Lethal crucifixion

I made a joke last week. I told some colleagues that I had no plans to see Mel Gibson’s loving portrayal of the slaughter of Jesus because “I read the book.” We laughed, supremely amused at how clever we can be at times. (We also referred to the movie as “The Last Temptation of Mel Gibson.”) The next day I get an e-mail spam offer from JDR Media offering “Mel Gibson’s new book for 99 cents.” “Save almost $24,” the e-mail said, right next to a photo of a tortured-looking Gibson. “Click here now!” I did and was electronically escorted to NewsMaxStore.com. Here’s what I learned: “Mel Gibson has published a companion book to his new movie The Passion of the Christ. This elegant coffee-table book is fully illustrated with the most moving photographic images of the film. Throughout the book biblical verses and dialogue explain to the reader the story of Jesus’ final 12 hours. You will share in his suffering, passion, crucifixion, death and resurrection. This book also is a great teaching book for children. This book may be the most powerful retelling of the passion of Jesus of Nazareth ever produced in print form. You can show your support for Mel Gibson and his new movie by getting a copy of his new book. Also, The Passion offers a special introduction from Mel Gibson. Mel reveals why he produced this movie. He details the importance of his faith and the reasons this story—of all stories—needs to be shared with the world. Hardcover – 160 pages.”

OK, I can’t fault Mel for trying to squeeze every penny he can from this project, but do you really want this on your coffee table? Do you really want to share “the most moving photographic images of the film” with your kids? Geez. Why not rent Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer for the youngsters this weekend? Anyway, what I was getting to here, the heart of my column, the nut graph, if you will, is this: We received a white envelope this week with the words “witness the weakness nation-wide, three days before; does Blamer read Time?” And inside is a copy of CN&R movie critic Craig Blamer’s take on Mel’s movie as well as a Time magazine story dated March 1. Both are headlined “The goriest story ever told.” The person who dropped off the envelope left no name but was suggesting Blamer plagiarized Time. The Time story was on newsstands March 1. Our paper came out March 4. Actually Blamer’s piece came to us, headline and all, on March 1. It was simply a clever (there’s that word again) headline that two like minds created independently. Blamer is a smart guy and above stealing intellectual (or physical) property.

On the same site as the Mel Gibson book offer is a second bargain: the all new Top Gun: George W. Bush Action Figure. You get the action figure free if you order a four-month trial subscription to the NewsMax.com magazine. “A $20 value!” From the “Talking Presidents” series this newest action figure “does not talk but does come dressed in a full flight suit, helmet, goggles, breather and tanks that are identical to the ones George Bush wore when he landed on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. The flight outfit comes with pouches, pockets, straps, buckles, and all the accessories of an original.” (“Mission accomplished” banner not included.)