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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Sunday, March 07, 2004


Did England misplace its sense of humor?
Now, I haven't yet seen The Passion (bad Tim!), and neither have I read the Steve Martin piece described in this London Telegraph article (reprinted on the Sydney Morning Herald website), but I can already tell you that the author of said article (not Steve Martin) wasn't using either his sense of humor, his common sense, or both, when he wrote it.

I noticed the article because I have a high regard for Martin as a comedian who is able to be incredibly funny with pure humor, and with no politics--Washington, Hollywood or otherwise--involved. So the first sentence surprised me:
Steve Martin has launched a biting satirical attack on Mel Gibson, mocking The Passion of the Christ as money-making showbusiness and suggesting it should have been called Lethal Passion.
Of course, as you read on, you discover that Martin wasn't mocking Gibson or The Passion at all, but was mocking--brace yourself!--Hollywood executives! (Steve Martin? Mock Hollywood executives? Never!) How the writer thought otherwise, I have no idea, but you can judge for yourself:
In Martin's column, "Stan", a fictitious studio boss, sends Mr Gibson "studio script notes" on The Passion, effusing excitedly at the commercial and dramatic prospects for the script he has just been sent but suggesting some changes to widen its appeal.

"Dear Mel, We love, love the script! The ending works great. You'll be getting a call from us to start negotiations for the book rights," he begins.

Jesus is such a "likeable" character, Mr Martin's fictional studio boss enthuses, because he "can't seem to catch a break" and everyone can identify with that. But there is a flaw that, he suggests, audiences will not understand. Why did Jesus not use his "superpowers" to save himself? An explanation is in order: cut away to two spectators, have the first pose the question and the second reply, "He can only use his superpowers to save others."
Not only is Martin not mocking the movie, it could be argued that he's defending it. By pointing out how ridiculous it could have been, he's suggesting, perhaps, that the critics should all chill. Or not. He's really just being funny by taking this opportunity to mock the greed and ignorace of Hollywood executives, a time honored tradition.

It doesn't say who wrote the Telegraph piece, but I hope whoever it was gets smacked upside the head for being a nitwit, and for assuming everyone else believes the way they do.

Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!

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