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The....Passion?
July 25, 2003 6:52 AM   Subscribe

This is a rather strange, poorly reported, context free article about some troubling things that were recently said by Mel Gibson's parents. It's especially interesting, considering that Gibson has just directed a film called "The Passion", detailing the final days of Christ. Is anyone out there aware of the various controversies surrounding this film? Charges of anti-semitism, historical revisionism, and the bizarre decisions whether or not to include subtitles (the film was, daringly, I guess, shot in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin) abound. What the hell is going on here?
posted by ghastlyfop (99 comments total)

 
Snopes covered this a while ago and verified it. Yikes.
posted by LukeyBoy at 6:56 AM on July 25, 2003


There was a good article about this in the New York Times Magazine a few weeks ago. I will try to find a link and post it, but what was funny was that Gibson seemed to believe everything his crazy father said- including the existence of conspiracies about almost everything.

It should be noted that Gibson is financing a new "Roman Catholic" church out in LA, but it won't be affiliated with Rome because the real Roman Catholic Church is too liberal.
posted by crazy finger at 7:03 AM on July 25, 2003


I had to read that article several times to figure out what the hell it was rambling about. My brain is now demand some sort of tranquilizer.
posted by sharksandwich at 7:05 AM on July 25, 2003


Since when is believing the Holocaust didn't happen anti-semitic? It might be ignorance, but labeling it anti-semitic is being a bit too sensitive. Some people believe we never landed on the moon either, but I don't think they are necessarily racist.
posted by banished at 7:07 AM on July 25, 2003


these are seriously misinformed people....(but this makes all the scientologists in hollywood seem more normal now, at least by comparison)

I heard that Gibson just did a screening of the film in DC, and only invited rightwing people to see it...apparently a guy from the Washington Post was escorted out.
posted by amberglow at 7:10 AM on July 25, 2003


I think you're opening a floodgate with that one, banished.
posted by ghastlyfop at 7:11 AM on July 25, 2003


The NY Times Mag article.
posted by Utilitaritron at 7:12 AM on July 25, 2003


Eschaton has much more on the bastion of sanity that is Mel Gibson.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:14 AM on July 25, 2003


Since when is believing the Holocaust didn't happen anti-semitic?

Logically speaking you're right, but in individual cases, it's rare that this belief doesn't stem from anti-Semitism. It's also very frequently used to buttress anti-Semitic views. As far as being a bit too sensitive... zowie. I think that when someone denies the well-documented truth that 6 million +/- of your people were killed, you're entitled to be just as sensitive as you please.
posted by stonerose at 7:17 AM on July 25, 2003


it must be a slow news day when some 2bit actors *dad's* comments are deemed newsworthy. who gives a flying fuck what he thinks?
posted by carfilhiot at 7:19 AM on July 25, 2003


mel gibbon should be grateful to the jews, cos if they hadn't (in his opinion) been responsible for his death, Jesus would have just hung around and been Eddi Vedder and not Kurt Cobain.

And wasn't it god who determined all this to begin with in mel's eyes anyway. Like the Nazis the jews were just following orders.
posted by kenaman at 7:21 AM on July 25, 2003


I've always gotten subtle "dick" vibes from Mel Gibson, increasingly confirmed every time he opens his mouth. But XQUZYPHYR, that link is priceless.
posted by ghastlyfop at 7:22 AM on July 25, 2003


Not a double-post call-out, just wanted to point to the original thread on "The Passion".
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:23 AM on July 25, 2003


Banished,

Holocaust denial isn't necessarily anti-semitic as a concept, but it always seems to end up that way in application. Theoretically, someone could just be stupid or mentally ill and disregard the evidence, but it seems to be a position taken by people who find the sympathy towards Jews that the Holocaust (rightfully) elicits ideologically inconvenient.

You can prove me wrong by finding literature on the subject that doesn't mention some Jewish conspiracy to fabricate evidence or isn't associated with a racist organization.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:24 AM on July 25, 2003


Wow, what a tool.

And I liked him in Lethal Weapon.
posted by jonmc at 7:24 AM on July 25, 2003


...Kurt Cobain...

er... may I suggest John Lennon, if you insist on making such analogies?
posted by stonerose at 7:24 AM on July 25, 2003


PLAYBOY: So you can't accept that we descended from monkeys and apes?

GIBSON: No, I think it's bullshit. If it isn't, why are they still around? How come apes aren't people yet?


Mr Gibson, have I got a website for you!
posted by rory at 7:28 AM on July 25, 2003


if dead jesus is Lennon instead of Cobain in the Cobain / Vedder axis who is Vedder?
posted by kenaman at 7:29 AM on July 25, 2003


A shitty musician?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:31 AM on July 25, 2003


Since when is believing the Holocaust didn't happen anti-semitic?

Banished, I think that denying the Holocaust usually does stem from antisemitism (defined as hostility toward Jews). I think most people who deny the Holocaust do so because deep down, they're envious of the attention and sympathy they believe Jews have received over the past 60 years. I suppose it's possible that some people deny the Holocaust just because they can't conceive of something so horrible, but then I hope they'd also deny the Rape of Nanjing.

