Mel Gibson -- No Mistake Last Summer

For those handful of die-hard Gibson fans -- I don't even like him as an actor or director, but we can come back to that shortly -- who think that ol' Mel isn't really a bad guy once he gets his apparent substance abuse problems in order, I direct your attention to a fascinating and disturbing report on the "radical traditionalist Catholic" movement of which he and his father are prominent members. Obviously, Mel is who he is, drunk or sober, and there's plenty more where that came from. (It would be interesting to see what if any connection there is between these ultra-right anti-Semites and the Catholic clergy who aided fleeing Nazi war criminals after WWII. Of course the blame for that does not rest on the Church itself; indeed, as anyone who has seen Marcel Ophuls's Hotel Terminus knows, it was American intelligence officers who smuggled Klaus Barbie out of danger.)

As for Gibson the actor, the stupid pet tricks that mark most of his performances since the beginnings of the Lethal Weapon franchise have turned his once impressive acting instrument into five-cent kazoo. And his direction is beneath contempt. The relentless sado-masochism of his films cannot disguise their utter lack of intelligence. He's the Peter Collinson of the new millennium. I'm thrilled that Apocalyto -- okay, Mel Gibson's Apocalypto and he's welcome to it -- seems to have sunk without a trace.

Regardless, you should definitely check out the article at the AlterNet website to get some idea where he's coming from ideologically and theologically. In fact, as an antidote to the mainstream media, AlterNet isn't half bad. I'm less than enthused by a lot of their arts coverage, which all too frequently falls into trap of separating form from content in the name of a spurious version of progressive thinking. But as another news source, it's useful.

While I'm on the subject, allow me also to recommend a daily trip to the webpage of truthout, another source of progressive reporting, often drawn, I might add, from the mainstream media. You just have to know how to look for it, but these guys save you the trouble of searching yourself.

Hey, the mainstream media pays my mortgage and buys my groceries. I've published three books with three different Fortune 500 companies and they never tampered with my political or theological content. Writing only for the progressive press is a good way to starve to death. As Calvin Trillin once observed of The Nation, a magazine I hold in high esteem, they pay in the "low three figures." Believe me, writing for Jewish newspapers isn't a quick route to financial security either. It's something you do because you want to speak to that audience specifically.

(Hell, blogging doesn't pay at all. I could put advertising on this site if I wanted to make this pay for itself, but that's not what it's about.)


Anonymous said…
Not to say there isn't a problem of anti-Semitism among some Trad Catholics -- there is -- but that article is a smear job. Exposés should be done by people who don't lie or stretch the truth in the service of the Cause. Or at least by people who take the time to study and understand the key issues to this movement (hint: it's not the Jews). Taking the (misrepresented) beliefs of Hutton Gibson and broadly applying them to all "traditionalist" Catholics is no better than the current stereotyping of devout Muslims or the past stereotyping of religious Jews.