Daily Archives: October 23, 2010

The Cartoon, The Newspaper And The Need To Be Serious

Now working at the "Osservatore Romano"

 

We live in times where collective stupidity and vulgarity is very much en vogue and there is no level of entertainment considered too stupid or embarrassing. The entire cultural climate is slowly going down, flattening itself to the minimum common denominator of the uneducated, peeping, gossiping masses. Consider our TV programmes becoming increasingly more stupid, our newspapers becoming increasing more coloured (and leaving your finger an even bigger mess than they used to) and shouted, our politicians treating us as increasingly more stupid (witness the huge amount of adv telling us not to kill ourselves on a bike, or to drink and drive) and the life of what is in the meantime a huge army of “celebrities” being inspected and given to the hungry masses in the most embarrassing detail.

One of the most notable examples of this trend toward the superficial, the vulgar and the outright stupid is the Osservatore Romano, the once serious (if not necessarily orthodox) Vatican publication now clearly intent on becoming the most ridiculed newspaper on the planet. The paper does so brilliantly, with journalists regularly making asses of themselves and causing worldwide laughter in the process.

It all started (unless I am missing something) with the Osservatore’s “absolution” of the Beatles, whereby we were informed that the Beatles (and well, particularly Lennon and by reflection the female who has become the epitome of everything that is wrong with the human race) were blasphemous drug users but hey, it’s all fine because where would music be without them…. Touching and profound, don’t you find?

Then we had the “Blues Brothers” article, where the religious content of the movie and his defence of Catholicism was put in evidence. This was, if you ask me, far less stupid* than the previous observations about Lennon & Co, but it still betrayed an utterly inappropriate need of being “hip” and to talk about things that have nothing to do with the actual job of the newspaper.

The summit (at least for now) was reached when the same newspaper, not content with the degree of ridicule already earned, went out with the rather astonishing observation that Homer Simpson be a Catholic. The reasons would be that he sleeps at his Protestant church’s sermons and a couple of other pieces of nonsense too idiotic to repeat. I distinctly remember that when I was in kindergarten discussions were far more logic and profound than this one and it truly seems that the Osservatore Romano will not stop until their reputation for moronic stunts has reached the furthest corners of the planet; which will be very soon.

In the meantime, the producers of the “Simpsons” have felt the necessity to speak. “If Catholics are as stupid as that newspaper”, they must have thought, “we’ll need to release some form of official dementi”. Please note the astonishment of the poor chap at Homer Simpson being defined as Catholic.

The impression that comes from all these stories is that at the Vatican someone is seriously confusing proper journalistic work with puberty problems. One has the distinct impression that Beavis and Butthead have now become, respectively, news writer and editor by a well-known and once reputable newspaper. The problem is that whilst Beavis and Butthead may be fun on MTV, they are not on the Osservatore Romano.

Mundabor

* I admit growing up in the admiration of that movie. I still think it is one of the greatest movies ever made. And I find the “Penguin” one of the most lovable creatures ever devised by the silver screen.

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