Heart of the Beholder

Often times we are led to believe that the extreme religious fanatics oppose the prevailing administrations. The ruling governments condemn the extreme rightists and call for restrain. And the population is led to believe that the fanatical barbaric causes are espoused by a small minority of believers who have nothing to do with the political parties they are in support of, however right-wing or conservative they may be.

So the media often discuss in detail how former Indian PM Vajpayee used to be a right man in a wrong party, how the BJP (the right wing party) was in principle opposed to the extremist right wing bodies such as World Hindu Council, or RSS –even as the latter were bases which gave birth to the former! This brainwash goes to such an extent that people genuinely start believing that Advani (the alleged instigator of communal riots) now is being opposed by the extreme right-wingers for being soft on Pakistan.

Nearer home, the Bush administration is being criticized for being too liberal by the fellow right wingers. KKK is not yet dead, but we all were told that it was an organization of cowards who never got any administrative support. We were told that KKK were always critical of every government in power too, absolving them of any collaboration. Or that American Nazi Party has nothing to do with the moderate right wing politics at the Center. Or that McCarthy was an aberration, although communism was evil.

But all throughout these apparent oppositions of intra-right wing politics, what transpire are the victories of the right-wing agendas. Then what is portrayed is that with hesitations rife, things get acted out. Like India had a nuclear test done of the Hindu Bomb or America had an unfortunate war on Iraq. The reality is that, the fanatical aims are eventually fulfilled, albeit, amidst a more sophisticated public projection.

Why does it seem that complicated and not this simple? Are the religious fanatics really those wayward minorities that are disliked by the ruling elites? If that be the case, how is it that the administration finds no problem in endorsing much of the demands of the fanatics (on grounds of religious freedom, preaching, commandments at court, the war lobbies, propagating god’s words, incorporating religious practice within health sector, allowing religious parties to contest and lend supports, making issues out of abortion and gay marriage, etc …)?

If Martin Scorcese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988) was so successfully picketed by the right wingers across the country, a story to tell of it was never devised. Only recently, Ken Tipton’ own story was directed for “The Heart of the Beholder” (2005), a movie that has been dubbed as “the movie Hollywood was afraid to make”.

In no uncertain terms the film captures what no previously made English language film had ever accomplished. The reality of how a sense of freedom is always granted with religious sanctions is well juxtaposed with hesitations of the ruling elites to take up responsibilities for the ruckus. Going beyond that, the true story of Tipton’s reveal how the same elites feigning ignorance and publicly maintaining distance from religious bigots are actually very much hand-in-gloves with the latter! Still going beyond that, Tipton shows how he and his family go ahead to take revenge on the believers than sit tight, shit scared.

If there has been a film that tells the story in Hollywood, this is the one to watch. Made independently, this may not hit your theatres. But if you get read this story, do spread the word! One way or the other, folks need to understand that the religious fanatics have always ruled the world, after devising a God as a justification of their rule and install few political groups who mock-fight with each other in a so-called democracy as their instrument of rule. And we, as believers in Jesus not as a tempted man or Buddha not as an avowed atheist, view the lens as prescribed, according to the terms of fanatics, to differ only in degree, not in types. And we assume that the fanatics cannot be among us, within us, even without questioning our own godly beliefs and levels of intolerances!

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Author: Saswat Pattanayak

Journalist, Generalist, Atheist, Poet, Lover, Photographer, Communist, Third wave Feminist, LGBT ally, Black power comrade, Peacenik, Anti-capitalist, Critical media theorist, Radical film critic, Academic non-elite…

3 thoughts on “Heart of the Beholder

  1. Ken Tipton is the scam artist who tried to foist two kids losing their virginity on the internet (Our First Time). He is a con man. “Heart of the Beholder” isn’t the film Hollywood was afraid to make, it’s the film Hollywood was too smart to make. Ken Tipton has a history of lying to the press. You included.

  2. The Internet is a wonderful way to communicate. But there are times with allegations, innuendo, and half-truths are spread without responsibility.

    As the producer and 100% owner of both HEART of the BEHOLDER (www.Beholder.com) and the sequel, VIRGIN TERRITORY (www.Beholder.com/oft.pdf), I will admit that what has been posted does have a bit of truth to it, but not the whole story.

    After years of up and down development of HEART of the BEHOLDER, Ken did produce a publicity stunt that was about safe sex practices, AIDS awareness, parental communication with teens about sex, and ultimately – sexual abstinence, but the project was hijacked by a pornographer that is currently under state and federal charges and has fled to Thailand. The project was called Our First Time.com.

    I’ve been a TV executive for over 30 years and before I optioned HEART of the BEHOLDER and VIRGIN TERRITORY, I had access to all newspaper articles, court documents, and key people involved with both stories.

    Recently we screened HEART of the BEHOLDER in St. Louis where I also met many of Ken’s former Video Library employees and customers who gave me more information about how his video stores were targeted in 1988 by Rev. Donald Wildmon’s “National Federation for Decency”.
    I also met a group of religious people who had picketed Ken’s stores and have since had a change of heart. They apologized for their past harassment.

    More information about the Our First Time.com publicity stunt is at –

    http://www.Beholder.com/oft.pdf

    I am available to answer any questions about either project.

    818-905-4684

    As for the postings by Jean Tiger, who is he/she?

    Emails sent to he/she bounce back and no other evidence is brought forward other than allegations. Could this be one of the protestors of Video Library or more likely, a disgruntled person who was fired from the production. I don’t hide behind false names and temporary email addresses. Why does Jean?

    Sincerely,
    Darlene Lieblich
    Producer@Beholder.com

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