Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
As many of you know, earlier this week I finally broke the silence and “came out”. I am Jolly. As I told my readers over at Inside Catholic:
I am Jolly. I can’t help it. I was just born that way. And I am no longer ashamed!
I can’t remember when I first felt Jolly. Maybe it was when I was eating that second bowl of ice cream and watching The Flying Nun when I was eight. Maybe it was that tender coming-of-age moment when an older Jolly man brought Kentucky Fried Chicken to a beach party I was invited to at the age of 15 and I ate half the bucket. I don’t claim to understand everything about the complexities of this glorious and challenging appetite God has given me. All I know is, Jolly is the way God made me, and I have nothing to be ashamed of!
Please go and read the whole thing. I insist. You people, like everybody else, need to be forcibly re-educated into a Jolly-positive lifestyle. This is particularly true of brainwashed Catholics with your shame-based religion of self-denial, bafflegab about “disordered appetites”, and oppressive Dark Age nonsense about the “sin” of gluttony. When you are done, return here and finish this article.
Well? Get going! Or must more Jolly Americans suffer from lack of total approval and celebration while Catholics continue to hinder social progress with outdated prejudice?
Finished? Good! To continue: I am now in the process of making sure the movement that I have begun is rigorously enforced so that each and every one of the People of God acknowledge diversity by thinking one way and one way only about me and my desires: spaniel-like approval and celebration.
To that end, I find inspiration in this article by Charles Colson, detailing the work being done by our brave vanguard of Tolerance by Any Means Necessary in the Gay Community:
“We’re very disappointed in our track record so far. We’ll try to do better.” Those repentant words are from CBS Television’s President Nina Tassler. And, no, she wasn’t apologizing to shareholders for a bad quarter.
According to LifeSiteNews, Tassler apologized at the Television Critics Association a few weeks ago for receiving a “Failing” grade in the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (or GLAAD) in its annual Network Responsibility Index.
Every year GLAAD tracks the way lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals (LGBTs) are portrayed on prime time television.
“GLAAD analysts,” the Index says, “noted whether the LGBT depictions were minor or major, as well as the orientation/gender identity and the race/ethnicity of the characters depicted.” They also counted, “any significant discussion of issues pertaining to LGBT lives.”
They found that out of eleven hundred hours of original prime time programming on CBS only 7% were “LGBT-inclusive.”
Compared with other networks, this is very low. For example, on MTV, the only network ever to receive an “Excellent” rating, 42% of their original prime time programming was “LGBT-inclusive,” including MTV’s reality show The Real World, depicting roommates with a variety of sexual orientations and True Life: I’m Changing My Sex.
TV shows with gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender characters abound on the other major networks as well. And the fact that that last year CBS alone of the networks “had no LGBT series regular characters on any of its original scripted programs” puts it decidedly out of step with the competition. That’s the problem poor Ms Tassler promises to solve.
Why is this so important? “GLAAD has seen time and again,” the Index reports, “how images of multi-dimensional gay and transgender people on television have the power to change public perceptions.”
In a recent survey, among the 19% of people who reported that their feelings toward gay and lesbian people have become more favorable over the past 5 years, 34% cited one reason as “seeing gay or lesbian characters on television.”
This is because television creates a false sense of intimacy. The longer we watch a television show, the closer we feel to the characters, provided they are presented in a positive light. Viewers, you see, begin sympathizing more and more with their stories.
As a member of the Jolly American community, I believe the same thing needs to happen with the portrayal of Jollies on television. Since the cancellation of Cannon, when has a Jolly character been given his or her own series? Why are Jollies routinely excluded from the role of leading men and women? How is it that virtually everybody on television is constantly portrayed according to the temperanormative stereotype of the Handsome Hero and the Beautiful Babe? Apart from the Food Network, what broadcast corporation really celebrates the Jolly lifestyle by positively portraying the many contributions of Jolly Americans and urging closeted Jollies to bravely come out as I have? Jollies are constantly portrayed as “unhealthy”. We are bombarded with exhortations to lose weight, learn how to “control” our appetites instead of celebrate them, and “share the earth”. We are portrayed as somehow to blame for being at higher risk for heart attacks and strokes when, in fact, anybody anywhere can suffer from this at any time. Instead of teaching our children to practice “safe eating” (a practice understood in ancient Roman culture before the Dark Ages suppression of the noble pagan tradition of the vomitorium), we instead subject them to temperanormative oppression and fill their minds with images and exhortations about “eating right and staying fit” that belittle the Jolly lifestyle. I think Jollies and members of the Lardo/Giant/Brick House/Tubby community need to start throwing our weight around and force the networks to become Jolly-inclusive. Jollies need to be celebrated and affirmed, not merely tolerated. America must be forced to applaud our glorious appetites and networks must be made to cringe in abject shame when they do any less than cheer for me and my desires, whatever they may be. With obesity on the rise among the very viewing audience our media so poorly serve with their standard temperanormative narrative, it’s high time the networks began to teach people that there is no shame in eating vastly more than they thought possible and helped their Inner Jolly come out. All appetites are God-given gifts and any attempt to restrain them is not only un-American but un-Capitalist. It is not merely Jollies, but the spirit of TV itself which tells us “You deserve a break today.”
Remember: Tolerance is not Enough! You. MUST. celebrate! Jolly Pride forever!