A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Is Fox News Brainwashing People to Be Stupid?

I realize that the Republican primary season is going full steam ahead to its acrimonious conclusion, and another American football season has been put to bed, but today there is a more serious topic that deserves our attention. It has come to our attention that the cowardly, right-wing media has reared its very ugly head and spit its venom at America’s most beloved and consistently successful entertainers. The attack from Fox News was so shocking and profound, that the entertainers themselves called a news conference to refute the horrific allegations.

No, I am not speaking about Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Please note, I said “entertainers”. I’m speaking about America’s most lovable Muppets, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.

It was obviously a slow news week at Fox — unemployment rates were sliding downward, so how could they complain that Obama was mishandling the economy? One Fox commentator — his remarks were so foul, that I do not feel it is worth my time to research his name — questioned the fact that the villain in the latest Muppet movie was an oil tycoon. Surely, this alleged journalist reasoned, the portrayal of this energy company executive was a thinly veiled attack on our capitalist system. He also wondered if perhaps the Muppets were brainwashing America’s movie-going children that capitalism is bad.

Incensed and insulted, the frog and the pig pounced! In a taped news release which went viral on the Internet, our beloved Muppets rose to the challenge and deftly responded to their critic’s accusations. Their responses were fabulous, but really, do we expect anything less from them than fabulousness?

Although the Muppet stars may believe they have handled the controversy, the whole episode still begs the question about Fox News’ motives. Surely they could not truly believe that their angle on this story would warrant a Congressional investigation into what is in reality — and I should issue a spoiler alert here, but I won’t — a pair of creatures made out of terrycloth and button eyes which were perhaps made by the tiny hands of Chinese children exploited by their faux communist masters. Why then did they raise this silly issue at all? This begs the question I pose at the top. Does Fox think so little of its viewer’s intelligence that they would stoop to such depths of reportage when there are so many other issues which need to be raised?

Aside from the free publicity the initial report, the Muppet press conference, the outrage expressed in the media including blogs like this one might have generated, Fox could not have gained anything else from this episode. Were they seeking a rise in their status as a serious news gathering organization? Please don’t make me laugh!

Granted there may be some unexplained lapses of events in the Muppets collective past. Certainly we’ve all heard the rumors (which I just now made up) recounting how Kermit took a course in Russian history while a freshman at the University of Maryland, or how Miss Piggy once did a one-pig show about Emma Goldman called Red Emma Tonight! Still these rumors, true or not, do not necessarily make them communist sympathizers, “fellow travelers” in McCarthy Era parlance, or even anti-capitalists.

The fact is, dear Fox, is that the portrayal of a captain of industry as a bad guy who seems indifferent to the sufferings of the workers is a literary tradition that goes back centuries. Witness: the character of the banker Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Or what about the villain pursuing conquest of the heroine’s honor if she doesn’t pay the mortgage in any number of melodramas performed on this country’s stages during the 19th century? Could this usually caped antagonist with top hat and very long, twirlable, handle-bar mustache have been a shoe cobbler? No, I say no! He was a money changer; a commodities lender not necessarily corrupted by the economic system itself, but rather by an old-fashioned aspect of human nature called greed.

Then there is The Simpsons.

This series is perhaps the most successful show on the Fox News sister network. For the better part of 20 years, millions have laughed at the antics of its villain — the uber rich J. Montgomery Burns. His character’s ambivalent attitude towards his workers hopes and dreams is borne out by his clichéd stinginess that he believes will preserve his financial self worth and well being. This is an attitude that is worthy of belittling for satirical purposes. This is a character that has been portrayed many times in the Christian-Judeo tradition. Granted the basic motivation for such portrayals may be envy on the part of the have-nots, but this still shouldn’t dissuade us from ridiculing one of the most pathetic facets of human nature.

The oil executives, the bankers, or even the entertainment moguls who use sock puppets to express their point of view are not the enemies. Greed is the villain that can affect all these business types. It is the great spoiler of many economic theories created and experimented with throughout the world.

In this regard, the two largest competing economic theories — capitalism and communism — share one trait. Both are capable of bringing out the worst in human nature. Capitalists can pursue their wealth so passionately that they can be insensitive to the sufferings of those who are not as well off. Communist leaders, likewise, succumb to greed and its companion corruption, resulting in their ascension to becoming tyrants and dictators over the people they profess to be benevolent towards. In both economic theories, the possibility that a master/slave relationship can be created is very real.

And you thought this was going to be about sock puppets! Now don’t you feel silly?

(Thank you for reading. Please note: my use of the word “fabulousness” does not automatically make me gay. So piss off, Santorum!)


Anonymous Janey said...

True fabulousness would occur if our beloved Miss Piggy bitchslapped former Senator Rick until the santorum shot out of his ass!

February 7, 2012 at 6:34 AM  

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