Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Evil garden gnomes (wait for it...)

Got a few extra minutes on top of the extra minutes you have to kill today? Broadcasting & Cable has a longish piece that's likely to aggravate some amateur (read: unpaid) satirists, about the "disproportionate influence" wielded by former Onion and Harvard Lampoon writers in Hollywood. Well worth the time investment, if I do say so myself. Which I do, even though I had nothing to do with it.

Utterpants GnomeWATCHAnd on a totally unrelated note, HumorFeed member Utterpants claims to have captured an evil garden gnome. (It wasn't mine, thanks for asking.) Now, being the shrewd satirists they are, you'll be given the chance to pay a ransom, as a bid on the omnipresent auction site eBay. The bidding starts April 3rd, and in all seriousness, it's to aid Amnesty International. We'll post the link to the bidding page when it goes live.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Satire 'round the world roundup

In Finland, the Centre Party thinks a certain satirical TV show is biased. (Satire with a viewpoint? Ridiculous!) The Taiwanese, who get my vote for the ballsiest island-dwellers this side of Palau, are getting a bit cocky about their satirical TV show, however. (The masses rising to defend the satirists? I can dream.)

On an alarming note, the Australian government ordered the takedown of a site akin to, which is causing a bit of a First-Amendment-type commotion there.

But to give you a happy ending, London is celebrating over 300 years of satire with a special museum exhibition. Crazy world, ain't it?
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Monday, March 27, 2006

America versus New Zealand - first in an occasional series

In America, CBS gets fined $3.63 million dollars for airing a Without a Trace episode which included a teenage orgy plotline - a ripped-from-the-headlines bit. Apparently, Oprah can talk about it, but CBS can't dramatize it (further down in that story).

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the Broadcast Standards Authority
reprimanded a satirical TV show for over-the-top sexual content (no monetary fine levied), saying: "
This decision and its publication serve as sufficient notification to TVNZ of the need to exercise more care when broadcasting sexually explicit material of this nature." (Click the link to find out which two sex acts were involved.)

Advantage: New Zealand! (No, I don't want to live there - I just want the BSA to live here.)
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Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's either brilliant or a brick

Demonstrating once again that satire is in the eye of the beholder, witness the new Cartoon Network offering Minoriteam. From their site:

"Minoriteam is a group of superheroes that uses the overwhelming power of racial stereotypes to defeat their most sinister and racist enemy, the evilest villain of them all...the White Shadow."

Your heroes are lead by "Dr. Wang," the wheelchair-bound math wizard with a gigantic head (to hold his gigantic brain, natch), and your villains include "Standardized Test" and "Corporate Ladder." couldn't get more on the nose if you were a block of cartilage.

Full disclosure: haven't watched it myself yet. Check that link above for the next broadcast date.
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Friday, March 24, 2006

This cartoon thing has officially jumped the shark

Even thought the phrase "jump the shark" has in fact jumped itself, until someone gives me the replacement idiom for it, I'll still have to use it for this.

Not only has an Israeli comics outfit sponsored an anti-Semitic cartoon contest (yes, "anti"), now Art Spiegelman of Maus fame will be one of the judges.

Actually, this is one of the smartest things Israelis could do. I've always said that freedom of speech is also great because it lets you know exactly which people are the raving lunatics about whom you need to worry. And now, Israel will be able to monitor a whole new crop of anti-Semites. Genius!
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Alas, no more "Chocolate Salty Balls"

In a move that will likely cause fewer effigy burnings than those "other" cartoons," Isaac Hayes has quit South Park, citing religious intolerance. "There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins," says Hayes.

That time, as some like to say, depends on whose ox is being gored. And as far as oxen go, Scientology is a rough one. But never let it be said that South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone take anything lying down. (Their response is included in the link above.)
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The 12th anniversary of a historic day...

I'm copying this in its entirety from today's installment of "The Writer's Almanac(R) With Garrison Keillor," because it makes possible a lot of what the websites involved in HumorFeed do for love and fun:

It was on this day in 1994 that the Supreme Court ruled that parody can be protected by the fair use clause of the Copyright Act of 1976. The case arose from a song by the rap group 2 Live Crew, which used elements of the Roy Orbison song from 1964, "Oh Pretty Woman."

The Roy Orbison version of the song is about a man watching a pretty woman walking down the street. The 2 Live Crew version is about the subsequent relationship with that woman, who becomes a hairy woman, a bald-headed woman, and a two-timing woman. The music publishing company Acuff-Rose, which holds the copyright for the Roy Orbison song, sued 2 Live Crew for copyright violation.

Justice David H. Souter wrote, "Like less ostensibly humorous forms of criticism, [parody] can provide social benefit by shedding light on an earlier work and, in the process, creating a new one."

If you've never checked out The Writer's Almanac, I highly recommend it - you can subscribe starting here.

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Satire pervades the web, seeping into mailboxes and mainstream news like a spilled cup of coffee. It stains and it won't go away.

The Bitter Cup is a collaborative blog for members of HumorFeed, a collaborative of satire and humor sites that has been making trouble since 2003.