It’s likely you’ve been following the recent brouhaha between Jon Stewart and conservative Christian groups over a graphic, wherein a Christmas manger was Photoshopped between the legs of a naked woman during the April 16 episode of The Daily Show. Well, the issue isn’t dying out anytime soon, especially since Stewart addressed it this weekend during a live stand-up show in Florida. But let’s back up, first.
The Vagina Manger moment went down during a piece about Fox News Channel’s apparent disdain for liberal activists employing the phrase “war on women,” when speaking about what seems like proposed rollbacks on women’s rights legislation as spearheaded by GOP politicians (Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney recently promised to reverse Roe Vs. Wade, for example). The point Stewart and Daily Show writers were making was that in the past (and they show the video evidence) Fox has used “war on” for a great number of less significant things (potatoes, sugar) and most noteworthy, Christmas. And if “liberals” weren’t allowed to use the phrase as it applies to women’s rights, then how could we convince Fox otherwise?
“What can women do to generate the same sense of outrage from Fox as the removal of decorative, slightly poisonous holiday plants?” Stewart asked, adding, “Perhaps they could play into the theme. Maybe women could protect their reproductive organs from unwanted medical intrusions with vagina mangers.” And cue the graphic, which stayed onscreen for a painfully long time. You can watch the entire segment below.
Two days after the airing, Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center (a super conservative group) tweeted, “We dare Jon Stewart to be equally disgusting & desecrate the Koran & Torah to prove they are equal opportunity bigots,” and followed up with an official press release. On the same day, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights sent out an e-mail to their followers stating, in part, “We are asking Stewart to apologize. If he does not, we will mobilize Protestants, Jews, Mormons and Muslims to join us in a boycott of his sponsors.”
But Comedy Central has been silent on the issue. And Stewart hasn’t felt the need to respond– until this weekend, when Stewart informally addressed the issue during his Saturday show at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Fl. “I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance,” he said about the Catholic League’s boycott, in what the Tampa Bay Times described as a “rare moment of seriousness” during his live show.
The Catholic League today attempted to use Stewart’s words against him, releasing yet another press release, claiming that their organization “is getting to him.” Catholic League President Bill Donohue (pictured to the right) proudly adds, “We’re sending [our supporters] the ‘vagina manger’ picture he is so proud of, asking everyone to pressure Comedy Central into getting Stewart to apologize.”
Way to go, Bill! Send that ‘vagina manger’ photo around. That sounds like something Jesus would do. You know, turning the other cheek and all, disseminating soft-core religious-themed porn. Also, you are not getting to Jon Stewart. He’s gotten to you and all of your followers— and in a huge way. Isn’t that why you’re making a God-awful stink about a comedy show’s satirical take on real news programming? Instead of being mechanically outraged over something that, based on your drowning-in-doctrine life, seems like you should be outraged over, why not listen to what Stewart has to say. Forget about the “vagina manger” for a second (If you can…I get it. I like it, too).
Re-watch the Daily Show’s segment. If you still can’t see the hypocrisy Fox News is all too happy to own, you’re more damaged than they are. And that’s saying a lot.