Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The cruelest cut

I talk about my love for Tina Fey endlessly a lot here. I make no apologies for my unabashed Feyminism. But every now and then, it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder of exactly, precisely, without-a-doubt why I love her. And today that reminder is in the segment PBS cut from her Mark Twain Prize acceptance speech.
“And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women — except, of course, those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape kit ‘n’ stuff. But for everybody else, it’s a win-win. Unless you’re a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years. Whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know, actually, I take it back. The whole thing’s a disaster.”

See it for yourself here:

[Sorry the right side is cut off, stupid parameters.
Tina nails it at 12 minutes and 30 seconds mark.

Boom. I love the smell of roasted Mama Grizzlies in the morning, it smells like victory over hypocrisy. Also, s’mores. Well, it would have if PBS had actually aired the bit in question. According to The Washington Post, PBS executives say the quote was trimmed for length. The show ran 19 minutes over and every presenter apparently had his/her segment snipped.

PBS also trimmed Tina’s individual shout-outs and thanks to presenters and friends, which she herself acknowledged “we’re probably going to cut this part for the broadcast.” But to then snip such an obviously political and pointed part of her speech seems, well, off. I mean, about 20 minutes of the 90-minute show were clips from her past work anyway. You can’t cut clips?

What the hell, PBS? You are PBS. Everyone knows you are liberal elite lunatics already. Go with it. You’re not fooling anyone. And, speaking of not fooling anyone, give it up with the Bert and Ernie are “just roommates” stuff. Yeah, for 40 years.

The best humor cuts through the clutter and lays bare simple truths. It doesn’t have to be political, often it’s about the mundane. But we relate, if sometimes through nervous laughter, because of its core truth. And whether PBS cut the Sarah Palin slam out of misplaced anxiety or overactive politeness or wussy fear of the new Republican Congress cutting its funding, it was the wrong call. Boo, PBS, no reusable canvas tote bag for you.

To extrapolate wildly from this one incident and make broad generalizations (What? It’s my blog and I can extrapolate wildly if I want to.), this timidity is sadly endemic in our media – political or otherwise – these days. We like to push this canard that there are two equal sides to every story. Sometimes, believe me, there just aren’t. Not all opinions are created equal. Some are based on fear and ignorance and flat-out lies. That doesn’t mean you don’’ have the right to that opinion – you absolutely do. Believe, think, say whatever you want. But I don’t have to give it as much weight as an opinion based in fact.

Fact are not political, or at least they shouldn’t be. So when someone like Christine O’Donnell, who doesn’t even know that the separation between church and state is built into the First Amendment, gets thisclose to going to Congress, we’ve failed as a media on a very basic level. When Sen. John McCain’s constant flip-flopping on his reasons for opposing the DADT repeal isn’t called out when he moves the goalpost yet again, we’ve failed as a media on a very basic level. (And don’t get me started on Cindy McCain’s about-face (more like two-face)on DADT. Did old man yell at more than lawn to make you go from bold equality backer to cowardly intolerance back tracker in 2.5 days?). When the daughter of the almost vice president of the United States of America uses gay slurs on Facebook and we don’t question the mentality that allows that, we’ve failed on a very basic level.

Let’s be honest here. The Mama Grizzlies aren’t feminists. They aren’t good for all women. They’re good for people who believe a very specific, very conservative ideology. Which, if you believe those things, good for you. But let’s not buy into the lie that their victories are ours. They are not. For many of us, they’re just a disaster. Preach it Tina, preach.


Norma Desmond said...

Obviously, I am very much with you (and your wife) on this one.

tlsintx said...

PBS/NPR is bending over backwards these days to keep conservative listeners/viewers in the fold. blech.

liz said...

BRAVA Ms. Snarker! You nailed it once again.

Amanda said...

It totally agree. It's a failure for women. We didn't win the right to vote just to vote in women who would then take our rights away...or keep them from ever passing into reality

Tina Fey will always be a hero of mine


Anonymous said...

Not only are political candidates who don't know the First Amendment disturbing but also arguing with regular people on this point. I was seriously blown away that gene pool members do not believe that the separation of church and state is in the Constitution.

Sarah said...

I saw this on Anderson Cooper last night! I totally agree that it's silly for PBS to claim they were trimming in the interest of time. It's clear that they were uncomfortable with the Palin jokes.

Too bad. The cut was an insult to Tina Fey, and it was her night.

Anonymous said...

I usually don't comment under the anonymous tag, but I'm a little under the weather and have no energy to argue.

I'm a anti-Palin Republican and I think that Willow is just another potty-mouthed teenager like 90% of teenagers these days (do I sound enough like my dad yet?)

I don't think Ms. Fey should ever be edited, ever.

My only complaint with this post is the suggestion that "political correctness" may be been the motivation. The PC movement is, was, and has always been a creation of the left and is an insidious double-edged sword.

Campus speech codes, anti-hate speech rules, "be nice to everyone" movements have neutered American discourse. Tina may be a victim of political pandering to the right, but the fear of offending people was enforced by the liberal side of the aisle and is now hurting everyone.

Tina Fey and Rush Limbaugh should BOTH be able to say what they want to say without being "trimmed for time." When we stiffle speech and opinion with fear and coercion as the PC movement has done, "we have failed at a very basic level."

And please leave Ernie and Burt out of it, they are roommates, nothing more.

tlsintx said...

wow Anonymous. sorry you're under the weather, but i must argue with you. i've always believed that phony PC business was a right-wing construct, to create all those false arguments the righties love so know, so they can gripe when they get called out for racism or sexism or xenophobia or homophobia. And no, Rush Limbaugh should be gagged. Period. There is no redeeming value whatsoever in the vile sickness he spews on a daily basis. You might want to stop listening to him. You'd feel better.

Panty Buns said...

What an amazing, dead on and funny paragraph you quoted from Tina Fey! I wish somebody somehow could put out a short version of the video with just that quoted passage starting around the 12 minute 30 second mark. PBS has had its management corrupted by right wingers. Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) did an article about PBS losing it's Public part recently.

Maxine Dangerous said...

This might just be my favorite of all the things you've written, and that's saying something.

Nox said...

Gotta agree, regardless of the reason, that was a bad cut to make... not just because it took the bite out of her statement, but because it actually put her previous comment out of context

PS, how do you feel about multiple marriages? adoption? communal living? maybe I could just sleep on couch.... ok so it's just a cheap ploy to say I was under the same roof ;)

cee-cee said...

For my Birthday, I just received, "This is NPR. The First 40 Years". It's a wonderful retrospective on public interest reporting, and how important its/their true and unbiased rendering of news and current events have been to us all. They had ovaries!! And to see NPR' stance now ( admonishing its reporters about coverage of the Stewart/Cobert Rally)and PBS' censorship of Fey's remarks makes me angry and sad. If part of the motivation behind all this is funding-- fear of losing federal dollars-- they'd better be afraid of losing public support as well....mine, in particular.