Respectful Insolence

People, it’s just a book and a movie!

I was just going to leave my plug for the Skeptics’ Circle this week stand as my only post today–until I became aware of some serious lunacy:

MUMBAI (AFP) - A Catholic group called on Christians to starve themselves to death in protest at the release of “The Da Vinci Code” at cinemas in India as others burned copies of the novel.

The Catholic Secular Forum said it hoped thousand of people would attend a protest Wednesday in Mumbai to burn effigies of Dan Brown, the author of the best-selling novel.

“It’s to show the extent that our feelings have been hurt,” said the group’s general secretary Joseph Dias, speaking of the “fast unto death” call if the government fails to take action.

He denied the hunger strike was irresponsible. “It’s a more Christian way of doing things rather than pulling down things and tearing them up,” he said.

The “Catholic Secular Forum”? Truly, that’s a misnamed group. And, really, I don’t see much of an improvement in starving oneself to death over a movie as compared to Muslims rioting over cartoons a few months ago. True, you don’t hurt anyone else by starving yourself to death, but what a waste to kill yourself over a summer popcorn movie that’s not meant to do anything other than entertain with a thrilling murder and conspiracy mystery.

I’d have to ask these guys: As Catholics, don’t you think that, if you’re going to sacrifice your life, God would want you to do it over something that really matters, rather than trying to pressure your government to ban an inconsequential movie? Besides, having been raised Catholic, I know that the Catholic Church considers suicide to be a mortal sin. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that there is an exception for something like a hunger strike. Aren’t you worried about ending up in hell for your sacrifice? I doubt that the Catholic Church supports such extreme protests.

Comments

  1. #1 Corkscrew
    May 11, 2006

    And, really, I don’t see much of an improvement in starving oneself to death over a movie as compared to Muslims rioting over cartoons a few months ago.

    There’s a major difference – in this case, we can just leave the morons to their own devices.

    Hmm, I wonder if any successful hunger strikers would get Darwin awards?

    (It does really suck that these people are thinking of killing themselves, but the scenario is way too daft to take seriously)

  2. #2 J-Dog
    May 11, 2006

    Right on dude… I was raised a Catholic as well, but I had the good sense to buy a “Blank-check Open Indulgence” card before I left. I also can still say Dominus Vobiscu, which still counts for something dammit…

    I also had a “Vision”, which tells me that the best way to atone for The DaVinci Code is to sacrifice an ID supporter, extra credit in heaven for giving a swirly or wedgie to a Buffalo Bill Dembski or Fundy Of Your Choice, with extra credit for giving a wedgie to a Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.

    Catholics – It’s only a freaking book! Get over it! Of course, The Bible is too, and we know how many people have been killed over the crap in that book! Okay, burn them both, and we’ll all be better off.

    HTH

  3. #3 Bob
    May 11, 2006

    Isn’t this is the same country where people threatened to set themselves on fire if Yanni performed at the Taj Mahal? Maybe there’s more influence from national/cultural factors here than from religious (I too was raised Catholic, and I’d say that the Church’s use of fasting has declined over the years, so a hunger strike is a strange way of expressing disapproval). Besides, if you’re that unhappy about the movie or its message, starving yourself to death just isn’t that dramatic – at least the Yanni self-immolators had fire to attract witnesses. In this case, it’s more “What’s he doing?” “Still starving.” “OK, I’ll check back tomorrow.”

    I think these folks need to chill with a nice plate of chicken vindaloo and let popular “culture” take care of its own. And “way too daft” is a great phrase!

  4. #4 anonimouse
    May 11, 2006

    This is pretty much party line for the Catholic response:

    http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=19652

    Not exactly a call to go on hunger strikes or burn down cineplexes.

  5. #5 Ick of the East
    May 11, 2006

    What, nobody thought of setting Yanni on fire instead?

    But I guess the kind of people who would starve themselves to death over a poor work of fiction that twists the plot of another poor work of fiction would not think of such a thing.

    First Bin Laden. Then Yanni.

  6. #6 Dave S.
    May 11, 2006

    Corkscrew writes:

    There’s a major difference – in this case, we can just leave the morons to their own devices.

