Rev. George Exoo aka Reverend Death Is A U*U In The Media. . .
To see a genuinely sick man, you needed to watch Jon Ronson's documentary Reverend Death (Channel 4) in which he followed America's Rev George Exoo as he went round encouraging the terminally well to top themselves. “This is a great adventure. Look forward to it,” our Rev Peter Pan told a depressed woman who, when the moment came, stood up and toasted herself a bagel instead. This was a rich, dark comedy of a documentary. At one euthanasia-practitioners get- together, Exoo even extolled the “comic resonances” in his work. I think he meant “cosmic”. The only mystery was why Ronson, who filmed Exoo for six years, kept claiming to like the creep.
As previously noted, 'The Guardian' ran this article about 'Reverend Death' written by Jon Ronson himself.
'The Herald' ran this review by David Belcher on May 20th.
'The Citizen', and related regional newspapers such as 'The Lancashire Evening Telegraph', ran this brief review by Jon Anson.
inthenews.co.uk, apparently a British web based news service, posted this short announcement of the airing of 'Reverend Death' - It's a tough choice between More4 and Channel 4, however, as Jon Ronson documentary Reverend Death (22:00) tells of the morally confusing story of George Exoo, a Virginia pastor who has taken part in more than 100 assisted suicides.
'My Park Magazine' ran this brief review that concludes by asking, “If you think your calling from God is to help people die, are you a saint or something more dangerous?”
The List, posted the following announcement and review by Brian Donaldson as far back as May 8th - Jon Ronson is a documentary maker who likes to take his chances and with Reverend Death (Channel 4, Mon 19 May, 10pm ••••) he’s returned to the same kind of territory he travelled to with Kidneys for Jesus as some religious people conduct themselves in a way that might be considered distinctly unreligious. Over the course of six years, Ronson has followed the story of George Exoo, a Unitarian minister who assisted the suicides of countless lost souls across America, even stretching his Grim Reaper-like influence into Ireland. What made him controversial (if you don’t think the subject is already teetering on the dubious) is that terminally ill individuals are not the people he’s seeing off into the next life, but a bunch of folks who are merely kind of miserable.
A standard Google search turns up even more British media previews and reviews of 'Reverend Death' including this one by Michal Dzierza on The Orange website. This review on the TV Scoop website is worth a read.
So what gives? Why does the editorial staff of the UU World blog want to bury 'Reverend Death', and the numerous British media reports about this documentary about Unitarian minister Rev. George Exoo, from the view of the eyes of lifelong U*Us U*U Worldwide? After all it's not like they haven't ever mentioned Rev. George Exoo as a Unitarian*Universalist aka U*U in the Media before. . .
Update: 25.05.2008 2:oopm from the Sunday papers. . .
Kathryn Flett of The Observer had this to say about 'Reverend Death' -
By the time I got to Reverend Death, Jon Ronson's surreally disturbing (all the more so for being lightly handled) documentary about George Exoo, a Mr Magoo-ish Unitarian pastor from West Virginia whose 'calling' is helping people commit suicide, I was starting to feel queasy; by the time Exoo bolted from chronic fatigue syndrome sufferer Pam's house, because, instead of swallowing her poison as agreed, she had chosen to fix herself a bagel with cream cheese, I was gagging.
Pam didn't die that night, but later, assisted by George. As a former sufferer of CFS myself, this depressed me enormously. While it's certainly miserable as hell, CFS is very often also curable by, among other things, embracing a rigorous diet that not only excludes the questionable attentions of a 'Reverend Death', but also, painfully ironically, processed white flour products such as bagels. And if that's a tasteless note to end on, then it's been a tasteless sort of week.
Hermione Eyre of The Independent wrote - Jon Ronson's Reverend Death was a vividly creepy portrait of the irresponsible face of euthanasia, Dr George Exoo, a Unitarian minister from West Virginia who claims to have assisted 102 suicides. Ronson started off with a sympathetic attitude, but slowly grew disenchanted. Very slowly. "Now I've spent a few years with George I'm beginning to wonder if he's too in love with death ...", he mused. There is a problem with these faux-naive broadcasters, who are always beginning to wonder if it gets dark at the end of the day. Just because it's called the Idiot Box doesn't mean you have to pretend to be one to get on it.
But Ronson redeemed himself, boldly confronting one of the self-described midwives of death: "It sounds pretty sick to me, and I don't think you should do it."
Unlike, say, Mark Dolan, he is a presenter of depth, whose simple style gained momentum. He ended Reverend Death with powerful misgivings about Exoo's vocation. "I wonder how much less corrupting the love of a calling is than the love of money."