Friday, January 25, 2008

F*** Touchdown Jesus? F****** (forgive) Dana Jacobson—but first, her penance

Trashing the Catholic Church: university style (Pt. 1)

Dana Jacobson - Mike and Mike - ESPN RoastWhile the good ol' boys of ESPN apparently did a good job of both damage control and cover-up in the case of Dana Jacobson's "mistake" (co-host of ESPN2's "First Take"), eyewitnesses of her drunken anti-Catholic rant are justifiably incensed. Although the tape of her horrible attempt at humor at a roast for ESPN's Mike and Mike (Golic and Greenberg that is) is mysteriously missing, several audience members concurred that Jacobson's rant (who was openly taking slugs from a bottle of Belvedere Vodka while at the podium speaking) included the following: "F*** Notre Dame! F*** Touchdown Jesus! F*** Jesus!"

Now the only excuse/explanation offered was that Golic was an All-American lineman at Notre Dame before his stellar NFL (and ESPN) career, while Jacobson is an alumnus of one of the Irish's most-heated rivals, the University of Michigan. Besides, all's fair when it comes to celebrity roasts, right?

Well apparently enough people in the audience (which included Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis), felt that blasphemy is never in style, for Dana of the Damned was finally booed off the stage. Of course, after Ms. Jacobson had slept off the effects of her 80 proof truth serum, she did offer the following apology: "I am sorry. My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive. I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words. I also deeply regret the embarrassment I've caused ESPN and Mike and Mike. My actions were inappropriate and in no way represent who I am. I won't make excuses for my behavior, but I do hope I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment."

Somewhat amazingly, reports out of ESPN have their God-hating anchor suspended for only a week, although one suspects this might be based on whether or not the cover-up continues to keep the incident hidden from the Notre Dame (and YouTube) Nation.

Perhaps even more troubling than the shruggin'-the-shoulders attitude of ESPN is the response of Notre Dame itself. After hearing of the incident, university spokesman Dennis Brown concluded, "While we in no way condone Ms. Jacobson's comments, we're aware of the circumstances in which they occurred, and in the interest of forgiveness, trust that she and ESPN will address the matter in an appropriate way."

Considering the furor Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman's "lynch Tiger Woods" comment (and subsequent hangman's noose magazine cover) caused, I am surprised that these worst of words against Christ and Our Lady have produced barely a ripple. While the ESPN reaction is (to date) much too lenient, I'm not sure that the knee-jerk firing of the new president of "Jerks against Jesus" Jacobson is the most fitting response either. For while I agree with Mr. Brown that the best solution involves forgiveness, in the Catholic world that Dana has so decisively dissed, Dennis knows there is no real forgiveness without penance.

Thus, in the interest of fairness to both sides, Fighting Irish Thomas offers Ms. Jacobson the following penitential options:
  • Read the powerful apologetic Catholic pamphlet "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth," and either write a research paper disputing its conclusions —or why it made her decide to convert.
  • Do a documentary on the life of the "lady behind the grotto," St. Bernadette—and either prove why her life of humble service was a fraud—OR why Notre Dame's words to Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception," should fling Jacobson to her knees, beating her breast and begging God's mercy.
  • Have Dana spend 40 hours kneeling (the more hours during this sub-zero cold, the better) at the Notre Dame grotto, where she must continue to mock Mary and those who come to pray—or become the leader of the 6:45 p.m. Rosary recited there daily.
I figure this way is much fairer to all concerned, for now it will truly be Ms. Jacobson who decides her own fate. For those exercises will either cause her to convert to the Catholic faith, leaving no doubt her apology is sincere, or make her hate of Jesus become so heinous (not to mention public) that there is no way ESPN, or anyone except perhaps the Taliban, would again employ her as an anchor.

Well, Ms. Jacobson, NOW what do you think? Or perhaps, before you decide, you need another drink ...

13 comments :

Shlomo Bensaba said...

Everyone seems to be ignoring the fact the message was delivered by a Jew, is being defended by Jews, and was planned as a promotion of a Jewish radio talk show host. It sure looks like Christian hate to me.

bjmiller said...

There seem to be 2 prevailing schools of thought here. I don't think either is intrinsically right or wrong. I think both groups are equally entitled to their opinions.

1. Ms. Jacobson has already been punished by the network with a one week suspension. That is sufficient.

2. Ms. Jacobson's suspension by the network is insufficient and is just a cosmetic attempt by the network to pacify.

If like me, you fall in to the 2nd group, I urge you to do something about it. If you do nothing, then for all intents and purposes your silence will automatically put you with group 1. Write to the parent company of ESPN and complain, vociferously. You can reach Disney Corporation at 'TWDC.Corp.Communications@disney.com' Tell them you are done sampling ALL of their products. This is the ONLY language they understand. An old mentor of mine in the secular world once told me, "Silence means agreement." I think that holds true here. If we just complain to one another on these threads it will mean NOTHING to Disney. If you truly believe #2 above, what will you do about it??

Tom O'Toole said...

Shlomo Bensaba, Are you suggesting Dana is planning to drop out of sports and become the next Howard Stern?

-Tom

Tom O'Toole said...

bjmiller, If you write well, and are respected in both sports and theological circles (remember my book Champions of Faith is a reference volume at the Vatican), writing a blog about the subject IS doing something!

-Tom

Anonymous said...

If you believe in jesus then continue to believe in him. She did not attack catholisism, she attacked a school, and its mascot ( a rather offensive portrayal of jesus). She is in no way expected to believe, care for, or like jesus in any capacity. leave her alone. live your life. move on. we don't need some overblown religous crusade of conversion. to each is own. just respect that people have differences of opinion. did she take your bible (no), did she tell you that you can no longer go to church (no), did she in any way affect your ability to continue in your religous beliefs(no).

Tom O'Toole said...

Anonymous (from 01-26-08) -- First, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascot is a leprechaun, NOT Jesus. "Touchdown Jesus" is actually part of a beautiful tasteful award-winning religious mural depicting Christian (and yes, Jewish) salvation history on the wall of Notre Dame's library; it was "nicknamed" that by some anonymous football fans (since it can be seen from Notre Dame Stadium) after it was made. And do you know what the word F*** means? Dana said F*** Jesus. If she had said F*** Mohammed, not only would she have been fired within 24 hours, but the jihadists probably would have had death threats against her. So swearing against God is, of course, not just a Christian tenant, but 3rd Commandment of the Jewish Ten Commandments, thus a rather serious offense to Jews too.

-Tom

bjmiller said...

Tom,

Please forgive me for cutting and pasting my letter from a public blog. It was intended to spur people to do something viable other than just reading what you or I might have to say. My note was not intended towards you personally nor as a slight in any way. I wanted to piggyback on what you are doing here and get the folks who read your blog to do something themselves. Again, my apologies if my note came across as a negative towards you in any way. I applaud what you are doing here and hope you continue to keep this (and other issues like Majerus) alive instead of letting those issues fall by the wayside after 1-2 weeks (which I have no doubt is exactly what Disney and ESPN are hoping to see happen!). Kudos to you!

B. J.

sshortlidg said...

Why not bash the true cause...alcohol. This legal drug is the cause of much pain and grief in our society.

Tom O'Toole said...

Dear B.J., Thanks for the clarification and writing to ESPN is not a bad idea either.

-Tom

Tom O'Toole said...

Dear sshortlidg, While the Catholic Church is not against all drinking (after all Jesus DID turn water into wine at the Wedding Feast), Dana's display was NOT what Psalm 104: 14&15 had in mind. Why ESPN didn't make her go to counseling/rehab is another baffling aspect of the incident.

-Tom

Anonymous said...

How come Dana Jacobson gets a free pass(Let's be fair, a one week's suspension is up there with getting sick for a week, or a week's unpaid vacation). I want to see the video. Sometimes the best way to deal with something is to throw it on out there. Once it's overplayed(like Imus and Rush) then people will forget about it and move on with life. I just want to see how this woman failed to hold her liquor at what she knew was going to be public event, even with lack of cameras rolling. It's nice to be reminded that some of these people on camera are still human.

Tom O'Toole said...

Anonymous, I would love to see the video ... of course ESPN would have to can Dana if it ever did get out so they obviously did their best to prevent it.

-Tom

Anonymous said...

Shlomo- that sure looks like Jewish hate to me.