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In Defense Of Saturday Night Live

A lot of people are talking about NBC's sudden purging of the "financial meltdown" sketch from last week's Saturday Night Live. I watched it, actually laughed quite a bit, and was -- as many others were -- astonished that it aired at all.

Now it's vanishing. And a lot of people are speculating on why, ascribing all sorts of sinister (in the classic sense) motives for it being pulled.

I was suspicious, too, until I learned about one key detail.

At one point, two people come on stage. Here's an excerpt from the transcript:

This is Herbert and Marion Sandler. Tell us your story.

Herbert Sandler: My wife and I had a company which aggressively marketed subprime mortgages, and then bundled them into securities to sell to banks such as Wachovia. Today, our portfolio is worth almost nothing -- though at one point, it was worth close to $19 billion.

Pelosi: My God. I am so sorry. Were you able to sell it for anything.

Herbert Sandler: Yes, for $24 billion.

Pelosi: I see. So in that sense, you're not so to speak, actual victims.

Herbert Sandler (chuckling): Oh, no. That would be Wachovia Bank.

Marion Sandler: Actually, we've done quite well. We're very happy.

Herbert Sandler: We were sort of wondering why you asked us to come today.

Marion Sandler: Anyway, it's delightful to see you, Nancy. (Kisses Pelosi.)

Herbert Sandler: And thank you, Congressman Frank, as well as many Republicans for helping block Congressional oversight of our corrupt activities.

They are identified on screen as "HERBERT & MARION SANDLER" and described as "people who should be shot."

Slight problem here, one that should have raised red flags at NBC's legal department: Herb and Marion Sandler are real people, and the description of their activities on Saturday Night Live bears more than a passing resemblance to the truth.

So we have the potential for a defamation lawsuit here. Toss in the chiron saying at the bottom that they should be shot, and we have something that goes far, far beyond the acceptable boundaries of acceptable satire and into legally actionable.

Rumor has it that the Sanders have already been in contact with NBC's legal department, and that is what prompted NBC to take down the video.

That's a damned shame. If half of what SNL alleged is true about them, then I have no problem with them being singled out for scorn and contempt and derision and mockery and, if possible, criminal and civil liability.

Especially when their politics are taken into account.

Calling for them to be shot, though? By name?

That's way, way too far.

Those idiots at SNL. I'm almost convinced they put that in there as a way they could (relatively) safely scuttle the skit, while still getting credit for showing some "balance" on the political spectrum.

But that would be giving them too much credit, requiring too much Machiavellian cunning. I simply don't think they're that smart.

No, they're just acting like the juveniles they are (mentally and emotionally, at least) and went overboard, and now they're getting raked over the coals for it.

Frigging morons.


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Comments (15)

Jay you are right on here. ... (Below threshold)
Loomis:

Jay you are right on here. I loved that skit (espcially Soros as a Bond villian) but when it ended I wondered if the Sandlers were real people. I assumed they weren't becuase I could not imagine NBC getting away with it if they were. Well, it turns out they are, and saying they should be shot is well beyond the bounds of responsible behavior (having Soros offer to buy another guy's wife was kind of over the line as well, but who wouldn't offer to buy Anne Hathaway if they billions of dollars. She's hot!).

Well, there ya go. I was w... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Well, there ya go. I was wondering if I they were real people, too, but not enough to be concerned. The wording in the retraction is even funnier, though: "Doesn't meet our standards..."

PRE-CENSORED FOR YOUR CONVE... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

PRE-CENSORED FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE


Wngnt Wrld:

Prsdnt Bsh 20% apprvl. Wrst prz hstry.

Schmcks

PRE-CENSORED FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE

Editor's note: no one disemvowelled this comment, the idiot tried to fake it, and failed -- note the missing "n" and undeleted "y" in "in history."

Dipshit.

I'm half tempted to just take his idea a step further and ban him... J.

wbgonne~The dem le... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

wbgonne~

The dem leadership sucks, and you know it. They screwed everyone royally with the mortgage industry. Obama, "your guy", has you fooled, but not everyone. All you can do here is post a drive-by supposedly "self-censored". You don't even have the common sense to know what that actually is. If you do, however, know enough to advise someone to "stay out of Detroit", then maybe you also know enough to help clean up the city.

Here you go Woebegone aka s... (Below threshold)
maggie:

Here you go Woebegone aka schmuckette:

Congress approval rating just 10% as Bush goes from 'lame to dead duck'

This was not mere rhetoric. Congress's public approval rating was down to 18% before the crisis hit. By some estimates, it is now 10% and falling. Washington has seen a "throw the bums out" mood before, notably Newt Gingrich's 1994 anti-government "Republican revolution". But this is something else. Like some others, Gingrich is calling for the resignation of Hank Paulson, the treasury secretary, for presiding over a train wreck and then failing to persuade people why $700bn was needed to get back on the rails.

