Category archives: Misc.

Familial, Funny, and Filthy: A Review of Knocked Up

by Family Research Council

June 5, 2007

A recent New York Times Magazine profile of writer-director-producer Judd Apatow contained this intriguing assertion:

Both of the films Apatow has directed offer up the kind of conservative morals the Family Research Council might embrace — if the humor weren’t so filthy.

As the (unofficial) movie critic for FRC I decided to put that claim to the test by screening Apatow’s latest film. The verdict: Knocked Up offers up the kind of conservative morals the Family Research Council might embrace — if the humor weren’t so filthy.

The story centers around the relationship between Ben Stone, a schlubby unemployed stoner, who meets rising TV personality Alison Scott in a bar. After getting drunk the pair stumble into an awkward one night stand. Eight weeks later, Ben is shocked when Alison meets him and reveals that she is pregnant. Despite having little in common, the two decide that they have to at least try to make some kind of relationship work for the baby’s sake.

It’s that twist that makes Knocked Up one of the most pro-life, pro-family film I’ve seen in years — and thats including what passes for “Christian” films. Unfortunately, it is also the filthiest family-oriented film I’ve ever seen. This is a family movie that I can’t recommend for families.

Still, while the ends can’t justify the means, it is worthy wading through the crudity to examine the message being presented.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is the use of language. Throughout the film, the obscenities flow freely, yet there is one word too obscene even for these foul-mouthed characters: abortion. When Ben tells his roommates about the pregnancy his buddy Jonah suggests that Alison get a procedure that, he says, “rhymes with ‘shmashmortion’.” He’s quickly condemned as a “monster” by another roommate for even suggesting such an inhuman action.

The only other person to hint that Alison should kill the child is her horrible mother who tells her to wait till she’s ready to have a “real baby.” As Ross Douthat observes, “Knocked Up is almost naively pro-life: Of course Alison decided to ‘keep’ the baby, the script suggests, because killing it would be terribly and obviously wrong, and she’s not a bad person.”

Another old-fashioned value supported by the film is marriage. Allison’s sister Debbie (Apatow’s own remarkable wife Leslie Mann) and brother-in-law Pete (the understated Paul Rudd) got married because they got “knocked up” and…well, that’s just what people do, so the movie implies, when they find themselves with child.

As Allison and Ben attempt to reconcile their imperfections (well, Ben’s imperfections) with that ideal, Debbie and Pete reveal how the ideal isn’t always so ideal. (Apatow, Mann, and Rudd deserve praise for making this sub-plot compelling enough to be its own movie.) In fact, the character of Pete reveals the key to understanding the movie.

When Ben and Allison drunkenly stumble into bed together, he blurts an epiphanic understatement: “Youre prettier than I am.” Indeed, Allison is not only prettier, she’s smarter, and nicer, and cleaner, and…so far out of Ben’s league that it makes it nearly impossible to suspend disbelief when she confesses her love. Sure, women like losers. But unless Allison has been drained of self-respect and self-esteem, there is no way she could fall in love with such an absolute and total loser.

But a scene later in the second half of the film puts the bizarre romance in perspective. After tiffs with their women, Ben and Paul flee to Las Vegas where they binge on hallucinogenic mushrooms and watch Cirque de Soleil. In his drug-induced stupor Paul has a moment of clarity, admitting that his wife’s desire to always be in his presence scares him to death: “I don’t think I can accept pure love.”

Pure love, Apatow seems to be saying, is what comes with having a family. And we men don’t deserve it. While we may not be flat-busted, overweight, unemployed stoners, when it comes to pure love we aren’t any more worthy than Ben. We dont deserve anything so wonderful as a wife much less the miracle of a baby. So if by some stroke of fate/luck/providence we find these blessings in our life we must to do whatever it takes to keep them. We may be losers but we don’t have to be fools.

Knocked Up definitely isn’t a film I can embrace. The humor is indeed too filthy. But any film that has such a powerful pro-family message deserves at least a pat on the back.

