France bans Down Syndrome ad from TV because smiling kids might ‘disturb’ women who had an abortion


Years ago I was a substitute teacher just outside Chicago. There were days when I had the opportunity to join special education classes, which included kids with Down Syndrome. I am not lying when I say that those were some of the best kids I ever had the privilege to meet.

Given that experience, you can see one of the many reasons why a story out of France caught my eye just before Thanksgiving.  It turns out that a commercial by CoorDown titled “Dear Future Mom” is now officially banned from the airwaves. The reason? It might “disturb the conscience” of women who elected to have an abortion.

The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed on the story Wednesday:

“Abortion is legal in most of Europe, but its proponents are bent on suppressing efforts to change the minds of mothers considering it. Witness France’s ban on a television commercial showing happy children with Down Syndrome (DS).

Produced to commemorate World Down Syndrome Day, the commercial showed several cheerful children with DS addressing a mother considering abortion. “Dear future mom,” says one, “don’t be afraid.” “Your child will be able to do many things,” says another. “He’ll be able to hug you.” “He’ll be able to run toward you.” “He’ll be able to speak and tell you he loves you.”

France’s High Audiovisual Council removed the commercial from air earlier this year, and in November the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, upheld the ban, since the clip could ‘disturb the conscience’ of French women who had aborted DS fetuses.”

Ask yourself this question: If French courts are permitted to ban a television commercial that features smiling kids because it might “disturb the conscious” of some viewers, then what is off limits?

Answer: Nothing.

Whether you agree or disagree with abortion, then I hope you can see just how incredibly terrifying this court’s logic is from a free-speech and religious liberty perspective. People often behave like the liberties enjoyed by the western world will be around forever, but that is not the case.

“But Doug!” you said, “Why should we care about France? We sort of expect that kind of thing from the French and Europe as a whole, right?”

The truth, sadly, is that every nation has Thought Police — even the U.S.

One merely needs to check out BuzzFeed’s hit piece on the hosts of HGTV’s hit series Fixer Upper. Writer Kate Aurthur founder herself a juicy target to destroy because a popular married couple is suspected of a Mind Crime. That’s why she wrote “Chip And Joanna Gaines’ Church Is Firmly Against Same-Sex Marriage.”

Shocker — Christian family belongs to a church that does not approve of homosexual relationships.

Perhaps Allahpundit over at Hotair put it best:

“The BuzzFeed piece is proof that we’re past the persuasion stage now in the culture wars, particularly as regards gay rights, and into the bludgeoning stage, where the left feels secure enough in its gains to try to strongarm the holdouts.”


In France, smiling kids with Down Syndrome cannot appear on television. In America, Christian couples with hit television shows have giant websites trying to find ways to destroy their career.

In France, powerful legal councils keep you off the air if you  disturb the conscience of women who had an abortion. In America, liberal reporters will try to derail your television career if you “disturb the conscious” of secular Democrats.

And with that, I will leave you with a quote by John Philpot Curran:

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” — John Philpot Curran.

If you do not think you have anything to learn from men who were born in the 1700s, then think again.


Daredevil Season 2: Hold onto your principles — at any price


The second season of Marvel’s Daredevil is finally on Netflix — and it is good. Correction: It is great. The writing is so strong, in fact, that it is hard to fathom how the creative team will be able to live up to expectations going forward. It is rare to find a show that is about friendship, family, honesty and the importance of holding fast to core principles, but Daredevil delivers on all counts.

Frank Castle

This is a spoiler-free review, so I will try to only address the overall themes going forward.

In short, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung), Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and pretty much every actor with decent screen time fires on all cylinders. What makes the series so good is that each character has a clear idea of his or her ideal self, but the fierce pursuit of those ideals put them at odds with friends, family, co-workers, fellow citizens, and even the rule of law.

Matt Murdock

What would you do for your core principles?

  • Would you be willing to quit a job?
  • Would you walk away from someone you love?
  • Would you be willing to shed blood and die?
  • Would you kill?
  • Would you be willing to be hated by society?

Over and over again the writers of Daredevil look at the cast and say, “Okay, what defines these characters and how do we put them in situations where their fidelity to core principles is tested?” 

The series explores big questions about life, death, truth, justice, loyalty, honesty, integrity, redemption and friendship in every episode — but it does so with intelligence and grace.

Finally, without a doubt, Jon Bernthal nails his performance as Frank Castle (aka: The Punisher). He was given a tough role, and he crushed it. There are not really enough good things to say about his take on the character other than to tell the man to take a bow. One can only hope he makes an appearance in Luke Cage.

