Even as a Catholic group protests the premiere of “Jerry Springer: The Opera,” The Washington Post raises little concern over the show’s content.
By Julia Seward
Culture and Media Institute
July 25, 2008
Portraying Jesus as “half-naked, obese and spoiled” is just fine with The Washington Post.
The corpulent Christ is one of the characters of “Jerry Springer: The Opera,” which opened Wednesday at the Studio Theatre in D.C. The sacrilegious show inspired a Catholic group from Spring Grove, PA, to protest the premiere.
According to the Post, “The spoofy musical riff on daytime trash TV features talk show host Springer going to Hell to tape an episode with the Devil, Jesus, Mary and God. Jesus is half-naked, obese and spoiled; Mary is a dowdy housewife. There are Crucifixion jokes, Eucharist jokes, the singing of ‘Jerry eleison’ (instead of ‘Kyrie eleison’) and other bits we really don’t feel comfortable describing in a family newspaper. At the end, Springer emerges as the savior of mankind.”
Despite the show’s blatantly blasphemous storyline, Washington Post writers Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts raise little concern over the show’s appalling and religiously demeaning content.
In a Washington Post article entitled “Jerry Springer’ May Be Unholy, But Sales Are Divine,” Argetsinger and Roberts quote one woman who was inspired to buy a ticket to the show after witnessing the protest. The writers report, “For some passersby, it was enough to inspire them to buy a ticket—and help the show sell out.” A tourist from Florida is quoted as saying, “I thought, if they’re protesting it that much, it’s got to be good.”
The writers report that the Catholic group, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, condemns the show as “straight-up blasphemous.”
Despite queasiness over divulging more of the show’s content in a family-friendly newspaper, the writers do little more than ask “Hey, that is kinda blasphemous, isn’t it?”
Instead, the writers assure their readers that the show is a harmless spoof, quoting director Keith Alan Baker, who says, “‘This production is a parody, with tongue firmly in cheek. . . . No disrespect is intended.’”
Julia Seward is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.