Philly's Mummers Didn't Expect the Spanish Inquisition

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In the end, yesterday's running of the 102nd annual Philadelphia Mummers Parade did not feature its much-anticipated parody of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. The skit by the Slick Duck Comic Brigade had promised altar boys, the pope, priests being chased by cops, and even nuns in a go-go cage. When it hit the streets, however, the Ducks' parade car, according to AP, "still had the theme 'The Devil Made Me Do It' … But the group's dozen or so performers offered no sex or religion, just rock 'n' roll, as they strutted to the tune of Elvis Presley's 'Jailhouse Rock.'"

If I know the Mummers, the sticking point was that everybody insisted on playing a nun, but the public reason is pressure from Philly Mayor John Street and Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua. Just to show that Bevilacqua's priorities are in order, the Philadelphia Archdiocese is still not even in compliance with the sex abuse guidelines set up with by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the cardinal has resisted the policy of informing civil authorities about priests dismissed in sexual abuse cases (though to be fair, Philly has had to pay a relatively minor $200,000 in settlements).

Despite the fact that the Mummers Parade is the largest collection of Irish Catholics ever assembled outside a drunk tank, Bevilacqua did not hesitate to call the sketch an "attack on the Catholic faith." Catholic League funnyman William Donohue went the Cardinal one better, rushing to the defense of "homosexual priests," and of course not failing to note that the parade does not allow blackface performances. Apparently, Bill Donohue believes being black is a crime comparable with child rape. More to the point, the Mummers were dressing up like ladies and happily enduring the catcalls before Bill Donohue knew how to spell homophobia.

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  1. “If there was a parade spoofing gays, minorities, or women”

    The last time I checked, women did not collectively conspire to aid and abet child molestation. But then I could be wrong.

    Most Catholics, like most folks, are decent, good people. But the Church leaders are not decent, good people, which is why most of the Catholics I know are disgusted with them. Decent, good people could not take the casual attitude that people like Pope John Paul II or Cardinal Law have taken towards child-molesting priests.

  2. RE: last two posts…

    Here’s a scenario fer’ yah,

    “Ooh,look its darkie float coming down the street! Look there, the stumbling crack clowns of Compton, my they are funny. And it is notable that the entire float is shaped like a gigantic Forty-Ouncer and made entirely of daisies and chrysanthimums. Following behind the darkie float is the beaner float shaped like the projects with jobless Hispanics hanging out at the liquor store…”

  3. Here’s another scenario.

    The entire parade consists of people wearing Mao suits and marching unsmilingly in step, since satire or anything else that could possibly offend anyone has been outlawed.

    And high above it, Cardinal Bevilacqua and Mayor Street looking on approvingly, that order and decency have been restored.

    If that’s the world you want, you’re welcome to it. And if you think the poor black people and Hispanics parodied in your example will be better off in that world than in this one, well, they can move there now, it exists in many parts of the world.

  4. Mixmaster Mike,

    “And if you think the poor black people and Hispanics parodied in your example will be better off in that world than in this one, well, they can move there now”

    Right after we change the name of this blog to “HATE and RUN”.

    P.S. Its easier to pick on the nerdy kids than the big huge football player right? They fight back less.

  5. Making fun of the clergy is “anti-Catholic” the same way making fun of George W. Bush or Bill Clinton is “anti-American.” Which is to say, not at all. If you want to defend the church hierarchy, have at it. But you’re going to have to use more than thin skin and hurt feelings to do it.

  6. Ya lost me, Jessy. Now I have to go to my Opus Dei meeting.

  7. People with no sense of humor really annoy me…

  8. HUNDREDS DEAD IN PHILADELPHIA RIOTS

    Hundreds are dead and thousands of Mummer homes and businesses have been destroyed as Catholics riot in response to the call for action against an offense to their faith by Philadelphia Mayor John Street….

  9. If there was a parade spoofing gays, minorities, or women there would be an uproar, and rightfully so. Correct?

  10. Uh, Jessy, the answer to that would be “No.”

    Being a member in good standing of the last remaining group about which it is acceptable (perhaps even mandatory) to make fun and cast aspersions – middle-aged, white, conservative, Christian men – I think it’s about time everyone else grew a f***ing sense of humor.

    Did you hear the one about the Irish Catholic, the Tibetan Bhuddist, and the African animist?

  11. “If there was a parade spoofing gays, minorities or women…”

    Meaning what? That they make fun of an individual gay, minority or woman in the news? I think you could spoof Michael Jackson or Martha Stewart in a parade and not deserve cries of bigotry. You’d probably get them in the former case, but they’d be taken about as seriously as Jackson’s claims of Sony’s racism (they only spent 50 bajillion promoting my crappy record, not 60 bajillion!) This isn’t mocking, oh, virgin birth or papl infallibility or any of those other things we all of course take very seriously, this is mocking a scandal. A current event. A crime.

    Basically, Cardinal Bevilacqua is complaining that Cardinal Bevilacqua’s crimes were being made fun of. Anyone who gives a flying f***, raise their hand.

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