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The Passion
February 10, 2004 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Richard Roeper tells it like it is: Catholics are being persecuted. "And no other religious group gets bashed with such frequency."
posted by 111 (93 comments total)

 
Can you imagine a similar number of films with Jewish leaders playing villains and moral weaklings?

Is that a challenge?
posted by soyjoy at 7:22 AM on February 10, 2004


From the article:
Can you imagine a similar number of films with Jewish leaders playing villains and moral weaklings?


Sure I can, probably filmed in the 30's in a certain European country.
posted by smcniven at 7:23 AM on February 10, 2004


What I noticed is that Roeper doesn't really dispute the accuracy of the movies:
Then there was "The Magdalene Sisters," an excellent but unforgiving film about the real-life Magdalene laundries in Ireland. In 1964, three young women are sentenced to a convent that is nothing more than a glorified slave labor camp. For years, the girls are subjected to abuse from nuns who are no more sympathetic than Nazi guards. Equally horrible is the priest who sexually abuses a mentally impaired young woman.
So it's excellent, and based on a true story. Is he objecting to the fact that it shows a less-than-sympathtic portrayal of an incident in the history of the Catholic Church? Well, boo-frickin'-hoo.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:27 AM on February 10, 2004


Poor Richard may want to check the pedigree of many Catholic bashers. I would not be at all surprised to find that a very good many of us were raised in the Church, only to reject it once we were old enough to realize and acknowledge its horseshit.
posted by mischief at 7:28 AM on February 10, 2004


‘Da Vinci’ code for Catholic bashing.
posted by hama7 at 7:30 AM on February 10, 2004


"persecution" is not evident when present only in artefacts of consumerist culture

"persecution" would be evident were there systematic government-sanctioned discrimination and differential treatment
posted by yesster at 7:31 AM on February 10, 2004


Disclaimer: the above should read "Catholics in movies are being persecuted." If that's what you were looking to present, 111, fine. I'm not sure it's true, though. Seems to me for every stereotypically cartoon-evil Catholic priest/nun/cardinal presented, I've seen a dozen supportive, uplifting, enlightening priests/nuns/cardinals. And there have been plenty of "villainous Jew" characters in film history as well. As for historical portrayals of actual Catholic abuses, well, they are historically documented, so it's hard to say you shouldn't portray them as bad. Must we have "heart-of-gold-Nazi" figures for balance as well?

If you meant to imply Catholics at large are being persecuted, though, then this is a pretty lame post.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:31 AM on February 10, 2004


Persecution: Serving the Victims of Christian Persecution
posted by hama7 at 7:32 AM on February 10, 2004


Poor Richard may want to check the pedigree of many Catholic bashers. I would not be at all surprised to find that a very good many of us were raised in the Church, only to reject it once we were old enough to realize and acknowledge its horseshit.


DING DING DING DING !!! We have a winner !!

I resemble that remark.
posted by a3matrix at 7:33 AM on February 10, 2004


So it's excellent, and based on a true story. Is he objecting to the fact that it shows a less-than-sympathtic portrayal of an incident in the history of the Catholic Church? Well, boo-frickin'-hoo.

MrMoonPie, I think that's exactly his point. If you're going to call Gibson's movie "Jew-bashing", then any movie that portrays historical events where someone acted badly is "someone-bashing".
posted by donnagirl at 7:37 AM on February 10, 2004


a very good many of us were raised in the Church, only to reject it once we were old enough to realize and acknowledge its horseshit.

I resemble that remark.


Me too. So does my mom, who was a Catholic schoolteacher. And my boss, who ran a major humanitarian organization. And my Ph.D thesis supervisor, who specializes in civil society and global politics.
posted by stonerose at 7:39 AM on February 10, 2004


So Josh Hartnett movies constitute "bashing" now? That's a step in the right direction.

