Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Eastern churches
From Drake Adams

Cute or insulting?
I didn’t see the episode that Drake is writing about but it sounds like the kind of good-natured self-parody that was part of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and is represented online by The Onion Dome. As long as the church stuff is fairly accurate and not blasphemous* there’s a place for such ‘ethnic’ humour.

I’ve seen the show in limited doses and remember the Jane Kaczmarek character’s undefined Eastern European parents. Didn’t know they were supposed to be Byzantine Catholics, a group perhaps less visible and understood than the Orthodox!

*What was wrong with ‘Taxi’ and ‘Seinfeld’ (besides the latter’s rather nasty humour to begin with) when they misrepresented the Orthodox and Eastern Europeans in general. So doing could be considered not only the latest version of Hollywood’s recent contempt for religion, particularly Christianity and particularly its conservative versions, but specifically a perennial American theme (partly got from and not unknown in Britain), anti-Catholicism mixed with ‘nativist’ sentiment against immigrants from Catholic countries Eastern or Western. Mainstream Protestantism has morphed into secular humanism (they’re directly related) but that feeling is the same and is still there. There’s also historic Western contempt for Russia mixed with Cold War propaganda.

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