It appears that American Christians have finally learned their lesson with Hollywood and the media. Here’s Michael Medved a few months ago on Brokeback Mountain, in USA Today:
The publicity blitz surrounding Oscar front-runner Brokeback Mountain not only challenged stereotypes about gay relationships, it simultaneously cleared away persistent misunderstandings about the nation’s Christian conservatives.Instead of reacting with outraged calls for censorship or condemnation, the much-reviled minions of the so-called religious right have mostly ignored the movie, allowing it to collect every sort of honor with shockingly scant controversy. While derided by prominent liberals as “the Taliban wing of the Republican Party,” conservative Christian leaders have displayed a new sense of security and confidence, in dramatic contrast to the paranoid Muslim mobs that riot across the globe over a dozen disrespectful Danish cartoons.
This doesn’t mean that cultural traditionalists in the USA have abandoned their principles and suddenly embraced the much-discussed “gay cowboy movie”: People who revere biblical strictures against same-sex relationships can scarcely commend a film that provides a lyrical celebration of a homosexual affair that wrecks two marriages.
Nevertheless, the publicists and activists involved in promoting Brokeback Mountain seem almost disappointed that religious conservatives have expressed so little indignation. No major organizations called for a boycott of the film, or threatened its producers, or made any serious attempt to interfere with those who might enjoy this artfully-crafted motion picture (it has become a modest commercial success). In the heartland of Evangelical America, Brokeback has generated more ho-hums than howls of protest (or hosannas).
Or as Mark Steyn wrote in his cover story on politicized Hollywood’s recent box office woes and Oscar snoozefests, “The more artful leftie websites have taken to complaining that the religious right deliberately killed Brokeback at the box-office by declining to get mad about it”.Not surprisingly, Tim Rutten of The L.A. Times is left wondering where the big Last Temptation of Christ-style frenzy is over The Da Vinci Code:
The collective Catholic response to the book and film probably were best summed up by a Jesuit theologian who responded to an earnest radio interviewer’s long and suggestive question this way: “I don’t mean to sound obtuse, but are you asking me whether a novel is true?” Meanwhile, media attempts to deputize the usual evangelical Protestant firebrands into one of those reliably copy-worthy anti-blasphemy posses also have been generally fruitless. You almost can hear frustrated assignment editors [you? Like at the L.A. Times?–Ed] and producers muttering to themselves: What’s the matter with these guys? Don’t they care that this cockamamie movie says Jesus had sex with Mary Magdalene? Can’t they see this is another battle in the war against Christmas? Didn’t they learn anything from those Muslims?
Speaking of which, so far, it’s all quiet on the Borders as well — which, I suppose is coming as both a surprise and relief to Borders’ management, but is equally good to see. Update: James D. Hudnall has a one word review of Da Vinci — an no, it does not contain eight letters.