Covering the sins of Mel Gibson

10Anyone who paid close attention during the EWTN interviews with Mel Gibson, released during that Christian-media PR wave before The Passion of the Christ, could read between the lines.

The timeline was pretty clear.

Gibson (1) had been through some very rough times, describing in vague terms all the rumors about booze and a troubled private life. He was one messed-up sinner. Then (2) he had stepped back from the brink and there had been some events that he linked to God working in his life, including his interest in the writings of the mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich and the gift of a small pieces of one of the nun’s cloaks. This led to (3) the intensely personal work on The Passion, a time during which Gibson — always a wild man when it comes to language and work habits — put himself under very tight controls.

I was struck that Gibson, while filming that movie, said he was going to confession every day and was working as closely as possible with the priests involved in the movie. I heard some of these details repeated when I interviewed the Jesuit — Father William Fulco — who worked with Gibson on the Aramaic translations for The Passion.

It sounded, to me, like Gibson was on the wagon and that the very nature of the Passion project was helping him battle some of his demons. He was surrounded by Catholics and other Christians and he needed them for the project. The sinner was, whatever the mixed motives, getting some of the help that he needed. This led to the next question: What would happen next?

Even up here in the quiet mountains of North Carolina, it is impossible to escape the barrage of coverage of the sinner’s slide into the ditch. Sinners do this. We all do it in, in ways that are private and rarely public.

I have not, needless to say, been able to follow all the coverage in this cyber cafe.

There have been icy blasts of Hollywood cynicism, such as Patrick Goldstein’s Big Picture column in the Los Angeles Times. There was the tragic — whether it was spin or not — report about Gibson being suicidal. Actually, if a Catholic father was failing his wife and children in such a hellish and public manner (even before the arrest), despair and suicide might be a logical next temptation.

Then there was the second apology, with its open appeal for the help of major Jewish leaders. I was shocked that some mainstream reporters and leaders took it rather seriously, not that Gibson offered a serious apology after he sobered up. As Peter Carlson reported in The Washington Post:

Apology I was judged to be “insufficient” and “unremorseful” by Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. Foxman, who had criticized “Passion” as an incitement to anti-Semitism, posted a statement on the ADL’s Web site: “We would hope that Hollywood would now realize the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from the anti-Semite.”

But Foxman was more impressed with Apology II. “We are glad that Mel Gibson has finally owned up to the fact that he made anti-Semitic remarks and his apology sounds sincere,” Foxman said in a statement. “Once he completes his rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, we will be ready and willing to help him with his second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice.” Gibson’s agent yesterday indicated his client was availing himself of help as an outpatient.

After wading through some of this, the reporter in me wants to ask this question: Is this a religion story or a Hollywood story?

The answer, of course, is that it is both.

The Hollywood story will get covered, one way or another. I am curious to know whether many mainstream reporters will take Gibson at his word and attempt to cover the religion story, the story of the sinner who either will, or will not, repent and take the radical actions required to get back on the wagon of faith and family. In his second apology, Gibson described his fall in terms of sin and faith. That could be spin. It could be real. That is a story, in and of itself.

I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologise directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.

The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God’s child, and if I wish to honour my God I have to honour his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.

As Steve Lopez noted in the Los Angeles Times, traditional beievers — Jews and Christians — will be watching carefully, after the filth of some of Gibson’s drunken remarks.

… I imagine it’s hard to simply turn the other cheek.

Especially when you consider that Gibson was allegedly doing 80 mph on the Pacific Coast Highway at 2:30 in the morning with a bottle of tequila in his Lexus, and that he dropped F-bombs like a sailor when he got pulled over. It was F this and F that, an R-rated performance start to finish. When he got to the station, he reportedly tried to smash a phone and urinate in his cell.

Where does the penance begin? A hundred thousand rosaries and six months of Hail Marys?

passion christi mel gibson 360Indeed, where does the penance begin? It begins in a confession booth and at home. But how can the media cover those private locations? Gibson can repent before God and a priest and no one will know and that’s how it should be. It is, in a way, easier to repent before God than before the principalities and powers of Hollywood.

However, there are factual questions, public questions that can be asked.

