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What is news? (“Game of Thrones” and Bush’s head)

June 14, 2012

Well, it has hit the news cycle

In the DVD commentary finale to the first season of the television show Game of Thrones, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss (executive produces and scriptwriters) mentioned that they used a George Bush head in some of the decapitation scenes:


The DVD/Blu-Ray commentary says:

George Bush’s head appears in a couple of beheading scenes.  It’s not a choice, it’s not a political statement. We just had to use whatever heads we had lying around.

Now here’s the thing – that DVD/Blu-Ray was released three months ago, on March 6.  There must have been tens of thousand of people who have heard that commentary (including me).  And suddenly it becomes news.  Why?  Because someone mentioned it on Reddit.

Benioff and Weiss suddenly apologized:

We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. 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.

In the DVD commentary, we mentioned this, though we should not have. We meant no disrespect to the former president and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.

And HBO promised to censor all future releases:

We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. 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.

Now, how can something that DVD/Blu-Ray – that was widely released in March – that has been heard by countless people – all of the sudden become news?  It is not as if these were remarks that were in anyway hidden or secret.  HBO advertised this disk.  HBO produced this disk.  This is something that many fans of the show knew.

Now, certainly, this was in poor taste.  But it does not seem that Benioff and Weiss are very sorry:  they apologize for mentioning it on the commentary track, not for using the former president’s head in decapitation scenes.  I even more surprised by the mendacious statement by HBO – again, the author (for copyright purposes) and producer of the DVD.  But I reserve my greatest scorn for the news media – how is this news?  And since when is the US news agenda defined by Reddit? 


From Futurama, as noted here.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    June 15, 2012 1:16 am

    But here in Canada we are a lot more civilized, so we have displayed an image of our prime minister as a reclining nude! What could be better! You have to click to see the entire painting – but please only do so if you over 16 and of an age to view nudity without your parents’ supervision. The female nude can be on plastered all over town, but the male nude??-

    And how is this news? I am not sure, but it certainly is a great follow up to my post on Matisse’s reclining nude. Now we really know what a male reclining nude looks like and can reflect on whether we want one of those on public display.

  2. June 15, 2012 12:43 pm

    Well, of course, a reclining nude in Canada is much more shocking than a reclining nude in France — because Canadian winters can be a bit chilly!

  3. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    June 15, 2012 1:40 pm

    At least we have central heating.

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