There Is Something Wrong With Mel Gibson

Celebrity gaffes can seem fairly meaningless. Celebrity behavior is normal human behavior: from pistol whipping (Eminem) to drug addiction (Robert Downey Jr.) to weird familial marriage (Woody Allen), the sort of human transgressions that would be at most private gossip among civilians becomes the world’s top news.

Given that, I think there is an underlying political importance to Mel Gibson’s continued episodes of hate. I don’t think Mel Gibson is just an eccentric, angry actor in the way Russell Crowe is. I think he and his father follow a continuous line of political thought that starts as far back as the Middle Age persecutions, moves toward Adolf Hitler and his stateside apologists and ends up at the like of David Duke, Pat Buchanan (coincidentally, or perhaps not, a Traditionalist Catholic fellow traveler of Hutton Gibson and his son who continues to appear on MSNBC despite having published a pro-Hitler revisionist screed), the Muslim Brotherhood and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Lines of political thought are a really good way of assessing your own political beliefs and making sense of the chaotic political spectrum. Generally speaking mine follow the line of Leon Trotsky, George Orwell and on toward Christopher Hitchens.)

It would be one thing if Gibson’s rough rhetoric were a personal problem. Unfortunately his father shares it:

In his interview on WSNR radio’s Speak Your Piece, to be broadcast on Monday, Hutton Gibson, argued that many European Jews counted as death camp victims of the Nazi regime had in fact fled to countries like Australia and the United States.

“It’s all — maybe not all fiction — but most of it is,” he said, adding that the gas chambers and crematoria at camps like Auschwitz would not have been capable of exterminating so many people.

“Do you know what it takes to get rid of a dead body? To cremate it?” he said. “It takes a litre of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million of them? They (the Germans) did not have the gas to do it. That’s why they lost the war.”

Gibson’s homoerotic sadomasochistic torture flick The Passion of the Christ can be found in evangelical households across America, watched as frequently as geeks re-watch Star Wars. Watching Gibson’s film is a constant reinforcement of anti-Semitism; the film portrays the Romans as a helpless bureaucratic body that is forced in to crucifying Jesus Christ in order to appease bloodthirsty Jews. Gibson’s portrayal of the Jews is a narrative as old as Christianity itself and played no small role in their historical persecution.

In that film, Gibson wasn’t just channelling his own madness. Despite the pretty overwhelming support of the worst elements of Israeli messianism, American evangelicals, devout Catholics and other stringent followers of Jesus of Nazareth are not without strong shades of anti-Semitism. (After all, they don’t believe in the savior!) Jerry Falwell was known for making crass jokes about the fiscal habits of Jews while plopping out gems like “The Jews are returning to their land of unbelief. They are spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior.” In a public spat with his friend and the very intelligent religious/political commentator Dennis Prager (who is also Jewish, as it happens), Little Green Footballs blogger Charles Johnson was able to get Prager (who has done no small act in addressing anti-Semitism) to admit that Pat Buchanan and other elements of the Right are anti-Jewish.

When you hear about Gibson accosting a Jewish police officer or hear a tape of him ranting about how his wife will get “raped by a bunch of niggers” or rallying against “wetbacks,” you’re not just hearing a crazy person. You’re hearing the sick, intolerant, tribal and morally vacant core of Christianity.

  • Dave

    “American evangelicals are not without strong shades of anti-Semitism”

    To be fair here, Mel Gibson and his father are certainly not Evangelical Christians in the sense you mean. They’re Catholics (specifically Traditionalist Catholic in Hutton Gibson’s case), which is a whole different breed, alltogether.

  • Michael Powell

    Dave, that’s a really good point. I meant to point out that Gibson, along with Buchanan, who I also mention, are hardcore Catholics. Things got a little muddled because the anti-Semitism crosses into both groups and evangelicals are big fans of The Passion.

    Thank you.

  • Gungho

    To the author of this:

    Show us on the doll where the Christians hurt you…

  • Michael Powell

    Pretty funny, Gungho. =D

    I feel I should explain my hostility, since liberals have flat out called me racist for my criticism of Islam and conservatives think I must be some sort of communist.

    I’m an intellectual. I come from an academic family, with biologists and chemists in attendance and copies of the National Geographic being ubiquitous in my upbringing. I’m an agnostic and have generally been open to God and faith, but since reaching adult age I’ve found more and more that the Abrahamic faiths especially are at war with science, reason and modernity. I don’t want to be in a world where crackpot pseudo-science is taught instead of the truth, law-abiding individuals are forbidden from consummating their love for another because they are of the same gender or where we allow cartoonists to live under threat of death and women to be forced into marriage or terrorized by their male family members under the guise of “multiculturalism.”

  • michael

    ummm…
    Passion of the christ was shown how it is in the bible. The jews did choose to kill Jesus. it’s also in jewish history books. And the passion shows how it is. there is no antisemitism in it.
    By the way –
    Long live the jews :D

  • Mike

    Christian “Christ-killer” based anti-semitism makes me giggle because…Jesus….was….Jewish. Oh yeah, and Christ’s sacrifice God’s idea. Oh yeah, and without this sacrifice there wouldn’t be a Christian faith for…well…Christians.