What is the status of Gibson’s controversial Mayan movie, Apocalypto? He should be editing it right now, since it remains unfinished. Media reports indicate that he is in an outpatient program. OK, but what has happened to his Catholic support network? Has he appealed for help? I wonder if his friends at EWTN have heard from him.

There are public steps that Gibson can take, if his faith and his repentance are sincere. Where to begin? Julia Duin of The Washington Times offered some suggestions, thinking as a believer and as a reporter:

Sometimes a little Catholic guilt is a good thing.

But what’s key here is repentance, not just apologies. Without the former, you’re toast to God, never mind Hollywood. Now is the time for some radical steps.

Never drink again. Seriously. … Confess, confess, confess. You not only trashed Jews in your drunken rage, your remarks were obscene and sexist as well. Humility in public life is quite becoming, especially in your line of work. Admit to the world that Jesus was — and still is — Jewish, so your offense was against him as well.

A visit to Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka or all three Holocaust sites may not be a bad idea. The American Jewish Committee was right in saying that repentance is measured in actions, not words.

If Rabbi David Baron really wants you to speak at Temple of the Arts on Yom Kippur (Sunday, Oct. 1, if you didn’t already know), then go. Showing up there — or at the concentration camps — may come off as a PR stunt, but right now, you need a better photo op than that booking mug shot.

Beg — don’t ask — people of all faiths to pray for you. Jews will consider that a mitzvah and Christians are commanded to pray for their enemies.

Amen.

This is a strange news story, and journalists will need to cover both sides of Gibson’s fall — the faith side as well as the celebrity side. Where is Gibson turning, in this time of need? Is the sinner getting the help that he needs?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://www.getreligion.org/?p=2 Douglas LeBlanc

    Just this week I watched The Big Question, a documentary in which Gibson and many of the people involved in The Passion of the Christ answer various questions about God, this life, and eternity.

    Father William Fulco talks on camera a few times, though (like all others in the film) he is not identified by name or title. Fulco talks very transparently about how much his life changed once he confronted his alcholism.

    Devotees of The Passion may enjoy knowing that the actor Davide Marotta, who plays the hairy demonic baby, sounds like an entirely orthodox Catholic in this film.

    In one poignant moment, Gibson says he’s convinced that there’s more to eternity than the sufferings in this life. If that’s not true, he says, then bring on the harem and the cocaine.

    The Big Question is a strange little film, featuring all too many sequences with a canine actor named Greg who wanders through both beautiful and vaguely threatening scenery. I figured Greg was supposed to represent human beings, somehow, or all creatures in this world. Ultimately, I decided he just represented padding.

  • http://www.herbely.com/2006/01/spiritual_direc.html#more Herb Ely

    A religion reporter wanting to dig into the story will want to explore the Catholic and Jesuit roots of AA and how some traditional Catholics regard AA spiritually dangerous and unorthodox. It would be fascinating to see how Gibson fits into this.

  • Judy Harrow

    I feel like I need to point out a few inconvenient truths in this discussion, before Gibson’s image gets completely whitewashed.

    1. The Gospel quote “his blood be upon us and our children” has provided the rationale for centuries of anti-semitic violence. Yes, it’s right there in the Book. It’s also an evil, murderous lie. Gibson claimed to have edited this statement out of the film, but actually only removed it from the English subtitle, not from the Aramaic soundtrack.

    2. In medieval Germany, anti-semitism was so prevalent that they even actually had a name (schone Maria) for a Catholic chapel built over the ruins of a desecrated synagogue! From that cultural matrix came (just for a few examples) the Oberammergau passion plays (and the pogroms they generated), the writings of the “blessed” Anne Catherine Emmerich, and the writings and actions of Hitler. It’s a long tradition. Gibson claims Emmerich as an inspiration, and his work shows it!

    3. Gibson’s father is a notorious holocaust denier. Whoever raises us deeply influences our thinking, before we begin to have the tools to research or reason for ourselves. Y’know, “give me a child before he is seven …” Gibson has never, not even now, publically disagreed with or distanced himself from his father.

    4. Drinking loosens the tongue. It weakens all sorts of social restraint and discretion. But the words that come out of a drunkard’s mouth can only express ideas that were already there in his or her mind.

