If you don't tell somebody how offended you were, did it still happen? We'll never know; even before social media, the government had long solicited comment from the affected.
Just check out what resulted when one brilliant individual, in February, obtained copies of complaints made in the last couple years to the Federal Communications Commission against Saturday Night Live. (We're presenting the following exactly as they were written.)
"Last night on Saturday night live Jamie Fox called for the killing of all white people," reads one sent from a Michigan viewer on Dec. 8, 2012. " I want to make a formal complaint against NBC, Saturday Night Live and Jamie Fox. Jamie Fox needs to be removed from society until this threat is over."
Another sent Dec. 3, 2012 from a revolted Kentuckian: "I couldn't believe how this show has changed from years ago," it reads. "Two men are passiontely kissing and the one man lifts up the other's shirts and proeceeds to feel up the other man. Television has changed so much when things were meaningful and moral."
And you know who couldn't agree more? The American Family Association, a group on the "frontlines" of a "culture war" I'm not sure anybody else knows is being fought. Their dissatisfaction (this week) stems from a mid-February SNL skit riffing on Quentin Tarantino flicks, which shows a machine-gun wielding, revenge-seeking Son of God.
"Critics are calling it a less-violent Passion of the Christ," says the voiceover of the faux film Djesus Uncrossed, adding: "I never knew how much Jesus used the N-word."
Well, the AFA wasn't having that. Taking up arms against the show's advertisers, the group today announced that both Sears and JCPenney have pulled their financial support.
“I can tell you that as long as corporations support this kind of offensive material, their sales are going to suffer as shoppers abandon retailers that support blasphemy," says AFA president Tim Wildmon in the press release. "We applaud Sears and JCPenney for their wise action to stop funding damaging material such as the skit that mocked our Lord Jesus Christ."
Of course, some religious commenters think the TV show's depiction of Jesus isn't far off what some conservatives have tried to make him into.
"We have tried to arm him with our military-industrial complex, drape him with our xenophobia, outfit him with our weapons, and adorn him with our nationalism," wrote David Henson for patheos.com. "We’ve turned the cross into a flagpole for the Stars and Stripes. We have no need for Tarantino to reimagine the story of Jesus into a fantasy of violent revenge. We’ve done it for him."
Then there's this, from Yale Bible scholar John J. Collins, talking to NPR about what Jews at the time hoped for from their savior: "Most people wanted a big, strong warrior who would drive out the Romans, who would smash heads."
And, ultimately, we're talking about the same deity that's described in the Bible this way: "He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God."