You can read the rest here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/oct/01/georgebush.congress

I agree Jay, the naming of ... (Below threshold)

I agree Jay, the naming of the Sandlers with the caption that they should be shot is totally out of bounds.

The skit would have been just as funny with that caption deleted. The best line (among many) was when Mr. Sandler was asked if he was a victim and he replied (I paraphrase), "no that would be Wachovia"....priceless.

I need someone to email me ... (Below threshold)
Candy:

I need someone to email me that video! I was teaching and at a soccer game and missed this entire ordeal. The unedited version would be most appreciated - I'm quite sure half of you guys managed to download it before they yanked it.

The Sanders are real people... (Below threshold)
smc:

The Sanders are real people, who like Soros essentially put all their efforts into controlling the media and pay heavily to influence elections, politics and societal beliefs in a brain-washing, censorship manner. While other philanthropists are feeding starving people around the world, these self-loathing, Israel-hating, Islamic-extremist-funding Nazi-collaborating (in the case of Soros) extremely wealthy people are scheming to take over the United States government with their Mansourian candidate.

The fact that none of you has ever heard of them shows that they have been extremely successful in controlling and censoring the media. They, along with al-Mansour, who put Obama through Harvard Law, have selected this young shining star to be their pawn, groomed him, housed him, set him on this path to bring their nutty goals to fruition. I know this sounds crazy, but all I can say -- just do your homework and see for yourselves.

SNL has a ton of talent in ... (Below threshold)
moqui:

SNL has a ton of talent in both the current and recent casts. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Will Forte, Kristen Wiig - for a couple of years when Fey was head writer, they were every bit as good as the legendary original cast. But, since Fey left, it has been gradually going downhill. Current head writer Seth Meyers has been a pedestrian talent. This skit would be his highlight, and I agree that it is beyond his wit to have been as Machiavellian as you first described.

smc, you live on the opposi... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

smc, you live on the opposite side of the same coin as the 9/11 Truthers. You're a moron.

If you really think Obama is a Manchurian candidate programmed to destroy your country, wouldn't you be duty bound to try and stop him by any means necessary? C'mon, don't be a pussy about it by merely whining about the guy on the internet. If he's really going to... ummm... Islamo-Nazify your children (I guess I'm not clear on the details there...) then you should put your money where your mouth is, man up, and be a hero.

Or continue along the path of the whiny conspiracy theory-spouting pussy.

If you really thin... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
If you really think Obama is a Manchurian candidate programmed to destroy your country,

He's not smart or eloquent enough to be even that. If you will remember the remake of the film, the candidate set himself up to be killed.

Identifying real people by ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Identifying real people by name, and saying "should be shot," is over the line. Especially because all SNL would have to do to make it funny is come up with generic names.

I agree the caption 'should... (Below threshold)
syn:

I agree the caption 'should be shot' was over the line just like the incest gag was over the line however why erase the entire scene, photoshopping could have removed the one-sentence caption.

Why remove the entire scene?

This is the Big Brother crap I detest, political power using their influence to control what is seen and heard.

It's another "Path to 9/11" moment.

As long as we continue to buy Big Brother Entertainment it's just going to get worse.

Clearly the "should be shot... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Clearly the "should be shot" line is comedic hyperbole, as is "Soros: Owner Democratic Party." I am not buying that SNL is "calling for the Sandler's to be shot." That characterization is way too literal in this instance. Apparently I am in the minority.

I see this as similar to the Larry Flynt satire attacking Jerry Falwell. If you remember, Flynt was let off the hook on that one. There's your precedent.

What a drag that the Sandle... (Below threshold)
ummm:

What a drag that the Sandlers don't quite meet up to the stereotype SNL was going for. The Sandlers were actually cautious in their risk-taking. They actually reviewed the loan applicatins, they turned down many loans that were too risky, they performed due diligence.

Right this minute Wells Fargo and Citi-Bank are fighting each other to get their hands on the loan portfolio of Wachovia because it is worth BILLIONS because is made up of real loans from the Sandlers banks, not the ridiculous stuff from Countrywide.

If you are going to skewer people who made risky loans, you picked the wrong people. These people were actually good and responsible bankers. Trying to make them the poster children of this asinine mortgage industry is just 100% completely wrong. Suggesting that they be shot is just insane.

Do your research, SNL!




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