Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cardboard Jesus in Gospel films and profiling


Jewish date:  13 Ṭeveth 5770 (Parashath Wayḥi).

Today’s holiday:  Sixth day in the Octave of Christmas (Roman Catholicism)

Topic 1:  Last night I watched yet another Gospel movie, Color of the Cross.  This is the worst of the bunch I have seen so far, being based on the blatantly wrong premise that Jesus was black and that the color of his skin contributed to his (alleged) persecution.  Racism is not a concept in the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament, and forcing it into the story only made a poorly researched script even worse.  But watching this cinematic disaster, I realized something about the Gospel movies I have seen so far (The Passion of the Christ, Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Judas ProjectJesus, and Color of the Cross):  Jesus in the movies is dull.  Cinematic Jesus so far has shown little depth or real emotion.  While the Gospels cast Jesus as perfect, the movies make him an overly serene cardboard character who is easily beaten up.  The real Jesus had a following, and for that one needs personality and charisma.  The Gospels depict him arguing with his opponents, cursing those who do not agree with him, and thinking in terms of “us versus them”.  Jesus even curses a fig tree, of all things.  Godspell gets colorful with Jesus’s parables, but none of these movies produces the feeling that he is someone that real people would follow.  Pay attention, filmmakers:

Topic 2:  “Of Bombs and Underpants”.  This article by Rav Harry Maryles deals with a controversy that has been discussed on and off in the United States since at least 2001:  profiling people for security.  Muslims hate it, and many people think it smacks of prejudice.  Tough.  The fact is that terrorists, especially terrorists interested in attacking Americans, are disproportionately Muslim.  Yes, most Muslims are not terrorists.  But if one is looking for terrorists and has only finite time and resources, it is most efficient to scrutinize people who are more likely to be terrorists than treat everyone equally.  Is this fair?  Maybe not.  But Islam is at war with the West, and it would be stupid not to fight back.

Topic 3:  Recent reports on anti-Semitism in the media:  “"Huge Settlement" = Huge Mess”, “Israel Killing "Activists" Not Terrorists”, and “Israelis "Playing Mini-Mengele"”.  Plenty of evil word games.

Topic 4:  For today’s religious humor, something appropriate to my complaining about Gospel films, courtesy of Barry:  “Nothing’s A Hundred Percent”.


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