Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Little People, A Silly People (And I Don't Mean the Muppets)

Latest Newspaper column:

In a world where the rich and powerful, especially giant corporations, are the truly oppressed members of society,  it’s a good thing that Eric Bolling and his cohorts at  Fox Business News are vigilant and ready to warn us of threats to capitalism.  If they hadn’t been on the job, we might never have known about the imminent Marxist peril posed by the Muppets.

As you might have heard, there’s a new Muppet movie out from Disney, starring Kermit, Piggy, and the  gang, as well as that guy from “How I Met Your Mother” whose name I can never remember. Bolling, the host of FBN's “Follow the Money,”  was offended by the portrayal of  the movies’ villain, an oil baron named Tex Richman (played by the multi-award-winning actor Chris Cooper). Richman, the story goes, wants to drill for “sweet, sweet oil" under the Muppet’s home/studio, and the Muppets and their human friends have to save it.

Well, Eric Bolling and the cracked--sorry, crack-- team at FBN weren’t going to take that kind of socialist slander lying down. “Liberal Hollywood depicting a successful businessman as evil? That’s not new,” Bolling sneered.

Actually, that much is true, as we are reminded this season by multiple portrayals of characters like Ebenezer Scrooge and “It’s a Wonderful Life”’s Henry F. Potter. Ranging farther afield, you can find a lot of fictional villains distinguished by great wealth: Lex Luthor. Goldfinger. Montgomery Burns. Donald Trump. Wait, Trump’s real. I still have trouble believing that.

 A few moment’s consideration would probably lead a reasonable person to theorize that rich and powerful characters make effective villains because their power makes them a credible threat to the aims of the scrappy underdog hero(es). Without a credible threat, there’s no suspense, and no story. A homeless guy isn’t going to do much to stand in the hero’s way, unless you give him a rocket launcher, and that would just be silly.

But not as silly as Bolling and Company when they’re convinced that leftism is afoot. “It’s amazing how far the left will go to manipulate your kids,” fussed one of Bolling’s guests,  Dan Gainor of something called the “Media Research Center”. Andrea Tantoros, one of the co-hosts of the talk show “The Five,” chimed in. “I wish they could just leave little kids alone,” she said, her voice quivering with indignation. "We're teaching our kids class warfare,” Bolling agreed, adding, “Where are we, Communist China?"

Yes, according to the genuises at Fox Business News, the Muppets and the DIsney Company  are agents of the International Chinese Communist Conspiracy.

You cannot make this stuff up, folks.

Perhaps the most amusing thing about the whole segment was that all the time Bolling, Gainor et. al, were warning us all of the Hollywood conspiracy  to defame those poor oil company execs, and thus the very concept of capitalism itself,  clips from the movie were playing on an inset in the screen--Muppets and humans dancing, singing, and generally being a heck of a lot more fun than these over-privileged whiners sitting in a New York Studio and complaining about how mean Hollywood was to the people who brought you price gouging and  the Gulf oil spill. Apparently, it’s not enough that oil companies enjoy astronomical profits every year and that their executives enjoy compensation that would shock a Medici prince, now everyone, including the Muppets, has to be extra-special-nice to them to avoid hurting their (or Eric Bolling’s) feelings.

After  other pundits began mocking Bolling for taking on the puppets in a children's movie, he eventually apologized--sort of. Being a true product of Fox, even his apology made him sound like a passive-aggressive dick. "Apparently," he said, "I said some things that offended little Kermit and Miss Piggy the last few days. And listen, I apologize." Then he went on to step in it again, adding: "I just wanted to say, listen, froggy--what's his name? Kermit, Miss Piggy, if you want to debate this any time, I'm all for it. So let's bring it."

 I guess offering to debate creatures made of felt is moderately less crazy than demonizing them as Communist agents. But only slightly.

You have to wonder: was there no one in the entire studio willing to take Bolling aside and go, “Dude. Muppets? Really?” Thanks to the 24 hours news cycle and the Murdoch media empire’s unceasing hunger to find new and fresh outrages to satisfy right-wingers’ need to feel oppressed and put-upon, the answer appears to be no.


Fran said...

Hey, if Murphy Brown was a threat to parenting, why can't the Muppets be a threat to God-graced corporate greed? Seriously now.

Oh for the love of Pete. Between this and the pseudo "War on Christmas", I'm torn between shaking my head and wanting to scream. More alcohol is required, I think.

J. E. Medrick said...

I think the best part, for me, is when the guy goes, "It's a Muppet movie, for goodness sake!" and I think he caught on how ridiculous his argument was, but had to keep going forward at that point. But really, his next sentence should have been, "Leave it alone, it's just a kid's movie!" instead of trying to be outraged.

On another note, Trump is real? Seriously? Someone HAS to explain how that's possible... (I was sure it was an 80's generation android :D)

Gerard Saylor said...

As the first person to email this Muppet story to Rhoades I hereby take all credit for this column's success.

JD Rhoades said...

Good point, Gerard :-)