Friends, we bear witness to a new age of morality in America. Families have unprecedented freedom to beg for assistance at the church of their choice -- be they Christian, Jew or Miscellaneous.
While transnational conglomerates starve Zambian farmers by undercutting their prices, the decent families of America show their hearts are in the right place by fretting over all the unprotected sex those Africans engage in, and declaring Bill Gates a monopoly. Meanwhile, Americans show their support for the plight of Haitian sweatshop workers by buying truckloads of Disney products. If Disney can't make enough dough to hand its CEO a hundred-sixty-mil pink slip, how will they have anything left over for Haiti? Truly a moral Renaissance, based on the rock-solid foundation of faith.
How better to celebrate the return of family values than with old-time religion? From the total slaughter of the peaceful Carib Indians to the burning of the Library of Alexandria, zealots have played a matchless part in the making of human history. Today, fine citizens carry on the tradition with the criminalization of sodomy. At last -- both foreign and domestic policy are based on oil!
How better to celebrate our rebirth than with brand spanking new Oscar categories? Here's a trinity, submitted for your consideration.
CATEGORY: Best Interpretation of Religion as Thumbing One's Nose at Authority
FILM: Jesus Bueller's Day Off
Starring Matthew Broderick as Our Savior Who Art In High School, and Jeffrey Jones as Principal Pilate.
In this fine classic, Jesus overcomes all obstacles and proves to the unbelievers that He can have His wafer and be it, too.
We open in Jesus' tomb, where He convinces His parents He's too dead to go to school today. His parents commiserate and go tend their flocks, leaving Him with the whole day to Himself. Or...do they?
Storm clouds gather on the horizon when Principal Pilate calls up the Virgin Mary to complain about Christ's absenteeism. "He's been absent from his tomb nine times this semester," he snarls. Then, before his astonished eyes, the record of Christ's absence changes from nine to two. It's a miracle!
Unmoved by this divine intervention, the Principal goes on a personal quest to find and discredit Christ. He's further enraged by what his eunuch tells him: "He's very popular. Shepherds, lepers, pagans, harlots, moneychangers, fishmongers, centurions, papists -- they all adore Him. They think He's a righteous dude."
Jesus enlists a reluctant Matthew to gallivant around Golgotha with him and engage in all kinds of tomfoolery. Jesus leads a Teutonic Pride parade, and even passes himself off as Abe Frohman, Manna King of Chicago!
Meanwhile moneychangers clamor in the school halls, collecting change to "Save Our Savior". This enrages Jesus' sister Mary Magdalene, already upset that Christ got to die, redeem humanity, and come back to life unscathed. Why should He be so special?
Ethical considerations prevent me from revealing the ending. However, one of the many twists involves Principal Pilate realizing he's dead, having imagined himself to be alive all this time. His job of testing Christ's mettle done, he's now free to depart this mortal coil and roast in Hell for all eternity. Good job, Pontius.
CATEGORY: Best Posthumous Rehabilitation of the Soviet Union
FILM: Enemy at the Gates
This film is People's Exhibit Number One for America's selfless compassion for the plight of hateful, godless sinners. Especially sinners over whom we've scored a resounding moral victory.
When they were bad, the Russians suppressed religion. But now that they've learned their lesson, they suppress wages. And no wages means no taxes! Just like in the good ol' U. S. of A., God gets representation without taxation.
Now that God is taking care of the Russians and we're free to ignore them, we can feel more kindly disposed. Heck, we can even see that some of them were heroes, back in Dubya Dubya Two.
Even if they were Pinkos, we shouldn't ban the Soviets from the Moral Olympics! Their astounding resilience at Stalingrad -- five months of slaughter that ended with a million Russians dead -- deserves at least a silver medal. That performance stands proudly beneath America's gold medal for our twenty-five minutes on Omaha Beach.
And how better to pay tribute to the courage of Soviet soldiers than with Hollywood soap opera? Fast-quipping high-school romance is the new international language, and Enemy at the Gates is a perfect example of the form.
Through it, the Soviets' essential humanity is revealed. Will the star quarterback get the girl and best the Nazi sniper? While thumbing his nose at his hamfisted NKVD coach? You'll see that Socialism is the only game in town! This is one movie that will touchdown in your heart.
Here's to you, Evil Empire. May your stay in Purgatory be brief.
CATEGORY: Least Suggestive Midriff
The unfortunate trend of short, belly-exposing tops continues to plague our nation, and it's predicted to last well into the mid-nineties. Even junior-high-schoolers are eager to show off their newfound maturity by exposing the truncated remains of their umbilical cords.
In some areas of the country new and dark puberty rituals have arisen. According to some reports, boys don cutoff tops and stand inside a circle of their relatives, and the town sheriff draws a smiley face on the boy's torso -- using the nipples for eyes and the navel for a nose. If the boy can make it through this tortuous ritual without flinching, he becomes a man.
Enough, we say! It's time for the midriff to part ways with such unholy associations -- to stop being the center of attention and start being the center of gravity -- to become bland and milquetoast again! Yes, Britney Spears has given us a glimmer of hope by making the American tummy omnipresent and therefore meaningless, since nothing exists outside it -- but we need more than a hope. We need an award to celebrate those brave actors and actresses who suck meaning out of the gut. We need an award for the blandest paunch in showbiz.
We were as surprised by the winner as you, dear reader. When you, like we, think of Traffic you probably think of the Dodge-Caravan-like midriff of Catherine Zeta-Jones, or the elegantly pear-shaped Don Cheadle. While we're sure Ms. Zeta-Jones' belly provides one quiet ride, it does draw the eye. So what must we be thinking?
Miguel Ferrer. That's what we're thinking.
Ferrer's paunch rose to obscurity in his first starring role -- in an indie film called Get Blondie. Playing Dagwood, Ferrer treated us to the rare and welcome sight of a man who eats and eats but whose stomach is thought of by no one.
Ferrer's tummy really went under the radar in his next effort -- the European production Mangelo Puerco. Ferrer played an underdog who fights for and wins the heart of a rich, beautiful pork loin. Paired with eighteen-year-old Penelopé Cruz as the pork loin, Ferrer pulled off the seemingly impossible feat of making his gut lack any emotive power, any connotation whatsoever. Not too hard, not too soft. This one's just right!
And, in Traffic, Ferrer's gut surely adds a champion's trophy to its case. Faced with the difficult role of deflecting attention during a critical bathrobe breakfast sequence, Ferrer's abdomen called on its old comrades Facial Stubble and Balding Pattern to broadcast their jamming signals. And for the pièce de résistance -- Mouth Froth! Surely, in the history of film, there has been no finer three-course meal to block the intestines.
Thank you, Mr. Ferrer, for your selfless and gutless performance. May we all be a little more like you.