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I read this article:
"Reaction To 'Passion' Shows Media's Disdain For Religion "
and got annoyed. I had to write to the author to get my annoyance off my chest. If I had more time, I could have been more articulate.

Dear Jennifer,

I just read your article about "Reaction To 'Passion' Shows Media's Disdain For Religion
" in the website. I've been curious about the excitement about the "Passion" as it had quite an unusual and long-term build up before its release. I haven't seen the movie, nor do I particularly care to, as I am more interested in it as a reflection of Christianity and mass-media and the sort of opinions and criticisms it generates. It seems that the "tagline" of the movie is that it is "deeply personal," which I find highly paridoxical given that it has been distributed to be viewed by millions. As a result, I rightly assumed there would follow a flood of opinions and commentary.
One of the things that I have been trying to understand is the back-and-forth about the anti-semitism in the movie. What seems critical to understand is that not that it simply portrays Jews in an unfavorable light, and is therefore anti-semetic, but that the particular portrayal apparently outlines a scenario that has been often used by anti-semites to justify their beliefs. That the movie apparently propogates this scenario is reasonable justification for concern. This concern cannot be dismissed by "personal reaction," as seems to be the case for many who are baffled by the ADL's and others' reactions. A "personal reaction" does not illustrate or easily dismiss the problems of mass-propogation of an anti-semite's cornerstone. Mr. Gibson has all the right to present his movie as he sees fit, even if he might disregard an important sensitivity, but I think it is important for those who have suffered to express their concern on equal footing (reaching millions) to counter the danger of the "jews-killed-jesus" storyline leaching into the collective subconscious. For them to simply follow the spirit of the ubiquitous Berkeley bumper-sticker and not say anything could be dangerous to their own well-being. That Mr. Gibson regards anti-semitism a sin is nice to hear, however, anti-semitism is not so easily understood, and perhaps he has some learning to do on what it means to be anti-semetic.
Critics didn't line up to defend the portrayal of Nazis during Schindler's list because the Nazis do not have a legacy of suffering at the hands of the Jews (or anyone), nor are there active efforts to discredit and hurt living Nazis with misinformation, unjustified hate, or personal injury.
Overall, the film critics that have not given Gibson's movie the accolades it seeks seem to be largely concerned with it as a film, not as a means of religious exploration. That is what they do - they are film critics. The NYTimes and SFChronicle reviews discuss the violence within the context of the film, and do not merely dismiss the movie as "too violent" simply becuase there is a lot of blood.

Peter Nyboer.

PS - It is not "chic" to have children out of wedlock. It is just a fact of life, and it is fortunate we are moving in the direction that those who encounter that fact are not actively shunned from society.

Moral Citizen: pibor on Mar 01, 04 | 11:41 am | Profile
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