Absolute rubbish

WPosterIn the Oct. 20 edition of Newsweek, longtime film critic David Ansen criticizes director Oliver Stone for not showing greater depth in his depiction of George W. Bush. Fair enough, until one stumbles across this double-barrel shotgun blast of boorish stereotyping:

"W." seems content to skim the surface of conventional wisdom. You wish it could have explored the connection between Bush's alcoholism and his born-again Christianity with some depth or curiosity: what addicts and born-agains share is a terror of ambiguity, an absolute need for a belief system that removes all doubt.

I'm sure that the addiction community may defend itself without my help, but there's more than a little ambiguity in as basic a question as how Alcoholics Anonymous describes God:

3. [We made] a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

True, the language police haven't changed the personal pronoun to Him/Her/It, but we're hardly talking about creedal levels of clarity.

As for Ansen's use of the colloquial born-agains, let's play with the final clause a little and see how credible it sounds when referring to other people groups:

• what addicts and theists share is a terror of ambiguity, an absolute need for a belief system that removes all doubt.

• what addicts and non-Brights share is a terror of ambiguity, an absolute need for a belief system that removes all doubt.

• what addicts and indigenous tribes share is a terror of ambiguity, an absolute need for a belief system that removes all doubt.

• what addicts and engineers share is a terror of ambiguity, an absolute need for a belief system that removes all doubt.

• what addicts and uninformed movie critics share is a terror of ambiguity, an absolute need for a belief system that removes all doubt [about what vast swaths of humanity believe or fear].

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