The Da Vinci Code protests, or Christians get their “cartoons”

 Protest by Christians in India against 'The Da Vinci Code'

Speaking of the "Da Vinci Code", protests by offended Christians, particularly Catholics, are happening around the world.  Many are calling for it to be banned, censored, or accompanied by a disclaimer noting that it is a work of fiction.

Deja vu all over again.  It’ll be interesting to see how many of those who loudly denounced Muslims for supposedly imposing their religious values during the cartoon controversy will speak out against the attempts of some Christians to impose their values on the world.

BTW, there’s a less familiar group criticizing the movie: Albinos.  Apparently the movie’s archvillain is a sinister albino.

Before you laugh…

‘Da Vinci Code’ Protests Widespread – Yahoo! News

Also, while not planning a protest or boycott, members of the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation expressed unhappiness with the film’s heavy, a monk-assassin, being an albino, as described in the book.
Michael McGowan, an albino who heads the organization, said "The Da Vinci Code" will be the 68th movie since 1960 to feature an evil albino.
The "Da Vinci" character "is just the latest in a long string," McGowan said. "The problem is there has been no balance. There are no realistic, sympathetic or heroic characters with albinism that you can find in movies or popular culture."

His lament about Hollywood’s instinctive preference for sinister or weird albino characters is nothing to laugh at, though, and it’s illustrative of the dangers of the overreliance on stereotypes and ethnic stock characters.

When is the last time you’ve seen an albino positively portrayed? That surely makes their lives harder.

And the pattern’s obviously familiar to Muslims.  As with abinos, moviemakers just keep "happening" to choose to use nasty, unlikable Muslim characters.  But they rarely "happen" to use Muslim figures that show that Muslims can be normal people. As the gentleman points out, its the lack of balance that’s the problem.

  • Tom Scudder

    I wonder if it will end up being shown in Lebanon (which oh by the way is the only country where the book is banned).

  • Tom Scudder

    Also, re the albino thing – good point. Even The Princess Bride is guilty there.
    I think this is inherent to the dramatic form – to be successful as an entertainment, an action movie has to have a recognizable/memorable villain, and since there isn’t enough time to actually do any character development, it has to be something that jumps out at the viewer right away. If you’re using a “realistic” (as opposed to fantasy or comic-book) backdrop, there are only so many things you can do – an accent (ooh, scary British people), a race/ethnic stereotype, some unusual physical trait, or being Christopher Walken. (I wanted to link the “Walken for president” web site, but your comments don’t allow html. So just pretend that last word was underlined and written in blue ink, right?)

  • TM Lutas

    In case you didn’t know, what was objectionable about the protests wasn’t that they took place at all but rather their violent character. How many deaths are going to be associated with this DVC affair? The difference is real.

  • svend

    I think you have a point, not that this lets producers off the hook for the messages they send.
    Interesting about Lebanon. It is, of course, the only Middle Eastern country where Christians have quasi-political parity with Muslims.
    Yes, the violence is disturbing and wrong, but violent protests happen all over the place and this case is always discussed in the MSM in terms of censorship, isn’t it?
    Also, it should be noted that most Muslim societies were *not* wracked by violent protests, contrary to the impression the media coverage.

  • svend

    Forgot to mention that I, too, am a big Walken fan. I’ll gladly link to that site!