KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP)–The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon received little press after Labor Day Weekend, even though the organization raised $63 million (plus close to as much from corporate sponsors).
Entertainment Weekly did spotlight Jerry later that week, when it declared, “On Sept. 4, comedian Jerry Lewis, 81, apologized for using an antigay slur during his annual Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association the day before in Las Vegas. ‘I obviously made a bad choice of words,’ Lewis said in a statement.” Not one word about the money raised that day was reported or the progress made during the previous year by the MDA — just a comment about a bad joke.
Many Americans came together Labor Day weekend in order to help others who suffer from the ravages of muscular dystrophy. Indeed, the telethon isn’t about Jerry Lewis, but about tender-hearted Americans seeking to ease the torment of others. These are the Americans the world seldom hears about.
Ironically, while the entertainment industry reprimands America concerning politically incorrect speech, global climate control and our position in Iraq, many of its members continue to produce products harmful to man’s psyche. Activist entertainers seem more concerned with our polluting the air than with their polluting of the world’s soul.
In the ghastly horror thriller “I Know Who Killed Me,” for instance, Lindsay Lohan plays a teenager tortured by an unknown assailant. This guy saws off her hand while she is forcibly induced to stay awake and feel every bit of the pain. I don’t want to hear something like that on the nightly news, so why would I want to pay 10 bucks to visualize it? If the Hollywood community is so concerned with America contaminating the world, shouldn’t its members begin by cleaning up their own backyard? How about putting an end to the “torture porn” genre, Tinseltown? That might be a start.
On cable’s Comedy Central Jon Stewart applies cynicism and ridicule to most news headings with downright glee. Though he’s often funny and occasionally insightful, Mr. Stewart’s humor has paved the way for countless comedians who have little more in their quiver than the arrows of barbed and crude wisecracks. In the 1960s, Don Rickles became a master of the put-down, but his humor was intended to puncture holes in prejudice, bigotry and pomposity. Today that prickly comic process has morphed into maliciousness, as evidenced by the standup routines of Kathy Griffin and Sarah Silverman.
Never do these two ladies feel a compulsion to censor their affronts, no matter the hurt or controversy that result. Ms. Griffin, for example, recently won an Emmy for her reality show “My Life on the D-List” and during her acceptance speech spewed a rant that included the following: “A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus…. This award is my god now.”
I suppose this column may also be misconstrued as media-phobic. So let me point out that wrongs and injustice must be brought to our awareness, and that there is no more effective way of presenting such messages than through amusing, even scathing satire. The constant scoffing and mocking from media outlets, however, seems contrary to Philippians 4:8, which teaches us to think about the noble, the pure, the lovely. And I question those who seek world solutions without regard to biblical teaching. Admittedly, I base my views on the belief that the Bible is God’s instruction book and that it must be adhered to when resolving wrongs and injustice. Can’t you just imagine what Kathy Griffin would say about that?
Oh, by the way, thank you, Jerry Lewis and all those who gave on Labor Day. Your readiness in giving inspires me to do less for myself and more for others. Such programs remind me of the true nature of Americans. Funny, you don’t see that a lot in the media.
Phil Boatwright reviews films from a Christian perspective at previewonline.org.