditorium last night who could tell you exactly what kind of effect an A-list actress taking her top off in a movie has on DVD sales etc.

While the boobs song was obviously a bad misfire for a large portion of the audience, I feel like there was something in it lunging towards a point about what we as an audience and Hollywood as an industry asks of its female performers in terms of self-objectification (there was something darkly portentous in the line about how we haven't seen Jennifer Lawrence's yet), and if the movie is "serious," if the scene in question is a crucial part of the story involving (as was the case for several of the examples cited in the song) something non-sexy like say for example an assault, are we always able to say "this is art, this is not gratuitous, I am watching and appreciating it for the right reasons" and disconnect whatever puerile interest we might have in seeing a woman with her clothes off? What about the guy in the row behind us? What about the guy watching only the 00:00:45 in question on Dailymotion?

Obviously I, too, can only lunge imprecisely towards whatever point I am trying to make here, but I think the boobs song was as close as the Oscars telecast has ever come to acknowledging the absolutely weird Bermuda triangle of sexualization/objectification/veneration Hollywood shoves so very many major motion picture actresses into, and there is maybe something interesting and subversive about its intent or its concept, if not its execution.
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:04 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


I am thankful that I watched the telecast because now I know to set my DVR for celebrity diving.

Sooo, it's totally normal to hyperventilate when one is surprised by Shirley Bassey popping in unexpectedly to sing the greatest James Bond theme song ever, right?
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:08 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seth MacFarlane stunk up the place.
He was not even slightly funny. I cringed whenever he came on screen.
posted by dougzilla at 5:09 PM on February 25, 2013


I am thankful that I watched the telecast because now I know to set my DVR for celebrity diving.

Argh. My husband got saddled/blessed with the task of reviewing the premiere episode of Stars in Danger. In our tiny apartment, anything he watches, I am by necessity watching, too, but (y'know) not getting paid for it.

...


...


I thought for a moment, but no, I have nothing to add to that. Not even snark.

posted by Elsa at 5:13 PM on February 25, 2013


OH MY GOODNESS, I forgot: that's the other celebrity diving show.

That's right. This season saw two celebrity high-dive reality shows.

posted by Elsa at 5:19 PM on February 25, 2013


But he doesn't mean any of it! He's just making fun of everything that is sacred!

Anyway sarcasm off. I tried to watch Family Guy and there are some funny bits when he makes fun of Hollywood things, but the whole old guy who likes the kid bit? What's that all about?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:22 PM on February 25, 2013


The boob song, the Rihanna joke, anti-gay and incessant women-hating remarks.

Seth MacFarlane is just an untalented, moronic piece of shit.
posted by kinetic at 5:30 PM on February 25, 2013


[Folks, the "doing the comment in the voice of the person you are parodying" thing really doesn't read so well.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:33 PM on February 25, 2013


the whole old guy who likes the kid bit? What's that all about?

Seth MacFarlane finds the possibility of sexual assault hilarious, I guess. I don't know.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:35 PM on February 25, 2013


To be fair to MacFarlane, there's a certain amount of humour in saying transgressive things. Thus we have Eddy Murphy who can say nothing but well-intoned "Motherfucker!"s for several minutes and it's pretty funny. The pedophile character on Family Guy is partly funny because he has a weird voice and it's party just the humour of being transgressive - "Sit on my lap, little boy!" (cue laugh track).

That said, of the 32 flavours of weaksauce served every week in Family Guy, the pedo character is one of the weakest. But it's not as if it's so crazy to put out there. He just executes poorly time and again.
posted by GuyZero at 5:44 PM on February 25, 2013


I tried to watch Family Guy and there are some funny bits when he makes fun of Hollywood things, but the whole old guy who likes the kid bit? What's that all about?

People laughed at it ten years ago and Seth McFarlane isn't creative.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:56 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Somewhere, Allen Carr is smiling.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:04 PM on February 25, 2013


What about MST3K's ‘Toobular Boobular Joy’ song?

The song in question was making fun of a movie, Outlaw, that had a very large amount of skin for its own sake. There was very little artistic about it, unless you count the Donkey Dance the scantily-clad temple dancers did for the amusement of the male characters at court in that movie. Most things MST3K does are references. In any case, the movie had a lot of groin shots of both male and female characters, which is what they were pointing out.

Fun fact: Outlaw is actually short for Outlaw Of Gor, a book by John Norman that is a great deal less progressive than even the movie version. Do a search for "Gorian lifestyle" some day, but... very carefully.
posted by JHarris at 6:14 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


If we want to talk about the Oscars respecting women for the content of their work and intelligence and not their bodies, then how can we ignore the hours of Red Carpet coverage where no woman is let past an interviewer without having to announce what designer made her dress or where her jewelry came from? Every interviewer was like, "Wow, you are great. But who are you wearing?"

Does 10 or 15 minutes (sum total) of questionable humor override 3 hours of Red Carpet coverage and a panel of "experts" critiquing each gown (E Network)? Would I rather have my kids leave the evening thinking, "If my dress isn't pretty enough people are going to hate me" or running around the house giggling about a song about boobs?

I am just curious how many of people offended by the jokes sat through the Red Carpet coverage without issue and laughed right along with every Joan Rivers quip about an ugly dress.
posted by thorny at 6:19 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


I tried to watch Family Guy and there are some funny bits when he makes fun of Hollywood things, but the whole old guy who likes the kid bit? What's that all about?

It's the fun of saying or doing something that is completely and utterly taboo, without actually doing it. It's a darker side of humanity, played with in a safe and cathartic way, a sort of Burning Man of the mind.

I am just curious how many of people offended by the jokes sat through the Red Carpet coverage without issue and laughed right along with every Joan Rivers quip about an ugly dress.

I was watching it was several people who enjoyed looking at the fashion or hot people on the red carpet, while being offended by McFarlane's antics.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:30 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


thorny, I'm not sure what you're getting at here. An actress and her body are not her dress. I don't watch the red carpet on purpose but I have caught it a few times - who cares what anyone says about a dress? I always thought the red carpet was about marketing fashions on pretty people, since pretty people wear high fashion to the Oscars, so any critique is aimed at the dress designer, not the wearer. Do I have to turn in my radfem membership card because I don't see the red carpet ritual as particularly demeaning, especially when compared with the actual show?
posted by caryatid at 6:33 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am just curious how many of people offended by the jokes sat through the Red Carpet coverage without issue and laughed right along with every Joan Rivers quip about an ugly dress.

I didn't watch the Oscar coverage but I do read TLo's and Lainey Gossip's fashion coverage. One of the reasons I enjoy Lainey is because her coverage often hits the celebrity politics as much as just the fashion. And one reason I like the TLo coverage is that in addition to the fashion politics, they also show (and criticize) the men and their fashion choices.
posted by immlass at 6:33 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


running around the house giggling about a song about boobs?

from what I see on Facebook a LOT of kids have been running around singing this song all day, much to the frustration of their parents. So much for "this is just a silly awards show that has no impact."
posted by sweetkid at 6:38 PM on February 25, 2013


Thank god these poor kids never saw the streaker in 1973 (or whenever exactly that was)
posted by ShutterBun at 6:41 PM on February 25, 2013


I think the boob song could have been brilliant if Chris Griffin had sung it on Family Guy, because it is a thing for ~14 year old boys, but went badly wrong when it tried to suggest that we are all Chris Griffin now. (Unless you happen to be Chris Griffin's age, in which case - represent)

“a fight between comedians and feminists, which are natural enemies. Because stereotypically speaking, feminists can’t take a joke”

This, OTOH, I have no problem with - it's extrapolating an absurd premise. IF feminists can't take a joke (an extant stereotype and labelled as such) THEN They are the natural enemies of comedians (because opposite of stereotype) THEREFORE we should be seeing hi-def nature documentaries of comedian jackals shrieking with laughter around the torn corpse of a noble feminist lioness in the dark savannah night any day now.
posted by Sparx at 6:44 PM on February 25, 2013


. . . yes. that is my point. Would he have made that joke about HJO and, say, Demi Moore?

Ah! Sorry, I had been focused on the part of the discussion about whether he would have done that to a white child actor.

I suspect that yes, MacFarlane would make that joke. I'm not sure we've identified a joke he wouldn't tell (a funny one?) though. I think a better question is whether people in general would be more offended. I'm not sure I think they would. There's a wide swath of the population that seems to think that an older woman having sex with teen boy is doing charity work and/or that a teen boy is lucky rather than being victimized.
posted by phearlez at 6:45 PM on February 25, 2013


Thank god these poor kids never saw the streaker in 1973 (or whenever exactly that was)

What is your point here?
posted by sweetkid at 6:52 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a sort of Burning Man of the Mind.

Actually, I just wanted to put this extremely relevant Chainsaw Suit comic here.
posted by emjaybee at 6:53 PM on February 25, 2013


I am just curious how many of people offended by the jokes sat through the Red Carpet coverage without issue and laughed right along with every Joan Rivers quip about an ugly dress.

I missed the ugly dress quips. All the stuff I saw was "You look lovely, who are you wearing?" which, yeah is totally easy to have a cultural critique about and is annoying in a different way, to me.

Like yes it's all about objectifying people and capitalism and all the rest, but to my mind it's not basically saying "Half (at least) of the people who are here are objectified and ogled by the other people here." Red carpet nonsense included saying nice non-oogly things to Jamie Foxx's daughter and to several mens' moms. It's worlds different from "Wow that dress sure is slutty" and all the sideboob peepsterism that poisons a lot of modern gossip blogs. I expect gossip blogs to say nasty stuff so I don't read them.

Most of it falls pretty well outside my own personal pop culture preferences, but I still think from a critique perspective the red carpet stuff is the sort of weirdness we expect. The MacFarlane edgy humor stuff is the stuff we don't expect. But I don't think just the fact that it was unexpected or outre or whatever else means that its not lame in a totally different way from the usual red carpet glurge.

Like if MacFarlane had pulled back after the "we saw your boobs" bit [which was one of those "kidding, not really..." things] and just been the cool host with the sort of interesting quirky voices and odd songanddance format I would have mostly forgotten it. Catchy song, not part of an overall theme of misogyny and inappropriateness. Instead it seemed like this was a platform for him to just relentlessly push the envelope in that sort of tiresome way he has which is not my thing and which I had hoped wasn't going to be his thing this evening. He's a talented guy in a lot of ways, but this wasn't even him at his best, much less The Oscars at their best.
posted by jessamyn at 6:54 PM on February 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


I watch a movie for its story. I do love a bit of red carpet fashion, it's true. But go on with your bird eggin' at women's mammaries and children. How does that present itself to the story, which is what we're about, right? The story. And as far as I can tell, there is no story here, just some wetsnap sonof a bitch who thinks poking fun at titties and kids is funny. Is it funny to you? Is it? Because I don't find it funny. I find it sick and heartless and crappy. Vomittess. Vomit. If you will. Oh, I'm sorry, is puke more your tender? Pukey. He's a pukey sonofabitch who did a wrong ting. Fuckem. Because there's no story there atall, just a bunch a bullshite. What we used to call a cow patty or a piece of shite.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:55 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ctrl-F supercut

I'll try again later.
posted by telstar at 6:55 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dislike Seth MacFarlane, and thought his hosting was, well, pretty much what I expected after having seen Family Guy - smarmy, often insulting, with only a couple of moments that are off-kilter enough to actually be funny. He was a poor host, as in love with his own singing and pop references for their own sake as he's always been.
(Though, yes, I laughed at The Sound of Music reference before Christopher Plummer came out, and the socks in the tumble dryer).

I especially disliked the boobs song, with its framing device of 'Oh, I'm not really doing this, because it would ruin my reputation' an attempt to forestall any criticism. But it was indicative of how he treats women in general in his comedy.

However, I think it's a big stretch to suggest that Jack Nicholson's house was the suggested location of an orgy in a joke as a reference to the crimes of Roman Polanski. Surely Jack Nicholson's house is more famous for being the home of Jack Nicholson, noted aged lothario, rather than the location of a rape several decades ago?

And as for the Onion tweet, I both get its humour, and understand the outrage. It reminded me of Kathy Griffin doing a red carpet a few years ago and getting all the celebrities to send Dakota Fanning a message of hope by claiming she'd just entered rehab. The joke is in the absurdity of the sentiment connected to a child, but the offense also receives understandable blowback.

Still, there were good things at the Oscars. Daniel Day Lewis' speech was hilarious. I liked the Jaws theme as the playoff music. And even the show acknowledged it would be better next year if Amy and Tina hosted.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:03 PM on February 25, 2013


Even the local media in a country where the c-word is a term of affection is outraged about the Onion tweet. I figure they get one free pass, since they've been doing satire for decades and managed to almost cross the line, but never cross it. They've made tasteful, hilarious jokes about everything from 9/11 to the CT shooting, and its obvious they were parodying the social media reaction around the Oscars. So sure, let them know its not acceptable, but they've earned the benefit of the doubt much more than Seth McFarlane has.

However, I think it's a big stretch to suggest that Jack Nicholson's house was the suggested location of an orgy in a joke as a reference to the crimes of Roman Polanski. Surely Jack Nicholson's house is more famous for being the home of Jack Nicholson, noted aged lothario, rather than the location of a rape several decades ago?

Yeah exactly.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:09 PM on February 25, 2013


I'm not exactly an avid Oscar watcher, so things may have changed, and it doesn't change the quality (or lack thereof) of the evening, but isn't the MacFarlane-specific blame kind of ignoring that there's a whole writing team putting the Oscar jokes together? The host works with the team, but it's kind of hard to have a "head writer for the Oscars" if you're not ... well, doing the writing, no?
posted by Amanojaku at 7:22 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am just curious how many of people offended by the jokes sat through the Red Carpet coverage without issue

Well, I didn't...but I'm a guy. One aspect of the red-carpet sexism is that it pointedly isn't programmed for men. I don't know dresses or designers, and a "mani cam" might as well be an electrical-engineering tutorial: It's Greek to me. So it probably doesn't prove much to say that I didn't watch it, except that their programming works.

Having said that, I referenced the red-carpet parade in a comment above and if you want to have a conversation about it, I'll condemn the concept right alongside you. Isn't there a show dedicated to mocking how people (mostly women, I'd guess) dressed, on the following night? I'm with you. That sucks. But I don't think it does anything to mitigate MacFarlane's nonstop sexualization of women—for what it's worth, in a context where, once wardrobe-analysis is done and the show has started, we are ostensibly focusing on talent and accomplishments.

There are lots of terrible pieces at play, that we could discuss. Melissa McCarthy will probably never contend for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" because she doesn't look like Jennifer Lawrence or Naomi Watts. That is Hollywood, and it sucks. But it has nothing to do with whether it's okay for Seth MacFarlane to follow up a bunch of sexualized comments about leading women by introducing McCarthy with a quip that she looks like Paul Rudd.
posted by cribcage at 7:25 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Two things stand out about this "incident". One you hired the Family Guy guy to host the effing Oscars. What exactly did you expect? Letterman? Crystal? Kimmel? Too bad, you get something closer to a sober Dane Cook with less blowjob jokes.

B, they're competing with Chuck Lorre sitcoms, of course they're going to get rude.

As an aside, implying or stating that people either are having sex right now or might have sex in the future doesn't make people sexual objects. It makes them sexual people. Personally, I'm still holding out hope that she gets to have sex with someone she loves at whatever time in her life is appropriate for her and at her discretion. Good sex. I hope that for everyone. Who the hell wouldn't?

That low-effort Clooney joke isn't worth all this GRAR. Shit, the inherent sexism of "Hollywood" isn't.
posted by Sphinx at 7:26 PM on February 25, 2013


Still, there were good things at the Oscars. Daniel Day Lewis' speech was hilarious.

Actually, the Onion's take on DDL's acceptance speech is almost worthy of its own FPP.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:26 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


While the TV "red carpet" coverage may be respectful, that respect lasts mere minutes after the photos hit the wire. Hathaway's nipples were widely called a "wardrobe malfunction" and started a twitter tag. That was the top story about the Oscars on my morning feed. Then there's the oggling over what Klum wore, and photographs of Lawrence tripping on her dress.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:28 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still, there were good things at the Oscars. Daniel Day Lewis' speech was hilarious.

Was Seth's line "DDL was the first man to get inside Lincoln's head since John Wilkes Booth?" Because it would have been funnier if he said 'first actor'. I'd love a Baz Luhrman style take on JWB's life where we see him as the Brad Pitt of his day that he was; a celebrity assasin is just so fascinating.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:30 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm reading the Onion's apology several times, looking for the satire.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:31 PM on February 25, 2013


Two things stand out about this "incident". One you hired the Family Guy guy to host the effing Oscars. What exactly did you expect? Letterman? Crystal? Kimmel?

Whom is the "you" you're talking to? You know no one in this thread hired Seth MacFarlane for the Oscars right?
posted by sweetkid at 7:37 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


There were some touching, even inspiring, moments last night. I liked the surprise of Michelle Obama presenting the best picture award and thought her remarks were perfect and she looked perfectly lovely. I enjoyed Adele and Barbra Streisand. Daniel Day Lewis was capital and the exchange between him and Merle Streep was charming and befitted their stature and had the wit to be non-sexist and joke about it. I liked that joke.

MacFarlane, however, was outrageous and disgusting. The misogyny, racism and homophobia were far from acceptable. There are consequences to performances like MacFarlane's. Children mimic his naughtiness and they learn a little more that hatefulness is tolerated. They learn to hate by such seemingly inconsequential little songs and jokes. Racism, misogyny and homophobia all have a murderous history and we damage our world when we sit passively as these are perpetuated by offensive 'jokes.'

The Oscar show doesn't have to be like this and I hope it never is again. Was it just four years ago Hugh Jackman hosted the Oscars and Slumdog Millionaire won big? That was a night to remember, even if The Dark Knight took the prize of a billion dollar worldwide gross that year. Why is it that the money-making machine keeps promoting misogyny, racism and homophobia? Who feeds it with their dollars?
posted by Anitanola at 7:42 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]



I think the boob song could have been brilliant if Chris Griffin had sung it on Family Guy, because it is a thing for ~14 year old boys, but went badly wrong when it tried to suggest that we are all Chris Griffin now. (Unless you happen to be Chris Griffin's age, in which case - represent)

If there had been an episode of Family Guy where Chris somehow got to host the Oscars, he would totally sing that song and it would indeed be kind of brilliant.
posted by sweetkid at 7:42 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thank god these poor kids never saw the streaker in 1973 (or whenever exactly that was)

What is your point here?


