New movie: What Would Jesus Buy?

This movie opens November 16th 2007 and looks like genius. The trailer and various videos on YouTube are hysterical. These folks have found a way to deliver an important and unpopular message to many audiences. I love the “Retail Interventions” where Rev Billy and choir go to stores and exorcise the shopping demons from the cash registers! And, it’s hilarious to see Rev Billy get arrested in NYC for reciting the First Amendment.

They make a very good point about the foolishness and contradictions implied by Americans addiction to shopping and consumerism. We have a incubated a cultural cancer in America and are now spreading it to the rest of the world. As Borat would say: “Very nice.”

The parody of using evangelical christianity to spread the word is pure genius. They found a way to reach out to an audience that the progressives rarely target–granted it is a bit sarcastic, but maybe some will miss this or get a kick out of it–and at the same time put religion and religious people on trial for the obvious hypocrisy of not speaking out against bad family values (i.e. out of control consumerism).

[While I’m on the rant, why on earth have the religious communities and orgs (read Christian) not come out loud and strong against consumerism, the Iraq war, and global warming? These issues should be direct hits with the core issues and values of Christianity (killing innocent people, lying about the facts, spending money on things rather than time with people, destroying our planet and causing misery to the less fortunate, etc.). It makes no sense. (and yes I know, some Christians are going to say “I care about these issues”, but the problem is that the institutions of religion are not doing enough and end up on the wrong side of the argument.)]

On a larger scale, this film represents to me a new and smarter approach to packaging counter-culture ideas and change into effective, broad viral memes. I think that Carl Rove has taught us all how to be more effective in persuading the American masses. And, Walt Disney invented the ability to talk to multiple audiences at the same time (e.g. children and adults). It will be interesting to see if this is a growing trend.