The Passion of the Christ: March 2004 Archives

March 31, 2004

A heap o' shi'ite

Kuwait: According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Shi'ite cleric has called for the broadcast of The Passion of the Christ because it reveals crimes committed by Jews against Christ. The Center's response, though, does not seem to acknowledge that not all Muslims are extremist loons:

Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Mehri's reasoning makes it clear that his interest is in fostering hatred towards Jews more than anything else, said Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the SWC. We said all along and it comes as no surprise to us that Moslem countries will do all they can to help this film for the very reason the Ayatollah stated, Hier concluded.

The Center also critiscised the Greek media for publishing cartoons it charges are anti-semitic, though most of them seem merely to be unfunny, in extremely poor taste, and aimed firmly at the policies of the Israeli government, and especially Ariel Sharon, rather than Jews in general.

On March 23rd , Eleftheroptypia published three such cartoons, the first depicting Israel's Prime Minister Sharon and US president George Bush dressed as Nazi officers with swastikas on their uniforms and both shooting pistols. Sharon is portrayed in Der Strumer-like caricuture, while President Bush looks like monkey...
One of the reported cartoons is definitely racist, repeats the notorious Blood Libel, and is possibly inspired by A Certain Film:
The woman in the first box asks: Why did the Jewish Government kill a religious leader?The man answers, They are practicing for Easter.

LEADING KUWAITI AYATOLLAH URGES BROADCASTING OF 'PASSION' - Simon Wiesenthal Center press release, 29th March 2004; IN AFTERMATH OF YASSIN KILLING, WIESENTHAL CENTER: GREEK MEDIA'S ANTISEMITIC ONSLAUGHT CONTINUES UNABATED... TRAVEL ADVISORY TO STAY - Simon Wiesenthal Center press release, 30th March 2004;

March 28, 2004

Let's get some discussion going.

Two questions sprung to mind recently:

  1. If The Passion of the Christ had been a horror film, with the same level of violence, would it have got a certificate from the British Board of Film Censorship Classification? and
  2. At the same time, an interesting compilation of early French erotic films has received an R18 certificate which limits sales to adults in licensed sex shops only. So why does the BBFC and, it seems, society in general, consider gratuitous, graphic violence to be more acceptable than adults having lots of fun with one another?

The floor is yours.

March 25, 2004

Racist attacks linked to killer movie.

Canada: Police and community groups in Vaughan are concerned about a recent rise in anti-semitic incidents.

The York Region Police has arrested two youngsters, aged 13 and 14 respectively, who had harassed several Vaughan residents over the phone with racist comments and threats. One of them will be referred to the Youth Criminal Justice Act Referral Programme, while the other will be charged with uttering death threats and harassment.
Meanwhile episodes of anti-Semitism continue. Last Tuesday the Chabad Lubavitch Centre in Vaughan reported to the police that on the previous Friday some eggs had been thrown against the façade of the synagogue at 770 Chabad Gate in Thornhill.
On Monday several swastikas and other writings had been found on the doors of two schools, Pleasantville Public on Mill Street and St. Elizabeth Catholic High on New Westminster Drive.

The article includes a photograph of a door some genius daubed with the phrase Jewz suk and an (inaccurate) swastika. A local Rabbi noted that the attacks coincided with the release of The Passion of the Christ. Racism in Vaughan causes concerns - Tandem News, March 28 - April 4, 2004.

March 24, 2004

The bright side of life

The success of The Passion of the Christ has inspired the re-release of a much better film about a Jew who gets crucified by the Romans. Monty Python's Life of Brian will re-open in US cinemas to mark the 25th anniversary of its release.

We decided this is an important time to re-release this film, to provide some counter-programing to 'The Passion,' Jaglom told Reuters. I intend it, hopefully, to serve as an antidote to all the hysteria about Mel's movie.
He said marketing for the re-release would play off Gibson's film by adapting such taglines as Mel or Monty and The Passion or the Python -- we want to give people a choice.

