Can you imagine the Oscars allowing anyone to host the big show who had mocked defenseless minorities? No? Well, think again. This year’s host, Seth McFarlane, created Family Guy, a show which castigated the late Terri Schiavo as a “vegetable” — which, like the N-word, is an epithet meant to demean, degrade, and dehumanize. From my blog entry on the bigotry:
Fox’s Family Guy stooped even beneath its usual scatological obsessions to literally mock a dead woman, whose only “crime” was to have been profoundly cognitively disabled. The episode–which I embedded below only after much thought, opens with a fictional school play,Terri Schiavo: The Musical. In it, Terri is depicted as having been hooked up to every conceivable machine, a total lie since all she needed to remain alive was food and water delivered through a tube. But the facts this case have been continually misstated from the beginning, so that is nothing new. But what is novel–and truly beneath contempt, not only because it mocks and degrades Terri, but also, everyone now living with serious cognitive impairments–are the lyrics.
“Michael Schiavo” says, “She’s a vegetable,” and the chorus responds, “We hate vegetables!” to which the audience breaks up in laughter. Later she is depicted as having “mashed potato brains,” which are poured into a bowl, and being “the most expensive plant you’ll ever see.”
This doesn’t just mock a dead woman who can’t defend herself. It is hate speech against people similarly situated. Indeed, the V-word should be rendered just as societally unacceptable as the N-word has thankfully become. Both epithets serve the same purpose, that is, to demean, dehumanize, and exclude–so as to open the door to oppression, exploitation, and killing.
McFarlane later lamely tried to deflect widespread criticism of his anti-disabled script.
I am used to double standards among the Big Time Show Biz Gliteratti. The really regrettable part is that in this particular case, they — and many others — aren’t able to see what is in plain sight because so many agree that the Terri Schiavos of the world are less than human.