As for the rest, the best defense is the truth -- the Catholic church is so frequently a target because it has so much to answer for, both in the past and in the present. But I don't think many denominations with conservative attitudes have avoided being occasionally demonized, and no religion at all has escaped being trivialized in the media (Seinfeld, anyone?). This is a non-issue.
posted by Epenthesis at 7:41 AM on February 10, 2004


Put me down as another ex-Catholic who is glad that evil, ancient, bigoted, corrupt organization is finally being recognized for what it is. But I'm not bitter.
posted by bondcliff at 7:42 AM on February 10, 2004


As a practicing Roman Catholic and Boston resident, I've had a sadly close-up view of the carnage of the sexual abuse scandal. Given my church's disgusting behavior in covering up this issue for so many years, I'm (for the moment) a tad bit more sensitive to those that have been victimized by Christians. Call me in a few months (or years).
posted by jalexei at 7:42 AM on February 10, 2004


Both 111 and hama7's articles don't dispute the facts, only the language and agenda. As MrMoonPie so eloquently stated:

Well, boo-frickin'-hoo.

The Catholic church has plenty to apologize for, but, unlike the US Government who is held accountable by its citizens, the Church can claim that God changed his mind, in a matter of speaking, since no Pope is fallible.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:44 AM on February 10, 2004


Is this guy for real? As Epenthesis pointed out - using "40 Days and 40 Nights" as an example of Christianity bashing is ridiculous. Roeper's really stretching it...
posted by MsVader at 7:47 AM on February 10, 2004


Why should we not criticize a harmful and counter-productive institution like the Catholic Chruch, with it's codified standards of discrimination and reliance on hocus-pocus in life or death situations?
posted by jon_kill at 7:50 AM on February 10, 2004


If you're going to call Gibson's movie "Jew-bashing", then any movie that portrays historical events where someone acted badly is "someone-bashing".

Yeah, those crazy historical events...
posted by soyjoy at 7:51 AM on February 10, 2004


"And no other religious group gets bashed with such frequency." - Except for the Jews, and the Muslims, and the Mormons, and the Hari Krishnas, and the......

Hey ! I've got just the thing - persecution saps morale, so Catholics must be demoralized from all this persecution.

I've written a special morale-boosting song which can be adapted to almost any type of Christianity.

I call it "The Christian Song"
posted by troutfishing at 7:51 AM on February 10, 2004


From the article:

Before you run to your keyboard: yes, I'm aware of scandals, past and present, involving the church. And yes, some of the films listed above are powerful, important works based on true stories.

But a lot of this stuff is just exploitative garbage


...and that's what I'm going to focus on, because, hey, that's more important than the church's well-documented and tragic history of abuse, victimization of the weak, appeasement of the powerful, accumulation of wealth, and general perversion of the supposed teachings of its moral founder.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:53 AM on February 10, 2004


111 is a troll. End of story.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:54 AM on February 10, 2004


"We have no idea what kind of strange beliefs the natives of this planet have so it's best not take any chances. Set phasers to 'persecute'."
posted by wobh at 8:01 AM on February 10, 2004


Yay, another lame Richard Roeper "I'm just a regular guy" screed. If those points are the most convincing he can come up with to buttress his argument, he can cry me a fish-on-Friday river.

You know who else usually get the short end of the stick in movies? Rich folks. Man, you should really try to understand the pain these unfair portayals cause them.
posted by mkultra at 8:04 AM on February 10, 2004


I'll be darned if I can remember the last positive portrayal of an overtly muslim character in a movie.

