Paranoia Suits Him Anyway

Bill Donohue doesn’t like, well, much of anything, and now it’s driven him paranoid:

Catholic League President Bill Donohue presented a paranoid side of his personality to Fox News Monday morning, declaring that “militant, dogmatic” atheists are “out to get” Catholics and dismantle American society.

“I’m talking about the extremists within [liberal] ranks who have become very, very vocal,” Donohue said. “And over the last several decades what we’ve seen is an all-out assault. This kind of new atheism. This militant dogmatic fundamentalist atheism out there to get us.”

The latest pimple on Bill’s Donohue’s ass is a show by Penn & Teller, those noted teetotaler magicians. Scary I know. (Though to be fair, Penn is kinda tall). It seems P&T did an episode of their show, Bullshit on the Catholic Church and it’s rather, let’s call it checkered, past. So, now talking about stuff that actually happened is an assault on Catholicism and the wholesomeness of the Virgin. We atheists are nothing if not subtle. (I’m doing my part to get Catholics by marrying one!) Though notice that an “assault” by “extremist atheists” consist of publishing books, talking about history and refusing to shut up when blowhards like Bill Donohue tell us too. Unlike an assault by extremist true believers, which consists of suicide bombers, hijacked airplanes and a massive coordinated ground invasion and air strike. One gets you killed, the other involves listening to Penn Jillette or Richard Dawkins talk about something they are informed on and passionate about.

“This was the most Nazi-like assault,” Donohue said. “The most unrelenting half an hour of bashing I’ve ever seen.”

The Nazi comparison appears to be Donohue’s theme for his publicity battle with Penn & Teller, which he blames on CBS, as it owns Showtime, the network that airs Penn & Teller’s show.

“The Nazis couldn’t have done better,” Donohue said in a statement. “Having been in this job for over 16 years, I have never seen a more defamatory, obscene and vicious show on TV.”

Though it’s kind of ironic that Donohue referred to Penn & Teller as Nazis for talking smack about the Pope, a former Hitler Youth member. also, Hitler was Catholic. So, yeah, maybe Bill should choose a different boogy man to describe atheists, one that doesn’t come from his own closet.

As If a Thousand Voices Cried Out, Saying “WTF?”

The big news today was that Disney is buying Marvel. On the one hand this is good for Marvel, as they’ll be able to take advantage of Disney’s distribution and marketing apparatus, which are pretty much universal (quick, sing me the Mickey Mouse Club theme song! I bet you can, even though the show hasn’t been on the air in decades). On the other hand, it’s further degredation of our culture by putting more of it in fewer hands. Not that Marvel is the greatest. I mean, they were still a corporation and out to make money above everything else. But now, they’re part of a really big corporation that now owns a vast majority of our cultural iconography. Disney now has, not just their own stable of characters, but also owns Pixar’s back catalog, the Muppets and now the Marvel Universe.* Basically, everything Time Warner doesn’t own (which is pretty much DC comics and Hanna Barbara). The vast majority of American pop culture is now owned by two corporations.

I’m not so much worried about the dilution of Marvel into a kid-friendly commodity. Jokes about a Disneyfied young Wolverine movie are somewhat exaggerated, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Spider Man swinging around the fairy tale castle next time I visit Disney Land. Which strikes me as silly and sad in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s not like Marvel isn’t chock full of crap I couldn’t care less about. I’m not even as enamored of their classic lineup of super heroes as I once was and part of me would like to see some editorial shaping of the Marvel Universe into something coherent and less bonkers. Maybe Disney’s Imaginears can manage that. But should they? There’s something intangible that is being lost here and I don’t know what it is.

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* They also lay claim to Studio Ghibli’s films, at least the US distribution rights, which means they put their little castle logo in fornt of every Miyazaki film, further linking their brand with even independent artists in the minds of less-discerning children everywhere.