Passion Particulars: Scapegoats

Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Religion / Christianity / Passion Movie /
2004

Assorted Scholarship and Comments on the Crucifixion in and Around The Passion of the Christ

Scapegoatism

The prince misbehaves. You can’t beat the prince, but you’ve got to beat something: so you beat the slave.

You want rain. You get drought. It’s got to be somebody’s fault, right? Assigning blame is a basic human behavior. It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be true. Since when was man ever constrained by the truth of anything? You wanted rain … crops, plenty, wealth, leisure … Reality has fallen short of your ambitions, desires … So in a murderous rage you find something helpless and tear it limb from limb.

O, what can you do in a case like that?
What can you do, but stamp on your hat
And your toothbrush, and your grandmother
And everything that’s helpless.

Collected by Carl Sandberg

Now: God comes to visit. You’ve been waiting for this. How come those Philistines are still here? How come the Egyptians had all the goodies instead of us? Where did these filthy Romans come from? How come they have the all-conquering armies? At last, God should bully the bullies and make them carry you on their shoulders. But this God doesn’t tear down the temple: he says Love each other.

“Love each other?” squeal the priests, the courtiers, the cops … “Love each other?” squeals King Herod: and the Roman lifers.

This God won’t fight back? Tear him apart!

What could frustrated kleptocrats possibly hate more than a bully who won’t bully them?

If Jesus had stepped on their face, he’d have had no problem with them. they’d have licked his heel.

Men, poor weak creatures, have not the courage to pay for their sins themselves:
they place them upon one who is sinless.

Kazantzakis’ Jesus


A movie about Jesus getting tortured: will the Jews be blamed?

That’s like worrying if terrorists will be blamed for the bomb: or “n-s” for the rape. Of course they will be.[Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 03 Offensive terms go dosidos in fashion.] The question of guilt will be separate: just as the question of whether Jesus was the Christ is separate from the question of whether or not there is such an entity as Christ. But forget about any of these “truths” or falsehoods: they distract from much more fertile questions: questions that might actually be answerable.

Is anti-Semitism the most appropriate response to a belief in the crucifixion of Jesus? In scapegoatism the goat is seldom the most guilty party. (Actually, in scapegoatism, the goat is seldom guilty at all.)


Blessed are the meek, for they make great scapegoats.

Shanghai fortune cookie

Americans march on Washington DC all the time, but we march empty handed. Are you kidding? THEY’ve got the soldiers, the guns, the bombs … No, when Americans march armed, it will always be against the helpless: the slave, the migrant, the vagabond …

And DC itself? Grown from the same stock. We’re pissed at Russia? We kill Koreans. At Russia and China? We annihilate Vietnamese …


2008 06 09

Back from jail I’m watching a neighbor’s DVD of Shogun. I’d read that novel a couple of times before the TV series came out, then I watched the TV series whenever I had the occasion. (The original airing of the fourth episode conflicted with an opening at my gallery, but what the hell, Richard Chamberlin was supposed to attend my show for Gail Bruce (show biz people following each other about).) Protagonist Blackthorne has been protected and promoted by Toranaga Sama. He’s given a village, the village is supposed to help make him slightly less foreign, help him with his Japanese. Someone gives Ainjin San Blackthorne a pheasant: and our hero hangs it up to age before he feats on the meat.

Out hero wasn’t aware that the Japanese don’t rot game before consuming it; they hate and fear the stench. The village is caught in a double bind: the village is Blackthorne’s servant; servants must obey orders, disobedience is punished by death … The village is damned if it obeys the order, and damned if it disobeys. The solution is in numbers: one sacrifices himself for the many. The old gardener volunteers to take down the rotting bird and throw it away. His fellow villagers then ceremoniously behead the old gardener. He gets an honorable death; they are relieved of the rotting pheasant corpse.

Just like Jesus, neh?

In Christianity two cultures, the Roman and the Hebrew, are shown murdering God, not knowing what they are doing, to a third culture, the Christians, which does know what the Hebrews and the Romans were doing … I no longer believe that. I don’t believe that the Hebrews knew what they were doing, I don’t believe that the Romans knew what they were doing … I further believe that the story is a group fiction: told to flatter the group, to deceive the group, to deceive the group that it’s saved: I don’t believe that the Christians know what they’re doing either.

Bill Maher, on Christianity:

They make it up as they go along!

Indeed all such groups are committing suicide by their lack of self(-or-other-)knowledge — and, says pk,

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Passion group, menu

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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