Clearly that column was not stellar reporting

By Dan Bloom

Danny Bloom

Danny Bloom

CHIAYI CITY, Taiwan — I am sure New York Times columnist David Brooks meant well when he wrote his “Love and Gravity” column the other day about the faith aspects of Christopher Nolan’s new Interstellar movie. Brooks is a very good writer, a bit on the rightwing side of things and with a big following among readers on the right, and he often makes very good sense. Even if you don’t agree with his politics. He’s balanced and fair and really more of a mid-center guy than right or left.

But boy, did he get himself into a big pickle in his recent oped column about Interstellar. It was a think piece, not a movie review, and it was well written and thoughtful. The Times has him on board for a reason: David Brooks can write like a pro and a pro he is.

Here is what Brooks wrote, in part:

“In the movie, 12 apostles go out alone into space to look for habitable planets. They are sacrificing their lives so that canisters of frozen embryos can be born again in some place far away.”

He added: ”Bloggers have noticed the religious symbols in the movie.

There are those 12 apostles, and there’s a Noah’s ark. There is a fallen angel named Dr. Mann who turns satanic in an inverse Garden of Eden. The space project is named Lazarus. The heroine saves the world at age 33. There’s an infinitely greater and incorporeal intelligence offering merciful salvation.”

It’s all very nice and cheerful except for one thing: The crew of the Endeavor in “Interstellar” had just four people, not twelve. There were no 12 apostles in the movie.

Cooper is not Jesus, and there was no Noah’s Ark.

And while Brooks did not go down this road, some religious bloggers are now elsewhere that Dr Mann was ”Judas” — that old antisemitic canard from the New Testament that created an imaginary, perfidious, betraying Jew named, well, we all know his name by now.

But look, Matt Damon’s character was not Judas. Cooper’s initials in the movie were not JC, as some are now saying. Come on, it’s just a movie!

David Brooks wrote a very good column except for those two paragraphs above. Apparently, he never fact-checked the items he picked up from blogs and other online posts. He just put them in and got himself into a pickle.

It’s just a movie, David. What’s next, you’re going to say that Nolan’s first name has the word ”Christ” in it and therefore…

When does this nonsense stop? Twelve apostles, my eye; 12 astronauts in the crew, my eye! Doesn’t the New York Times employ fact-checkers anymore?

Interstellar, Interschtellar! I loved the movie — without the God stuff!

Bloom is a freelance writer in Taiwan and an inveterate web surfer.  He may be contacted via [email protected]

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Copyright 2014 San Diego Jewish World

2 Responses to “Clearly that column was not stellar reporting”

  1. Tim says:

    It is just a movie, but one that you must not have watched very closely. There were 12 Lazarus astronauts launched ahead of Cooper to search out habitable planets. Cooper’s name is Joseph Cooper. The Endurance had the ability to repopulate a planet through the fertilized embryos stored on-board. And one of the most well-loved of the Lazarus astronauts, turns and seeks only his own well-being. Now, you may or may not read religious symbolism into these details… but these details, in fact, occurred in the film. I tend to think that Nolan is a skilled enough story teller to know that others would read religious themes into these details but it is also possible that those who do are overreaching.

  2. dan bloom says:

    Tim… the movie Cooper is never called Joseph. The Judas trope is an antisemitic canard. There never was a Judas. That is myth and legend. Brooks and you are over reaching. There is no ark. There is no Adam & Eve. “They’ are not gods or God. Please!


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