Wednesday, April 12, 2006

MTV to broadcast pogo-sticking pope

I give up. I like to satirize the modern world, but I just can’t keep up with reality anymore – as illustrated by this latest bit of news from WorldNet Daily.

The music channel MTV is planning to present the controversial "Popetown" cartoon series to its viewers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, causing outrage among German Catholics and Protestants.

The 10-part series, starting May 3, depicts the pope as a fat infantile figure bouncing on a pogo stick through the Vatican, surrounded by a bunch of corrupt cardinals. The BBC commissioned the series in 2004, but it was deemed too offensive for public viewing in the United Kingdom. The cartoons are available on DVD but have only been shown on TV in New Zealand.

Protests in Germany have also been aroused by an advertising campaign for the TV series. Full-page advertisements show a grinning man with a crown of thorns sitting in an easy chair in front of a cross. The advert bears the slogan "Laugh instead of hanging around."

Wickedness is never content with simply being itself. It always has to validate itself by getting in other people’s faces, and it always has to top itself to keep the thrill alive. I’m ashamed to say, there was a time in my life when I thought that sort of thing was cool; now I just find it sad.

MTV withdrew the advertisement after the German Advertising Standards Agency issued a public rebuke today and accused the channel of hurting religious feelings. MTV rejects this allegation and is going ahead with plans to air the series.

[…] The Catholic initiative "Never Again" is threatening legal action against MTV, and the Christian newspaper "Verse 1" has started a boycott campaign on the Internet.

Some evangelicals have joined the protests. The chairman of the Association for Bible and Confession in Bavaria, Andreas Spaeth, is deeply concerned that the media should be allowed to mock the Christian faith while treating Islam with great caution and consideration in similar circumstances.

[…] The 10-episode animated series, commissioned in 2002 before the death of Pope John Paul II, tells the tale of the long-suffering Father Nicholas, a good man who has to cope with life's ups and downs in the fictional bureaucracy in which he lives.

That bureaucracy just happens to the Vatican, which features an American pope, corrupt cardinals, plots suggesting bestiality, and egotistical Vatican reporter based on Nicole Kidman's character in the movie "To Die For."

You just knew that somehow they would manage to take a shot at Americans.

"Penelope is the kind of self-obsessed reporter who says, 'I am going to look so fat' before going live from a Somalian refugee camp," notes the show's website.

[…] But the creators say despite its irreverence, the cartoon is not intended to offend anyone.

Its website states: "Sure, it is a place where assembly lines flatten small balls of dough with mallets, transforming them into holy wafers. But 'Popetown' is not about the Vatican; it is about the hierarchy and bureaucracy in any company."

"Religion never comes up at all in any of the scripts," said Marke. "We're just poking fun at any organization."

Right. And I’m the long-lost Czar of all the Russias. I’m just curious when they will make a series about “Imamville,” where an infantile prophet runs around channeling messages from a bright and shiny demon and convinces his bearded followers to behead Jews and Christians while he makes out with the local virgins. Oh, wait - I guess that would be "intolerant..."