God Save George Washington*

by Family Research Council

May 17, 2007

Apparently Hillary Clinton is trying to find a new campaign song and she has asked people to vote on her web site for which song she should use (after my run in with her staffer I looked for John Michael Montgomerys I Swear but it wasnt there.) I thought it might be fun to start a contest for the other candidates. This is not the place to give your opinions on the candidate (the IRS would love that!) but give a song and a brief explanation of why. Such as Im Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair for Senator John Edwards of the $400 coiffure; or Lits My Own Worst Enemy for Newt Gingrich; or Who Are You by The Who for Mike Gravel (or a number of others.) Self described environmentalist Al Gore can have It Aint Easy Bein Green by Kermit the Frog and Rudy Giuliani (who seems to dress up a lot in dresses) can campaign to Dude (Looks Like a Lady) by Aerosmith. Here is list of the candidates sing away:

Joe Biden

Sam Brownback

Hillary Clinton

Chris Dodd

John Edwards

Jim Gilmore

Newt Gingrich

Rudy Giuliani

Al Gore

Mike Gravel

Chuck Hagel

Mike Huckabee

Duncan Hunter

Dennis Kucinich

John McCain

Barak Obama

Ron Paul

Bill Richardson

Mitt Romney

Tom Tancredo

Fred Thompson

Tommy Thompson

*The earliest known American election campaign song was God Save George Washington, issued in 1780 and sung to the tune of God Save The King.

A Lesson in Web Etiquette for the Huffington Post (Part II)

by Family Research Council

May 4, 2007

Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. — Proverbs 26:11

(UPDATE: Scroll down to the bottom to see Max’s hilarious response.)

Yesterday we had a bit of fun at the expense of professional gadfly Max Blumenthal. We enjoyed providing a lesson in web etiquette by showing what can happen when you hotlink images without permission. Although it took almost four hours, Max caught on and pulled the image from the Huffington Post. Thinking our prank had run its course, we returned the original image.

Then he did it again.

Not only did he hotlink the same image to the Huffington Post, he included it on The Smirking Chimp, Talk2Action, and on his own website, MaxBlumenthal.com. We’ve decided to provide a remedial lesson by exposing some of Max’s favorite blogs and websites. Listed below are srceenshots of the various sites (click on the link to view the image):

Thanks, Max. You’ve provided us with hours of amusement here at FRC.

UPDATE: After about six hours, Max finally caught on and posted this amusingly angry response:

KKK paypal and friend of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, Tony Perkins, has orchestrated the hacking of this post. In doing so, he has drawn greater attention to his links to and ideological support for white supremacists. The photo of Christopher Hitchens posing with the Family Research Council’s Witherspoon Fellows was scrubbed from FRC’s site today out of fear that I would link to it again. The Family Research Council is a paper tiger that fears me and employs juvenile pranks to attempt to silence me. Father forgive them for not knowing that I won’t stop bringing the pain.

Max has a gift for packing a lot of nonsense into a short space so let’s separate it out and take it a little at a time:

First, for almost three years Max has been trying to peddle his nonsense about Tony Perkins being associated with David Duke and other white supremacists. In fact, he gets hopping mad that no one seems to pay attention when he repeats such scurrilous charges. The fact is that FRC has responded to that first claim about Duke back in 2005 and yet Max still repeats this lie. He also makes much ado about a speech before the CCC. It is true that when Perkins was a state legislator he spoke at lunch that was sponsored by that group. At the time he did not know of the groups racist agenda (be honest, have you ever heard of the “Council of Conservative Citizens?”). After he found out, he forcefully denounced the group. One question that Max never seems to ask is that if Tony Perkins is a racist, why do so many African-American churches and pastors support him?

Second, he claims that “Tony Perkins, has orchestrated the hacking of this post.” Actually, my web editor Jared Bridges and I are the one who orchestrated this prank. We did it mostly because it would be fun and because we suspected you wouldn’t have a sense of humor (boy, were we right about that!). Also, “hacking” implies that we broke into your website rather than just changed a picture that you stole from our site.

Third, he says “In doing so, he has drawn greater attention to his links to and ideological support for white supremacists.” Stop and think about that for a second, Max. If your claims had any truth to them wouldnt we try to avoid bringing attention to your article? Besides, since no one seems to have noticed what was going on it appears no one is reading your site anyway.

Fourth, he says, “The photo of Christopher Hitchens posing with the Family Research Council’s Witherspoon Fellows was scrubbed from FRC’s site today out of fear that I would link to it again.” It wasn’t “scrubbed” from our site. In fact, you are welcome to download a copy and post it on your site…if you ask nicely. All you had to do is ask, Max.

Fifth, he goes nuts when he says, “The Family Research Council is a paper tiger that fears me and employs juvenile pranks to attempt to silence me.” Was it a juvenile prank? Absolutely. And a pretty funny one, if I may say so myself. Also, how is linking to your posts (all four of them) an attempt to “silence” you?

The absolute best part of the post, though, is when he says, “Father forgive them for not knowing that I won’t stop bringing the pain.”

Why bring your daddy Sidney into this?

