Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Christian movie flap outstupids itself

Okay, so you'll remember about a month ago I snarked over a tempest that had sprung up in a teeny-tiny teapot over a Christian film reportedly getting a PG rating for no reason other than that it had Christian content, and how Donald Wildmon and other Christian Right attack dogs were predictably pouncing on this as a prime example of how evil librul Hoolywood lives to gang up on poor defenseless put-upon Christians.

As stupid as the initial flap was, it has, amazingly enough, gotten stupider. Evidently, Congress has done such a fine job of solving all of our nation's other pressing problems — the Iraq Debacle, skyrocketing gas prices, restoring New Orleans, Dick Cheney's aim — that they now have the free time to "revisit this ratings process." Wow! Remarkable how a group of religious extremists who have politicians in their pockets still have the cojones to whine that they are somehow oppressed. But that's the wonderful you-can-have-it-all-and-still-play-the-martyr world of the fundamentalist, ain't it?

Okay, here's what's going on, courtesy of Martin the Oracle. (Actually, it's Martin the Guy Who Knows a Thing or Two About Fundies and Can Make Some Pretty Confident Educated Guesses.) The producers of Facing the Giants aren't the least bit upset that their movie got a PG. After all, it's not as if a PG limits distribution or attendance in any way; hell, an unescorted toddler can walk into a PG movie entirely legally. This is all an opportunistic publicity stunt. Let's be real. Facing the Giants is a tiny-budgeted independent movie with no stars. At best, it was looking at very limited theatrical release, followed by a quick drop onto DVD where it would while away its days on the racks of Christian bookstores. In other words, we weren't exactly looking at Narnia-sized box office, and to get that, studios customarily spend tens of millions anyway. Suddenly, Giants gets a PG, and the producers think, "Hello! If we made a big media stink about this, and got Wildmon and Dobson and all the rest of the outrage merchants in on it, as well as a few pandering right-wing Congressmembers, then viola! We'll get colossal amounts of free advertising in the form of news items that we never could have paid for in a million years, and we'll be reinforcing that vote-getting meme that we're the victims of persecution by long-haired fag-enabling godless Jew lefties! Sweet!"

Hey, can't say I blame 'em. For all I know, it's what Jesus would do.