February 25, 2013

Seth MacFarlane Offends Me.


Source: Uploaded by user via Sharon Dowling on Pinterest

And I’m not alone.

But, even if I am, I have to speak up. Otherwise, the disgust eats away at me.

It was a very different Academy Awards show last night. Granted, I only watched the first third but that was enough to leave me sad, embarrassed and angry.

By the looks on the faces of the female actors in the house, I wasn’t the only one.

I’m no fan of Mr. MacFarlane’s work, in part because his influence has reached frightening proportions. What used to be fringe is now mainstream media. Meaning my 14-year-old son’s friends discuss it, share clips and probably watch full episodes at lunch on devices we prohibit, but everyone else seems to allow, and the school has given up policing. That’s the pop culture in which they are growing up.

I was especially distressed because I had this notion that there was a certain level of class rising to the surface in this year’s acclaimed films. Many (not all) seemed tilted toward inspiration and service rather than mere entertainment. That’s part of the reason I was watching with my son. I wanted to believe that Hollywood is regaining some dignity.

MacFarlane quickly made a mockery of that.

When I was younger, I would just leave the room if Family Guy came on. Well, when I was younger still, I would watch and force a smile even though my stomach was churning. Later, I walked away. Now that we have kids, it’s not part of the television repertoire.

I just don’t see why it’s necessary to be so misogynistic. Or, honestly, why it’s so funny to so many.

Still, MacFarlane and his legions of (mostly male) fans seem to get off on the sexist humor. I don’t understand it but he’s clearly striking a chord.

I would like to be able to appreciate his creative contributions. Really, I would.

But from my view as a woman and mother, the funny and clever sparks get buried beneath the layers of smut.

It’s sad but it’s also scary. Homer Simpson wasn’t much of a role model but he was pretty harmless. Peter Griffin isn’t. Still, many parents let their kids watch any cartoon show without discretion. Although much of the humor surely goes over their heads, the message doesn’t.

I hope The Academy will go for funny and classy when it chooses next year’s host.

And I hope MacFarlane will find more constructive ways to flex his enormous talent muscles.


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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