Rutten: 'The Passion' dangerous

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"Watching Mel Gibson cleverly build interest in his unreleased film on Christ's execution is like watching an unwholesomely willful child playing with matches," begins Tim Rutten's media piece in the L.A. Times today.

The immediate temptation may be to let the little brat learn the lesson that burnt fingers will teach. That impulse, however, is quickly overcome — not only because no decent person stands idly by while pain is inflicted, but also because, if the kid starts a fire, other people may be hurt.

Rutten sees ugliness ahead in the controversy over The Passion and blames Gibson in part.

But there is more than clever marketing behind Gibson's coyness. What he and his coworkers need to avoid at all cost are discussions of the religious convictions he has said led him to make the film. The actor often is described as a "devout" or "serious" Catholic. He is not, in fact, a Roman Catholic. He and his family are members of one of the so-called traditionalist splinter group that broke with the Roman Catholic Church over the reforms made by the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s.

Alas, under the new LATimes.com scheme that begins today, all of the news and columnists in the front of the paper are free; those that happen to run in Calendar cost money to non-subscribers. Go figure. Here's the link anyway.


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