Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some Sacred Histories are More Sacred Than Others

A certain Denise Spellberg explains why she campaigned (successfully) to prevent the publication of a novel depicting the life of Aisha, favourite wife of Mohammed:
"I walked through a metal detector to see 'Last Temptation of Christ,'" the controversial 1980s film adaptation of a novel that depicted a relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. "I don't have a problem with historical fiction. I do have a problem with the deliberate misinterpretation of history. You can't play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography."
So, this woman claims a courageous willingness to validate the attempted subversion of one religious tradition; but takes a leading role in suppressing a far less problematic portrayal of another. Is this what passes for principle in the academy these days?