Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

I hear today is Friends' List Commenting Day. (Explanation here and here.) I always love comments, but i would like to state that i do not want people to comment on my entries just for the sake of commenting on them. (I also refuse to comment on people's entries just for the sake of commenting, for the same reason that i don't want people to comment on mine just for the sake of commenting: it seems lame and beside the point because it thus becomes a meaningless comment, though i do get where the idea is coming from, about increasing communication and community and all that.)

Looking back on my notes from the week, i have decided that none of it really merits an entry. I was going to write about Daniel Berrigan and Dennis Kucinich but have decided it isn't worth the energy. I will be making an entry about Lent and also one about this week's Angel episode at some point, but i need to force myself to write my UMass paper today. The stuff below was already written in my procrastination this week, so i'm posting it. (The next two entries will probably get written during my procrastination on this paper because i'm bad like that.)



I have come to two realizations/decisions.
  • I do not want to, and thus will not, read The DaVinci Code.
It is not the kind of fiction that interests me (thriller mystery*) so i had no interest when it first came out. A year later it is still on hold for people at public libraries, and people keep talking about it. My impression is that the author’s research is flawed, and it frustrates me that some people take the history/theology presented in a work of fiction as fact. Being me, if i read the book i would of course have to read all the stuff written about the book interrogating his research and suchlike. I am sure Brown raises a lot of interesting issues, and i would like to be able to discuss them with people. I have decided that i do not need the context of this book to discuss them, though.

*edit: mystery thriller is what The DaVinci Code is, not what my favorite genre is. mystery thriller does not appeal to me. this is what i meant to say. apologies to any who were confused.
  • I do not want to, and thus will not, see Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ.
I am interested in text. For me, other people’s interpretation of text can have value in an intellectual analytical way, but generally i am not interested in interpretation of the let’s-make-a-movie kind. Some artistic interpretations of the Bible appeal to me, but i do not foresee Gibson’s film being one of those. Additionally, my impression is that the film is deeply flawed in terms of historical accuracy. Of course if i saw the film i would seek out information about its accuracy, but frankly i would rather just do that research in the context of interrogating the original text. Since the movie has come out, i have found myself reading the stuff written about it anyway, natural curiosity and all that, and learning things about the historical crucifixion, so as with The DaVinci Code i can learn about and discuss the issues raised without having to know the specific thing which is raising these larger issues.

Andrew Sullivan saw the movie and wrote about it, including a passage which helps me understand why visual representations of this stuff can be so powerful (something i already kinda knew in the back of my head from some experiences i’ve had).
The very story itself, embedded in the soul and the memory, stirs the emotions and prayers and meditations of a lifetime. To see it rendered in a believable setting in languages that, however inaccurate, give you an impression of being there, is arresting. It brings this simple but awe-inspiring story to life in a way very difficult to approximate in the written or spoken word. You can see why Passion plays were once performed. The Gospels do end in extraordinary drama, pathos, plot, agony. Portraying them vividly may, we can hope, bring some people to read the Gospels and even to explore further what the redemptive message of Jesus really is.
He is also full of criticism for the film, though, and his chilling description of the violence that fills the film has cemented my decision to not watch it; i don’t do pain well, and my understanding -- not just from AS -- is that the way Gibson has done it, is not good.
In a word, it is pornography. By pornography, I mean the reduction of all human thought and feeling and personhood to mere flesh. The center-piece of the movie is an absolutely disgusting and despicable piece of sadism that has no real basis in any of the Gospels. It shows a man being flayed alive - slowly, methodically and with increasing savagery. [...] There is nothing in the Gospels that indicates this level of extreme, endless savagery and there is no theological reason for it. [...] The suffering of Christ is bad and gruesome enough without exaggerating it to this insane degree. Theologically, the point is not that Jesus suffered more than any human being ever has on a physical level. It is that his suffering was profound and voluntary and the culmination of a life and a teaching that Gibson essentially omits.
Tags: books, movies, religion: christianity, the da vinci code
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