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Topic: Music and Ethics

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  1. #1

    Music and Ethics

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    let me start by saying that i havent seen the film at all or heard the music but reading this article made me think of how music can be used in very negative dishonest ways

    my question is if it is, does that make the music crap, no matter how well composed it is?

    should music have a ethical dimension?

    this is the article

    ZNet | Miscellaneous

    An Academy Award for Bigotry

    by Mike Davis; TomDispatch; March 08, 2004

    The most evil film ever made was probably Jud Suess, commissioned by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in 1940 to fan hatred of the Jews on the eve of the Final Solution. A thousand years of European anti-Semitism were condensed in the image of the cowering rapist Suess, with his dirty beard, hook nose, and whining voice. The audience was instigated to rejoice in the lynching of this subhuman monster at the film\'s end.



    To anyone who has ever seen Jud Suess (as I did in college), the most startling thing about Mel Gibson\'s The Passion of the Christ -- even more than its relentless, shockingly eroticized cruelty -- is its fidelity to the anti-Semitic conventions of Hitlerian cinema.



    Indeed, the high priest Caiaphas and his colleagues are such exact, blatant replicas of Suess that I suspect they must be direct borrowings. Moreover, Passion is one of the most manipulative films ever made and, after two hours watching mobs howling in delight at Christ\'s suffering, it is no wonder that many devout American viewers, like their German predecessors, have left theaters muttering, \"I hate the Jews.\"



    The Romans, on the other hand, are shown as noble imperialists. In contrast to the vile Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate is depicted by Gibson as a sympathetic, even saintly figure, tragically trapped between orders from Rome (no more uprisings) and the implacable machinations of the high priests.



    As in Suess, moreover, there is a constant contrasting of somatic stereotypes. Mediterranean types -- the two Mary\'s, Pilate and his wife, and so on -- are rendered with softened features and sensitive spirits, while the Semites -- Caiaphas, sybaritic King Herod, and so on -- are depicted as coarse and repulsively sensual. (In a contemporary American context, such heavy-handed visual anti-Semitism, of course, instantly summons up anti-Arab connotations as well.)



    Gibson\'s insistence on using original languages -- Aramaic and Latin -- has impressed naive viewers that Passion represents some new benchmark in historical accuracy. In fact, history (the little actually recorded of these events, apart from the posthumous theology of the gospels) is bizarrely inverted.



    Jesus, of course, is an utterly enigmatic figure. The only \'facts\' in his life -- as attested by both Roman and Jewish historians -- is that he existed and was executed by the Romans. Pilate, on the other hand, has left a slightly larger record.



    Unlike Gibson\'s kindly fiction, the historical Pilate was an ordinary imperial procurator in a third-class province who kept his legions busy with brutal executions of Jewish and Samaritan rebels. Palestine, then as today, lived under an iron heel, and the Passion\'s confusion of oppressor and oppressed is morally obnoxious.



    Some American critics, however, have tried to defend The Passion by pointing out that Gibson\'s real bête noire is the Vatican, not the Jews. Indeed Gibson explicitly made the film to promote the religious vision of the rabid Catholic traditionalist splinter group in which he grew up. (Passion\'s tormented Jesus, Seattle actor James Caviezel, is also a fundamentalist Catholic, claiming personal visitations from the Virgin.)



    But the \"tradition\" he so zealously defends is precisely the anti-Semitic Catholic fascism of former Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco and Pope Pius XII. And, like Franco ideologues and their Croatian fascist counterparts of that era, Gibson has the same morbid, vengeful obsession with pain, mutilation, bodily corruption, and the ever-present temptation of Satan (who constantly prowls the perimeter of his film).



    In short, Passion is the medieval vision of a pogromist, amplified by Hollywood special effects and the cachet of celebrity. It is protected by a formidable wall of enthusiastic endorsements from the American religious right as well as by the tolerance of ordinary Gibson fans who just can\'t believe that their goofy, handsome hero is really such a grotesque reactionary.



    Mike Davis is author, most recently, of the kids\' adventure, Land of the Lost Mammoths (Perceval Press, 2003) and co-author of Under the Perfect Sun: the San Diego Tourists Never See (New Press, 2003).



    Copyright C2004 Mike Davis



    [This article first appeared on Tomdispatch.com, a weblog of the Nation Institute, which offers a steady flow of alternate sources, news, and opinion from Tom Engelhardt, long time editor in publishing and author of The End of Victory Culture and The Last Days of Publishing.]

  2. #2

    Re: Music and Ethics

    I wonder if the writer of the article forgot the fact that Jesus himself was a jew? I don\'t understand how Gibson could be accused of being anti-semetic when he professes faith in a semite.

    I also find it a bit puzzling about the insistance of using original languages when it was greek and aramaic that were commonly spoken back then, not latin!

    Rob

  3. #3

    Re: Music and Ethics

    I haven\'t seen the movie, so can\'t comment directly, but I truly doubt that ALL the Romans are noble and ALL of the Jews are stereotypes. Weren\'t Jesus and Mary and all of the disciples Jews as well?

    Like any society, I\'m sure there are good people and bad people. If this had been set in Japan would we be saying it\'s a racist movie because some of the Japanese are portrayed in a less than flattering manner?

