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Trio arrested in Virginia for alleged sex act in cathedral.
August 19, 2002 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Trio arrested in Virginia for alleged sex act in cathedral. Copulating couple and their radio commentator co-conspiritor violated sanctity of church. Maybe if he'd been an altar boy...
posted by runthegamut (51 comments total)

 
I hate Opie & Anthony. This is supposed to be comedy?
posted by starvingartist at 11:58 AM on August 19, 2002


Apparently Opie & Anthony were fired from a Massachussetts station for similar behavior, when as an April Fool's prank they announced that Boston's Mayor died in a car crash. Read about their antics here.
posted by runthegamut at 12:08 PM on August 19, 2002


The couple is from Virginia, but they were arrested in New York City at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
posted by dayvin at 12:10 PM on August 19, 2002


Read about their antics here.

I'll pass.
posted by HTuttle at 12:41 PM on August 19, 2002


I got to tell you, I was listening to the broadcast while the comedian was giving the blow-by-blow account over the phone. When him and the security guard starting going at it was honestly one of the funniest things I've heard in awhile. At one point Mercurio screamed, "Yeah I bet it wouldn't be a problem if it was a priest and an altar boy".

Can we just stipulate that if you hate O and A you hated this stunt, or is it necessary for everybody who hates them (and they're probably already on record) to chime in their specific hatred of this?
posted by vito90 at 12:55 PM on August 19, 2002


Ugh...I've never heard of these people before, but this is ridiculous.

I'm all for sex in sacred places, but to do it in full view of the public, on the radio, there isn't even the excitement of trying not to get caught; it's just crass exhibitionism. There's no accomplisment and no statement being made; just being obnoxious to get attention.
posted by bingo at 12:58 PM on August 19, 2002


This would only be funny if the couple was actually dressed as clergy.
posted by ColdChef at 1:03 PM on August 19, 2002


Herm, pretty disgusting.
posted by bullitt 5 at 1:10 PM on August 19, 2002


I hate them because they really, really suck. I have tried to listen, when I had a commute and got sick of Stern becoming worse and worse by the day, but these guys couldn't hold my attention for more than a minute. I heard them do the same dumb jokes over and over again (imitations of Andrew Dice Clay being their worst joke, and most often performed).
posted by adampsyche at 1:19 PM on August 19, 2002


Violating a sacred place is not funny. It's disgusting. Would it still be funny if they did this in a mosque? Or is it only fun to desecrate Christianity? I'm not Catholic, and I have no particular personal fondness for any religion, but I have the utmost respect for the beliefs of others, regardless of creed, and I don't take kindly to the churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or sacred spaces of any sect being violated by grotesquery.
posted by evanizer at 1:36 PM on August 19, 2002


What's sacred to you? How about I come over and shit on it right now? How did that make you feel? It's OK, it's just performance art or a radio show prank.. don't get on your high horse.

Throw the book at them & pull the station's FCC license on obscenity charges. Auction off their license to someone else - no appeals. Shoot whatever lawyer/civil rights group tries to defend them. Enough of this kind of bullshit. Those who tolerate it are mentally defective.
posted by Pressed Rat at 1:46 PM on August 19, 2002


It´s fun to desecrate Christianity because - in this cultural context - Christianity is part of our (their) cultural heritage. I'd be a lot more worried/disturbed if it was a couple from some other culture, just as I'd be worried if people from "my" culture desecrated a mosque.

As you can read round here to an annoying agree - we kid because we love (or, at least, are familiar with).

(Apologies for crass simplification, but I think there's a clear point here - it's a lot more acceptable to laugh at your own.)
posted by andrew cooke at 1:50 PM on August 19, 2002


Stupid stunt/stupid idea/stupid couple...being a performing sex monkey for the likes of shock jocks would seem to involve a deficit of self-esteem so severe as to be incalculable.

However, I did like the sweet juxtapositioning of these statements:

Shoot whatever lawyer/civil rights group tries to defend them...Those who tolerate it are mentally defective.
posted by umberto at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2002


Pressed Rat how many Constitutional Amendments and/or rights do you want to suppress to eliminate this kind of activity?

Your little rant did away with the right to appeals, the right to representation and suppression of free speech. That's a potent trifecta.

Oh well. Color me mentally defective.
posted by vito90 at 2:09 PM on August 19, 2002


OK, how about "Tolerance of this sort of behavior is intolerable?"