On preview, what Mayor Curley said.
posted by Tin Man at 7:32 AM on July 25, 2003


Matt Drudge is a Jew, and he saw no problems with the film after viewing it.

I've been covering the movie a bit on my blog. There is a screen-shot, a link to the trailer, and several links to other articles there.
posted by revbrian at 7:34 AM on July 25, 2003


banished I would urge caution.
posted by johnnyboy at 7:38 AM on July 25, 2003


Denying the holocaust is one thing, pointing to the Jews as responsible for Jesus' death is quite another. For one thing, you'd have to label large parts of the NT anti-semitic. Which is fine as far as I'm concerned, but at the same time pretty much pointless as well.
posted by magullo at 7:39 AM on July 25, 2003


Well stonerose, to automatically assume anti-Semitism and to accuse someone of being racist and hateful when they say the holocaust never happened seems pretty harsh... it's like a teacher bitching out a 1st grader who is convinced 2 + 2 = 5. It's not their fault, they don't know any better. I for example believe that the war on Iraq was a mistake, morally and strategically, but that doesn't make me Anti-American, I love America and the principles of which this nation was founded on. I mean here are some people that believe in all sorts of conspiracies... many of which are unrelated to race at all. They are conspiracy nuts, not racists...necessarily.
posted by banished at 7:41 AM on July 25, 2003


Geeze, banished... I really didn't think you would want to go there. Enjoy your trip.
posted by stonerose at 7:43 AM on July 25, 2003


Banished, your example seems inapposite. You might believe the war was a mistake, but you're not denying the war took place.

Anyway -- since the Holocaust was a conspiracy, I'd find it hard to believe that a mere conspiracy theorist would deny that it happened.
posted by Tin Man at 7:43 AM on July 25, 2003


if dead jesus is Lennon instead of Cobain in the Cobain / Vedder axis who is Vedder?

Ringo?
posted by signal at 7:43 AM on July 25, 2003


I mean by assuming they are racists aren't we stereotyping them? And isn't that as bad as being racist ourselves? I mean its not like they only believe in conspiracies involving the Jews... they believe all sorts of crazy stuff. They're just nutty.
posted by banished at 7:47 AM on July 25, 2003


They are conspiracy nuts, not racists...necessarily.

True, but here's what Mr Gibson (the father) believes:

He and the actor's mother, Joye Gibson, also told The Times that the Holocaust was a fabrication manufactured to hide an arrangement between Adolf Hitler and "financiers" to move Jews out of Germany to the Middle East to fight Arabs.

All those dead jews were actually secretly in league with Hitler and "financiers" sounds kind of racist to me. Of course to be sure, one would have to know what is meant by "financiers", though I'm not willing to buy that it means anything other than "those Jew bankers who secretly run the world".
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:48 AM on July 25, 2003


banished, some holocaust deniers might fall under the category of 'broad spectrum' conspiracy theorists you have described. fine. but a lot of holocaust deniers *do* only believe in conspiracies regarding Jews. I would strongly urge you to read up on this topic, both because it's interesting, and because if you keep making assertions like this, you're going to draw flames. please, folks - let me issue a pre-emptive call for calmness and rationality on this topic.
posted by stonerose at 7:52 AM on July 25, 2003


By the way, can we be accused of invoking Godwin's Law when the thread itself is about the Holocaust? I know -- probably not -- but this can be a tough crowd, and I worry about these things...
posted by Tin Man at 7:56 AM on July 25, 2003


It wouldn't be a Mel Gibson film without historical revisionism.

And I've got a better comparison for you, banished. Claiming the holocaust never took place is like suggesting the Israelis are not oppressing the Palestinians.
posted by MarkC at 8:02 AM on July 25, 2003


It would appear that Mel Gibson has lost his fucking mind.
posted by rocketman at 8:02 AM on July 25, 2003


some holocaust deniers might fall under the category of 'broad spectrum' conspiracy theorists you have described. fine. but a lot of holocaust deniers *do* only believe in conspiracies regarding Jews

My assertion was that it is wrong to make the assumption that Gibson's parents are racist because they believe the Holocaust didn't happen... and you are stereotyping them by labeling them as such. I think it was a fair assertion. In your own words, the article was "poorly reported, [and] context free" Making an assumption about the Gibsons like that without having the luxury of the context of their arguments and without knowing them as people is ridiculous. Marginalizing them as bigots ruins their reputation, and it's the same as stereotyping anyone.
posted by banished at 8:03 AM on July 25, 2003


I don't think Mel Gibson's parents need our help in ruining their reputation.
posted by Tin Man at 8:06 AM on July 25, 2003


What the hell is going on here?

It's simple. Mel Gibson is rich and a hypertraditionalist Catholic. So he has the inclination and resources to make a very traditionalist movie about the Crucifixion (and Resurrection???). While anti-vatican-2 Catholics are sort of thin on the ground, they're hardly unknown.