If the "boobs" song was enough to make kids imitate it the next day, I'd hate to imagine the effect seeing a streaker would have.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:47 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Was it just four years ago Hugh Jackman hosted the Oscars and Slumdog Millionaire won big?

I'm not a fan of Seth McFarlane, but I don't think the Oscars should be that middlebrow/middle America. Get Craig Ferguson to host it, and I wish Django Unchained won big instead of Argo

And I'm boycotting Argo, because it's a whole movie that apparently includes a tiny scene of them pretending to make the Jack Kirby/Roger Zalazny movie that I'd rather they have made instead. It's like how Almost Famous has 5 minutes of a not very good Lester Bangs and then goes off to be about some random kid.

If the "boobs" song was enough to make kids imitate it the next day, I'd hate to imagine the effect seeing a streaker would have.

And yet in other threads MeFites defend public nudity.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:53 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was a night to remember, even if The Dark Knight took the prize of a billion dollar worldwide gross that year. Why is it that the money-making machine keeps promoting misogyny, racism and homophobia? Who feeds it with their dollars?

Are you saying you think TDK promoted misogyny, racism, and homophobia?
posted by Justinian at 8:00 PM on February 25, 2013


If the "boobs" song was enough to make kids imitate it the next day, I'd hate to imagine the effect seeing a streaker would have.

And yet in other threads MeFites defend public nudity.


I'm not sure exactly what's happening here, but it seems like Shutterbun is equating not liking the idea that a misogynistic "boobs" song is catching on with impressionable children with some sort of dislike of the human body, nudity, etc. Of the "feminists hate sexuality and the natural state of the human body" sort of thing. With the "poor kids" and all.

Is that correct?
posted by sweetkid at 8:00 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Expanding a little on the idea that the MacFarlane Oscars host was a character:
[snip]
A: Because he’s so oblivious. You’re not laughing at rape; you’re laughing at him being an idiot.


This would be relevant if Peter Griffin were hosting the Oscars. But it was Seth McFarlane who did, so this defense doesn't work.

Gervais is funny, McFarlane not. End of discussion.

Except Gervais isn't funny either.

But Gervais at least owns his own meanness; McFarlane tries to cover it up in a wide-eyed "what? I'm just kidding!" false naivete. I didn't buy that "I'm just kidding, can't you take a joke?" cop-out when I was hearing it from the other kids in third grade, and I don't buy it from McFarlane now.

And even worse - it's just lazy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:03 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually, the Onion's take on DDL's acceptance speech is almost worthy of its own FPP.

I've been a fan of the Onion for more than 10 years and it's really rare that I don't get the humor in what they're doing, whether they go deep for the subtle stuff or go for something really obvious. But wow this one is over my head. I understand the juxtaposition they're making but I'm missing the punchline completely. Surely it's not "It would be funny if he were secretly, elaborately racist!" It's like the regular Onion editors were all out partying last night and left all their computers logged-in by accident. If this was their usual quality I would have stopped caring 10 years ago.
posted by bleep at 8:04 PM on February 25, 2013


Actually, there are people out there - quite a lot of them, and typically Libertarians - who take the Onion Lincoln piece very seriously.

Personally, while, if taken at face value, the Onion piece is very disturbing, on the other hand it does point out something that Seth MacFarlane was getting at last night, that Abraham Lincoln is sacred to many, many people - too sacred to examine some of the more controversial aspects of his legacy.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:07 PM on February 25, 2013


I've been a fan of the Onion for more than 10 years and it's really rare that I don't get the humor in what they're doing, whether they go deep for the subtle stuff or go for something really obvious. But wow this one is over my head. I understand the juxtaposition they're making but I'm missing the punchline completely. Surely it's not "It would be funny if he were secretly, elaborately racist!" It's like the regular Onion editors were all out partying last night and left all their computers logged-in by accident. If this was their usual quality I would have stopped caring 10 years ago.

I'm guessing the joke is that Lincoln was assassinated by a famous actor who presumably had the same political gripes their version of DDL has in the editorial (I'm not smart enough to know all of them in detail) (and from what I heard, John Wilkes Booth was more of a Brad Pitt leading man type than a character actor).

And the Oscar producers won - people like me who didn't even see them are talking about them. It wouldn't have happened if they'd hired Billy Crystal again.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:07 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


And the Oscars would have been worth it if at least one award had started "The Oscar goes to Lincoln. Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter!"
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:09 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


'Les Misérables' Takes Home Oscar For Most Sound

Take that, Oscar voters who prefer obvious SFX and sound work ever subtle sound work! Honestly, whoever scored the gunshots in Django Unchained should have won an award.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:10 PM on February 25, 2013


Are you saying you think TDK promoted misogyny, racism, and homophobia?

No, I am saying it won the 'actual prize' even if it didn't sweep the Oscars.
posted by Anitanola at 8:11 PM on February 25, 2013


I'm sorry, but I can't let a mention of Benoit Benjamin on MetaFilter go by with just a passing nod.

Dude was the greatest basketball player on earth ... for 30 games out of the year. Unfortunately, an NBA season is 82 games long. And he picked which ones to show up for, seemingly at random. What's that? Benoit dropped thirty on the Bulls last night? Awesome. He's taking the rest of the month off, I suppose?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:12 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel better now that I get the joke (sincerely).
posted by bleep at 8:19 PM on February 25, 2013


As an actor, your job is to confront life’s difficult and loathsome truths in order to capture the full range of emotions and behavioral types that comprise the human condition, even if that means spending months inside the mind of someone as abhorrent as Abraham Lincoln.

Oh, I see what they did there. That's pretty good. They're referencing the film's thesis and flipping it inside out. There usually is something like that and I felt weird because I couldn't find it. Derail over.
posted by bleep at 8:24 PM on February 25, 2013


Why is it that the money-making machine keeps promoting misogyny, racism and homophobia? Who feeds it with their dollars?

That's a good question. I think the short answer is probably the obvious, "Young male audiences tend to be dollar-responsive, so Hollywood programs to them." Formulas exist to capture this audience: the explosive action thriller, the all-night-party buddy comedy, etc. It's worth asking, can this formula work just as well without the gay jokes, without the Victoria's Secret starlet, without those comfy racial stereotypes?

I understand why they do it. It's easy. Everybody is conversant in stereotypes and immediately understands them, so you don't need to set up your characters or your jokes. One shot of your size-zero blonde slinking up a flight of stairs (Transformers 3) and you've told the audience everything you need them to know about her character: She's out of the protagonist's league and he'll be chasing her affection (trying to win it, or trying not to lose it). Show us a white man wearing glasses beside a black man wearing a gold chain, and you can skip all that troublesome character development and cut right to the chase, literally. Stereotype...what could be simpler?

But could you skip all that? Could Hollywood produce an all-night buddy-adventure comedy without any gay jokes or misogyny, and sell as many tickets? I think so, but maybe that's naivete and optimism.
posted by cribcage at 8:25 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


> To retreat to the defence "well I didn't mean it like that how dare you put words into my mouth you can't see inside my head" - especially with no justification *why* the interpretations of others were unreasonable - is a chickenshit move.

I wish John Lennon had one just that during the absurd accusations against him when he commented on the ridiculousness of the Beatles' popularity by comparing it the popularity of Christ. He actually didn't mean what people accused him of at all. So it's not always chickenshit.


Except that John Lennon, after explaining what he actually meant, still apologized to the people who were upset nevertheless:
" I'm sorry I opened my mouth. I'm not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I wasn't knocking it or putting it down. I was just saying it as a fact and it's true more for England than here. I'm not saying that we're better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it's all this."
There's a difference between "how dare you put words into my mouth I didn't mean it like that" and "I didn't mean it like that, I meant it like this, but I can see how you you thought it like that, and sorry that it came out wrong/unclearly". Only one of those things is chickenshit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:29 PM on February 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


I was ready to like last night's show. I am not deterred by "edgy" humor and I understand the difficulty that the Oscars, in particular, have of trying to work within the modern zeitgeist while still maintaining their unique obligation to uphold a certain amount of respect for old-school Hollywood tradition.

But Seth MacFarlane's jokes made me curse out loud at my TV. It wasn't just the easy misogyny/racism/homophobia/xenophobia/anti-Semitism... or that they were so unfunny. Even the non-offensive ones. And they really were unfunny, by the way. They were lame and juvenile and obvious and trite and, honestly, an offense to the show's budget and to the Academy and to people who love movies.

Somehow I just couldn't get out of my head what made Dave Chappelle quit his show:
The third season hit a big speed bump in November 2004. He was taping a sketch about magic pixies that embody stereotypes about the races. The black pixie--played by Chappelle--wears blackface and tries to convince blacks to act in stereotypical ways. Chappelle thought the sketch was funny, the kind of thing his friends would laugh at. But at the taping, one spectator, a white man, laughed particularly loud and long. His laughter struck Chappelle as wrong, and he wondered if the new season of his show had gone from sending up stereotypes to merely reinforcing them. "When he laughed, it made me uncomfortable," says Chappelle. "As a matter of fact, that was the last thing I shot before I told myself I gotta take f_____— time out after this. Because my head almost exploded." (via Time magazine)
And you, sir, are no Dave Chappelle. I suspect of course that Seth will never get it, why this didn't "work," not just because his critics are a bunch of killjoys. That the majority of the billion people who watched the show were maybe not white, male, native-English-speaking, straight, non-fat, Christian, privileged bros. And that they, too, deserve the opportunity to laugh, and not just feel like they are yet again being laughed at for any reason other than being an easy target.

GOD that show pissed me off. (The ridiculous pandering farce of "the year of the musical" didn't help, though I give mad props to the diabolical geniuses on the PR teams for "Les Miz" and "Chicago").
posted by argonauta at 8:30 PM on February 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


But could you skip all that? Could Hollywood produce an all-night buddy-adventure comedy without any gay jokes or misogyny, and sell as many tickets? I think so, but maybe that's naivete and optimism.

I don't think that's too naive. Transformers 3 made a bunch of money, but lots of people hated it. Alien, Aliens, Terminator, Terminator 2, most of the Batman movies, the Spider-Man movies, Avengers, Paul Verhoven movies, Pineapple Express and other Seth Rogan stoner/action comedies - they all might have problematic elements but they also all made lots of money without any overt racism, gay panic or misogyny.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:30 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


And the Oscars would have been worth it if at least one award had started "The Oscar goes to Lincoln. Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter!"

I see. Argo wasn't a one-off: it's inherent to the system. America rips off Canada at the movies again.

Though additional research will probably show someone in Australia came up with the idea earlier.
posted by cardboard at 8:35 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would be more likely to start watching the Oscars again if there weren't any jokes at all, or just some very mild stuff that would allow me to watch it with kids, and it was just a forum to talk about what good movies have come out each year and the various crafts that go into making them. I would find that interesting on its own. I guess I am not the target audience.

I remember, rather vividly, staying up late with my parents and watching an fascinating film clip excerpt for Chief Dan George, nominated for best supporting actor in 'Little Big Man' in 1970. He didn't win.

From what I saw last night, the Shirley Bassey spotlight was really excellent, Adele was lame by comparison, and that virtually pointless 'Chicago' tribute was an embarrassment. What were they thinking?
posted by ovvl at 8:38 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Though additional research will probably show someone in Australia came up with the idea earlier.

Australians have a bad track record with vampire hunters, though maybe Lincoln ripped off Daybreakers.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:38 PM on February 25, 2013


I would be more likely to start watching the Oscars again if there weren't any jokes at all, or just some very mild stuff that would allow me to watch it with kids, and it was just a forum to talk about what good movies have come out each year and the various crafts that go into making them. I would find that interesting on its own. I guess I am not the target audience.

But most good movies, in general, have things you can't talk about with your kids. The Oscars favor blander fare over more intense movies, but they usually at least nominate a few intense ones.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:39 PM on February 25, 2013


If there had been an episode of Family Guy where Chris somehow got to host the Oscars, he would totally sing that song and it would indeed be kind of brilliant.

Yes, I do think part of the problem here is that MacFarlane typically voices these kinds of jokes through obviously idiotic characters like Peter and Chris. It just doesn't play well as satire or irony when there's no distance between MacFarlane the host and the distasteful humor. (And of course, there are many people who don't think that those jokes play well as irony or satire in the first place).

I think the song could have worked if it wasn't just about women and boobs but male nudity as well. I did giggle a bit when I thought of the advice given to public speakers that they should picture their audience naked. I think that had it been nudity of both sexes there is something pretty funny about a host conjuring up the nakedness of his super-famous audience at the most important industry event of the year, and that it's also funny given the juxtaposition of juvenile nudity jokes and breathtaking dramatic roles (he generally cited serious and critically acclaimed films). Seeing the Reader and taking away "BOOBS" is totally laughable, and that's personally how I took this joke. BUT even if I'm being charitable, he can't pull off the joke because of context. He was singling out women, and a joke that reduces actresses (and not actors) to their body parts (and doesn't otherwise say anything smart or original) is plainly sexist and misognyist. If it had men, it could have worked as a totally different kind of joke. Of course, given the state of the film industry it wasn't really possible to include male nudity, and here we are again back to the problems with the joke.

Finally, in all fairness, we did see their boobs.
posted by murfed13 at 8:41 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


And yet in other threads MeFites defend public nudity.

Exactly. In the minds of many, I am sure there is this cognitive dissonance about the expectations for us as a society. When we see a woman's breasts in public, say, breastfeeding, it is not supposed to be a big deal. But don't you dare sing a song about seeing breasts in a movie?

Your average Joe -- the one people seem concerned is going to adopt and/or maintain a sexist attitude--is NOT going to be able to remedy this current "boobs are no big deal, but tonight they are!" confusion and will continue to think that breasts are a big deal because every time they're brought up in a certain way, they become a big deal because of the same people who don't want them to be a big deal. So because he has never taken a women's studies course, average Joe is going to ask himself, "Are they a big deal or aren't they?!?!?!"

That's sort of what I was getting at in my previous post about the attention paid to dresses on the red carpet. The confusion again is something like, "Okay I can't be superficial about the woman's breasts but I can be superficial about what she is wearing? But wait a minute, I thought I am supposed to appreciate a woman for what's inside and not the dress and the makeup and the jewelry? No, wait, the red carpet is about appreciating fashion and not the woman? Oh, okay. So I can't tell her she has nice breasts and that I saw them in a movie but I can say that the dress makes her breasts look nice? Wait, I can't say ANYTHING about her breasts? But aren't we supposed to appreciate breasts? We are, but not because of how they look? Oh fuck it. I give up."

And please keep in mind that these are not the thoughts that I have personally -- these are what I imagine an average Joe to be thinking -- so don't attack me just let me know how this dissonance can be resolved.
posted by thorny at 8:51 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't figure out where the joke is in Jezebel's Cleavage, Sideboob and See-Through Dresses at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party article.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:53 PM on February 25, 2013


ovvl: "that virtually pointless 'Chicago' tribute was an embarrassment. What were they thinking?"

The producers of the Oscars last night, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also produced Chicago.
posted by sharkfu at 8:53 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The sound mixing on that Adele song was criminally bad as well.
posted by Artw at 8:55 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The producers of the Oscars last night, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also produced Chicago.
posted by sharkfu at 11:53 PM on February 25


THANK YOU. I was losing my mind trying to figure out who sold their soul to whom to explain that absurdity.
posted by argonauta at 8:56 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't figure out where the joke is in Jezebel's Cleavage, Sideboob and See-Through Dresses at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party article.

Is continuing to read Jezebel the joke?
posted by almostmanda at 8:56 PM on February 25, 2013


so don't attack me just let me know how this dissonance can be resolved

Because it's not about whether the woman is naked it's about whether you objectify her. If a woman wants to get naked, professionally or otherwise, to feel empowered, good for her. But if she chooses to do that she shouldn't be seen as some sort of sexual object because she chooses to do it.

For instance if your wife is dressed up for a fancy dinner she's doing it for herself and probably you as well because she likes to look good and it makes her feel good. When some twat on the street comes up to her and asks for a shag behind the dumpster in the alley he's objectifying her and said twat probably deserves to get his teeth knocked in.

What exactly is complicated about this concept?
posted by Talez at 8:59 PM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I know I'm late to the party but man, all those commentators who are ragging on a 9 year old girl for being excited that she's nominated for an Oscar, or to the AP reporter who couldn't even be bothered to learn her name, or to the middle-aged man who decided to use her as a tired prop about George Clooney's sex life in front of her parents and George Clooney's current paramour-- seriously? Not a single word about her actual role? Her actual acting preparation? It's on the front page of philly.com that the Onion called her a bad name, and that was a bad thing, and it's a shameful thing to have done, but I find it really sad that all the stories about her* come from terrible reporting and tasteless jokes.

*puppy purse photos excluded because seriously how adorable is that
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:11 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Dear Oscars:

Craig Ferguson
Jimmy Fallon
Amy Poehler
Tina Fey
Steve Carrell
Nick Offerman
Megan Mullaly
Conan O'Brien

And that's just off the top of my head. Any one of those works. Pick one and people will be happy. This shouldn't be that hard.
posted by dry white toast at 9:17 PM on February 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'd like to add Queen Latifah to that list.
posted by sculpin at 9:20 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


ominous_paws: "No matter how many long years you have been on Metafilter. (whatever you brought that up for, I guess)"

If you actually read my comments rather than making presumptions, you would know precisely why I wrote that. It was part of a sentence after all. One that was responding to your comment about my comment. You appeared to claim to know my internal thoughts when you stated that my comment was a function of some undefined privilege, thus my response about the privilege of knowing how things go here.
posted by wierdo at 9:20 PM on February 25, 2013


Joseph Gordon Levitt should host. Or Jessica Lange from American Horror Story. Or if they want to be sleazy, get David Duchovney.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:22 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


[A few comments deleted. If you are not trolling, please make an effort to look like you are not trolling.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:36 PM on February 25, 2013


Megan Mullaly

I'll allow this on three conditions.

1) Nick Offerman joins her in her hosting duties.
2) It's unscripted.
3) They're high as fuck.
posted by Talez at 9:39 PM on February 25, 2013 [20 favorites]


I can't get my head around the idea that anyone, while watching The Accused, would be thinking "heh heh, Jodie Foster's boobies! Yay!" Because, good Lord, that is revolting.

