Had history veered off course ever so slightly, we’d mock evangelical Christians for playing George Carlin albums backwards and listening for demonic messages in the resulting garble.
Parents would sue Saturday Night Live over their teenaged son’s suicide. Jack Chick comics would warn young people to steer clear of Second City shows instead of heavy-metal concerts.
This might have happened if all those witch-hunting (and never quite finding) fundamentalists had known that the guru of late-20th-century comedy was a self-described warlock who cast magic spells onstage.
PS: When you “Like” this piece on Facebook or tweet it, it makes my editors very happy…
And this is the perfect place to comment on the “stomping on Jesus” “controversy.”
Everybody is wrong about that, except me.
It’s about (crudely, I admit) getting students to confront their own inhibitions and taboos.
It’s — to put it crassly — a conversation starter.
If performed correctly, anyone who balks at stomping on the paper with “Jesus” on it is encouraged to talk about why they can’t do it — not get punished.
(I suspect the person who invented the exercise many years ago assumed most students would balk, because America was more (nominally) Christian at the time.
(That’s not a contradiction, btw: I mean America is “nominally Christian” now; but was even more “nominally Christian” then…)
The instructor in this recent instance, in other words, completely missed the point of the exercise.
As did almost everybody on the right who is commenting on it.
I also think Christians should be heartened by all this because it would seem to prove something millions of them believe:
That the word “Jesus” alone carries tremendous power, be it to heal — or infuriate and confound the wicked.
Anyway, I bring this up because some folks will say:
“Well, obviously, Del Close was just taking this students through theater arts/acting exercises, designed to break down inhibitions and encourage creativity.”
And as I said in my article, but didn’t have space to elaborate on, there are many such exercises that do not involve the invocation of demons and other flirtations with forces that people shouldn’t be messing with.
“Children shouldn’t play with dead things…”
And I hope my real point is clear:
If a beloved conservative Christian performer — let’s pick Chuck Heston, since he’s in the news — had performed weird “rituals” and messed with acting students’ heads, Close’s Hollywood devotees would NEVER STOP TALKING AND LAUGHING ABOUT IT, EVER.