Like The Passion, The Life of Brian is rated 18 in the UK, but has none of the sickening gratuitous violence of the later film, just a tiny bit of mild sexual content which would probably give it a 15 if it were released today. Monty Python's 'Life of Brian' Set for Re-Release - Reuters, 23rd March 2004.

March 23, 2004

Killer movie claims second victim

Brazil: The Passion of the Christ has struck again. Presbyterian minister Jose Geraldo Soares was a mere 43 years old when he went to see the film with members of his congregation.

But halfway through the movie, Soares' wife noticed that he was no longer awake. A doctor who was also watching the film tended to Soares, but the priest was already dead.

Brazilian pastor dies watching Passion of Christ - Reuters, 23rd March 2004.

March 19, 2004

Violent Christian Film Kills Again

United States: It appears that The Passion of the Christ has claimed yet another life, this time from a heart attack during one of the most violent moments of the film.

It was the highest emotional part of the movie, a spokeswoman for the station said. A crew from the station was at the special showing, which was sponsored by the ClearChannel Radio chain.

March 18, 2004

Good Christian, heterosexual marriage

United States: Both partners of a couple have been arrested after a theological discussion went too far. Melissa and Sean Davidson had been to see The Passion of the Christ together and, as they left the cinema, began to discuss whether God the Father in the Holy Trinity was human or symbolic. When they got home, it turned into a full-blown fight.

According to a police report, Melissa Davidson suffered injuries on her arm and face, while her husband had a scissors stab wound on his hand and his shirt was ripped off. He also allegedly punched a hole in a wall.
Really, it was kind of a pitiful thing, to go to a movie like that and fight about it. I think they missed the point, said Gene McDaniel, chief sheriff's deputy.

Georgia couple arrested after debate over 'Passion of the Christ' turns violent - Boston Globe, 18th March 2004.

March 17, 2004

DIY Crucifixion

United States: In an interesting attempt at suicide, one loony fundie decided to try a DIY crucifixion on himself. He claims not to have seen The Passion of the Christ, so we can only concluded that Christianity is evil and causes people to kill themselves.

A Hartland man was treated at a Pittsfield hospital after he nailed himself to a cross.

The 23-year-old man apparently was trying to commit suicide Thursday evening in his living room, the Bangor Daily News reported. Police said the man appeared delusional and told them he had been seeing pictures of God on the computer...

Lt. Pierre Boucher said the man took two pieces of wood, nailed them together in the form of a cross and placed them on the floor. He attached a suicide sign to the wood and then proceeded to nail one of his hands to the makeshift cross using a 14-penny nail and a hammer.

When he realized that he was unable to nail his other hand to the board, he called 911, Boucher said.

Man treated after attempting to nail himself to crossAP, 16th March 2004 (via Die Puny Humans).

March 15, 2004

British MP slates Passion

MP Gerald Kaufmann has strongly criticised The Passion of the Christ:

On ITV1's GMTV Sunday Programme, he slated the film's gratuitous violence, ugliness, wallowing in blood and, it has to be said, crude anti-Semitism...
...The Jews depicted are depicted as almost caricature Jews who demand (Christ's) blood, said Mr Kaufman, the chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee.
I am not accusing him (Gibson) of being a deliberate and overt anti-Semite but there is no doubt that the message of the film is seriously, damagingly anti-Semitic, he said.
People who do not know the story will see it as the Jews wanting to murder this saintly man while the Roman ruler of the country didn't want to do it but was forced into by their pressure.

But Roman Catholic leader Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor defended the film, pointing out that even though he hadn't actually seen it, it wasn't anti-semitic:

I have not seen it, the film, but everyone I have met who has seen it has been profoundly moved, he said.
There were people who said it was anti-Semitic. I don't think from what I hear that it is in any way anti-Semitic. I think they have been very careful not to in any way induce anti-Semitism.

MP slates Gibson's Christ movie - BBC News, 14th March 2004.

