After panning The Passion of the Christ, Jami Bernard of the New York Daily News got a big dose of muscular Christianity:
Most of the hundreds of people who wrote in didn't wait to see the movie for themselves before giving me a piece of their mind....
Many of these E-mails were nasty and unprintable.
Some attacked me personally, dismissing my looks and assuming that if I didn't like the movie, I must be Jewish, thus betraying their own prejudices.
Just as religious leaders of all stripes have feared, the movie has become a lightning rod for the anti-Semitic undercurrent that runs through society - many of the letters I received dragged out old canards about Jews running Hollywood, the media, and having too much money.
A few of them referred to my weight, because I've been chronicling my effort to shed pounds in another section of the newspaper. "Eat a donut!" read the printable part of one missive.
Other critics who reviewed "The Passion" received similar hate mail, although Gene Seymour of Newsday told me he has yet to be called a "ho."
"Unprintable" is such a silly word in this day and age, and reproducing just the "printable" parts of hate letters and e-mails gives a distorted view of the writers' rage. Maybe the hate mail doesn't belong in the Daily News, but Jami Bernard (and Gene Seymour, and probably David Denby and a lot of other critics) should do what Margaret Cho did and show us all precisely what goes on in the brains of bigots. Find (or create) a place to post the letters, warn the parents to set the kiddies' Web filters on stun, then start uploading.