The Right Says “Yes” To Mel and “No” To Michael
the late winter and early spring many pundits on the right exhorted their
readers and listeners to see Mel Gibson’s interpretation of the death of Jesus.
This was a movie almost entirely devoid of spiritual or historical context: simply
two hours of graphic torture and the not so subtle condemnation of Jews (the
irony that many of these same groups continually rail against violence in the
media and support increased censorship is a topic for another day).
these months hundreds of U.S.
soldiers were being slaughtered in Iraq
and I couldn’t help but find the sense of collective “death worship” occurring
in movie theaters across the country profoundly disturbing. It is a historical
truth that people are quick to unleash brutal violence and risk their lives (or
the lives of others) when they are convinced God is on their side and that
their actions are sanctioned by some notion of divine sacrifice. However, as I
am a firm believer in both free speech and the freedom for people to spend
their money as they see fit, I had no fundamental
problem with the masses who plunked down their dollars
to see "The Passion of Christ."
to June of this year and many of the same voices on the right who couldn’t rave
enough about Gibson’s movie are now urging people not to go see Michael Moore’s
“Fahrenheit 9/11.” They are even going one step further and imploring movie
theaters not to show it at all. Again, irony reigns supreme since these groups are
providing massive free publicity for Moore,
which will most certainly increase ticket sales for his film. At the same time, think about this: the same groups who
reveled in the violent depiction of a death that occurred 2,000 years ago are
doing everything in their power to prevent people from seeing the bloodshed in
Iraq today, and exploring more closely the behavior of an Administration that
has embarked on a global "war on terrorism.”
both free speech and the free market are still alive and well and I am
optimistic that Moore’s movie,
regardless of its partisan biases, will ultimately promote a dialogue that is
much more pertinent to our current state of affairs. Thanks,
in good part, to some unintentional help from the right.