    Repentance means “re-thinking.” So I agree with the previous poster that the right place for it to begin (after whatever religious rituals he may be engaging in privately) is with a trip to Auschwitz.

    Another thing: Pope John 23 repudiated the blood libel two generations ago during Vatican II, but Gibson’s father is a leader of the faction that repudiated the Vatican in reaction to that council. And Gibson himself has been a major funder of their institutions.

    So another indication of real metanoia might be a reconciliation with post-conciliar Catholicism. (Indeed, although Confession is, and should be, private, I admit that I wonder whether he is confessing with a mainstream priest or with one of his father’s regressive faction.)

    I certainly wish Gibson well in his recovery from alcoholism. He has a much better chance of success with that than he does in outgrowing his deep-rooted anti-semitism — and it is a good think even if that’s as far as it goes.

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  • http://cinecon.blogspot.com Victor Morton

    I had posted a few thoughts of my own at my sight in which I wondered aloud about supporting Gibson back in 2003-4. Then along comes Judy Harrow to remind me why.

    How is it possible to read her point (1) as anything other than stating that a detail in the Bible is “a lie” for no apparent reason whatsoever other than that it has to be, HAS to be, because it offends Ms. Harrow’s fine fine sense of ecumenism. And I also think “the” rationale is a bit much — anti-Semitism has had many rationales, some of them predating Christianity, and the prominent ones of the 19th and 20th century being quite explicitly non- and anti-Christian?

    How is it possible to read her point (2) as anything other than a blanket condemnation of German culture per se, a blood libel one might call it (Emmerich and Hitler had nothing to do with one another)?

  • Dave

    I guess some may call the detail a lie because of its misinterpretation by fringe believers who want a Biblically-based excuse for their non-Biblical prejudice. An angry mob yelling for crucifixion was quoted in the detail. Others of the same religious background were weeping at the injustice. Yet rather than separating the two types of people, the misinterpreters prefer to lump all in the same category. People who want to justify their own sinful prejudice blind their eyes and ears to the fact that the scripture is quoting an angry mob bent on a warped vengeance, not providing a guideline for them to follow. And they become part of the angry mob.

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  • http://cinecon.blogspot.com Victor Morton

    I guess some may call the detail a lie because of its misinterpretation by fringe believers who want a Biblically-based excuse for their non-Biblical prejudice.

    Why would that make the detail a lie … rather than a truth being misused.

  • Dave

    Victor – you make a good point. Perhaps those who call it a lie might have better results persuading others that they are misusing the text, rather than calling it a “lie”.

  • Larry Rasczak

    You know, if Gibson had just said horrible things about Capitalists, and how “Rich Capitlaists are f-ing everything up” and that “Bush was a War Criminal” and blamed everything in the mid-East on Bush and Rumsfled rather than “the Jews” he’d be a flipping HERO to the Hollywood press, tequila or no tequila. Senator Macarthy’s name would be dug out, dusted off, and flung at anyone who opposed him, and black listing him would be a BAD thing.

    Not to endorse anti-semitism, (my son went to Jewish preschool for 4 years, and I donate to Friends of the IDF and BurgerIDF.com, etc.) but there is a real double standard in the reporting here.

    The President of Iran publicly calls for the genocidal extermination of the Jews while working as hard as he can towards building an atomic bomb, the Palestinians are rocketing Israeli civilians from Gaza, Hezbollah is launching over 200 rockets a day into Israel in the North, the anti-semites are gaining ground in the Democratic party (just look at some of the posts on Daily Kos, especailly the ones about Joe Lieberman) and press is worried about what Mel Gibson may or may not have said while he was drunk!!

    Excuse me… Mel doesn’t have an atomic bomb, nor is he (to the best of my knowledge) trying to build one. In the post-911 world I don’t think he is the greatest threat to the survival of the Jewish people.

    Things far worse than anything Gibson might or might not have said appear in the Arab and Iranian press every day. Far worse things are publicly said by the President of Iran (who unlike Mel does have an Army and the makings of an atomic bomb). Far worse things are posted at Daily Kos, or show up on signs at “Anti-War” and “Anti-Israel” rallies.