Will the Passion be having subtitles after all or has all my aramaic learning been in vain?
posted by Mossy at 8:06 AM on February 10, 2004


"Who me?, huh?, what did I do?"
posted by a3matrix at 8:15 AM on February 10, 2004


The Jews killed Jesus. Why is everyone so mad?
posted by the fire you left me at 8:15 AM on February 10, 2004


I was reading a biography of Zero Mostel yesterdy and was pained to discover that the Catholic Church took such an active hand in the shameful blacklisting in the entertainment industry. Maybe this is karma?
posted by RavinDave at 8:19 AM on February 10, 2004


There is much good and much evil in the current Catholic Church, but I quote my new Christian sage-hero, Ham Sok Hon (From Hama7's post, "Queen of Suffering") on the subject of institutionalized religion :

"A new Protestant, another Reformation, is necessary. Not just a religion or a sect--religion itself needs renewal. What served earlier has done its job. When it lingers on past its time, it is a thief, a burglar. Such thieves ought to be ejected and a new Word called forth. [ emphasis mine ] For this a new understanding of history is needed. The mission lies in bringing truth to life in the present era, for truth is about to suffocate in anachronistic institutions" - from "Queen of Suffering : A Spiritual History of Korea", by Ham Sok Hon
posted by troutfishing at 8:22 AM on February 10, 2004


Ugh. From a3matrix's link: "The accident occurred less than two weeks after prosecutors announced O'Brien had signed an immunity deal to spare him from indictment on obstruction charges for protecting child-molesting priests."
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:22 AM on February 10, 2004


<Warms hands on MeFite bonfire>
posted by Blue Stone at 8:25 AM on February 10, 2004


Quick! Perform the special ritual to appease the invisible man in the sky!
posted by spazzm at 8:29 AM on February 10, 2004


Wouldn't Gibson and friends themselves count as "anti-Catholic" under Roeper's scheme? I mean, he does know what they think about the current hierarchy, right?
posted by thomas j wise at 8:33 AM on February 10, 2004




THere's a little hole in Roeper's (implied) argument about 'The Passion'. Gibson isn't Catholic. In fact he belongs to a spliter group that beleives (among other things) that the Pope isn't really the Pope. That pretty much makes you not a Catholic.
posted by Orkboi at 8:37 AM on February 10, 2004


Poor Richard may want to check the pedigree of many Catholic bashers. I would not be at all surprised to find that a very good many of us were raised in the Church, only to reject it once we were old enough to realize and acknowledge its horseshit.

Fuckin' A.

I still consider myself Catholic, but I'd rather see its reactionary defenders concentrate on stopping -- oh, I don't know -- institutionalized child molestation than what's going on in the movies.
posted by subgenius at 8:46 AM on February 10, 2004


Quick! Perform the special ritual to appease the invisible man in the sky!

Dude! Don't bogart the gold beanie! Jesus told me I get to wear the gold beanie!
posted by stonerose at 8:47 AM on February 10, 2004


Y'ever notice how the You-Know-Who-Controlled entertainment industry always makes Catholic characters wear Yellow Hats so they can be identified and vilified? Man, that burns me up.
posted by soyjoy at 9:19 AM on February 10, 2004


Let's all send Mel our letters of support...especially in this, his time of need.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 9:21 AM on February 10, 2004


In fact he belongs to a spliter group that beleives (among other things) that the Pope isn't really the Pope. That pretty much makes you not a Catholic.

If you're Roman Catholic. Know many Catholics whom don't support The Pope's stance or words.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:30 AM on February 10, 2004


I'll be darned if I can remember the last positive portrayal of an overtly muslim character in a movie.

The imam in _Pitch Black_ comes off pretty well, I thought. But then he's an Imaaaaaaam! Frooooom! SPAAAAAAAACE!

Several muslim characters in _The Siege_ are portrayed pretty positively, but then that's what the movie is about.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:33 AM on February 10, 2004


The Catholic church has a lot to answer for.
But don't confuse Mel Gibson's 16th century brand of Catholicism with the modern church.

And while it doesn't have much to do with the church, this quote from Gibson shows what an enlightened, spiritual person he is:

"They take it up the ass," Gibson told the Spanish publication El Pais in a January 1992 interview, as he bent over and pointed to his rear-end. "This is only for taking a shit," he said. "
posted by 2sheets at 9:45 AM on February 10, 2004


In these movies, priests are suicidal, corrupt and/or lascivious.

