Gratuitous faulty historical parallels in Pilgrimage reviews

None of these is actually necessary to the intelligbility or meaningfulness of the review. They’re all just strange attempts to grasp at meaning and two of them feel like cheap shots.

Screen Anarchy: “Had I watched this a few days earlier it may not have fallen in right after the day an evangelical adviser to the megalomaniac in the U.S. said that their god has given this person “full control” to take out the leader of North Korea.” [note that this is not a mainstream evangelical view, nor is the United States the Catholic church, nor is Donald Trump the pope.]

Irish Central: “He talks of draining the bogs of the wild Irish the way Donald Trump talks about draining the swamps.” Actually, no. The metaphor in the film refers to actual people in literal swamps, whereas Trump’s slogan refers to lobbyists and profiteers in Washington. Additionally, the Normans who use this phrase are talking about real opponents, whereas Trump’s remarks refer in part of people in his own party.

Roger’s Movie Nation: “But this simple quest tale recreates an era when Christians believed as Islamic terrorists believe today — that salvation and eternal life comes from blood sacrifice.” Medieval Christianity did not teach, nor did medieval Christians believe, that salvation and eternal life came from human blood sacrifice, but rather from Jesus’ sacrifice, symbolized as blood. Moreover, the fact that some Islamists believe this today has little to do with Islam and everything to do with a reaction against modernism / modernity and the effects of imperialism in the formerly colonized world.

~ by Servetus on August 12, 2017.

9 Responses to “Gratuitous faulty historical parallels in Pilgrimage reviews”

  1. What you’ve pointed out is so true. Their ‘reviews’ or those excerpts at least sound pretty much like the average fb user’s comment on whatever made headlines that day. Must be convenient to have ‘alternative facts’ at hand. Is it just me or is this attitude and lack of thinking/learning/reading & understanding really tiring? Then again – neither the writer nor director did much research either. Maybe I do expect too much of people 🤔

    Reminds me of what Pippi Langstrumpf (Longstocking?) sang “Ich mach mir die Welt wie sie mir gefällt…” not sure how that was translated into English.


    • Those books were not in the canon of children’s literature in my day the way they are in Germany, but I think Pippi says, “I’ll always come out on top” or something along those lines.

      I just taught a class about Islam this week. I’m not an expert; I took an undergraduate course and I follow historiography in a few fields for the sake of being able to teach. But the bizarre statements about Muslims made by people whose familiarity with anything about that religion is limited to what they read in the headlines when they even bother enrage me particularly.


  2. Enjoy your analysis. I acknowledge good writers often make associations between art and life, but with so much news consumed by the T word, my tolerance is such that few references outside of current events (and those are throttled for my own peace of mind) merit better than an eye roll.


    • I know I’m in a huge minority here but when popular culture is our major vehicle for learning about history as a society, then accurate statements in and about popular culture really do matter. I’m listening to commentaries right now (on both left and right) about the violence in Charlottesville today and the statements that are coming out of people’s mouths about the history of these things are just jawdropping.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Talk about stretching analogies. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the writer got that metaphor, to drain the bogs of people, from rhetoric he heard during the presidential campaign, which was ongoing when he was writing.


    • the article says “no” but I feel like we’ve been told conflicting stories about the creation of this script and film anyway.




    • Nice citation and I’ve appreciated Hyams’ work over the years, but what the exempla on this topic talk about is not what’s being shown in this film. Those sources talk about martyrdom — the need of the Crusader to seek his own death; that’s not what’s going on here with the possible exception of Brother Ciaran, who neither seeks his own death, nor is he a Crusader. Crusading was a tiny minority experience in the Middle Ages; not many participated in it. And, significantly, for that example to be applicable — the person who should be demonstrating that ideology is Raymond de Merville, who is pretty much doing the opposite. Self-sacrifice, yes, as these exempla show, but not blood and gore.


    • The other thing you have to keep in mind is that whatever the Church is asking people to do in terms of activities they should cultivate, none of it is ever sufficient for salvation. The only thing that saved Christians in the MA, the sine qua non, is the actions of Christ. Moral cooperation was necessary in the view of some thinkers, but it’s all irrelevant without G-d’s motivating decision and sacrifice of his Son.


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