Sorry for the new posting, but for the last 24 hours, I haven’t been able to post replies to the old one.
I haven’t seen “Dogma,” and don’t intend to. Not because I suspect it’s anti-Catholic, but because “Chasing Amy” stank to high heaven, and I don’t ever plan to give that no-talent, over-praised hack Kevin Smith another cent of my hard-earned money. But back to the main issue: very few of the Catholics who protest this movie have actually seen it. Does this invalidate the protests?
Now, I’ll be careful here, because SOMETIMES, Christian groups I respect get things all wrong. They have, at times, condemned movies I like a lot. Good example: Monty Python’s “Life of Brian,” which is hilarious, and did NOT mock Jesus- indeed, in the brief time that Jesus appeared on screen, he was treated quite respectfully. The film really only ridiculed idiots who misunderstood or misinterpreted what Jesus said). ANother example: “The Last Temptation of Christ.” A LOUSY movie by any standard (boring, and ridiculously cast), but NOT blasphemous or anti-Christian in the least.
So, is it possible that “Dogma” is actually a pro-Catholic, faith-affirming film, as Kevin Smith insists it is? Perhaps? But protestors have good reasons to be suspicious.
To those who ask, “How can you condemn something you haven’t even seen,” I offer these thoughts.
If a TV station decided to start broadcasting old episodes of “Amos and Andy,” do you doubt that thousands of blacks would picket the station, calling it an offensive show? If they did, would you condemn those black protestors? After all, 90% of them have never even SEEN a single episode of that old show (I haven’t, either). If Pat Buchanan dug up tapes of the old radio broadcasts of Father Charles Coughlin and announced plans to play them on TV every week, Jews would be outraged- even though 90% of American Jews have never even HEARD these broadcasts, and don’t know precisely what’s in them. My question is, how quick would you be to ridicule blacks and Jews who protested in these cases? My hunch is, you WOULDN’T condemn them at all… and even if you disagreed with them, you’d be polite about it. For that matter, years back, when “Basic Instinct” opened, there were hundreds of gay protestors at every theater. All of them condemned the movie, though none had seen it. Were you ridiculing THOSE groups as vehemently as you ridicule Catholics who protest against “Dogma”?
Here’s another question suppose you caught your child came reading “Mein Kampf.” You’d be outraged, of course. But why? Chances are, you’ve never even READ “Mein Kampf.” How do you KNOW it’s evil, or even offensive? Hearsay and rumor, mainly. And, of course, you KNOW of the evil things Hitler did, so you have good reason to suspect that his books are filled with evil, too.
Well, look at the cast of “Dogma.” Kevin SMith MAY be a devout Catholic (he says he is), but the cast is loaded with people who NEVER miss an opportunity to lambaste the Catholic Church (George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, Alanis Morrisette, among others). Moreover, the people (on these message boards AND in day-to-day life) who are most enthusiastic about this film ARE, in fact, people who hate the Catholic Church and everything it stands for. Is it surprising, then, that many Catholics expect the worst from this film?
So, I don’t blame Catholic protestors one bit. I’m not joining them however, because
As I said earlier, this film MAY not be as offensive as they fear.
Protest is usually counterproductive. In all likelihood, “Dogma” was never going to be a hit, and would have played a few weeks on college camouses and on the art film circuit. Protests may give it more publicity and a bigger box office than it ever would have on its own. (In the same way, Rudy Giuliani single-handedly created sold-out shows for avant-garde art in Brooklyn.)
All kinds of more mainstream movies are FAR more offensive and anti-Catholic than this one. FAR more people saw “Stigmata” (a REALLY anti-Catholic film) that will ever see “Dogma,” yet Catholic groups never raised a single protest against that one.