If you do not have a Netflix account, then you may want to consider getting one to watch Daredevil. At this point the only question is: When will Charlie Cox’s version of Matt Murdoch make an appearance on the big screen? He certainly deserves it.



Jessica Jones Season 1: Marvel scores again with Netflix

Jessica Jones

When Netflix first debuted its trailer for the Jessica Jones series, this blog said the writers would have a dark tightrope to walk. That was Oct. 24. Now, having finally finished the series just after Christmas, it’s safe to say that Marvel once again handled a Netflix project just about as well as can be realistically expected.


Jessica Jones is a show about “control,” but it is much more than a rape survivor’s tale as some reviews imply.

  • It’s about our ability to allow the past to control our future.
  • It’s about the control parents have over children.
  • It’s about the control siblings have over one another.
  • It’s about the control we give our friends and lovers.
  • It’s about addictions — to drugs, alcohol, self-loathing and more.
  • It’s about free will.

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, David Tennant as Killgrave, and Mike Colter as Luke Cage deliver the goods in their respective roles. Supporting actors like Eka Darville as “Malcolm” more often than not hit the mark, and the end result is a show that nearly matches Daredevil in terms of overall quality.

Luke Cage

Jessica Jones’ one weakness is that its cast of misfits and their problems sometimes become so over-the-top that moments played for drama seem laughably absurd. Scenes involving Wil Traval’s “Simpson” and Colby Minifie’s “Robyn” tend to be the worst offenders. Unfortunately, it looks like Simpson will probably have an important role to play in Season 2.

If Jessica Jones wants to keep the momentum going, then its writers should bring in Colter’s Luke Cage as much as possible. In many ways he was an emotional rock in Jessica Jones’ unstable world. In a sea of bizarre and troubled characters, Cage was the one guy who seemed to have a semi-healthy handle on his emotional baggage.

Jessica Jones needs one character who is consistently balanced from episode to episode, and Colter lived up to the task admirably.

In short, if you enjoyed Daredevil then you should check out Jessica Jones. It’s a dark series done well, and a welcome addition to Marvel’s Netflix library.

Jessica Jones: Marvel, Netflix attempt to walk ‘dark’ tightrope

Jessica Jones

Somewhere out in space and time there is an alternate dimension where Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” somehow wound up on network television in the 90s, and instead of Krysten Ritter in the lead role fans got Janeane Garofalo. That is one major obstacle dodged, but there is still a challenge — walking the tightrope between “dark” and “dark for the sake of being dark.”

I was first introduced to Jessica Jones in 2001 when I picked up Brian Michael Bendis’ “Alias.” The book was part of Marvel’s “Max” line (i.e., not for children). It was incredibly well-written for a long stretch. I always thought it would make for good television. However, the one major problem any producer of a “Jessica Jones” show will have is, “How dark should it be?”

Jessica Jones fire

There is a fine line between exploring evil that can lurk inside the human heart, and simply wallowing in filth just to get a reaction out of others.

Bendis, at his best, seems to be a skilled tightrope walker. Examples of failure in this regard may include Garth Ennis’ “The Boys” and the Mark Millar-Steve McNiven collaboration “Nemesis.”

Jessica Jones Police Department

Marvel and Netflix did a fabulous job with Daredevil, but it isn’t hard to imagine mindless producers saying, “Daredevil was dark and it was popular. Maybe we should go really dark with Jessica Jones!” 

If Marvel and its creative partners avoided this trap, then it is likely “Jessica Jones” will be a show worth watching. At least for now, everyone can stand up and cheer for a.) the inclusion Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and b.) the absence of Janeane Garofalo from the finished product.

When the NFL became a religion, America created sportscaster priests like Cris Carter, Bob Costas

Cris Carter cryingThe National Football league brings in roughly $10 billion in revenue per year. By 2027, it expects to up that to $25 billion. As USA today reported in February, that would put the NFL on track to haul in more money per year than the domestic gross product of “dozens of small countries.” At some point in time professional football became a weird religion for millions of Americans, and now the rest of us are forced to endure lectures by the High Priests of Sportscasting whenever the athlete-gods expose themselves as mere mortals.

If Americans didn’t idolize the men they watch each Sunday, then the world would not be forced to endure former Vikings receiver Cris Carter throwing his own mother under the bus on national television. In response to Adrian Peterson’s indictment on child abuse charges, Mr. Carter melted down on ESPN.

