Letters: 7 December 2014

The real spirit of Christmas

Looking at America, that leader in consumer culture, it is easy to see how the real meaning of Christmas – and to some extent, Thanksgiving as well – has been lost to the thrill of nabbing a bargain.

Although the ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ fads have not reached us yet, it’s easy to see that the obsession with buying things is very prevalent in Malta too. In this increasingly multi-cultural society, we should hold strongly to our beliefs and help others understand them as well. 

We would do well to remember that our religion is the reason we celebrate this winter feast in the first place and a few more trips to church instead of shops might help everyone realise this. Other activities like visiting the elderly or offering one’s time and energy for worthy causes are also a way to get back in touch with the spiritual side of the festivities. 

It is a shame that buying and spending seem to have replaced the real spirit of the season, which is a celebration of the birth of our Lord and a message of hope to all. 

Mario Grima, Via email

Reviewing the reviewer

I had the misfortune of stumbling upon Teodor Reljic’s clunky and misinformed review of the wonderful Polish drama Ida in last Sunday’s edition of MaltaToday. 

Not only does the review fail to take into account the full theological import of this masterfully crafted film… it’s clear that Reljic’s grasp of the Polish cinematic scene is tenuous at best. 

This most delicate films is certainly not well served by the reviewer’s patronising introductory note, which eats up precious column space to lecture readers about the poor visual storytelling of contemporary films. 

In the interest of the kind of balance and rhetorical sensitivity I would wish Reljic displayed more of, I will isolate one segment of the review as being particularly notable: 

‘The porcelain-like perfection of Ida and her world at the convent is contrasted with Wanda’s world, but the colour scheme ensures us that Ida’s worldview is being carried across even there – though the implications are that it may be in crisis.’

This kind of closely focused analysis is what’s expected from a true reviewer… not the gobbledygook dumped on us earlier. 

Either way, perhaps we are to be grateful for this review – pretentious and awkwardly paced as it is – because it ultimately bestows the four-star ‘seal of approval’ on the film in question. It’s certainly a film that deserves to be seen, and call me cynical, but I’m pretty certain that most readers don’t look beyond the star rating anyway. 

Randolph Hardwicke, Qala

Ingratitude towards Church's mission

I bow my head to your prerogative not to publish my letters.

However to leave unchallenged Mr. S. Zammit’s gratuitous assertion (‘The age of reason’ 19 October, 2014) that “Catholicsm is not a religion that repudiates human sacrifice but rather a cult that condones it or even worse, celebrates it” is an ingratitude of the highest order.

If Mr Zammit does not recognise and acknowledge the Catholic Church’s universal humanitarian, educational and healthcare carried out worldwide, restoring human dignity to mankind and easing its pain and suffering as much as possible, then he must be living in cuckoo land.

And that was only one of the arguments.

John Azzopardi, Zabbar