A Lesson in Web Etiquette for the Huffington Post

by Family Research Council

May 3, 2007

Hotlinking images, defined as using the graphic image of an external site in your own code, is an violation of internet etiquette. As Kevin Aylward from Wizbang! says, “It’s all fine and good to give a hotlinker a break, but the best way to turn newbie hotlinkers into respectable Interweb citizens is a dose of public embarrassment.”

Unfortunately, The Huffington Post hasn’t learned its lesson so when they hotlinked to this:

%28before%29-Huffington-Post.jpg

We decided to replace it with another image:

%28after%29-Huffington-Post.jpg

(Note: No kittens were actually harmed in the making of this prank. The kitty is only sleeping. Here is a closeup of that image.)

Here’s the direct link to that page. Eventually they should be smart enough to take it down…or not.

(UPDATE: After 3 1/2 hours, Max finally caught on and removed the image.)

ABC Refuses To Dethrone The Queen Of Nice

by Tony Perkins

April 18, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Every Rosie has its thorn. And the newest member of ABCs show The View proves it. In her latest gig, its obvious that Rosie ODonnells goal is to alienate as many people as possible. In the last few months, Rosies used her television soapbox to equate Christians to terrorists, blame 9-11 on the American government, call for the Presidents impeachment, and denounce the Bible for its sexual improprieties. And since her rage is directed at religious groups and George Bush, producers defend her, saying shes just exercising her First Amendment rights. That may be, but Americans are growing tired of the personal attacks. According to an AOL poll, 62% think she should be fired for it. Unfortunately, ABC doesnt have enough sense to agree. As Jonah Goldberg says, Rosies gotten a pass because, She isnt [just] a wackoshes a left-wing wacko. Thats the problem with a media as biased as ours. The first step of holding someone to a higher standard is actually believing in one. And until morality makes a primetime comeback, the future of network television doesnt look quite so Rosie.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

D.C. Loses One, Gains One

by Tony Perkins

April 5, 2007

At FRC headquarters last night, we formally welcomed Ken Blackwell to the staff as Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at an evening reception attended by many of our allies and friends in the nation’s capital. To a standing-room-only crowd, Ken delivered remarks on the current political landscape and the lessons learned from the 2006 elections. We look forward to showcasing his insight and expertise on issues such as family economics, tax reform, and education.

While a new hero is entering Washington, we honor another who is departing. Jan LaRue, a former FRC colleague, is retiring from her position as Chief Counsel and Legal Studies Director at Concerned Women for America and moving to Texas. Jan has taken a lead role nationwide on issues like pornography, abortion, and judicial activism. Although she will be greatly missed, her efforts in the nation’s capital live on through the many people her work and testimony have touched. Please join us in thanking Jan for her dedication to the cause!

Can’t Buy Me Votes

by Tony Perkins

April 4, 2007

In the race for the future occupancy of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (it’s one house at least whose market price is up), the media is atwitter about the amount of campaign cash the candidates have raked in to date. Several pundits have predicted that this will be “the most expensive campaign in history.” Yet few analysts seem to understand that money is not the ultimate measure of success. If it were, then Ross Perot and Steve Forbes would be counted among the former Commanders-in-Chief.

While these hopefuls seem adept at raising dollars, they have yet to raise the interest of voters to the point of congealing around their candidacy. Wayne Berman, a Washington lobbyist, argues in The Washington Post that large fundraising “is hugely important if you have to prove you are a credible candidate.” While money is no doubt extremely important, without a message you’re nothing more than an ATM for political consultants. Proving that you are a credible candidate with a sound vision for America should come first and fundraising will naturally follow. As pollster Kellyanne Conway suggests, “Excitement begets money.”

As it stands, values voters have yet to get excited. Obviously, the candidates have several months to develop their platforms, but we await the second quarter results in which the frontrunners are defined not by cash—but by conviction.

Making a World of Difference

by Tony Perkins

March 21, 2007

Monday at the National Press Club, pro-family leaders from the U.S. and Canada gathered for a press conference. The topic was the upcoming meeting of the World Congress of Families (WCF), which is being held in Warsaw, Poland on May 11-13. In an exciting development, the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, has agreed to serve as honorary patron and to give the opening address. Speakers at the press conference, including FRC’s Senior Fellow Bill Saunders, noted the importance of the family to the health of societies, as well as the pressures families face from bad governmental policies.

The meeting in Warsaw will feature speakers from around the world who will diagnose family ills and offer practical solutions. FRC will be there, and we urge pro-family activists in the U.S. to come as well. What happens in Europe affects the U.S., as European nations exhibit the characteristics of nations that follow policies of radical secularism and social pessimism. This Warsaw meeting promises to be a true springtime for a united, worldwide effort to promote the family.

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