Babylon at the Movies: The Passion of the Christ by Renegade Cut

Artist’s Statement

An analysis of antisemitism and the Gospels in The Passion of the Christ. Support Renegade Cut Media through Patreon:

AS here: It is interesting for a Left-leaning film critic to revisit Mel Gibson’s Passion, especially since it was essentially brushed aside by radicals upon original release. This was mostly because, in 2004, the loudest critics were adamant liberal Israeli apologists who used the release and ensuing complaints about antisemitism as a defense of Ariel Sharon’s abominable Israeli government. Consider the comments of Norman Finkelstein, whose The Holocaust Industry evaluated the cynical invocation of antisemitism and the Nazi holocaust by Zionist political forces.

This was recorded just several months after Hitchens shamelessly smeared Edward Said in September 2003, who was then on his death bed after over a decade-long battle with leukemia.

Indeed, Christopher Hitchens made himself the loudest raving neocon at the time of the picture’s release, almost certainly as part of a trial-run for his extended world tour as a re-branded evangelizing atheist. (The fact his allegiance to the Dubya administration made him bedfellows with some of the most unrepentant antisemites in America, the Evangelical Christian base of the GOP, is another discussion entirely…)

Does Passion have much more of a political meaning than it did in 2004, when Gibson was skewered on South Park as screaming shit-flinging loon, Kyle tried to persuade his synagogue congregation into making an apology for the crucifixion, and Cartman tried to start a friendly neighborhood march calling for the extermination of the Jews?

There’s no denying Evangelicals have gotten even more frightening in the past decade, shameless in their subscription to militant white nationalism, and that Gibson’s film is certainly part of their ideological arsenal.

But it might just be that South Park (as perpetually f%&ked as it is) understood very well how to defeat this. Even though the show’s creators are prone to their own obnoxious middle class white boy racism, they took a cue here from Charlie Chaplin and the Three Stooges, who understood defeating fascism was all about skewering the opposition ruthlessly with a whoopee cushion.

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