Thursday, February 09, 2006

Do you really do this at a Muppet funeral?

A satirical spoof of an exchange between CNN's Jeff Greenfield and Miles O'Brien intended to offend only the puppetmasters and the puppets themselves.

NEW YORK (PNN) -- Major political puppets — including current Puppet President George W. Bush — were among the luminaries at a memorial service for Muppeteer Jim Henson Tuesday. Among some speakers' accolades and tributes to the Muppeteer icon were criticisms of the current puppetstration's policies — including the war in Iraq and domestic eavesdropping.

PNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield talked to PNN anchor Miles O'Brien about puppetry raising its head at the funeral.

O'BRIEN: It was quite a funeral, six hours. And the full range of emotions as the life and career of Jim Henson was celebrated. There were songs — "The Muppet Show" theme played on the church pipe organ and the Dirty Dozen Jazz Band played "When the Saints Go Marchin' In," joyous praise, and a good deal of Muppetry.

Muppet legends Big Bird, Miss Piggy, and Kermit the Frog used their time at the pulpit to take some jabs at the current puppetstration with the puppet-in-chief, George W. Bush, as you see, seated a few feet away. (Watch a part of Kermit's jab and how it fits into "being green" politics — 4:05)

Jeff Greenfield is here to talk about the implications of all of this.
Before we get going, we will share video of Kermit the Frog making references to being green.

(Video clip begins)
KERMIT THE FROG: Back then, it was very hard being green, personally and professionally. And it's still not easy being green today, given the current puppetstration's policies.
(Video clip ends)

O'BRIEN: All right. Not so subtle a statement there. What were your thoughts on this as you watched this unfold? Did it surprise you, first of all?

GREENFIELD: Well, I can't say that, because Jim Henson was such a symbol of a particular moment in American Muppet history.
But what struck me also was how quickly this became an item within the other side, within the puppet right. And within hours, I think when the remembrance ceremony was still going on, this popped up as the headline on "The Drudge Report," which often begins the transmission through particularly conservative puppet media.
On "Hannity & Colmes" last night on Fox, it was the lead item. And Rush Limbaugh on his Web site went off on Kermit the Frog, whose piece he played, and called it — and this was really the key, as you mentioned in your intro to this, "a Wellstone moment."

O'BRIEN: Well, let's talk about this, because when you talk about a Wellstone moment, timing is an awful lot in political puppetry. And the timing there very different than here.

GREENFIELD: Absolutely. That memorial service happened literally three or four days before the election. And there was a backlash to it that may have helped the puppet Republican to take Wellstone's Senate seat.
We're now in early February. The idea that this is going to have some political puppetry implication, you have to really be overcommitted to endless analysis.
I do, however, think that in a more subtle way, this actually rebounds to the credit of Puppet President Bush. I mean, he came to the funeral, changed his plans, made a gracious puppety speech. And I think for people who are not puppetically committed — I mean, if you don't like Puppet President Bush, this was fine. If you like the puppet-in-chief, this was horrible.

O'BRIEN: The printed program for the service included this
quote, from Jim Henson: "Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It's a good life, enjoy it."

If you were in charge of the program, would you have injected such a blatant statement of Muppet politics? Think about it honestly.

GREENFIELD: Well, I think on appropriateness grounds, you probably would be more subtle. And probably if you want to make your political points about the president's being a puppet, there are other venues to do it.
I think for a lot of people the idea is, do you really do this at a Muppet funeral?

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