(I would LOVE to see Craig Ferguson host the Oscars. LOVE.)
posted by sarcasticah at 9:42 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


there is this cognitive dissonance about the expectations for us as a society. When we see a woman's breasts in public, say, breastfeeding, it is not supposed to be a big deal. But don't you dare sing a song about seeing breasts in a movie?

Dissonance? How can you not see the difference there? Singing a song bragging about how you saw a woman's breasts is the exact opposite of not making a big deal about seeing a woman's breasts.
posted by straight at 10:12 PM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


Oh and 4) A live performance of Wings of a Dragon with a sax solo from Pawnee's own Duke Silver.
posted by Talez at 10:15 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


But don't you dare sing a song about seeing breasts in a movie?

Yes, of course. Because the most important thing about Meryl Streep's performance in Silkwood was that you got to see her jugs.
posted by scody at 11:11 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Me: >>And in the U.S. in 2013, the majority of people do not believe this [the belief in sexual equality] is what "feminist" means.
KathrynT: >Sources that that's true of the majority of people?

What are you arguing, the distinction between plurality and majority? Or are you really asserting that the majority of Americans think "feminist" means precisely "the belief in sexual equality," nothing more and nothing less? I think it's pretty clear that there are a lot of other associations with that word. Most are very unfair, but there's no value in denying that reality.

Sources? OK, how about Caitlin Moran for example, who I assume you see as an ally.

When statistics come in saying that only 29 percent of American women would describe themselves as feminist, and only 42 percent of British women, I used to think: What do you think feminism is, ladies? What part of liberation for women is not for you?
posted by msalt at 11:31 PM on February 25, 2013


When will the Academy finally give Meryl Streep the respect she deserves, instead of always seeing her as a sex object?
posted by ShutterBun at 11:42 PM on February 25, 2013


To recover from this, next year's Oscars must be hosted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. There is no choice, really.
posted by mek at 11:42 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Describing oneself as feminist is not the same thing as defining feminism. (I am willing to bet both of you, KathrynT and msalt, a shiny new dollar that there is no representative national-level data concerning the definition of feminism from which either majority or plurality can be derived.)
posted by gingerest at 11:45 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


MisantropicPainforest: ""Irony--an excuse for anything and a reason for nothing" - Robert Chirstgau"

Absolutely. I am always reminded of this Zoe Williams essay which points out how
we're not the first age to use irony (as some insist), but we are the first to use it in this vacuous, agenda-free and often highly amusing way.
So we see expressions in media and in culture which basically seem to say "Hi, this bit of content is not a racist one, because it's 2013 and who's still racist, am I right?, but it's also not explicitly not-racist, because hey, it's 2013 and do we really still need to point out that we're not racist?", leaving the door wide open for the item to be as racist as its creators like. Same goes for sexism, homophobia, etc.

It's a kind of appeal to ideological opportunism that's tantamount to cultural nihilism, when you think about it. And as mechanisms to feign absolution of one's ideological responsibility go it can be quite subtle, so it's good to be aware of when it happens.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:50 PM on February 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


Me: >>And in the U.S. in 2013, the majority of people do not believe this [the belief in sexual equality] is what "feminist" means.
KathrynT: >Sources that that's true of the majority of people?


The majority of people may be incorrect in attempts to define many words. That isn't really a reason to start using these word incorrectly.
posted by chapps at 11:50 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is definitely some very weird stuff going on with what people think feminism means. I found a 2009 CBS poll. Only 24% of women self-identify as feminist. However, when you provide this definition along with the question...A FEMINIST IS SOMEONE WHO BELIEVES IN SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY OF THE SEXES.

...The self-id number jumps to 65%, a massive swing. I think in some cases people agree with the goals of feminism but disagree with some of the political efforts they take. A lot of conservative folks, for example, hate affirmative action policies and associate them with feminists and other equality movements. They see that as a policy that does not promote equality which, if true, would be in conflict with the definition of feminism.

If there aren't detailed studies to see what people think feminism means, maybe there should be. It's harder to correct the misconceptions when you can't be precisely sure what they are.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:50 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Humiliating actresses (who are sitting right there in front of you) by letting them know that even though they were trying to inspire people with a good story about rape, they aren't worth anything more than a quick wank? Just reducing them to a body part? That's a low blow. Making sex jokes about a kid on what could well be the most exciting night of her life is gross. Jewish people run Hollywood, black people all look the same, some people have weird accents... this is what passes for edgy humour?

I like a good fart joke as much as the next person, but this was just a steaming pile of crap. I cannot take anyone seriously who tries to defend such tired, hurtful and old-fashioned bullshit. Claiming that it's pointed commentary on Hollywood mores, or that it was ironic or satiric shows that you don't actually know what those words mean. It makes you look like you've never seen any comedy more sophisticated than Two and a Half Men, or Funniest Home Videos.
posted by harriet vane at 1:10 AM on February 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


I think this is the point where I just zone out into a fantasy timeline where, instead of bringing back Family Guy, Fox instead resurrects Firefly in '03.

Seriously, in all the multiverse, this is how the waves just had to collapse?

Hell, a universe with a decade of Greg the Bunny would've been an improvement.
posted by MoTLD at 1:50 AM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Personally I thinkThe best thing about the "I Saw Your Boobs" song was thinking about how great Amy and Tina's "I Saw Your Dick" song will be next year.

I'm holding out for the 'You Showed Your Ass' rewrite.
posted by Kit W at 2:11 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


But his entire brand is crossing the line.

I don't know ... I don't think a comedy product on Fox can cross the line, exactly. Its transgressive nature is part of that product.

MacFarlane's brand seems to me to be affectionately revisionist takes on silly cultural ephemera. All his shows are sort of nested takes on stupid cultural ephemera - Family Guy is drawing on the same set of silly cultural ephemera as The Simpsons - where improbable things happen to a blue-collar sitcom family - while itself also riffing on The Simpsons itself, and other pop culture ephemera (Stewie Griffin being initially modelled on Bobut from Aliens in the Family, e.g). American Dad is in part drawing from the silly cultural ephemera of the middle-class family sitcom and in part from the stupid ephemera of the spy show, thrown in with the family sitcom and the alien-in-the-family comedy of ALF, und so weiter. And then there are the endless cutaways to other bits of stupid cultural ephemera - 80s dance movies, Saturday morning toy cartoons and so on.

Before the event, my main response to MacFarlane being appointed was "Huh. The Academy has acknowledged that the Oscars is silly cultural ephemera. That's unexpected, but possibly timely". After the event, I suppose that we are at least finding that there is a way to get people to take the Oscars seriously...
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:12 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really don't get all the arguments that it doesn't much matter because the Oscars are stupid anyway. Is degrading women and children only serious when it happens somewhere serious?

Because if that's what people think, then what you're really saying is that when someone degrades women and children, the only victim that matters is the reputation of the place they did it in. If it's a place of poor repute, no harm done, or at least, no harm that you care about.

And if that's what you think, you need to think a little harder.
posted by Kit W at 2:19 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure if that was a direct response to me, Kit. If so, it's an eccentric reading...
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:47 AM on February 26, 2013


> "Personally, I'm still holding out hope that she gets to have sex with someone she loves at whatever time in her life is appropriate for her and at her discretion. Good sex. I hope that for everyone. Who the hell wouldn't?"

And do you say so, apropos of pretty much nothing, to every nine year old you happen to encounter?
posted by kyrademon at 3:17 AM on February 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


@running order squabble fest - no, it was about the thread in general.
posted by Kit W at 3:26 AM on February 26, 2013


I'm a few hundred comments late, but can we send Nellie McKay after Louis CK?
posted by pxe2000 at 3:36 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's sort of what I was getting at in my previous post about the attention paid to dresses on the red carpet. The confusion again is something like, "Okay I can't be superficial about the woman's breasts but I can be superficial about what she is wearing?

I think there's something wrong with red-carpet coverage when the wire feeds lead with nipples and side-boobs and bury a description of the fashion in the second and third paragraph.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:48 AM on February 26, 2013


Ah! OK, Kit - thanks, for the clarification. I just had one of those "wait, did I just give exactly the wrong impression?" moments.

As an aside - and I don't think it's been posted yet, although long thread - I thought that Laura Hudson's piece on The Onion's tweet and response pretty much nailed it.
Context, as always, is crucial; the tweet came in the midst of an Academy Awards ceremony which also featured – courtesy of host Seth MacFarlane – an opening song titled “We Saw Your Boobs” whose lyrics reduced a long list of famous actresses to the movies where they could be seen topless; a tasteless joke about domestic violence; Jennifer Aniston inexplicably being called a stripper, and a comment that attributed the dogged focus of the Zero Dark Thirty analyst who helped catch Osama bin Laden to “every woman’s innate ability to never let anything go,” among other things.

Ostensibly, The Onion’s tweet points out the toxicity of the language our media, politics and culture use toward women by directing that same sort of gendered contempt toward a female that most people would agree doesn’t “deserve” it: a child. (The corollary being: Why do we think adult women “deserve” it?) That’s what often makes art and comedy useful, after all — their ability to point out the absurdities in the things we never question, in new ways that make us see them differently or feel differently about them.

The problem – as The Onion quickly realized, deleting the tweet within an hour – is that in the process of trying to satirize the media’s cruelty toward women, they ended up accidentally perpetuating it.
The whole thing reminds me a lot of the Korean proverb "when whales fight, shrimp get crushed". The Oscars, MacFarlane and The Onion are all well-established entertainment brands, whereas Quvenzhané Wallis is an African-American child actress, and thus an intersection of elements likely to endanger one's career in American showbusiness. Statistically, this is likely to be her only Oscar nomination, whereas this is a footnote in the histories of MacFarlane, the Academy and the Onion, and it would have been nice if these were not the things people were going to remember about it.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:56 AM on February 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


Except that John Lennon, after explaining what he actually meant, still apologized to the people who were upset nevertheless

I realize this of course and think that the apology was unfortunate and not required, it didn't help the ignorant people understand the meaning of what he said whatsoever because it was obvious from the get go but it was an opportunity to rage rage rage for some.
posted by juiceCake at 4:38 AM on February 26, 2013


"...deeply embarrassing and creeping out a nine year old on her big night in front of a shit-illion people."

Kids this age will likely not understand the humor that the writer(s) intended. Adults may have thought it was hilarious, but really, this was her biggest night in her life so far, and I thought it was really crude and insulting to even include her in the joke.

As some have said here, you choose this guy to host the Oscars, you get what you pay for.
posted by sundrop at 5:13 AM on February 26, 2013


Exactly. In the minds of many, I am sure there is this cognitive dissonance about the expectations for us as a society. When we see a woman's breasts in public, say, breastfeeding, it is not supposed to be a big deal. But don't you dare sing a song about seeing breasts in a movie?

I don't understand how or why you're equating breastfeeding to McFarlane's song. Breastfeeding is making sure a baby is being fed. "I saw your boobs" was reducing talented women in good movies to just their breasts.

Silkwood was about a variety of subjects, but seeing Meryl Streep's breasts wasn't one of them. Scarlett Johansson's phone was hacked and private photos shared with the internet. She didn't even get the option of choosing to go topless in a movie, the decision was made for her. Jodie Foster's nudity in The Accused was related to rape. All of these things were included in the song, so again, I'm having trouble seeing your comparison with breast feeding or general nudity.

Was Macfarlane making meta commentary about Hollywood and society's obsession with women as sex objects, even in situations that don't involve sex? Possibly. But the medium is yadda yadda. Delivering that commentary in big broadwayesque musical number doesn't subvert the meaning, it enforces the meaning. It becomes more ok to treat women in this manner, to their face, no matter how talented they are, even at a goddamn awards banquet, where people are usually putting on their best behavior.

Am i surprised that even the creator of Family Guy would do that? Yes. There's a time and place for what he did and the Oscars wasn't it. Macfarlane recognizes that boundary and took great joy in zooming past it, but I can't laugh along with him this time. Because for all of his intelligence and self awareness seems to have been tossed out of the window, by himself, for the personal glee at being able to pull off off a sly, "in your face" sketch. It's all about him, wrapped up in a shiny package of "but it's just joke and/or commentary" and there's already enough of that in the world.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:18 AM on February 26, 2013 [16 favorites]


Kids this age will likely not understand the humor that the writer(s) intended

I don't think you're giving this young woman enough credit. She will understand the "joke", but I doubt she'll see the "humour" because there is none.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:25 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's been like 36 hours. Why hasn't MacFarlane been drawn and quartered yet? I would have been certain they would have been able to catch him by now.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:47 AM on February 26, 2013


Sean, consider how many McFarlane apologists there are just here on this one thread on Metafilter. Now project that percentage of apologists out unto the much larger population.

Given that - exactly why do you think that McFarlane is going to suffer any severe fallout as a result of this? Especially when he was falling back on "humor" that often is the norm in the population at large?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:52 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Exactly why?

Because I still believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. The little lies that allow us to believe the big ones, like truth, justice, mercy, compassion and love.

I am frequently disappointed, of course, but without hope and desire and pressure for a better world, we are nothing more than worms.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:04 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


...exactly why do you think that McFarlane is going to suffer any severe fallout as a result of this?

Especially since the Oscar ratings are way up this year.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ratings were up overall. And, MacFarlane moved the needle on the desirable demographic:
While Hollywood's annual celebration of itself has always skewed female—in the past 20 years, female viewers have accounted for 62 percent of all Oscars deliveries—MacFarlane helped scare up a much younger, more boyish, cohort. Adults 18-34 were up 20 percent year-over-year, reaching a six-year high with an 11.3 rating. Men 18-34 were up 34 percent, while men between the ages of 18 and 49 years improved 16 percent.
I guess LGBT people, people of color, women, and Jews remain profitable targets.
posted by gladly at 6:07 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


And stupid Argo won everything.

Fuck the world.

(Still, wouldn't be the Oscars if it wasn't a bit of a disaster an d largely wrongheaded.)
posted by Artw at 6:36 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


In 1989, Do the Right Thing was not even nominated [for best picture]. What film won best picture in 1989? Driving Miss Mother F—ing Daisy! That’s why [Oscars] don’t matter. Because 20 years later, who’s watching Driving Miss Daisy?….There are many times in history where the best work does not get awarded... And I’m not even talking about my own work. So that’s why [the Oscars] don’t matter.
-- Spike Lee
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:00 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Hollywood or would they not..."
posted by Burhanistan at 7:09 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm looking at the 1989 nominees, and it's a pretty terrible field. I was excited to see Valmont on there, though.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:28 AM on February 26, 2013


We watched as many of the nominee for major awards as we could, as is our habit every year, and saw some pretty great stuff. Argo was good, but frankly not as good as a lot of the others and considerably more bland. If they'd even just resisted the urge to put in the stupid chase at the end I'd maybe be a little less bugged by it.

...Zero Dark Thirty stomps the rest to bits, let's face it, but that one was never going to win.
posted by Artw at 7:50 AM on February 26, 2013


Another year that shows the Oscars don't know what they're talking about.
posted by maryr at 8:03 AM on February 26, 2013


My personal Oscar irritation is that Pixar usually wins by default. It feels like feature film animation is converging on Pixar's style while the lush design of Chromet, Satrapi's B&W stylism, and the stop-motion innovations of Selick get pushed to to the margins.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:08 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Joseph Gordon Levitt should host.

Nobody wants to see a 3 hour thinly-veiled commercial for his artist cooperative thing. Even those of us who love him as an actor.

Regarding Lennon I realize this of course and think that the apology was unfortunate and not required,

When I was in my 20s I could identify a lot of occasions when an apology was unfortunate. Now there are many fewer that I think represent a Bad Act in and of themselves. Not everyone's opinion trajectory goes that way nor do I think it necessarily must/should. But personally I've decided that I am far more comfortable with people being upset by my actions - which I try to make just and ethical - than I am with them being offended by my statements that fail to communicate what I intended.

If the point of speaking is communication of an idea and instead someone feels angry or hurt because they believed I said something else then why would an apology be unfortunate? I regret, at least, a personal failure to communicate as well as I could have. If I could not possibly have communicated better then I regret that too. Lennon's apology seems to fit in that realm and I don't see how wishing he hadn't created rage and sorrow rather than communicating his real point is in any way an act of weakness.
posted by phearlez at 8:15 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


When comparing Brave with Frankenweenie, I'm not so sure that Pixar's win wasn't "by default."

My roommate didn't know who Seth McFarlane was, and her only remark when she first saw him was that he was cute. She was watching somewhat distractedly, though; she was part of the art department for Beasts Of The Southern Wild and her BFF was there to represent the production if it'd won best picture, so she spent most of the broadcast having a back-and-forth text conversation with her friend live on the scene.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:15 AM on February 26, 2013


When comparing Brave with Frankenweenie, I'm not so sure that Pixar's win wasn't "by default."

Paranormal was much better than either and it's shocking that Rise of the Guardians wasn't even nominated.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:22 AM on February 26, 2013


In 1977, Rocky won best picture. Now, Rocky isn't bad at all, by any stretch, but consider that the statue could have gone to Network, All the President's Men, Taxi Driver, Carrie, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, or The Tenant.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:22 AM on February 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


I vote Rocky.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:23 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Paranormal was much better than either and it's shocking that Rise of the Guardians wasn't even nominated.

I think this may be drifting into "to-may-to/to-mah-to" territory, and I'm gonna skip it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:31 AM on February 26, 2013


I'm pretty sure it's mathematically impossible for a movie to be better than Taxi Driver, due to the limitations of time and space. Rocky is a movie, it's not terrible, it's got some iconic lines. But if Best Picture actually went to the movie that was the best, it would have gone to Taxi Driver, is the important thing to take away from that example.

The best movie of 2012, at least of the ones I've seen, was Cloud Atlas, and it stings me that it wasn't even nominated. But it'll be remembered past any of the movies we saw this year, except for perhaps Django or Zero Dark Thirty. The Oscars are a fun party, not a meaningful indictment of the modern state of cinema.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:37 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the point of speaking is communication of an idea and instead someone feels angry or hurt because they believed I said something else then why would an apology be unfortunate?

