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27 February 2004

Blogging about the Passion of the Christ

For my readers in the US, I know you're sick of hearing this stuff. It is so all over the blogosphere that one blogger even put up a disclaimer "Largely Passion-free zone" or words to that effect. For my readers in the UK and the rest of Europe, you will probably not quite get what all the - ahem - passion is about. I can't explain it; it's an American thing. So for the mystery-play, passion-play tour of the century - where to begin? Probably with Pink Dream Poppies of Alas, a blog: Why are some people obsessed with the Crucifixion? part 1 and part 2. This is not as much about the film itself as about the examination of various Christian/American obsessions that the film is hatching out (in this case Protestant.) But Gibson and the film are both extremely Catholic, so to get a "good" Catholic's interpretation, we turn to the ever-reliable Jeanne of Body and Soul and a post called Pain. OK, enough about the cultural matrix for now, let's get to the film: Orcinus (The Passion of Mad Max Beyond Braveheart) and The Agonist (A Passion for Blood) have the two harshest, most unremittingly critical views on the film. The Orcinus one is especially long but very rich in insights and worth a read, especially if you are trying to decide whether to see it or not.
Turning back now to the cultural matrix, the major theme is anti-semitism, as in, is this film anti-semitic or not? This is not a simple question. Two very thoughtful articles from the Christian Science Monitor, one by Paula Frederikson and one by noted film critic Michael Medved, come up with contrary conclusions. But then as if to prove Medved wrong, this happened. TBogg's blog covers it with the post titled Things to do in Denver when you're anti-semitic and Joshua of View from a Height, based in Denver, says simply Oy gevalt. Meryl Yourish has another (besides mine) symposium of links about the reactions to the film, and also covers the story of the woman of about my age who perished from a heart attack during the climactic crucifixion scene. In the interest of being fair and balanced, Humanae Vitae, the blog of a "Christ-centered Catholic college student", has this to say. And finally, I cannot leave this subject without checking out the views of a Real Live Preacher.

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