    Hmm, I wonder if any successful hunger strikers would get Darwin awards?

    (It does really suck that these people are thinking of killing themselves, but the scenario is way too daft to take seriously)

    Yeah, it does have a bit of the whif of a child ‘holding his breath until he gets his way’ about it.

    You know, if they were really serious they’d do what the Buddhists did in Vietnam…poor gasoline on themselves and set themselves on fire. Now those guys knew how to martyr themselves for a cause.

  7. #7 Left_Wing_Fox
    May 11, 2006

    WTF? The worst the Catholic Church can accuse Dan Brown of is using them as a giant red herring. It’s the old “Suspicious stalker = Undercover detective who saves the day”, except without the ironic twist.

  8. #8 John
    May 11, 2006

    If someone really doesn’t like the Da Vinci Code, I think a boycott is more constructive than a hunger strike. If you don’t like it, don’t pay to see it or pay to read the book. A hunger strike is just hurting yourself and will do nothing to the publishers or film studios. It’s only a drop in the bucket, but better to ignore it than give it free publicity.

    Dan Brown is the William Dembski of history.

    Besides, having been raised Catholic, I know that the Catholic Church considers suicide to be a mortal sin. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that there is an exception for something like a hunger strike.

    I am not sure about this. Hunger strikes might be a bit of a gray area under the doctrine of double effect.

  9. #9 Miguelito
    May 11, 2006

    Perhaps they should form a suicide squad, like the Judean People’s Front suicide squad from “Life of Brian”?

  10. #10 Joseph Hertzlinger
    May 11, 2006

    If they want to protest a movie, they should have a partial fast and give up popcorn.

  11. #11 cfeagans
    May 11, 2006

    Is it any wonder why Islam is the fastest growing religion? When Catholics get mad at an author, they kill themselves; Muslims put the fatwa on the author!

    Not that either are appropriate responses, but the absurdity of them both is simply astounding -and alarming. Still, if theists starved themselves to death everytime they felt threatened…..

  12. #12 Deacon Barry
    May 11, 2006

    Bob writes: “I think these folks need to chill with a nice plate of chicken vindaloo”

    Make that ‘chilli’ with vindaloo, and then they can immolate themselves from the inside!

  13. #13 Julie Stahlhut
    May 11, 2006

    This bozo is calling on his coreligionists to starve themselves to death because their feelings have been hurt? I’d hate to be around him if something really insulting happened, like his not getting invited to his cousin’s wedding.

  14. #14 DouglasG
    May 11, 2006

    First may I say, “Mmmmmm Chicken Vindaloo!”

    Anyway, if they hunger strike until the movie is no longer in theaters, that would be what? Two weeks? I say knock yourself out! Lots of Catholics and/or former Catholics here! In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti. Amen

  15. #15 CardioNP
    May 11, 2006

    All the hoopla over the movie has made me want to go see the movie rather than wait for the DVD release. And I can’t remember the last time I paid to see a movie at a theater.
    The Da Vinci Code was an entertaining book, but Holy Blood Holy Grail was truly interesting.

  16. #16 theRidger
    May 12, 2006

    I figure to go see it, if only to get the plot without having to wade through Brown’s writing. He can plot, obviously, but he can’t craft prose.

  17. #17 guthrie
    May 12, 2006

    I quite like the idea of burning effigies of Dan Brown though.

    But then I’m biased, I like “Foucoults Pendulum”.

  18. #18 TheProbe
    May 12, 2006

    While it may be only a movie, it is a means for people to claim that they are victims. In the latter half of the last century, the status of VICTIM rose to be the goal of all groups, even those in the majority. Victimhood is actually empowering. The Christian right wingers play victim, e.g. the “War on Christmas”. If anyone wants to

  19. #19 impatientpatient
    May 12, 2006

    Stupid book, stupid movie stupid people protesting way too much over above mentioned idiocy.

    Why do peoplefreak out over fiction. Wait… don’t go there. I think that was a stupid question.

    Starve myself to death over a movie- not so much.

    Another notch in the stupid belt.

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