Monday, September 29, 2008

"Sealed With a Kiss"?

In the Garden of Gethsemene, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Matthew 26: 47-50).

This Biblical allusion is the presumed origin of what has come to known as "the kiss of death." Joseph Valachi, made a splash in the early 1960s when he "sang" for the McClellan Committee, when he identified 317 known members of "the cosa nostra." According to his testimony, he was suspected of being "a rat" by fellow prisoner Vito Genovese, and was given the "kiss of death."

From Everything2 on "The Kiss of Death" in popular culture:

One of the most famous death kisses is in The Godfather Part II. Al Pacino, as Don Corleone, gives his brother Fredo Corleone, played by John Cazale, the kiss after he discovers Fredo betrayed him by helping in an assassination plot.

When Gaius Cassius, Marcus Junius Brutus, and their fellow conspirators, assassinated Julius Caesar (the definitive stabbing in the back) in the Hall of Pompei in 44 BCE, there is no mention of a pre-stabbing kiss. There might have well have been.

But sometimes, maybe, "a kiss is just a kiss" (as Dooley Wilson croons in Casablanca). Maybe it isn't always portentous of impending betrayal. You be the judge.

Liberal leadership rival Bob Rae give Liberal leader Stephane Dion a birthday kiss.

Photo Credit: Nathan Denette/Canadian Press via The Globe and Mail

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