Friday, November 09, 2007

Bellas and whistles

Barbara Nicolosi, the de facto dean of Catholic film arts in America, strips off all the hype surrounding Bella, and even questions its pro-life bonafides [gasp].
Could you ever see us pro-lifers being heart-warmed and won over by a subtly pro-choice film, you know, and kind of not see that it is undermining our world-view? And aren't pro-choice people minimally as smart as we are? You're damn right they are. So, regardless of what is being said, this movie is not strongly pro-life. It doesn't represent common-ground. It just takes a very complex, divisive social issue and handles it, well, sloppily enough that neither side in the argument knows exactly what case is being made. I don't even think it is pro-adoption as some have claimed. If it was, then the bookend at the beginning would have Jose looking somewhat healed after five years with the child. As it is, he looks like a pedophile who hasn't moved an inch from the last time we saw him. If it is supposed to be "pro-adoption," it's just sadly sloppy.
The underlying lesson here is what draws my interest to this story, that of American Catholicism's shallow aesthetic sense, which infects both liberals and conservatives alike. Ideology destroys aesthetics. And it's because the pro-life movement has become so ideologized that pro-choice ethics can still look so half-reasonable to so many people. It all comes back to Liturgy. Sloppy lex orandi leads to sloppy lex credendi leads to sloppy art, politics, morals, you name it.