Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Daughter of Pelosi meets Friends of God

The first that Montana Headlines heard of the HBO documentary by Alexandra Pelosi (yes, her daughter), was a report where she described her journey into the red states to meet evangelical Christians. She used words to the effect that she looked on it as a National Geographic expedition into the jungle to meet these strange people and learn about them.

Her remarks have already provoked the unsurprising reaction from many conservative Christians that it is a bit insulting to have a fellow American talk about them as though they are creatures from the Black Lagoon.

There are certainly more than a few freak-shows on offer in the evangelical world, perhaps even as many as are found in the world of secular liberals, and Pelosi has apparently found a few to film.

Reviews are still sparse, but of the few, Brian Lowry's piece in Variety, asks the interesting question of whether it is possible for Hollywood to find enough common ground with evangelical Christians in order to be able to make money selling its products to this large (50 to 80 million Americans) demographic. After their purchasing power was "stunningly demonstrated" by Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," it seems that Hollywood has decided that perhaps Christians are good for something after all.

Lowry makes the deeply insightful observation that "not all (evangelical Christians) want to be ridiculed, dismissed and cut off from pop culture."

In turn, "studios, meanwhile, covet their business, and if there's one enduring truth about Hollywood, it's that you don't need to see eye to eye on everything to take somebody's money."

Lowry doesn't seem to think that Pelosi's film will be of much help in getting the gravy train moving, though:

The media does itself no favors, then, by painting all evangelicals with the same broad brush. Nor does the big-city elite's thinly veiled condescension help, as is evident within the Pelosi documentary, in which she pursues the whole exercise with a slightly bemused demeanor, as if she has just parachuted onto the dark side of the moon.

"There's something very strange about these people -- they're all very happy!" she gushes at one point.

In response to the observations by some conservative commentators that she is being condescending and, well, bigoted, Pelsoi's defense of herself is surprisingly lacking in adeptness for a scion of one of liberaldom's blue-blood families. You know, the class of people who come up with the rules of speech and behavior for the rest of us, and the punishments for breaking them.

It basically boiled down to her saying that after this experience, "some of my best friends are those people."