    This isn’t about Mel Gibson’s views on Jews, this is about payback for Mel being openly religious in Hollywood, this is pay back for not only making “The Passion” but for making “The Passion” and then making a lot of money off it too.

  • Larry Rasczak

    BRUSSELS (EJP)—- The Brussels Jewish Memorial for Holocaust victims has been vandalized, in an attack described as “devastating” by the head of a Belgian Jewish association.

    Judith Kronfeld, secretary general of the “Union of deportees in Belgium-Sons and Daughters of deportation” organisation, spoke of a “scene of devastation” which was discovered Monday night.

    The gate of the Memorial’s crypt was pulled out, documents were destroyed, windows broken and an urn containing ashes from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp was desecrated and emptied.

    “Anti-Semitic vandals, moved by a destructive rage, left behind a scene of devastation,” Kronfeld said.

    Condoms and excrements were also found on the floor of the Memorial which is located in Anderlecht, a Brussels district with an important Arab population.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If the press is so sensitive to Anti-Semitisim why aren’t they giving THIS even 1/10 the attention they are to what Mel Gibson says when he’s drunk?

  • Dave

    Larry, while you’re correct about the goofy Bush-bashing stuff and the like, you may be overlooking the fact that a lot of people viewed Mel’s flick as if it was the gospel itself, and it IS relevant to understand where he’s coming from because of that. Why I had to be subject to watching 20 minutes of vicious violence to get the message is bewildering. Why people who decry film-based violence would so enthusiastically back that type of depiction is also mystifying. How can they continue to decry violence in movies?

    Given the evidence of deeply-held, perhaps subconscious, hatred by the movie’s creator, a reasonable person would now have to reconsider whether the movie didn’t contain an undercurrent.

    After all, blatant mischaracterizations of the gospel are fairly easy to spot. It’s the ones that are a quarter-turn off that catch folks off-guard. I’ve seen much better films that didn’t need the violence to get the message across. I hadn’t taken the anti-semitic criticism of the movie seriously before, but the recent evidence certainly raises questions.

  • Jay O’Neill

    I am a Catholic psychologist and do want to commend this posting by tmatt.

    I agree with other posters that there are far worse instances of anti semitism than Mr. Gibson’s and the hate crime in Belgium should be publicized much more than Mr. Gibson’s hateful speech. In fact, I hadn’t heard of it until reading the posting above.

    I do agree, though, that Mr. Gibson stands out precisely because he is a major public figure with “fans” (from the word fanatic) posting antisemitic slurs all over the Internet in various blogs. Not a majority of postings. But, I’d say the pro-Gibson or Gibson apologists have frank anti semitism in the vast majority of them.

    The point? Gibson specifically said the JEWS (not the Israelis) are responsible for causing ALL wars. A reigious belief causing WW1, WW2,
    the Korean War, Vietnam, the wars in Africa, indeed the Crusades! This at a time when Israel is indeed at war and antisemitism is on the rise.
    Imagine if a Jewish public figure had stated that
    Christians were responsible for all the wars that have happened over the course of human experience?? Or blamed all Christians for the Holocaust because nearly every Nazi, SS guard, Gestapo officer and camp commander was indeed Christian.

    Mr. Gibson has indeed repeatedly refused to state his father’s hideous antisemitic positions are incorrect or wrong. In fact, he has said his father “never lied to him.” Really? His father said there was no Holocaust and that all the Jews merely moved to New York and other such cities. Doesn’t Mr. Gibson know that to be a lie?

    I am sorry Gibson is in this state but, in a way,
    this gives other Christians a chance to separate themselves from this mindless bigotry in a public forum. That is good for all Christians. It is good for Jews. It is bad for the bigots.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Gibson’s movie on the Passion of Christ may have been so artistically compelling because the suffering of Christ on the screen was really a projection of Mel’s own suffering. They say that artists or writers who turn the topic of suffering into great art are usually drawing from a deep well of their own suffering.
    As for his anti-Semitic remarks said supposedly because only an anti-Semite has such evil thoughts in his head:: My head is full of them because I have read so much WWII history. And who knows what would happen with those thoughts if I were to get blind drunk–then want to shock people with some nasty words–especially if I had felt persecuted by a group as Mel apparently felt was being done to him even before his movie was completed.
    In my experience with alchoholics in my family and church work–it isn’t deep truths about the person that drinking reveals (that concept is psychobabble) but what the drunk is usually doing is throwing out words to shock and
    and upset the people he is in conflicted contact with at the moment, and we all know the nasty words to sling at people based on whatever group they happen to belong to. Arrested by an Irish surnamed cop:: “Who say’s you’re sober enough to arrest me?? You (Mick, Harp, Bog-trotter—take your pick).

