'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Cecil B. De Mel

There's a delighfully mean review of The Passion of the Hype over at the Dissident Voice. Leilla Matsui theorizes on the relationship between the current attack on the rights of gay people and the rise of an affable Australian wacko's Jesus movie:

In the late 1980s, a similar controversy erupted when artist Andres Serrano exhibited a "blasphemous" series of photos depicting the crucifixion as seen through a jar of the artist's own urine. Using the iconography of his Catholic childhood, Serrano's work challenged the virulent homophobia of America under Reagan. A dying man bearing the cross of his unacceptable passions became an apt and powerful symbol of a nation coming to grips with AIDS. Now, as the issue of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages provides the impetus for a new onslaught of homophobia, Gibson gives us a battered and muscly defender of "family values," murdered by a howling Jewish mob; a minority anti-Semites throughout the ages have associated with decadent sexual practices and "tainted" blood. In an age of war, non-artist provocateur Mel Gibson explores the roots of his own blood lust in the character of Jesus simply because he has enough money to play dress up in the desert.

For all its "bad taste," Serrano's novelty shop crucifix floating in a jar of pee could hardly be described as "kitsch" which may explain why Republicans were so offended by it at the time. Perhaps the most subversive element of "Piss Christ" was its rather melancholy and conventional beauty. Gibson, on the other hand, adds an element of high camp to his significantly bigger budget drama.

Dissident Voice is a pretty good source of hard left views. It's nice that's there's another clearinghouse of these types of articles besides just Znet.

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