Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ooops! is different than Bang!

I thought this was a bit of a faux controversy, as there was never at any time an attempt to make a political statement about Dubya.  No one deliberately set out to sneak in a fake decapitated head depicting the previous president, appearing to sort of kinda maybe place George W. Bush's noggin on a pointy stick in the HBO dramatization of a pseudo-medieval fantasy book series, Game of Thrones. 

Subsequent to the discovery, and the resulting controversy, DVDs have been altered to obliterate any possible claim of resemblance to a real person, a former President of the United States.

There is no indication that the prop head used in filming Game of Thrones looks like George W. Bush full face, or from any other angle, contrary to the report in this story. This was not apparently a specifically Bush-look-alike prop, it was just a generic prop.  This not only was the right thing to do for clarity of their intentions in the controvery, it puts an end to any continuing of it in future copies. 

Those who have the earlier version may now have a trivial collectible.

That someone thought AFTER seeing the footage that there might be an unintentional resemblance in a very oblique angle, where no political statement is being made is very different from simulating lethal violence towards an actual sitting president, which I wrote about here.  There is a significant difference from an unintentional resemblance in a prop that is background set dressing footage, and pretending to assassinate with deliberate lethal real violence towards a recognizable full-on likeness that has publicly been used to identify the current sitting president. as a deliberately adversarial political statement.

So, I applaud that beyond acknowledging something they could have ignored, and apologizing for the offense their accidental inclusion caused.  It was the proper thing to do because it was a mistake, even though it was accidental.  AND because deliberate or not, the larger scene was about a character in a leadership role being beheaded as part of a military and political intrigue.

I applaud the producers for going over and above the minimum necessary, to put doing the right thing, setting the right example, in spite of the cost of doing so.   It was a good solution, the kind that should also be good business, as it removes any cloud that might otherwise hang over their series.

Here is the updated news post, with the before and after images involved.

From MSN entertainment:

'Game of Thrones' alters George W. Bush's head after decapitation controversy
By Tim KenneallyTheWrap
HBO has found a way to calm the fury over "Game of Thrones" creators' decision to decapitate George W. Bush: They've removed most of his chin.
The network, which caught heat when series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed that they placed the 43rd president's head on a spike during the show's first season, has replaced the offending segment with an altered version of the footage featuring a new head, which sports a much smaller chin and is generally of a smaller size, The Washington Post reports.
HBO pulled the scene from its online platform and halted shipment on its DVD release of the show's first season, after Benioff and Weiss made the reveal in the audio commentary of the DVD.
"The last head on the left is George Bush," Benioff said, as a series of severed heads mounted on spikes appeared on the screen.
"George Bush's head appears in a couple beheading scenes," Weiss added.
Benioff was quick to note that use of Bush's head wasn't intended as an insult to the former chief executive.
"It's not a choice, it's not a political statement," he said. "It's just, we had to use what heads we had around."
Nonetheless, when the use of Bush's head was pointed out, the criticism came fast and hard, leading to equally swift apologies from both HBO and the "Game of Thrones" creators.
"We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste," HBO said. "We made this clear to the executive producers of the series, who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production."
"We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc." Benioff and Weiss said. "We can't afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk. After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush."
The pair went on to note, "We meant no disrespect to the former president and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise."


  1. FWM, could you please repost your comment as it was accidentally trashed.

    Yes, my mistake. I thought I hit reply.

    I was going to agree with you in that this is more fuss about nothing.

  2. Why the fuck is this even a story???

    We're talking about a plastic head on a stick for some stupid TV show???


    I guess the lame stream media is done covering all the important issues and can spend their time on garbage like this.