Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Media: A Lot Of Red Faces To Go Around

Tragedy plus time, the saying goes, equals comedy.  But last week, it just took tragedy.  Tragedy took someone who had struggled all of her life to be funny and left the world laughing.  More at her than with her, granted, but still who would have ever thought Amy Schumer would finally get belly laughs?


For those not familiar with the failed comic, her entire career has been one participation trophy after another.  It didn't have to be the way.  For example, coming in fourth on LAST COMIC STANDING could have left her with some semblance of dignity if she'd simply bowed out but like another fourth place winner, AMERICAN IDOL's Josh Gracin, she kept hanging in there, hoping something would stick.  It really didn't and by the time of her 2017 NETFLIX stand up concert (AMY SCHUMER: THE LEATHER SPECIAL), her over-inflated ego was so great she couldn't accept the reality that most people just didn't think she was that funny.  This resulted in a public tantrum which forced NETFLIX to switch from their five star viewer rating to a simple thumbs up or thumbs down method.  

Feeding her ego and safety-proofing her world didn't make her funnier.

And then came the ongoing assault on Gaza.  She was happy before that.  She's filmed yet another White 'comedy' -- this one from Jerry Seinfeld the Grand Dragon of Comedy who has 20 roles in his film about pop tarts and handed out one to an African-American male -- only one and currently the fifteenth billed performer in the film.  That's the sort of project that racists like Amy glom on.  Jerry's the type of person, in fact, that really reinforces Frances McDormand's call for an inclusion rider and maybe NETFLIX can explain why they're backing this project to begin with?

But all her happy went down the drain in the last weeks and she was left with nothing to sport but her zeal to murder Palestinians.  

 As last week was winding down, Wajahat Ali (THE DAILY BEAST) reviewed the hate Amy Schumer had been sewing online:


In a since-deleted Instagram post from Oct. 24, Schumer shared a single-panel comic that portrayed American pro-Palestinian supporters holding posters and signs that read “Gazans rape Jewish girls only in self-defense,” and “Proud of our rapist martyrs.” In addition to her outrageous and inflammatory claims, Schumer felt perfectly fine posting a cartoon that blamed all Gazans instead of Hamas, the militant organization that controls Gaza and was responsible for committing war crimes and killing 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7. Ever since the 9/11 terror attacks, Muslims, Palestinians, and Arabs have become interchangeable with Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, chocolate hummus, and every other extremist abomination. As such we must condemn violent acts done by violent people we’ve never met. Our stories, and our humanity, are flattened, and otherwise decent individuals—and not-so-decent individuals—become comfortable unleashing violence and genocidal policies against our “barbaric” communities.

These double standards weren’t lost on actress Asia Jackson, who tweeted, “It’s so crazy to me how Bella & Gigi (Hadid) had to tiptoe around their statements, then Amy Schumer is like ‘Gazans are rapists’ and will still have a career.”

Speaking about careers, Schumer also posted that editors and journalists from prestigious outlets should be fired for allegedly “stoking anti-Jewish hatred worldwide” after initially publishing an incorrect story about an Israeli rocket destroying a hospital in Gaza. Well, she will be pleased to learn that many writers are now losing their jobs for the crime of simply advocating for Palestinian rights. This includes Michael Eisen, who is Jewish and lost his job as editor-in-chief of the scientific journal eLife for simply retweeting a satirical Onion article with the title, “Dying Gazans Criticized For Not Using Last Words to Condemn Hamas,” and David Velasco, the editor-in-chief of Artforum, who was fired for signing an open letter that called for Palestinian liberation and “an end to the killing and harming of all civilians.”

Student groups are also being targeted and doxxed. Authors are having their events canceled, and there’s a chilling effect where people are worried that anything advocating for Palestinians might become a career-ending offense. This even affects superstar celebrities, such as the aforementioned Hadid sisters. The models are proud Palestinians, whose father’s family became refugees after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. After Gigi’s post was called out by the State of Israel, the Hadids were subjected to daily death threats and doxxing, prompting the typically outspoken Bella Hadid to remain silent online for two weeks.