In some cases absolutely. When you get a bunch of people burning your work for a reason they invented, then sure, don't bother apologizing. He had nothing to apologize for. Sure, it's unfortunate that the education system has failed so many but that's not his fault. It's sad, and I'm sorry for that as well, but he owed them no apology whatsoever, the reverse is true I'd say. Should we be apologizing to Mitt Romney and a lot of conservatives because some of us who apparently have "liberal" tendencies offend them?
posted by juiceCake at 8:41 AM on February 26, 2013


I think the comparison of breastfeeding to acting with bare breasts is that both are situations where a woman doing a job (feeding her kid or acting) is objectified and treated as if her tits are the most important part of her (as opposed to her role as mother or her acting skills, respectively.)
posted by NoraReed at 8:46 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, movie quality is subjective of course. I think you are, if we are going to treat this as an objective measure, underselling Rocky with the description "not terrible." They are both great movies.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:47 AM on February 26, 2013


I'd give it to Taxi Driver over Rocky, but it's a close call. Both have stood the test of time far better than Network.
posted by Artw at 8:51 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


sarcasticah: "I can't get my head around the idea that anyone, while watching The Accused, would be thinking "heh heh, Jodie Foster's boobies! Yay!" Because, good Lord, that is revolting.

(I would LOVE to see Craig Ferguson host the Oscars. LOVE.)
"

Well, I'm not going to lie. There is exactly ONE reason I watched Blake Edwards' SOB.

Wanna guess?
posted by Samizdata at 8:55 AM on February 26, 2013


I don't understand how or why you're equating breastfeeding to McFarlane's song.

I think thorny is correct (and I didn't mean to direct my earlier reply at him personally) that this sort of thoughtless self-centeredness about this kind of thing is pretty common. Too many people think, "So, what am I allowed to say? What am I allowed to laugh at? When am I allowed to talk about or look at a woman's breasts?" instead of, "What does this kind of humor do to women? What does it do to women when we make a big fuss about public breastfeeding? What does it do to women when we stare at their breasts all the time? How will this particular girl feel if I make this particular joke about her?"
posted by straight at 8:57 AM on February 26, 2013 [39 favorites]


Both have stood the test of time far better than Network.

So, fisticuffs, eh?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:59 AM on February 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, Network is GREAT, but definatly full of 70s stuff that pulls you out of the story.
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Boobs.

Just getting you back on track.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:05 AM on February 26, 2013


Paranormal was much better than either and it's shocking that Rise of the Guardians wasn't even nominated.

Quick note - Paranorman.
posted by maryr at 9:06 AM on February 26, 2013


(Just getting you back off track.)
posted by maryr at 9:06 AM on February 26, 2013


straight, I would favorite that a million times if I could. Yes, thank you, exactly.
posted by KathrynT at 9:06 AM on February 26, 2013


I'd give it to Taxi Driver over Rocky, but it's a close call. Both have stood the test of time far better than Network.

I won't argue that any of those three films was so patently better than the other two that the Best Picture was a travesty, but if we're judging based on the test of time, you cannot set aside the sequels to Rocky making the original look kinda stupid.
posted by Etrigan at 9:16 AM on February 26, 2013


[Folks, we're having a discussion with a group here, maybe leave your own leering comments for a thread where they're more appropriate?]
posted by jessamyn at 9:16 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Network comes off now as an equal mixture of absolute prophetic genius and dated crap that feels like it wants to be insightful but isn't. I can't seriously entertain the suggestion that Rocky is anywhere near the movie Taxi Driver is, but we were talking about boobs? Specifically, how stupid it is to compare breastfeeding to Seth MacFarlane?

Because here's why it's stupid. When we talk about breastfeeding not being a big deal, we mean it's not a big deal. When Seth MacFarlane sings a song about how important seeing boobs is in a movie where boobs are kind of incidental to what's really happening, he's making boobs a big deal.

I mentioned Mulholland Drive a while back, and how MacFarlane sung about seeing Naomi Watts naked in it. And if you've seen Mulholland Drive, you'll know that her boobs are probably the least erotic part of the scene in which we see them. There's a ridiculous chemistry between her and Laura Harring, driven by the intensity of the situation they're in (Harring can't remember who she is, Watts has tried to help her escape the dark-suited men who seem to be hunting her everywhere, and they just broke into what they thought was her home to find a rotting corpse inside), and by this very sinister, pervasive feeling that the two women are connected in ways we don't understand yet.

Throughout the movie, the colors red and pink are used to denote the two women – Harring, red, is mysterious and alluring and unknown, whereas Watts, pink, is perky and naive and in many ways a cliched Hollywood protagonist. The sex scene in the movie, which truly is one of the best romantic sequences in any movie I know, mirrors this: Watts comes off as uncertain, confused, swept away by her feelings for Harring, and we get this sense that even though Watts controls the situation (to the extent that it's her house this is happening in, she makes the first move, hell, she knows her own name), she's kind of floating in Harring's wake. And this is all important because there's much more to these two people than we've seen, and we're seeing the narrative of what we thought was going on unravel just a little bit further. Which in itself adds to the eros of the scene, because what's dangerous or mysterious is always more alluring than what's easy or known.

So, yes, there's nudity involved there. But the nudity is incidental. You could have shot the same scene and kept both actresses clothed and lost close to nothing. What's really happening is expressed in eyes and mouths, in lighting and set design, in camera angle and editing. Mulholland Drive's director has shot plenty of sex scenes without any nudity at all, and kept that charged tension plenty. The boobs were there because boobs are a normal thing to happen during sex, but that scene had very little to do with those boobs' presence.

(By the way, if we're gonna argue how stupid Best Picture noms are, let's talk about how Mulholland Drive wasn't even nominated, and how even among the nominees, A Beautiful Mind beat out The Fellowship of the Ring. Mulholland Drive was the best picture of any of those, but if you're going by "influence on popular culture and the nature of Hollywood filmmaking" standards, The Fellowship of the Ring was the nominee that should have won.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:19 AM on February 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


Oh, Network is GREAT, but definitely full of 70s stuff that pulls you out of the story.


I see your point. But to be fair, it is hard to both make a movie that is timeless and ACCURATELY PREDICTS THE FUTURE.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:20 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've run out of favorites thanks to this thread but so much word to your post Rory.
posted by sweetkid at 9:26 AM on February 26, 2013


it is hard to both make a movie that is timeless and ACCURATELY PREDICTS THE FUTURE.

Indeed. 20 years before Network, there was this.
posted by ambrosia at 9:31 AM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


(By the way, if we're gonna argue how stupid Best Picture noms are, let's talk about how Mulholland Drive wasn't even nominated, and how even among the nominees, A Beautiful Mind beat out The Fellowship of the Ring. Mulholland Drive was the best picture of any of those, but if you're going by "influence on popular culture and the nature of Hollywood filmmaking" standards, The Fellowship of the Ring was the nominee that should have won.)

Just like how Tolkien meant for the trilogy to be a single book, the movies more or less have to be judged as a single entity. The Academy was so clearly holding its breath over the whole LOTR trilogy that they might as well have called the Oscars for A Beautiful Mind and Chicago "Best Picture In Escrow In Case Peter Jackson Fucks It Up." (Like how so many Supporting Actor/Actress awards are Lifetime Achievement in all but name.)
posted by Etrigan at 9:32 AM on February 26, 2013


When comparing Brave with Frankenweenie, I'm not so sure that Pixar's win wasn't "by default."

I didn't, I'm looking at the history of an award that was intended to promote animated feature film development, during which, Pixar has been nominated 9 times, and won 7. More importantly, the general CG school of animation that Pixar does so well has won 10 out of 12 awards, the exceptions being Miyazaki (2002) and Ardman (2005, in a field with no CG nominees).

Frankenweenie was the only one of this year's nominations that I've not seen yet. My personal opinion is that Paranorman was better visually, and Ralph a stronger script. I'm not on the badwagon that Brave was a terrible harbinger of the fall of Pixar. Brave was a good film. But the selection of Best Animated Feature follows the general trend of the Academy picking safe and popular.

Back to the boobs. In my experience of clothing-optional spaces, there's a bit of a taboo when it comes to drawing attention to or commenting on body parts. In those contexts, saying, "I saw your boobs" is creepy. In the context of nudity as a political protest, saying, "I saw your boobs" is largely missing the point. Advocating that women shouldn't be charged with a felony for exposing a nipple isn't advocacy that adults should point and gawk at them.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:41 AM on February 26, 2013


What is sort of interesting is that, given McFarlane would have died on9/11 but for a hangover, he spent the next ten years finding promoting his "ironical" shtick. I mean, don't near-death experiences usually promote transcendence, as opposed to dead-eyed cynicism?
posted by angrycat at 9:43 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think he honestly enjoys what he does and doesn't see it as harmful. There is a divide among people about how they view comedy. Some people will laugh at a funeral because it makes them feel better in the face of a very serious loss, some people will be unable to view that as anything but disrespectful and trivializing a tragedy. Some people can honestly be progressive and respectful of women or minorities but love offensive shock humor. They see it as not-serious by definition and can't understand why people would see it otherwise. You have to develop some empathy though when you are in a group that mixes those people together. It may be right for Family Guy (debatable, I understand), but definitely wrong for The Oscars.

Seth has become monstrously rich and successful, so maybe he's just really good at the cynicism.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:53 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is a divide among people about how they view comedy. Some people will laugh at a funeral because it makes them feel better in the face of a very serious loss, some people will be unable to view that as anything but disrespectful and trivializing a tragedy. Some people can honestly be progressive and respectful of women or minorities but love offensive shock humor. They see it as not-serious by definition and can't understand why people would see it otherwise.

Also some people are sexist and/or racist and/or homophobic and/or assholes.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:06 AM on February 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


--->"Tom Hardy we saw your junk in Bronson"

Urgent Note to Self: Rent BRONSON.
posted by MoxieProxy at 10:10 AM on February 26, 2013



Also some people are sexist and/or racist and/or homophobic and/or assholes.


Yup, and that's why the appropriateness of the offensive content in Family Guy is debatable even if Seth isn't one of those things and the audience is opting in for it.

"It's funny because I'm not being serious and this isn't true, isn't what I said whacky and crazy?" v. "It's funny cause it's true and I'm daring enough to say it." You don't want to encourage the second reaction but you are going to do so when you aim offensive jokes against minorities/non-privileged groups.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:10 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


But imagine how it would have gone if Anne "Fucking" Hathaway had co-hosted with MacFarlane. *That* would have been worth watching.
posted by stet at 10:12 AM on February 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


But imagine how it would have gone if Anne "Fucking" Hathaway had co-hosted with MacFarlane. *That* would have been worth watching.

The money quote:
Well, it was obviously an unfortunate incident ... It kind of made me sad on two accounts. One was that I was very sad that we live in an age when someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment, and rather than delete it and do the decent thing, sells it. And I'm sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants, which brings us back to Les Mis, because that's what the character [Fantine] is. She is someone who is forced to sell sex to benefit her child because she has nothing and there's no social safety net so yeah—let's get back to Les Mis.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:24 AM on February 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


Side note: every discussion of this that I've seen has drawn an equivilance to seeing a dude's genitals, which is interesting in itself. If a woman's sexuality is gonna get reduced to a body part, it's the breasts, not the vulva (or vagina or clitoris). With the exception of a few comments about seeing a man's ass, a hypothetical song about male nudity would focus on the genitals. It's an illustration of societal focus.
posted by NoraReed at 10:39 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


MacFarlane won't be hosting the Oscars again. I wish the Academy had said it first, but either way, I'm glad.
posted by peppermind at 10:45 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


MacFarlane won't be hosting the Oscars again. I wish the Academy had said it first, but either way, I'm glad.

As referenced in that article and elsewhere:
"Who knows how this will go. Even if it goes great, I just don't think that I could do this again. It's just too much with everything else that I have to do. I'm happy to be doing it and I will be thrilled to have done it, assuming I get out of there in one piece, but I really think this is a one-time thing for me."
posted by ericb at 11:01 AM on February 26, 2013


>>And in the U.S. in 2013, the majority of people do not believe this [the belief in sexual equality] is what "feminist" means.
Chapps: The majority of people may be incorrect in attempts to define many words. That isn't really a reason to start using these word incorrectly.


"We're brainy intellectuals and feminism is a great thing even if you guys are all too stupid to understand what it really means. So we're just going to keep saying feminism when we mean equal rights for women, until you all get a fuckin' clue."

Yeah, that should help the cause a lot.
posted by msalt at 11:03 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


but he owed them no apology whatsoever

(A) There's distance between "not owed" and your initial assessment of the apology as "unfortunate," which is what I replied to. (B) One can opt to do things beyond simply what one owes others. The Onion didn't -owe- anyone an apology for that tweet; they could have explained the comedic attempt and walked it off. I think their action was unnecessary and beyond question the right thing to do.

When Hathaway said Well, it was obviously an unfortunate incident ... It kind of made me sad on two accounts she was classy and professional and man I kinda wish she'd been less so.

I'da preferred something like "Fuck you, Matt. Some asshole peddled an upskirt picture of me and you want to ask what I learned? I learned some people are scumbags behind cameras and other people are scumbags in front of cameras who rehash unpleasant pointless shit. Anyone who was so amazingly hot to see my bits could have just rented one of a couple of movies and gotten what they want. The only difference is that then I could have gotten to go out in public without this sort of private violation which gets repeated every time some two-bit hack forces me to be polite about it on tape to fill space between dish soap commercials."

And of course the fact that she can't just say that sort of thing is part and parcel with the saw your boobs junk. Even that much deviation from the "I learned to wear underwear/keep my legs together" script caused a tremendous amount of chatter.
posted by phearlez at 11:08 AM on February 26, 2013 [16 favorites]


Also some people are sexist and/or racist and/or homophobic and/or assholes.

Also some people are not.
posted by juiceCake at 11:18 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that should help the cause a lot.

What would you recommend? Retreat from the term 'feminism' because Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh convinced some people that it means women who hate men? Adopt some new term until that one gets slimed by talk radio, too?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:18 AM on February 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


Because here's why it's stupid. When we talk about breastfeeding not being a big deal, we mean it's not a big deal. When Seth MacFarlane sings a song about how important seeing boobs is in a movie where boobs are kind of incidental to what's really happening, he's making boobs a big deal.

No he isn't. But opinions differ.
posted by juiceCake at 11:20 AM on February 26, 2013


then what is he doing juiceCake?
posted by sweetkid at 11:24 AM on February 26, 2013


then what is he doing juiceCake?

Telling a joke that some people find incredibly offensive and society and child changing while others see it as being in character as an asshole and do not feel that breasts have not been made into a big deal.
posted by juiceCake at 11:27 AM on February 26, 2013


>"We're brainy intellectuals and feminism is a great thing even if you guys are all too stupid to understand what it really means. So we're just going to keep saying feminism when we mean equal rights for women, until you all get a fuckin' clue."

Yeah, that should help the cause a lot.


So you don't think there has been a backlash against "feminism" - the empowerment of women? And that part of this backlash has been an attempt to reframe what feminism is all about?

Then again, part of the beauty of feminism (and part of its problem) is that it is not an ideology with one central meaning. There are multiple "feminisms", although I suppose there is a central, unifying theme:

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
posted by KokuRyu at 11:29 AM on February 26, 2013 [11 favorites]



Telling a joke that some people find incredibly offensive and society and child changing while others see it as being in character as an asshole and do not feel that breasts have not been made into a big deal
.

so you think as long as someone is "in character as an asshole" whatever they say has no merit and no impact on society and culture? And people who are offended and do see the impact on society and culture, and on their own personal life, should do what exactly?

Also, "child changing?"
posted by sweetkid at 11:32 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


This just popped up on my feed:

Seth MacFarlane @SethMacFarlane
The Oscars is basically the Kobayashi Maru test.


He's not wrong I guess.
posted by Talez at 11:36 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Later in the film, after repeated inquiries from Saavik, Kirk says that the exercise is a true "no-win scenario," because there is no correct resolution--it is a test of character.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:43 AM on February 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


MacFarlane's solution to the Kobayashi Maru test is basically: blow up your own ship. Everybody's going to die no matter what you do, so why not take as many people out, yourself, as you can? Test: successful. Character: revealed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:47 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Seth MacFarlane @SethMacFarlane
The Oscars is basically the Kobayashi Maru test.


Cute, but he got the wrong 80s movie. The correct answer was "The Oscars is basically Global Theromuclear War."
posted by The World Famous at 11:50 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think it was more Spock who illustrated it was a test of character by sacrificing himself. Kirk simply rejected the idea of the no-win scenario, even if his solution may have revealed his character.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:58 AM on February 26, 2013


"It's funny cause it's true and I'm daring enough to say it."

This is one of the things that really gets to me about this whole thing and the reactions by some that it's 'edgy' and 'daring' to act this way, like we're living in this fascist feminist controlled world in which the majority/previous establishment has lost sway and everyone is tiptoeing around and being ever so careful to not offend or in any way disturb or inconvenience women and minorities and gay people (And the disabled, Health at any Size, anyone who can be determined in any way to have a "cause").

Because that is demonstrably not the world I'm living in, as a woman and Indian American person in the US today. And it's not the world I saw reflected in the Oscars, with a nine year old Oscar nominee getting sexual jokes thrown at her, at her expense, while patting Clooney on the back for being so awesome and rogue with the ladies. Or the many shots taken at women over the course of the evening.

I was watching the Oscars at a big viewing party, so some of my outrage was a bit delayed, but some other people and I at the party were plenty frustrated and upset as things went along. The Denzel Washington joke, the Jennifer Aniston stripper Joke, and the Quvenzhane Wallis/Clooney bit got to me the most, despite the fact that I mostly like Family Guy, didn't hate Seth MacFarlane going in, didn't blame the entire thing on him (writing team, producers, Academy honchos in general etc) even as it was unfolding. And I didn't storm out or do anything to ruin the mood of the party, but I just felt myself getting hot. I knew, I just knew, that a lot of the reaction online and from people in real life would be more of the same "people have no sense of humor, can't laugh at themselves." And it is just about always the same: white straight men make broad, stereotypical jokes about women, minorities, gays, and then when those groups are upset they/their defenders say "you can't laugh at yourself."

I don't recognize anything about myself in that sort of humor. I can see things to laugh about myself in jokes about yuppie Americans, maybe, but as an Indian American person. I see a lot of white male comedians (Zack Galifinakis, Daniel Tosh) make these jokes about Indians that are really just 9/11 jokes. Indians didn't have anything to do with 9/11. Indians are not Arab, many Indians are Hindu and not Muslim ( and have strong differences with Muslims) but a lot of white/nonIndian America doesn't even understand this.