His parents, about whose opinions no reasonable person who doesn't either know them personally or have some exogenous interest in Catholic minutiae would be interested, seem to be antisemites of one degree or another, as is really not that rare in people who grew up before WW2.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:06 AM on July 25, 2003


gibson 'acted' in Conspiracy Theory

IMDB Plot Outline: Jerry Fletcher is a man who sees conspiracies everywhere. But if you keep doing that long enough, sooner or later you're going to get one right.......One of his "conspiracy theories" turns out to be real, and so he finds himself chased by the man hiding behind the whole thing.




Is this the one?
posted by kenaman at 8:08 AM on July 25, 2003


You should hear the crazy shit my dad comes up with; but it didn't affect me. I know that when the aliens arrive those tin foil hats aren't gunna help at all, gotta use lead.
posted by canucklehead at 8:15 AM on July 25, 2003


Uh....thanks, ROU_Xenophobe.
posted by ghastlyfop at 8:19 AM on July 25, 2003


kenaman: if dead jesus is Lennon instead of Cobain in the Cobain / Vedder axis who is Vedder?

Tito?
posted by shadow45 at 8:21 AM on July 25, 2003


Is anyone out there aware of the various controversies surrounding this film? Charges of anti-semitism, historical revisionism, and the bizarre decisions whether or not to include subtitles

No, I'm not aware of any of this. Can someone please summarize some of the important details of these three controversies?
posted by dgaicun at 8:22 AM on July 25, 2003


This Tito or this Tito?
posted by stonerose at 8:28 AM on July 25, 2003


Well, they did leave the US to live in Australia, for some reason or another. (Which seems strange, since even then, Australia was a godless liberal paradise compared to the US...) And Gibson's dad's views, which make Opus Dei look like SubGenii, have been known for a while, so it's old news.

And given that the Uniting Church in Australia, a mainline Protestant church, have just voted to allow the ordination of gays as ministers - possible FPP? - the local religiots are well occupied with decrying that instead at the moment.

The Gibson clan are still as freaky as a crowd at a folk festival all dressed as hamsters, but as far as holding kooky religious beliefs are concerned, they're hardly alone in that regard. Though my brother saw Mel once or twice at local Wodonga cattle sales once or twice, so he's obviously evil.
posted by GrahamVM at 8:31 AM on July 25, 2003


I'm not sure that I understand what the hullabaloo is: Mel's _parents_ have serious issues with anti-semitism (or at the very least believe a lot of the tripe that serious anti-semites like to spew). So what? My mom believes many of the conspiracy theories she hears -- she's a bright woman, but not politically sophisticated -- which puts her right there with a lot of people. I can't be held responsible for her opinions. Mel shouldn't be held responsible for his parents' either.

As for the movie... well, he made a movie about the life of Christ (or at least the end of his life), who's expecting the Jews who killed him to be portrayed in a particularly flattering light? And about the revisionism, well... what movie isn't revisionist? It just seems a little bit of a stretch.

As for Mel's own opinions... well, they're a bit out there, but I'm not about to throw many stones. I believe the earth was created by God. That said, I also have no problem with evolution. I don't see how they could be construed as being mutually-exclusive.

Mel's willingness to invest in this project is an overt act of faith, and some folks just aren't comfortable with that. I dunno... it just looks like folks are just looking for reasons to bellyache about something.
posted by silusGROK at 8:35 AM on July 25, 2003


It would appear that Mel Gibson has lost his fucking mind.

Yes, to his father.
posted by me3dia at 8:35 AM on July 25, 2003


Logically speaking you're right, but in individual cases, it's rare that this belief doesn't stem from anti-Semitism. It's also very frequently used to buttress anti-Semitic views.

For the most part. Except, there are occasionally a few problems with the presentation of certain facts that, unfortunately, gives the anti-semites fuel for their bonfire. For example, the Simon Wiesenthal Center had a doctored photograph on their website showing Auschwitz camp arrivals with a background of "smoke" and a title that read: "As these prisoners were being processed for slave labor, many of their friends and families were being gassed and burned in the ovens in the crematoria. The smoke can be seen in the background. June 1944". Unfortunately, the smoke was fake, and after the center was called on it (by a rather disreputable historian, at that), they changed it back to the original.

The main controversy among "revisionists" is that there is almost no photographic record of the extermination camps in Poland, which were liberated by the Soviet Army, often after their gas chambers had been destroyed. The pictures you see of piles of dead bodies are indeed real, but often the result of huge epidemics of disease that rampaged through the unsanitary camps. For instance, there's a somewhat famous photograph of what was claimed to be a Nazi officer bulldozing bodies into a mass grave, but it's now believed to show a British soldier burying bodies to forestall the outbreak of disease. This doesn't excuse the Nazi's, nor does it deny the holocaust, but attention to detail like this is important when dealing with such a "hot-button" subject.

