Tuesday, March 09, 2004

A middle ground?

So many stupid things are being said about Mel Gibson's new movie... It's hard to say whether I'm adding fuel to the fire by trying to point out really dumb statements. If history is any indication, however, this will probably be equally dumb. Anyway, I happened to click over the Catallarchy.net, a blog I don't know anything about. There I found this analysis of The Passion, by blogger Michael Masten:

"I failed to find any of the anti-semitism the critics have found... In every scene there are Jewish individuals who love Christ and do not want to see him in pain, as well as the Jewish individuals who wish him dead. I left the movie wanting to hurt people who think they should have authority over others."

Now, I haven't seen this movie, so take what I write here with a well-deserved grain of salt. I don't need to have seen the movie to recognize that this is a really silly quote. Let's be clear. The movie, according to Mr. Masten, has two types of Jews: Jewish people who "love Christ" and those that wish him dead. The fact that some fall into the former category is enough to obviate any finding of antisemetism, if I read him correctly.

Fast forward 2,000 years and we can see why the movie is considered anti-semetic. Those "Jews" who "love Christ" are now "Christians." Meanwhile, there are the rest of us Jews, such as myself. The movie would be anti-semetic if it implied that because I'm not in the former camp, that I am (or would have been then) in the latter camp. See, in order for the movie to not be anti-semetic, it would help to portray some Jews as not wanting to see Jesus killed, but still not "loving" him. Where are the Jewish people who just didn't want to see Jesus die, because killing people isn't right? Or where were those that just didn't care? Gibson's (or Masten's) dichotomy is antisemetic, if all non-Jesus-loving Jews are pictured as wanting Jesus to die. Isn't there a middle ground?

By eliminating that middle ground, how is Gibson not antisemetic? The implication seems clear to me: You're with us, or you're against us. Since those with Jesus are no longer considered Jewish, that leaves only those who wanted Jesus dead. Call it what you will, I don't appreciate the implication.

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