I don't see anything in the joke that has anything to do with me, it's just wrong information (also, wrong information that has gotten Indians killed in hate crimes, so wrong and dangerous). Also, 7/11 jokes. My family doesn't have a 7/11, and neither does any Indian family I know. They are all doctors and engineers. And even if they did have a 7/11, so what?

So I'm supposed to laugh at myself because a white guy who makes broad stereotypes wants to tell me who I am and what I'm like? And if I don't like it, I'm humorless and can't laugh at myself? And that doesn't even get into all the laughing about myself I am supposed to do as a woman (you know, because we "can't let anything go," "boobs are hilarious, etc."

All it is is a convenient excuse for people to use because they found the joke funny, they don't indentify the joke as connected to real people with actual feelings, and that is the entire problem.
posted by sweetkid at 12:10 PM on February 26, 2013 [41 favorites]


v. "It's funny cause it's true and I'm daring enough to say it." You don't want to encourage the second reaction but you are going to do so when you aim offensive jokes against minorities/non-privileged groups.

Oh man. So one of the funniest things to me about the idea that "he is just a free, rule-breaking rebel truthteller speaking the truth that all you PC sheeple are scared to admit, that boobs are awesome and red-blooded men just love seeing them!!!"

is that all those self-imagined champions of The Truth will DENY that exact same thing is the truth, when it works against some of their other arguments.

Like uh, when women object to gratuitous nudity in entertainment. Then it's like, "This is ART and you just don't appreciate this ART and who are you to question the artistic choices of this AUTEUR and silence him all his life??"

Like when you bring up the fact that in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, something like 5% of the artists are female, while over 90% of the nudes are female. No, it has NOTHING to do with sexual tittilation whatsoever. It is JUST ART.
posted by cairdeas at 12:36 PM on February 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


And you know, it's so funny that even though many women have been saying for decades that there is such an unbalanced ration of female:male nudity in art, entertainment, and advertising for no other reason than the people in power find it sexually tittilating, and all these men have been denying it, when it's fratty male assholes saying it, suddenly it becomes this bold truth that women are just shocked by because women can't handle the truth and are PC nannies. It is hilarious. I'm actually glad though that it has now been acknowledged and admitted! Even if it will be denied later on.
posted by cairdeas at 12:41 PM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Zack Galifinakis

Oh, shit. I like him, that's super disappointing. I hadn't heard anything awful from him.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:43 PM on February 26, 2013


The Awful Gender Politics of "We Saw Your Boobs":
In a culture with a healthy attitude about sex and sexuality, McFarlane’s song would have no sting at all, because nudity in film would be a completely different sort of animal: it wouldn’t be compulsory for actresses to draw that “I am pure and don’t ghet naked”/”I am fallen and thus am only good for getting naked” line, and there wouldn’t be shame associated with having been naked on screen. There would be no sting in McFarlane smugly taunting women whose boobs he’s seen.

We don’t, yet, live in that culture. And when Seth McFarlane plays “sex is a contest and YOU LOST, Kate Winslet” for laughs, it’s depressingly clear how far we are from it.
posted by ambrosia at 12:44 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Zack Galifinakis

Oh, shit. I like him, that's super disappointing. I hadn't heard anything awful from him.


I like him too, but at the opening of this comedy special he was making a 9/11-7/11 joke (that's the crux of these jokes, it's basically like 'oh this Indian guy was opening a 7/11, but he got confused and called it a 9/11 instead - that was the Galifinakis joke) and I couldn't watch the rest of the special.

I don't even understand what's supposed to be funny about that. And the guy with him was like -- "ooh burn!!" And I was like what? WHAT BURN??
posted by sweetkid at 12:49 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ick.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:53 PM on February 26, 2013


In a culture with a healthy attitude about sex and sexuality, McFarlane’s song would have no sting at all, because nudity in film would be a completely different sort of animal: it wouldn’t be compulsory for actresses to draw that “I am pure and don’t ghet naked”/”I am fallen and thus am only good for getting naked” line, and there wouldn’t be shame associated with having been naked on screen.

Actually, this strikes me as a red herring. Because it's not about "is there shame about being naked", it's about "is there anything noteworthy about the performance aside FROM being naked".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:54 PM on February 26, 2013


I thought the point of the boobs song was "let's take these fancy people down a peg" which is why it would have been better/made more sense if it included scenes of Oscar gentlemen's naughty bits as well."
posted by sweetkid at 1:02 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's another thing - to me, if you can take a woman down a peg by telling her you've seen her breasts, then a woman displaying her breasts is demeaning herself. But these very same people are the ones who tell women that they feel demeaned by that kind of nudity that it is all in their heads, that they are just too repressed or uptight or puritanical.
posted by cairdeas at 1:09 PM on February 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


so you think as long as someone is "in character as an asshole" whatever they say has no merit and no impact on society and culture? And people who are offended and do see the impact on society and culture, and on their own personal life, should do what exactly?

I don't know about merit and frankly I don't care. It's not a political essay or some form of legislation that I have to worry about. As for impact on culture, I'd say in this case, very little. It certainly hasn't inspired myself or anyone I know, male, female, young or old, to believe that it's great to objectify people (be they male or female) and that women are the sum of their parts (see the Smiths song Some Girls are Bigger than Others for another take on how awful that line of thinking is). I don't know what people who are offended and perceive the impact on society and culture and their own personal life should do other than do and say whatever they want to. It's not up to me and I'm not going to proscribe it nor would I pretend that I should or that I have the right to tell them what to do.

People perceive things differently, clearly. Go with what your opinion is, I'm fine with that.

Also, "child changing?"

It has been said that this will influence children to a degree well beyond all the other things that influence them apparentlyh.
posted by juiceCake at 1:15 PM on February 26, 2013


As for impact on culture, I'd say in this case, very little. It certainly hasn't inspired myself or anyone I know, male, female, young or old, to believe that it's great to objectify people

It's clear that you either haven't read or don't understand the discussion here, but no one thinks this sort of thing "inspires" people to behave this way, it encourages the existing status quo that already says it is OK to act this way to go on doing that.
posted by sweetkid at 1:19 PM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


"let's take these fancy people down a peg"

My, oh, my. You know who should host the Academy Awards next year? Yes -- Kathy Griffin.

It's a room full of her comedic targets!
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like him too, but at the opening of this comedy special he was making a 9/11-7/11 joke (that's the crux of these jokes, it's basically like 'oh this Indian guy was opening a 7/11, but he got confused and called it a 9/11 instead - that was the Galifinakis joke) and I couldn't watch the rest of the special.

I don't even understand what's supposed to be funny about that. And the guy with him was like -- "ooh burn!!" And I was like what? WHAT BURN??


*sigh*

I don't find this sort of "humor" funny, either.

My husband is of very obvious Syrian extraction. His...friends...like to make crude remarks about going down to the 7/11 to see if any of "his people" are around. When he decided to grow a beard, they started calling him "Mark-moud Ahmadinejad". Right, because all dudes of Middle Eastern descent look alike as soon as they sprout facial hair. It bothers him, but he goes along with the "Dude, it's a JOKE!"

His friends are assholes.
posted by MissySedai at 1:25 PM on February 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't want fancy people taken down a peg. If I wanted that, I wouldn't watch the Awards at all. I want to celebrate excellence, and I wish the Academy focused on that. I'd love to see a host that toasted people, regardless of age or gender or race, for the quality of their work, instead of somebody who roasts them for the temerity of having shown their breasts in a rape scene, or being a woman and therefore almost certainly an ex-stripper, or being foreign and therefore almost certainly incomprehensible, or being a 9-year-old, or being Jewish, or being black and therefore indistinguishable from other black people.

Maybe he was playing a character. I would love it if next year they can pick somebody whose character is "gracious host."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:26 PM on February 26, 2013 [18 favorites]


You know who should host the Academy Awards next year? Yes -- Kathy Griffin.

I would actually *love* that.
posted by MoxieProxy at 1:26 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lena Dunham should host and then everyone not upset by this year's Oscars will be upset.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:30 PM on February 26, 2013 [8 favorites]



Lena Dunham should host and then everyone not upset by this year's Oscars will be upset


Ohh yes yes yes! And she should do the whole thing naked. And get a new tattoo right onstage in place of one of the dance numbers.
posted by sweetkid at 1:31 PM on February 26, 2013


Megan Mullaly

I'll allow this on three conditions.

1) Nick Offerman joins her in her hosting duties.
2) It's unscripted.
3) They're high as fuck.


They could perform this little ditty.
posted by homunculus at 1:36 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


If Lena Dunham hosted, she could sing "You saw my boobs. Every week. Every episode."
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:37 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want to go on record right now as predicting that Lena Dunham will win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay before the end of the decade.

And when it happens, you all have to by me a treat. Deal?

P.S. I've been a meta filter lurker for years, but just recently joined to post, and I'm not yet brave enough to start a thread, but wish there had been a place to discuss the other parts of the Oscar telecast.
posted by MoxieProxy at 1:38 PM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'll buy you a treat if that happens MoxieProxy.
posted by sweetkid at 1:41 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's clear that you either haven't read or don't understand the discussion here, but no one thinks this sort of thing "inspires" people to behave this way, it encourages the existing status quo that already says it is OK to act this way to go on doing that.

Have read, and I disagree, it doesn't do that at all. But, as I said, opinions differ but this doesn't mean one hasn't read the same thing.
posted by juiceCake at 1:42 PM on February 26, 2013


Maybe he was playing a character. I would love it if next year they can pick somebody whose character is "gracious host."

I would help pay to make that happen.

Actually, if we could time travel back to 1945 and get Bob Hope and Jimmy Stewart, that would be phenom.
posted by MissySedai at 1:42 PM on February 26, 2013


opinions differ but this doesn't mean one hasn't read the same thing.

No, not necessarily. But when you say that MacFarlane's performance "hasn't inspired myself or anyone I know, male, female, young or old, to believe that it's great to objectify people," it does seem like you're not understanding the conversation. Nobody is talking about specific inspiration. We're talking about culture.
posted by cribcage at 1:45 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]



Have read, and I disagree, it doesn't do that at all. But, as I said, opinions differ but this doesn't mean one hasn't read the same thing.


If all you want to do is cut and paste things and say "I disagree" then why are you even here ? On any other site where everyone is saying "lighten up, laugh at yourself, Seth is Awesome! It's just A JOOOKEEE" You are very much the majority everywhere. You don't need to explain that to us by cutting and pasting and saying "I disagree."

also what cribcage said.
posted by sweetkid at 1:46 PM on February 26, 2013


Welcome to Metafilter MoxieProxy!

I have observed (hence this is all YMMV) that usually they only keep one thread posted about each related topic within a period of time (maybe a week), which gets dubbed the thread "of" that topic, allowing that thread to creep a little in discussion.

So, a thread that starts out being about Seth MacFarlane's performance at the Oscars tends to become "the Oscars thread" for awhile, to the exclusion of other Oscars threads. Consequentially, it's usually okay to talk about other aspects of the show during it, since other Oscars threads will probably be pruned unless they can identify themselves as being distinct enough in subject.
posted by JHarris at 1:50 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


to me, if you can take a woman down a peg by telling her you've seen her breasts, then a woman displaying her breasts is demeaning herself.

Controlling the time, extent, and context in which women (and men) show their body is what's at question.

It's not the skin, it's the power over the skin.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:55 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Which would be a good segue way to a discussion about wardrobe disparity among genders at awards shows!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:58 PM on February 26, 2013


To the Retreat!
posted by gman at 2:23 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ironically, an Onion article linked in that Laura Hudson piece explains objectification really well.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:23 PM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yep, I love that one Charlemagne in Sweatpants
posted by sweetkid at 2:24 PM on February 26, 2013


Actually, if we could time travel back to 1945 and get Bob Hope and Jimmy Stewart, that would be phenom.

The funny thing is, some of the best episodes of Family Guy are the ones that are fond parodies of Crosby and Hope's Road Movies but with Stewie and Brian.

While I refer (frequently) to the Seth MacFarlane Comedy Colon Blockage, I have been reluctant to join in the mockery of the man here, although of his performance at the Oscars there has been rich and well-deserved ridicule.

Yet I can't help but see him as kind of a tragic figure, a good writer and animator who has lost his way. He can write good songs, those early Cartoon Network shorts were some of the better things the What A Cartoon program produced, and while I complain loudly and frequently about his shows the fact remains that often they end up on the screen because their competition tends to be even worse. And sometimes Family Guy and American Dad are pretty good, although often boorish, self-indulgent, and extremely vulnerable to Flanderization.

And yet... MacFarlane created the shows, but he isn't the whole writing staff. The Simpsons, Family Guy has been the victim of its own success; MacFarlane has actually been heard to say the show should probably die. It's like its return from cancellation didn't revive it fully, but doomed it to a kind of unlife, and now Family Guy staggers on, waiting for the kind stake to end its suffering.

Well, the stake hasn't come yet. And it is possible to see the writers, either emboldened by the show's deathlessness or maybe increasingly desperate for it to end, as getting stranger in their writing over time. This has resulted in episodes like these, which I affirm have all actually happened:
posted by JHarris at 2:27 PM on February 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


Those episode summaries are blowing my mind. I haven't actually seen the show in forever.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:31 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's like its return from cancellation didn't revive it fully, but doomed it to a kind of unlife, and now Family Guy staggers on, waiting for the kind stake to end its suffering.

I mostly agree. It's like those stories (I think these exist?) where a kid wishes his pet puppy or whatever back to life, and then it's all gross and pukey and torn apart and not fun and cuddly at all. And the kid is like no I wanted the opposite of this and the genie is all "be careful what you wish for you just might get it!"
posted by sweetkid at 2:32 PM on February 26, 2013


Yeah, American Dad did that one.

Kisses did soften Stan’s cold heart for a brief moment before being tragically killed by cat pirates in an air balloon.

I thought the worst had to be over when Kisses was turned into a puddle of blood in the middle of the street, but things were going to get much worse for Kisses.

In an attempt to make up for his past, Stan became obsessed with saving Kisses and eventually took the dog to an alternative veterinarian after the family vet said that there was no way to save the dog. That alternative vet was a complete nut job who reassembled Kisses into a horrifying frankendog.

posted by Drinky Die at 2:36 PM on February 26, 2013


It's like those stories (I think these exist?) where a kid wishes his pet puppy or whatever back to life, and then it's all gross and pukey and torn apart and not fun and cuddly at all. And the kid is like no I wanted the opposite of this and the genie is all "be careful what you wish for you just might get it!"

If the opposite is that I'm the zombie and the puppy is alive but disappointed, that would be cool, because hey! tasty, tasty puppy! But I digress. We were talking about how even the writers of Family Guy wish it would be taken out back and shot. Agreed. Please proceed with all due haste. We'll just wait right here. *taps foot, sizes up puppy, wonders what its brains might taste like*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:39 PM on February 26, 2013


Oh, American Dad. Stan Smith has done so many terrible things to his family over the years that they should just leave, but he always has his sad confession, and they always forgive him. Once or twice they've played with having them reject it, but it doesn't change the fact that the next season he'll have five or six more sad confessions which will be readily accepted.

Don't even get me started on Roger. They should just turn him in to the CIA.

We were talking about how even the writers of Family Guy wish it would be taken out back and shot. Agreed. Please proceed with all due haste. We'll just wait right here. *taps foot, sizes up puppy, wonders what its brains might taste like*

The problem with that is that writing for a prime time cartoon show is a pretty good gig. As long as Fox keeps paying them, they'll almost certainly keep making them.
posted by JHarris at 2:42 PM on February 26, 2013


1959. The nominees for Best Picture did NOT include Vertigo. In fact, Hitchcock-- one of the greatest directors that ever worked in Hollywood-- never won an Oscar for Best Director. The winner for Best Picture that year was....Gigi. Yes a light-hearted musical romp about training a young woman up to be the mistress of a wealthy man was considered the best movie produced in 1958.

Number of times I have watched Gigi........1
Number of times I have watched Vertigo...8...with many more times in the future I imagine.

The Academy does not always get it right.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:54 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes but Leslie Caron. And Hermione Gingold. But mostly Leslie Caron and that white dress with the black shoulder accents.
posted by PussKillian at 3:01 PM on February 26, 2013


holy shit I had no idea FG had gotten so bad. I stopped watching it many moons ago, and actually my boyfriend and I nicknamed our cat 'Hickadola' after the Chris song 'n dance number that was utterly nonsensical. As a wheelchair user, I thought the Charlie in the Chocolate Factory Parody wherein Joe gets tossed with some musical number slagging on people with disabilities (I had it memorized at one point; there's one riff that goes 'Do you feel your God has forgotten you' that I found hilarious. Because I have a fucked up sense of humor.

Those episodes summaries make me ask: What the Fuck. What the everloving fuck. I'm not the objecting to the episodes in and of themselves, tho' they are fucked up. Fine. Let them live on Adult Swim or even Fox, I don't care.

But -- I got the acting bug middle school through college. I have been a movie snob forever. I don't know about Argo but Lincoln was, apart from a few schmaltzy moments, pretty great. I am looking forward to Zero Dark Thirty, even though TORTUREYAY because I respect the people involved a great deal.

I was mostly shocked by what I read/saw of the Oscar stuff, because, Jesus. But now I would really like somebody -- whoever made the decision to choose McFarlane and whoever okayed all that stupid shit -- somebody needs to take the fall. I don't think that it's puritanical or having my panties in a bunch or whatever the fuck some bro thinks of it to say that, when you decide to shit over an aspect of culture that deserves some serious respect, you lose your fucking job.
posted by angrycat at 3:02 PM on February 26, 2013


a light-hearted musical romp about training a young woman up to be the mistress of a wealthy man was considered the best movie produced in 1958

Not to say that Gigi was better than Vertigo (there aren't a lot of films that you could make that argument for), but you're being a little too dismissive there. Gigi is based on a classic French novel by Colette, it stars a radiant young Leslie Caron as well as Louis Jourdain and Maurice Chevalier, it's directed by the great Vincente Minnelli and has songs by Lerner and Loewe. The AFI ranked it #35 on their list of the top 100 greatest love story films in US film history and it has been selected for the Library of Congress's "National Film Registry." By Oscar's standards--and ranking it simply against Oscar winning movies in general rather than by the "what should have won, in retrospect" standard--it's a pretty solid choice.
posted by yoink at 3:06 PM on February 26, 2013


...when you decide to shit over an aspect of culture that deserves some serious respect, you lose your fucking job.

