Sunday, 21 February 2010

No laughing matter

Lookout Hollywood, Sarah Palin's on the warpath again. And although she may have all the intellectual curiosity of a Kellogg's Variety Pack, the bitch knows how to handle a firearm.

Last year, David Letterman came pretty close to finding his head mounted on a plaque in Sarah and Todd's den. This time around it's Seth MacFarlane who needs to be checking over his shoulder.

As writer, executive producer and lead voice performer on Fox's Family Guy, the buck stops with him whenever his cartoon creation crosses the line. Which is pretty often really. But despite all the gay, black, Asian, hispanic, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, abortion, paedophilia and disability jokes, the show maintains an astonishingly open mind, and dares its viewers to laugh at a host of taboo-busting topics.

Last week, Family Guy became the first cartoon show to depict a character with Down's syndrome, as Chris Griffin asked out a girl from his school called Ellen, assuming she'd be kind and loving. Sadly for Chris, it turns out that Ellen is pushy, demanding and rude, leaving Chris to comment "I used to hear that people with Down syndrome were different from the rest of us but you’re not. You’re not different at all. You’re just a bunch of assholes like everyone else."

At one point during the episode, Chris asks Ellen what her parents do, and she replies that her mother is the former governor of Alaska. And that's what got Sarah Palin so hot under the plunging neckline. Because, to her, children with Down's syndrome are to be used as political props to garner sympathy and demonstrate her 'working Mom' schtick. Under no circumstances should they be shown as well-rounded, intelligent or sometimes unlikeable people.

Problem is, Sarah didn't get the joke. She didn't understand that the character of Ellen was being sarcastic when talking about her parents. But more importantly, she didn't get that the joke was on her, not her Down's syndrome child Trig.

Taking to Facebook to voice her disgust, the palm-scribbling halfwit called the episode "another kick in the gut" for her family. Just like when David Letterman made a joke about her daughter last year.

Far from making cruel jokes at the expense of children with the congenital disorder, the producers of Family Guy were actually advancing understanding of Down's syndrome, especially since they cast a Down's actress to play Ellen. Andrea Fay Friedman has spoken out about Palin's political point-scoring, telling the New York Times "In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humour and to live a normal life."

Unfortunately, I can't see Trig Palin being similarly blessed.

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