I'm sure Earth is replete with the kinds of idiots who'll do anything for a stunt - It's the station that should be most severely sanctioned. Losing their license would get their attention, and that of all broadcasters who may be tempted to promote this sort of crap for ratings.
posted by Pressed Rat at 2:10 PM on August 19, 2002


vito90

Obviously not the 2nd....;-)
posted by Pressed Rat at 2:12 PM on August 19, 2002


Shoot whatever lawyer/civil rights group tries to defend them.

Overreact much?

While I agree that the "joke" was in poor taste, I don't think it merit's such a violent reaction. A fine should be levied, and that should be the end of it. Certainly, no one deserves to die over this. Jesus would forgive them, and so should you.
posted by buz46 at 2:19 PM on August 19, 2002


cut off his dick, and sew her clit up.
posted by billybob at 2:28 PM on August 19, 2002


Hmm... that was uncalled for, billybob. Even if this were some sort of horrible offense, which it isn't (very poor taste, yeah), I think genital mutilation is a bit out of bounds.
posted by The Michael The at 2:55 PM on August 19, 2002



I'm sure Earth is replete with the kinds of idiots who'll do anything for a stunt - It's the station that should be most severely sanctioned. Losing their license would get their attention, and that of all broadcasters who may be tempted to promote this sort of crap for ratings.


The problem is not that there are lots of idiots who'll do anything for a stunt. The problem is the juvenile radio/tv/whatever audience who so love this sort of thing. Our broadcast medium is filled to the brim with the lowest common denominator. As long as there is a demand, someone will surely step in to fill it. Er, no pun intended. ;-)

Personally, I found the whole thing slightly amusing. Not because I think the actual act is funny, but rather because it's fun to watch everybody get all worked up when you stick their sacred cow. People need to learn to relax. I mean really, who's hurt by this? And I mean really hurt, not worked up like a regular at a Billy Graham revival. If people wanna get worked up about something, how about violent crime and rape, child abduction, etc. This isn't worth getting worked up over. Too trivial in the context of the big picture.
posted by ehintz at 2:56 PM on August 19, 2002


O & A are not funny.
posted by uftheory at 3:36 PM on August 19, 2002


Well, in the big picture death really isn't a big thing. Murder, nah, I mean you have to die sometime anyway, right? If they torture you, well there is only so long they can do it for. To put it in a cosmic picture, nothing we really think or say or do matters.

Some of those 'trivial' things like religion are the whole world to people, they are the 'big picture' to them.

Not that I don't advocate letting things go and to be easy with other cultures, religions, and races, as with your own, but this was really an obscene gesture as much as coming home to find two people boinking in your bedroom would be. (If that doesn't bother you, and I don't know, some people it may not, I really can't get a better example and you have a teflon hide)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:36 PM on August 19, 2002


I'm amazed that anyone can find it humorous when people take offense to the desecration of what they consider holy. I suppose you'd receive a similar chuckle if someone were to spraypaint the Ka'bah or piss on the Wailing Wall, oi? "HO HO, look at those religious fools getting worked up over a silly little prank!"

Everyone has their beliefs, and everyone's beliefs deserve respect. Advocating the practice of shitting in someone's sacred place makes you look like an imbecile.
posted by Danelope at 3:38 PM on August 19, 2002


Danelope, why do you equate the act of making love with "shitting"?

Well obviously I am just trying to yank your chain a little, these people were doing this as part of a stunt, but isn't it, on some level, kind of funny that the ultimate act of love is on the same level of shitting or pissing when it comes to holy places? Of course in some religious sects, you could get in trouble (potentially) for not having sex in church.
posted by cell divide at 3:43 PM on August 19, 2002


cut off his dick, and sew her clit up.

Don't they still teach female anatomy in sex education?

Anyway, I think the joke is lacking in taste, but it's no worse of them to have sex in a church than in any other public place. You people above who are complaining about this being an insult to religion must have a very different view of it than I do. If I saw someone having sex in my church, it wouldn't rock the very foundation of my faith. If the building was holy before, it will still be holy after the police come and take the morons away.
posted by Hildago at 3:45 PM on August 19, 2002


Everyone has their beliefs, and everyone's beliefs deserve respect.

Having sex for a morning radio show has nothing to do with respecting people's beliefs. You think having sex in a supermarket or by the side of the freeway would be somehow more polite than in the vestibule of a church? That implies that something about Catholics makes sex dirtier and more wicked to them than to everyone ... else... oh, wait...
posted by Hildago at 3:51 PM on August 19, 2002


I think genital mutilation is a bit out of bounds.