Gilbert Michlin, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz and several other camps, said in his memoirs ("Of No Interest to the Nation") that "In the 'normal' camps, people also died like flies, but you didn't have industrial extermination of Jews." Now, that doesn't mean there wasn't a systematic extermination taking place in other camps, but that care should be taken when examining the history and making accurate statements. Make any mistake at all, and the anti-semites come out of the woodwork claiming the entire holocaust is a myth.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:41 AM on July 25, 2003


An informal collection of Catholic and Jewish scholars read the script (given to them by the priest who wrote it) and identified many problems with it. The response of Gibson's production copy was to demand the return of the "stolen" scripts and accuse the group of extortion. (First-person account from The New Republic.)

David Poland criticizes the Gibson camp's tactics while defending their right to make whatever they want. ("I will fight to the death for Gibson’s right to distribute and exhibit his vision – any vision he has – as widely and freely as any other film, be it Hollywood crap or art quality. I will not fight for this man’s right to pick a fight. And right now, that seems to be where he is heading.")

More links to various articles, pro and con.
posted by pmurray63 at 8:42 AM on July 25, 2003


It's a minor point but can anyone explain to me why these people are so attached to the latin mass?

Latin wasn't the original language of the gospels, I'm unaware of a time when God expressed a favoured language. I guess the language was chosen by the vatican for the mass because it suited them to do so. When it later suits the vatican to use english somehow the choice becomes unacceptable.

I do remember reading Catholics by Brian Moore but that had a very different reason for holding on to the latin.
posted by dodgygeezer at 8:45 AM on July 25, 2003


Keeping the Word in Latin effectively blocked any layperson from ever reading the bible, which keeps those in charge of "understanding" the bible in a position of authority over the masses.

The bible's printing and translation into English was spurred on by the Reformation, as Luther et. al. held that anyone could understand the Word, and it didn't matter much anyway, since people had no choice in where they were going (up or down). Popularize the bible and you remove the power from the Catholic authority.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:55 AM on July 25, 2003


Gibson seems hypertraditionilst about speaking Latin in church, but he isn't particularly hung up about calling his former business partner a "cunt" in print. Interesting.

The ADL maintains that passion plays have historically tended to be somewhat- to very- anti-Semitic. Basically they would be saying the same thing about ANY film version of a passion play that they hadn't yet seen. They probably feel that it's their job, and they seem to be doing it in good faith.
posted by coelecanth at 9:01 AM on July 25, 2003


"Marginalizing them as bigots ruins their reputation, and it's the same as stereotyping anyone."

Fair enough. But surely you'll admit that it's fair to marginalize them as raving, ignorant nutjobs?
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:07 AM on July 25, 2003


Vis10n: who's expecting the Jews who killed [Jesus] to be portrayed in a particularly flattering light?

Nobody. That is, if you can turn up those infamous "Jews who killed Jesus." According to my Bible, Jesus was condemed by a Roman officer named Pontius Pilate and crucified in the Roman manner by a group of Roman soldiers. Yeah, there was a mob of Jews who chose to give the criminal Barabas freedom instead of Jesus, but nobody's really sure what their motivation was. Maybe they thought Jesus was a nutbar. Maybe Barabas was offering $100 million to anyone who could get him off. The point is, the Jews didn't kill Jesus; they just didn't bother to try and save him either.
posted by junkbox at 9:10 AM on July 25, 2003


Uh....thanks, ROU_Xenophobe

Well, why did you ask what was going on if you didn't want to be told what was going on?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:30 AM on July 25, 2003


I have tremendous respect for women. I love them

that's why he's spent his entire marriage screwing every other female in sight (if you want to see him in action just get hired as an extra or prod. asst. on one of his films) but i guess that's ok since he never stopped schtupping his wife either; so much so that she has rarely not been pregnant. not using b/c with his wife is about as devout as this useless box of hair has ever been.
posted by t r a c y at 9:34 AM on July 25, 2003


With as much talk about how "conservative" Gibson is, it's interesting to note that his production company is financing Michael Moore's next movie, Fahrenheit 911, about September 11. Politics makes strange bedfellows.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:36 AM on July 25, 2003


Point well taken, Junkbox.

That said, it was the Jewish ruling body that tried him (illegally, I might add) and found him guilty of capital crimes that brought him before the Roman governors to be sentenced. At any rate, the Jewish oligarchy doesn't fare well in the story.
posted by silusGROK at 9:42 AM on July 25, 2003


but i guess that's ok since he never stopped schtupping his wife either; so much so that she has rarely not been pregnant.

IMDB says 7 children since 1980, including twins. Unless she gestates like an elephant, she must have had a little time off now and then.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:47 AM on July 25, 2003


With as much talk about how "conservative" Gibson is, it's interesting to note that his production company is financing Michael Moore's next movie, Fahrenheit 911, about September 11. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

Actually not, pardonyou?. Gibson's company dropped the project under pressure. It is now being funded by Miramax.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:01 AM on July 25, 2003


Anyone who's defending Mel as not necessarily as wacko as his dad should be sure to read the Playboy excerpts XQUZYPHYR linked to above. I was in the aforementioned camp until I got a taste of that crap. If you follow the logical steps of his side of the conversation, they're a hairsbreadth away from "Women shouldn't be priests because... a woman is a cunt."

Now I see why he wanted to do this movie in a language most people wouldn't understand.

