Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Truly this man was the son of Gard

Posted on: May 9, 2022

This may be an urban legend. I have heard that George Stevens, director of The Greatest Story Ever Told, thought John Wayne, as a Roman centurion witnessing the crucifixion, uttered his line ‘Truly this man was the Son of God ‘ with insufficient spirituality.  ‘Can you say it with  awe?’ Stevens asked Wayne. ‘Aw, truly this man was the Son of God,’ said Wayne at the next take.

The story was denied by both George Stevens and John Wayne. As I supposed, it’s an urban legend. So many things are.

Apotheosis was a regular feature of Roman imperial life around the time of the crucifixion, give or take a hundred years. From my reading of Robert Graves, I seem to remember that Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar became gods. Caligula thought he was a god and Claudius was considered a god in Britain, a parochial deity.

In the modern age, the deification of political leaders is sinister, invariably resulting in the pursuit and punishment of allegedly deicidal persons. And not only political leaders. Being called deicides by the Church until the Nostra Aetate of Pope Paul VI in 1965 caused us Jews no end of trouble.

What I am doing here is procrastinating. This post, as you guessed, is about Facebook groups becoming increasingly worshipful of Jeremy Corbyn, which means my opening paragraph counts as deviation and hesitation, before I launch into the undoubted repetion of something I have mentioned many times before.

This way of talking about Corbyn as a godlike figure is not merely inappropriate or amusing. His opponents are invariably fingered as being Judas or Herod or Pilate or Caiaphas. Thus the Corbynist forums on Facebook become a veritable Oberammergau of Judenhass, with Israel often held responsible for Labour’s bad election result in 2019 or, by way of synecdoche, Keir Starmer, Margaret Hodge or Trevor Chinn stand in for the State of Israel and indeed for Am Yisrael, the people of Israel.

There has been no improvement in this state of affairs in the Corbynist social media I have seen. Whereas the suggestion that ‘the Rothschilds’ won the 2019 General Election seemed initially the opinion of outliers, it is now orthodoxy to say in these groups that Israel decided the election result. It seems ridiculous when you consider that Israel’s proportional representation leads time after time to inconclusive election results. It seems ridiculous for many reasons but it is an assertion which occurs repeatedly in the Corbynist groups on Facebook and is by now an urban legend nearly as popular as the anecdote about the awe of John Wayne. Even Corbyn himself suggested, in an interview he gave to an Al Mayadeen reporter, that Benjamin Netanyahu had played a part in his, Corbyn’s electoral failure.

The people making the comments are often the same individuals, members of every Corbynist group they can find and active in all of them. Can we put a number on them? The larger groups have more than 60,000 members and the smaller groups have fewer than 2,000. The usual number is about 10,000 members, a hundred of whom are regular contributors to the group.

And does it matter?

Does it matter if these predominantly elderly people have fixated on an elderly man who had little influence in politics until he was past retirement age, and whom they now regularly liken to Jesus? Many people whose opinions I value tell me that I’m focusing on a pathetic minority who turn to each other for the corroboration they can’t get in the wider world.

But I say, it matters if they think you’re Judas, Pilate, Herod and Caiaphas, rolled into one diabolical, election-rigging, scam-making, party-owning, blue and white T shirt-wearing entity.

3 Responses to "Truly this man was the son of Gard"

It seems that young people are still mourning the fate of this man, too.


I must admit I’ve stopped reading their posts but value your doing so and your subsequent summary of it all.

I find these people very sad and delusional. I imagine most would be hugely offended to be described as religious but as you so perceptively point out they’ve become deists in a cult. Such an undeserving object of veneration too.

Keep it up little soldier.




I’d send a thumbs up but I don’t think emojis are available here.

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  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: Thank you Keith.
  • keithmarr: Dearest Gillian < div dir="ltr">Not only do you manage to read all this filth without throwing up but you manage to make me laugh
  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: Unless they are members of the group in general agreement with the Labour manifesto of 2019 but against the excesses which are often found in these gr
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