Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bible Miniseries Racially Charged With Obama-Satan

Satan?  Or have the Presidential years been really unkind to Obama?
Scorsese's Jesus
I don't think I would noticed a resemblance (at least not based on this picture alone) if people weren't implicating "The Bible" mini-series as anti-Obama propaganda.  Supposedly a little child pointed out the resemblance between Obama and Satan, as well as asking why all the good people looked white.  How race-conscious do you have to be as a child to notice everybody's race?  Still, generally they (and I'm talking Hollywood, not just Christian filmmakers) have almost always chosen actors they felt would have broad appeal as the protagonists, and these have tended to white people with movie star looks.

I know at least one person who thought Joseph, Mary, and Gabriel in this latest miniseries looked overly Nordic. (Hmmm, is that Gabriel, or Thor?)

Check out Last Temptation of Christ. Willem Dafoe looks pretty darn white to me.  And look at the cast of ethnic characters standing behind the Scotsman (Judas):
The Disciple Judas in Scorsese's 'Last Temptation'
I've tended to notice this tendency in most all Bible dramas that I've seen.  Proof to most critical race theorists that Christendom is institutionalized racism, rather than a very common shortsightedness.  It seems like this haunts most Biblical productions to a great degree except for one:  The Passion of the Christ.

There's something different
about Caviezel in this picture.
The director of Passion took great pains to overcome the past productions' tendency to "whitewash" (pun intended) the cultural and ethnic context of Jesus' life and death.  The movie is a constant reminder to Jesus and his disciples were, ethnically and religiously, Israelites.  Jim Caviezel gets valmorphanized with a new nose right out of the Shroud of Turin. Everybody's speaking (a reconstruction of) Aramaic, the language of the Jews at the time, and a true effort to convey the religious context of 1st Century Judaism is attempted.  Gone is the image of WASPs speaking King James English in proper British accents.  Jesus is finally an Israelite, and so are his Galilean disciples.  Any European-looking people?  Yes, playing Romans, who speak Latin.

Oh, and one more person:
This clean-shaven Caucasian is none other than Lucifer, the Accuser of the Brethren.

Ironic that the one real attempt to give us Semitic Jesus instead of white-bread Jesus comes from the man vilified as an anti-Semite from the movie's very release (long before his nervous breakdown)? Or more ironic that given this, Hollywood and its progressive entourage focused entirely on a scene with a Judaean mob?  I think it was either Time or Newsweek with a long article that argued that the scene was inherently anti-Semitic in character--without the author explaining why he was attacking the Gospel of John (the source of the scene) as racist.  All the artistic freedom Hollywood was frothing with over Scorsese's unusual weirdfest went out the window.

Gibson's Kepha ("Peter" in Aramaic) to the left of Jesus
(on Jesus' right hand).  The first Pope looks kind o' Jewish. 
Of course, it didn't help that Gibson's later maniacal episode had him regressing into his father's anti-Zionist paranoia.  Yet, how eagerly the powers that be focused their attention on this episode as having the utmost significance, even though the Judaean religious leaders are hardly the only Israelites in the movie.  So much more attention in fact, than they ever give to the Islamic leaders/activists and African American ministers that spout the same paranoia.  Curious.

But Christians all over America were still embarrassed that Gibson gave the anti-church crowd what they wanted (over 2 years later) by opening up a full can of crazy.  As they will probably be embarrassed that someone didn't speak up during the making of this latest Bible miniseries and say, "Hey, can we make the Devil at least as white-looking as the other main characters?  As a rule of thumb, it would distract people much less if the Devil is always at least as Caucasian-looking as Mary the mother of Jesus.

Odeya Rush
Speaking of which, I'm not sure if even the Israeli actress Odeya Rush is as conscientious a choice as Mel Gibson would have made (although Caviezel seems like a bad choice without the makeup).  However, she is slated for the title role in the prequel to Passion of the Christ., which is Mary, Mother of the Christ.  The continuity with Passion will be in the screenwriting not the directing.  (One Bible blockbuster sandwich, hold the Mel.)  To demonstrate how pervasive the anti-Passion propaganda has been, check out Odeya Rush's suspicion these many years later:
Rush said that she was somewhat reluctant when she was initially handed the script, but found it completely devoid of anti-Semitic sentiment.*
Odeya Rush was 6 years old when that movie came out.  Her knowledge of Passion was founded on hearsay.  The "anti-Semitic sentiment" that caused such an uproar for the first film was from the Gospel of John.  Hopefully, she would find all the Gospels devoid of the sentiment.

Jim Caviezel
... and Jim Caviezel
Post-script:  The Gibson/Caviezel portrayal is not only the least European Jesus we've seen, surpassing even Pasolini's unibrowed Spaniard in The Gospel According to Matthew, it is one of the most accessible, down-to-earth, naturally human portrayals ever, far removed from Zefirelli's hypno-tranced messiah.  Speaking of the White Jesus of Easters Past, here are Jeffrey Hunter from King of Kings and the Swede Max von Sydow from The Greatest Story Ever Told.   

Above:  Max von Sydow looks almost Middle Eastern next to this Son of Odin. 

Follow-up: Mehdi Ouazzani, the "Obama-Satan" actor has played many different ethnicities--mostly European.  I guess there would have been fewer complaints had he kept his sinister mustache for the Lucifer role.  He could've twirled it while offering Jesus the kingdoms of the earth.  
Obama "look-alike" Mehdi Ouazzani

Errata: I originally confused the roles of Victor Argo (Peter/Cephas) and Harvey Keitel (Judas) in Last Temptation.

Jesus Hood and his band of swarthy men:

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