What is it with my fellow GetReligionistas? It's as if they're completely disinterested in celebrity news. I just searched to see how we handled media coverage of the Kathy-Griffin-at-the-Emmys debacle (I was attending to other matters at the time) and see that we didn't discuss it at all. For those who have more interesting lives, Griffin is a comedienne -- and host of the 2007 gay porn awards! -- who made scandalous remarks about Jesus when she accepted her Emmy for her Bravo reality series. There was so little substantive coverage of what she said that religion reporter Gary Stern hadn't even heard about it last week:
Did I not hear about Griffin's acceptance speech because she was offensive to Christians instead of Jews or Muslims? Or was it that no one pays attention to Griffin? Or have I just been out of it lately?
Part of it has to be that many news outlets omitted the most blasphemous part of her remarks. Here's how The Associated Press treated it:
In her speech, Griffin said that "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."
She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim, "This award is my god now!"
The off-color remark? "Suck it, Jesus." As more than a few readers noted, many news outlets neglected to mention the actual text of Griffin's remarks, making it seem like the only point was to make fun of people who thank Jesus when they receive accolades. Anyway, on Saturday The Washington Post ran a Religion News Service piece about the speech by Kevin Eckstrom. Which is what I wanted to discuss when I started this post but had to explain the whole Kathy Griffin thing first. Okay, then. The piece is substantive and looks at the fallout from Griffin's little stunt, coming to this conclusion:
Poking fun at religion in general is fine. Taking jabs at hypocritical religious leaders is even encouraged. But when it comes to Jesus, Hollywood still gets squeamish.
I didn't find his thesis terribly well substantiated, but the most interesting part of the article for me was this graph. Eckstrom is trying to explain why some people might have taken offense at Griffin's remarks:
For most Christians, Jesus of Nazareth is the savior of mankind. "For us and our salvation, he came down from heaven," the Nicene Creed says. "For our sake, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried."
Most Christians? Yes, I imagine most Christians do believe that. Sigh. Of course, I'm not sure if that line says more about the reporter or the state of Christianity today.