Tuesday, April 08, 2014

gladiator? i hardly noah

Couple of footnotes to the rather long Noah post:

Ray Comfort's complaining about the film (among all the shameless promotion of his own effort) reaches an adorable crescendo of utterly oblivious lack of self-awareness here:
No wonder it was listed as ‘fiction.’
Yeah, because some of the stuff they shoehorned in there was just ridiculous! Nonetheless the studio (Paramount) have felt obliged to put out a weaselly self-justifying press statement, as follows:
The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the Book of Genesis.
It's hard to see who they're going to satisfy with that, as the actress said to the bishop. The religious fundamentalists would have wanted it to say "based on a true story", despite that clearly being nonsense, and no-one else gives a rat's arse about any supposed controversy. I guess they just did it so that they could say they'd done it.

More disappointingly, Darren Aronofsky himself, generally a more spiky and uncompromising character than the bland corporate drones who put out his films, can't quite bring himself to follow through on his supposed atheism and drops this little turd of wishy-washy accommodationist nonsense into the mix:
Ultimately, though, the director has little patience with literalists on either side of the believer-atheist divide. It's ungenerous to insist, as some Christians do, that there is only one way to interpret Genesis, according to Aronofsky. But it's also pointless to argue, as some atheists have, that no ark could possibly hold all the animals. The story of the flood has lasted for millennia not because it’s "right" – or wrong – but because it’s deep and alive and unsettling, the director said.
I have literally no idea what a "literalist" on the atheist side of the divide would look like, unless he just means someone that believes the Bible in general, and the flood myth in particular, to be literally not an accurate reflection of historical reality. And it's far from pointless to make the obvious point that pretty much every detail of the story is incoherent nonsense that doesn't stand up to the merest whiff of scrutiny.

Incidentally I've had the Ray Comfort film going in another window while I've been writing this, and I can report that it's really not what you'd expect, given that you'd presumably expect it to be mostly about Noah and the ark and the flood and all that stuff. I mean, there is a bit of that, but mainly it's far more lazy and directionless and dishonest than that, consisting mainly of Comfort's bizarre attempts to draw parallels between the lead-up to the flood and modern-day evils like gay marriage and how they may presage another Godly tantrum and a cleansing bout of vengeance, and Comfort's well-worn shtick of accosting various barely-coherent slack-jawed stoners on some Los Angeles beachfront and running rings round them with his well-practised huckster's patter. As an exercise in drumming up controversy, and more importantly business for his Living Waters ministry, while expending almost no budget whatsoever, it's quite impressive, although the naked unscrupulousness of the whole enterprise is a bit shocking, though possibly not as shocking as the Just For Men beard and hair-dye job Comfort is sporting these days.

No mention of Ray Comfort is complete without linking to the magnificent banana video. His subsequent attempts to pass it off as "satire" just make it even more delicious, since they demonstrate his utter failure to grasp what was wrong with the original in the first place.

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