You may have come across this documentary recently on youtube, and it pretty much does what it says on the tin, being an examination of the USA’s love affair with guns and how the heck they manage to tie that in with worshipping Jesus. There’s some scary guys on this film; there’s a preacher who says Jesus wasn’t a pacifist but a ‘hellraiser’ (well yes, he was anti-establishment but…) and another who says that the passage about Jesus making a scourge to chase the moneychangers out of the temple basically means that it’s OK for everyone to carry assault rifles. Hmm.
This is not unique to the USA; after all we took part enthusiastically in the Crusades. Then again that was seven hundred years ago and I’m hoping we’ve moved on a little. Not so some of these guys who talk openly about massacring Muslims.
Much of this film is quite hard to take. But the hellraising preachers are interspersed with the ‘righteous’ guys, those who see the gospel as preaching peace and if not total pacifism then at least non-aggression. How do the hell-raisers explain ‘turn the other cheek’ I wonder? Do they even go there?
But even some of the ‘righteous’ guys are a little scary. There’s one guy who ‘wore out’ his Bible and when he took it back to the shop and showed them the shattered bindings they said ‘but these editions have a lifetime guarantee.’ So they gave him a new one and he wore that out too. I dread to think what he was doing to it. Sometimes it seems to me that intense study can be a substitute for thought and contemplation.
As a documentary it has some interesting – and appalling – footage but seems to lack direction, being a series of clips and interviews with those for peace and those who want Jesus as their army mascot. It reminds me of a line from Blake:
both read the Bible day and night
but thou read’st black where I read white.
But before I got into the murky world of US religion I went onto Britbox andcaught up once more with Silk.
From the outside at least, the legal world is an endless source of fascination. The phrase ‘courtroom drama’ is almost a tautology since the judicial confrontation looks like a drama in itself. You’ve got the Greek elements of thesis and antithesis resolving – hopefully – in the synthesis of the verdict; you’ve got the cast of characters all dressed up in gowns and wigs, you’ve got heroes and villains; and all any writer has to do is choose from a series of offences to make an interesting plot. The thing practically writes itself.
Except that without some kind of twist it becomes dull and predictable; but this is not a charge anyone could make of Silk. Rather than the usual upper-class chaps, this series stars Maxine Peake as a working-class Northern lass who makes it as a barrister and is on her way to becoming a QC. Her opposite number, Clive Reader, is the epitome of the traditional barrister; old-Harrovian, white, smooth, plausible and very charming, especially with women. These two frequently clash but also genuinely like and respect each other.
And last night I was induced to go onto Netflix and watch Get Out, a film which OH insisted was brilliant. It was pretty good but I thought it went a bit weird and zombie-ish at the end. I won’t say any more in case you want to watch it yourself. Oh, and we’re also looking forward to seeing all of Ken Loach’s films being released for free, though we’re not sure where.
So that’s what I’ve been watching. And how the heck do you pronounce JESUSA? Is it ‘Jess-ooza’? Or Jesus-ah? or Jeez-U-S-A? I think we should be told…