Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gibson On the Rocks

"We’re glad that he owned up that what he said was not only offensive, but bigoted. When he’s finished with alcohol rehabilitation, we will be ready and willing to meet with him and to help him get rid of his other addiction, which is prejudice." Abraham H. Foxman, national director, Anti-Defamation League

Nice sentiment. But I don't think there is a real cure for prejudice. Not the kind learned at the knee of the worst kind of anti-Semite -- a Holocaust denier. Not for a 50-year old Catholic who hit the bigotry jackpot with an anti-Semitic movie cloaked in religious zeal. And not for a man whose hubris is so great he created his own personal church.

Mel The Divine--the man who said, "I own Malibu" is not sincere about changing his ways, he's just playing the self-blame game like a pro.

I called it. Rehab. Another apology. "I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested." It's not about your words, Mel, it's about your attitudes. Really, really bad attitudes.

Granted, I didn't predict Mel would ask to meet with Jewish leaders, but hey, I've been out of the high stakes PR biz a while.

Mel said, "I'm not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing."

Can you say, Nuclear Damage Control? Wow. The only problem with that kind of spin is that it's so obviously Spin. And the only healing he's after is for his career, not his conscience.

Think about it. He's been here before. There was enormous controversy among the International Jewish community over The Passion of the Christ. There are a lot Jewish bigwigs in Hollywood. Did Mel reach out to Jews back then? Ask for cross cultural understanding?

No. He didn't have to, the movie was a blockbuster, even if it busted on Jews. And the Christians were happy. Which in America means everything. Especially to Mel.

But now the guy's in real trouble. He doesn't get to cloak his bigotry in the First Amendment. Or call it Art. It spewed out of him like hot lava, in living color and on tape, in the Real World. Vicious, bigoted, in-your-face personalized garbage. Nothing artful about that.

And now his career is on the line. Not to mention... can you say lawsuit? That cop he assaulted with his anti-Semitic tirade is in fact Jewish.

The bitter icing on this rancid cake? Movie star endorsements of Mel's sterling character. Which burns me, but good. Is this guy so powerful he can scare the likes of Jodie Foster into defending him?

She's supposed to be one of the good guys. She went to Yale, for crying out loud. But it appears that venerable institution taught her nothing about the insidious danger of bigotry. Just about the power of money.

Oy, vey is meir. Oh, woe is me (and us). The barbarians are at the gates. And the price of entry seems to be a pot of gold.

It should tarnish and rot in the hands of anyone who would support and defend Mel Gibson.

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