  • Michael O. Powell

    Hitler was ethnically Jewish too, Mike. It’s like those racists who love the covers by white artists of songs written by black musicians. It’s a psychologically perverse and irrational phobia.

  • Michael O. Powell

    Michael – In a way you’ve proved my point, though Thomas is very right that the Jews did not kill Jesus. I said the narrative was as old as itself. Religions are often used to tout the supremacy of one collective – “the chosen people.” It’s no wonder then that God’s various “chosen people” are always at war with one another.

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com Thomas L. Knapp

    “Passion of the christ was shown how it is in the bible. The jews did choose to kill Jesus.”

    The Romans sent a cohort (about 600 troops) to arrest Jesus and executed him in a manner reserved exclusively to Rome and for those convicted of rebellion against Rome (crucifixion — Jewish authorities in 1st Century Judea were constrained by Roman law to levying the penalty of execution by stoning).

    There were certainly internal Jewish politics involved — Jesus represented the zealots/nazaroits who were “zealous for the law” and wanted to restore the Davidic monarchy in the person of a Messiah (a priest-king of the Davidic line), while the Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin collaborated with Rome and the Herodians in exchange for a measure of Jewish religious autonomy — but “the Jews” did not kill Jesus.

  • Jessica Ruiz

    Jesus commanded that we love the Lord with all our hearts and each other like our selves. I am no theologian or expert at any thing but changing diapers, I am however so grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus and for His sovereignty. There is nothing I or anyone else can say or do to prove or justify Him. He shed His blood in obedience and love of the Father so that all of humanity could be justified. My only claim to fame is the work He has and is doing in my heart. I pray God helps me to see others and myself through the eyes of Jesus, not in religion or so that I can stand on some sort of twisted self righteous soapbox in judgment over others.
    God Bless you all!

  • Michael O. Powell

    Gungho – I actually told some friends the comment you wrote and they nearly cried laughing. You nailed it on the head. LOL

  • Adam T. Glass

    The Passion is in fact not in the bible.

    It was created in Germanic land long ago by an old mystic woman.

    That is where The Passion actually originates.
    Do some research on this great thing called the internet, you may really become enlightened, for example
    http://www.oberammergau.org/2007/10/begining.html
    How could something from the Bible be created in the mid 1000’s AD?

  • TMay

    I am more concerned about Iran and the chance of them burning up millions of Israelis and Palestinians in a nuclear attack than the ravings of one man. And the Left has gotten into bed with the Islamists and brought home and are proselytizing anti-Semitism, with their international boycott of Israel via the International Solidarity Movement, and their divestment attacks on Israel in churches and on campuses like UC, and publishing anti Israel letters in newspapers across the country, and the gays against Israel in the Toronto parade, and the flotilla whereby they are supporting and strengthening Hamas which is a racist Klu Klux Klan type of organization. And Hamas gets money from Iran. Destroying Israel’s justifiable weapons inspection protocol regarding Gaza, see UN Security Council Resolution #1860, would mean that Iran gets a port on the Mediterranean. Read the Hamas Charter findable on line. Read Israel’s Declaration of Independence and compare the two.
    And I think Jews should be more concerned with condemning Polanski than with Mel Gibson. I think Mel Gibson is a distraction.

  • Adam T. Glass

    TMay
    I completely agree with you and am well versed in the history of Israel pre-statehood, Post WWI Europe and especially Eastern Europe.
    Since I know the Protocols I am well aware of Hamas charter and know that there could have been 2 states in the land in ’47 if the Arab world had agreed to it but they wanted it all as shown by aggressive war after war, in which they lose and lose more territory.
    But back to Mel, he has an enormous devout following of poorly informed persons, who excuse all his actions and have plenty of reasons/excuses to defend them.
    All Jew-Haters should be exposed and called out for what they are, no matter who that person is.
    Evil no matter how tiny must be confronted at its earliest.
    As for the Radical/Old Left that has been seeping back into mainstream liberals, they have always had corrupted views of Israel and Jews, just as the far right does.
    Both Sides have equal amounts of dangerous peoples.
    Education is the best defense as they have built their arguments on fatuous info that can quite easily be corrected by factual info.
    But remember never try to use facts to change someones opinion, when they arrived to that opinion without facts or truth.

    The last and final export from Europe is Jew Hating and Israel Bashing and scapegoating.

  • Michael O. Powell

    Thanks for your comments, TMay and Adam.

  • TMay

    Adam Glass:
    “All Jew-Haters should be exposed and called out for what they are, no matter who that person is.”

    What was Jew hating about Mel Gibson yelling at his girlfriend in what he thought was a private conversation and she stuck around for another 2 months following it and after having secretly recorded him?

  • Michael O. Powell

    TMay –

    For more on Gibson and his father’s Jew hating past, read this: http://www.slate.com/id/2146880