Saturday, September 9, 2023

Giving Offense. . .

The other day I heard a review of the movie Oppenheimer on NPR.  I do not recall the reviewer or the source of the program but was casually listening on my drive into Church.  Not far into the piece, the reviewer issued a warning and registered her personal offense at a scene in the movie.  Apparently the scene showed a bare breasted woman reading from the Bhagavad Gita - 'The Song of God'- a collection of 700 verses from the great epic Mahabharata, composed millenniums ago by Veda Vyasa, a prehistoric sage of India. It is a holy book to the Hindi religion.  It was a way of tying together the quote of Oppenheimer after the successful US detonation of the first nuclear weapon with the movie  (‘Now I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.’ vs 32).  I am not saying that the reviewer had no right to be offended (we seem to have the right to be offended by anything and everything today).  But in comparison to the way, for example, Christianity is treated in films, this is a minor offense.

What was so curious to me is the deep offense taken by the reviewer, who could recount only one of two parents who had Hindi association.  She was careful to say that the nakedness would be covered for the sake of the audience in India.  It was, in my view, a rather mild offense given the overt and blasphemous treatment of Christianity in the arts -- movies not in the least of them.  She did not identify herself as Hindi but took it personally against her family and history.  On the other hand, Christians who profess the apostolic creed are routinely offended by what they see and hear on and in the media.

The whole episode pointed out the radically different way that Christianity is treated in and by the media in comparison to other religions.  We are expected to roll with the punches while other religions, most notably Islam, is treated with kid gloves.  It is one small proof of what we have said all along.  Christianity is the only legitimate bigotry left in the Western world today.  You must be careful about what you say publicly about every rainbow gender or sexual orientation, about every religion, about Covid, about climate change -- but you can say what you want about Christianity and it is your protected right to defame, blaspheme, and offend.  Period.  That is the modern state of affairs in art, music, media, whatever.  To say otherwise is to deny fact.

No comments: