Comedy Central star brave when attacking Fox, folds to Islamic terror threat.
“I am Spartacus.”
It is one of the iconic lines from an iconic film.
Remember Spartacus? The 1960 Stanley Kubrick film based on a Howard Fast novel about a slave rebellion back in the glory days of Rome? Kirk Douglas — father of Michael — played the heroic slave leader Spartacus, his good friend Antonius played by Tony Curtis. In the signal moment from the film (said to be a slap at McCarthyism by the film’s blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo), re-captured slaves, back in chains, are offered leniency. They will not face crucifixion if they will but give up Spartacus, who sits in their midst unrecognizable to the Romans. Waiting for the answer is Spartacus’s foe, the Roman General Crassus, played by Laurence Olivier. After a moment of silence, as Spartacus is about to give himself up to be crucified, one by one the slaves stand and announce “I am Spartacus!” — signaling their willingness to share their compatriot’s fate. The scene epitomizes courage, a willingness to take a stand when the all-too-easy thing to do would be to simply say nothing and get off the hook.
One of the grim facts of war is that one never knows where and when these moments will present themselves. The question always is: when presented with this moment, what would you do?
Most probably, you will never know until the moment arrives.
The passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 were presented with just such a moment on the opening day of this war. One minute they were average Americans flying peacefully from Newark to San Francisco on a beautiful late summer day. The next they found themselves shockingly confronted with their Spartacus moment. Four hijackers had taken over their plane during what the Americans quickly learned from family cell phone calls was an all out attack on their country. The World Trade Center towers were in flames, soon to collapse. The Pentagon had just had a jet ram into it. The plane they were on — United 93 — was clearly headed back East to Washington — on target to destroy either the White House or the U.S. Capitol.
The fact that the story is history now doesn’t make it any easier to recall. The passengers, doubtless scared witless, decided to rebel. They would not be passive participants in the destruction of their country. One by one they stood up and said, in effect, “I am Spartacus.” Or, in the words of passenger Todd Beamer, “Let’s roll.” A horrific struggle raged, the plane went down in a farmer’s field in Pennsylvania. Every single passenger and hijacker died. The White House and the United States Capitol, not to mention an unimagined number of lives on the ground, were spared.
“I am Spartacus,” these people were saying to the rest of us. “I am Spartacus.”
Comes now the tale of South Park, the irreverent, edgy and sometime (sometime??) offensive cartoon created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The show is a staple of Comedy Central, where it regularly spends its air time, in the words of the New York Post, ridiculing “every sacred convention in the book, from major religions and celebrities to gays and the physically disabled.” Which is to say, making full use of the First Amendment right to free expression.
As all of America now knows, Parker and Stone decided to do their thing with Islam and Mohammed, having their characters trying to decide how to portray Mohammed without, well, actually showing him. Which, of course, is forbidden in Islam. This being a comedy show, The Prophet finally shows up in a bear costume.
And in the blink of an eye, a Spartacus moment began to evolve. Again according to the Post, “a New York-based Web site, Revolution Muslim…’warned’ Parker and Stone they would end up like Theo Van Gogh — the Dutch filmmaker killed in 2004 by an Islamic terrorist after he made a film dealing with abuse of Muslim women.”
Threatened now, Parker and Stone refused to back down. They prepared a response, inserted as part of the storyline in their next South Park episode. Kyle, the one Jewish kid in the mix (and modeled after co-creator Stone), was to have delivered a 35-second speech at show’s end warning of “fear and intimidation.” There was to be no mention of Mohammed.
And Comedy Central — Cowardly Central as the Post promptly dubbed the network — bleeped Kyle’s little talk out completely. Parker and Stone have a statement on their website, found here.
Which brings us to Jon Stewart.
He the Braveheart who has dared to battle — yes! Can you believe it!!!??? — Fox News! Stewart is so daring, don’t you know, so gutsy, so edgy he actually uses — OMG! — the F-bomb on the air! Wow! What a guy! How 1969! The New York Times, unsurprisingly quick to adore this kind of faux courage, responded with an adoring profile, calling this David of the Liberal Media “relentless” as he swings away at the Goliath Fox. Ooooooooo…look! He took on…Bernard Goldberg! Sarah Palin! What a guy! Dust off the next Profile in Courage Award, Caroline!
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online