The movie "Dogma"/Foretelling future Continued

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

  1. As I said earlier, this film MAY not be as offensive as they fear.

  2. 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.)

  3. 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.

Tried to post earlier,but error came up. I remember the movie Hail Mary and the incredible publicity it got from protestors. I don’t go to movies,but Like I said in other posts,I don’t want anything banned.I love John Waters movies! I don’t think anyone has ever succeeded in stopping a movie Have they??

That thread is royally screwed. I’ve locked it up to prevent further frustration. Thanks for starting a new one (saved me the trouble). For people just noticing, the old thread is here:

(P.S. I also locked “Adieu” for the same reason, in case anybody is wondering.)

David B, SDMB Great Debates Moderator


Don’t you concede the difference between something historical, that anyone can check out if they want, and something that HAS YET to be released?

It would be like protesting Amos & Andy in the '50s before it came out, now wouldn’t it?

And of course, if anyone protested Amos & Andy reruns and did so without doing some personal research, aka tracking down tapes of the show for their own perusal, I would find them just as sad as these letter writers.

And as to the crux of the matter, labelling any thoughts or image, artistic or journalistic, to be “evil” and say it shouldn’t exist is just dumb.

I’m reasonably sure that I wouldn’t like a lot of what Hitler wrote on, but I wouldn’t burn the books just because I don’t like the words within.

I don’t like raping and murdering, but I don’t think that by eliminating the words “rape” and “murder” from the dictionary that these crimes will magically go away.

So, I DO blame the protestors on two counts.

Admittedly, one is personal, and I did say that they have a right to complain in a free country (and I do so live the irony when people excersise their right of free speech in attempts to trample those same rights others are excersising).

But the other reason is not as subjective.

Yer pal,

Thanks for the new topic. My reply was also inoperative.

I am a Kevin Smith fan and go to his site on a regular basis, so I have been following the Catholic League and there assault on the movie from a biased view. In all fairness, I have been to the Catholic League’s site and looked at their literature.

They clearly state that they have based their opinions on the reading of the script and movie critics. They also quote some early magazine articles about Dogma that stated that the Catholic League would most likely protest the movie.

They also kept refering to Disney as the cuplit after Disney made Mirimax, its subsidiary, dump it (due to internal views at Disney) and Lions Gate, an independent film house, picked it up for distribution. The League states in their literature that they wouldn’t be satisfied until Disney cut off all ties with Mirimax becasue of Miramax’s owner anti-catholic views. They say they have these views because of “Dogma” and the League’s last big protest movie “Priest” came from them. They do mention “Stigmata” and their president saw a preview for it and declared it bad for the church and a bomb.

I have been a life long Roman Catholic, but believe the religion has got a few holes in it and its splinter groups could probably focus their energies to more productive tasks. Beating up a movie that you’ve never seen seems to be a bad move all around, as it probably helps the promotion of that movie more than its own advertising.

I go to my standard advice for people who don’t like something. Don’t do it.

Don’t watch “Dogma.” Don’t listen to “Marilyn Manson.” Don’t drink beer. Don’t eat bald eagle fricasse. Leave me alone to do what I want. Obviously I won’t be there to crowd you in your version of heaven in the end.

And if I hear one more reference to any movie or TV with shooting being insensitive because of Columbine, I may start shooting. I won’t, of course, because then I would be forcing my views on someone else.

As long as my bottle opener is Y2K compliant, I’ll be okay.

I wanted to respond to some of Satan’s comments in the other ‘broken’ thread.

Satan said:

I was not upset in the least about having my ‘thunder stolen’. I thought it funny that instead of addressing an issue in another thread, that I had written a letter to the movie company in response to the hate mail, you started a new thread and still didn’t address it. Instead you asked that the issue not be brought up.

Interesting you should bring up your ‘debating’ style, because I am still re-reading your OP in the broken thread to determine just what the ‘Great Debate’ is that you were trying to start. It seems to be another rant drawing attention to more extremists making the moderates look bad. And in the ‘good Christian’ thread, you made it quite clear that your feelings about whether extremists made the rest look bad was not debatable since you included a comment about a non-extremist you considered a friend. So, what ‘Great Debate’ was your OP trying to start?

Again, you state your opinion quite clearly, and the OP said that that wasn’t debatable, so what is?

Ok, ok, I have gotten the point. You don’t think they are obligated and that is non-debatable. I would like to point out that you still have not explained ‘why’ you feel that way, just that you don’t want to hear comments on it. Interesting debating style indeed.

Comments like these, and your feeling it necessary to continually point out the extremists, and you can still get inflamed when people question your sincerity when you say that you don’t buy into the stereotypes?

Well, that’s all well and good, but with your final example you sort of pushed the envelope into the gray area. Let’s make it a bit more clear: What if you’d tacked on “Don’t murder anyone” instead of “Don’t eat bald eagle fricasse”? Would your final sentence still stand?

I won’t agree or disagree with you until I know exactly what you’re trying to say here.


Also, Satan said:

Please give me a movie theme, past or present, that had any potential to cause secular people to feel offended only because they are secular as opposed to non-secular. This comparison does not make sense to me.

