July 29, 2003


"Here come the anti-U.S. protesters again. Everything in place?
"Riot control gas?" "Check."
"Shields and batons?" "Check."
"Security barriers?" "Check."
"Jaggi Singh arrested?" Check."

Posted by BruceR at 01:17 PM


Concerns that the new Mel Gibson movie The Passion is going to be anti-Semitic rather miss the point, to my mind. Any religion's founding myth either implicitly or explicitly makes all the other competing myths look bad. Central to the foundations of Christianity is that the new faith was not embraced by either Jews or Romans: but all the sane branches of the Christian tree long ago forgave both.

The real problem is this is yet another example of the relentless "historicity" marketing trope that precedes every Gibson production now. Braveheart was supposedly the Wallace revolt as it really happened; The Patriot was the American Revolution as it really happened; now we have the Crucifixion as it really happened. You don't need to be a history buff to know all the myriad ways, in tone and content that the last two Gibson efforts wholly belied this lie of a claim, and recent criticisms of The Passion's screenplay and trailer should be enough to prove that once again, Gibson, due to some misguided cryto-Rankeian facet of his soul, is doing exactly the same thing to history, and to the historians who misguidedly give him any assistance at all.

If Mad Mel were doing a Road Warrior sequel, he'd no doubt say this one was the Post-Apocalypse as it really will happen, too.

PS: Yes, I know, lots of historically themed movies have historicity problems: particularly two on my all-time favourite list, Glory and Memphis Belle. I think there's other distinctions in intent and accomplishment worth making, but the key difference is other movie makers rarely if ever make the "real history" claim that falls so easily from the contemptible Gibson's lips.

PPS: The Simpsons did a great episode on this topic, with Gibson's active collaboration. Gibson knows the charge. He just apparently doesn't care.

Posted by BruceR at 12:10 PM