Puts me in mind of "I can't believe they're the same people who killed our Lord." (bottom of page)
posted by soyjoy at 10:16 AM on July 25, 2003


I thought about getting involved in this discussion, then I realized you people were out of your minds.
posted by nyxxxx at 10:25 AM on July 25, 2003


I am completely blown away by all this. I've always quite liked Mel and admit Braveheart is one of my favorite films (I know, I know). But the excerpts from that Playboy article are truly astounding.

Well, as always everyone is entitled to their own opinions. And a movie filmed entirely in languages only scholars speak - and sans subtitles - is hardly likely to become a brainwashing blockbuster. So - guess I will just think twice before giving my $ to future Mel movies. Still kind of blown away, though.
posted by widdershins at 10:32 AM on July 25, 2003


Eff this noise: when's Dutcher gonna finish The Prophet?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:37 AM on July 25, 2003


Damn. It's too bad Gibson's caught up in this nutjob anti-Semitism... I was kind of impressed by this project at first, mostly because I think Latin is a cool language. But that's just me.
posted by dagnyscott at 10:49 AM on July 25, 2003


[Clinton] was a Rhodes scholar, right? Just like Bob Hawke. Do you know what a Rhodes scholar is? Cecil Rhodes established the Rhodes scholarship for those young men and women who want to strive for a new world order. Have you heard that before? George Bush? CIA? Really, it's Marxism, but it just doesn't want to call itself that. Karl had the right idea, but he was too forward about saying what it was. Get power but don't admit to it. Do it by stealth. There's a whole trend of Rhodes scholars who will be politicians around the world.

Yowza. There's a prof at school who I have to tell about this--wonder if she knows that she is fated to take over the country?
posted by jokeefe at 10:52 AM on July 25, 2003


FWIW, Vatican II was about quite a bit more than the Latin Mass. And also, Mr. Gibson, if it werent for Vatican II I wouldn't even be alive so...poo on you, Mel.
posted by contessa at 11:03 AM on July 25, 2003


This thread started on Mel Gibson and turned into a great discussion on the holocaust and anti-semitism. Thanks for all your thoughts! I might be going a little off-topic here, but...

Junkbox and Vis10n, your points are particularly interesting, but I still can't understand how the argument that "the Jews killed Jesus" is logical fodder for anti-semites. Let's look at it this way: There are plenty of examples in recent history where White American mobs (presumably Christian) lynched black American men without giving them the benefit of justice. There are also instances where the innocent have been wrongly convicted and suffer at the hands of the American judicial system.

My point is that these phenomena of mob violence and injustice are not at all race specific, so saying "the Jews are evil because they killed Jesus" seems the same as saying "Christians are evil because they lynched 100 black men in the twentieth century", or "Americans are evil because they have convicted the innocent." Connecting race to the problem of human evil just doesn't work, because in all of these stories the races are different, but the base, ignorant, and evil actions are the same.

I’d appreciate hearing anyone’s differing perspectives on the issue.
posted by tlong at 11:04 AM on July 25, 2003


but I still can't understand how the argument that "the Jews killed Jesus" is logical fodder for anti-semites

Well, regardless of the truth of the allegation (or lack-thereof), I believe anti-semites use the argument primarily because they also tend to be Christian, or at least some cultish derivative of it. It does seem a strange irony that groups like the Aryan Nation also claim allegiance to a religion whose central tenants are so contrary to their ideology, but nobody ever said these sadists were rational.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:14 AM on July 25, 2003


Hollywood star makes movie with Christian subject - Mefites go into a rage. Call star a nut; call his parents nuts. Ahhh... much better now.
posted by alethe at 11:22 AM on July 25, 2003


"...freaky as a crowd at a folk festival all dressed as hamsters..."

That's a figure of speech I hadn't heard before. Thank you for expanding my vocabulary, GrahamVM. ;-)
posted by eyebeam at 11:22 AM on July 25, 2003


Hello! Jesus was a Jew. The big macha Jews of the time were pissed at him because he challenged their corrupt authority. It's not like he was a "Christian" and they decided to kill him for that. They saw him as a troublemaker. Others saw him as the Messiah. That's when one branch of Judaism became Christianity (more or less, if you look at it historically).
posted by divrsional at 11:24 AM on July 25, 2003


alethe, you're selling yourself short with that comment.
posted by widdershins at 11:25 AM on July 25, 2003


Yeah, the whole "Jews killed Jesus" argument is so utterly specious. The priestly oligarchy within the Jewish community was, by any measure, as fanatical about maintaining their hold on power as any other priestly oligarchy at that (or any other) time. Jesus's populist teachings were a clear threat to them, and they acted accordingly. The Jewish populace-at-large probably couldn't have cared less.
posted by mkultra at 11:27 AM on July 25, 2003


if dead jesus is Lennon instead of Cobain in the Cobain / Vedder axis who is Vedder?

Ringo?


Naw, clearly McCartney.

