Thursday, March 03, 2005

Award-Winning Hopelessness: Thomas Hibbs has written a smart, intelligent critique of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby. Money quote:

In Million Dollar Baby, Frankie (Eastwood as the aging boxing coach) attends daily Mass and has ongoing discussions with his parish priest. He berates the priest with puzzles about the doctrines of the trinity and the Immaculate Conception. But Frankie has no genuine interest in the answers to the questions. They are, as the priest suspects, trivia questions designed to trump and frustrate him.

Frankie's faith is a husk, void of vitality. In fact, even the priest's understanding of faith is shallow, a perversion of the church as a community of sinners redeemed by divine grace into a meeting place for the hopelessly unforgiven. The priest himself articulates the distortion, when he tells Frankie that the only individuals who attend Mass as often as Frankie does are those "who can't forgive themselves." That would make priests, who celebrate Mass daily, precisely what Nietzsche thought they were, masochists consumed by self-hatred.

You can read the whole thing here.

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