  • Jay O’Neill

    Deacon Bresnahan, I must respectfully disagree with you on the effects of alcohol. I am a psychologist and was tenured on a medical school faculty. It is not psychobabble to state that what people say indelicately when they are drunk is generally a reflection of thoughts they have had. Alcohol DISINHIBITS one thereby generating the expression of actual thoughts one has inhibited from expression. As I am merely a Catholic and not a deacon, I will not undertake to preach the Gospel to you or anyone. But, perhaps you shouldn’t undertake psychological analyses without training. Also, I was very uncomfortable with your having “very similar thoughts.” You are anti semitic and hold the Jews responsible for all the world’s wars, including the Crusades????

  • http://cinecon.blogspot.com Victor Morton

    Jay “tenured on a medical school faculty” O’Neill wrote:

    But, I’d say the pro-Gibson or Gibson apologists have frank anti semitism in the vast majority of them.

    Oh, come off it.

    Gibson’s “apologists” (assuming we’re talking about THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST or those calling for forgiveness and repentance rather than a lynching or ostracism) have a huge swath of US evangelical Protestants, which is the most philo-Semitic group in the world. And even most conservative Catholics have little to do with the sedevacantist SSPX rad-traddery (which DOES, in fact, more than flirt with anti-Semitism — I am not blind to past history) that Gibson himself seems to breathe easily. But his Catholic “apologists” generally take Nostra Aetate as Church teaching.

    “Vast majority”? Pfffft. I wave to you from Earth to whatever planet you inhabit. Perhaps you shouldn’t undertake psychological analyses without knowledge.

    Gibson has indeed repeatedly refused to state his father’s hideous antisemitic positions are incorrect or wrong.

    For reasons clearly stated (whatever you may think of them) and that have nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of those positions … Perhaps you shouldn’t undertake psychological analyses without knowledge.

    In fact, he has said his father “never lied to him.” Really? His father said there was no Holocaust and that all the Jews merely moved to New York and other such cities. Doesn’t Mr. Gibson know that to be a lie?

    How does Mr. O’Neill know that Mel Gibson was told that by his father? One would think someone tenured on a medical school faculty would know not to undertake psychological analyses without knowledge.

  • http://cinecon.blogspot.com Victor Morton

    As for the effects of alcohol, both the Deacon and Mr. “Tenured On A Medical School Faculty” are correct. I know, based on my vast experience with alcohol, that it is a disinhibitor, not a personality transplant per se.

    But also that the Deacon is right — a drunk will say things that he things that he knows better than to say. But “knows better than” can mean 1,001 things; social disapproval being one, but objective falsehood and objective sin being others.

    What the head-shrinker is really doing, either without realizing it or while trying to hide it, is being taken in by the cult of “authenticity” — saying that the “social self” (the sober one, the one with manners) is not one’s true self, that it’s “inauthentic” or “other-directed” or the product of “repression.”

    The thoughts may be in Gibson’s head for one or another reason — having believed them is certainly one possibility. But social osmosis being another. I mean, is there anyone alive really unaware of past notions that blacks were/are inherently shiftless, lazy, less-evolved, ape-like and sex-ruled? I don’t endorse these ideas at all, but they are “in my head” sufficiently that I could just recount them for the purposes of this post. A human’s mind is full of thoughts he doesn’t endorse.

