NO ATTEMPT TO KILL “THE BORGIAS”
Catalyst May Issue 2011
Before the premiere of Showtime’s “The Borgias,” we looked at the Catholic reaction to the series and compared it to the reaction of other groups to controversial shows.
The Kennedy clan got bent out of shape over the History Channel’s scheduled miniseries, “The Kennedys,” and succeeded in getting it killed, even though $25 million had been sunk into the project; it aired on the ReelzChannel the same night “The Borgias” premiered. Just a few weeks before that, the Israeli Mission and the American Jewish Committee didn’t like a movie that paints Israel in a negative light, “Miral,” and attempted to persuade the U.N. not to host a screening of the controversial film. But no one from the Vatican, or any Catholic entity, tried to manipulate Showtime.
What accounts for the different reaction? For one thing, Catholics are used to being slammed by Hollywood, so “The Borgias” hardly shakes them. But Caroline Kennedy, Maria Shriver, Ted Sorenson, et al. are not used to seeing Jack Kennedy sullied on the screen, and Jews are not accustomed to being dumped on either (it must be noted that the filmmaker behind “Miral,” Julian Schnabel, is himself Jewish, a person some have labeled a “self-hating Jew”).
What was most newsworthy about this issue was the passive reaction to those who tried to muscle their way in and stop “The Kennedys” and “Miral.” If it were the reverse—if Catholics sought to interfere with the showing of a film they objected to, while others took in stride movies they found offensive—it is a sure bet cries of censorship would be heard everywhere.
In other words, this is just one more reason why the Catholic League exists. Not until we achieve a level playing field will we be satisfied.