Thursday, June 22, 2006

Spinning Clergy

So a couple of ministers make a movie about football. It gets a PG rating, which is about what they expected. Then, so far as we can tell, here's what happens:

The MPAA, which rates films, gives Facing the Giants a PG for "mature themes." These are pretty common in pictures about guys pounding the crap out of each other then getting naked and showering together. (See under: North Dallas Forty, or Cruising.)

But somehow, the religious themes of the movie also come up in conversation. So the producers decide that they got their rating based on religious bias, rather than the aforementioned pounding and showering. And they raise a big stink, and are joined by the usual crowd of thugs and morons, by which we mean the US House of Representatives.

Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., sent an angry letter to the MPAA. "If religion creates a warning for parents and kids and violence and bad language don't, this thing appears to me to be heading in the wrong direction, and I think most Americans would agree," Blunt said.

Can you smell the spin here, people? An indie flick about football is pretty ho-hum stuff; but an indie flick about football that's been censored by the evil ratings bureaucracy and defended by a few stalwart people of faith -- well, heck, that's a cause celebre. (Or would be, if Republicans could read French). It's all a crock, of course. That's not why they got the rating. But wouldn't it be cool if it were? Think of the tickets they'd sell, the church-group DVDs, the Hollywood offers. So even though it isn't true, they must have decided, let's just say it is.

And we'll even find a pet Congressman to go in on the gag. (Blunt knows from spin -- he's married to a tobacco lobbyist. Not Aaron Eckhardt, though.)

Here's the funniest part -- and we don't mean ha-ha-funny:

One of the filmmakers said he'd want to be warned if his children were going to see a film with a pro-Islamic message. "But our country wasn't founded on Islamic values," [said producer-star Alex Kendrick.] "It was founded on Judeo-Christian values."

This defender of free speech actually approves of warning moviegoers about religious content, provided it isn't his religion. Yeah, that's the spirit that made America great, isn't it?

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