ABC News reported September 14 (while taking out the exclamation marks):

“My mom did the best job she could do raising seven kids by herself, but there are thousands of things that I have learned since then that my mom was wrong,” he said. “It’s the 21st century — my mom was wrong. She did the best she could but she was wrong about some of that stuff she taught me and I promised my kids I won’t teach that mess to them.”

A healthy culture enjoys the on-field exploits of their favorite player and gleans important lessons from what they bring to the game. A healthy culture admires the drive and dedication it takes to become one of only a handful of individuals in the world who can perform a particular sport at an elite level. An unhealthy culture creates shrines to its teams, hangs on star players’ every word via countless social media accounts, and dedicates more time to fantasy football each fall than actually playing catch with children.

Having to watch Cris Carter cry on national television while Mike Ditka uncomfortably fidgets in his chair is a sign that American culture has derailed. When Keyshawn Johnson looks like Mike Meyers after Kanye West said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a live broadcast, then it is time for football fans to reevaluate the the importance leather balls and the men who carry them hold in their lives.

Hannah Storm emotionalESPN anchor Hannah Storm also gave a Cris Carter-esque sermon to viewers September 14, taking the NFL to task for the way it reacted to Ray Rice cold-cocking his wife in a hotel lobby. It was nice, and perhaps even appropriate, but a society with a working moral compass does not need to witness emotional testimonials from shaken sportscasters.

If things were as they should be, then individuals would realize that the NFL has a lower rate of domestic violence than the general population, silently reaffirm that they will always be their own harshest critic, and then vow not to put up with halftime lectures by guys like Bob Costas on the so-called need for strict gun-control legislation.

Bob Costas GunsWhen I tune in to watch sports, I do not want to hear wide receivers lump in people who occasionally spank their kids with those who leave children black and blue and bloody with a switch. When I want to see how my local team did over the weekend, I do not want to hear announcers go into extended diatribes — no matter how heartfelt they may be — about domestic violence. When I’m watching Monday Night Football, I do not want to listen to a sports pundit imply that millions of Americans are rotten people because they advocate on behalf of rights codified into law by the U.S. Constitution.

If the American people want to do the NFL a long-term favor, then they should turn off the television more often on a Sunday, buy less merchandise, and take their favorite players off the moral pedestals.

Big Bang Theory delivers punishing blow to Superior Spider-Man; Dan Slott feigns delight

Big Bang Theory Superior Spider-Man

Do the writers of The Big Bang Theory read this blog? If not, it appears as though we’re on the exact same wavelength when it comes to Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man.

Here is what I said on February 1st after Dan Slott stalked “The Main Event” and got intellectually body slammed:

“It was only a few weeks ago that Dan Slott thought long-time Spider-Man fans would be okay reading a rip-off of 2003′s “Freaky Friday” starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan — only with Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus. (Or was that 1988′s “Vice Versa” starring Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage?)

Dan Slott’s general response to me over the course of Superior Spider-Man has been to call me an idiot multiple times while abusing the caps-lock button, to call me a “bad person,” and to try and link me with some guy I don’t even know who writes fan fiction Spider-Man porn.

Now, take the most recent episode of The Big Bang Theory:

Howard: What were they thinking putting Doctor Octopus’ mind in Peter Parker’s body?

Raj: I’ve been quite enjoying that. It combines all the superhero fun of Spider-Man with all the body-switching shenanigans of ‘Freaky Friday.’

Dan Slott’s reaction? Feigned joy.

Dan Slott Big Bang Theory

Let me spell it out for Mr. Slott and everyone else who keeps saying “Raj likes the Superior Spider-Man”: The reality is that the writers just made a joke that cut deep — at Dan Slott’s expense.

When a character on a television says he loves Superior Spider-Man because it reminds him of the “shenanigans of ‘Freaky Friday,” it is the equivalent of a Little Mac power punch to Mike Tyson on the old school NES. Correction: a Little Mac power punch to Glass Joe.

Howard asks “What were they thinking?” and the response — accentuated by the laugh track — was that Marvel killed off Peter Parker for what is essentially a rehashed version of Freaky Friday. Congratulations. Freaky Friday grossed $110 million dollars, so using the ‘Slott Rule’ for success, we only have to wait a few more decades before people realize the genius of Lindsay Lohan’s portrayal of Anna Coleman.

As I’ve said before, I believe there is room in the Marvel Universe for Doctor Octopus to play the “Superior Freaky Friday Spider-Man.” I am not opposed to having a megalomaniac running around New York with spider-powers. I just think that executing Peter Parker (twice) so that Dan Slott could make Jamie Lee Octavius everyone’s favorite wall crawler was an error of monumental proportions.