John Travolta's bro in Saturday Night Fever? The rebounding priest in The Exorcist? Alec Guinness as Father Brown?

Nuns are heartless and sadistic.

Helen Reddy in Airport '75? Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music?

Seems to me that there's room for all sorts of portrayals. But religious characters without flaws make for the worst kind of drama, which is all about conflict. Listening to moral paragons blather on is about as exciting as watching the council scenes in the Star Wars and Matrix films.

Richard Roeper can kiss my ass. The man's no better than Michael Medved with his gross generalizations and overall lack of humor. He's single-handedly destroyed what was once a weekly television program I watched on a semi-regular basis. In a just world, his suburban dad histrionics would be stopped.
posted by ed at 9:46 AM on February 10, 2004


If you're Roman Catholic. Know many Catholics whom don't support The Pope's stance or words.

And if more of them stood up and told the Vatican that its policies are socially counterproductive, perhaps Catholicism would lose its stigma. (Or is that stigmata?) As it stands, though, the reactionary wing gains strength from the fact that the vast bulk of the 'flock' simply doesn't take religion seriously. As long as the sheep keep going to church, nodding politely, filling the collection plate, and smirking at the Pope in private, the Church will continue on its merry way, subjugating women, spreading HIV, exacerbating the population crisis, cozying up to dictators, killing the spirits of gay and lesbian kids, etc. etc. etc. Meanwhile, whiny cries of 'Catholic-bashing' create and sustain a cozy, oppressed, in-group mentality. Convenient.

I'll agree with one thing: Catholics and non-Catholics alike need to start taking religion a bit more seriously, each in their own way.
posted by stonerose at 9:49 AM on February 10, 2004


John Travolta's bro in Saturday Night Fever? The rebounding priest in The Exorcist? Alec Guinness as Father Brown?

All the movies you mentioned are more than 20 years old, ed. Got any recent portrayals?
posted by jonmc at 9:52 AM on February 10, 2004


I'll also get in line with the other ex Catholics who realized the church was not for them. I still contend that religion is nothing more than a medium for controlling peoples' behavior (and separating their $ from their pockets). I think the world would be a much nicer place if the concepts of morality were taught outside the framework of organized religion.
I'd also like to know if, throughout the course of human history, religion has done more harm that good. Sometimes I really wonder.
posted by reidfleming at 10:00 AM on February 10, 2004


If "persecution" = "shines a light of inquiry and reason into a cesspool of lies and abuse" then I'm all in favor of more persecution.
posted by rushmc at 10:03 AM on February 10, 2004


MrMoonPie, I think that's exactly his point. If you're going to call Gibson's movie "Jew-bashing", then any movie that portrays historical events where someone acted badly is "someone-bashing".

There's historical events, and then there's polemic, after-the-fact accounts of things with virtually no objective witness. Then there's polemic interpretations of the polemic account.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 10:11 AM on February 10, 2004


You know, what can't Hollywood make a movie that shows the good side of the Mafia?

So much hate.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:11 AM on February 10, 2004


Morgan Freeman, being Catholic, is always relegated to playing the sideckick.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:12 AM on February 10, 2004


All the movies you mentioned are more than 20 years old, ed. Got any recent portrayals?

-Susan Sarandon's portrayal of Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking.
-Jeremy Irons in The Mission (though the Church higher-ups in that movie were, of course, eeeeeeevil).
-The Priest character in Gangs of New York was a bad-ass tough motherfucker. Does that count as a positive portrayal?

That's all I got.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:18 AM on February 10, 2004


Richard Roeper is losing his mind. I suggest that it must be from sexual frustration--since we know, from his columns, that he's a "bachelor" who never wants to get married, and so good a [Roman] Catholic that he's able to criticize others for their portrayal of his church, he must be following Papal teaching on extramarital sexuality and not getting any.

