- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mel’s career

“Though Mel Gibson’s career bounced back from his infamous drunken anti-Semitic tirade in 2006, some think his latest outburst - a profanity-laden phone conversation with his ex-girlfriend and baby mama Oksana Grigorieva in which he suggests that her ‘provocative’ clothing would justify rape - may finally sink him.

“The tirade has already led Gibson’s talent agency to end its relationship with him, and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to open a domestic violence investigation into his relationship with Grigorieva. Just yesterday, a new Gibson audio assault on Grigorieva surfaced, in which he says, ‘My career is over.’ Can Gibson weather this storm? …

Gibson’s career survived the 2006 incident partly because he was merely the director of his next movie, ‘Apocalypto,’ not its star. This time, his upcoming films such as (the Jodie Foster-directed) ‘The Beaver’ feature him on camera, making them much tougher sells. ‘Good luck releasing a movie in the coming months with Mel Gibson on the top line and in posters,’ says Steven Zeitchik in the Los Angeles Times, ‘and wearing a beaver puppet to boot.’ Jay Leno’s writers will have a field day ‘for weeks.’ “

- from “Mel Gibson: ‘My career is over,’ ” on July 13 at The Week

Mel’s religion

“Newspapers routinely refer to any Roman Catholic in the news as ‘a devout Catholic.’ They would not say that of Mel Gibson at the moment, however. Mad Mel is again in hot water for racism. This time it is not the Jews; it is (allegedly) the blacks (or n–—s as he allegedly calls them). He has also, according to reports, hit his (former) girlfriend, the Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva, and called her an expletive-deleted ‘pig in heat.’

“Just like a juiced up Irish-Australian-American, eh? But it seems he was not tight. … You don’t have to be a doctor to know that Mel is a man in the grip of galloping paranoia and sexual insecurity. He is a puritan who now regrets having departed from the straight and narrow, and is blaming his ex-girlfriend for his fall. He is like a lot of us, in other words. He is also a serious Catholic, however, and has sound liturgical instincts. Unfortunately, he cleaves to a paranoid traditionalism that seems to feed his demons (or at any rate does not destroy them).”

- Stuart Reid, writing on “Mel Gibson’s traditionalism seems to be feeding his demons,” on July 12 at the Catholic Herald

Laughing at Mel

“When RadarOnline began releasing the violent, racist, horrifying audio clips, purportedly of Mel Gibson raging at estranged girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, it was a harrowing glimpse into an apparently deeply disturbed mind. And as the shocking clips just kept coming, it also became a field day for jokesters. …

“[David] Letterman, meanwhile, offered Gibson’s ‘Top Ten Excuses.’ ‘Number one: Wanted to show the Jews I’m an equal opportunity offender.’ … And in a stroke of twisted genius, Buzzfeed went for the win with a choice collection of Gibson’s most colorful quotes set in Hallmark card doodly fonts and accompanied by photos of adorable wide-eyed kittens. Why? Because ‘mentally deprived idiot’ just doesn’t seem so bad coming from a baby animal in a meadow. …

“Why are we so eager to laugh off somebody so blatantly horrible? Isn’t it patently insensitive to make light of someone who appears to be not just a hateful creep but also a full-fledged domestic abuser? … But those nervous giggles are more likely an acknowledgment that our greatest weapon against the things that frighten and anger us is to make them foolish. …

“Another famous Mel, Mr. Brooks, once explained how he was able to fight Nazis in World War II and turn them into musical comedy fodder decades later. Because, he said: ‘The greatest comedy plays against the greatest tragedy. Comedy is a red rubber ball and if you throw it against a soft, funny wall, it will not come back. But if you throw it against the hard wall of ultimate reality, it will bounce back and be very lively.’ “

- Mary Elizabeth Williams, writing on “Mel Gibson’s ugly tirades: It’s not wrong to laugh,” on July 14 at Salon