Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Jesus Christ Superstar

I finally watched both versions that Netflix has--the 1973 version and the 2000 version. My Sunday school class has been discussing perceptions of Jesus (as reflected through the media), so it was an interesting experience (and thus moved to the front of my queue).

I think the most interesting point is that there is no Snidely Whiplash villain in the story. Judas is trying to save Jesus from himself; the pharisees are trying to save Israel from incurring the wrath of Rome. My faint impression (which I cannot really justify with a hard comparison between the two, this is just my impression) is that the 2000 version plays the a more ambiguous angle while the 1973 version has a bit more of Judas as someone who tried, but ultimately did not understand. You can watch the movie and feel empathy with Judas, and you can understand why he made the choices he did, even if you think he chose wrong. There is a distinction between someone who errs and someone who is acting out of greed and malice.

And why do I think this is a point worth making, here, where anyone in the world could come upon this post by a silly twist of Google's search algorithm?

Because I am sick at my stomach after reading a few blog posts on the Schiavo case. I have no intention of writing a political blog--we have enough of those--but I have every intent of reflecting myself in this blog. And what is nauseating me is the sheer display of bile on the part of so many. In just one comments section, I read of alleged murder attempts, fraud, and various other forms of overheated bloviation.

I know that the demonization of one's opponent is a tried, true, and reprehensible rhetorical technique, but that does not mean that it becomes anyone. One of the hardest (and ongoing) lessons in my life has been to learn to not attribute to malice what can be adequeately attributed to someone who is trying to do the right thing and has different definition of right than I do. And when I do, I've found that things end far more peaceably than they do when I consider someone my adversary.

And so that nobody can accuse me of falling behind in the flippant cynicism, I have to point out that my maxim does not say anything about assuming stupidity on the parts of others--especially IT people ;-)

Disclaimer: The above post is not an argument for moral relativism. Just because I can understand Judas' choice does not mean that I condone it. But I do understand it, and I can understand that I am not dealing with bugaboos, or caricatures, or monsters, but humans.

Okay, my venting is accomplished.


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