Too funny for the Church? Comedy show gets “excommunicated”


Licking a crucifix and pressing some very hot buttons: German satirist Carolin Kebekus 

THIS SORT OF THING really shouldn’t happen. Article 5 of the German constitution clearly states that “Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.” This freedom is absolute – except in cases involving a publicly sanctioned religious group, above all the Catholic Church.

The latest case: This week the German TV broadcaster WDR abruptly cancelled a completed and broadcast-ready satire show starring comedienne Carolin Kebekus. Set to premiere tonight at 8:15, it was to be the popular performer’s first solo show. But now her series has been trashed and she won’t be hired back anytime soon. Why? It turns out that the centerpiece of Kebekus! was going to be an elaborate rapper sequence lampooning the Catholic Church.

The offending musical number starts out with Kebekus dying of boredom at Sunday mass, when suddenly the church door opens and she appears in person, now dressed in a white nun’s habit and wearing golden chains around her neck and waist. During the ensuing rap number, this naughty nun twirls her chains, repeatedly licks a crucifix, flashes an altar, joins other nuns in dancing around a burning bush, and otherwise desecrates revered religious symbols. In other sections, an altar boy raps about how superior he is for being Catholic, and a pudgy gangsta-style rapper (German-Moroccan rap artist MC Rene) dressed in priestly robes expounds on virgins, celibacy, and pedophilia. (“In the church I’m the king,/Everyone kneels when I sing./Skip the bitches, I look away,/Celibacy means I do it my way” etc.).

The guiding theme of the video is the popular hym “Danke dem Herrn” (“Thank -you Lord”), a favorite of Sunday school classes and bible camps, sort of a Central European equivalent of Kumbaya. But Kebekus gives this normally ho-hum tune a different twist:

Thank-you for my golden chains,

Thank-you for my virginity,

Thank-you for letting me wear the same dress everyday.

She and the other nuns deliver a break dance before singing:

Thank-you for my fear of gays,

Thank-you for the condom ban,

Thank-you for threatening hell for every sin I commit.

You can read the entire German song text here.

Hence the rap-song’s title: “Dunk den Herrn.” Yes, that’s really “dunk,” i.e. what you might think of doing to a donut.

WDR explained its decision as follows:

Particularly the scenes with the crucifix could injure viewers’ religious convictions. This was and is not the intention of the “Young TV” editorial group. Nor could it be reconciled with the WDR {code of conduct}, which states clearly in Article 5 that the religious convictions of the population are to be respected.

In other words, there shall be no censorship – until there is.

This sort of censorship is nothing new here – I’ve already written about similar cases in this space before. But those who deplore such satires would do well to reflect on where they come from in the first place, namely from the ban on religious free expression at the expense of basic civil rights.

Let me cut WDR some slack here and admit that the segment is about as blasphemous as you could ever get. Call it Piss Christ on crack. But that’s the whole point of the exercise: Provoking a response. If they’d just let these caricatures go through without comment, the public would no doubt tire of them quickly, and people like me, who don’t even watch TV, would never even have known about this one. As it is, “Dunk den Herrn” is now attracting millions of visitors to Youtube.

You’d think people would learn.

via Too funny for the Church? Comedy show gets “excommunicated” – Alan Nothnagle – Open Salon.

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About Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present

Posted on June 23, 2013, in revolution and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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