Apparently, Bill Cosby Isn't a Proper Subject for Satire—Who Knew?

TWILIGHT ZONE—"Excuse me, Mr. Swift: Did you actually mean it when you suggested that Irish peasants be encouraged to sell their own children as food for the rich, as a solution to the problem of poverty in the early 1700s?"

"We beg your pardon, Mr. Heller, but was there any real basis for your accusing a U.S. Army officer of selling chocolate-covered Egyptian cotton as candy to the troops during World War II?"

"Hey, Krassner: Where do you get off claiming that after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his VP Lyndon Johnson was discovered standing over his coffin on Air Force One, chuckling—and fucking his throat wound???"

In case anyone's confused, all of the above are actual instances of satire—and to this day, there are still folks out there who, unaware of the circumstances surrounding the publishing of such works as A Modest Proposal, Catch-22 and various articles in The Realist magazine, actually took such biting humor seriously, and even mounted public campaigns to attempt to censor those works.

But satire has an incredibly long history, dating back at least to ancient Greece, where in 411 B.C., the playwright Aristophanes penned his anti-war play Lysistrata, whose plot had women refusing to fuck their soldier husbands until they ended the Peloponnesian War. It was considered satire in its day—but then, in 2003, a group of women known as The Lysistrata Project got together for readings of the play worldwide as a peace protest on the eve of the Iraq War. Other satirical works, some of them very dark, came from such renowned authors as Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange) and Terry Southern (The Magic Christian).

Perhaps Will Ryder isn't quite in a league with those (and several other) satirical luminaries, but the fact is, he's got a knack for taking people and events in the news and creating satirical XXX-rated movies around them—and his latest offering is raising the blood pressure of a few of the Usual Suspects.

"Will Ryder had already made two Cosby Show-inspired porn films," noted Theo Merz of UK's The Telegraph, "but this one, which sought to turn women’s alleged trauma into a masturbatory aid, crossed a line...  But when did this trend, for spoofing films and current events in adult films, emerge? Can it continue, or will the more distasteful of the examples above stain the whole genre (further than it already is, in its current splattered state)?"

Still, much of Merz's article seemed to go out of its way to undercut that put-down, with sex columnist Nichi Hodgson commenting, "I think perhaps we’re just talking more about this now because there's always a lag between a porn trend and a discussion about it. You only have to look at the success of porn production companies which specialize in parody to see that it's here to stay—and has a vast viewership.

"Take the success of [Who's] Nailin' Paylin," she added. "If sex is power, then you can certainly undercut power with sex. We might underestimate the value of sexual lampooning when it occurs in an adult [context], but it's actually an old art form. Think Chaucer, Thomas Carew or the Earl[] of Rochester and their bawdy verse insulting the nobility by casting them as the crassest fornicators."

Hmmm... "crass fornicators," eh? Could that include rapists? Hodgson doesn't say.

But The Telegraph's article was kind compared to Jenny Kutner's on

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: rape isn't funny," said Ms. States-The-Obvious. "Sexual assault is not a situation that deserves to be taken lightly, nor is it one that needs to be; it already isn’t taken seriously enough. But there are those who would disagree with me—specifically one hilarious garbage human adult film director, who has decided the allegations that Bill Cosby drugged and raped nearly two dozen women might make for some inspired porn." [Strike-through in original]

Of course, Ryder's movie isn't about those women; it's about a formerly highly respected comedian, a so-called champion of family values, who perhaps hasn't lived up to his own image of himself—but to be sure, we'll have to see how his prosecution, if it ever takes place, turns out.

"To portray fantasies about nonconsensual sex in porn is one thing," Kutner concluded. "But to actively attempt to make light of real women's stories of sexual violation for profit and for fun is another thing entirely. It's something that should probably make us rethink what it means for humanity when that Internet adage—'if something exists, someone will make a porn out of it'—rings so sickly true."

While we haven't seen Ryder's effort, which will hit stores on March 17, we strongly doubt that it "make[s] light of real women's stories of sexual violation." More likely, it will shine a light on the disconnect between Cosby's public image, which he's worked years to perfect, and the reality of those very women's allegations against him. And if it produces some uncomfortable laughter, well, that's exactly satire's role.

The Daily Dot's EJ Dickson also picks up on "Rule 34" to bash Ryder's effort, claiming that,

"It seems both impossible and unwise to attempt to bring levity to a 'situation' that involves more than 20 women saying they were drugged and sexually assaulted. Nonetheless, basic decency having eluded him, Ryder produced Puddin' My Dick Where It Don't Belong, the third movie in the Not the Cosbys XXX trilogy. Detroit comedian Thomas Ward, who bears a striking resemblance to Cosby, plays the actor-turned-alleged-rapist.

"It's unclear if Puddin' My Dick Where It Don't Belong will actually attempt to recreate the sexual assault allegations against Cosby, or if it'll just ruin your childhood by showing Theo and Denise having a threeway with Cockroach," Dickson continued. "Either way, it wouldn't be the first time that porn tried to stay relevant by ripping a story from the headlines to utterly tasteless effect. ... Memo to porn directors: Lay off the insulting attempts at social commentary and stick to 10-minute, narrative-free blowjob clips instead."

See, for Dickson, porn should just get you off, period. Fuck characterization, dialog, plot, art direction, music, even humor—and most especially humor about current events! Take that, Lee Roy Myers, Axel Braun and Andre Madness! No one wants to laugh while they're pulling their puds—and we're sure your sales show it!

We called Ryder's attention to The Telegraph's article, and he had a few choice words on the subject of satire, parody... and cluelessness:

"I think it quite odd that this UK writer as well as a number of others, including the great and talented Monica Foster, opine that just because I have a new Cosby movie coming out called Puddin' My Dick Where it Don't Belong that it immediately is a put-down to the women that allegedly have suffered under the spell (and spiced rum) of Bill Cosby. 

"Could it be possible that I am making fun of Bill Cosby and going as far as defending the women to some degree? Of course it is not possible in their eyes because I am a filthy pornographer that knows nothing other than to hit the lowest common denominator rather than turn the tables on a once-highly regarded cultural icon and put a sharp elbow in his rib.  I was looking for a Manson reference in the story but it never went there but I am flattered that the writer spelled my name correctly."

Pictured: The cover of Will Ryder's forthcoming parody, plus the tank full of shit into which British nobles jump searching for the pound notes Peter Sellers has stirred into it, from The Magic Christian.