The instances of religion in popular culture that we saw in today’s mockumentary are interesting in that they are not like the instances of religious subtext in popular media that we are examining in our projects. Which I suppose is a good contrast between how religious roots in a culture influences a work whether or not it is meant to be religiously affiliated, and with how people can use a culture in order to promote their religion. In fact, I would say it’s a good example of how religion and culture can really influence each other, and can be used to promote the other’s message; though the instances we saw were maybe a bit different from what we’ve studied in class, I feel as if the point remains the same. Which is part of why I find Bill Maher’s mockumentary so hypocritical as well as offensive.
As I think most people agreed in class, the mockumentary that we watched was pretty offensive, no matter how much “humorous intent” there was behind the proceedings. His criticizing of Christianity for imposing its values on others comes off as hypocritical considering that he was doing the exact same thing. But one of the more interesting things, I think, is the fact that he used popular media to prove his point in a way that is very similar to what he was supposedly against; it is clear that in the situation with the interviewees, he was the one with the advantage. And he manipulated those interviews in order to present his own set of biased propaganda. Either way, he is definitely off putting in his belittling of individual people because of their beliefs. There’s a difference between being critical of an institution, of pointing out the flaws in a system, and being an outright dick to people because they believe in something different.