Carol Platt Liebau: Tim Rutten's World

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Tim Rutten's World

The analysis in a Tim Rutten column follows the same kind of comforting template that's worked so well for "Law and Order." Those Tim likes/agrees with: Good. Those he doesn't: Bad.

In this week's column, he notes approvingly that there has been a dearth of "outraged Catholics" willing to engage in a made-for-media controversy over the DaVinci Code. Good.

Then he goes on, somewhat perceptively, to skewer the "culture of assertion" in America:

Brown's claims for his book and, by extension, the film adaptation belong to a strong new current in American life — the culture of assertion, which increasingly pushes logical argument out of our public conversation. According to this schema, things are true because I believe they are true and you have to respect that, because it's what I believe.

But, having indulged in one relatively interesting observation, Rutten compulsively returns to form, bashing conservatives and the religious right. He continues:

Thus, the same sensibility most likely to take offense at this film — that of the religious assertionists — is the same one that makes things like creationism an issue in our schools and the demands of biblical literalism a force in our politics. Brown and his foolishness are, in fact, a part of this same culture of assertion and not of some wider secular one.

Rutten's obtuseness is breathtaking, even for him. In his world, the "culture of assertion" is apparently a shortcoming restricted conservative Christians (despite his earlier admission that opposition to the "Code" from the "usual suspects" has been minimal). It's not an issue, apparently, for the hordes that keep clinging to counter-factual fictions like "Bush lied" or that women are the same as men or that tax increases are good for the economy or that the UN can solve world problems.

Somehow, from all this, Tim Rutten manages to conclude that Dan Brown and the religious right are essentially one and the same -- and the argument is so silly that one can only resolve it by understaning his template, and concluding that Rutten must not like Dan Brown.

Even so, it hardly passes the laugh test. Comparing Brown to the religious right is like arguing that Jesus and Marx or Stalin (both of whom talked a lot about the "proletariat" but did little to help them) were lots alike, too -- all of them people of "strong conviction."


Blogger wrabkin said...

Actually, Jesus and Marx had a great deal in common. They both believed that it's a duty of society to help the weakest, and that the rich are morally obligated to help the poor.

Of course, the so-called religious right despises almost everything Jesus stood for. They believe in more money for the rich and more power for the powerful. Their only use for the Bible is to find passages that allow them to loathe people who aren't like them -- gays, Mexicans, liberals, whichever is a convenient target.

The entire movement is based on worship of the man and contempt for everything he stood for.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

Like the original post, you go from a relatively correct 1st paragraph, into a rabid opinion that is only legitimate in your own mind. You are so far off base, wrabkin, that you're not even in the ballpark concerning the beliefs and the use of Scripture by conservatives or Christians.

8:37 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

I heard a perfect quote today on Laura Ingraham:

"I don't have to lift up the manhole cover to know what's inside".

This is what I do when I see "wrabkin" or "Mr. Twister" at the top of a comment. And I'll just apply that to "The DiVinci Code" as well. And now I'll probably boycott Ron Howard and Tom Hanks just as I do George cLooney and Alec Baldwin, among others.

(not sure who to attribute the quote to, since it was a guest talking about someone else, and I switched over too late to hear).

10:22 AM  
Blogger Pete said...


Don't forget Robbins, Sarandan, and Oliver Stone among the others.

7:39 AM  

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