I was thinking this morning about Tad Friend’s just-published New Yorker article about the conflict between Noah director Darren Aronofsky and Paramount Pictures about trying to appeal to the Christian community, and the more I kicked it around the more Paramount’s position (i.e., the one more or less voiced in Friend’s article by Paramount vice-chairman Rob Moore) seemed reasonable to me. If I was running the show, I too would have tried to assemble a pandering, vaguely dipshitty Christian-friendly version of Noah — a version that would have blatantly kowtowed to Christian values. But — this is important — I would only show it in the hinterland territories where most Christians live.
I would give this version of Noah a special rating — C for Christian. I would then open the real Noah — the Aronofsky version, the artistic-integrity cut that was more or less intended all along and is true to itself and doesn’t pander to simpletons — in the cities and their suburbs and other semi-educated areas.
Christians live on their own planet, they want what they want, and they’ll never come down to earth. I don’t see the problem in making and trying to sell them the kind of cereal that they want to eat. And then you could include both versions on the Bluray/DVD.
That, to me, sounds like a sensible business plan for the film’s release, and one that would totally respect Aronofsky’s vision. From Paramount’s perspective, releasing a C-rated version wouldn’t be any kind of dismissal of the Aronofsky cut. It would simply be a practical acknowledgement that Christians want what they want, and that they don’t care about real filmmaking or artistic intent as much as others do. They want and have always insisted upon having a certain kind of spiritual heroin in their lives, and that’s their game — take it or leave it.
No one with any kind of semi-educated perspective respects the Christian community, of course, and most film lovers would of course ignore the C-rated version. Christians are living in their own realm, but to each his own.
This feeds into my longstanding idea about breaking the USA into two countries — blue on the coasts (and in Chicago/Minnesota/Austin and the Florida Keys) and red in between — with entirely separate governments and tax systems. I genuinely believe this would be a fair and workable system that both sides would be happy with. Seriously. Everybody could still travel around and nothing would be different except for one minor structural difference — i.e., the USA would be composed of two countries with differing philosophies and policies.
Think of the marketing opportunities for blue-staters looking to kick back! “Visit Red America and have a good old time!” could be one of the campaigns. Think of it — an enticing pleasure-trip idea for blue-staters who want to let their inner yokel cut loose. Party down with all the red downmarket types and alcoholics and pot-bellied gamblers and sports nuts. People who love fattening foods and who want to travel down the Mississippi on old-fashioned riverboats and who love Nascar and country music and drag races in gas guzzlers and riding roughshod over nature in dune buggies and snowmobiles…all that good stuff.
The difference, of course, would be that red voters and the whores for the oil industry and KMart and the corporate food producers (chicken, cattle, junk foods) and other unhealthy or retrograde industries wouldn’t have anything to say about health care and climate/health standards and gay marriage and women’s abortion rights in blue states.
Red America would basically be Slovakia and Blue America would be the Czech Republic. It works over there just fine.
The only problem would be Southern California’s Orange County — one of the most emphatic right-wing cultures in the country. I guess Orange County could become a kind of walled-off Palestinian territory in Israel, something along those lines.