Tuesday, August 01, 2006
King of the Booze
I'm going to create a MySpace profile under the name Mel Gibson, then post a comment on the site of every Jew I can find asking him or her for help in solving my drinking problem.
If this sounds laughable, trust me when I tell you that it's no more ridiculous than the real Mel's real solution to his very real public relations disaster.
It's a given in Hollywood that once you've screwed yourself beyond all hope of redemption, your only option is a seemingly heartfelt mea culpa from the fax-machine of Burson-Marsteller; but today's little olive branch to the Jews of the world from Team Gibson takes the cake -- or the matzo as it were. Mel's facing some potentially career-decimating fallout in the wake of his recent Malibu adventure; in fact, it's a safe bet that Harvey Weinstein has already the made the secret phone call that'll bring the Hebrew Hammer down on him during his stint in rehab. The question everyone seems to be asking however -- besides, "Holy shit, who dresses that man?" -- is, "Can he come back from this?"
It's a very simple question that actually hints at a much deeper issue.
Is it possible to say the things that Mel Gibson said and not be a bigot?
I have no doubt that many will argue with this, but I happen to think that when a person becomes enraged beyond all comprehension, he or she has the ability to say just about anything. I also think that when a person becomes enraged beyond all comprehension at someone in particular, he or she is likely to say the most hurtful thing possible -- focusing on whatever words might inflict the most damage; that includes slights against that person's race, religion, sexual orientation -- whatever will hurt the most. It's the verbal equivalent of grabbing a baseball bat during a brawl and swinging it at your target as hard as you can. Add alcohol and you've got yourself a recipe for regret.
This is why, in the heat of the moment, not all racist comments automatically prove their speaker to be a racist.
Unfortunately for Mel, he's got some personal history working against him in this department -- and this may be what inevitably sinks him. It's one thing to say you were drunk and pissed-off, but that argument holds absolutely no Manischewitz when it's been common knowledge for some time that you may have a personal beef with God's chosen.
Get ready though, because the truly comical part of this whole saga is still to come; it'll be the aforementioned Mel Gibson Hebrew Enlightenment and Redemption World Tour -- whereby Mel walks his own personal Stations of the Cross through the spots where Judaism endured its darkest hours. Rabbi Marvin Heir of the Simon Wiesenthal Center has already suggested that Mel follow-up his apology with an introspective pilgrimage to Auschwitz (which incidentally was just rechristened -- in surreally Prince-like fashion -- "The Former Nazi German Concentration Camp of Auschwitz.") This is the same logic that demands the obligatory empty-gesture of sensitivity training for every idiotic professional athlete who makes an off-the-cuff comment that happens to offend someone. It'll be completely worthless for anything more than a photo-op of Gibson peering solemnly into an oven, and a flowery prepared speech entitled "I Learned Something Today." It'll also be a mission which Mel Gibson will undertake willingly -- if you define willingly as "done only because you screwed yourself squarely in the ass and now have to make amends or you'll be doing Left Behind sequels with Kirk Cameron for the rest of your life."
My suggestion -- simply because it would be more fun to watch: make Mel join the Israeli Defense Forces and station him right on the front lines near Lebanon.
It's the only proper punishment I can think of for What Women Want.