Meanwhile, comedian Sarah Silverman felt no such need to be silent. She shared a post by user @elianaeatz that supported Israel cutting off water and electricity to Gaza until Hamas releases all the hostages.

Denying basic human necessities to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, half of whom are children living in an “open-air prison” according to human rights organizations, was apparently a perfectly acceptable trade-off for Silverman, who is allegedly progressive on everything except Palestine. She took down the post after shocked reactions from her fans and chalked up the “mistake” to “stoned fury.” She’ll be suiting up to guest host The Daily Show next week, which makes me wonder if other celebrities can use being stoned as an excuse if they temporarily advocate for war crimes against innocent Israeli citizens.

Asia Jackson, who is a young Black actress with nowhere near the platform or star status of Hadids, might have to try out the “stoned” defense if she gets backlash for calling out Schumer. After Jackson’s tweet went viral, Schumer messaged her and proceeded to call her antisemitic and claimed she was not educated about the history of the Jewish people. “Did something I posted about my people being massacred offend you?” Schumer asked in screenshots from their conversations shared by Jackson on Twitter.

“The Islamophobia and generalization of Gazan people did,” Jackson replied, who also mentioned Schumer’s alleged history of racist material going back to 2015.


 Wajahat was working up to what should be Schumer's iconic moment that she's forever remembered for -- when she tried to hijack Dr Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and repurpose it to justify her own celebration of violence and murder.  Meredith Clark (INDEPENDENT) explains:


[. . .] Dr Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, also responded to Schumer after she posted a video of the late civil rights activist speaking out against antisemitism.

Schumer posted a clip from one of MLK’s impassioned speeches, in which he called on people to “take a stand against antisemitism because it’s wrong, it’s unjust, and it’s evil.”

On 31 October, Dr King said that Schumer’s clip failed to acknowledge MLK’s history of challenging white supremacy and advocating for peace.

“Amy: Certainly, my father was against antisemitism, as am I,” the CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr Center for Nonviolent Social Change began her response.

“He also believed militarism (along with racism and poverty) to be among the interconnected Triple Evils. I am certain he would call for Israel’s bombing of Palestinians to cease, for hostages to be released and for us to work for true peace, which includes justice.”


Grab the Elmer's cause somebody's face just got cracked.

And throughout the land, throughout the world, the people laughed Amy Schumer, exposed in all her Karen-ness.  It was the biggest laugh she'd ever gotten -- the only true belly laugh of entire comic career.

As the world laughed and as Amy shut down comments on her INSTAGRAM account, BING NEWS was republishing old news.  BING NEWS is an aggregator that is forever behind the times.  They're constantly publishing about a movie being about to open, for example, weeks after it's opened. At this rate, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see them republish a story declaring Pearl Harbor had just been bombed.

Instead, yesterday, they republished a story from MOVIE MAKER magazine, a July 13th Tim Molloy article for MOVIEMAKER on the documentary film 1946:


It’s a rather shocking notion for anyone familiar with modern-day Christian fundamentalism, and especially for anyone who grew up gay and scared in a “devout” household with no tolerance for homosexuality. But the film, which recently played the Salem Film Festival as part of a long festival run, has facts on its side.

1946, directed by Sharon “Rocky” Roggio, makes a compelling case that until that year, the Bible never mentioned homosexuality -- and that references to it were added out of ignorance, and a poor grasp of some obscure Greek terms.

She profiles Christian scholars who dig through forgotten Yale University archives to show how the mistranslation came about, and to make the case that conservative Christians began to spread the mistranslation in earnest in the 1970s, in order to scapegoat gays and combat their burgeoning liberation movement.

[. . .]

She and a gay Christian theologian — Ed Oxford, who has been so ostracized by his fellow Christians that he feels like an outsider everywhere — begin doing a deep dive into a 1946 translation of the Bible that became widely influential — despite what they believe is a mistranslation.

Oxford, a collector of Bibles going back hundreds of years, lays out the argument that none of them contain the word “homosexual.” 

What the Bible actually condemns, he argues, are people who are lazy, weak, slothful, and predatory. To the 1946 translators, that meant “homosexuality.” But Baldock and Oxford contend that that was their spin, not God’s.


