Spotlight on The Big Short

My latest home page piece was largely about the film Spotlight, and I wanted to blog a bit about finally seeing the film. My webzine remarks were based on knowledge I already had about the Catholic Church scandal and standard considerations of journalism's role in society, so seeing the film didn't alter anything shared in the piece.

What I did find more striking than I'd previously thought was how well the film was made -- so I want to give it credit for that -- but I was also taken by the breadth to which people live in a state of denial about the most wretched things.

Even though there are so many of them.

And the breadth of that denial is so harrowingly large.

If you think about it, the films Spotlight and another terrific film I'd just seen, The Big Short, are exactly the same. Really, they are. Both tremendously engaging because they're both all about the courage, wisdom, and fortitude required to shine the "spotlight", if you will, on that one thing that sustains the rampant human sacrifice occurring around the globe:

The Institutional Lie.

The Big Short showcases a number of investors discovering that thousands -- indeed millions when you count all the retirees and future retirees who are "banking" on it all -- were doing all they could to prop up perceptions of the general value assessments we're all supposed to have about things, exclusively for the purpose of maintaining the most proficient value extraction.

Starting in 2006, 2007, the fissures started coming open, and in March of 2008 when Bear Stearns tanked they flat-out split apart. The whole facade famously collapsed in September with the demise of Lehman and the feverish rescue-buyout-bailout environment that ensued. The Big Short was merely about the lives of those particular investors betting on the collapse against the strident objections of so many others, and what it took to hold out until it actually did. Powerful drama, truly.

Spotlight meanwhile did exactly the same thing, except instead of finance it was ecclesia, namely the ways the most powerful people in the Roman Catholic Church abused children and systematically covered it up. They were doing their human sacrifice too, just differently. This film was an All the President's Men reimaging, really, and just as viscerally compelling.

What struck me about Spotlight were a number of things.

One, during a conference about where to go with the expose of the pedophile priests and the cover-up by the most elite higher-ups in the church, one of the top editors of the newspaper said, "Sounds like we're going after Law," referring to Cardinal Bernard Law, who at the time was the focal point of the investigation. The executive editor insisted, "We're going after the system."

To most viewers that means they'll get those dastardly priests and bishops and the whole bunch because they're not just going to go after individuals but they'll be going after everything that makes them do this stuff yeah that'll do it how heroic!

The problem with that is going after Rome is simply putting oneself into a state of rebellion which Rome is authorized to address with a force far greater than the Boston Globe or any single law enforcement apparatus. This is precisely why these people were so insulated from any prosecution or penalty! The key thing that most don't comprehend is that

Rome IS the government. Period.

Sure this makes the deeds of these intrepid journalists look so noble and righteous, but even if they nailed however many church people in their dragnet, it can't change the basic structure of Rome.

How telling was the remark of one of the attorneys when he explained how to get information that was made publicly available through a very arcane and convoluted legal process but that the church had still found ways to hide.

"They control everything. Everything."

Two, in my last blog post about all this I'd noted that the film or the studio or some entity in charge of things over there in Hollywood made a payout to an individual represented in the film, his name was Jack Dunn. Dunn was a trustee of Boston College High School, and in the film one of the reporters is asking about the whole priest pedophile thing and Dunn is portrayed as working hard to positively represent the reputation of the school.

Apparently this is supposed to be interpreted as defending the church's criminal behavior, but I didn't catch it. Maybe he was a bit too dismissive of what the reporter was trying to get at, but well, as it is the real-life Dunn didn't like it, claimed he'd actually been instead at the forefront of helping and being open and working to clean things up, and then sued the filmmakers. He got some sum of money.

This news story is hardly out there, but when you think about it, isn't this exactly the same thing the film is trying to expose -- namely that lawyers went crazy protecting the priests and their victims by keeping everything hush-hush ensuring victims got compensated and everyone from that point forward shut the hell up about things.

Really, who the hell are Spotlight's producers trying to protect? Jack Dunn? Really? From that?


The irony of this -- well, if it isn't stunning it is stupifyingly ugly.

Three, at the end of film the top reporter of the Globe's investigative team, name Walter "Robby" Robinson, went to the home of his main lawyer contact, gentleman named Jim Sullivan, an individual who'd been blowing him off the entire time. He could never get any vital information from him because of all the confidentiality crap, but here he implores him to share what he knows, even handing him a list of the priests the Globe knew were committing the crimes.

The lawyer comes unglued, really lights into him, tells him to leave. But outside on the sidewalk, in the dark, just as Robinson was about to get into his car, Sullivan lets him have it again. He asks this simple question.

"What took you so long?"

Immediately thereafter Sullivan, in a state of furious resignation, snatches the list from Robinson's hands and proceeds to draw a circle around every single one of the priest's names.

Here the lawyer, who'd been told by Robinson in so many words "What took you so long to take action?" is now turning it back on the reporter, and for good reason. Turns out Robinson was one of the key reporters who years ago dismissed all the information about the scandal himself, when even back then it was all presented to him on a golden platter.

This is one of the most wrenching parts of the film.

The reporters were just as guilty as all the people they'd been going after. 

They did nothing, also.

For years and years and years.

What about now?

What about now turning the spotlight on what Rome is really like? What about understanding precisely what it does and what it is about? What about leaving it to sodomize itself -- not challenging it or trying to change it or confronting it or any of that, just leaving it, but not without introducing Christ to its parishioners so His freedom and salvation and healing and righteousness will replace the counterfeits provided by a church that must do the most ruthless law enforcement through guilt and shame and spiritual oppression?

The Jesus factor is so critically important. Bringing down "The System" just leaves people spiritually destitute -- Jesus even said if you jettisoned one demon, more demons worst than the ones before will just come right on into the soul and make their home there. The Catholic Church provides a very beneficial service -- rules and laws and constraints and restrictions and regulations and a legitimate enslavement program that keeps people from being too mendacious or murderous. No wonder it has so much power over its adherents.

What is so insane is that just as the bubble that The Big Short guys saw coming will just come back again, and be just as big, and will result in some other guys making a fortune off the bursting of the latest American economy lie, the very same thing will happen again with the Roman Catholic Church again.

It is what it does.

The Institutional Lie will always be there until it is destroyed on the last day when Jesus returns.

I really did like Spotlight and The Big Short, I really did.

But the filmmakers and moviegoers simply have no clue what they're up against. They really don't.

The very last scene in Spotlight features all the Globe personnel manning the phones on what I believe was a Sunday. They were inundated with calls after the big priest scandal story concluded with a special Globe phone number to call for those who'd been abused. Turns out the Globe simply couldn't handle the number of calls.

I thought, wow, the power of a metropolitan newspaper to, yes indeed, put the spotlight on an issue, and the response -- wow.

I thought about what would happen if the same kind of attention was put on what Rome is really like in its deepest politics, what the Institutional Lie is really like and what it is for, and how much whole rich freedom can be had by turning and believing on Christ and living in and by the Kingdom.

When will the spotlight be shown on the that?

When will people discover Him, in droves?

I wrote a lot about the full complexion of value extraction exposed in 2008 with a series of blog posts at the time. They're also all together on this one webpage. I also have a page at my webzine that elucidates how the Roman Catholic Church actually engenders the sexual abuse environment it valiantly proclaims it is fighting. I'd like to think those who authentically want to know truth will open their eyes and ears and understand things, just as Spotlight genuinely seems to encourage, but ultimately turn to a Savior who not only makes one see but brings healing to the heart and life to the soul.


Popular posts from this blog

Hate Speech is Indeed a Crime, Part IV

The Tyranny of the Oppressed Immunocompromised

The Politics of Witchcraft, Revisited