  • Jay O’Neill

    Why, Victor! You are actually a bigot! And an uneducated one at that! I didn’t say all Gibson apologists were anti semitic, did I? I said most of the bloggers strongly supporting Gibson in the blogs stated anti semitic beliefs, such as “He’s right!” What Mr. Gibson was told by his father has been conveyed by Mr. Gibson on national TV and I saw an interview with Diane Sawyer where he acknowledged it. You, sir, are an ignorant, obvious bigot. The kind who should be called out for what you are. Also, why so hostile toward someone with education, taunting me about it. What problems you must have. But I wouldn’t undertake to analyse them. Not enough knowledge. And definitely not worth the time. Interesting, how little it takes to bring out the bigots. And a Catholic one, at that. I’m disappointed. Get educated. Virtually all bigots come from bigoted families, are ignorant or are uneducated. Which are you?

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  • http://cinecon.blogspot.com Victor Morton

    Why, Victor! You are actually a bigot! …

    If I’m your idea of a bigot … I have no read to anything else you say, ever.

  • Bradley Brummel

    Professional psychology is moving away from the strict categorization of disorders toward a more continuous variable approach. So the question should be how bigoted or prejudiced each person is rather than if they meet your cut-off point (somewhere between Jay and Victor, I guess) at which they can be correctly judged a bigot, though I don’t believe that bigotry is an official DSM-IV psychological disorder. We could all use a bit more of the genuineness, empathy, & unconditional positive regard that is supposed to taught in counseling psychology.

    I will be interested to see the continuing coverage as Mel Gibson attempts to show that this wasn’t a reflection of his ‘true’ character. Part of the appeal of this story may be how close to home it hits for many Christians. I actually think that an interesting religion story could be written on the process of ‘recovery from bigotry’ both personally and in terms of reputation.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Jay–much of what I wrote came from many courses I had in abnormal psychology at a nearby college taught by non-religious people. In fact I have read postings on the Gibson issue by psychologists who have said the very same things. I can tell you almost every idiotic anti-Semitic canard that has been common over the last 100 years or so. The words are in my head, not because I am anti-Semitic (are you really a psychologist some of your comments seem awfully shallow??) but because I studied anti-Semitism so I could adequately teach in my history courses the evils that anti-Semitism causes. But , if I were blind drunk, and in conflict with a Jewish person, and I wanted to try to devastate him emotionally or shock him I know all the right phrases and words to use to “blow his mind” just as I and most of the readers here know all the insulting phrases and words to attack almost any person from any group with. And according to much psych I have read the idea that “In Vino Veritas” is scoffed at by many professionals in the field and I agree from my life experiences. I am not identifying myself as a deacon to give extra weight to anything I say, but as a matter of simple honesty and truth to show where I am coming from. And to say,
    basically, that anyone not of your profession should shut up about what they have learned about
    in courses or by life experiences is unfortunately part of the arrogance and elitism that has infected some academic circles. And you may hesitate to comment about religion, but few others do and it is good that people say openly what they want to in our democratic nation.

  • Larry Rasczak

    Dave,most intelligently asks..

    “Larry, … Why I had to be subject to watching 20 minutes of vicious violence to get the message is bewildering.”

    Well, in the case of The Passion, the violence WAS the message. Very few people alive today have ever seen a real flogging, or a real cruxifiction. (Though thanks to Al Queda quite a few have seen a real beheading… but that is another subject.)

    In any case, people’s only experience of what Christ went through was via religious art work or films. Films that were invariably “cleaned up” so as to be suitable to wider audiences.

    In so doing, people lost the sense of the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice, and of the love He had to have for us to go through with it. (Remember, as God, and Creator, all He had to do, at any time, was think “ENOUGH OF THESE TWITS” and the whole Universe would go Pop.) People know that Jesus was flogged, tortured, and that He died on a cross… but they have no idea of what that really means. They wind up with the impression that Jesus had a rather bad afternoon, followed by tea and crumpets in his Father’s house with St. Dismas.

    So the whole POINT of The Passion was to show you just what Jesus really suffered… or more properly a small portion of what He suffered. You had to be subject to watching 20 minutes of vicious violence because your Lord and Savoir was subject to several hours of that vicious violence so as to save you from your sins. You had to be subject to watching the vicious violence Jesus sufferd so that you could begin to get an understanding; not just an intelectual concept but a real gut level understanding of what He suffered for your (and my) sins. Gibson made The Passion so you wouldn’t just “get the message” but that you would understand it, or (to quote Heinlien) “grok it.”

    “Why people who decry film-based violence would so enthusiastically back that type of depiction is also mystifying.How can they continue to decry violence in movies?”

