Testament to the power and mastery of a movie that, nearly 60 years on, still feels as modern, complex and cutting-edge as any film released…
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Mel's mug, shot.
Believe it or not, there are still a few good Mel Gibson jokes left to tell. This one's from Andy Borowitz. EXCERPT: "Listen, I'm all for blaming things on the Jews, but this guy went too far," said Mr. bin Laden.
The al-Qaeda leader said that the next time Mr. Gibson feels the urge to spew hateful rhetoric, "count to ten first."
"There's a time and a place for everything," Mr. bin Laden said. "And the time to launch into an anti-Semitic tirade is when you're speaking on al-Jazeera from the comfort and safety of your cave -- not when you're stopped by the cops." Yes, by all means, count to ten first. That way you won't say anything you mean that you might have to apologize for later.
"I'm not an anti-Semite. I just talk like one when I'm drunk!"
UPDATE (8/2/06): Maureen Dowd offers a brief overview of The Bigotry of the Mel (sober, and in his movies) in today's New York Times. Mostly he's on record (in interviews and on film) as anti-gay and anti-Jew, with perhaps an especially low tolerance for gays of the Hebrew persuasion and Jews of the homosexual persuasion. Dowd turns over the last half of her column to Leon Wieseltier, a major Jew and by implication one of the Hebrew-American leaders Mel has asked to help him through anti-Semitic rehab. Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, who says Mel has been "a very bad goy.": “It is really rich to behold Gibson asking Jews to behave like Christians. Has he forgotten how bellicose and wrathful and unforgiving we are? Why would a people who start all the wars make a peace? Perhaps he’s feeling a little like Jesus, hoping that the Jews don’t do their worst and preparing himself for more evidence of their disappointing behavior. [...]
“Moreover, it is the elders’ considered view that whereas alcoholism may require a process of recovery, anti-Semitism is a more intractable and less chic failing. This was not a moment of insanity, even if Gibson is insane. His hatred of Jews was plain in his movie and in his twisted defense of it, which was made when he was sober under the influence of his primitive world view. Perhaps he thinks that all he needs to do is spend a few months in AA — Anti-Semites Anonymous — and find some celebrity sponsor and run for absolution to Larry Zeiger, I mean Larry King, where he can say with perfect sincerity that the Holocaust was a terrible thing and gut yontif.
“We understand that Gibson cannot do it alone. But why do we have to do it with him? We would find it hard to be in a room with him unless, of course, he wants to count some money with us. Why doesn’t he turn to the vast number of his Christian brothers and sisters who show no trace of anything resembling his disgusting prejudice?
“Mad Max is making Max mad, and Murray, and Irving, and Mort, and Marty, and Abe. But we’re not completely heartless. If he wants to do Shylock at dinner theater, fine. If he agrees to fill his swimming pool with Kabbalah water, fine.��? Truth is, I didn't interpret "The Passion of the Christ" as anti-Semitic, although I see how others could. But as a director, Gibson has taken stories based on Jesus and William Wallace, and stripped them down into nothing more than bloody tales of martyrdom and revenge. (Even his performance in Franco Zeffirelli's film of "Hamlet" was less a man tortured by doubt than an avenging angel.) The primary emotion all these films express -- and, especially, evoke -- is outrage, hatred. And that speaks just as loudly as anything he himself has said off-screen.