Fulco, National Endowment for the Humanities professor of ancient Mediterranean studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, who translated the movie script into Aramaic and Latin, said he saw no hint of anti-Semitism in the film. Fulco added, I would be aghast at any suggestion that Mel is anti-Semitic. Nevertheless, certain political and religious groups and some in the mainstream press have been very critical of Gibson's Passion. Boston Globe columnist James Carroll denounced Gibson's literal reading of the biblical accounts. Even a faithful repetition of the Gospel stories of the death of Jesus can do damage exactly because those sacred texts themselves carry the virus of Jew hatred, wrote Carroll. A group of Jewish and Christian academics has issued an eighteen-page report slamming all aspects of the film, including its undue emphasis on Christ's passion rather than a broader vision.
It is easy to dismiss the Frankfurt and Mass Culture critiques of popular culture as being shrill and elitist. The insistence that only the expressions of art that most people find alienating contain the truth - the assertion, that is, of the prophetic role of avant-garde modernism - is a bit haughty and overly pessimistic with respect to common tastes and the idea that there are agents of culture industries who operate as a cabal, plotting the oppression of the masses, comes across as a bit paranoid. When one considers the hundreds of names that roll by in the credits following a movie, for instance, all of whom are employed in the culture industries, one must wonder what kind of power at the top would turn them all into collaborators. A movie represents so many layers of creative input - film editors, director, screenplay writer, book author, set designer, actors - that, even given the current small club of media conglomerates, it is hard to imagine all these notoriously cranky...
Instead of sitting on front porches, watching the neighbors stream by, inviting them in for a visit, many of us retreat into our homes and sit in the company of stereo systems, cell phones, computer monitors, and television sets. Media machines become our friends, the ones we prefer to spend the bulk of our hard won leisure time with. Yes, there are human beings on the other side of these machines - real life friends, musicians, actors, screenwriters, talented gossipers, public personalities. But we seem to have come to prefer our intercourse with them to occur through the medium of our machines.36
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