Ask yourself this question, Spider-Man fans: Knowing what you know about how Dan Slott conducts himself on message boards, how would he respond if someone said that they hated Superior Spider-Man because it was little more than ‘Freaky Friday’ with Marvel characters? Now ask yourself why he took to Twitter to feign admiration for a joke told at his expense. Perhaps because it’s a little more dangerous to mock and ridicule the writers of The Big Bang Theory than it is to personally attack the average fan? Hmmm.

Thank you, writers of The Big Bang Theory, for delivering a KNOCK OUT blow to this abomination.

Update: Someone over at ComicVine shared my blog post. Dan Slott has decided that personal attacks and weird discussions on Trayvon Martain and Ben Shapiro would be appropriate instead of actually discussing Superior Spider-Man.

“Douglas Ernst was clearly in the wrong– and horribly offensive– in the WORST way a human being could possibly be. He has NEVER apologized for that BASELESS, DISGUSTING, and REPREHENSIBLE attack. He has stuck to his guns that he was in the right for doing this TERRIBLE and ATROCIOUS thing. Douglas Ernst is a bad person. Plain and simple. Why you people give him the time of day here I’ll never know,” (Dan Slott).

It’s good to know “All-Caps” Dan Slott dislikes me so much that he … reads my commentary on legal cases like the Trayvon Martin case.

Speaking of legal issues, Dan Slott is now making weirdly veiled legal threats in my direction. Dan Slott stifles debate? Who would ever get that idea?

“If someone, like you, who is in the habit of spreading gross falsehoods about me online, I am interested to see if any of them rise to the level of being liable and actionable,” (Dan Slott).

Side note: Here’s Slott’s tweet after (one would assume, given the timing) reading this post. All press is good press, right? Even if writers are mocking your product, who cares if the attention will bring in more sales. Sad.

Related: Dan Slott, absent a superior argument, now sics Twitter followers on critics

Related: Dan Slott goes nuts over sales because he knows Spider-Man fans don’t respect him

TNT’s ‘The Hero’ gives us Charles — a hero in every sense of the word

Rock Charles

What is the definition of a hero? If you’ve ever wondered that then you should have been watching Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new show on TNT for the past couple of months. It’s great entertainment that covers every aspect of the word. Mentally, physically and spiritually “The Hero” challenges contestants to look deep within themselves for the answer.

Early on I put my chips in with the hero Charles. Here’s what I said after the first episode:

Currently, my early favorite is Charles, a policeman and SWAT officer. Unlike some of the other contestants, who seem to be filled with pride, Charles appears to be a rather humble guy. He’s not showy. He’s not flashy. He’s just a man who seems to be seeking the inner peace that confronting one’s fears can provide.

As the show nears its conclusion, I’m more confident than ever that Charles embodies my definition of a hero. And in the show’s final episode with a “hero’s challenge,” he didn’t just knock one out of the park — he owned the park.

Here’s what Charles faced with 35 minutes to complete the task at hand. Victory meant $80,000 for the American Red Cross or his family. Failure meant going home.

  • 8 flares within a giant soccer stadium marked the location of tablets that needed to be reached.
  • Each tablet came with a question that had to be answered correctly.
  • Wrong answers penalized him 30 seconds.
  • After correctly answering each question he had to unlock a bag filled with $10,000 from the seat it was secured to and run back to the 50 yard line.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

Charles soccer field

The pressure was on. Mentally, there was almost zero margin for error. Physically, a contestant had to be at the top of his game. Spiritually, he had to have an unwavering belief that he could will himself to victory. Charles delivered on all three counts, which are the kind of results the average American takes for granted when it comes to first responders, fire fighters, law enforcement and military personnel. TNT viewers should be thankful to whomever decided that ‘The Hero’ was worthwhile programming to take a chance on — because it is. If there is justice, there will be a second season of “The Hero.”

With that said, the question moves from “Did he do it?” to “How did he do it?”. The answer can be found by reading this simple exchange between The Rock and Charles:

The Rock: As a very proud police officer you sacrifice you life every day. You put it out on the line. When does the search for yourself not trump the needs of your family?

Charles: I can’t answer that right now. I think that’s part of this journey.

Rock: What are you searching for?

Charles: My search is this: When your family, your brother, your daughter, your kids need a hero — do you want me there? Because I struggle with that. I strive for that every day. When I’m filled with fear, I want to be fearless. When I feel spite in my heart, I want to find compassion. To answer your question: When I care for my family more than anything I want to be able put your family — the public’s family — first. I hate to say that to my family because my family means more than anything to me. That’s what I’m searching for.

