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Friday, April 09, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
RFTR Complains about Henninger

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. First, I don't generally look forward to Henninger, for a while now i've found him a bit too arrogant for my taste, but I still read him if I have time. Second, it's juevenile to think that someone can only write about something if they've experienced it. By that token, you and I had better stop writing about war and about what's going on in Iraq, and leave that to John Kerry (who by the way served in Vietnam). Of course, lack of personal knowledge brings about certain limitations in your ability to adequately analyze or describe something, but I don't think Mr. Henninger stepped across those bounds at any point here. He pointed out that it's violent... I'm pretty sure that's common knowledge... He mentioned that people disagree over whether it's anti-semitic... again, I don't think you need to see the movie to know that it's controversial.

As for saying that he doesn't need to see, I don't see any problem with that. In fact, I feel the same way, about this movie and many other popular entertainment pieces. For instance, I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books. People tell me I NEED to read them. I don't believe I do. These same people say, "well how can you make a judgement without having read even one?" My response is simple. I have listened to the descriptions of the books, both from people who liked them and from those who didn't. I could be wrong, but from these accounts, I've ascertained that the books are amusing stories about a boy who studies magic and gets into exciting adventures and conflicts with an evil Wizard of some sort. While entertaining, they don't have much deeper meaning, which is fine: I've read my fair share of pulp. But, if that's the case, then given the time, I'd prefer to read Tolkein, Heinlein, Herbert, CS Lewis, Clancy, or books by a dozen other authors before I got to JK Rowling. Henninger isn't saying anything more than that.

Mel Gibson's "Passion" sounds a bit too much for me. The explicit, physical tearing and torture of a body, done by filmmakers, is something I've never been inclined to watch. Of course some Holocaust movies are also difficult to watch, but one must, and it doesn't bother me much--it is ironically appropriate--that Mr. Gibson is using the same film technology that thrills younger audiences for slasher films to draw them to this most violent and therefore modern version of the Passion. Had he or anyone made today the gentler version that is "Ben-Hur," it would have been yawned away.


He's not saying that no one should see it, or that it's somehow disgusting or perverse. He's simply saying that he doesn't have a desire to see something as bloody as Gibson's portrayal, and that given the choice he'd rather rewatch Ben-Hur. That's not proud ignorance, that's just his personal perference.

Brian-- But his tone wasn't why he doesn't want to see it, and won't, but rather why he doesn't think he should see it, and why it's not worth seeing. I don't like him commenting on the fact that it's too violent for his taste without having seen it. Or that he seems to say the Jesus story has been done before, and he liked those versions better, so he doesn't need to see this. I don't think he needs to see it either, but when there's a controversial film out, and plenty of people have seen it and are therefore able to comment on the controversy, I'd rather not have someone come in writing about why he doesn't want to see it. It's like a valedictorian giving an address about how she didn't want to write the speech, but "finally got down to work." Classless.


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