Just a few days after this past Christmas of 2011, Denis Leary’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” parody was under the spotlight and garnered much discussion. The classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was essentially Charlie Brown attempting to find the true meaning of Christmas. Leary’s parody features Charlie Brown losing faith in Christianity and so decides to convert to Islam. And that’s when the racist references begin.
This parody is not original in its depiction of Islam as a violent religion and Muslims as terrorists with their only goal to demolish the world of any non-Muslims. It’s redundant in its references to “killing the infidels”, “the 70-something virgins in heaven” and giving no break to the word “Jihad”.
As I watched this parody, I was knocking down points like an old school NES “Duck Hunt” game circa 1989. Let me provide you with just a few:
The parody begins with Charlie Brown expressing his doubt of Christianity. His friend walks by and suggests the idea of converting to Islam. His friend then grabs his blanket and wraps it around his head simulating a turban. Is this at all reminiscent of the popular comments towards women who wear the veils as “towel heads”? This gesture only further degrades Muslims by negatively framing their choice of attire. -2 points
Charlie Brown is shown prostrating on a mat and his friends walk by asking what he’s doing. Charlie Brown looks up and answers “I’m facing Mecca and praying”. They then laugh at him and say “everyone knows Mecca is that way” pointing to the opposite direction. And this is symbolic of the “white superiority” where the non-Muslim is miraculously more knowledgeable than the Muslim on how to pray according to Islam. -3 points.
At the Christmas concert practice, Charlie Brown shows up with a long beard and a homemade bomb and says “now you infidels will taste Allah’s infinite justice”. Representing Muslims as hateful and violent people with the desire to kill everyone and as a result, reinforcing the Islamophobic atmosphere that has been overplayed on a global scale. -4 points
Then there’s that moment of wisdom where a lesson is being taught, and one of the characters says “It is the duty of the jihadist to bring terror to the enemy and create one global Islamic state”. I see. This is the framing of “us” vs. “them” narrative where Leary is representing Muslims as hateful people who desire to implement Sharia law on a global level. Which book is this guy reading again? -5 points
And lastly, you messed with Charlie Brown. No one messes with Charlie Brown. -1 point.
So Mr. Leary, you clearly need some lessons in humour, so get at me. I’ve got a bunch up my sleeve.