Speculative Guesswork

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How did I know that Devin O'Leary's review of The Passion of The Christ would not only downplay the film, but also paint a negative picture of it? Because, quite simply, the worldview of your paper and its contributors is so incredibly predictable (and not to mention, tragic).

This film holds a mirror in front of each face and forces them to deal with what they're guilty of. The message is abundantly clear, whether or not one agrees with it. Christ loved everyone (including the Pharisees and Roman soldiers who tortured him so brutally) despite our utter depravity and evil hearts. The whole meaning and substance of the story of Christ is in his agony, scourging and crucifixion, taken for all humanity. Despite one's stance on the matter, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize what the film is getting at. One doesn't even have to be a believer to at least understand this.

Calling the film anti-Semitic or a “sick excuse to revel in human suffering” is either the result of intellectual dishonesty (playing dumb) or an empty heart, so sick and lost it can't even recognize truth when it's right in front of it. And oh, by the way, Mr. O'Leary also recommends Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. We can choose to see a film whose message is either a) love or b) being “sick and twisted.” And Christians are the sick and evil ones? In an age of inaccurate, venom-filled travesties such as the DaVinci Code, thank God that Mel Gibson made this film based on the Bible, the only source of information on the historical Jesus that isn't speculative guesswork.


Film Editor's Response: Funny. I don't remember calling the film “anti-Semitic” or “a sick excuse to revel in human suffering.” I'm guessing a) you saw a different movie than I did; and b) you read a different review than the one I wrote. But that's OK. I forgive you.

Built On Blood

Never in recent memory has anyone so flagrantly used the media and an important segment of American society to promote a film under the guise of Christian conviction, faith and values. Mel Gibson, who has never espoused openly his Christian faith and values, or who has never openly promoted Christian causes, is now all over the media telling the public how he was motivated to make this film because of his Christian values. What a fraud! What hypocrisy! How ingenuous!

Gibson never exemplified Christian values in any of his movies; in fact, he built his career on movies that emphasized crime and violence. Gibson and his professional marketing gurus have developed a brilliant, clever scheme to market this film and make millions. He has used the Christian community and the media to blitz this film. There have been many other films about Jesus Christ that have been done with beauty and taste, and have emphasized the love that Christ had for humanity.

Gibson emphasizes blood and gore and the depravity of man. Once again, Hollywood has duped the American public and the media into thinking that this is an important and great film about our Lord and Savior. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Doing The Best They Can

[RE: Letters, “Sunshine Sound”, Feb. 26-March 3]: In regards to Sly Gaston complaining about the sound system at the Sunshine Theater, there are a couple of issues Sly may not be aware of, the most important being the acoustics inside the room itself: concrete, more concrete and glass mirrors.

Concrete and glass are not your friends if you are a soundman or a person who shells out untold amounts of cash to attend shows. The theater is a nightmare as far as acoustics are concerned and the theater's nickname as “the echo chamber” and “the cave” are in no way terms of endearment. If Sly thinks it sounds bad during the show, he should hang around for the one to two hours it takes touring personnel to “ring out” the room during soundcheck; without the benefit of 600 people to “warm” up the place.

The theater itself is managed by folks who genuinely care about the place but, with limited resources, can only do so much at a time. Yeah, it would be great if curtains were hung on every wall, if the stage was carpeted etc., but it takes money, and lots of it, to accomplish these goals. If you look at the changes in the past year and then look at what the theater looked/sounded like five years ago, you would notice marked improvements although there is tons of work to be done.

The other issue Mr. Gaston may not be aware of is how that $45 ticket is broken down. There isn't enough room in the letters section to cover the breakdown but suffice it to say, Ms. Baduh, regardless of how talented she is, probably didn't need the 20-plus people in her entourage. Those people get fed, housed and taken care of as if they were on the bill, and the people that pay for it are folks like Sly Gaston, in which that $45 ticket would've been a hell of a lot cheaper if she were to trim the fat, so to speak. Even then it wouldn't have purchased a better sound system or made the room sound better but it would've made life a little easier on people who want to see shows but have only limited money, much like the theater itself.

Daniels Fund Still Works

[RE: Ortiz y Pino, Feb. 5-11]: In a recent column, Jerry Ortiz y Pino expressed strong concerns about the reorganization at the Daniels Fund that resulted in the closing of the satellite office in New Mexico. While I respect his concerns, I think it is important to place them in perspective given the additional funding to be provided to the state.

The Daniels Fund oversees the Daniels College Prep and Scholarship Program and the Daniels Fund Grants Program in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah. On Feb. 23, the Daniels Fund board approved allocation of funding from the reorganization. The result is an additional $200,000 in college scholarships to be awarded to deserving students in New Mexico, and an additional $450,000 in funding for grants to non-profit organizations in the state.

The increase in funding is over and above the amount the Daniels Fund has already budgeted for scholarships and grants in New Mexico in 2004. The previously announced projected budget for the Daniels Fund Grants Program for 2004 in New Mexico was $2 million. With the increase, the projected budget for grants for the state's non-profits is nearly $2.5 million. In addition, more than 100 high school students from across New Mexico are currently enrolled in the Daniels College Prep Program and 37 students are attending colleges and universities as Daniels Scholars.

The Daniels Fund was established in 1998 by Bill Daniels, a pioneer in cable television with deep ties to New Mexico. Before he died in 2000, he carefully defined his philanthropic goals for the Fund in precise terms that included funding for the state.

Good people like Mr. Ortiz y Pino have strongly objected on principle to the restructuring because it diminishes the fund's on-the-ground presence. This is a fair concern, but should be balanced by the recognition that the fund is working very hard to provide personal service to non-profits through regular visits by a dedicated grant officer. It is also important to recognize that more deserving students will receive scholarships and more non-profits will receive funding as a result of the restructuring.

Enemy Of The Constitution

I'd like to redirect the arguments regarding gay marriage, from one of “the defense of the sacred institution,” to that of religious tyranny. When the American continent was colonized by Europeans, one of the most important reasons for the emigration was to escape religious tyranny.

We see, as a result of President Bush's proposal of a Constitutional Amendment that would deny gay men and women the right to marry, a man who would enshrine in our Constitution, the very religious tyranny from which the colonists were escaping. This is not a disagreement on law or an attempt to “protect” anything. This proposal to amend the Constitution is an attempt to establish religion by enshrining the words and the concept of a “sacred” institution into a secular document of a democratic society and culture.

A marriage becomes sacred or secular by virtue of the religious beliefs, or lack thereof, of the parties involved and their particular house of worship, not by the authority of secular law. President Bush has placed himself at odds and in conflict with, and therefore is an enemy of, the Constitution of the United States of America.

The president also has forgotten or never learned the concept of “no tyranny of the minority by the majority,” and if he took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution of the United States, then he should understand the spirit that guides it.

Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to letters@alibi.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.

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