The miniseries The Bible, produced by Survivor's Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey, has been a huge hit for the History Channel. I haven't seen it, but I'm looking forward to checking it out on Blu or something because I find the Bible to be a really cool story, and I'm interested in seeing how the show handles some of the weirder shit in the holy text.
Apparently last night's episode featured Satan, and he was played by a dude named Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni. And as soon as he came on screen people began making some visual connections: he sort of looks like Barack Obama. It wasn't just lefties who saw the resemblence, mind you. Glenn Beck himself tweeted about it.
I guess I see it. It's pretty funny! Some people are up in arms about it, but this feels like it's totally in line with any sort of political satire. I do wish the people who went apeshit about George W Bush's head maybe being on a pike in Game of Thrones would show some consistency and get upset about this, but I've stopped wishing elephants could fly.
What's possibly upsetting is what this means about depictions of race in The Bible. This Satan is played by a Middle Eastern man, which is weird in a show where a lot of Middle Eastern people are being played by whites. Jesus Christ is played by a Portugese model, which I guess is better than some of the blue eyed/blonde Christs of the past, but Adam and Eve were very much white people. Writing at the Huffington Post, Rev. Wil Gafney PhD notes:
[The] dark, rich, fertile soil is the source of a pun in the Genesis account of the creation of humanity: God creates an adam from the adamah, an earthling from the earth, a human from the humus. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey replaced the life-giving red-brown soil of Fertile Crescent with sandy white soil which would not sustain life so they could show God creating a white man in God's image. That man, like the bulk of the cast, is white like them, like their target audience, unlike the Afro-Asiatic Israelites.
You'd think in 2013 we'd be beyond the point of casting a bunch of honkies to play the roles of people living in the Middle East, but that doesn't sell Tide commerical breaks, I guess. In the meantime, I think it's totally hilarious that The Bible may have cast an Obama look-alike as Lucifer. You haven't made it until the opposition paints you as the devil.