It’s still my opinion that The Passion of the Christ is going to bring the fanatics out of the woodwork. It looks as though it may also enable David Neiwert’s transmission process. Over on Ain’t It Cool News, Harry printed a defense of The Passion by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who he describes as “a well known zealot type is known to do some pretty wild right wing things that I completely do not approve of.”
Well, yeah. Rabbi Lapin is of the camp that believes there’s a civil war in this country that may need to be settled by force:
“First of all, [there’s] the matter of the little battle that must be fought, just as it was in the 19th century.” There were, and are, “two incompatible moral visions for this country. We had to settle it then. We’re going to have to settle it now. I hope not with blood, not with guns, but we’re going to have to settle it nonetheless. The good news is that I think our side is finally ready to settle it. Roll up its sleeves, take off its jacket, and get a little bloody. Spill a little blood. We’ll settle it. And we’ll win. And then there’s no holding us back.”
OK, so what? Does this mean his opinions on the movie aren’t worth printing?
Not in and of itself, but Rabbi Lapin’s argument is that Jewish leaders have only hurt themselves by protesting the movie, and that they were motivated by hatred for Christianity. The sum total of his commentary about the movie itself is two paragraphs in which he claims that “The movie will one day be seen as a harbinger of America’s third great religious reawakening.”
It’s not a piece about the movie. He’s simply using the movie as an excuse to write about his perceptions of the Jewish establishment.
Harry Knowles is providing a platform for a right-wing fanatic who encourages — if necessary — spilling blood in order to advance the cause of a theocratic America. Said fanatic is using that platform to advance his cause, with only a half-nod to the putative topic of movies. He writes about the controversy surrounding The Passion, not the movie itself.
Harry let him in because Harry loved the movie — unsurprisingly, since it’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking — and he wants to give others a chance to defend it. And that’s exactly how Neiwert’s transmissions work. The fanatics find common ground and use it as a springboard.