A Saturday Arts story by media reporter Dave Itzkoff, "For This Songwriter, the Political Is Musical," celebrated the new Internet viral video "Prop 8 - the Musical," described by the Times as "a comedic song-and-dance diatribe about the California ballot initiative defining marriage as existing only between a man and a woman." It features comic actor Jack Black playing a Jesus who was down with gay marriage and who satirically criticizes Old Testament teachings and socially conservative Christians.
Itzkoff didn't cite any religious figures who objected to the portrayal of Jesus, only vaguely referring to the "particularly flippant Jesus Christ" portrayed by Black. He did deal briefly with the "regrets" the video's creator Marc Shaiman felt over the forced resignation of Scott Eckern, the artistic director of the California Musical Theater in Sacramento, who dared to donate $1,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign and was subject to vilification by the California arts community, with Shaiman leading the mob.
But most of the piece was a sympathetic tick-tock on the birth of the video over the course of three days, and the gay activist motivation behind it.
Most of the jokes in the Internet video "Prop 8 - the Musical," a comedic song-and-dance diatribe about the California ballot initiative defining marriage as existing only between a man and a woman, are in its lyrics.
Playing a black-suited religious conservative, John C. Reilly intones, "People, listen to our plea/They'll teach our kids about sodomy." Neil Patrick Harris, playing a flamboyant figure trying to reconcile the proposition's supporters and opponents, sings, "Every time a gay or lesbian finds love at the parade/There's money to be made."
But there is one visual gag that is particularly bittersweet to Marc Shaiman, the creator and composer of the video: a credit that says Mr. Shaiman conceived and wrote this three-minute musical skit "six weeks later than he shoulda."
As popular as "Prop 8 - the Musical" has been - it has been viewed more than 1.9 million times since it was posted on Wednesday on funnyordie.com - it is also a reminder to Mr. Shaiman and like-minded colleagues of how events might have turned out if they had been vocal and organized before Proposition 8 was approved by California voters last month.
The only criticism Itzkoff uncovered was swiped from the comments section of funnyordie.com, the website hosting the video, and involved the video's tone, not its religious content. Itzkoff ignored religious-based criticism like that of the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell, who wrote of Shaiman's skit:
This phony-baloney Jesus seems to be quoting directly from an Obama speech in 2006 that suggested Christian conservatives weren't reading their Leviticus. But neither Obama nor Shaiman will admit in the Bible there is also St. Peter's vision in the Acts of the Apostles, where he's told to abandon the idea of clean and unclean foods.
Shaiman also has his Bible-trashing Jesus sing that the Bible says "you can stone your wife, or sell your daughter into slavery." This is also a common pro-gay argument, as if Christians today are all recognized to be active in wife-stoning and daughter-enslaving. When the Christians say they ignore those verses, Jesus scolds, "it seems to me you pick and choose...Well, then, choose love instead of hate. Besides your nation was built on separation of church and state."
Only someone utterly ignorant would make a video where Jesus descends in a vision to humanity only to sound like a lawyer for the ACLU.