But ratings increased. That's all that matters to some people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:07 PM on February 26, 2013


Gigi is based on a classic French novel by Colette,

Yes, and the Colette novel is much darker, almost as though Colette being a woman might understand the degrading prospect of being trained up as a child to be a whore. Whereas Minnelli went with "Thank Heaven For Little Girls."

Not a movie I enjoyed the first and only time I saw it and I love musicals. I will also never watch Gandhi again even though the subject matter is much more palatable.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:14 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gigi... Gandhi...

Gigli?

The conspiracy is deeper than we thought.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:19 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to wonder if the ratings increase was related to the train wreck factor.
posted by Big_B at 3:21 PM on February 26, 2013



I have to wonder if the ratings increase was related to the train wreck factor.


I assumed it had to do with both the marketing of the event [just The Ocars, not The 85th Annual Academy Awards] and also the "oooh I wonder what MacFarlane will do?" aspect. And I don't know about the rest of you but this year I was surprised I had actually seen a lot of the nominated movies which seemed different from recent years. Maybe just random.
posted by jessamyn at 3:31 PM on February 26, 2013


holy shit I had no idea FG had gotten so bad. I stopped watching it many moons ago,

One of the first things I saw when I returned to Canada after living overseas for 10 years was Family Guy, and it blew my mind. But after a season or two...
posted by KokuRyu at 3:43 PM on February 26, 2013


Tom Shales did not like the Oscars telecast. No sirree, Bob, he did not.

... Seth MacFarlane, a squirrelly little ham whose forte is producing dirty cartoons for television...

He turned out to be the proverbial triple threat; he not only couldn't sing or dance but he was no stand-up comedian, either.
posted by hanov3r at 3:44 PM on February 26, 2013



But ratings increased. That's all that matters to some people.


Surely the Powers That Be do not think that ratings increased because millions of people tuned in to see stupid sexist, racist, and homophobic jokes. After all, there was not much else on.
posted by caryatid at 3:45 PM on February 26, 2013


I didn't realize this Oscars had been billed as "Finally an Oscars the guys can enjoy," or something like that--which makes all the sexist stuff even more repugnant.
posted by torticat at 3:47 PM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


a light-hearted musical romp about training a young woman up to be the mistress of a wealthy man was considered the best movie produced in 1958

Although, the young man -- who's seen this young woman when she was younger and more carefree - suddenly realizes, when confronted with the prospect of her being his mistress, that the whole idea of having a mistress is really kinda skeevy to begin with, and decides to marry her instead.

I mean, yeah, but it doesn't celebrate being a courtesan as such.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:49 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


And it is possible to see the writers, either emboldened by the show's deathlessness or maybe increasingly desperate for it to end, as getting stranger in their writing over time. This has resulted in episodes like these, which I affirm have all actually happened:

Good lord. I did not think that I could see anything worse than Brian Griffin's 30-second vomit at the end of "Quagmire's Dad," but I'll be damned if the writers aren't trying to provide it. Jesus.

This kind of kills me, because the whole reason I started watching Family Guy was that Seth MacFarlane had written and directed some truly great cartoons for Hanna Barbera and Cartoon Network in the 1990s, including a short called "Larry and Steve," featuring a proto-Peter Griffin (Larry) and a proto-Brian (Steve). The theme was that Steve was a really smart dog, but the only human who could understand him when he talked was Larry, who was mindbogglingly stupid and subjected poor Steve to a series of (kid-friendly) pratfalls featuring out-of-control grocery carts. I thought Seth was adorable, and I loved that cartoon, and I was so stoked that it landed Seth a regular job, and for all the horrible stuff in Family Guy, there were always one or two jokes per episode that were not racist or misogynist or gross, but still managed to hit their mark, and were worth sitting through the rest of the show to see.

That was then, though. Now I'm not willing to sit through whatever the hell they're doing now for the payoff of something like Chris Griffin getting pulled into the video for "Take on Me" at the supermarket. The longer Family Guy and American Dad and Cleveland stay on the air, the worst the cost-benefit analysis becomes. After "Quagmire's Dad," I was done with Family Guy. Now I'm done with pretty much anything to which Seth is attached.
posted by bakerina at 3:57 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


More about the celebration of rape scenes for their boobalicious bounty of HI-larious titties:
Strange that one of the earliest films [The Accused] to look at a pervasive culture of violence against women — from barroom rape to verbal harassment, victim blaming to police harassment — should be used by MacFarlane to get a snicker from the audience. The film is also loosely based on the real-life gang rape of Cheryl Araujo, who was brutally assaulted by four men in a Massachusetts bar while other patrons passively watched it happen. Apparently they didn’t think violence against women was that big of a deal, either.

It’s during flashbacks to this bar rape scene that we see Jodie Foster’s breasts — as they are ripped from inside her shirt and violently exposed to her assailants.

Here is what film critic Roger Ebert had to say about the film in his 1988 review:

“Verbal sexual harassment, whether crudely in a saloon back room or subtly in an everyday situation, is a form of violence — one that leaves no visible marks but can make its victims feel unable to move freely and casually in society. It is a form of imprisonment.”

Here is MacFarlane’s take in 2013: “We saw your boobs.”
posted by scody at 3:59 PM on February 26, 2013 [21 favorites]


I mean, yeah, but it doesn't celebrate being a courtesan as such.

Exactly. While the film ain't problem-free, it's considerably more complex than "catchy songs about sex work." There's a fair amount of wry critique of gender roles, for instance, especially the performance of masculinity. Gigi herself is the most insightful character, and her point of view prevails. The reprise of "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" at the end says something quite different than the first version, which reflects the outmoded viewpoint of Chevalier's character that Gaston is weary of and eventually freed from by Gigi. He has a whole different reason to thank heaven than his uncle does.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:03 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I clicked over to the Oscars only long enough to see the UPROARIOUS and ASTOUNDINGLY ORIGINAL Ted/Wahlberg bit about how you have to suck up to the Jews because they control Hollywood, and that was enough for me. It sounds as if Scotty accidentally transported the entire show into an episode of Mad Men or something.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:20 PM on February 26, 2013


No, not necessarily. But when you say that MacFarlane's performance "hasn't inspired myself or anyone I know, male, female, young or old, to believe that it's great to objectify people," it does seem like you're not understanding the conversation. Nobody is talking about specific inspiration. We're talking about culture.

Sure, and extending that, I don't believe for a moment it will be a significant point in the local culture.

If all you want to do is cut and paste things and say "I disagree" then why are you even here ?


This is not what I've done at all. I'm here possibly for the same reason you are, to have a conversation.

You are very much the majority everywhere. You don't need to explain that to us by cutting and pasting and saying "I disagree."


Thank you for you wonderful advice. I respect your opinion, I disagreed with it by saying that I had a different viewpoint and presented that viewpoint (and I didn't cut and paste it).
posted by juiceCake at 4:22 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


What would you recommend? Retreat from the term 'feminism' because Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh convinced some people that it means women who hate men? Adopt some new term until that one gets slimed by talk radio, too?

I would recommend trying to communicate with the people you're trying to reach, by considering what they will think when they hear the words you say. Duh. "Feminist" and "feminism" are incredibly loaded, with lots of different and often conflicting meanings. If you're trying to persuade someone of an idea, or to support a new law, it's not a good choice because you're not sure what it will mean to them.

Choose words for the specific purpose, not to support your ideology or accomplish some secondary goal. If you want people to support the Violence Against Women Act, talk about how bad violence against women is, how all people have a right to not live in fear of being abused. Etc.

If you think Seth McFarlane insulted and dismissed women, say that. If you mean "equality for women," just say that. Popping in the word "feminism" adds nothing in any of these situations, but it muddies the issue and gives your opponents ammunition. However unfair that reality is, it's a reality.
posted by msalt at 4:37 PM on February 26, 2013


But ratings increased. That's all that matters to some people.

I would be curious to see how many people tuned out during the broadcast. I did. Just because more people started out watching the show doesn't mean they were all there are the end.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:40 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, and the Colette novel is much darker, almost as though Colette being a woman might understand the degrading prospect of being trained up as a child to be a whore.

The novella is certainly more complex and more layered than the movie, but to describe it as a "dark" story about a child being "degraded" by being "trained up...to be a whore" is to suggest that it's a very long time since you last read it.
posted by yoink at 4:43 PM on February 26, 2013


Kokuryu: So you don't think there has been a backlash against "feminism" - the empowerment of women? And that part of this backlash has been an attempt to reframe what feminism is all about?

That has certainly happened. I don't think that's all of it, since only 29% of US women accept the label. I don't think 71% of US women are backlashing against the empowerment of women.

Feminism as a movement was most discussed in the 1970s, a time of radical change including the liberalization of divorce laws, the wide adoption of different sexual mores and living together, some extremism that was understandable at the time but harder to support in the long run, etc.

Outside of feminist circles, NO ONE sits around and picks apart all of this stuff and agonizes over precise word meanings. They just have a vague sense of some crazy movement decades ago, maybe when their parents got divorced or they rebelled against their boring parents or something, including an image of bra burnings which never even happened in the real world. It's just not that logical.

Then again, part of the beauty of feminism (and part of its problem) is that it is not an ideology with one central meaning.

True, and thank you for acknowledging that one valid meaning of feminism is an ideology or group of related ideologies. It also can mean a movement. It can also mean certain principles, or simply women asserting themselves in arguments. There's nothing wrong about any of these meanings per se, but they conflict somewhat and confuse the issue.
posted by msalt at 4:52 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude, this is starting to look like that routine Bill Hicks did about Jack Palance, except you've thrown the word "mansplain" to the ground instead of a gun...

"Pick it up."
"'Scuse me, mister?"
"This is what feminism means. Pick. It. Up."
"Sir, I don't want no trouble."
"This is what Caitlin Moran said. She's a feminist. Pick it up."
"I got a non gender-identified life partner at home, sir. Please, I don't wanna say 'mansplain'."
"This is what women ought to be doing if they want to advance the cause of gender equality. Pick it up, I say!"
"Sir, I don't got no trouble with you, but if I say 'mansplain' we're gonna be here all night."

posted by running order squabble fest at 4:58 PM on February 26, 2013 [17 favorites]


True, and thank you for acknowledging that one valid meaning of feminism is an ideology or group of related ideologies.

Don't look at me for validation - I'm no expert.

Anyway, you would think that if thoughtful people like Amy Davidson - or other people in this thread - were saying stuff like "Geez, that awards show was really degrading towards women, and that's wrong" more people would take the issue seriously.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:03 PM on February 26, 2013


I don't believe for a moment it will be a significant point in the local culture.

I guess I'd say two things to that. First, note the rather massive backlash to MacFarlane's performance. This wasn't a case where one person wrote an outraged column and then people piggybacked. Lots of people independently stood up to say, "I watched the Oscars, and I was offended." Lots of women have said it made them uncomfortable, and some in this thread have explained how. That's significant.

Second, the Oscars are a major mainstream event in our culture. Similar to other big events like the Super Bowl, other networks are reluctant to program against it because of the assumption people will watch it. It's the lead news story everywhere. Hollywood is, in some very real ways, our culture driver, and the Oscars are Hollywood's premier event. Like it or not (and in an ideal world, most of us probably don't), what happens at the Oscars matters.

Every day, small instances (so to speak) of sexual objectification happen. An inappropriate joke about a classmate, or a suggestive wink between two male coworkers when a new female is hired. These small instances, and how they are tolerated or even encouraged in the rooms where they happen, are what keep our culture poisoned. When they happen on a grand stage, that effect is magnified. It is magnified by the stage, by the size of the audience, by the stature of the people making the jokes and by the stature of the people who laugh instead of objecting.

That's why it's significant. Reasonable people can disagree about many things in life, but nothing about this is especially new or controversial and I'm not sure what there is to disagree about. The point for disagreement would seem to be more, "Is this something we should care about?", and I think yes but you may disagree.
posted by cribcage at 5:08 PM on February 26, 2013 [17 favorites]


I don't believe for a moment it will be a significant point in the local culture.

To cribcage's excellent response to this assertion, I would just like to add an additional point: this backlash against the Oscars' misogyny is happening at the exact same time as women (and our male allies) all across the world are (re-)radicalizing regarding the pervasiveness of sexism in all its forms -- from the huge blowback last year against Rush Limbaugh's attacks on Sandra Fluke to renewed demands for legalized abortion in Ireland after the death of Savita Halappanavar to the international uproar over the Delhi gang rape/murder. Women -- first-world, third-world, ALL-world -- are increasingly sick of this shit, in all its guises.

Why, there's even a FPP about it today. Fancy that.

If you truly "don't believe for a moment" that this has any significance, I submit that you aren't paying enough attention.
posted by scody at 5:35 PM on February 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


The novella is certainly more complex and more layered than the movie, but to describe it as a "dark" story about a child being "degraded" by being "trained up...to be a whore" is to suggest that it's a very long time since you last read it.
posted by yoink at 7:43 PM

Oh I see... you prefer me to use the term "courtesan," as though it was an honorable profession. The facts don't change no matter what term you prefer...whore, mistress, courtesan...the girl is being trained to please a man so he will keep her in style without the legal benefits of a marriage. I find this tragic to think that a mother would choose this profession for her daughter.

Although, the young man -- who's seen this young woman when she was younger and more carefree - suddenly realizes, when confronted with the prospect of her being his mistress, that the whole idea of having a mistress is really kinda skeevy to begin with, and decides to marry her instead.

I mean, yeah, but it doesn't celebrate being a courtesan as such.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:49 PM




The fact that it has a Hollywood happy ending doesn't make the subject matter more palatable to me anymore than then a happy ending redeems Pretty Woman. I do think it celebrates the idea of becoming a courtesan-- it worked out so well for mother and grandmother, after all. And look! You get a lovely, kind, handsome man (instead of a fat old goat with halitosis) and pretty clothes, and beautiful surroundings. All you have to do is make nice and spread your legs.


All that aside, I think you have to agree that Vertigo's absence from the Best Picture category is a real head-scratcher.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:37 PM on February 26, 2013


Feminism as a movement was most discussed in the 1970s, a time of radical change including the liberalization of divorce laws, the wide adoption of different sexual mores and living together, some extremism that was understandable at the time but harder to support in the long run, etc.
Outside of feminist circles, NO ONE sits around and picks apart all of this stuff and agonizes over precise word meanings. They just have a vague sense of some crazy movement decades ago, maybe when their parents got divorced or they rebelled against their boring parents or something, including an image of bra burnings which never even happened in the real world. It's just not that logical.


I know it's easy to forget, but many people who experienced the 1970s as adults are still among us. Some of them are even still politically active, sweet irrelevant old dears. Like that old lady, what's her name, Hillary Rodham Clinton. And those cranky old coots Joe Biden and John Boehner.
posted by gingerest at 5:39 PM on February 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


They just have a vague sense of some crazy movement decades ago,

:( That sound you just heard was my 55 year old heart breaking a bit more.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:44 PM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Vertigo" initially received mixed reviews, but time, distance, maybe changing tastes and certainly different perceptions about Hitchcock films led it to be considered a classic.
posted by raysmj at 5:50 PM on February 26, 2013


Oh I see... you prefer me to use the term "courtesan," as though it was an honorable profession. The facts don't change no matter what term you prefer...whore, mistress, courtesan...the girl is being trained to please a man so he will keep her in style without the legal benefits of a marriage. I find this tragic to think that a mother would choose this profession for her daughter.

I'm not discussing your personal response to the facts of the narrative, I'm discussing the approach the book and its author take to those facts. The book is pretty clearly a comedy and its attitudes to being a courtesan in fin-de-siecle Paris are not particularly judgmental (Gigi's beloved great-aunt and grandmother were both courtesans, after all, and the novella mostly occupies their viewpoint on this as the 'family trade.' They are, amusingly, somewhat scandalized by Gigi's blithe refusal to see the world in their terms.). It's simply incorrect to suggest that what Colette is engaged in in the novel is some kind of shocking expose of the sordid realities of the prostitute's life. (And it's also kinda silly to simply suggest that Gigi is being trained to be a "prostitute"--no one is picturing her going out on the street and turning tricks, after all; the idea is that she'll have a steady 'protector.' "Mistress" would be a more accurate term.)
posted by yoink at 5:57 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"To advance the cause of feminism, you must never associate your arguments with the word 'feminism' again."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:59 PM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


The fact that it has a Hollywood happy ending doesn't make the subject matter more palatable to me

Oh, and as to this: that's the book's ending, not something they cooked up for the film.
posted by yoink at 6:00 PM on February 26, 2013


Secret Life of Gravy, for the record, I'm not personally asking you to LIKE what Collette wrote; I'm simply hoping that you dislike what it actually is, is all.

I don't like it either, frankly, but in my case it's because I tend to think all musicals are just plain dippy from the get-go.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:48 PM on February 26, 2013


ovvl: "that virtually pointless 'Chicago' tribute was an embarrassment. What were they thinking?"

The producers of the Oscars last night, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also produced Chicago.


The real irony is that I actually am a big fan of the late Bob Fosse. I think that 'Chicago' delved too deeply into that uncanny valley of glitz and glam, but without quite that odd essential finesse that Fosse swiveled through so effortlessly...
posted by ovvl at 7:13 PM on February 26, 2013


I'm not sure if it's telling or not that I lost track of the thread, came back in, and only realized when people started talking about musicals that you weren't talking about Memoirs of a Geisha.
posted by NoraReed at 7:17 PM on February 26, 2013


They just have a vague sense of some crazy movement decades ago,

:( That sound you just heard was my 55 year old heart breaking a bit more.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy


There is no reason for your heart to break, Secret Life of Gravy. Some people think that just because they and people just like them do not think or talk about something, that means nobody does. Or if anyone does it is a small number of insignificant people. Obviously, that's not true. I am a woman in my 20's and so many of the women I know who are around my age talk about feminism or feminist topics constantly. Especially topics around work and media. It is snowballing for women my age. It is more and more all the time. And I have actually noticed it snowballing for guys around my age too, late 20's and early 30's. When Todd Akin made his fucked up remarks about rape, I found out about it first because two friends had posted about it in disgust on Facebook -- two heterosexual male friends who I have never known to speak or care about feminist topics, ever. They were outraged. It was a very very encouraging sign...
posted by cairdeas at 7:36 PM on February 26, 2013 [18 favorites]


I was a very little kid in the 1970s. I grew up an ardent feminist and still am one today.

