March 20, 2007

* News item: Iranian official lashes out at Hollywood movie “300” for insulting Persian civilization. Really:

An Iranian official on Sunday lashed out at the Hollywood movie “300” for insulting the Persian civilization, local Fars News Agency reported.

Javad Shamqadri, an art advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accused the new movie of being “part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological war aimed at Iranian culture”, said the report.

Shamqadri was quoted as saying “following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Hollywood and cultural authorities in the U.S. initiated studies to figure out how to attack Iranian culture,” adding “certainly, the recent movie is a product of such studies.”

* News item: The Da Vinci Victim: obsessed art expert took deadly overdose. Really:

Caroline Eldridge, a Da Vinci scholar and artist, who killed herself after becoming obsessed with the mysteries surrounding the artist and the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code

She suffered paranoid delusions that she and her family were in danger “because of the knowledge that she had” of Leonardo after working on an exhibition about his paintings.

After repeatedly telling her family, “I’m not going to let them take me alive,” she took an overdose of paracetamol.

* News item: Gore Faces Hill Grilling on ‘Warming’. Really:

Temperatures are predicted to reach a high of only 43-degrees on Wednesday in Washington, but look for high-heat to come out of Al Gore’s scheduled appearances on The Hill!

Gore is set to appear before Rep. John Dingell’s [D-MI] all powerful Energy and Commerce Committee in the morning and Sen. Barbara Boxer’s [D-CA] Environment and Public Works Committee in the afternoon.

Both are expected to have overflow seating, and protesters, both for and against Gore.

Gore will get a 30 minute opening and then Boxer and her republican counterpart, Sen. Inhofe, each get 15 minutes each of questioning in addition to their opening statements. Other senators will only get 5 min of Q & A.

“Democrat Dingell is a big global warming skeptic, so do not expect him to go too lightly on Gore,” predicts a congressional source.

(Hat tip on all: Drudge)

Three different news items, three different stories. So what do all have in common? The fact that a Hollywood movie production or best-selling novel becomes the source of outrage, obsession, and concern to those who: a) ought to know better, and b) are not able to, leading (at least in the second item) to tragic consequences.

I grew up on movies and used to attend them often. I grew up with books, and still feel restless if I don’t have two or three going at the same time. Regardless of the subject matter in both cases, however, I’m fully aware that what I’m watching or reading is some writer’s and/or director’s piece of work, and something that would in most (if not all) cases never make to the big screen or in print unless someone somewhere had an inkling that the venture would make money. While movies and books can – and often are – sold as something more than entertainment, the truth is, there’s always some movie studio or publishing house with a creative marketing plan behind it to improve its chances on returning someone’s investment. I’ll admit it – and maybe I’m some voice crying out in the wilderness here – I don’t get it when people take movies or books so seriously that they can’t see the product for what it is.

Let’s take each of these cases one by one:

* In the case of “300”, it’s an action flick based on comic book writer Frank Miller’s graphic novel about the battle of Thermopylae that took place in 480 B.C. between the Spartans and the Persians. Is the movie true to history? One historian says no, but is that important here? Of course not! It’s an action flick – like most action movies, grounded in some kernel of truth perhaps, but not enough to let facts get in the way of entertainment. Nor should it be. Note to Mr. Ahmadinejad‘s advisor Mr. Shamqadri: lighten up. Grab yourself a large buttered popcorn and an extra large Diet Coke, and veg out for a few hours in a darkened movie house. Believe me, it’ll do you a world of good.

There’s no joking in the case of Ms. Eldridge and her obsession with “The DaVinci Code”, Dan Brown’s bestselling conspiracy novel about the supposed REAL story about Jesus, protected by a clandestine society since the days of Christ but hinted at in DaVinci’s painting, “The Last Supper”. I’ve heard of people who take this kind of thing fairly seriously: they’re typically agnostic, or even atheist, with never a good thing to say about the Church or anything it does, and they’re looking for something – anything, really – to bolster their own spiritual or religious prejudices. The sad truth is, however, that anyone who takes so seriously a fictional novel involving a painting that they became obsessed at uncovering some “hidden truth” to the point of death is/was in need of serious professional, perhaps (even pastoral) help.

And finally, we have yet another news item about Al Gore and his Oscar-winning pseudo-documentary about ‘global warming’. Yes, that’s right – THAT Al Gore, acclaimed scientist and expert on global warming, being called to testify before Congress on his field of expertise. Heh. Rather than crack open once more that can of worms called ‘global warming’, all I’ll say is this – that calling Al Gore to testify before a Congressional committe on ‘global warming’ is akin to calling Clint Eastwood before Congress to testify on urban police misconduct. ‘Nuff said.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:59 | Comments Off on Entertainment as Truth?
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