Tuesday

jerry springer: the opera: what's all the fuss about? a critique

if you want to read the piece, it is here, but i cover all the interesting bits with direct quotations. maybe there was some stuff i missed.

the introductory paragraph is merely mild deprecation of the show, disapproving of it's swearing and portrayal of sexual deviants and perverts. so far, so much like the real jerry springer. it doesn't even have a 'not that there's anything wrong with that type of thing' disclaimer. the author clearly things that people who enjoy cacking their pants are a lowerr grade of person. but i digress.

paragraph 2, 'let's all have a laugh at jesus', is a straight selected description of act 2, which i would factually broadly agree with. jesus does say he is a 'little bit gay', mary is told she was 'raped by god' (actually, they don't tell her she was raped by god, more they declame it to the audience. a little poetic licence on the author's part) and she does 'rant' (more poetic licence.. she sings it. this is an opera remember) at jesus saying 'he abandoned her by dying on the cross'. is 'god is put across as an old fool whos needs therapy', which is not what i took from god in the play at all. the author confuses 'advice and a shoulder to rest on' with 'therapy' which is a different league of advice and shoulder support.

paragraph 3, 'more ridicule of the saviour'
'talk to the stigmata' is one of the most genius lines in a play in the last few years. in this paragraph is an open attack on stewart lee, who it is claimed "hate[s] jesus christ and christianity", thereby trying to force the play into hate-crime territory by moving it beyond the religion. yes, he refers to "judeo-christian "mythology"" (but without the added quotation marks around 'mythology'), which to be fair, is probably the bit of the play that i would expect christians to find most antogonising. but to be fair, just because a commitee wrote the myths down on a bit of paper, doesn't make them anything more than a myth. and to be put out at jesus in a nappy - well the christians are the ones who've been drawing him as such all these centuries! he wears a nappy all the time! that's why it's funny! that's the joke.

the next paragraph is where the author stops taking offence and starts hitting back, causing me offence in the process. it is titled 'not even a moral message'. it contains the sound-bite "jerry springer the opra is a hate show, pure and simple, designed to be as offensive as possible to god and to christians". all i can say is: 'you're so vain, you probably think this play is about you.' it claims that ""yin yang, no wrong, no right", that isn't a moral, let alone a christian message. 'no right or wrong' is amoral, the morality of hell." really? i thought that the devil was meant to be evil, not amoral. and to claim that the anarchic message is not moral is a mistake. we must define our own morals, and we must build heaven on earth, not wait to recieve it in death. i can see how christians would take offence at this - but was blake not a christian when he wrote 'jerusalem'? here too, we are shown the weakness of the author's argument: "that's where morality begins, by being god-centred and selfless." you simply can't argue with that, and that's the point, and the problem. to say that i can't have morals because i don't have a god is rubbish, and i would say the opposite of the truth. as a nihilist, i have no incentive to perform good acts. for me they are their own reward, they are worth doing because they are good in ways that are too broad to define here, not because they give me experiance points handed down by some heavenly games master that i can spend on a better afterlife.

"gratuitous offence"
"we christians take it personally when our saviour is insulted." why? can't he look after himself?
i raised this point with the girl with the stick outside. "if, as you say, this play makes god unhappy, why doesn't he do something about it?" "he allows it to happen", she said. then i asked her how she could tell what god allowed to happen, and what he willed to happen. and so forth, until my father started screaming at them, and i had to take him home. this paragraph also contains the absolute pearl of the pamplet: "people in peril naturally pray to god because they believe he has power to send a miracle. there are no atheists in a sinking ship".
it then gets heavy, unreasonable, and tries to rely on circumstantial evidence with the conviction of a madman. "jesus christ has been worshipped in the british isles for nearly 2000 years. we are to this day a constituionally christian nation." the whole second half of the pamplet is not about the play at all, but turns into another boring pamphlet about how jesus died for your sins and what you can do about it, which i can go into another time. but it was fun while it lasted.
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