Friday, October 24, 2008

Katie times two II

Or: Exciting the lizard brain VI

In his earlier post about Katie this week, Spot promised that he would write about Katie's column expressing horror that Al Franken was mean to Christians. Spot sees that in the meantime that Thomasin Franken, Al's daughter, has penned a thoughtful and charming sketch of her dad in response that ran in the Strib today. In it, she took, of course, the high road.

As you know, boys and girls, Spot does not feel similarly constrained.

Spot notes right off the bat that Katie engaged in some wide-ranging research to write this column. Either that, or there is a pipe that runs from some Republican oppo research outfit directly into Katie's skull.

The smart money is on the latter.

Katie has gotten a hold of a list of complaints about Franken's disrespect of Christians and Catholics in particular. Spot's favorites:

In 2006, he and a guest on his Air America radio show joked about Eucharistic communion wafers -- sacred to Catholics as the body of Christ -- and compared them to chips and guacamole. In "Dog Confessional," a proposed sketch for Saturday Night Live, Franken depicted "a series of dogs, played by cast members, confessing to a priest," according to the Washington Post. NBC refused to air it.

How do you know about "Dog Confessional," Katie? Did you meet Loren Lorne Michaels [Spot defers to his cultural betters] in a darkened bar somewhere and ply him with scotch?

Never mind that humor about conversations in the confessional has been around for a long, long time. And Spot has to admit, for perhaps obvious reasons, that he finds eavesdropping on dogs making confessions to be an achingly funny idea.

Katie does a full "Donohue" about Al's bit about communion crackers, too. While the First Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion, it doesn't promise that some of the truly magical thinking aspects of religion won't be mocked. And Spot is sorry, Katie; the idea of transubstantiation is eminently mockable. Even by people reared Catholic. Frank McCourt's recitation of communion stories in Angela's Ashes are priceless, as is Pat Conroy's description of the catechism lesson on the proper way to chew Jesus in The Great Santini.

Katie's also huffy about Al's relic joke:

Franken finds Christ's crucifixion to be a barrel of laughs. For example, in his 1999 book, "Why Not Me?" he wrote about his discovery -- as a fictional former president -- of "the complete skeleton of Jesus Christ still nailed to the cross" during an archeological dig. At the Franken Presidential Library gift shop, visitors can buy "small pieces of Jesus' skeleton."

The Catholic church was the market maker in bone fragments, pieces of the cross, and other assorted relics for centuries. It seems a little churlish to complain when somebody satirizes it now.

At the bottom of all of Katie's fussing and fuming is the ugly intimation that Al Franken, the Jew, cannot represent Christians. Never mind that Norm Coleman is also a Jew; he's a respectful Jew who doesn't ruffle Christian feathers: a good Jew.

In addition to appealing to religious bigotry at a pretty reptilian level, Katie does a tragic disservice to the concept of democracy in a pluralistic society, certainly in American society. The Constitution is very explicit that no religious test may be applied to holding public office. Spot doesn't believe the Founders were in favor of people just electing people who had the same religious beliefs as the voter.

Katie is suggesting a religious test here, or at least making a religious smear. Spot condemns it, and he think you should too, boys and girls.

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