Friday, March 27, 2009

Maher is no mediator, but tells a hell of a joke.

Comedians have always served as a valuable barometer with which one can gauge the progression of society. The comedic elite is often on the cutting edge of what can be said aloud without facing public crucifixion, and their ideas and words are later adopted and mass-produced by the ­­proprietors of popular entertainment as they become more palatable to the masses, and finally end their long journey on The View. It is only through this lens that any merit can be awarded to Bill Maher's Religulous.

That is not to say the film wasn't intensely enjoyable, only that it will do nothing to change any religious minds. It offered enough sneer and jeer to make the most crotchety atheist chuckle (and we all know their type, don't we?), while being unapologetically offensive enough (and I say that with the utmost glee) to make the faithful turn a deaf-ear. It is encouraging that a movie of this content could come out in such a mainstream fashion, and it will most likely take an honored place among the works of the "new-wave" of atheist thinkers. However, for the atheist community to take a more prominent and respected place in the body politic, there are still ahead years of grunt work that necessitate a more disciplined candor than is offered by Maher.

Religulous serves the purpose of energizing those who already harbor strong negative feelings towards religion, and in his rousing conclusion, Maher surely inspired some who have been compelled to hold their tongues to be more open, honest, and unrelenting in their criticism of religion. It would seem that Maher has set out to inspire the atheist community to action much in the same manner that Sarah Palin has attempted to energize the social-conservative base. That may seem unfair, but because Maher is clearly in possession of a significantly more robust intellectual fortitude (as well as his respective audience) than the latter, I make the comparison without compunction.

No comments:

Post a Comment