Roeper's diminishing grasp on reality was probably what led him to using the word "Catholic" to describe both Roman Catholics and members of weird splinter cults like Mel Gibson (what is it that Gibson's folks call themselves? The folks at the Vatican call them "Lefevrists" and "schismatics", but neither of those have much snap or verve).

And he forgets that there are plenty of Eastern Rite Catholics whose churches haven't been involved in the horrid scandals that makes the Roman Catholic Church the tabloid headline du jour.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:21 AM on February 10, 2004


Got any recent portrayals?

Do crappy movies count? Because there's always Sister Act.

(And Sister Act 2.)
posted by Cyrano at 10:21 AM on February 10, 2004


And why is nobody mentioning Change of Habit, with Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore?
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:22 AM on February 10, 2004


Morgan Freeman, being Catholic, is always relegated to playing the sideckick.

I always thought it was because people still think of him as Easy Reader from Electric Company.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:23 AM on February 10, 2004


Catholics and non-Catholics alike need to start taking religion a bit more seriously
stonerose: Any and every time I state my opinion of religion, I get labelled a religion bigot. The argument always abstracts back to faith versus logic, and face it, as a species, humans do not have the collective intelligence to ever reject faith.
posted by mischief at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2004


I thought it was because people confused him with Morgan Fairchild.

Hey, she once dated John Kerry!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2004


Not up on film portrayals (not a movie buff) but the various Law and Order incarnations have done a good job mixing positive representations of Catholic priests and nuns with negative ones. Lots of Catholic--and ex-Catholic--major characters as well.
posted by thomas j wise at 10:38 AM on February 10, 2004


Movies:
Tears of the Sun
Romero
To Kill a Priest

...and
Blues Brothers
Peewee's Big Adventure
Nuns on the Run
and the Nightmare on Elm street movies

and on tv, there's the positive nun portrayal on that uplifting HBO show Oz.
posted by NortonDC at 10:48 AM on February 10, 2004


Morgan Freeman, being Catholic, is always relegated to playing the sideckick.

Have you seen all his movies? Here was one of his leading roles.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:48 AM on February 10, 2004


Another (very) positive portrayal of a Catholic priest in the last few years: Ed Norton in Keeping The Faith (2000).
posted by tittergrrl at 10:50 AM on February 10, 2004


Anyway, there's a difference between portraying a Catholic in a negative light and implying that an entire ethnic group killed your god and is evil. And it's such a misreading of theology anyway. Jesus was killed by humans, that's the important part. We all killed him. He died for us, and we killed hiim. If you blame it on the Jews, you've missed the whole point.

Of course, I don't believe in him at all, thanks to the Catholic Church.
posted by Slagman at 10:55 AM on February 10, 2004


>> If you're going to call Gibson's movie "Jew-bashing", then any movie that
>> portrays historical events where someone acted badly is "someone-bashing".
>
> Yeah, those crazy historical events...

I'll rejoin this thread after I finish my historically-accurate-therefore-not-gay-bashing movie about homosexuals, starring Lynn Redgrave as Heliogabalus. (Link is to Lampridus' life, "a farrago of cheap pornography" according to Sir Ronald Syme but at least as well attested as the Gospels, so let's have no quibbles about what counts as an 'istorical event.)
posted by jfuller at 10:56 AM on February 10, 2004


You know what this sounds like to me? A child that doesnt want to take its medicine. The catholic church has a lot in the past and present to answer for. And if you want to label peple being angry and hurt and irritated as 'bashing' so you can continue being in denial, well you arent fooling anyone. Some one could make a historical documentary about what the catholic church has done (like say.. the childens crusade)
and i guess that would have tobe bashing too because it doenst cover up the evil thats been done.
posted by MrLint at 11:00 AM on February 10, 2004


111 is a troll. End of story.

