Immaculate Pamela?

Posted: November 20, 2011 in Uncategorized
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BOB BURNHAM, host: Welcome to the Moron Quotient, I am your host, Bob Burnham. Pamela Anderson will play the Blessed Virgin Mary in “A Russell Peters Christmas.” Russel Peters describes his television special as “an irreverent twist on the Christmas special making it unlike anything viewers have send before.”

I’m sure it will be. But will it be too irreverent? And does such irreverence contribute to growing religious intolerance? Or do people just need to lighten up and learn to appreciate a joke? Joining me today in this discussion are Professor Stewie Gumbie and comedian Katie Quip. Professor, Katie, welcome back to the Moron Quotient.

PROFESSOR STEWIE GUMBIE, BS, MS, FOS, NCCM, ETC: Hello Bob. I am pleased to be here.

KATIE QUIP, stand-up comedian: Bob. I just have to say, Pamela Anderson? Seriously? What part of the word virgin does Russell Peters not understand?

BOB: Yes, well that is an interesting casting call. And we joyfully receive our next guest. Even though we are not worthy to receive him, I would like to welcome with a humble and contrite heart, the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ.

JESUS the CHRIST: Peace be with you.

BOB: And also with you. Katie, as a professional comedian, is it appropriate for Pamela Anderson to be playing the Blessed Virgin Mary?

QUIP: I don’t know if it’s appropriate, but it is as funny as hell!

BOB: Professor Gumbie, is this kind of irreverence appropriate?

GUMBIE: I have to agree with Katie here. As I explain in my book, Economedy: The Economy of Comedy, the concept of appropriateness simply serves to define the market for one’s product, the product in this sense being the comedian’s jokes. Appropriateness does not add value.

BOB: If appropriateness is not the right word, is wrong a better word? Is it wrong for Pamela Anderson to play this role, given the special place Our Lady has in the faith and devotional practices of the Catholic Church? Jesus, I’d like to know your thoughts.

JESUS: I tell you her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.

QUIP: And Pamela Anderson has loved a lot! That’s what makes it so funny!

BOB: But do you need to draw a line between funny and offensive? Can such a line be drawn?

QUIP: Not without putting me out of business.

GUMBIE: The problem is, Bob, thinking in terms of morality is not really useful. Rather, it is more useful to think in terms of economics. “Will Catholics be offended?” is not the right question. The right question is, “How far Catholics will go to defend their brand?” Worship of Mary–

BOB: As a point of clarification, Catholics don’t worship Mary, they venerate her, and honor her, but reserve worship to God alone.

GUMBIE: As I was saying, Mary is part of the Catholic brand image. Having Pamela Anderson play Mary dilutes their brand. In the marketplace, the product with the best branding usually wins. The Catholic Church will—and should—do whatever it can to protect its brand image.

QUIP: In that case, the Catholic Church should consider having Pamela Anderson as a spokesperson. After all, it is a “Church of Sinners.” The marketing writes itself.

BOB: Jesus, what do you have to say about Professor Gumbie’s characterization. Is this simply just a matter of branding and advertisement?

GUMBIE: Everything is about advertising.

JESUS: It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’

BOB: I think we can all agree that someone will be offended. Would anybody here be surprised if someone declared that “A Russell Peters Christmas” is blasphemous and use this as another example of growing secularism? How do you expect the public will respond?

GUMBIE: Based on predictive models of economic behavior, I doubt there will be any measurable movement from one idea to another. Branding is about movement, by which I mean, moving people from one product to another. Will those defending the Catholic brand move people from the “Pamela Anderson” brand by charges of blasphemy? Probably not. And will consumers of the Catholic brand be moved to the “Pamela Anderson” brand? Again, probably not.

QUIP: Exactly. One person’s punchline is another person’s blasphemy.

JESUS: Amen, I say to you, all sins and blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.

QUIP: You know, the thing to keep in mind, Bob, is that this is a joke, something meant to bring laughter and joy into a world that sorely needs it.

JESUS: Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.

QUIP: Besides, it could have been much worse. They could have cast Snooki to play the part of the Virgin Mary. Can you imagine it? “Hail Snooki, full of—“

BOB: And that is all the time we have today. Professor Gumbie, Katie Quip it’s been an enlightening as well as entertaining discussion. Thank you.

GUMBIE: Bob, it’s been my pleasure.

QUIP: No prob, Bob!

BOB: And, I would like to thank Jesus for gracing the Moron Quotient with his love, beauty and truth.

JESUS: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

BOB: Join us next time on the Moron Quotient, where we discuss the issues and challenges that face the world, as we try to create a more fraternal society based on peace, justice and love. May you be blessed with peace and all goodness!

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