The Words of the Kaufmann Family

Truth, Art, and Ideology

Frank Kaufmann
February 27, 2004

The Mel Gibson film, The Passion of Christ has attracted enormous attention. It was accused of the modern crime par excellence (anti Semitism) in a massive and organized way long before its release, including by many who never saw the film.

The film has served as somewhat of a cultural lightening rod separating the good guys from the enemies of everything wholesome, good, and true. The Passion is not only a film about our Lord and Savior, it is the public confession of a famous movie idol, a kind of a Patty Hearst in reverse… an evil Hollywood type coming over to the side of good. See how the devil roars to lose one of his own, see how the "Coastals" and the "Blue State" snobs reveal their hatred of the good by condemning an heartfelt offering to God.

Myself, for the moment, I plan NOT to see the film, simply because I do not like gore in film regardless of the message or content. BUT I have been greatly interested in the culture clash which has exploded surrounding The Passion.

I found two movie reviews which I feel capture the clash in a revealing way. The first review is on Newsmax is essentially an embattled organ of moral conservatives crossing swords with the "enemies of America" who are seen perhaps most perfectly in the Hollywood left. The Newsmax review (in my opinion) is a wooden piece of propaganda, which goes so far as to call Gibson a modern day Michelangelo! The second review is by the New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott, who has 10’s of film reviews to his credit. Unfortunately Scott used a cutesy Homer Simpson schtick at the beginning and end of his review, which in my opinion seriously detracts from otherwise masterful commentary. I find Scott’s review to be a literary masterpiece, honoring the art of film criticism.

To me, this is the downside of ideology, and of ideologues. Couldn't someone on the pro-religion side of this delightful cultural moment take an art form (film criticism) seriously enough to write a decent review? I think most are too busy enjoying the feeling of tilting at the bad guys.

Dr. Frank Kaufmann

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