Saturday, January 21, 2006

Welcome to the Neigbhorhood indeed!

So, if I'm not mistaken, Welcome to the Neigborhood's fate was in part at least was a substitutionary atonement , to allow for the justification and redemption of both the Disney Corporation and the Chronicles of Narnia.

Have I got that right? So that's the Christian allegory?

Ten days before the first episode was to be shown, ABC executives canceled "Welcome to the Neighborhood," saying that they were concerned that viewers who might have been appalled at some early statements made in the show - including homophobic barbs - might not hang in for the sixth episode, when several of those same neighbors pronounced themselves newly open-minded about gays and other groups.

ABC acted amid protests by the National Fair Housing Alliance, which had expressed concern about a competition in which race, religion and sexual orientation were discussed as factors in the awarding of a house. But two producers of the show, speaking publicly about the cancellation for the first time, say the network was confident it had the legal standing to give away a house as a game-show prize. One, Bill Kennedy, a co-executive producer who helped develop the series with his son, Eric, suggested an alternative explanation. He said that the protests might have been most significant as a diversion that allowed the Walt Disney Company, ABC's owner, to pre-empt a show that could have interfered with a much bigger enterprise: the courting of evangelical Christian audiences for "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Disney hoped that the film, widely viewed as a parable of the Resurrection, would be the first in a profitable movie franchise.

In the months and weeks before "Welcome to the Neighborhood" was to have its premiere, as Disney sought to build church support for "Narnia," four religious groups lifted longtime boycotts of the company that had been largely prompted by Disney's tolerance of periodic gatherings by gay tourists at its theme parks. Representatives for two of those groups now say that broadcasting "Neighborhood" could have complicated their support for "Narnia." One, the Southern Baptist Convention, with more than 16 million members, lifted the last of the boycotts against Disney on June 22, a week before ABC announced it was pulling the series.

BTW, am I supposed to get upset over this? Overjoyed over this? I mean they cancel a piece of dreck to appease a bunch of fundamentalists so that they shell out their cash for another piece of dreck.

What would the folks at the Free Enterprise Action Fund say about this? Oh, yeah...

Why is “corporate social responsibility” a threat?
CSR activists circumvent our democratic process by trying to implement their social agendas through businesses rather the public political process. They try to force businesses to adopt policies and practices outside existing laws and regulations. These activists define what constitutes “corporate social responsibility” according to their own political and social beliefs, and then pressure corporate managements to adopt their agendas. Targeted corporations—fearing organized boycott, negative publicity, shareholder controversy, litigation, and/or product disparagement—often choose to appease these activists.

CSR distracts business from business. CSR activists and initiatives distract corporate managements from their traditional responsibility of operating businesses in the long-term best interests of investors. CSR can harm a company’s ability to conduct business based on sound economics, sound science, and traditional business goals and practices.

But let's not be troubled by such issues and rejoice in the happy outcome for the neighborhood at least:

The producers say that it is worth noting that a show that exists mainly to dispel people's tendencies to prejudge strangers was itself a victim of prejudgments. They also note that in a universe of failed reality-show relationships, this experiment has actually succeeded, yet only out of public view.

Since September, when the Wrights moved into their four-bedroom home in the Circle C Ranch development in southwest Austin, they have had standing Friday-night dinners with one neighborhood family (the Stewarts) and Sunday-night dinners with another (the Bellamys), whose twin teenage daughters are now their son's regular baby sitters.

Meanwhile, the neighbor who was the Wrights' earliest on-camera antagonist - Jim Stewart, 53, who is heard in an early episode saying, "I would not tolerate a homosexual couple moving into this neighborhood" - has confided to the producers that the series changed him far more than even they were aware.

No one involved in the show, Mr. Stewart said, knew he had a 25-year-old gay son. Only after participating in the series, Mr. Stewart said, was he able to broach his son's sexuality with him for the first time.

Then again, we are talking about Texas. Reading a story about a show like "Welcome to the Neighborhood" is kind of surreal after reading about the St. Patrick's Batallion last night. In that context, the fundamentalists' actions aren't that out of place..

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