Vital Signs

Gibson and His Enemies

For years, conservatives have wondered if there was any movie Hollywood would balk at showing.  Blasphemy, incessant profanity, graphic sex, obscene violence—none of these has proved an obstacle to Hollywood, and numerous films containing some or all of these elements have enjoyed widespread critical acclaim.

We have finally found out what sort of movie will make Hollywood blanch.  It must be made by an Oscar-winning director and acclaimed actor.  It must be filmed on a set where Mass was offered daily and where the leading actor received Holy Communion every day.  And it must be based on the most important books in history—the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The movie, of course, is Mel Gibson’s The Passion, a film that has yet to find a distributor and has been the object of an unprecedented campaign of vilification, beginning before any of its critics had even seen it and months before its scheduled release.  The open campaign to censor Gibson’s script has elicited not a word of protest from the advocates of artistic freedom who thought taxpayers should have to subsidize “art” consisting of a crucifix submerged in urine, and some are predicting the film will mark the end of Gibson’s career.  As entertainment publicist Michael Levine noted, “in liberal Hollywood, it’s easier to declare yourself a gay drug-addicted kleptomaniac...

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