SNL’s ISIS Recruitment Commercial

There is supposedly a big social media controversy over this gag SNL ad, starring Dakota Johnson, that simultaneously parodied an Army recruitment promo and satirized the disturbing trend of brainless teens running off to join that terrorist organization that has nothing to do with Islam.

It’s not a controversy when one side is ignorant, censorious, politically correctness- addled, humorless and wrong and the other side isn’t.

The ad is brilliant black comedy and satire, one of SNL’s all-time best. Those who object to it don’t get black humor and satire, which makes their objections as irrelevant as someone allergic to shellfish saying that Legal Seafoods stinks. Nobody’s making them eat there, and they don’t have to watch Saturday Night Live or think it’s funny either. But I don’t care about their opinion, which is uninformed and useless to anyone who understands and appreciates the issues.

Here’s what was good and funny—and ethical– about the parody:

1. It caught the saccharine tone of its model exactly.

2. Its ending was a surprise.

3. It ridiculed ISIS, which deserves ridicule. President Obama claims that the way to withhold respect for the group is to lie about it being a group of Islamic extremists. This is much better, ethical, and doesn’t mislead anyone.

4. Making fun of evil is a time-honored activity, healthy, useful, and effective. I don’t recall anyone saying that Spike Jones was treading on sacred ground with this song:

or that The Three Stooges were trivializing the death camps with this…

5. The satire even cuts two ways. You know, that sweet young girl is also being sent off to kill people when she’s joining the military in the real ad. Like all great satire, this one is subversive and layered. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Mixing Math and Black Humor

[Yesterday I was en route to Las Vegas for a speaking engagement—actually one of my rock classic parodies musical legal ethics seminars with rock singer and guitarist Mike Messer—and essentially went from 7 hour trip to hotel to restaurant to bed last night, then to an all day session today. I’ll catch up: I’m not ignoring comments, just haven’t had the chance to read them.]

"If Bugs Moran has 276 gangsters, and Al Capone's men massacre 7 every Valentines day beginning in 1929, how many gangsters will he have left today?" Hey, math is fun!

At the Trinidad Center City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., third graders have been given math problems like this…

  • “Tilda Tiger had many hungry children to feed on Thanksgiving Day. She caught 169 Africans, 526 Americans and 196 Indians. She then put the people equally into 9 enormous ovens to bake. How many desperate people were in each oven?” Not to mention…
  • “When I was sleeping in a forest last night, 2555 fire ants crawled up my nose and built a nest in my brain. I woke up screaming the next morning. My distraught mother rushed me to hospital for an emergency operation. The doctor was able to kill 1953 fire ants. The remaining ants in my brain formed themselves into 7 equal-sized groups and fled to 7 different organs in my body, one being my stomach. a) How many fire ants escaped? b) How many ants fled to my stomach?” As well as… Continue reading

Oh, Shut Up! There Is Nothing Wrong With “Go the F*** to Sleep”

If they think "Go the F*** to Sleep" is bad....

The guilt-mongers and Child Over-Protection Patrol have set their sites on “Go the F*** to Sleep,” Adam Mansbach’s children’s book parody, a cranky, profanity and obscenity-laced release for frustrated and sleep-deprived parents of small children everywhere.

“Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos,” intones Dr. David Arredondo, quoted by CNN. He is an expert on child development and founder of The Children’s Program, in the San Francisco metropolitan area, which provides consultation and training for those working with troubled youths. Yes, Dr, imagine. Then it wouldn’t be a humorous satire for the amusement of perfectly loving parents.

“Nobody is suggesting that there’s a connection between Adam Mansbach’s book and child abuse or child neglect,” writes Karen Spears Zacharias, whose essay suggests that there is a connection between Adam Mansbach’s book and child abuse or child neglect. “Still, there’s no denying the reason “Go the F*** to Sleep” should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children.”

OK, there’s a book that is an inside joke for parents that relieves their guilt over the occasional horrible thoughts they have about their children, and children shouldn’t read it, because they wouldn’t understand. So what? Since when was there something inappropriate about enjoying books that shouldn’t be shared with children? I wouldn’t let my child read Dr. Spock, either. Continue reading

Latest Political Correctness Bullying Victim: Kenneth Cole

If you can’t make a silly joke on Twitter, that on-line  jungle of the trivial, incoherent, moronic, witty and self-promotional 140 word blurb, where can you make it? Designer Kenneth Cold sent out a tongue-in-cheek bit of satirical self-promotion, tweeting:

“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC.”

Horrors. Continue reading

What Do You Do With Climate Change Skeptics? Blow Them Up!

Ok, all you people out there who thought a waitress squeezing dishwater into the drinks of customers who didn’t root for her football team in the Direct TV ad was harmless…do you want to take responsibility for a trend?

As you can see over on YouTube, a climate change advocacy group called 10:10 is pressing its case with a video showing a teacher explaining to her pre-teen students the 10:10 formula, in which everyone cuts their carbon emission by 10%, “thus keeping the planet safe for everyone, eventually.” Most of the class volunteers various ways they and their parents can meet the 10% goal, but a couple of students refuse—vicious, dumb, Right wing global warming “deniers,” apparently. So the teacher pushes a button and blows them to bits, with flesh and blood splattering everywhere.  Similar scenarios involving the detonation of adult victims follow. You see, the only way to get “everyone” to save the planet by cutting carbon emissions by 10% is to eliminate those who refuse to do it. Continue reading