    Oh, please my friend. The Passion had a point to its violence, same as “Saving Private Ryan” or “Shindler’s List.” In those cases the extreme violence is there as an instructional tool. It is there to make a point greater than the film itself.

    If you are unable to see the distinction between those films and “Freddy vrs. Jason” or “Halloween H2O”, I’d have to question your intelectual honesty.

  • Dave

    Larry, sorry but I disagree with you about the necessity of viewing the violence to understand the point of the movie. There was a time, not so long ago, when the viewer was respected enough for the producer to allow him or her to think a little, rather than to put everything in the producer’s interpretation in front of the viewer so that the viewer doesn’t have to think. It’s a little like comparing the original movie “psycho” – where the knife’s silhouette and the blood in the drain were sufficient to explain what happened – with today’s murder movies where the gruesome nature of the crime has to be displayed vividly. Today the viewer – you and me – are thought of as idiots who have to be shown everything, incapable of interpreting for ourselves.
    Have we reached a point in our civilized society where the only way to get the message is to sit through that? I get your point, but I disagree. Maybe if you think about it, you’ll disagree, too.

  • http://fkclinic.blogspot.com tioedong

    As a doctor, I worry that Gibson has inherited his father’s paranoid schizophrenia as he gets older…his opinions sound more like hyperbole or delusions than political.He is in my prayers, and I hope he finds a good psychiatrist…
    Two things however strike me about the publicity.
    One: Everyone jumps on Gibson, but no one on the delusions of Michael Moore or the Anti Israeli spin of the Arab media (see Dr. Sanity’s blog or Dr. Krautheimer on Bush derangement syndrome).
    Second: Those who never saw the film TPOTC still insist it is anti Semetic in both conception and in deed. Yet any Catholic could tell you it came straight from two Catholic devotions: The sorrowful mysteries of the bible, and the Stations of the Cross.
    The prophacies of anti semitic actions from viewers of course were nonsense. You see, unlike Eastern Europe or Germany, Catholicism in the USA is mainly Irish or Latin American…and the passion is most likely to be viewed as identification of suffering by poor people under a tyrannical government…(when I was a missionary in Rhodesia, the soldiers at our school’s passion play were dressed as the government defense forces).
    And, of course, the film is “seen” thru the eyes of Mary, a Jewish mother…
    The charges that the film came from Gibson’s anti semitism is similarly suspect: for one suspects as an artist he was sublimating his suffering child abuse from an abusive father, and that his identification with Christ was a way for him to work thru his need for forgiveness. I could be wrong, but for my abused patients, they often use these meditations in this way.

  • Tony Byer

    I think this Mel Gibson story is overblown. What he said was not right, but anti semticism is no worse than anti black, anti gay or anti hispanic. We have one billion muslims who hate Jews, we ought to worry about them.If Mel is foolish, we can forgive him, but the vast majority of Arabs are not simply anti semitics. They hate Jews and the USA with such acrimony that we should focus on them and their heartless religion which rewards murder and killing.

  • Jay O’Neill

    THIS IS ONE EXAMPLE of Gibson’s history…WHICH YOU MAY READ WHICH IS POSTED ON GOOGLE TODAY. THERE ARE A GREAT MANY OTHER SUCH ARTICLES DOCUMENTING GIBSON’S HISTORY IN A SIMILAR VEIN.

    Mel Gibson link to Aussie anti-Semitic group
    by LINCOLN WRIGHT

    August 06, 2006 12:00am
    Article from: Sunday Herald Sun

    MEL Gibson once had close links to the Australian League of Rights, a Far Right group notorious for its anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial.

    The league claims the world is run by a secret society of Jews.

    The Hollywood star’s foray into Far Right activist politics in Australia occurred in 1987 when he campaigned for a friend, Rob Taylor, who stood unsuccessfully for the northern Victorian federal seat of Indi.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Time for the personal attacks to end and for people to return to the subject. Has anyone discussed the subject of my post?

    Time to hit delete a few times.

  • Judy Harrow

    On the question of “in vino veritas,” yesterday’s
    (August 6) NY Times week in review section had
    the following article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/06/weekinreview/06schwartz.html


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