Oh hi! Say, has anyone noticed a big, gory smear on the pavement lately? Yeah. That would be Seth McFarlane.
Now, if there is one thing I have had cause to think about this week, it is that people who intentionally seek to provoke outrage are really hard to deal with. Because basically, if you are outraged, they win! And there may ultimately be no point in engaging with a person of that sort unless you can control the conversation and keep him from turning it to his own advantage.
So, how do you engage with such a person? Well! Perhaps you could take some tips from your new hero, Deborah Solomon, who recently interviewed noted rape joke enthusiast McFarlane for the New York Times!
Now, I have to admit, my first thoughts, when I saw that he had been interviewed, were more or less along the lines of, “oh, great, more press for Seth McFarlane, I CRAVE THE SWEET RELEASE OF DEATH.” And the opening gambit really did not do much to allay my irritation. Because here is how it started:
Peter Griffin, the hero of your show, is a big lug of a dad who lives in Rhode Island and makes the sort of insensitive comments that send teenage boys into hysterics. Who is your biggest audience?
It’s men, 18 to 34.
Oh well, ho-hum, nothing to see here. Oh, except:
Personally, I find the show’s rape jokes especially unfunny.
BLAM! And she goes on, thusly:
In one episode, Peter learns that three co-eds were raped and murdered. He says to himself, “Everyone’s getting laid but me.” Why is that funny?
Because he’s so oblivious. You’re not laughing at rape; you’re laughing at him being an idiot.
Ugh. Well, it’s a stupid answer, but I guess he’s attempted to justify himself, and we should just move on to the next question. What is the next question, by the way, Deborah?
In another episode, Peter asks, “Would you rather be black or crippled?” Why is that funny?
Oh, DAMN. Deborah Solomon: you made me love you! I didn’t want to do it! Oh, okay, I totally did. But you made it very easy.
Anyway, it goes on from there, and you should read it all. Personally, my favorite part is when she semi-assuages him and does the friendly interviewer thing by comparing his stuff to The Flintstones – Seth McFarlane likes The Flintstones, apparently! – and then uses that to hit him once again on the sexism thing. Oh, or the part where she’s nice again for about five seconds, and encourages him to compare his work to The Simpsons, and then gives him concrete examples of why The Simpsons is a much better show? Fabulous.
Basically, if you enjoy the spectacle of Seth McFarlane being blindsided, over and over again – a tactic which, I would suggest to you, is both more effective and more viscerally satisfying than tackling him head-on – and humiliated publicly, you will like this interview. Four stars! Highly recommended! And so on, and so forth.