The Corner


Here’s another:

I can’t tell you how flabbergasted I was to see your post on Mel’s Profit this morning. It literally reads like something you’d find on Salonor maybe

the DNC’s website.

1. He invested his own money on this project because on one else would touch it

2. Until the darn thing was released everyone was predicting (hoping?) he would lose his shirt on it

3. Isn’t that the epitome of an entrepreneur? Isn’t that what you used to celebrate?

4. For which other entrepreneurs have you questioned what they would do with

their profits?

5. Even if he took no risk on the deal (e.g. if he someone else had financed the deal and he had just contracted for a percentage of the profits) — isn’t it a good thing that the made this movie as opposed to Kill Bill or Lethal Weapon 53 anyway? To my knowledge you haven’t made a big deal about the profits he or anyone else has made on other films. Why is it okay to make huge profits on Lethal Weapon 4 (which you could argue is of questionable artistic or cultural value) but somehow unseemly to make profits on the Passion?

6. What business is it of yours (or anyones) whether Mel tithes or not?

“(it’s certainly fair for him to recoup his investment and then some)”??!?

My God! Who the heck are you? Since when is it National Review’s position

(I know, I know, you never said it was NR’s position) — since when it is YOUR position that someone else gets to decide that it’s “fair” for him to recoup his investment? And who is going to decide how much “then some” is? The government is already going to take 40% of it; even if he gives 10% to the church, he’s still going to be left with $100+ million! We can’t have that! After all, this isn’t Ernest goes to Rehab, in which case, absolutely, it’s okay to make $100 million.

The mind boggles. Perhaps I’m overreacting, but your post has me baffled.

Do you really believe this?

Me: Ignoring the hyperbole, I think point #5 is the best one and I hadn’t thought of it that way. After all, why should a man be condemned for making a profit from doing good when he’s not condemned for making a profit doing “bad” — or at least not good. Put aside the readers implicit suggestion that it’s okay to condemn making profit from making bad movies, I think this is a very good point. And I’ll keep pondering it.

However two points: First, and again, all of this stuff about me having the “right” to “decide” anything strikes me as batty. And it troubles me that I never get these statements from readers when, say, I criticize Michael Moore for treating his own employees like dogs. After all, what business of mine is it how Michael Moore treats his workers? If you’re answer is “hypocrisy,” fair enough. But there are no shortage of people who would say there’s something like hypocrisy in making a film to spread the Gospel and making a huge pile from it.

Which brings me to my second point. This is largely an issue of appearances. It might be right, wrong or something in between for Mel to get super rich off of a film depicting Christ’s agony. But, as a matter of objective analysis, I think some people think it doesn’t look great.

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