Actually that is exactly the sort of crass crap promoted by those radio idiots.
posted by HTuttle at 4:09 PM on August 19, 2002


Here's a hypothetical for 'ya. Person A kidnaps, rapes, and kills a 12 year old. Persons B and C make whoopie behind the pews. I dunno about you, but I'd much rather see indignation and police response against person A. I'd say A is much more of a threat to society than B and C (or the poor bastard out on the highway getting a speeding ticket as I write this). But I suppose one gets more PR and votes for piously upholding virtue. Or locking up a pot smoker. And Hidalgo's got quite a point there-dumbasses making whoopie as a publicity stunt hardly signal the end of the holy catholic and apostolic church... Also, think about why they did it in the first place. The show of righteous indignation was the desired result. Getting worked up is precisely what O & A wanted you to do. Are you going to give them the satisfaction? I wouldn't, even if I were indignant about it.
posted by ehintz at 4:11 PM on August 19, 2002


I don't understand why some of you fail to see the disrespect for and desecration of someone's holy place to be a despicable and loathsome act. I don't give a flying hamster if you think that Catholicism has an unhealthy view of sex, or that people need to 'lighten up'. That's totally beside the point. The point is, people decided to desecrate a place of worship in a way that they knew was both illegal and against the beliefs of the sect that they were defiling, all for the entertainment of a radio audience whose mental growth seems to have ground to a halt at about 15 years of age. I don't believe in the dogma of the R. Catholic church, but I believe that, as provided for by our Bill Of Rights and by common, modern standards of pluralistic decency, all forms of religious expression, and their sacred spaces, deserve the most solemn respect. Whether this happened in a Mosque, a cathedral, a Hindu temple, or on witch's altar (even if the spiritual practice included expressions of sexuality, this was a nihilistic radio prank, and was designed and committed as an affront, not as an expression of sexuality), it should be considered insulting to any decent, respectful person. It was a primary expression of disrespect and disruption of the rights of people to hold a place sacred for the practice of their religion, not to mention an act committed on private property, which is a whole other matter.
posted by evanizer at 4:13 PM on August 19, 2002


So does that mean that if someone has sex in a church as a sacrament of their particular religion, it wouldn't be offensive? Just a rhetorical question, mind you.
posted by runthegamut at 4:20 PM on August 19, 2002


It's interesting that some people are getting so angry here, when as far as I can see, no one on this thread has seriously suggested that this stunt was fine and dandy. It's just a matter of degrees to which we should all be offended, or the manner in which we treat each other's offense.
posted by bingo at 4:24 PM on August 19, 2002


cell divide: Danelope, why do you equate the act of making love with "shitting"?

I realize you're just yanking my chain, but it was an expression (akin to "shitting in one's own nest") The other examples I gave -- spraypainting, urinating, etc. -- are similarly acts of deliberate aggression.

...kind of funny that the ultimate act of love is on the same level of shitting or pissing when it comes to holy places?

I'd hardly consider an unmarried couple having sex in a public place of worship as a joke, while a radio personality watches on and broadcasts a live play-by-play commentary the "ultimate act of love". I guess all those regular couples who express their sexuality privately must not love eachother to that degree...

Hildago: Having sex for a morning radio show has nothing to do with respecting people's beliefs.

Deliberately having sex in a place you know to be considered sacred, particularly those who built said cathedral, has everything to do with disrespecting their religious beliefs. It's an affront, a slap in the face of all who consider said space holy.

runthegamut: So does that mean that if someone has sex in a church as a sacrament of their particular religion, it wouldn't be offensive?

If said behavior is perfectly acceptable among participants of said religion, absolutely not. Of course, this idiotic prank (and it was a prank, not part of a sacrament) wouldn't have been considered "funny" if it were staged in a location where it was acceptable.
posted by Danelope at 4:32 PM on August 19, 2002


runthegamut: Please re-read my previous comment, where I stated:

(even if the spiritual practice included expressions of sexuality, this was a nihilistic radio prank, and was designed and committed as an affront, not as an expression of sexuality)
posted by evanizer at 4:35 PM on August 19, 2002


I don't understand why some of you fail to see the disrespect for and desecration of someone's holy place to be a despicable and loathsome act.... The point is, people decided to desecrate a place of worship in a way that they knew was both illegal and against the beliefs of the sect that they were defiling

I think the point--my point, anyway--is that the whole point of the stunt was to be disrespectful and offensive. Given that, there is no place where having public sex is going to be anything but disrespectful and offensive, and no group of people you're likely to meet on the street will find the act complimentary to their beliefs. Why, then, is a church any different than any other place? It's not as though Catholics only hold those beliefs when they're in a particular building.