Close--Roeper's a troll.
posted by goethean at 11:12 AM on February 10, 2004


Soyjoy is the troll, and an anti-semite to boot.
posted by mcgraw at 11:18 AM on February 10, 2004


If you're going to call Gibson's movie "Jew-bashing", then any movie that portrays historical events where someone acted badly is "someone-bashing".

No, because the Gibson movie is based on a lie about Jews. It's only "bashing" if it isn't based on the truth, or if it tries to assign collective responsibility or demonize a whole group of people.

Also, this article is a massive non-sequitur. "No other religious group gets bashed with such frequency", he complains. Well, find me another religious group in the West so responsible for bringing about suffering and repression based on a religious ideology. A few films that deal, perhaps uncharitably, with a major part of Western culture=bashing? I don't think so.
posted by Dasein at 11:22 AM on February 10, 2004


Persecution: Serving the Victims of Christian Persecution (Warning Disturbing Images)
posted by Pollomacho at 11:24 AM on February 10, 2004


mcgraw,

soyjoy is a troll and has questionable facial hair, but he's not an antisemite. He may even be one of those wandering Jews you've heard so much about.
posted by dfowler at 11:28 AM on February 10, 2004


Quick! Perform the special ritual to appease the invisible man in the sky!

That would be "the invisible co-pilot", right?
posted by 327.ca at 11:31 AM on February 10, 2004


A positive portrayal of a priest? There was a movie called "Signs" with some guy named Mel Gibson... all about faith and how he found his again.
posted by kindall at 11:31 AM on February 10, 2004


Gibson, whose father, Hutton Gibson is a notorious Holocaust denier and who claims the the World Trade Center was destroyed by remote control and not by al Queda; that the Second Vatican Council was a Masonic plot backed by the Jews and that all popes going back to John XXIII have been illegitimate "anti-popes".


"My dad taught me my faith and I believe what he taught me. The man never lied to me in his life," he said, when asked about Hutton's controversial comments.

Gibson obviously loves his dad, and this is something that goes definitely to his credit. I love my dad too. But really Hutton Gibson's ideas are indefensible
posted by matteo at 11:33 AM on February 10, 2004


dflower:
questionable facial hair?
Yep. Not anti-semitic, I'll grant you.

And he is definitely a "You Know What."
posted by mcgraw at 11:39 AM on February 10, 2004


But Judea was a Roman colony, and Christ was crucified by its Roman procurator, according to the Roman law, as a "proselytizing heretic.”

But the part that gets reiterated in Church every Easter is where the procurator gives the locals a choice of which prisoner to spare. There was a Jewish holiday going on (I froget which one) and as part of the holiday celebration, a condemned man chosen by the people gets spared. The nasty Jews in the story (the Pharisees maybe?) paid off the people to pick some murderer instead of Jesus Christ to be spared.


I'll be darned if I can remember the last positive portrayal of an overtly muslim character in a movie.

Morgan Freeman, being Catholic, is always relegated to playing the sideckick.


Ironically, the first thing I thought of was his role as a very positively protrayed Muslim sidekick.
posted by badstone at 11:40 AM on February 10, 2004


Morgan Freeman, being Catholic, is always relegated to playing the sideckick.

Except when he's playing the principal of a high school,the President of the United States, the Sargeant of his military unit, the head detective at Homicide, and, you know, God.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:47 AM on February 10, 2004


mcgraw & dfowler, go pollute some other venue. or better yet, take your self-gratification offline.
posted by clever sheep at 11:48 AM on February 10, 2004


Here here!
posted by mcgraw at 11:51 AM on February 10, 2004


Poor Richard may want to check the pedigree of many Catholic bashers. I would not be at all surprised to find that a very good many of us were raised in the Church, only to reject it once we were old enough to realize and acknowledge its horseshit.