    I know many people who have seen this movie and none of them have even vaguely intimated that they have anything against the Jews. Those in the audience who do, most likely already felt that way before they went in.

    Finally, it\'s JUST A MOVIE! A piece of fiction created by a man about an event that may or may not have happened.

    Get over it.

  4. #4
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    Re: Music and Ethics

    All characters and events depicted herein are purely fictitious and similarity to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental...


    The missing page of the Bible.


    It always seems the people of biblical times were pretty ghoulish and sadistic whatever their religion or ethnical background. I\'m of Jewish descent, and shudder to think what my ancestors did to their own (just as I do when I watch what goes in in Israel and Palestine today!). Fact is, look back in history as well as in today\'s world and every race and country seems to have its fair share of evil with the general population of each often to blame for failing to stop it or being involved in it.

  5. #5
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    Re: Music and Ethics


  6. #6

    Re: Music and Ethics

    Any allegation that \"The Passion\" is anti-Semitic is patently ridiculous. Charles, it is my humble advice to you to not even bother re-posting articles such as this one until you have seen the movie yourself. To me it is very ethically suspect to propogate this kind of slander.

    I cannot see how anyone who has seen the movie can say that it is anti-Semitic. Besides the facts that Jesus, Mary, John, and most of the other apostles were ALL Jews, there are a couple of very specific parts of the movie where Jews other than these more central characters are shown in a very sympathetic light. And whoever says that the Romans were saintly must have been watching a different movie altogether. If there was ANYONE who was sadistic and brutal, it was the Romans -- bar none.

    If the movie was \"Hitlarian\", does this writer actually think Gibson would have cast Mary (probably the most venerated of saints in Roman Catholocism) with a Jewish actress? Ridiculous!

    To maintain that this film was anti-Semitic requires that you simply close your eyes through the majority of the film and only open them at select moments.

    Indeed, these kinds of detractors are on par with those (and some may even be the same individuals) who tried to denegrate George Lucas because they thought his alien character \"Wato\" (sp?) in Episode 1 was an anti-Semitic stereotype characature. They write these articles that sound as though they\'ve been thoroughly researched and thought out, but after consideration of the subjects in question (both Episode 1 and The Passion), the arguments are absurd on their face.

    Do us all a favor and don\'t perpetuate this kind of divisive drivel. At least not until you\'ve seen the movie yourself.

  7. #7

    Re: Music and Ethics

    Controversy seems to attract attention. Maybe Charles is actually working for Mel to increase box office revenues!!! [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    Rob

  8. #8

    Re: Music and Ethics

    The controversey certainly didn\'t hurt its box office performance. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  9. #9

    Re: Music and Ethics

    Hello

    i only posted it to see what people felt about the relationship of music and ethics, it could be a million other films or plays or whatever

    so its just one eg now how about discussing the topic Music and Ethics

    for eg Plato believed the modes had a effect on morals maybe even the whole society

    so maybe a more detached philosophical dimension would be helpful, i couldnt help but notice when people were discussing the music to the passion, that they only heard the music , but for me music is a living thing that interacts with all areas, i remember a phrase by Paul Tillich \" Dishonest Beautification\"

    thats what i think of when i hear music that has plenty of show and color, color is usually very seductive both for the composer and the audience now in some instances this might be appropriate but in others not, i think the Classical Style is beautiful because it embodies the Philosophy of 5th century Athens, the balance of reason and emotion etc and i think its no accident that the best string quartets were written in that period and not the more colorful Romantic Period

  10. #10

    Re: Music and Ethics

    Originally posted by Brady Wright:
    Any allegation that \"The Passion\" is anti-Semitic is patently ridiculous. Charles, it is my humble advice to you to not even bother re-posting articles such as this one until you have seen the movie yourself. To me it is very ethically suspect to propogate this kind of slander.

    I cannot see how anyone who has seen the movie can say that it is anti-Semitic. Besides the facts that Jesus, Mary, John, and most of the other apostles were ALL Jews, there are a couple of very specific parts of the movie where Jews other than these more central characters are shown in a very sympathetic light. And whoever says that the Romans were saintly must have been watching a different movie altogether. If there was ANYONE who was sadistic and brutal, it was the Romans -- bar none.

    If the movie was \"Hitlarian\", does this writer actually think Gibson would have cast Mary (probably the most venerated of saints in Roman Catholocism) with a Jewish actress? Ridiculous!

    To maintain that this film was anti-Semitic requires that you simply close your eyes through the majority of the film and only open them at select moments.

    Indeed, these kinds of detractors are on par with those (and some may even be the same individuals) who tried to denegrate George Lucas because they thought his alien character \"Wato\" (sp?) in Episode 1 was an anti-Semitic stereotype characature. They write these articles that sound as though they\'ve been thoroughly researched and thought out, but after consideration of the subjects in question (both Episode 1 and The Passion), the arguments are absurd on their face.

    Do us all a favor and don\'t perpetuate this kind of divisive drivel. At least not until you\'ve seen the movie yourself.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">how are words and the openness of a discussion perpetuating slander, if anything it promotes understanding, i would say it is you that has to have a good look at yourself

    cheers

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