The bigger question is, who is McCartney's counterpart on the Jesus axis? And would it matter? I mean, weren't those guys bigger than Jesus anyway?
posted by nath at 11:28 AM on July 25, 2003


Well, you know, actors. They're generally horribly insecure, not necessarily intelligent, and slightly psychotic. Of course there are notable exceptions, but by and large they're nuts. I mean it's not like they need to take any kind of iq or stability tests to succeed.

After all a whole crapload of them believe humans are descended from clams.

Just stop listening to them when nobody else is writing their lines, that's what I say. Anyway, he's just another one-skill wonder with fading good looks like Tom Cruise. Cruise does the 'boy becomes man' thing and mel does the 'inner conviction noone believes' thing. Sure, they're tolerably good at their skills, but when you already know what's in the package, it's not so fun to unwrap it.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:29 AM on July 25, 2003


Hollywood star makes movie with Christian subject - Mefites go into a rage. Call star a nut; call his parents nuts. Ahhh... much better now.

If you are equating Gibson's nutjobery with all Christians, then you're the one with a logical screw loose.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2003


So, if the movie's supposed to be "historically accurate," then someone kinda screwed up along the way. Two things lept out at me after watching the trailer:

1) Jesus looks about as Semitic as me, and my family's from Eastern European Barbarian stock. Shouldn't he look like someone who was actually from Galilee?

2) Crucifixtion was done by hammering the nails through the wrists, not the palms. If done the way it's portrayed in the trailer, Jesus's hands would have torn through the nails as his body weight pulled him down, thus shortening the length of his torture. The whole point of crucifixtion was to make it long, slow, and painful 'til the bitter end.

That said, I thought the idea was interesting, what with everyone speaking Aramaic and Latin. But, this being a Mel Gibson movie, I know that when they push back the stone, Jesus is gonna come out with guns a-blazin', mowing down those dirty Roman dogs for wronging him. You wait and see.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:55 AM on July 25, 2003


For the lapsed Protestants in the crowd (me!), could someone give a quick rundown on what Vatican 2 is and why it's bad?
posted by jengod at 12:22 PM on July 25, 2003


I haven't seen the trailer, and I don't intend to, because I learned enough Latin and Aramaic in graduate school to last me the rest of my life, thank you. But I do want to know how they're pronouncing the "v"-- like a "v" or like a "w"? Inquiring minds want to know.

"The Jews" didn't kill Jesus any more than "the Americans" killed Sacco and Vanzetti. In both cases, a corrupt court bought and paid for by people of money and influence railroaded those who preached "dangerous" ideas on only vaguely related charges.

To equate the decision of the Sanhedrin with "the Jews" (whatever that means) is bizarre. One of my ancestors was a judge in the Salem Witch trials, but I hope to God that no angry Pagans try to hold me personally accountable for that--or worse, try to hold some completely unrelated random person accountable for those deaths, just because that completely unrelated person also happens to be a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant American.

So anyone who blames "the Jews" for the death of Jesus is making a strange leap of reasoning that it's hard to imagine being motivated by anything other than religious or ethnic prejudice.

Also, I've never come across a Holocaust denier who had any other explanation for why the vast majority of the world believed that 13 million people had died except that it must be a conspiracy by the Jews.

If I ever did meet a Holocaust denier who thought it had all been made up by the Gypsies or the Communists or the homosexuals or the people with cerebral palsy or the editors of newspapers critical to Hitler's regime, I would agree that that particular individual wasn't motivated by anti-Semitism.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:35 PM on July 25, 2003


Part of the whole "the Jews killed Jesus" idea comes from Matthew 27:
22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
That last verse is part of the basis for certain Christians' antisemitism.
posted by Guy Smiley at 12:40 PM on July 25, 2003


Yes, but in that context, doesn't "His blood be on us, and on our children" actually mean, "Whatever, dude! Free Barabbas and let's get on with the crucifixion!"
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:49 PM on July 25, 2003


Australia was a godless liberal paradise compared to the US

That's a joke, right? Unless you define Australia as "hipper regions of Sydney" it's a pretty xenophobic, racist country. Good place for folks who don't think kindly of others.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 12:54 PM on July 25, 2003


Yes, but in that context, doesn't "His blood be on us, and on our children" actually mean, "Whatever, dude! Free Barabbas and let's get on with the crucifixion!"

I thought it meant they were hoping for a messy crucifixion.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:04 PM on July 25, 2003


C_D makes good points about the need to be scrupulous with evidence, so as to never give any fuel to their hate.

But it really does boggle the mind that people can ignore all the testimony of, in particular, the few survivors of the Sonderkommandos, Nazis who admitted the actions but protested that they were under orders, Eichmann, the Wannsee Conference documents, and on and on...

Not mention, that beyond the specific extermination camps there were also the Einsatzgruppen, who just led people to ditches and shot them.

And yet, they still argue about chemical traces on walls...

I'd say that 90% of the time, holocaust denial is anti-semitic. Because to deny that it happened you have to take the view that no Jewish eyewitness testimony is valid, which would be like arguing that no American soldier could really tell you whether Pearl Harbor happened, especially not the ones who claim to have survived it, or that Sherman's "March to the Sea" never happened, because you can't trust any evidence that a Southerner might bring...

