I’ve been a fan of Maggie Gallagher, a pro-life Catholic single Mom, since her columns were run in The State in the 90s. Definitely when I read her fantastic book The Abolition of Marriage, and some of her features in Crisis.
I have linked to her townhall page for sometime, but the articles have disappeared from it.
Well, it turns out that she and Princeton bioethics professor Robert George have started a group called _The National Organization for Marriage_, and they have a blog.
I found it in a Commonweal piece which tries to say that Steven Colbert, the overgrown eighth grader who stars on a show on Comedy Central (a network that broadcasts some of the worst filth and most anti-Catholic programming on TV), has greater “moral authority” than Gallagher and George, and that satire is supposedly superior to prophetic zeal.
Only problem with that is
a) Colbert is a liar. His “satire” involves a false persona–not quite the same as an acting role–in which he adopts positions he doesn’t necessarily believe in. So one is never clear *what* he believes in. This is a sin against truth. A liar cannot have moral authority.
b) Colbert claims to be a latter-day Socrates, but Socrates always had a *point* (unless you listen to Aristophanes or Xenophon’s caricatures of him). He tore down a false position to build what he believed was a true one. Colbert just tears down; he doesn’t construct. Also, Socrates let his interlocutors say their piece. And he tried to represent their words as accurately as possible. Colbert interrupts and then makes a straw man of his opponent.
c) Colbert recently did an “interview” with Doug Kmiec. He joked about large families being the “Catholic way,” and Kmiec said something about “I have 5 kids, but I believe the Colbert’s have us beat.” I was intrigued by this, and did further research. Colbert only has 3 kids, and is on record as supporting artificial contraception. No moral authority there.
d) Colbert is a registered Democrat and voted for Obama. His “character” is caricature of talk show hosts like Hannity and O’Reilly. His “character” did not vote for Obama.
For satire to work, there needs to be sincerety behind it. Some in the Commonweal thread have compared Colbert to The Simpsons: the difference is that, at the end of the day, The Simpsons presents some positive view of family, some positive view of religion. Ned Flanders may be a comic character, but I do not see how, with a few exceptions, he has ever been depicted as a negative stereotype. Indeed, he’s a key and positive character in The Simpsons Movie. Ned is the ideal to which Homer Simpson is the contrast.
Another example I would point to is House: there’s a lot of satire in House, but it is counterbalanced with serious drama and with the point that House’s cynicism is, while amusing, not a good thing. The whole theme this season has been that Gregory House is starting to realize the many things that are wrong with his misanthropy and cynicism.
Also, knowing Paul Attanasio’s previous work (The Fourth Wise Man, Homicide: Life on the Streets), one can see how the character of Gregory House fits into themes he has dealt with previously.
Anyway, I don’t get why everyone is gaga over Steven Colbert. Last week, the Catholic blogosphere was all excited about his interview with that atheist writer, and, this week, everyone’s embedding his interview with Kmiec. In both cases, the interview seemed to make the interlocutor look very good in comparison to Colbert’s infantile whining. Even if he was taking the position of being on “our side,” he did so to make our side look stupid (which is the point of his show).
I think that Hannity and O’Reilly do a good enough job of making conservatives look stupid without help, Mr. Colbert.