In some sense the answer to “What is the meaning of life?” is a simple one. The meaning of life is to realize at the core of your being that you are worthy of it. How that is determined can only be answered by you. Hero Charles says more in one interaction with The Rock than many people I’ve met say in a year. The reason for that is because he gets it.

Every human being wants to be loved, but they also want to feel worthy of that love. Every human being is his own distinct and separate spiritual being, but he also possesses a connection with the rest of humanity (and the universe for that matter). Every human being is paradoxically filled with fear and filled with courage; they are filled with anger and filled with compassion. They have the power to be completely selfish or completely selfless. They are a bottomless receptacle for love but also a giver of love from a well that never runs dry. Charles “struggles” with all of this because, quite honestly, it is a lot to wrap his mind around. The good news is, he’s made it quite clear to the viewing audience that the struggle is worth the fight.

From afar I tip my hat to Charles. He is a good man, and one worthy of the title “hero.” If I ever meet him in in real life it would be an honor to shake his hand. In a television landscape littered with junk, The Rock’s “The Hero” is a diamond in the rough.

Charles The Hero

Super Saiyans Are Real Kid: He’ll Go Far…If He Keeps His Shirt On.

You can't go full on Super Saiyan on the first try, my friend! It takes years of training...

I’m going to break ranks and talk about the latest viral video, Super Saiyans are real. If you haven’t seen it, all you need to know is that a young man who’s been a fan of Dragon Ball Z cartoons makes a video. Long story short, he wants to be like the main hero, who appears to be inspired by Shaolin monks. Instead of going through the years of mental and physical training it would take to actually become a Shaolin monk, the young man hopes that by believing with all his heart and soul he can “go Super Saiyan” on his first try. He says:

This is something that’s been in my heart for a long time. All I ever wanted to be in life with a Super Saiyan…I just feel like when I see superheroes—why can’t we be that exciting and awesome? Why can’t I I wake up and if I’m late for school just teleport there and be on time? During that time of meditation and thinking about it I realized something: all of that is possible and more. It’s all in here. It’s all in your mind.

Think about anything you ever tried to do. You thought to yourself, “Man, I could never do that.” But then when you practiced, guess what? You got better at it and you actually achieved it, didn’t you? It’s the same thing when you look at super powers. Of course it sounds absurd when you first look at it, but if you actually set your mind to it and believe, you can achieve it. I saw a Chinese man set a piece of paper on fire with just the power of his hands. You’re going to tell me that was fake? No, it wasn’t fake! He channeled that energy from within. He channeled that energy through the creation of his mind…

I feel like anything you set your mind to, your mind can create that force. Your mind is just a powerful machine. Whatever you set it to and you believe and work towards achieving, you can do it. You can do it. And I believe I can be a Super Saiyan. This is my first time exposing this side of me to the world, and I know a lot of you are laughing…I’m going to attempt to go Super Saiyan on film.

All joking aside, the kid is onto something. What you think and what you believe will ultimately determine who you are. If you want something really badly and you put your mind to it, in many cases your preparation and persistence can mold reality to your will. Over the course of a lifetime, those pictures you create in your mind can become a physical reality. If this young man applies that very same mindset to his schooling and professional life, he’ll go rather far. Taking off his shirt and screaming in the workplace wouldn’t be a good idea, but overall he has a very inspiring message.

Where our young Super Saiyan erred was in thinking that he could take a short cut to success. There are no short cuts. In many ways the reality he sought to create DID happen—he now IS “Super Saiyan” to well over 475,000 people! Unfortunately, it’s not quite the reality he imagined because he didn’t put the time and effort into going about it the right way. Just as I wouldn’t walk into a gym and try and bench 300 lbs. without proper training, one shouldn’t delve into realms more closely associated with Shaolin monks and Buddhist masters without doing their homework.

Looking at the “likes” and “dislikes” on Youtube, it doesn’t take long to figure out why so many people enjoy the video. Deep down, you can’t help but like a guy who believes something with every fiber of his being. He wants to believe in Super Saiyans, but others want to believe in love, the ideology that guides their life, religion or any number of things. As we get older we tend to get more cynical, and it’s nice to see someone with youthful innocence in a society that seeks to strip it from children at an earlier and earlier age. I’d be willing to bet the meanest comments left on the young man’s Youtube page are left by people who have given up on themselves. The nicest comments probably come from people who know that the kid’s mindset won’t allow him to break the laws of physics anytime soon, but that it will come in handy when he graduates from college and enters the real world.

Keep practicing, kid. Keep your shirt on and tone it down a bit and you’re going to go far.