Healthy skepticism about what you are taught is a good thing. But at some point, when you say that people can't be trusted to ever tell you the truth about what they lived through, just because of their religion, place of origin, gender, sexual orientation, or so on, it becomes a matter of discrimation, hatred, and bigotry.

There are very few conspiracy nutjobs of any kind, who are truly open to all conspiracies. Generally these kind of people have a worldview that ties it all together for them. Some think that absolutely everything bad whatever is the fault of greedy capitalists, others see secret radicals under every rock. Some feared communism, others painted racist pictures of dangerous blacks out to rape and pollute the white race. Some think that there are aliens and the government doesn't want you to know. Or that the Mafia is behind every election. But good luck finding people that believe all of these things to equal degrees.

If someone views the world in such a way that they will tell you that there are secret powers controlling/destroying your lives - well I guess that is not so rare a point of view.

But when they say that those powers are Jews, or Gays, or People Who Eat Breakfast On Monday in Iowa, I say "bigotry".

Blaming people for everything you don't like in the world, saying that nothing they say to defend themselves could possibly be true, and that bad things that happened to them have to be elaborate fabrications - those things together don't just spell out nutcase, they spell discrimation and hatred.


on preview, what Sidhedevil said.
posted by jann at 1:08 PM on July 25, 2003


lumpenprole I must ask you politely to replace "actor" with "hollywood celebrity". As I type this I'm in a room full of actors, each of whom has an IQ that would make any of the geeks in this dump weep with envy, and not one of them is particularly insecure or unbalanced; quite the opposite in fact. It takes a lot more wide ranging ability and rock solid sanity to be a gainfully employed actor over a lifetime than it does almost any other profession.

Go ahead and jump all over whichever hollywood celebrity pisses you off most, but keep in mind that they make up less than 5% of all professional actors, and as individuals would probably piss you off even if they were, say, software developers, or accountants. e.g. Mr. Gibson isn't a jerk because of his profession. Being a celebrity simply allows him to be a jerk in public.

Not to mention that it's entirely unfair to damn an entire group of people for either the actions of a few, or your narrow personal experience with said group. Oh irony.
posted by zarah at 1:43 PM on July 25, 2003


PinkStainlessTail, last I heard he had stopped production on it. I think he lost the funding for it (Larry H. Miller pulled out or something), but I'm not sure. There is no way for a non-LDS church funded film of the life of Joseph Smith to be made without generating a huge controversy. For instance, how do you deal with the whole polygamy issue? And if you don't deal with it, what's the point of making a film about his life just to leave out such a huge part? Frankly, I don't think Dutcher's a good enough director to pull off anything interesting or in-depth about ole Joe.

I do believe that the LDS Church is currently in pre-production for a film about Joseph Smith, though. Which will probably skim over anything controversial.
posted by witchstone at 1:47 PM on July 25, 2003


jengod: Vatican II was the get-together where the Catholic Church decided to modernize, in as much as they've ever done so. Pope Paul VI instituted a bunch of reforms, the end goal of which was to make the Church more accessible to the laity. Paul VI was an interesting guy, and pretty liberal as popes go. A great many Catholics aren't too thrilled with him because he wrote Humanae Vitae, in which he maintained the Church's hardline position on birth control. Most see Vatican II as progress, though.

Before Vatican II, the mass was done in Latin. Sure, people could memorize parts of the service, but for the most part the congregation didn't really know what the priest was on about. Most of the mass was also done with the priest's back to the congregation, and just to make everyone's place very clear, there was a fence in between the priest and those gathered to sing hosannas.

So I guess it's only bad if you're an uber-traditional Catholic.


posted by amery at 1:47 PM on July 25, 2003


And Zarah, right on. I'm an actor and I've worked with just as many nutjobs and fuckwits outside of the acting world as in (if not more).
posted by witchstone at 1:52 PM on July 25, 2003


Frankly, I don't think Dutcher's a good enough director to pull off anything interesting or in-depth about ole Joe.

I do believe that the LDS Church is currently in pre-production for a film about Joseph Smith, though. Which will probably skim over anything controversial.


See, I thought it sounded a bit ambitious for him, but I was intrigued because I didn't think he'd sanitize things, while still bringing the perspective of a believer. Disappointed to hear this.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:57 PM on July 25, 2003


can you not sanitize and still remain an member?
posted by th3ph17 at 2:19 PM on July 25, 2003


I've tried to stay on top of the thread, but somewhere along the line, my musings on how silly it was for folks to expect a movie such as this -- which depicts (accurately or otherwise) an historical event where Jews (or more correctly, the Jewish oligarchy) played a nasty part -- to portray the "bad guys" as anything less than bad... how that musing has morphed into a "Jews Killed Jesus" discussion... well, it's beyond me.

But to answer the question of how people can use Christ's crucifixion as a reason to hate Jews: hateful people will find whatever they can to justify their rage. Period. It doesn't need to make sense.