As for people saying that a movie should not be made for reasons that are purely secular by people who have not seen the movie (and have not had any access to the movie script), I would direct you to the current GD thread discussing whether or not the Lord of the Rings movies should be made.

A claim that only religious people will protest something about which they are uninformed does not fly IMO.

ThePolecat said:

Excellent point. One the PR people promoting Dogma obviously identified as well, because for what other reason would they be posting the hate mail?

I went beyond my point with the “bald eagle fricasse” line. Eating bald eagles is aginst the law. The beer comment was meant for those of legal age.

The point I rolled over on my rant was that people are entitled to their own views and I am one to defend their right to their own views. I am not a fan of people trying to shove their views down my throat however. The Dogma protests are an excellent example of someone trying to stop something that they have an incomplete understanding of.

Look at it from all sides and then accept the fact that not everyone will agree with your view. I can understand that people don’t care for Kevin Smith’s previous work, while I think it is some of the most insiteful dialog on film to show that not all Generation X’ers are “slakers.”

I won’t make you watch it, but don’t whack me with a placard as I try to see Dogma.

As long as my bottle opener is Y2K compliant, I’ll be okay.

The late, great columnist Mike Royko (God, I miss him!) had a new book out and some group contacted him and said we don’t like it, we want it banned from the school library.

Mike said, “Sure, how can I help? I mean, if you ban my book, it’ll get more publicity than my publisher could possibly afford. I’ll even appear on TV with you, if you want.”

Totally confused, the group went away and Royko never heard from them again.

Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to relive it. Georges Santayana

BTW, if you’re a writer or some other kind of artist, if no one has EVER protested one of your opinions, declared it tasteless or offensive or insensitive, then you’re not trying hard enough.

“I disagree with what you said, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
Voltaire (I think).

But, as I tried to point out in the other thread, this is presuming that a “free-thinking, let’s all use our heads and make up our own minds” attitude is the correct one – which I think most of the posters to this site would agree it is (maybe all, since ARG is gone).

The groups that protest stuff like this don’t necessarily want or need to make up their own minds. My understanding of fundamentalism is that it’s based on feeling, in the sense that you put your trust in God and try to do what He tells you is right (or His ministers tell you is right). Personal evaluation of what is being taught or what action is being undertaken often doesn’t enter into it much. You just do “what’s right,” and you also try to make your neighbor do “what’s right” as well. If your neighbor doesn’t agree with you about “what’s right,” well, that’s unfortunate, but you know you are correct so you keep pushing your agenda anyway. If that is the mind-set (and I believe it often is), why would you personally have to see the movie? I’m not saying this is correct or that I agree with it (which I don’t), but I believe this is how many fundamentalists think.

ThePolecat wrote:

Aw, shoot! Now what are we going to have for Thanksgiving dinner?!

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

Funny! That crazy Ben Franklin actually wanted the bald eagle to be the national bird! Can you imagine that? Bald eagles on our money and everything!

I suppose he’d have wanted us to eat turkey or something for Thanksgiving.

Ooh! An officemate of mine just told me that bald eagles recently came off the endangered species list. So that means it’s okay to eat 'em now!

I get the white meat!

Condemning anything of which you have only second-hand knowledge is, IMHO, inexcusable.

I would not be outraged if I caught my child reading Mein Kampf. I would want to discuss his motivation for reading it, and talk about what opinion he had formed from his research. I would be much quicker to condemn a teacher who told him “Don’t read that book, it’s evil,” than I would to jump down his throat for picking it up himself.

I would much rather see a child explore their own world and form their own opinions, rather than listen blindly to authority and follow like sheep. To a certain extent, that even follows with listening to me. As my kids know already, half the time I don’t know what I’m talking about anyway. Find out for yourself!

Also, protest is all well and good, but if a group is protesting based on the goal of having something banned or censored, then I have a big problem with that. Bad enough to condemn something of which you have no knowledge, worse still to demand that no one be allowed to view it and make up their own minds.


“Diplomacy is the art of saying “nice doggy” until you can find a rock.”

  • Will Rogers

I did ridicule the gay protestors who raised a stink about “Basic Instinct,” primarily because if any group has portrayed homosexuality in a positive light, it’s been Hollywood, and I considered it much ado about nothing.

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

I know this quote was applied to fundamentalists, but I feel the exact same way about ‘Politically Correct’ movements. If I’m not green enough, or don’t do “what’s right,” or am not on the correct bandwagon or pushing the right agenda, then I am a poor lost soul, too dumb to know what I should be doing. Talk about patronizing!

Now back to the topic at hand…

Keep in mind people: if we all go out and have a bald eagle for Thanksgiving, the population will drop back under the Endangered Species limit. Therefore, we would be unique in the fact that no one else would get to eat bald eagle for a while, even though it probably tastes like chicken.

To additionally stress the point of our fellow citizens attempting to “convert” us to their views, my limited exposure to the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses includes the fact that there are only a limited number of people allowed into heaven. I would think that getting more people into my belief would limit my chances to get into heaven. What if the guy I recruit is more of a wacko… I mean fervent believer and doer of faith than myself?

And I must admit I should follow the masses more often in their beliefs. I keep drinking Tequiza even though I know it tastes awful. Stop me, please!

As long as my bottle opener is Y2K compliant, I’ll be okay.