Some people are just out of touch.

If there's a reason women resist using the term, it's because they're so eagerly shamed, belittled, and targeted by others for using it. That doesn't mean it's not a wonderful, helpful and perfectly apt term; it just means some people are afraid of what it might mean for them.
posted by Miko at 7:41 PM on February 26, 2013 [19 favorites]


I think a sizable number of my fellow Gen Xer friends still identify as "feminist", which makes the entire princess phenomenon so strange.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:45 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


And you know what, I think THE reason it is starting to snowball is the internet. Because now any of us can talk together about anything that WE think is important. Rather than before where the mainstream media decided which topics would be part of the public "discourse," and they controlled whose voices would appear in that discourse. Now we can talk about topics based on their importance to us and we can hear the words of whoever we want to hear based on how interesting, insightful or true we find them -- rather than who is the most well-connected or smiled upon by media bosses. Rather than who has the most "gravitas" in other words who has the deepest voice and squarest jaw. Or based on who had the money and family connections to get a fancy degree, or who had the money to get a fancy camera.

So yeah, maybe the mainstream media hasn't talked about feminism lately as much as it did in the 70's. That means exactly nothing to me.
posted by cairdeas at 7:46 PM on February 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's true, but the feminist moms I know want their kids to express themselves in whatever ways interest them. I know plenty of princesses who also play league sports: not an option when I was that age.
posted by Miko at 7:46 PM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, Feminists of Generation Now.
posted by gingerest at 7:49 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Running Order Squabble Fest: Dude, this is starting to look like that routine Bill Hicks did about Jack Palance, except you've thrown the word "mansplain" to the ground instead of a gun...

What a clever bit of passive-aggression, doing the very thing you describe. Not taking the bait though, thanks.

Miko: If there's a reason women resist using the term, it's because they're so eagerly shamed, belittled, and targeted by others for using it.

I don't think that's 100% of it but sure, it's a very big part. I am as bothered as anyone here that the conservative spin machine is so effective, with Frank Luntz as its evil genius and all the money and PR talent in the world to play these word games. I hate it but it's a reality. And spending lots of energy to retake a battlefield that was lost in the 1980s, well I don't think it's a very smart strategy. No one here has offered a reason why it would be. Feel free to spend your time and money on that project if you disagree.
posted by msalt at 8:05 PM on February 26, 2013


Because no matter what no word you switch to, those same people will make that word the new bad word.
posted by cairdeas at 8:20 PM on February 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


msalt, your position sounds like "Make feminist arguments, but don't say 'feminism' or you'll alienate people."

Which sounds silly, because "feminism" is the natural word for the general ideological area we're discussing (equal rights for women, equal pay for women, opposition to patriarchal norms, etc.), and if we can't explain that to folks even after explaining our positions, or some one of our positions, then we probably lost them mid-feminist-argument, and we were never going to convince them anyway.

It sounds silly enough that I don't think I've gotten your position right. Could you clarify?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:23 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


To cribcage's excellent response to this assertion, I would just like to add an additional point: this backlash against the Oscars' misogyny is happening at the exact same time as women (and our male allies) all across the world are (re-)radicalizing regarding the pervasiveness of sexism in all its forms -- from the huge blowback last year against Rush Limbaugh's attacks on Sandra Fluke to renewed demands for legalized abortion in Ireland after the death of Savita Halappanavar to the international uproar over the Delhi gang rape/murder. Women -- first-world, third-world, ALL-world -- are increasingly sick of this shit, in all its guises.

And that's great, I'm all for it. Growing up I was so naive to think that we'd gotten past this nonsense and was shocked as a young lad that women in many cases didn't have equal pay. The old attitudes live on with considerable strength. It will be wonderful when that is greatly reduced. This particular Academy Awards was not a "Hey, women suck" fest though and on that we disagree.

Why, there's even a FPP about it today. Fancy that.

Indeed! Holy shit! Amazing!

If you truly "don't believe for a moment" that this has any significance, I submit that you aren't paying enough attention.

I submit I see it differently than you and that we're not going to see eye to eye. I wouldn't dream to imply that that means you're not paying attention. But thanks, that's wonderful.
posted by juiceCake at 8:30 PM on February 26, 2013


I guess I'd say two things to that. First, note the rather massive backlash to MacFarlane's performance. This wasn't a case where one person wrote an outraged column and then people piggybacked. Lots of people independently stood up to say, "I watched the Oscars, and I was offended." Lots of women have said it made them uncomfortable, and some in this thread have explained how. That's significant.

Ok, that's fine. I respect that, but I disagree that it's significant and that there's a massive backlash. Perhaps I'm not well connected but I'm about the only one in a group of about 50 that has heard of any backlash. I've not seen on news and never heard it mentioned outside of a couple of articles on web sites.
posted by juiceCake at 8:35 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the use of the word feminism derail is really germane to this discussion.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:40 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've not seen on news and never heard it mentioned outside of a couple of articles on web sites.

I guess the New York Times doesn't count as news? CNN?


Here's my perspective: What happened at the Oscars was not like what's happening to the women being raped in Syria. That doesn't mean it doesn't have significance.

It's another goddamn papercut. I won't bleed to death from it. But it's not an isolated incident and it doesn't happen in a vacuum. It sits on a continuum that's lined with unequal pay, and getting to die because you can't get an abortion, and being gang-raped on a bus and then the police turn you away when you want to report it, and being told that your experience, point of view, or opinion just isn't a thing that matters.

Sick of it. And sick of being hearing a chorus of you're overreacting and oh what did you expect and boys will be boys and oh it doesn't matter.

Fuck it.
posted by rtha at 8:43 PM on February 26, 2013 [38 favorites]


Growing up I was so naive to think that we'd gotten past this nonsense and was shocked as a young lad that women in many cases didn't have equal pay. The old attitudes live on with considerable strength. It will be wonderful when that is greatly reduced.

Yes. And the backlash that you persist in denying or disregarding (I can't quite tell which) is one part of the process that will greatly reduce such old attitudes. Unless you think that "the old attitudes" will just disappear one day when "the new attitudes" fall out of the sky to squash them, in the style of the opening titles to Monty Python.
posted by scody at 8:45 PM on February 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


One more insult at this year's ceremony and Seth MacFarlane had nothing to do with it.

Members of the VFX community were protesting outside the Dolby Theatre to raise awareness of how studios treat VFX houses. The winners of the Oscar for Best Visual Effects tried to acknowledge this, the theme from Jaws drowned them out entirely.
posted by peppermind at 8:45 PM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


The California Legislative Women’s Caucus formally complained Wednesday to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that MacFarlane as host “struck a new low in its treatment of women.”

Full text of the letter sent to the Academy here.
posted by jamaro at 8:55 PM on February 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Already a touchy subject, maybe we can skip taunting each other, and skip - as Bunny says - further 'use of the term feminism' derail?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:03 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Growing up I was so naive to think that we'd gotten past this nonsense and was shocked as a young lad that women in many cases didn't have equal pay. The old attitudes live on with considerable strength. It will be wonderful when that is greatly reduced. This particular Academy Awards was not a "Hey, women suck" fest though and on that we disagree.

Absolutely, it was not a "hey, women suck" fest. I am going to draw the line from what did happen there to the nonsense you are shocked we have not gotten past, dismiss it if you like but I'm just going to lay it out.

Here we have a comedian who set out to take a bunch of women down a few pegs for laughs. He did it by referencing their breasts and in some cases, sexualizing what to them was serious work.

When it comes to jokes meant to humiliate a certain group of people, if you are in the group targeted (and especially if the joke would, in fact, humiliate you), then you are a lot less likely to find it hilarious then someone who would not be targeted and does not find that joke to be a sore spot... or someone who would actually love to see your group taken down a few. In this case, the non-targeted group is men.

So when all those men reinforce each other saying "hey there is nothing wrong with that joke, it's just a joke and it is okay!" then the logical outcome is.... they are more confident that it is okay to make those kinds of jokes about women - jokes meant to humiliate / take down a few, jokes about breasts or other body parts.

The more men tell each other "what's the big deal??" - the more all-male environments will be full of those sorts of "jokes" and that way of talking about women. If, as a woman, you are humiliated by those kinds of jokes in front of and *about* you - after all, the purpose of the joke was to humiliate in the first place - you will have trepidation, with good reason, about all-male environments.

When it becomes "funny" or otherwise viscerally rewarding in some way to keep pushing the envelope about those things, when you get back-pats from your peers for "playfully crossing the line a bit" in doing things that humiliate women, in "telling transgressive truths," then... the line keeps being pushed and more and more becomes acceptable to do, towards women.

Currently, many prestigious or lucrative professions are all male or mostly male (engineering, banking, high level military positions, many areas of science, etc.) If women need to fear humiliation or harassment from entering those areas, they will stay away from them.

When women stay away from prestigious or lucrative professions in large numbers, men say that it is because women are incompetent. We begin to hear about how women just aren't biologically designed for those things. When that starts happening, then even women who are willing to put up with whatever bullshit may come at them aren't even permitted the opportunity.

It's real clear to me what the connection is between the "funniness" of humiliating / sexually mocking women and the pay gap we currently have.
posted by cairdeas at 10:49 PM on February 26, 2013 [18 favorites]


The Academy does not always get it right.

After all some things were not even nominated. (Link to the Oscars 30 years ago).
posted by Francis at 4:22 AM on February 27, 2013


She was mentioned above, but Anne Hathaway is probably worth mentioning again here. First up, there's, obviously, the godawful tittering about the darting on her Oscar night dress, and how much it looked like/highlighted that OMG she has BIOLOGY, by the lowest forms of human life in the blogosphere. Which is notable first, of course, because men don't have to go through the same ridiculous who-made-your-dress hoop jumping on the red carpet. And is also made more notable by the "We Saw Your Boobs" song that she got to enjoy once she was in.

I guess you could see this not a continuum of boiling female actors down to their body parts if you like, but it feels like it would be hard to argue with a straight face.

And, of course, there was the "wardrobe malfunction" at the premiere of Les Mis, where Hathaway was photographed getting out of a car by one of the lowest forms of human life in the press, who was, it seems, shooting specifically from an angle intended to catch any such "wardrobe malfunctions". This was then eagerly reported on and reposted by other pondlife.

Obviously, algae is as algae does, but it's pretty telling that Matt Lauer, the epitome of the mainstream, felt that it was a cute opening gambit in his post-premiere interview to make a fun little joke about how the media had been leeringly republishing pictures of her accidentally exposed crotch and talking about her "shame" and "humiliation", and expecting her to laugh along with it.

It's very much to her credit that she had such a composed response (much as it is that she refused to talk about her régime for getting thin in Les Mis, on the grounds that she didn't want a diet used to get briefly thin for a film role repurposed as a set of diet tips). However, this is the stream of bullshit that Jennifer Lawrence can look forward to.

(And this is not, of course, limited to the media. Compare McG making Moon Bloodgood stand up at Wondercon during the promotion of Terminator: Salvation and demanding that the audience cheer if they wanted to "see Moon's boobs", relating to a scene that he later decided to cut as "gratuitous" in order to secure a PG-13 rating.)

Sure, being squeezed into a tightly tailored dress and having to decide between the absolute certainty of a thousand "star's VPL shame" headlines or the small possibility of a "star's no-panties shame" headline is not the same problem as women living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. But, you know, it's possible to think about several things simultaneously.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:04 AM on February 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


I guess the New York Times doesn't count as news? CNN?

Why would you guess that? Of course it's news. I merely stated that I hadn't seen it. I know a ton of people who don't bother with either outlet. I don't believe that we belong to some massive dominant culture that we all must share. I understand that you belong to a culture that does watch these things. I have no issue with that. Certain things are more important than they are to you and vice versa. There are millions who have seen it and there are millions who have not.

It's another goddamn papercut. I won't bleed to death from it. But it's not an isolated incident and it doesn't happen in a vacuum. It sits on a continuum that's lined with unequal pay, and getting to die because you can't get an abortion, and being gang-raped on a bus and then the police turn you away when you want to report it, and being told that your experience, point of view, or opinion just isn't a thing that matters.

Sure. But our take on it differs widely and I don't think it has anything to do with that other than reminding people of this sort of mentality in a light way. I think it's awful that people say your point of view doesn't matter, I'm merely pointing out a different point of view.

Sick of it. And sick of being hearing a chorus of you're overreacting and oh what did you expect and boys will be boys and oh it doesn't matter.

I would be to. Fortunately, I'm not one of those saying it doesn't matter and I don't believe these comedy routines at the Academy Awards are doing that either.

Fuck it.

Indeed.

Yes. And the backlash that you persist in denying or disregarding (I can't quite tell which) is one part of the process that will greatly reduce such old attitudes. Unless you think that "the old attitudes" will just disappear one day when "the new attitudes" fall out of the sky to squash them, in the style of the opening titles to Monty Python.

As I said, we see it differnetly. The backlash to those who pay attention to it, and to those that believe the Academy Awards are profoundly influential on our culture will do next to nothing to reduce the nonsense that goes on in humanity. I do not believe that they will just disappear.

Absolutely, it was not a "hey, women suck" fest. I am going to draw the line from what did happen there to the nonsense you are shocked we have not gotten past, dismiss it if you like but I'm just going to lay it out.

I'm not dismissing anything. I'm saying I see it differently and I'm fine with others who see it differently as well. Obviously we're not going to see eye to eye but it's absolute bullshit to say I'm dismissing it. Never have and never will.

So when all those men reinforce each other saying "hey there is nothing wrong with that joke, it's just a joke and it is okay!" then the logical outcome is.... they are more confident that it is okay to make those kinds of jokes about women - jokes meant to humiliate / take down a few, jokes about breasts or other body parts.

Agreed. The "it's just a joke argument" is not something I agree with either. And why do you say only men. Many women I know see it just like I do as well. All of these differt perspectives are hardly gender specific.
posted by juiceCake at 6:29 AM on February 27, 2013


Obviously we're not going to see eye to eye but it's absolute bullshit to say I'm dismissing it.

It seems like you are. Earlier somebody accused you of not reading the thread and you said that was unfair, too. So maybe there's a disconnect between what you are intending to communicate, and what you are actually communicating. For instance, when you say that backlash against MacFarlane's performance won't make sexist or misogynistic attitudes "just disappear"...that seems dismissive. Nobody has argued that it would do anything like that. (In the particular quote you were responding to, a key phrase was "one part of the process.")

Also—and it's a much, much smaller point—when you juxtapose serious comments with little quips like "Indeed, fuck it" or "Holy shit! Amazing!", you're doing a disservice to your serious comments if you really intend them to stick. Many people have no interest in really discussing these issues, and in some contexts it's worth going the extra inch not to look like you're one of them.
posted by cribcage at 8:10 AM on February 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm a dude who loves language and celebrates how powerfully words can reach people. And for a while, I disliked the word "feminist", both because it seemed "unequal" to me, and because I felt that feminists were too easily upset over things that didn't bother me much. I felt that both genders should be equal (in a wishy-washy idiot sort of way), and I felt that feminism was a poorly-marketed phrase that should be abandoned in favor of something else with less baggage. But my reasoning was wrong and here's why.

First off, those little things matter, and they matter in part because they are so little. They consist of choices made by individual people who think that those choices are okay, and they help the rest of us feel like, yes, this is okay, because so many people do it! That's part of why it matters: it defines whether we think gender equality is an archaic issue or still relevant. If I go about casually making sexist jokes because women are equal to men foreverandeveramen, it's not just directly hurtful, it also makes me (and perhaps those around me) feel like this level of casual sexism is okay, because there's nothing left to be gained by caring about this issue.

Right there's the power of language. It changes how we see the world.

The flip side of why these little things matter is that they can be directly addressed. We can tell people, one-on-one, "That's not cool," and start talking about why it's not cool. This is an exhausting process, and it consists of saying the same message again and again while still tailoring it to whomever's listening. It is not especially fun. But it's important, because conversations are what get people to think about their actions, and letting others know bit by bit that their casual behavior is seriously not okay will eventually, eventually, change that behavior. Not in the sense of "Oh I feel like my free speech is being repressed!", more in a, "I didn't see that I was being harmful before, but now I recognize it and that changes what sorts of remarks I like to make."

Right there's the power of language too, for the same reason.

Here's why my reasoning behind not liking "feminist" as a word was wrong. Probably you see it too, but I'll say it anyway: the issue here is less with words than it is with behavior: specifically, with the attitude behind those words. George Carlin was wrong when he said that words are just words, powerless unless we let them be powerful, and it's because words are attached to culture, to thought, to attitude, and they are merely the surface manifestation of an underlying issue. In this case, the issue being: this is still a serious issue. Things are not equal. Shit is still shitty. And the problem is not wah-wah fragile women being easily offended, like idiot younger-me assumed; it's that there is a grotesque imbalance going on, and JOKING about that imbalance like it doesn't actually exist serves to help people feel comfortable about treating that imbalance like it's not worth serious consideration. The offense is not the language, it's the thought behind the words that these things aren't important. And that's what people are reacting to here.

So what would happen if you changed the word "feminist"? Picked something less volatile – "splonge", perhaps? Well, maybe at first people would say, Thank God for splonge! Splonge is so much more reasonable than that pesky feminist movement! Only then splongers would say things like, "Joking about boobs at the Oscars the way Seth MacFarlane did is seriously inappropriate", and the response from non-splongers would be, Dammit, splonge! Why do you have to care about such trivial things? You're so damn humorless, can't you lighten up for a day in your life?

In other words, the beef people have with "feminism" isn't that it's poorly-marketed. It's that the issues feminism deals with aren't universally considered to be important issues, and there is no way to address them without some people saying "Jesus Christ, why do you even care about this?" Unfortunately for those of us who like simple marketing solutions, that's not ground that can be ceded, because they are important issues and dropping them would be like dropping the whole cause. You can argue your case more effectively, perhaps, than some feminists argue theirs – but oh, come on, that's bullshit too. Look at how many people wrote eloquently and pithily, lengthily and briefly, about why they were so offended by Seth MacFarlane. And look at how many people just. refuse. to. get. it. despite all that. When you don't want to see something, it's very easy to convince yourself that it's all nonsense – and though many people will acknowledge that self-doubt and humility form the foundation of learning and acceptance, very few will let go of their fervently-held perspectives that easily.

