[Marxism] Passion: Regular or Decaf? By Slavoj Zizek
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Sat Feb 28 13:45:57 MST 2004
from in these times.
Passion: Regular or Decaf?
By Slavoj Zizek | 2.27.04 print | email | comment
Those who virulently criticized Mel Gibsons The Passion even before its
release seem unassailable: Are they not justified to worry that the film,
made by a fanatic Catholic known for occasional anti-Semitic outbursts, may
ignite anti-Semitic sentiments?
More generally, is The Passion not a manifesto of our own (Western,
Christian) fundamentalists? Is it then not the duty of every Western
secularist to reject it, to make it clear that we are not covert racists
attacking only the fundamentalism of other (Muslim) cultures?
The Popes ambiguous reaction to the film is well known: Upon seeing it,
deeply moved, he muttered It is as it wasa statement quickly withdrawn by
the official Vatican speakers. The Popes spontaneous reaction was thus
replaced by an official neutrality, corrected so as not to hurt anyone.
This shift, with its politically correct fear that anyones specific
religious sensibility may be hurt, exemplifies what is wrong with liberal
tolerance: Even if the Bible says that the Jewish mob demanded the death of
Christ, one should not stage this scene directly but play it down and
contextualize it to make it clear that Jews are collectively not to be
blamed for the Crucifixion. The problem of such a stance is that it merely
represses aggressive religious passion, which remains smoldering beneath the
surface and, finding no release, gets stronger and stronger.
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