In the clip, Maher needles an actor dressed like Jesus on the question of why the Bible would describe God as someone who feels a “petty emotion” like “jealousy”. It’s an interesting question, and no doubt there are all sorts of amusing, perplexing, enlightening and confounding answers that one could give. But I wonder if an actor — especially one who works in a theme park — is really the best place to go for an answer to this question. Did Maher bother to approach any serious thinkers on these issues? Or did he just go looking for some easy targets?
Goldstein, who has apparently seen the completed film, also gets Maher to talk about how he got all these people to talk to him:
On how he got people to talk to him: “It was simple: We never, ever, used my name. We never told anybody it was me who was going to do the interviews. We even had a fake title for the film. We called it ‘A Spiritual Journey.’ It didn’t work everywhere. We went to Salk Lake City, but no one would let us film there at all.”
On the element of surprise: “Larry Charles’ theory is–just keep going till they throw you out. I guess he learned that on ‘Borat.’ The crew would set up and at the last second, when the cameras were already rolling, I would show up. So either they’d be seen on camera leaving the interview and lose face or they’d have to talk to me. It was like–‘And now here’s … Bill!’ You could usually see the troubled looks on their faces. At the Holy Land theme park, the PR woman freaked out and finally told us to leave. She was definitely not a happy camper.”
Karina Longworth, on reading this portion of the interview, finds herself thinking not only of Borat and Religulous but also of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and expresses concern over “this growing trend of deception in ostensible non-fiction.”