I'd even go so far as to say that 'feminism' is the perfect brand for what feminists are trying to do. It places the emphasis on women, because the issue is with how imbalanced society is in favor of men being the norm. It's an irritating phrase for people who don't see that, because they have a hard time understanding that equality isn't just some thing that happened a couple years ago, that it's still a strenuous and demanding fight. And it suggests that these are issues we can't just skirt around, that there's no good way of making these issues glib and simple and easily digestible, because at their heart are some ideas about which you, yes you, might be in the wrong, and we can't just politely ignore your wrongness because it's pretty much the central point.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:21 AM on February 27, 2013 [19 favorites]


Why Seth MacFarlane is not a great satirist
posted by Artw at 8:30 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rory: you have summed up precisely what the problem was with the politically-correct movement right there.

The meaning of "politically correct" has morphed over the years, and now people think it refers to the idea that topics or concepts are things that can or cannot be acceptable. But when it first was born (way back in the midst of my own college career), the argument was that the words themselves altered the way people thought about things - i.e., referring to someone who needed to use a wheelchair as "disabled" or "handicapped" gave the impression that there was something lesser-than about the person, so one should describe them as "differently abled" instead. (Or, as I once heard, replacing "handicapped" with "handi-capable"). Another thing I once heard was replacing "short" with "vertically-challenged". Different derragatory terms for different groups also came under fire.

While there is a grain of truth to that, and while it is generally a good thing that some derogatory terms got phased out, it got carried to extreme and ridiculous lengths - people using the expression "a chink in one's armor" got accused of being insulting to persons of Chinese descent, for instance (because of the word "chink", you see - never mind that this was not the context in question in the SLIGHTEST). But the bigger problem - that you've spotted - is that changing the words alone does nothing if the concepts behind the thinking don't change. Calling someone "handicapable" doesn't do squat if what you're saying is "these handicapable bastards take all the best parking spaces and they're leeches" or whatever.

I think it's also why we have so many people who now say "I'm not a feminist, but..." It's because the actual PC movement got people to think too much about the words themselves rather than the meaning behind them, and the term "feminist" got divorced from what it actually meant - and quickly got co-opted by other people. And other people - perhaps even people who were uneasy about the word "feminist" possibly being too inequal-sounding, for much the reasons you were yourself uneasy - let it happen.

And that's why I very quickly wrote off the PC movement as bullshit and why I never stopped saying I was a feminist. Because I am one, dammit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:43 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


people using the expression "a chink in one's armor" got accused of being insulting to persons of Chinese descent, for instance (because of the word "chink", you see - never mind that this was not the context in question in the SLIGHTEST).

Except that, in the most recent controversy about it, the phrase was used to caption a photo of Jeremy Lin, the amazing basketball player for the New York Knicks who is of Chinese descent. I think that when you're describing a Chinese-American as "The Chink in the Armor" then that is, in fact, the context in question.
posted by KathrynT at 8:55 AM on February 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


As a practical matter, you can use the word feminist and have 24% of women agree they are with you. You can just say you are someone who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes and have 65% of women with you but it's quite a mouthful. You can try and reclaim the name so that people know these are the same things, but you have to decide if that is worth the effort. It's a legitimately tough question, because switching to a new name for the movement may not work and you may be interpreted as admitting some of the BS claims about feminism are true when you don't want to. Not to mention, it's not like there is some President of Feminism who makes these decisions, it's a free thinking movement that seems to love spirited debate.

I'm not sure the argument that it's inevitable a new word will acquire the same baggage is true. Frank Luntz has made a career out of using new words and phrases to lighten the baggage on even legitimately bad concepts, so why can't you do it for a good one? The recent attacks against women from the right have been backfiring badly among the mainstream, they aren't all powerful in their ability to control the conversation. I think with all the narratives that need to change in regards to rights, it may not be worth the effort to focus on the naming issues though.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:04 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The supposed mad cultural push to be Politically Correct and only ever say handi-capable or vertically challenged or soap deficient was always 90% boogeyman and 10% the 0.0001% of over-the-top nutters that occupy every single movement, belief, or interest group in existence.

It only stopped being a scare tale told to frighten Good People about how the overreactors were coming to take away their freedom to speak truth to powerless when it started being a get out of trouble free card people deployed as "I know it's not Politically Correct to say it but" before whenever they wanted to be free of criticism for saying. It is the "I don't want to sound racist but" of the modern era.
posted by phearlez at 9:06 AM on February 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


The supposed mad cultural push to be Politically Correct and only ever say handi-capable or vertically challenged or soap deficient was always 90% boogeyman and 10% the 0.0001% of over-the-top nutters that occupy every single movement, belief, or interest group in existence.

Yes, outside of metafilter I've generally found that a person's understanding of the minor linguistic or editorial changes advocated was inversely proportional to how many times they used the phrases "Politically Correct" and "PC" in their screed of the week.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:10 AM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


As a practical matter, you can use the word feminist and have 24% of women agree they are with you. You can just say you are someone who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes and have 65% of women with you but it's quite a mouthful.

It's a false choice. If you agree that women are human beings who should have every bit as much access to opportunity and dignity as men do, you are already in agreement.

Frank Luntz has made a career out of using new words and phrases to lighten the baggage on even legitimately bad concepts, so why can't you do it for a good one?

Because there's nothing wrong with the word. The only people objecting to use of the word aren't really objecting to use of the word. They're objecting to its meanings -- or more often, what they think are its meanings.
posted by Miko at 9:13 AM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Except that, in the most recent controversy about it, the phrase was used to caption a photo of Jeremy Lin, the amazing basketball player for the New York Knicks who is of Chinese descent. I think that when you're describing a Chinese-American as "The Chink in the Armor" then that is, in fact, the context in question.

True, but the instances I'm talking about were clearly and obviously unrelated to things Chinese - i.e., a history professor talking about, say, the Civil War and saying that the Confederate Army had a "chink in their armor" at Antietam or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 AM on February 27, 2013


it got carried to extreme and ridiculous lengths

Not by very many people. I think it's a mistake to focus on them - who are more often straw than real, anyway, and where they're not they're maybe naive and overexcited and underinformed - at the exclusion of all the well-intentioned and serious effort that has gone into changing the language so that people can be generally addressed and thought about with more dignity.
posted by Miko at 9:15 AM on February 27, 2013


Frank Luntz has made a career out of using new words and phrases to lighten the baggage on even legitimately bad concepts, so why can't you do it for a good one?

Because here, an important part of the "concept" is that equality is a lot further away than we like to think. "[S]omeone who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes" says nothing about whether Someone thinks this equality is here already or whether they think there's a long way to go.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:16 AM on February 27, 2013


I think it's a mistake to focus on them - who are more often straw than real, anyway, and where they're not they're maybe naive and overexcited and underinformed - at the exclusion of all the well-intentioned and serious effort that has gone into changing the language so that people can be generally addressed and thought about with more dignity.

This is a good thing, but I suspect that the word "feminist" suddenly meaning something other than what it had meant for so long may have been a fallout.

It's possible that I have a unique perspective from having been at a liberal college campus and writing a column for the paper right when all this was going on; there was a lot of unnecessary second-guessing of the way we phrased things which had indeed been prompted by angry letters to the editor about things like "using the phrase 'final solution' in your column about washing machines was a cruel reminder of the Third Reich" and such. However, I do allow that the demographic makeup of a college campus is probably quite different from the country at large and I may have seen more of a concentration of the Overzealous.

And yet (she said, trying to drag this back within screaming distance of the topic) I wonder if maybe that may have been a hurdle in the continuance of the feminist movement on campus; there was also a couple of very active women's groups on my own campus, and I wonder if people were temporarily getting a bit too concerned with the language they used to the detriment of the meaning they were trying to convey, and that garbled the focus of the feminist movement on campuses at the time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have never dated an actress, but, these days, MacFarlane dates lots. I guess that’s what makes him so smart about women.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:27 AM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a false choice.

I know, I mentioned others like using a different word or trying to rehabilitate the image of the word feminism.

Because there's nothing wrong with the word. The only people objecting to use of the word aren't really objecting to use of the word. They're objecting to its meanings -- or more often, what they think are its meanings.

Well, yeah, that's what is wrong with the word, it has acquired an ambiguous meaning but when properly defined it is a massively popular concept. Miko, I don't think we disagree on anything here.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:31 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because here, an important part of the "concept" is that equality is a lot further away than we like to think. "[S]omeone who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes" says nothing about whether Someone thinks this equality is here already or whether they think there's a long way to go.

Well, I think the real problem with a Luntzian redefinition there is that you need to agree on the definition first. 65% of women support feminism when it is defined as the social, political, and economic equality thing, but only 48% say yes when asked, "IS THERE STILL A NEED FOR A STRONG WOMEN'S MOVEMENT?"

A definition that includes that need might be less popular. Convincing folks to be on board with the need to do so much more is probably going to be a lot more productive than renaming things. This is a 2009 poll and the recent GOP attacks on women may very well have shifted those numbers a ton already.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:42 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Miko: Because there's nothing wrong with the word. The only people objecting to use of the word aren't really objecting to use of the word. They're objecting to its meanings -- or more often, what they think are its meanings.

I often find that the objection isn't just semantic. The objectors usually have an issue with some form of feminist criticism or activism that's been taken out of context and exaggerated to the point of caricature. They don't just want for people to stop identifying as feminist because "equality," they want for people to stop criticizing boob jokes as inappropriate for a professional organization that includes female members.

In my opinion, very few semantic arguments are really about just about semantics, they're about the underlying politics and rights as well. "Defense of marriage" is not about the dictionary definition, it's about denying rights. Groups are redefined as hate-filled radicals to exclude them from dialogue and to make common-sense politics look like an attack.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:46 AM on February 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure why this "What does feminism mean?" derail is continuing after the mods quashed it, but I wasn't inclined to complain because, hey, it's a long thread and an old thread, and things loosen. But as some of this derail begins drifting toward unrelated ways in which conservatives are terrible people, I am more inclined to complain.

This thread is about Seth MacFarlane's objectification of women at the Academy Awards. There are already two fast-moving threads today (and it's only 1 pm EST) where it's arguably relevant to talk about how conservatives are terrible people, so maybe those sentiments could go there.
posted by cribcage at 10:12 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


But as some of this derail begins drifting toward unrelated ways in which conservatives are terrible people, I am more inclined to complain.

Oh, I wasn't specifically going there, (except on the gay marriage issue) because my most common frustrations with people using arbitrarily restrictive definitions of the language I use to describe myself come from fellow travelers on the left or people claiming to be such. But I'll admit that I have less and less patience when that happens, especially in areas of religion and sexuality where I've invested a lot of time an energy trying to establish relationships and dialogue.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:25 AM on February 27, 2013


Miko: The only people objecting to use of the word aren't really objecting to use of the word. They're objecting to its meanings -- or more often, what they think are its meanings.
You're not actually qualified to tell us what all of those people are thinking. I know it's tempting to lump everyone who disagrees into a tidy group, but that's actually what feminist are protesting against.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:26 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Although, if we start insisting on "I feel" statements only, we're basically pressing the kill switch on the Internet...
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:28 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


You're not actually qualified to tell us what all of those people are thinking.

You're right.

In my 40+ year life experience, the only people objecting to use of the word aren't really objecting to use of the word. They're objecting to its meanings -- or more often, what they think are its meanings.

I'm not sure why this "What does feminism mean?" derail is continuing after the mods quashed it,

I'm not sure why it's considered a derail - it's fully germane to the issue introduced in the FPP.
posted by Miko at 10:57 AM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's a good question for the contact form or MetaTalk.
posted by cribcage at 11:07 AM on February 27, 2013


We Saw Your Junk!
posted by ericb at 12:07 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


We've yet to see Ewan McGregor's cock in a Star Wars movie...
posted by Artw at 12:12 PM on February 27, 2013


But that's all anyone was thinking about during his lightsaber scenes.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:15 PM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


It seems like you are. Earlier somebody accused you of not reading the thread and you said that was unfair, too. So maybe there's a disconnect between what you are intending to communicate, and what you are actually communicating. For instance, when you say that backlash against MacFarlane's performance won't make sexist or misogynistic attitudes "just disappear"...that seems dismissive. Nobody has argued that it would do anything like that. (In the particular quote you were responding to, a key phrase was "one part of the process.")

Sorry, but offering my opinion which differs from yours is not dismissive. I would say the opposite in just the same way. It was implied that I might think these things might magically disappear. I do not. I found that the implication that I think that these things will magically disappear fairly dismissive.

Also—and it's a much, much smaller point—when you juxtapose serious comments with little quips like "Indeed, fuck it" or "Holy shit! Amazing!", you're doing a disservice to your serious comments if you really intend them to stick. Many people have no interest in really discussing these issues, and in some contexts it's worth going the extra inch not to look like you're one of them.

Some one else said "Fuck it". I responded to it in kind. I couldn't frankly care less if my comments stick or not, they are just offering a point-of-view. If some people find them useful or challenging, great. If some thing they're hogwash, so be it. It's really not that important on an Internet forum. I've enjoyed reading the perspective of others here and have expressed my own. This is how many of my conversations go with girlfriends and friends. I accept that the dynamic may be different from others.
posted by juiceCake at 5:03 PM on February 27, 2013


Part of the problem with the word feminism is that it defines equal rights for women as an ideology and a political movement that's tied to the Democratic Party, an "ism." It isn't -- equal rights is just common sense and basic fairness.

I think that's why people agree so much more readily to specific proposals and principles -- equality, stopping violence, equal pay and opportunity, insurance coverage of contraception, etc. Any vague term is simply less effective writing than clear, specific wording, and "feminism" is ambiguous -- even in this topic people mean different things by it.

Republicans are caving on the Violence Against Women Act because, who wants to be in favor of violence against women? If it was the "Promoting Feminism Act," there is no way it would pass. Why would you want that?
posted by msalt at 5:28 PM on February 27, 2013


Awesome. This again.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:00 PM on February 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think that's why people agree so much more readily to specific proposals and principles -- equality, stopping violence, equal pay and opportunity, insurance coverage of contraception, etc

Mm hmm. And what you get is an issue by issue battle of inches rather than an understanding that every single one of these issues is connected by the underlying ideology that women belong in a lower social and economic position than men.

It's not a coincidence that one word can denote that all these separate issues are linked by the institutionalized beliefs of a patriarchy.
posted by Miko at 6:09 PM on February 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


...and so it's not really feminists who are the ideologues.
posted by Miko at 6:25 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have had enough of the concern trolling, really. This derail was nixed days ago, why is it up again?
posted by cairdeas at 6:29 PM on February 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


“The real horror here is that Boys Don’t Cry was based on a true story. Brandon Teena was a real person, who was really brutally raped and killed. The scene that McFarlane is making a sexualized joke out of really happened to a real human being who really died. Because according to McFarlane, breasts exist for men’s amusement, and the total violation and murder of people with breasts is just a big joke because the bodies of women and FAAB people are just hilarious.

When McFarlane reduces Swank’s amazingly powerful performance down to a punchline about her body, he’s doing more than making light of her talent. He’s literally inviting people to laugh at rape and murder. He’s construing breasts as existing for men’s pleasure, whether sexual pleasure or just to make fun of, all the time—even when they belong to people, like Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry, who identify as men. Even when they are exposed as part of a badly injured body, like Charlize Theron in Monster—another film based on a true story. Even when they symbolize the racist sexualization of black women by white men, like Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball. Even when they’re visible during a violent gang rape, as passerby cheer the attackers on, like Jodie Foster in The Accused, once again based on a real-life attack. Even when, like Scarlet Johansson, another target of the boob song, personal nude photographs of them were leaked without consent.”

Anya Josephs, Sexism is Not Actually “Edgy” | SPARK a Movement
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:07 PM on February 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


Sadly, Tina Fey is not considering the possibility of hosting... ever. I think she's wise, though I personally would love, love, love to see a reprise of the Fey/Poehler hosting team for anything anywhere. But I don't know if it's possible for any person – or duo – to successfully fulfill the all-things-to-all-people expectations of the show, and in this MacFarlane is correct when he says it's a Kobayashi Maru test. I think that splitting it up among various hosts for different segments, with a straightforward "Master of Ceremonies" type person to just do the intros and keep it rolling would be the best bet.

Also, just as a *sigh* note: Amy Poehler’s Tan-tastic Golden Globes Boobs, from NYmag in January. Our entire society is so incredibly fucked up.
posted by taz at 1:42 AM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know, this morning I was listening to something on NPR about an Iranian musician who wasn't able to sing in public unless she performed for an audience of only women and had only women as a backup band, because the Islamist rulers had decreed that if she performed before a mixed-gender audience it would provoke prurient interests among the men.

In the past, when I've heard things like this I shake my head and thank my good fortune that I don't live in a society that believes that. But this morning....I could only think that I'm not so sure that I don't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:09 AM on February 28, 2013


The Kobayashi Maru is actually not a bad comparison at all, but I think it is perhaps informative in a way that MacFarlane didn't necessarily intend. The point about the Kobayashi Maru is not that you fail - because everybody fails. The point about the Kobayashi Maru is that the decisions made, and the reactions to the situation progressively worsening, help the examining officers to gauge the examinee's character and situational readiness.

Which, yes. I think we can learn a lot from the specific ways in which different Oscar hosts fail, and not just about their performance. The "We Saw Your Boobs" song is a good example. Sure, MacFarlane is going to do his kidding-on-the-square, we're-mocking-people-who-freeze-framed-The-Accused-not-at-Jodie-Foster, I'm-just-playing-the-part-of-a-conscienceless-monster schtick there. That's what, I assume, he would reasonably imagine the Academy had hired him to do.

(Idly curious in the wake of all this last night, I flicked over to Family Guy and saw a joke in which it is revealed that the milk on Baby Stewie's cereal is in fact horse semen. Which information Stewie responds to by tentatively taking another spoonful, and then another. WYSIWYG.)

It would have been one kind of failure if he had gone off-script, but this was a big musical number - which means that it was scripted, scored and a whole bunch of people saw and signed off on the content. So, that's kind of like failing the Kobayashi Maru, and then discovering that the examining officers were all watching porn instead of evaluating your performance. It's kind of a wash in terms of where the buck stops, but it does suggest that there are some institutional issues within StarFleet.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:39 AM on February 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Haven't been reading this thread, &, um, it's too big for me to go through, so I hope I'm not reposting some old commentary. From The Advocate: Op-Ed: Seth MacFarlane Isn't The Problem.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:55 AM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


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