Catalyst September Issue 2001
One of the top pet peeves at the Catholic League is the hypocrisy that marks so many in the entertainment business. Here are some of the latest gems.
Conan O’Brien. How many times have we complained that on his show, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” that Catholics are insulted? The usual response from his producers is that Conan means everything in jest and that he offends everyone. But that doesn’t explain why he apologized for a remark that one of his guests made about the Chinese: comedian Sarah Silverman was joking around on the July 11 show with Conan when she used the word “chinks.” After an Asian-American watchdog group protested, Conan apologized; he took responsibility for not dropping the audio on the offensive line. Would that he treat Catholics the way he treats the Chinese.
Interestingly, on July 26, Conan did put his finger on the audio delete button. During the taping of the show, guest Dom DeLuise congratulated Conan on his engagement to Liza Powell. Conan nervously said on the air that he doesn’t discuss his personal life on the air. So he edited out the remark by DeLuise. Would that he edit out comments offensive to Catholics.
Remember Kevin Smith of “Dogma” fame? The actor/director, who justified his Catholic bashing on the grounds of being creative, has got himself into a stink with gays. It seems that in his new movie, there are a few gay jokes. That didn’t set too well with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and so they went right after him. Smith thought he could buy them off so he contributed $10,000 to the Matthew Sheperd Foundation (in honor of the gay man who was killed in Wyoming). But that didn’t appease GLAAD. Smith then went bonkers claiming victim status. What interests us is that he never made an attempt to buy off the Catholic League.
A few years back, William Donohue ventured to Hollywood to meet some of the big wigs at a conference sponsored by David Horowitz. After listening to one producer after another say they only let their kids watch Nickleodeon, Donohue asked, “If the programs you make aren’t good enough for your kids, whose kids are they good for?” He publicly denounced them as phonies. Now we can add Mark Goodman and Alan Hunter to the list. When the original hosts of MTV were recently interviewed on TV, they admitted that they don’t allow their own teenage kids to watch the music cable channel.
Finally, we have the case of Harry Evans. Harry is married to Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker and currently the editor of Talk magazine. They are two of the most celebrated jet setters of our age. Now there’s a new book out that is hardly flattering called, Tina and Harry Come to America.
It seems that before the couple migrated from England, Harry, ever the worldly journalist, had a penchant for suing those who lampooned him. Yet in this country he has staked out a reputation for himself as a great guardian of the First Amendment. But even before the new book by Judy Bachrach was published, Harry returned to his roots by writing threatening letters to the book’s publisher, Free Press. Thus have we once again discovered Harry’s real tolerance for free speech.