March 12, 2004

Bargain of the Day: The Holy Land Authentic Crown of Thorns

This perfect EostreEaster gift is, surprisingly, not being marketed as Passion of the Christ tat:

2000 years ago thorn bushes grew abundantly in the Holy Land -- today they still do but they are so hard to find. This is an authentic crown of thorns was hand-made in the city of Bethlehem in the Holy Land . It is symbolic of Christ' suffering and humiliation.

March 11, 2004

A slightly exaggerated similie.

United States: Martha Stewart's brother has compared his sister's recent trial and conviction with the sufferings of the main character in Mel Gibson's sadomasochistic porn flick The Passion of the Christ.

Kostyra says he was shocked by the guilty verdict in Stewart's stock fraud trial -- and wept when it was announced.

Brother Likens Martha To Jesus - CBS 4 Denver, 10th March 2004.

March 8, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Free Passion tat!

Today's bargain will cost you only postage, because Passion of the Christ Materials are giving away 'fan kits' for The Passion of the Christ. Why? Because they believe

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" will be one of the most influential films in history. Never before have the final hours of Christ's life been so vividly portrayed. Be a part of this monumental film release by ordering one of the officially licensed Fan Packs.

After all, giving people posters, stickers, postcards and door hangers is nearly as cheap as spamming, and more effective than that as advertising.

Mel's rip-off ripped-off

Are there bits of The Passion of the Christ that you don't remember being in The Bible. It could be because Mel Gibson failed to mention that they're really the ravings of a stoned 19th century German nun. Sister Maria Caffeina Mochalatte explains:

For those of you who have seen The Passion, and are wondering at the weird deviations from scripture and ahistorical details, realize that this movie is *not* based solely on the Gospels. A great deal of the script is taken directly from The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a book based on a series of visions experienced by a 19th-century German nun named Anne Catherine Emmerich.
Wondering why Jewish priests were allowed to have soldiers during this period of the Roman occupation? Wondering where in scripture Jesus was pushed off a bridge? Wondering why Pilate was such a Sensitive New Age Guy? Wondering WHY the Jewish priests could enter a place of execution and not be cast out from amongst their own people, despite the edicts in Leviticus? All this, plus the gory details of the scourging (including the exposed rib bones) are her work.
Her copyright's run out a long time ago, but it would have been far more honest of Mr. Gibson to credit the book.

Especially as Mel Gibson's company is suing another company over alleged piracy of The Passion of the Christ. Mel sues over Passion piracy - Herald Sun, 6th March 2004.

Practical blasphemy

The subject of this week's Photoshop Phriday over at Something Awful is Advertisements of the Christ. Readers were invited to alter screenshots from The Passion of the Christ in a creative manner:

The movie has garnered near universal praise for its accurate depiction of the life and struggles of Jesus, an olden day muckraker turned messiah. However, the movie has not been without criticism, largely due to its extensive use of product placement, which many people feel undermines the authenticity of the movie and cheapens the sacrifice of Jesus. To find out if the line was indeed crossed, the Something Awful Forum Goons went to the trouble of illegally videotaping the movie and then posting screenshots. Please take a look at their work and judge for yourself, as Jesus surely would if he was here.

March 5, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Passion Opportunists

United States: Over at the Prattle Towers satellite office, when we're not scouring the headlines to bring you the latest in naughty vicar stories, we're immersed in other web enterprises. Our main site runs Google ads and we have noticed an influx of god bothering wankers pushing crap for The Passion of The Christ.

I'd just assumed that most were trying to flog the same Passion tat that has already been highlighted here, but the lovely Feòrag pointed out several of the amusing and opportunistic little enterprises riding on the coattails of Lethal Weapon meets God.

From the school of You've seen the movie, now buy our crap, which comes in the exciting flavours of pro- and anti-Passion. Interesting to note that this particular ad was using the same googlejuice boosting techniques favoured by spammers.

Who really killed Jesus?
Do the Bible Codes predict The Passion controversy?