2) crucifixion was done by hammering the nails through the wrists, not the palms. If done the way it's portrayed in the trailer, Jesus's hands would have torn through the nails as his body weight pulled him down, thus shortening the length of his torture. The whole point of Crucifixion was to make it long, slow, and painful 'til the bitter end.


Um... last time I checked, there was still a good deal of debate on how, exactly, crucifixion was performed... and if it varied at all, we'd likely not know how Jesus was crucified.

I would go as far as the Jehovah's Witnesses who believe he was not crucified but more or less impaled... but there are plenty of ways to make crucifixion plenty tortuous without nailing their wrists.

Nail their palms to the cross-beam, then nail their feet to a tiny foot-hold that is conveniently higher up the cross so they have to hold themselves up in an awkward (and agonizing) manner... besides, nailing their palms would have made extricating them from the cross easier.

/aside

Shame to hear that Dutcher's film is out of money... would have been interesting.
posted by silusGROK at 2:35 PM on July 25, 2003


Err... That should be "I would not go as far as the Jehovah's Witnesses..."
posted by silusGROK at 2:37 PM on July 25, 2003


It's a minor point but can anyone explain to me why these people are so attached to the latin mass?

I dunno about *those people*...but I prefer the sheer majesty of the Latin mass to the English version. The Maronite church I prefer still uses Aramaic to celebrate mass...but Maronites are not Roman Catholic and so take no direction from Italy as to how to worship.
posted by dejah420 at 5:01 PM on July 25, 2003


lumpenprole I must ask you politely to replace "actor" with "hollywood celebrity".

Yeah, my bad. I'm pals with many people in the theater that I have much, much, much respect for. And, I'm in a band, so I guess what I just did would be the same as judging me by the standards of the ravings of Liam Gallegher or Lars Ulrich, or something.

Sorry....

But yeah, replace 'actor' with 'celebrity' and everything I said applies.
posted by lumpenprole at 6:14 PM on July 25, 2003


can you not sanitize and still remain an member?

You can "not sanitize" and still be a believer (e.g. many of those who worked on The Last Temptation of Christ), but only a few denominations would still welcome you as a "member." I have always found it fascinating that so many religions insist on conformity when so many spiritual teachers were rebellious and independent.

... we are all individuals!
posted by whatnot at 9:16 PM on July 25, 2003


An older and very Catholic (flirted with entering the seminary) friend of my family describes Vatican II as "when the church got religion."
posted by NortonDC at 10:43 PM on July 25, 2003


Thanks lumpenprole :) Liam Gallagher yah, great example, would be quite the insult hehe.
posted by zarah at 12:36 AM on July 26, 2003


Great comments by sidhedevil and jann here. Except:

I'd say that 90% of the time, holocaust denial is anti-semitic

Make that 99.99% of the time. banished, you seem to have lived in some kind of cocoon where you've never met either a Jew or an antisemite; I can see that you're sincere and have honorable motives (trying to protect Mel Gibson's parents from what seems to you like slander), but you're really barking up the wrong tree. Yes, it's logically possible that someone could deny the Holocaust without being antisemitic, but in real life it doesn't work that way. It's logically possible, for instance, that a person could memorize the entire Koran without being Muslim, but I'll pay you big bucks if you can find me such a person. You have to temper your logic with some real-world experience. People are not computers.
posted by languagehat at 9:37 AM on July 26, 2003


It's a minor point but can anyone explain to me why these people are so attached to the latin mass?

The rituals involved in the Catholic mass were originally written in Latin as I understand it, and are therefore scored to go with it. Since languages like English use an entirely different system than Latin when speaking poetry (English poetry accents syllables, Latin poetry lengthens or shortens syllables), the English mass sounds exactly like what it is - a so-so translation of a much better original.

Before Vatican II, the mass was done in Latin. Sure, people could memorize parts of the service, but for the most part the congregation didn't really know what the priest was on about. Most of the mass was also done with the priest's back to the congregation, and just to make everyone's place very clear, there was a fence in between the priest and those gathered to sing hosannas.

See, presented out of context these sound like silly things, but I'd say that your statement of them stems from a misunderstanding of the point of the mass. The point isn't to get everybody in the audience feeling pumped up and happy, the point is to worship and placate God. Of course the priest faces the cross and not the congregation - the hymns are directed towards God, not the congregation. Of course the mass was in Latin - that was what it was written in, and there was no need to translate it, since God understood all languages. If the congregation could pronounce it and roughly know what they were doing, that was good enough. And of course there was a little fence between the priest and everybody else. The area inside the fence was the area in which the ritual was taking, including the miracle of transubstantiation and such, while outside was the rest of the world. Check your basics of esoteric religions, and you'll find that marking a particular area as a "sacred space" is about as common a feature of them as you get.

I mean, Vatican 2 did some good stuff and some silly stuff, but if you don't understand why the things were there in the first place, what's the point of critiquing them for doing it that way?
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:41 AM on July 26, 2003


Frank Rich has an interesting article about Gibson and the movie in the international herald tribune.
posted by amberglow at 8:13 PM on August 1, 2003


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