I was greatly offended by an article in last week’s Lawrentian which discussed American Movie filmmaker Mark Borchardt’s “vision” [“American Movie filmmaker, subject talks candidly about film, life, and art”] and quoted him as saying “So, I’m just reiterating probably what Jesus Christ was talking about 2000 years ago, except I’m having a Heineken and that m***** f***** got stoned.” To refer to Christ as a m***** f***** and insinuate that he used drugs (unless Borchardt was referring to the method of capital punishment) is blatantly offensive to the many people who consider Christ to be at the center of their personal religious beliefs. The quote, wildly inflammatory on its own, was made even more offensive by being given special prominence as a pull quote and by being treated by the writer as though it were a delightfully clever remark. That the Lawrentian would stoop to such a low blow is astonishing. Would the Lawrentian publish a racial or sexual insult in such a cavalier manner? Are people who hold strong religious beliefs somehow exempt from the common decency and respect that other people are treated with?
Granted, it is not a paper’s primary objective to avoid offending people; indeed, a paper that did not occasionally offend outside its op/ed pages would be a dull read. But this quote was senseless. The remark was so outlandish that it clearly wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, but it wasn’t witty, either. To do that there has to be a measure of accuracy and a clever turn of phrase, which was not the case.
Perhaps it was the delivery of Borchardt’s comment, not the content, that proved so amusing. If this is what the writer was trying to convey by relating the “hilarious laughter that ensued” and the gleeful manner in which the “zinger” was scribbled down for posterity, he failed: the comment fell flat.
By highlighting this quote the Lawrentian has issued a crude insult to a number of its readers and has lost some of its credibility as a source of fair, objective journalism.