Mary Gordon

Recent Articles

Silence of the Flock

If Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is a problem, what is the problem, and whose problem is it, anyway? There are in fact two problems, and their relationship is both oblique and shadowy. The most important is the film's anti-Semitism. Gibson and his screenwriter, Benedict Fitzgerald, say they didn't intend to make an anti-Semitic film, and we must, I suppose, take them at their word. But even taking them at their word addresses only the conscious intentions; if one examines the imagery and associations in the film, the power of the unconscious rears its head -- and in this case it is an ugly and a dangerous one. In a world in which acts of violence against Jews and their sacred places are on the rise, any work capable of fanning these always fannable flames is morally dicey. The possibility that Gibson's film, whether intentionally or not, will contribute to growing anti-Semitism -- not only in this country but in the world at large -- is a problem for all people of goodwill,...