VIEW FROM AFAR

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DALE SUDERMAN
It has been said, “Satan is the father of lies” and the children of Satan are known by their lies.

Hollywood rests on two simple lies. Therefore, I presume it is a child of Satan.

The first Hollywood lie tells us that romantic love is redemption. The “chick flick” storyline runs, “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again.” The screen fades to an embrace and a kiss and they live happily ever after.

This is a happy, cuddly lie that makes people feel good for a few hours. Lots of folks end up living in trailer parks on food stamps because they believed romantic love overcomes all odds.

The second lie is violence as redemption. The hero or heroine fires guns, kick boxes, uses explosives, and jumps from impossible heights as an impossible problem gets increasingly worse. Finally, the bad guys are dead or totally defeated.

The more graphic and explicit the violence is-and the more violence and suffering the hero has endured-the greater is his status for overcoming the odds.

Lots of folks go from bars to a cooling off time in county jail for believing redemptive violence works.

I enjoy a good lie every now and then. Redemption through romance or violence makes me laugh, cry and applaud just like the next person. I am easily entertained-and so long as I recognize that I am being entertained by a lie- not much damage is done.

Mel Gibson is a graduate of the Hollywood school of lies, teaching us that violence equals redemption. His previous formulaic epics, “Lethal Weapon” (one through four), the “Max Max” trilogy, “Attack Force Z” and “Payback” give some clue as to how he sees the world.

That his “Passion of the Christ” is hours of heroic blood and gore is consistent with his previous work.

Produce enough violence against a single person and you get the ultimate happy ending-a resurrection.

Lots of folks who usually look cross-eyed at Hollywood are chartering their church bus and driving to theaters naively believing, “This time Hollywood is telling us the truth.”

The story of Jesus is that of an innocent man-truly innocent-caught up in the cycle of political, religious and mob violence that constantly lurks in us as humans-in our families, our communities and even our religions.

Overlooked is a statement of Jesus on the way to the cross.

“Do not weep for me but weep for yourselves and your children.”

We are always in danger of scapegoating-believing one person or group is the cause of all our problems.

We think that sacrificing them will makes things better. We use religious, political and social violence to achieve this.

We cheer when we are the mob, but we weep when we are its victim.

The myth of redemptive violence-be it The Crusades, the ascetic tradition of violence against ourselves, the killing of one person that we all might live, the hero who kills all his enemies, the blaming of the Jews or terrorists or liberals or conservatives as “scapegoats”-“if it only weren’t for those people we would be OK”-continues almost unchecked.

But all these are exposed in one sentence, “Weep for yourselves.”

Gibson fails to capture this simple but difficult truth. Violence is wrong. The victim is innocent.

We must learn to weep for ourselves.

You can write to Dale Suderman at: Suderman@aol.com

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