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« Rachel Corrie Died for This? | Main | Detractors Go Postal To Stamp Out Israel »

Monday, May 17 2010

Comments and the Roar of the Crowd

Comedy_centralOur critique of Comedy Central really touched a nerve with readers. In less than 24 hours, our new Facebook group is at nearly 1,000 members, with plenty of comments. There's also more reader buzz on Backspin here, on YouTube (one place hosting our podcast), and on HonestReporting's Facebook page.

I'd like to respond to three points readers are raising.

1. Comedy Central's game is a joke. HR should lighten up.

I strongly disagree. I find this argument dismissive of the fact that Comedy Central's game perpetuates a stereotype of Israel as kid-killers. The Comedy Central name on an online video game creates an aura of cool around some very offensive humor and inaccurate stereotypes. This comment posted on Backspin by Jay highlights the point:

Oh I get it, they're alluding to the fact the idf killed many innocent children during the gaza siege right?

2. Jews aren't the only people offended by Comedy Central. They knock everyone.

After sending out the critique, it was brought to our attention that the game, I.S.R.A.E.L. Attacks, is in the context of a crude Comedy Central animated TV show called Drawn Together. Although that show was cancelled in 2007, a Drawn Together movie was released in April. Normally, I'd link to the show or the movie so readers can see and judge for yourself, but they're too crude and explicit.

The argument that "they offend everyone" really means "they're offensive." It doesn't mitigate Drawn Together's painful stereotyping, whether we're talking about Jews, Catholics, Muslims, blacks, gays, etc. I can only imagine the Christian reaction to another Comedy Central series under consideration: JC.

Let's keep some perspective: We're not asking Comedy Central to have thought-police monitor their own content, we're not condemning the network as a whole, nor are we calling for a boycott. We're simply asking that I.S.R.A.E.L. Attacks be removed from Comedy Central's web site. On this point, I'll give the last word to John in Michigan, who wrote on Backspin:

The video game suggests to me that the Drawn Together producers were desperate for publicity, and will try anything to attract controversy.

3. HonestReporting is silencing dissenting views.

Not at all. The podcast began with Yarden Frankl describing how his wife's car was stoned by a Palestinian last week. I'm going to elevate Penparc's comment on YouTube:

The guy lives in a West Bank colony and he complains about Palestinians throwing rocks at his car. Weird!!

Human rights doesn't stop at the Green Line. Stoning an Israeli car ain't mitigated by which side of the border it takes place on.



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"The guy lives in a West Bank colony and he complains about Palestinians throwing rocks at his car. Weird!!
So this ignoramus thinks that its ok to throw rocks at a car if the people are living in the "wrong" neighborhood? Or does this only apply to Jews living in parts of Israel which have an arab majority? If such an incident had occurred in America against a racial minority in a majority white neighborhood, this same person would no doubt not be justifiying the actions of the rock throwers.

Decades ago America ended segregation, yet there are those, especially on the left ironically, who advance a "no Jews allowed" policy in certain areas of Israel.

You guys are just blind. You can't tell the difference between a philo-semitic parody of prejudice, and true prejudice.

Yes, philosemitic - between Captain Hero's being traditionally ritually observant, even if a sexual deviant (and the juxtaposition pokes fun at the sex scandals among the Orthodox); and Wooldoor Sockbat being a killer who poses as a nice guy, like everyone's favorite tame Palestinian, Walid Shoebat (note the similarity of names), they are parodying issues generaly considered internal to the Jewish community.

To quote from the Drawn Together Wiki:

Though never stated explicitly, it is strongly implied that he and his parents are Jewish, as he calls his mother "Ima" (אִמָא), Hebrew for "mommy" (also used in its plural form, "Imahot" (אִמָהוֹת) in "Little Orphan Hero") and has been seen to observe Sabbath rituals; this is part of a running gag of Jewish in-jokes throughout the series (creators Dave Jeser and Matt Silverstein are both Jewish). Since Captain Hero is a parody of Superman, these jokes may also be references to similar hints of Judaism in Superman's background; like Jeser and Silverstein, Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel were both Jewish. Captain Hero's homeworld is also called Zebulon which may be a reference to one of the ten lost tribes of the Israelites.

[end quote]


In "The One Wherein There Is a Big Twist, Part II" it is revealed that most of his people, the Sockbats, were murdered in a Holocaust perpetrated by the Sweetcake people (themselves parodies of Strawberry Shortcake), who turned to eating the Sockbats as a remedy for an economic crisis.

[end quote]

The Sockbat thing parodies the ambivalent position of Israel in the world, and the parallel to the Palestinians, given the poor hasbara in Israel these days - the Pal-Arabs have become the new Jew-victims, while the Jews have become the new oppressors, in far too much of popular culture. So too, Wooldor is both a victim and an occasional killer. He is also said to have been born in 5753, and refers to getting money at his Bar-Mitzvah. So he's portrayed as Jewish, Holocaust survivor, but with the name derived from the tame Palestinian.

So much of it is an inside joke, and you just don't get it, because you can't or won't look past the surface of the skin of the covering of the concept.

Good, pat yourselves on the back for stopping a bunch of JEWS from writing SELF-PARODY. Whoopee.

Well done, HR - and not just for this! I did offer Comedy Central an alternative - International Subversive Lady Murderers & Assassins (I.S.L.A.M.) but they never got back to me.

Thank you for an excellent job in effectuating the removal of this anti-semitic "game". It is irrelevant as to the religion or creed of the creators of this hateful work - couldn't give a rat's patootie if the creators were aliens from another galaxy - the end result was hateful, hurtful, dangerous and only exacerbates the ferocity and volatility of overt anti-Israeli and anti-semitic sentiment which is plaguing the entire planet and is indeed a scourge. Always vigilant, HR perserveres and gets the job done. Never ever forget that the anti-semitism has reared its ugly head once again and must be stopped by any and all means at our disposal to ensure that "NEVER AGAIN" is taken literally and figuratively.

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