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June 03, 1982 - Image 8

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1982-06-03

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Page 8--Thursday, June 3, 1982-The Michigan Doily
'Anti-christian' TV
stirs up religious wrath

By Kenneth Clark
UnitedPress International ,
NEW YORK - The Rev.
Donald Wildmon might have more suc-
cess in his effort to boycott garbage on
television if he would stop trying to
sweep out what little true quality
remains.
Sadly for the pastor from Tupelo,
Miss., the yardstick by which he
measures NBC these days is neither
long enough nor broad enough to
evaluate things like 'warmth, artistry
and the sheer genius of the human heart
revealed in three dimensions.
All those terms apply to "Sister,
Sister" - a drama written for NBC by
Maya Angelou, a luminous black poet
and playwright whose work is so
awesome in its power it scorns the very
hyperbole it demands.
"Sister, Sister" airs next Monday
from 9-11 p.m., EDT, and the Rev.
Wildmon hates it already. He hates it so
much he is urging his followers in the
NBC boycott effort to view it as a
means of honing their indignation.
In a press release and open letter to
his troops, Wildmon brands the film
"an example of anti-Christian, anti-
religious network programming" and
delivers the following synopsis:
"The film involves principal charac-
ters identified as Christian. One of
those characters is the minister who
commits dultry with a member of his
congregation when she comes to the
parsonage for help with a prob-
lem.
"The minister steals money from the

church treasury to help finance a'
political campaign. He later commits
adultry with the sister of the lady he is
already having an affair with and later
divorces his wife."
"Sister, Sister" is just that - in the
same way a human being is just a
Tinker-Toy construction of bone or 97
cents worth of chemicals.
What Wildmon overlooks -- if indeed
he has seen the film at all - is the
glowing aura of soul injected with the
dramatic and timeless intensity of a
Greek tragedy by Diahann Carroll,
Rosalind Cash, Irene Cara, Dick An-
thony Williams and Paul Winfield.
Far from being "anti-Christian" or
"anti-religious," "Sister, Sister" sings
a vibrant hymn to faith by unveiling a
pit of bottomless pain for those who
would forsake faith, or compromise it,
or attempt to lure it into prostitution.
Characters such as the Rev. Hender-
son who hawks his phony piety from the
pulpit in "Sister, Sister," are a
miniscule minority, but they do exist.
Looking upon the results of their
hypocrisies in no way denigrates faith
or undermines the thousands of sincere
and hymble ministers who do not plun-
der their churches' building funds or
seduce their parishioners.
Wildmon has committed a major
technical blunder in asking his
followers to relax their boycott of NBC
and view "Sister, Sister" with wrath
and alarm. If they do their viewing with
their eyes and their hearts open, the
already faltering boycott is likely to
breathe its last Monday night.
May Maya Angelou pen its epitaph.

Kip Adotta, extreme right, hosts "Everything Goes," an R-rated quiz show
on Escapade cable TV channel. The show is a combination of "Strip Poker"
and "Let's Make a Deal."
roeson and gan
return foar more fun

(continuedfrom Page 7)
gang of Urban West thugs.
It's avengertime, folks, only this time
Kersey doesn't get arrested and bun-
dled away-by films end he's walking
proud and tall through the streets of
LA, presumably transforming it into
the safest city west of Moscow.
It's difficult to tell which audience
this exercise in libidonous garbage was

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geared to. Ostensibly a film for the law-
and-order crowd, Death Wish II's ironic
counter-message rings clear: LaW and
order don't work anymore, so grab
yourself a gun and gain instant sain-
thood. The filmmakers clearly want it
both ways: When hoods attack a
woman in an underground carport,
you're meant to feel her terror. Yet
she's carefully pinionedio show enough
naked flesh to goad audience fantasies
over the joy of the very gangbanging
they're supposed to deplore. The movie
avoids racial stereotyping like the
plague-the objects of Kersey's pursuit
are neatly land improbably) divided
between white and black.
DEATH WISH II would be far more
offensive were it not put together by ar-
tistic moles. Director Michael Winner
(who also guided Death Wish I) once
again proves himself a hack so flam-
boyantly incompetent one suspects he
uses Mafia connections in order to ob-
tain movie assignments. Death Wish II
has the look and feel of a cheap porno
movie-swarthy color, jangled editing,
cartoon acting, plus a bombastic soun-
dtrack which constantly heaves and
pants despite the fact that it often has
no connection to the scene it's accom- -
panying.
Presiding over this cacophony is that
great stone icon of thespian blankness,
Charles Bronson. Product of the Pen-
nsylvania coal mines, admirer of
General Franco ("He had a cop on
every corner. That's the way to run a
country," Bronsononce said in an in-
terview}, now nearing 60 and ' his
brunette locks turning alarmingly
white, Bronson has been performing for
three decades but has yet to exhibit the
slightest smidgeon of emotion on film.
An auteur hero in Europe, Bronson
has sculpted a cult of inexpressiveness
so consuming that his lack of talent is
often mistaken for a form of iron-fisted
psychic discipline.
Bronson's the hero of the control
freaks, the prophet of the "Don't get
mad-get even" gospel; little do his
duped heavy-metal disciples realize
that's just what he's been doing to
movie audiences for years. Sodoes
Death Wish II.

4

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