I think a lot of you are missing one important perspective to this. A lot of you who are cheering on negative Catholic depictions as just deserts for an illiberal religious order, are the same ones who denounced Johnny Hart for his prejudiced alleged "encoded" messages about Islam ("something stinks in here"). This even though Islam certainly does stink, as many exMuslims, disgusted with that faith, will readily tell you.

Would you have reacted the same to that same Johnny Hart comic if it was written by an ex-Muslim? Why is that?

Take a look at the textual and theological criticisms sometime, coming from the Jerry Falwell camp and secular ex Muslims. Read the Koran criticisms of Ibn Warraq, and then listen to the ones by Pat Robertson: They're making most of the same arguments! It shouldn't be a surprise that we tend to view these same criticisms with a dual standard of moral suspicion though, and the reason isn't religious, it's ethnic. I'm an atheist but there's a great deal of difference in the way I can criticize different religions. I can demonize Christians quite freely without raising any sort of suspicions or resistance from liberals (even though I wasn't raised Christian), yet I could never make the same sort of characterizations of Islam or Judaism, without opening myself to charges of bigotry. This is because my cultural, my ethnic, ancestry is Christian.

Now, try to consider Roepper's grievance through that window. The fact of the matter is, the power structure in Hollywood, from top to bottom, is overwhelmingly Jewish, mostly secular Jewish. To quote Ben Stein:
60 Minutes [studied the top slots in Hollywood]. Their research showed that "only" about 60 percent of the most important positions in Hollywood were run by Jews. What did I think?

I managed to disqualify myself by saying that while Hollywood was not really "run" by anyone (it's far too chaotic for that), if Jews were about 2.5 percent of the population and were about 60 percent of Hollywood, they might well be said to be extremely predominant in that sector.
Various surveys have been done over the years and the results usually show these kind of numbers. I think I remember seeing one done in the seventies that showed that about 80 percent of the Screen Writers Guild was Jewish.

Because of these demographics Hollywood portrayals of Christianity to some may well start to look a lot more like the (suspect) image of me, Jerry Falwell, or Alan Dershowitz criticizing Islam than the (applauded) one of Ibn Warraq doing the same thing.

I think Roepper would be more satisfied with persistent antireligious themes in movies if he could either a) hear a convincing argument why Christianity is a more flawed religion than Judaism (and thus demand such an asymmetrically negative portrayal compared with it) or b) start seeing portrayals of Judaism more commensurate with the percentage of Hollywood talent/leaders that actually come from that particular religious background.

Note: I'm not blaming "the jews" for anything, but I understand Roeppers complaint. Catholics and Jews both came to this country mostly as immigrant minorities. Its not really fair to reflexively excuse one as "the man" and one as the victim minority, esp. when I think it could easily be argued that Jews have a higher seat in society than Catholics. Yet a largely secular Catholic Hollywood that disproportionately portrayed stereotyped rabbis as greedy or what not, wouldn't escape the microscope quite so quickly.
posted by dgaicun at 12:03 PM on February 10, 2004


XQUZYPHYR, not only are you repeating the point Thomcatspike made, but both of you are missing what was an obvious joke.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:04 PM on February 10, 2004


The nasty Jews in the story (the Pharisees maybe?) paid off the people to pick some murderer instead of Jesus Christ to be spared
If you brother turns you in for a crime, whom is trying you for it: your brother or the courts? Then if the courts fall under the Roman law, whom executed you, The Jews or The Romans? He was crucified by Roman law which is interesting in itself.
Add, I'm not pointing a finger, but keeping things straight. As, if you follow Christ's story you would know: The focus of His death was He died without sinning which He was sent to do. His accusers and executioners were known to Him in eternity past so they seem moot to point out.

what was an obvious joke. Got ya...
posted by thomcatspike at 12:07 PM on February 10, 2004


whom executed you, The Jews or The Romans?

