Passion Unleashes Passions


I haven’t written anything here about Mel Gibson’s film, more or less hoping that, like locusts, it would eventually just go away. I had a dialogue with David Neiwert at Orcinus and some other folks habiting his Comments board (my contribution starts here and continues in subsequent Passion posts) but that has been the extent of it. I said it was just a movie, after all, David replied, in part:

It’s becoming harder to pretend that it’s “just a movie” anymore…. Hate crimes have already popped up their ugly visage, as well as various iterations of anti-Semitism in differing degrees.

–and then went on to give examples. David’s argument that Passion is a medieval throwback is compelling; his thesis that it could act as a center and rallying-point for nascent anti-Semitism and fundie-Xian intolerance is thinner but certainly worth serious thought. But his–and my–assumption that it could bring a lot of whacks out of the closet has already proved accurate. Witness:

HARTLAND, ME — A Hartland man was treated at a Pittsfield hospital after he nailed himself to a cross. The 23-year-old man apparently was trying to commit suicide Thursday evening in his living room, the Bangor Daily News reported.Somerset County Sheriff Barry DeLong said Monday that no charges will be filed. “There is no crime here,” he said.

Police said the man appeared delusional and told them he had been “seeing pictures of God on the computer.” He told them he had not seen the hit movie “The Passion of the Christ,” which depicts the Crucifixion of Jesus.

Lt. Pierre Boucher said the man took two pieces of wood, nailed them together in the form of a cross and placed them on the floor. He attached a suicide sign to the wood and then proceeded to nail one of his hands to the makeshift cross using a 14-penny nail and a hammer.

“When he realized that he was unable to nail his other hand to the board, he called 911,” Boucher said.

It was unclear whether the man was seeking assistance for his injury or help in nailing down his other hand.

And this not in the back-hill South but the back hills of staid, still-Puritanish New England–Maine, to be exact, where one thought most folks had more sense. Still, you gotta admire the kind of mind that couldn’t figure out ahead of time that if he nailed one hand down, he wouldn’t have any way of nailing down the other.

This is not a joke, btw, but a real event, more’s the damn pity.

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