The only other way that having sex in a church could be worse than anywhere else is if you actually believe that the church itself is desecrated by the act of sex, and therefore weakened in some quantifiable way, and since I don't believe that is possible, I, as you say, fail to see the disrespect as despicable and loathesome-- or, at least, particularly so. This is all by way of explanation, rather than trying to convince you.
posted by Hildago at 4:36 PM on August 19, 2002


Okay, well I'm not advocating they get beheaded or anything. I just don't think that defiling a place of worship with behavior antithetical to the beliefs is really funny. Its like throwing pork all over a mosque or doing something blatantly defiling to a Wiccan place of worship. (Okay, so you got me there, I don't know what would be blatantly defiling to Wiccans; although there are a lot of Wiccans here on base, I'm not always sure on the particulars) The point wasn't that it was sex; the point was that it was meant to be debasing as much as urinating and defecating on something that would be debased by it. Not saying it rocks the foundation of faith or that it taints the building, it's just not my cup of humor.

As for that chose between criminal 'A' and criminal 'B', what's with that? What you can have outrage at both. I'm harder on criminal A, but that doesn't mean I'm fine with criminal 'B'. Just because you're tough on 'harmless' crimes doesn't mean your aren't even tougher on something much more serious. Its not an either/or choice.

I overused the ', didn't I?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:39 PM on August 19, 2002


Sexual ethics according to evanizer:

Bad: getting busy where people gather to think about God.

Good: using drugs and alcohol to prey on teens selected for having few defenses to start with.
posted by NortonDC at 4:46 PM on August 19, 2002


If you're going to resort to staging sad little ad hominem attacks rather than addressing the discussion, NortonDC, try choosing an example that isn't so obviously a joke.
posted by Danelope at 4:50 PM on August 19, 2002


The idea of having sex in a church is virtually irresistible if you have even a tiny hint of rebellion in your soul. If broadcasting this escapade keeps even two couples from actually doing it, it was worth it.
posted by kindall at 4:54 PM on August 19, 2002


the point--my point, anyway--is that the whole point of the stunt was to be disrespectful and offensive.

[hyperbole]

So then that forgives about anything then, doesn't it? 9/11 was supposed to be disrespectful and offensive, rape is supposed to be disrespectful and offensive, etc.

[/hyperbole]

This "it was supposed to be disrespectful and offensive" crap should be especially familiar to any of us who are in the teaching profession, especially the arts, as this is the favorite sort of line used by weak-minded, lazy and untalented students, who think that it neutralizes any criticism. At a criticism session:

"So you just took a crap on the floor? That's disgusting"

"It was supposed to be disgusting."

"Well then it was stupid."

"It was supposed to be stupid."

"Well then, it's bad performance art."

"It was supposed to be bad performance art."

"Well, then, you fail the class. Perhaps to make up the credits, you should take a rhetorical strategies class."

And on preview: Nice non sequitur, NortonDC. You have proven yourself unable to distinguish between this discussion and a humorous remark made by me in a totally unrelated thread. You have also proven yourself to be as desperate, lazy and weak-minded as some of the students I characterized above.
posted by evanizer at 4:55 PM on August 19, 2002


An aside: this incident caused an interesting problem on a site of mine when it happened. A sample from the guestbook:

"Do you really think this incident in NYC is going to be good for your career? I hope they throw the book at you. O&A are entertaining, but anyone could see this was going over the line."

Only one problem: wrong Paul Mercurio.
posted by frykitty at 4:55 PM on August 19, 2002


evanizer, your statement contained humor, but it was not the mere joke it is now convenient for you to pass it off as. (And humor would excuse your post but not their broadcast? Interesting.)

And you are too quick to assume I disagree with your point in this thread. However, I do find the contrast illuminating.

Also note that you are the only one to lob personal insults between us, so accusing me of desperation and mental sloth does get my eyebrows going.
posted by NortonDC at 5:25 PM on August 19, 2002


So then that forgives about anything then, doesn't it? 9/11 was supposed to be disrespectful and offensive, rape is supposed to be disrespectful and offensive, etc.

(I know it's hyperbole, but it's also more easily quotable than the serious part)

What is being stated is merely that the disgusting and offensive is disgusting and offensive everywhere, that the church is not some sort of magic room where things are immediately more offensive. It doesn't excuse someone from doing an offensive or disrespectful act, and I think you know that's not what I was saying in the first place.
posted by Hildago at 5:54 PM on August 19, 2002


I hope this doesn't come across as condescending, but it is my understanding that the employers of O & A want to make money.

Since money is based on advertising, they need to sell ads. Advertisers are more likely to buy ads for shows that appeal to large numbers of people in certain demographics.