Of course, but you're totally missing the point. You're thinking in terms of logic and I'm talking about the socialization of Catholics. In the masses I went to growing up, they played the Easter mass out as a drama, with the parts broken up amongst the lay ministers, the priest, and the people in the pews. the people in the pews play the role of the Jewish crowd, and there's a part where you're supposed to yell "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

That's what it's like to be raised Catholic.
posted by badstone at 12:28 PM on February 10, 2004


Must we have "heart-of-gold-Nazi" figures for balance as well?

Das Boot is an interesting look at the nazi as an ordinary man.
posted by The God Complex at 12:29 PM on February 10, 2004


the people in the pews play the role of the Jewish crowd, and there's a part where you're supposed to yell "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
Reminded of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:38 PM on February 10, 2004


There was a movie called "Signs" with some guy named Mel Gibson... all about faith and how he found his again.

Gibson played a member of the clergy in a protestant denomination in Signs. The character was married (recently widowed) and had children. Definitely not a Catholic priest.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:38 PM on February 10, 2004


Right, clearly not Catholic, but other characters called him "father" and he wore similar vestments. Episcopalian (Anglican)? Close enough for rock 'n' roll.

I found the situation slightly more thn Alanis-ironic -- it's not truly ironic but it's more than coincidental.
posted by kindall at 12:42 PM on February 10, 2004


What about The Third Miracle, with Ed Harris? That had good priests, bad priests, bad cardinals, good cardinals, sinners as beficiaries of miracles, and a saint.

Was that movie a bad representation of the church?
posted by dglynn at 12:49 PM on February 10, 2004


"I think it could easily be argued that Jews have a higher seat in society than Catholics."

Right. That's why there was a Catholic president about 40 years ago and still has never been a Jewish president. Good luck with that argument
posted by Outlawyr at 12:53 PM on February 10, 2004


off topic:

Das Boot is an interesting look at the nazi as an ordinary man.

Not all members of the German military during WWII were Nazis. If we're going to hold to the dictum Nazis=Evil, lets be clear who exactly it is that we're talking about.
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:58 PM on February 10, 2004


That's what it's like to be raised Catholic.

Um....no, no it's not. It may be how *your* church did things, but I've been dragged to my fair share of cathedrals all over the world, and never have I seen Easter high mass performed with audience participation outside of the "stand, kneel, sit, open your hymnal to page X" variety.

I've seen lots of other Christian churches do adaptations of the passion play in the service, but even then...what you describe sounds more holy roller than most churches are willing to do.

It's too bad that was your experience though. Despite the fact that I left the church almost two decades ago, I always loved the rituals of the high masses. In Latin...it's a beautiful piece of theatre.
posted by dejah420 at 9:56 PM on February 16, 2004


You know, I almost feel sorry for the Cathoic Church. I mean , I would be if it weren't for the Crusades, the Inquisitions, and all that.
posted by moonbiter at 10:13 PM on February 16, 2004


dejah420, I had the same "audience participation" experience as badstone. It always creeped me out as a kid, especially since I figured out at an early age that the whole "the Jews killed Jesus" thing was a crock.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:35 PM on February 16, 2004


Perhaps a "Catholicism: Wow!" campaign embedded in a movie is just what the floundering Roman Catholic Church needs.
posted by chronic sublime at 11:43 PM on February 16, 2004


Right after Meta-Filter went down, noticed MSN was displaying the Newsweek's new cover which read: Who Killed Jesus?
Mel Gibson's powerful but troubling new movie, 'The Passion of the Christ,' is reviving one of the most explosive questions ever. What history tells us about Jesus' last hours, the world in which he lived, anti-Semitism, Scripture and the nature of faith itself.

posted by thomcatspike at 8:26 AM on February 17, 2004


dejah420, I, too, have been at Roman Catholic audience participation Kill The Jesus to-do's. It really happens, in mainstream Catholic churchs, in wealthy, highly educated, cosmopolitan areas.
posted by NortonDC at 9:26 PM on February 17, 2004


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