A lot of people said a lot of stupid things last year, but this is probably my favorite: news reader Katie Couric thinks that America — in the interest of embracing diversity and getting over its icky, racist ways — needs a “Muslim Cosby show.”
So… Americans will feel all warm and fuzzy about Muslims, and Muslims will feel all welcome and tolerated, if we have a Muslim-themed sitcom? Headed up by a successful Muslim father, a successful Muslim wife with a career of her own, and some lovable kids?
Oh, god, spare me.
I won’t go into the particulars of just why this is such a bad idea for a successful TV series, but I will bring up one thing that ought to be a deal-breaker:
Muslims don’t like to be laughed at.
In fact, some of them — a significant number, if not necessarily a significant percentage — dislike being laughed at so much, that they will take action against those who engineer the laughter. Up to the point of killing them.
Remember the Mohammed cartoons incident? A bunch of Danish cartoonists drew cartoons of Mohammed, and a Danish newspaper ran them. (I thought the angry-looking Mohammed with a bomb in his turban was especially funny and on-point.) The Muslim response to this mild japing? Riots. Death threats. Threats of retaliation against not just the cartoonists and the newspaper, but against all Danes and all westerners.
Remember when South Park wanted to feature Mohammed? They’d done it before, but this time, it was after the Danish cartoons mess. The message had changed: now it was, “yes, we have free speech and artistic freedom and no one has the right to not be offended, but these people don’t issue press releases or file lawsuits — they kill folks. So go ahead and keep pissing off most people, but don’t piss off the crazies — because freedom just isn’t that important.”
Islam does not have a great record for artistic criticism. The greatest moment in Islamic film critique was the assassination of Theo Van Gogh, and Islam’s most famous literary critic was the Ayatollah Khomeini, who issued the death sentence for Salman Rushdie.
So, here’s a TV sitcom that is supposed to feature a normal American family that happens to be Muslim, and their wacky adventures. How long before the studio or the network gets its first bomb threat? How long before the actors are threatened with death? And how long before some offended Muslim decides that the best way to react to this “insult” is in blood?
Hmm… but would that be really that bad? I mean, yeah, it would suck for the folks behind “Achmed And Family,” but it just might wake up Hollywood to a bit of reality. They have their own fantasy land, where Muslims never do bad things. These are the same people who rewrote “The Sum Of All Fears” to change the bad guys from a Palestinian faction to European neo-Nazi businessmen, and put out an episode of “E-Ring” that featured radical Christians taking over a mosque and holding hostages. Perhaps a little taste of what their idea of “freedom” actually means — and the price it demands — would knock some sense into their heads.
Nah. They’re too insulated.
But Katie Couric, for even suggesting that the best thing we can do to improve relations with Muslims is to laugh at them, and hopefully laugh with them… good lord, it takes a special kind of “smarts” to come up with something this stupid.
But I’d watch it anyway.