The sensationalist tabloid headline version of Buy our crap. Complete with fake endorsements — just like the movie.

Passion of Christ
Recent wave of Godly programs? Recent wave of Satanic programs?

There's the Convert, you godless heathens. Oh, and buy our crap kind of ad.

Passion — True to Script?
Read Jesus' exact words from the original eyewitness biographies.

The usual bunch of ads luring you to eBay or Amazon make an apearance. But there's also a curious group that figure if you've seen the movie, you'll be jonesing for a new bible. How can you resist a bible has been completely remastered and is touted as being a first edition.

Prepare for the Passion
1st edition copy of new Douay Bible Completely remastered, in leather.

The What the hell, learn a dead language marketing ploy, the site fudges the truth a little because you get presented with Hebrew instead of Aramaic. I think these guys are playing off the inherent stupidity of the loony fundies who will flock to the movie and not understand the difference.

Understand The Passion?
Learn Hebrew and Aramaic at Home No-Risk Video CD Course from Israel

The warez sites are not about the look a gift horse in the mouth, so there's also a heap of ads tempting you to download the movie or buy pirated versions.

You run one post about Mel's crappy vanity pick and you're innundated by tat merchants. Isn't there something in the bible about merchants being the spawn of satan?

Opinions of the Wolf: Opinion - Red Wolf, March 2004.

March 4, 2004

What's Popcorn in Aramaic?

United Kingdom: The wits over at The Guardian have come up with a glossary of useful Aramaic phrases to help enrich your enjoyment of The Passion of The Christ.

B-kheeruut re'yaaneyh laa kaaley tsuuraathaa khteepaathaa, ellaa Zaynaa Mqatlaanaa Trayaanaa laytaw!
It may be uncompromising in its liberal use of graphic violence, but Lethal Weapon II it ain't.
Da'ek teleyfoon methta'naanaak, pquud. Guudaapaw!
Please turn off your mobile phone. It is blasphemous.
Shbuuq shuukhaaraa deel. Man ethnaggad udamshaa?
Sorry I'm late. Have I missed any scourging?
Aykaa beyt tadkeetha? Zaadeq lee d-asheeg eeday men perdey devshaanaayey haaleyn!
Where is the loo? I need to wash my hands of this popcorn.

March 3, 2004

Culture corner

Orcinus has republished a review of The Passion of the Christ as a series of 40 points. Here are just a few of them:

2) The film is only anti-Semitic if you consider it anti-Semitic to portray Jews as an unruly crowd of evil, hook-nosed Christ killers.
9) Keeping children away from the ultra-violence and subversive messages of films such as Harry Potter and Saturday morning cartoons is a good thing. Exposing them to the long, slow, bloody, torturous death of the Savior of all mankind is also a good thing. Go figure.
14) A little known fact: Jesus must have been a hemophiliac. Because near as I can tell, his blood never coagulates.
25) Filming the movie with the dialogue in ancient, dead languages may at first seem pretentious. But it helps convey the documentary-nature of the film the best. And you can have a crowd of Jews chant about Jesus' death being on the heads of them and their children forever without having to actually put the words up on the screen. That isn't anti-Semitic either.
36) Watching blood geyser into the air and splatter over everything in Kill Bill was too much gore. Watching blood geyser into the air and splatter over everything in The Passion of The Christ was just right. Coincidentally, almost the exact same amount of fake blood was used in the filming of both movies.

March 2, 2004

Computer Declares Passion The Mark Of The Beast

United States: The computerised ticket machines in a Georgia theatre seem to have a sense of humour, they stamped the tickets to The Passion of the Christ with the number 666.

Tickets at one movie theater screening Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ are being deemed decidedly unholy.
The number 666, which many Christians recognize as the mark of the beast, is appearing on movie tickets for Gibson's film at a Georgia theater, drawing complaints from some moviegoers.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the The Passion of the Christ category from March 2004.

The Passion of the Christ: February 2004 is the previous archive.

The Passion of the Christ: April 2004 is the next archive.

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