Friday, August 04, 2006
On being Mel-icius
The appalling Mel Gibson has done a good thing in his drunken outburst of racism. He has demonstrated exquisitely that fame and money do not bring wisdom. He has demonstrated that religion can be an illness - certainly the ill of the world. And he has given the common world a wake-up call about the insidious ever-presence of warped and ugly bigotry - something we often allow ourselves to forget.
The nasty star, who retaliated with a bilious outburst of anti-Semitism towards police who had made him stop his criminal drunken driving, gives us all cause to pause and wonder what may lurk beneath our sober selves. Do we harbour hatred, too?
We all have prejudices, whether we admit it to ourselves or not. They are things we see as likes and dislikes - preferences. I am not fond of neo-Cons, for example. "Hate" may be too strong a word, but I could certainly let loose a rant about their retrogressive double values and their greed. I have had a series of very unpleasant experiences with two ethnicities, so I generalise a dislike while, ambivalently, feeling open-hearted towards individuals. This is ethically entirely wrong and it worries me. But it is how it is. Similarly, I once was raped by a man with a crewcut. Ever since, I have loathed men with crewcuts - but have made exceptions as the years rolled on.
So, how would I behave as a drunk if a right-wing cop with a crewcut pulled me over for DUI? I would shut the fuck up, that's how I'd behave. A cop is a cop is a cop. And I'd be well aware that I was in the wrong if I was driving with a belly full of booze, not to mention sucking on Tequila as I went
All of which makes me join the rest of the thinking world in thinking that Mel Gibson is a bloody disgrace and should be well and truly blackballed by the vapid Hollywood world which has lavished him in approbation for making violent blockbusters such as "Braveheart" and "The Passion of Christ". Will this happen? Probably not. Hollywood is all-forgiving because its craven values are based on fame and success and not on principles.
At least they have canned his Holocaust special. Obviously, the son of a Holocaust denier, a man who has demonstrated an overt loathing of the Jewish people and, 2000 years later, is accusing them of being Christ-killers, is just not the man for that job. Indeed, it is an impertinence that he ever considered depicting the subject. It is another impertinence that he now calls on Jews to counsel him.
But he has done us all a favour in his outburst. He has shown us who he really is.
And he has made us look at who we are, too. Hopefully, not a bit like Mel Gibson.