aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, February 19, 2006
TV networks just don’t get it
As anyone with an Internet connection and a love of cupcakes can tell you, “Lazy Sunday” is a tongue-in-cheek rap video starring Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg of “Saturday Night Live.” NBC first broadcast the video, a two-and-a-half-minute paean to New York’s Magnolia Bakery, Google Maps and C. S. Lewis, on Dec. 17.
Fans immediately began putting copies of the video online. On one free video-sharing site, YouTube (http://www.youtube.com), it was watched five million times in a few days. NBC soon made the video available as a free download from the Apple iTunes Music Store.
Julie Supan, senior director of marketing for YouTube, said she contacted NBC Universal about working out a deal to feature NBC clips, including “Lazy Sunday,” on the site. NBC Universal responded early this month with a notice asking YouTube to remove about 500 clips of NBC material from its site or face legal action under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. YouTube complied last week. “Lazy Sunday” is still available for free viewing on NBC’s Web site, and costs $1.99 on iTunes.
If networks were more effectively putting their content online, I’d be happy to link to their advertising laden sites, but they don’t make it easy and don’t use universal formats. They just don’t get it:
Several online commentators noted that NBC’s response to YouTube, while legally justified, may have been short-sighted. The online popularity of “Lazy Sunday” has been credited with reviving interest in “Saturday Night Live” at a time when it is in need of some buzz.
Ms. Supan said VH1 and other television and movie producers were increasingly putting their own clips, trailers and music videos on YouTube in hopes of jump-starting their own viral phenomena.
Religious left must apply for federal faith-based dollars
I saw it, but hopelessly didn’t even bother noting it: “President Bush has signed legislation giving $500 million to faith-based programs to promote and strengthen opposite-sex marriage.”
Well today Troutfishing at Daily Kos, after noting that “Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives...confirmed that no direct federal grants from his program had gone to a non-Christian religious group,” offers up this suggestion:
What to do ? Well, look at it this way :
Existing “faith based” spending is solely going to Christian groups ( or was as of when Esther Kaplan interviewed “Faith Based” office head Jim Towey ) but - in theory - any faith organizations can apply. What’s necessary is the documentation of pervasive disrimination in the allocation of “Faith Based” contracts. There’s a need to establish a clear pattern of biased “faith based” funding allocation.
That shouldn’t be very hard, but real faith groups - Christian left, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, B’ahai - whatever and whoever, there’s a vast spctrum of religious diversity in the US - need to apply for “faith based” funding. AND, those groups need to document their experiences of the process. [...]
Further, I see no reason why such faith based organizations can’t hire gay couples and pay them to promote straight marriage.
In Massachusetts, Texas, wherever.
We’re working with a weak hand - we need to get creative, and fast.
The imam and the former foreign minister
From 60 Minutes on the firestorm in Denmark, the imam stirs things up:
The Muslims felt totally rebuffed at home in Denmark. So the imam sent a delegation to the Middle East with a dossier of pictures, not only of the published cartoons, but of others that were even more offensive. One showed the prophet with the head of a pig.
Abu-Laban told 60 Minutes he had received these in anonymous threatening letters. But the dossier left the impression that those pictures had been printed in the newspaper.
“I guess what I’m getting at, imam, didn’t you include these obscene cartoons as a way of really stirring up the pot?” Simon asked.
“We didn’t give it to media. Don’t forget this point,” the imam said.
“I’m the media. And I have it,” Simon replied.
It was the dissemination of that dossier which ignited the flames that are still burning today.
“You weren’t getting any attention here before you spread the word. Now, you’re getting attention and engagement. Do you think your mission was a success?” Simon asked.
“Yes. The whole world is engaged. I’m so positive,” Abu-Laban replied.
Asked if he thought the casualties are worthwhile, the imam said: “I feel sorry. But we make cars and they make accidents. We build skyscrapers, but they collapse in an earthquake. This is life. We have maybe unexpected tragedies. And we have to live with them.”
They also point out that Flemming Rose “has been put on indefinite paid vacation and encouraged to leave Denmark. He’s currently resting at a five-star hotel in Washington, DC.” The report ends with the former foreign minister on the benefits of a little self-censorship:
“When you use the freedom of speech to make jokes of other people’s religions and you do it with the single purpose of demonstrating that you have the right to do so, then you are undermining the freedom of speech as I see it,” [former foreign minister and newspaper editor Uffe] Elleman says.
“Is that what you think the newspaper was doing? Do you think they were deliberately provoking just to show that they had a right to do it?” Simon asked.
“Yes. And I reacted very strongly because Muslims in Denmark—well, that’s a minority, and you don’t treat a minority that way. You don’t stamp on other people’s religious feelings. That’s bad taste,” Elleman said.
“Why I Published Those Cartoons”
Flemming Rose, the culture editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, in a WaPo OpEd on why he published the cartoons:
...I commissioned the cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam…
Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn’t intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.
This is exactly why Karl Popper, in his seminal work “The Open Society and Its Enemies,” insisted that one should not be tolerant with the intolerant. Nowhere do so many religions coexist peacefully as in a democracy where freedom of expression is a fundamental right. In Saudi Arabia, you can get arrested for wearing a cross or having a Bible in your suitcase, while Muslims in secular Denmark can have their own mosques, cemeteries, schools, TV and radio stations. [...]
Since the Sept. 30 publication of the cartoons, we have had a constructive debate in Denmark and Europe about freedom of expression, freedom of religion and respect for immigrants and people’s beliefs. Never before have so many Danish Muslims participated in a public dialogue—in town hall meetings, letters to editors, opinion columns and debates on radio and TV. We have had no anti-Muslim riots, no Muslims fleeing the country and no Muslims committing violence. The radical imams who misinformed their counterparts in the Middle East about the situation for Muslims in Denmark have been marginalized. They no longer speak for the Muslim community in Denmark because moderate Muslims have had the courage to speak out against them.
A powerful argument that must be read in its entirety.