To be clear up front, I haven’t seen Noah. I don’t feel like I need to in order to say what I have to say here, which is (simply) this: I’m tired of people making money off of bad publicity. And I’m not going to allow the controversy swirling around Noah to get any money out of me. Let me explain.
It could be that Noah is actually a decent movie, and that’s why people flocked two million by two million like hypnotized animals to see it. But I really doubt that. A few Christians and Jews went to see it because they were genuinely deceived, and thought it would be an uplifting Bible epic—the Ten Commandments of our time or something. Those people are kind of daft, I must say.
A few other people saw Noah because they like Darren Aronofsky. I am a fan of his style, though I think he has a clearly twisted vision of reality (for instance, if you were able to watch Requiem for a Dream more than once, you should get that sorted out with a therapist), but Noah was a bridge too far.
I knew when I read the early reviews that I was not going to see this movie. Aronofsky lost me with “Noah was the first environmentalist.” ’Nough said. I’m not seeing your movie.
And Paramount also knew early on that the movie would not appeal to viewers like me, and they knew why as well: because the movie has no respect at all for the veracity and integrity of its source material. In many ways, it actually insults its target audience. When it was obvious that Noah wasn’t going to work out into the Bible epic that Paramount was wanting, they decided to go the route infidels have gone so many times before: if you can’t convince Christians it’s good, start a conversation about how bad it is. Bad publicity is better than no publicity, right?
I know no one wants to believe that they are susceptible to marketing and manipulation. But in this case, as in so many others, we got had. It actually angers me. Everyone is talking about Noah. And it doesn’t matter why they’re talking about it. It doesn’t matter if they are talking bad or good things. It really doesn’t. So even this article is part of the problem, though forgive me, I’m trying to use Noah as an example of how disingenuous people manipulate us into giving them money.
I can’t tell you how many Christians I know who have seen Noah in order to be part of the conversation. Because they want to be informed. Christians did it with The God Delusion as well: “Well, I have to read it in order to be able to refute it, and I won’t steal it, so…” So you tell the publisher with your dollar, “Make more books about how atheism is the way to go. We’ll buy them.” Do you think the publisher cares why you bought the book? No. After The God Delusion became famous, a huge glut of atheist books showed up on the market. And it wasn’t because all of a sudden a huge number of atheist authors popped up into reality that weren’t there before. No. It’s because Christians would buy that book in order to be part of a conversation, so publishers were willing to publish those books. Because they could make money. There aren’t enough atheists to make atheist books enormously popular. So, in a way, Christians made Richard Dawkins famous.
Publishers and distributors do not care what they put out for the most part, as long as they can make money doing it. If you buy it, they’ll produce it. All the time, Christians are talking about how movies and popular culture have just gone to the toilet, and Hollywood doesn’t make movies like they used to, and oh for the golden days, etc. It’s as if they think that distributors are actually trying to put out mindless, immoral drivel. They’re not. They don’t care really. They’re doing the least amount of work to make the most amount of money. Paramount didn’t release Noah because it shares Aronofsky’s worldview concerning the symbolic mythos and metaphoric power of ancient “fables.” They released it because they thought they could make money off of you. When it was obvious they couldn’t make money by appealing to your desire for confirmation, they appealed to your desire for controversy. It’s as simple as that. And a lot of people fell for it.
What’s the solution? Do I think Christians need to be less gullible? Yes, I do. But do they need to be part of the conversation? Maybe. But why not be a part of the conversation by allowing someone to tell you about a movie or book? Ask people what they thought about Noah. But don’t give that movie or its distributors money.
You commission when you consume. It boggles my mind how many Christians don’t get that yet. The market doesn’t care about your reasons for going to see Noah. If you pay to see it, you are telling the market to provide more movies like it. So you shouldn’t watch it in theaters for sure, and if you really feel you need to see it to make your own assessment, wait for it to come out on Redbox or pirate it. We’re at war. We shouldn’t be paying for our enemies’ materiel.