Isn’t it strange what some people get fired up about? If it were severe drought, or famine, or plague, or armed violence, or forcibly seizing part of another country, it would be understandable. But a film? In this day and age. A film about Noah’s Ark?
Glenn Beck is a politically conservative American television and radio commentator and television network producer. He hosts the Glenn Beck Radio Program, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the USA on Premiere Radio Networks. He formerly hosted the Glenn Beck television program, which ran from January 2006 to October 2008 on HLN and from January 2009 to June 2011 on the Fox News Channel.
After leaving Fox News, he founded TheBlaze (formerly titled GBTV), a conservative/independent news, information, and entertainment television network. Its Mission includes the following statements: “We do not color in the lines, nor play by the rules established by either of the parties or by the media that has empowered them with distortion. We never treat our viewers or readers like idiots. We respect their desire to be informed so they can be useful and effective citizens. We are not interested in left and right. We seek answers to right and wrong.”
A long exposé of Glenn Beck’s way of thinking was published in The New York Times magazine (29 September 2010). The portrait is not pleasant.
Beck offers an us-and-them view of the world, a grim, polarized vision of America under siege by a conspiracy of liberals. He has called President Obama a “racist” who “has a deep-seated hatred for white people” – a comment that sparked an advertising boycott of his Fox News Channel show. He has declared that the USA is becoming a “fascist state” and that the White House is infested with “radical, revolutionary and in some cases Marxist” advisers. He claims Obama’s entire agenda – including health care – is designed to “settle old racial scores” and that Americans must rise up to take back their nation.
Unfortunately, Beck has a powerful media presence that leads many people to believe what he says. Now he has told church groups to boycott the movie Noah, which he has labelled “dangerous,” and said that he hopes the film is a “massive failure”. “I haven’t seen it nor will I, because it’s a slap in the face,” he said. Apparently, Beck read lengthy portions of The Hollywood Reporter’s film review then pronounced that the movie was “hostile to God” and teaches “planet over man”.
The Reporter’s article stated that the director, Darren Aronofsky, “wrestles one of scripture’s most primal stories to the ground and extracts something vital and audacious, while also pushing some aggressive environmentalism.”
The review goes on to say:
“Already banned in some Middle Eastern countries, Noah will rile some for the complete omission of the name ‘God’ from the dialogue, others for its numerous dramatic fabrications and still more for its heavy-handed ecological doomsday messages, which unmistakably mark it as a product of its time. But whether you buy these elements or not, this is still an arresting piece of filmmaking that has a shot at capturing a large international audience both for its fantasy-style spectacle and its fresh look at an elemental Bible story most often presented as a kiddie yarn.”
There have been mixed reviews for an old-fashioned biblical epic that depicts the gritty realism of trying to build an ark in the face of self-doubt, accusations of insanity, and general scepticism that there could be such a thing as catastrophic global flooding.
Beck sees demons everywhere. He is not prepared to let people make up their own minds, but must poison them in advance. Clearly, this is yet another film that will sink or stay afloat according to audience whims. It will not flood the world with sedition. It will not cause religious belief to founder on the rock of disillusion. And t may not stay on course long enough to recoup the $130 million it cost to make.
But Noah – both the story in the Bible and the story on film – is a good yarn. Especially for carpenters. This retelling may help open eyes to today’s peril of global warming. It may provoke an “Oh, that must have been what it was like” response among those who took the original tale with a pinch of salt. Or it may simply entertain briefly and forgettably.
Lambasting it out of ignorance and prejudice and self-importance speaks for itself.