Jesus Against the Scribal Elite

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Sign of Self-Preoccupation Bordering Paranoia - Le Donne

This brief commentary on an SNL sketch distills the very worst about politically conservative defenders of Christianity.  First, Christianity has been around for awhile and we're pretty well represented.  A little mockery (even if offensive) shouldn't threaten us.  Secondly, as compared to modern celebrities, political parties, gays, Muslims, fat people, etc., SNL mocks Christianity very rarely.  Third, this FOX schil is missing what is funny about this sketch: it is mocking Quentin Tarantino.

Observation: it is a sign of gross self-preoccupation, bordering paranoia, when you miss the punchline because you're convinced that someone is mocking you.

12 comments:

  1. A predisposition toward a martyr complex and theological navel-gazing make bad bedfellows.

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  2. I found the skit offensive. Not as offensive as using a publicly funded art museum to exhibit a crucifix in a jar of urine and then being told you lack a refined sense of aesthetics when you object, but still offensive.

    Sure, it aims at Tarrantino and his bizarre addiction to violent revenge. And I get the joke of using someone who represents the polar opposite of that strange obsession to point that out, as well as to ask, having now appropriated for himself Jewish and African-American revenge, where is he going next? But, like the piss-christ, this is so cheap, so lazy, and so needlessly insulting to Christian images of the resurrection.

    Really Anthony, the depiction of Jesus in that way, hacking people to pieces, blood everywhere -- that's offensive whether it is intended as mockery or is simply the by-product of arrested development. The resurrection means something to us. It shouldn't be a cheap and ready substitute for creativity.

    Niccolo

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  3. I got all offended at Wayne Brady on Who's Line Is It Anyway doing an impersonation of the Pentecostal herky-jerkies until I realized he looked like us doing impersonations of our beloved brothers and sisters in our church lol. And it's not outside an active imagination to think that sometimes the apostles were sitting around talking about, "Wouldn't it have been cool if we coulda..."

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  4. I read Niccolo's comment, and thought he articulated very well why the SNL skit was so very funny:

    " Sure, it aims at Tarrantino and his bizarre addiction to violent revenge. And I get the joke of using someone who represents the polar opposite of that strange obsession to point that out, as well as to ask, having now appropriated for himself Jewish and African-American revenge, where is he going next?"

    Exactly right. But then Niccolo gets it wrong:

    " But, like the piss-christ, this is so cheap, so lazy...."

    The piss-christ was cheap and lazy. This skit was cleverly written and executed. Nothing lazy about it at all. And certainly not monetarily cheap.

    "... and so needlessly insulting to Christian images of the resurrection."

    How was it insulting? Do we really think the SNL team meant to say that Jesus's resurrection happened this way?

    "Really Anthony, the depiction of Jesus in that way, hacking people to pieces, blood everywhere -- that's offensive whether it is intended as mockery or is simply the by-product of arrested development."

    Which is why it works so well as a mockery of Quentin Tarantino.

    "The resurrection means something to us."

    And it still does, only even more so. We realize more fully how God's ways are not our (or Tarantino's) ways. We serve a God of mercy, not revenge.

    "It shouldn't be a cheap and ready substitute for creativity."

    Again, not cheap. The resurrection has served as a subject for creativity for two thousand years. This is just one more instance. In this case, we can see what the resurrection would have been like if Tarantino was God. Thank God he isn't.

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  5. For the record, on the liberal Huffington Post site poll, 30% of respondents found this skit offensive and inappropriate for broadcast. 45% said it was funny the way funny is supposed to be funny. 25% said "wait, why was Jesus played by a white guy?"

    So it seems like reasonable minds can differ.

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    Replies
    1. Two rhetorical questions:

      1) How many Huffington Post poll-takers would also find the Tarantino canon generally offensive?

      2) How many Huffington Post poll-takers can be considered "reasonable"?

      -anthony

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    2. Two more such questions:

      3) Is it accurate to equate contemporary American liberal and conservative political views with contemporary American liberal and conservative religious views?

      4) Is it no longer possible for contemporary Americans to communicate on any subject across that divide?

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    3. 1. Let's settle this question with a poll!

      2. All of them. But not necessarily while they're reading the Huffington Post.

      3. No. I called Huff Po "liberal" as a coded way of saying that this isn't where I'd look to find a high percentage of people offended by the SNL skit. I was surprised to find 30% of folks there feeling offended. I thought that was a high percentage. FWIW, I don't think that anyone need justify finding something offensive, and I'm sorry if I gave a different impression.

      4. I don't know what divide you're referring to. It is possible to talk across any divide. But it doesn't happen by accident, and doing so skillfully requires practice.

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  6. Re: No. 3, Larry, no need to apologize. I understood exactly what you were doing, and I thank you for it. Nos. 3 and 4 are really directed to Anthony, but unfortunately my numbering didn’t make that clear.

    Anthony, my rhetorical questions, and I think Larry’s remarks, stem from your introduction to the post:

    “This brief commentary on an SNL sketch distills the very worst about politically conservative defenders of Christianity.” [Fox Radio logo.]

    Respectfully, I am worn out by the permanent political campaign we have been living under for the last twenty years and counting. That’s the divide I am referring to in no. 4. I have come to your respective blogs in search of a place to learn and, hopefully, contribute, free of all that -- some normalcy, as I think I remember it. To paraphrase: someplace where we can be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor master, male nor female, Republican nor Democrat.

    Obviously, the liberal/conservative divide with respect to religious views is as deep, personal, and emotional as it is with respect to political views. Anthony, you recently posted an example:

    Your friend, Dr. Paul needs to meet Jesus, develop a healed and forgiven relationship with Him and then choose something more profitable to do with his mind.
    I fear that, "Get away from Me. I never knew you," is looming large in the good Dr.'s future.

    You appropriately termed this “one of hundreds of examples of banal arrogance.” I can understand how dealing with this sort of thing can wear out one’s patience. I am just suggesting that the liberal/conservative labels are not necessarily interchangeable from the political to the religious. I am politically conservative, and I read with your blog, as well as Larry’s, with great interest and appreciation. To my mind, our contemporary political liberal/conservative dichotomy is anachronistic – and even dangerous – when applied to First Century history. I find no small amount of solace and peace in being able to leave contemporary politics behind when visiting that fascinating world.


    Niccolo

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Niccolo,

      I don't think that the conservative/liberal labels are interchangeable from the political to the religious either.

      I do, however, think that there is such a thing as "politically conservative" personalities on the American media landscape and that some of these folks try to defend Christianity a bit too often.

      -anthony

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