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No Reaction Like Overreaction

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Seth MacFarlane, the host for last Sunday's Academy Awards, has a lot to answer for.

He's responsible for the growing fungus that is Family Guy, and its animated brethren/spin-offs, American Dad and The Cleveland Show, all of which follow similar casting formulas in different situations. He's also responsible for last year's Ted, which followed around a foul-mouthed "living" teddy bear while allowing Boston-born Mark Wahlberg to act like, well, a Mass-hole.

And in my book, he should apologize for putting these mind-numbingly dumb things into our culture—though I wouldn't fault him if he did so while rolling in the giant pile of money he's undoubtedly made off of these ventures.

What he shouldn't apologize for is his performance on Oscar night, and for one simple reason: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wanted Seth MacFarlane, so he gave it to them—in spades.

His night hosting included a reference to the violent history between Rihanna and Chris Brown; a joke about Jennifer Aniston as a former stripper; made fun of the supposed existence of facial hair on the Kardashians; and cited Zero Dark Thirty as evidence that women can't let anything go.

Yet critics are going to remember two things from that night: "We Saw Your Boobs," a song referencing the number of actresses sitting in the audience that evening who had gone topless for a role; and a joke mocking George Clooney's preference for young dates, referencing 9-year-old Best Actress nominee Quevenzahle Walls as someone who will be too old for Clooney in 16 years.

Yeah, the jokes were crass and tasteless. But they're a reflection of the jokes that our society and culture make already—such as the vaguely lecherous older actor who charms his way into the pants of young women, or the actresses who often find legitimacy after disrobing for their roles.

They were jokes tearing down the staid, self-reverent nature of the Academy Awards, and they rubbed people the wrong way, which is honestly what I feel that MacFarlane was going for when he wrote them. He was looking to entertain the greatest number of people possible—and let's face it, people laugh about boobs, about creepy old men, about gender stereotypes and about the dark secrets of celebrities.

Before hiring him, the Academy surely reviewed MacFarlane's body of work, which is successful because it mocks our culture in the basest-possible way. It's not his fault he did exactly what they hired him to do.

If you want to punish anyone, don't go after MacFarlane: go after the people who gave him the platform to make stupid, misogynistic jokes.


The Week On Our Blogs

On The Range, we covered the hell out of #TucsonBlizzard 2013 (Never Forget!); watched as the rush of candidates for both the governorship and the Attorney General's office swelled; followed the folly of John McCain's town hall meetings, shared a trailer-load of photos from the Tucson Rodeo; broke the arrest and subsequent protest supporting Raúl Alcaráz Ochoa and Rene Meza Huertha; and so, so much more.

On We Got Cactus, we're getting hyped for KFMA Day 2013; got excited for the upcoming Primus show at the Rialto; attempted to buy tickets to the rapidly sold-out Modest Mouse concert coming to the Old Pueblo; and prepared our downloadin' thumbs for the follow-up album to Frank Ocean's Planet Orange.


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But it happened. And by God, it'll happen again.

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