It's getting harder and harder to find anything authentic about our dear leader, His Eminence the Hon. J.F. Kerry. The last straw came during a special screening earlier this week of one of the most controversial and violent movies of all time. Much to our shock it includes one character who kind of looks and acts like Kerry -- no, not Pontius Pilate, though that's not a bad guess -- saying to his executioner, "Do you know who I am?" And before you know it, the big shot answers his own question. "I'm Moe Green." Back in 1972, when The Godfather was released and casino king Green breathed his last, no one except Kerry cared who Kerry was. Now he's still having difficulty getting gumba Republicans to show him the respect he demands.
Word on the street and in speak-easies is that Kerry hesitated to see the Godfather films, for fear they might be at heart anti-ethnic, not to mention anti-senatorial. He's now confessed to a similar concern regarding Mel Gibson's hot new pic. Might it perhaps be anti-Semitic, he frets, not that he would want his concern to be mistaken for opposition to Palestinian and Arab claims on the West Bank of the Jordan, the Left Bank of the Seine, and the World Bank of Washington, Rome and Geneva? He may still go see Gibson's movie, after the commission he's appointed to analyze its content reports back to him. In the meantime, he is upset that Gibson rushed into release of the film, without U.N. permission and the endorsement of foreign critics speaking for our major allies.
Kerry's allies among domestic opponents of Gibsonism have taken it from there, using every device left to them to discredit The Passion. In two dark-clouded headlines, the New York Times announced "New Film May Harm Gibson's Career" and "New Film May Damage Gibson's Hollywood Career." The paper reports talk that Gibson, once known "as a self-confessed abuser of various substances," is now addicted to religion. The Times hasn't played this dirty since the internal report it did on Jayson Blair.
But everyone is playing for keeps, though what Gibson's detractors would do to his soul if he sold it to them is anyone's guess. Some of them thought it clever to mock the subject of the film itself, as for example the New Yorker did with the headline "Nailed," atop its review. The weekend Wall Street Journal contends the movie "is brought low by violence." What was it expecting, a civil rights march on the Washington Mall? To those raised in Catholic captivity during the pontificate of Pius XII, the actual brutality is par for the course. The only difference is that back in the '50s there was no such thing as slo-mo.
We remain a country divided, between those who know there was a Crucifixion and those who now dismiss it as "crucifiction." There's also the exceptional Maureen Dowd, who came out of this latest Gibson film with the same urge she says she always feels coming out of a Gibson film: she wanted to smash somebody's face in. So of course she attacked George W. Bush. Apparently his call for a marriage amendment reminded her of the singleness of her condition. What's a gentleman to do? Or a gentlelady? In Dowd's case, she reaches deep into her bag of Great Works to quote from a Woody Allen movie, in which one character said, "If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up."
That quote has followers, none more poetic than Al Gore's former passion-kiss consultant, Ms. Naomi Wolf. In her latest self-promotion she describes a pass made at her by a famous Yale professor during her undergraduate days decades ago, whereupon she promptly rushed to a sink to throw up. ("I was well known with my poetry at Yale," she tells the New York Observer.) Fairly hot stuff, the sort that gets Al Gore to think of rising temperatures and Enemy Central to remind itself to hold its nose in handing out this week's EOW stipend and air-sickness bag to the howling Wolf.