Last year I knew that the release of The Love Guru was a no-win situation. I knew that if this mega-turd of a movie did well that it would only empower Mike Myers to make The Love Guru 2, and the rest of Hollywood would follow suit with more fake guru fu.

I know what you’re thinking… The Love Guru was one of the biggest bombs of 2008. What could be the downside of that?

Well, here’s the rub. The utter failure of The Love Guru became a rallying cry behind douche-bag of the year, Rajan Zed, a self-appointed Hindu leader who waged a vicious spam email campaign against the film. He took issue with The Love Guru’s portrayal and satirization of the Hindu religion. (Of course, he never quite realized that the movie didn’t poke fun at Hinduism as much as it poked fun at our lazy culture’s bandwagon approach to self-help gurus like Deepak Chopra.)

Still, the movie failed, and Zed claimed victory.

What’s the harm in that? Well, now the guy has built a business around demanding censorship of films that have even the slightest hint of religious controversy. His latest target: Angels & Demons.

What the fanatic?

You see, it’s not just the Catholics who are pissed off about this Ron Howard film.

Here’s an excerpt from Zed’s own piece of spam (which I continue to receive in spite of several requests to remove me from his list… a clear violation of the CAN SPAM Act of 2003):

Hindus want “Angels & Demons” movie rated as “R”

Wonderful. I want a lap dance from Jessica Biel, but that ain’t gonna happen… at least not yet.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said CARA should ask the makers of “Angels & Demons” to insert a disclaimer in bold letters in the beginning and towards the end of the movie explaining that it was purely the work of fiction. Same information about its fictional character should be included in all the publicity material and trailers.

Uh, dill-hole, this isn’t how any movie works in Hollywood. It’s just a movie. Even the “true” ones are fiction, and pretty much everyone understands that. Heck, even most of the documentaries we see are partly works of fiction nowadays.

Rajan Zed stressed that cinema was a powerful medium and it could create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences, especially the younger ones, who were passing through an impressionable phase. We did not want our next generation to be growing up with a distorted view of religion.

You sound like that feminist I railed about a few weeks ago. Let’s get specific Zed-man. What stereotypes is this movie supporting? How exactly is this distorting religion? Have you even read the book? How about the Wikipedia entry? No? Nothing?

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know that Angels & Demons is a work of fiction? Hell, the movie doesn’t even present itself as “inspired by a true story,” which has been used by other entirely fictional movies like Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story. But even if it did, there are plenty of facts in the film.

For example, the Illuminati did in fact exist and served as a rallying cry against organized religion years ago… Galileo was in fact persecuted by the church… the Vatican does in fact have a sketchy history with secular dissension… and above all else, if you actually watch the movie, it doesn’t really smear the Catholic church or the Vatican itself, but rather uses it as a backdrop for the story.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if this Indian version of Jerry Falwell would check his ego. He is now referring to himself as “acclaimed Hindu statesman” and ultimately wants to scrap the First Amendment of our beloved Constitution.

Furthermore, if you actually read the entire email (which can be found at the bottom of this page), it’s clear that Zed has no frickin’ idea what the movie is about. He talks about no specifics as to what Angels & Demons does to belittle religion. (If anything, the film presents the necessity of religion and handles the Catholic faithfuls in relatively high regard.) Unlike The Love Guru, which purposely was not screened for his whack-job group prior to its release, Angels & Demons has been available in book form since 2000.

On the controversy angle, Angels & Demons is a far cry from The Da Vinci Code, which did present some ideas that, while not terribly earth-shattering or even original to your average thinking person, could shake the faith of died-in-the-wool Christians who interpret the Bible in a strict literal sense.

Here’s the bottom line: I’m getting tired of people taking issue with words like “retard.” I’m sick of people demanding apologies for date-rape scenes. And I’m sick and tired of Rajan Zed lining his pockets while standing on the back of intimidation and censorship.

Get a life, Rajan Zed!

And now for something not-so-completely different…

WHAT FOLLOWS IS THE FULL TEXT OF RAJAN ZED’S POORLY-WRITTEN EMAIL:

[NOTE: Read at your own risk of dropping IQ points by the end. This guy’s emails are even more annoying than those from the whack-job conspiracy theorists that claim Scarlett Johanssen is a clone of a nice girl named Scarlett Galabekian... and that’s really saying something.]

SENT FROM: zed.rjn@gmail.com

SENT TO: kevin@filmschoolrejects.com

*For favor of publication/broadcasting*

Hindus want “Angels & Demons” movie rated as “R”

Hindus have censured* *Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) of USA for assigning upcoming film “Angels & Demons” a PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) rating, which they stress deserved R (Restricted) rating.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that this film was unnecessarily playing with the sentiments of the faithful for mercantile greed. He has urged CARA to reconsider its earlier rating decision and raise its rating to “R” (Restricted: Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian)

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said CARA should ask the makers of “Angels & Demons” to insert a disclaimer in bold letters in the beginning and towards the end of the movie explaining that it was purely the work of fiction. Same information about its fictional character should be included in all the publicity material and trailers.

Rajan Zed stressed that cinema was a powerful medium and it could create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences, especially the younger ones, who were passing through an impressionable phase. We did not want our next generation to be growing up with a distorted view of religion.

Zed argued that faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Filmmakers should be more sensitive and careful while handling faith related subjects. Movies like this brought more confusion and helped creating stereotypes in the minds of some audiences.

Replying to the question of why Hindus were concerned while the movie deals with Roman Catholic Church, Rajan Zed said that despite our seriously different traditions, we were all fellow seekers of the Ultimate Reality and we were all headed in the same direction. So, we should help each other on our journey towards truth and have some sort of trust and mutual loyalty.

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and National Association of Theater Owners operate the movie ratings system and a board of parents who comprise CARA gives ratings. Founded in 1922, the MPAA serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington DC. Its Board includes Paramount, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios, Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers. Dan Glickman is the Chairman.

“Angels & Demons”; a Sony-Columbia-Imagine mystery based on Dan Brown’s novel and directed by Ron Howard with Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer; is being released in most of the world on May 13-14-15 next.

Roman Catholic Church, headed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, is the largest of the Christian denominations. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.


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