And they are most likely right. 

As two who are not vested in the book, we can stand back and be objective.  And have been.  For example, from our "Media: The guessing game passed off as reporting" earlier this year:

Is that what will pass for compassion as climate change gets worse?  


We can play the guessing game as well.


Let's note that refusing the family because it was two fathers and a child?  For those who want to try to hide behind the Bible on sodomy?  Two things.  First, Ezekiel 16:49,  "This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy."  Did not aid the poor and needy?  That kind of describes what just happened.  And second, are you kidding us?  

We've never seen Robert Aldrich's SODOM AND GOMORRAH nor had we perused the story in THE BIBLE.  But in our crash course for this piece, we're trying to figure out where the gay is in the story.  Are we understanding correctly: God sends two of his angels to Sodom as Abraham's request and Abraham's son Lot takes them in but the male villagers, having seen the angels arrival, demand that they be allowed to "know" the angels?  Is that what we're basing condemnation gays on from the story of Sodom?


If it is, our first thought wasn't about man on man sex because that's not what it is.  It would be man on angel sex.  God sending two angels on a mission to Sodom and village males wanting to have sex with them is not same-sex sex.  God would be equivalent of a general or a leader of a country sending service members in and the issue would be the harm to God's representatives, not males having sex.  And if angels existed, would they even have a gender?   


See we can play the guessing game too.  Only our guesses don't depend upon or amplify hate.

So let's turn a fresh eye to what is said in the book.  

We were already in DC for last Saturday's march and rally outside the White House calling for an end to the assault on Gaza. So Sunday afternoon, we to the showing of 1946 at the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium.  The film makes many solid points.  Here's one it misses: Man.

Man.  Mankind.  

As feminists, we say humans and we say humankind.  We do not mistake THE BIBLE for a feminist document. Point?  Many times in the book, "man" is used for both men and women.  If "man" is used for both in passages supposedly condemning gay sex then it's not a passage condemning gay sex.

And the interpretation of the passages the documentary makes the case for fits more with the teachings of Jesus.  

It's also not new although some alarmist fundamentalists are acting as though it is.  

In 1994, for example, Daniel A. Helminiak's WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY was first published.  It's a book as important to historical understanding as Merlin Stone's WHEN GOD WAS A WOMAN.  From the 2000 edition of WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY:

There are four important changes in this new edition.  First, there is a new section on Jesus and what seems to be his encounter with a gay man.  There is also new material on King Saul's possible sexual relationship with David.  Second, there is a new presentation on the ''abomination" of Leviticus 18 and 20.  The latest research shows that this prohibition is very limited, indeed, and that ancient Jewish religion was tolerant of a range of sexual practices.  In fact, a notion of homo- or hetero-sexuality was not even a consideration; it is a foreign concept in ancient Israel.  Third, the milestone work of Bernadette Brooten influences this edition in many places.  Brooten's book, LOVE BETWEEN WOMEN, stands with John Boswell's and L. William Countryman's as turning points in the scholarly discussion.  She researched lesbianism in the ancient world and showed, among other things, that contrary to the standard line, there is much to be known on this subject.  This book includes explicit treatment of Brooten in the discussion of Romans, on which she focused her biblical research.  She presented a new and challenging interpretation of Paul's teaching about the "unnatural," which I have taken into account.  Fourth, I refocused the chapter on 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy as I became more and more uncertain that arsenokoital refers specifically to male-male sex at all.  Reversing my earlier and perhaps overly careful opinion, I begin to believe that in their general conclusion Boswell and Countryman were right about arsenokoital.


The author builds on work that has come before.  Just as the documentary 1946 is doing. FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO is a 2007 documentary exploring this terrain -- a documentary by Daniel Karslake who is producer of 1946.  The point being there is a long history of scholarship on this issue.  

Today, Amy Schumer is embarrassed on the world stage due to her desire to sport her ignorance and hatred.  In a little while we believe she'll be joined by 'believers' who've looked at THE BIBLE and just seen their own ignorance hatred reflected back.  There will be a lot of red faces on display.


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