Notes on how things seem to me from out here in Hollywood... As seen from Just Above Sunset
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Photos and text, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2003,2004,2005,2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Wednesday, 11 February 2004

Janet Jackson, Jesus and Newsweek

I have a friend with a young daughter. Her daughter retrieved this week's copy of Newsweek from the mailbox, and was pretty upset.

My friend wrote to me:

"Janet Jackson's boob was much easier for my daughter to take than what showed up on today's Newsweek cover, the bloody face of the actor portraying Jesus. I've had enough. No more magazines, no more TV..."

And she sent his off to Newsweek -
To the Editor:

My young daughter came inside after collecting today's mail, and when she uncovered the February 16, 2004 issue of Newsweek, she let out a horrified shriek, and covered her face. On the cover was a close up color photograph of James Caviezel's face, and although adults can understand that it's only makeup, my daughter saw gashes and red, and thought it was blood. Children cannot distinguish reliably between fantasy and reality, and certainly today's movie makeup can look more real than reality. This movie was not made for children, and I do not think that photos from the movie should be on the front cover of magazines that young kids will see in newsstands, grocery stores, bookstores, and coffee tables across America. I believe that children are traumatized enough by the reality of this world, let alone the fantasy of Mel Gibson's movie on the cover of your magazine.

[name withheld]
And I sent her this:

How old is your daughter now? Is it time to explain the Christian myth of Jesus - and how it's important to many hard-core Christians to emphasize his suffering? Is it time to explain folks like Mel Gibson and his father, crazed at the thought the Jews did this to their hero? Time to explain how Mel Gibson broke down in tears in an interview two days ago explaining that he knew his own wife was going to hell, to endless torment, because, even though she is a devote Christian, she is an Episcopalian? Is it time to explain that Mel Gibson said he was suicidal, with wild mood swings, until he decided to make this film because God wanted him to make this film?

Is it time to explain to her that although you and your husband don't buy into this stuff, almost all other Americans do? And that almost all other Americans want revenge for what happened to Jesus - from the Jews, or at least from the Muslims? Time to explain the Crusades, and the Inquisition, and the Thirty Years War?

Is it time to explain to your daughter how our mutual friend's older sister suddenly found Jesus and gave up her Judaism and now will not let her children ever again see their cousins or ever again see their grandfather, your friend's father now dying of emphysema, because they are all, every single one of them, heathen and unclean. Drop him a line. That happened this year. And the details are nastier than in this paragraph.

Sit your daughter down and explain religion? It's a thought.

Yes, the magazine cover was graphic. On purpose. Jews and other evil people did this to our sweet Jesus. Maybe it's time she understood the world is full of people that passionately hate other people - with every fiber of their being - and will use such images to help them get up the outrage to start killing those they hate, to make the world better, to make it good and pure.

Yes, she young. But she ought to know about the world.

Flashing one's boobs in public is considered a bit over-the-top. But some women secretly want to do that, and it gives them a thrill even to consider it. And with Janet Jackson it was that, or more probably, marketing. Doesn't matter much, really.

But such people don't get a kick out of suffering and death. Some folks do. Lots of folks do.

I have no idea what to say to your daughter, really.


Here's the Newsweek cover:

Posted by Alan at 17:53 PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 11 February 2004 21:01 PST home

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