The Corner

SNL’s Unintended Target

In response to Quiz: Melanie Griffith or Dalai Lama?

David: I had a slightly more favorable interpretation of SNL’s “Draw Muhammad” skit, because of the ending. After both contestants refuse to sketch even a line toward the clue, their teammate (Reese Witherspoon) still manages to guess correctly. The implication, I thought, is that the only subject for sketching that could elicit the paralysis the contestants exhibit is Muhammad, and Witherspoon’s character knows it — and so do the rest of us.

Actually drawing Muhammad might have been a defiant finger in the eye, true, but it would have garbled the subtle point, which is that Americans now willingly self-censor for fear of offending Islamic terrorists, and while we refuse to say that that is what we’re doing, everyone knows that’s what’s happening.

It is ironic, then, that Salon and others have lavished the sketch with such phrase. They should be condemning it. The barb comes at their expense (their pusillanimity being much responsible for this situation)!​

Of course, whether SNL had the Linda Stasis of the world in mind is a question. Like you, I doubt it. But sometimes the joke is smarter than the comic.

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