Robert Barron on "District 9"

What do you get when you cross a top-flight theologian with one of the summer's hottest movies?  This provocative review of the sci-fi hit "District 9" by Fr. Robert Barron, now on our online Culture section.  The new movie, about a ragtag band of lost, malnourished aliens who in the 1980s parked their spaceship above Johannesburg, has already been seen by critics as a metaphor for a great many contemporary ills: racism, homophobia, xenophobia and anti-immigrationism.  Drawing on the work of Hegel and Levinas, Fr. Barron sees an even deeper meaning in "District 9"--Jewish and Christian images of the "other" and "slave."  Here's a little of his review, and trust me you won't read any other review abou the film like his. 

In “District 9,” we see the master/slave dynamic on display: the characterization of the aliens by a derogatory nickname, their sequestration in a squalid ghetto and the violence—direct and indirect—that is visited upon them. These practices are evident from ancient times to the present day. But we see something else as well: an identification of the oppressor with the oppressed, the openness to interpreting the world from the underside, from the perspective of the victim. 


This is the Biblical difference, though I doubt that most people today would recognize it as such. It is the view that comes from that strange spiritual tradition that culminates in a God who doesn’t make slaves but rather becomes one.

Make sure to read the rest in the link above. 

James Martin SJ

PS This will be my last blog for the next eight days: I'm off to retreat.  Pray for me if you get a moment.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
9 years 4 months ago
I'll offer up my Angelus for your retreat.
9 years 4 months ago
Agreed. His consideration of Ted Kennedy is good, too. Search it out on the Word on Fire website.
9 years 4 months ago
Wishing you an excellent retreat.


The latest from america

Screengrab from a viral video showcasing a confrontation between a Native American drummer and a group of Catholic high school students in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, 2019. Screenshot via YouTube.
Several clips of the encounter circulating on social media show a small group of Native American drummers, who were in Washington for the Indigenous People’s March, being surrounded by a much larger band of teenagers.
Pope Francis has suppressed the Ecclesia Dei Commission, a significant decision with consequences for the Holy See’s relations with the priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 19, 2019
Photo: IMDB
A new Netflix miniseries brings out the story’s aspects of adventure and conflict, with occasionally pulse-pounding results.
Rob Weinert-KendtJanuary 19, 2019
Protestors march to support a U.N. anti-corruption commission in Guatemala City on Jan. 6. Photo by Jackie McVicar.
“What they are doing not only puts Guatemala at risk but the entire region. Bit by bit, for more than a year, they have been trying to divide us. The elections are at risk. We are six months away.”
Jackie McVicarJanuary 18, 2019