Younger people seem to be attracted to shows like "Jackass," Howard Stern or O & A these days, especially when they do "nutty sex stunts."

Ergo, having sex in a church on the radio isn't just offensive and profane, it is good business sense.

As long as enough people are listening, O & A and their ilk will keep lowering the proverbial comedy bar while their bosses laugh all the way to the bank.

A lawsuit or a suspended license won't stop this sort of thing. Put away O & A and four more DJs will appear to take their place.

Clearly, some portion of America likes this sort of thing. Short of oppression of free speech, how does one change the taste of an entire section of American society? How does one change the business practices of the radio industry so they don't cater to people who enjoy this sort of thing?

Frankly, I am at a loss.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:57 PM on August 19, 2002


hmmmmmmmm........

correct me if i'm wrong but didnt saint augustine

mention that he was shagging in church once ,

during mass ?

obviously before he became a saint of course........
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:23 PM on August 19, 2002


My question is where does it end?

Having sex at a funeral? Oh boy, NOW that's funny!

Having sex in a capital punishment chamber while a person is being killed? Such a social commentary!

Where does it end? Is there no limit where the populace as a whole says enough? Or will the Right of Free Speech and Expression be held sacred above all others?

PS I can recall no passage of Confessions that relays that story. It might be in City of God but then, no one has actually ever read City of God.
posted by Dagobert at 6:57 PM on August 19, 2002


Opie is a dolt, but Anthony's worth it. Personally, I let the idiots partake in the idiocy, laugh, and move on. I think the show is funny and the stunts are designed to bring out the idiots for us to remove from the gene pool.
posted by dopamine at 7:18 PM on August 19, 2002


Everyone has their beliefs, and everyone's beliefs deserve respect.

What nonsense. Nothing "deserves" respect; respect is earned. It kills me when people spout such nonsense that they don't even believe, just because it sounds good. Tell me how much respect you have for Jeffrey Dahmer's (or a thousand other people I could list here) beliefs, and I'll grant you some credibility.

I don't understand why some of you fail to see the disrespect for and desecration of someone's holy place to be a despicable and loathsome act.

There's a difference between engaging in a brief behavior that leaves no evidence and smashing idols and spraypainting walls. Personally, I find what normally goes on behind those walls a lot more "despicable and loathsome" than a stupid-but-harmless prank by goofy attention-seekers.
posted by rushmc at 7:32 PM on August 19, 2002


"The only other way that having sex in a church could be worse than anywhere else is if you actually believe that the church itself is desecrated by the act of sex, and therefore weakened in some quantifiable way, and since I don't believe that is possible ..."

There are those, however, who believe that it is possible, that a holy place can be made less holy - desecrated in the literal sense - by the actions that take place there. Very often, these are the people who considered the site holy to begin with, and it can sometimes be tough for outsiders to empathize.
posted by nickmark at 6:52 AM on August 20, 2002


Follow-up: The O&A show was yanked yesterday.

Radio Limbo For Unholy Jerk Jocks (NY Post)

August 20, 2002 -- "Opie and Anthony's" live radio show was yanked off the air yesterday as WNEW-FM's owner fretted over the shock jocks' promotion of a sex stunt in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Meanwhile, a federal regulator called for possibly revoking the station's license. ....

posted by lampshade at 7:07 AM on August 20, 2002


I have to agree with Kindall above: the idea of having sex in church is almost irresistible. Anytime I get around a group of semi-uptight, self-righteous types, the temptation rears its ugly head.

I blushingly recall a convention of Southern Baptists in a hotel I happened to be visiting, a close personal friend, and a large "family use" restroom right in the middle of where they were congregating. Talk about your holy rolling. But at least we locked the door. Why is that urge there? There's just something about smug piety that makes some people horny.

Altough I don't think that was the case here.
posted by umberto at 7:56 AM on August 20, 2002


There are those, however, who believe that it is possible, that a holy place can be made less holy - desecrated in the literal sense - by the actions that take place there. Very often, these are the people who considered the site holy to begin with, and it can sometimes be tough for outsiders to empathize.

Sure, but I was simply answering Evanizer's question as to why some of us don't see the horrendousness of the action. I accept that some people have wacky, frankly incorrect ideas, especially where religion and policy are concerned, but I don't think anyone else should be punished for the most radical beliefs of a small fringe, no matter how tightly held.

I suspect next Sunday's attendance will tell us whether most catholics agree with me when I say that the cathedral remains unviolated.
posted by Hildago at 1:23 PM on August 20, 2002


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