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Drunken History Lessons with Mad Max

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Let's play a little game, shall we? Let's say I drank heavily and then suddenly started shouting obscenities about a certain race, creed or group of people. Let's say you were among that very group of people that I was slandering. Now, the million-dollar prize question is this: Would you forgive me, saying "Ah, Manning was just drunk, he didn't know what he was talking about"? Or would you never speak to me again, feeling that, because my inhibitions were so lowered by my drinking, I was expressing how I truly feel?

I favor the latter perspective myself. Which is why I feel that Mel Gibson's apology to Jews is absolutely worthless. Mad Max can apologize all he wants, but he can never hide the fact that he was letting off what seemed to be some geunine anti-Semitic steam.

"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark," Gibson said during a second apology — let me repeat, second apology, because the first one was so lame. If he truly believes this, then Braveheart should hardly be surprised if the Jewish community simply nod their heads in agreement and has nothing to do with him.

It is, however, in the nature of most Jews to forgive, so some leaders have welcomed his apology. The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, opined in response to Gibson's second apology, "When he's finished with alcohol rehabilitation, we will be ready and willing to meet with him and to help him get rid of his other addiction – which is prejudice."

Other Jews have struck an even more cautious note. The founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier, noted strongly that Gibson's anti-Semitism, like his alcoholism, "cannot be cured in one day and certainly not through a press release."

I will admit to never having seen Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, so I am not in a position to say that it encouraged anti-Semitism (even though the level-headed Jewish conservative columnists Mona Charen and Charles Krauthammer reckoned it did). I have heard and read plenty about the controversy surrounding it and was always willing to give Gibson the benefit of the doubt. Not anymore. His drunken remarks during his arrest seem to attest to the idea that The Passion of the Christ just may have had an agenda attached to it, after all.

But nothing can top his declaration that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" for such jaw-dropping, in-your-face, dumb-ass demagogy. What wars, Lethal Weapon? World War II? If only those Jews went willingly to their deaths, a war might have been avoided altogether, eh? Those damn troublemakers! Afghanistan? Well, if you believe that myth about Israel organizing the September 11 atrocity, then I suppose you're willing to believe that Jews are responsible for the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions. Because everyone knows those dirty sabre-ratting neo-cons are Jews, right? Oh wait, perhaps you were referring to the current conflict between Hezbollah and Israel — a war which Hezbollah started by attacking two Israeli tanks in Israeli territory, killing eight Israeli soldiers and capturing two.

Even the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has blamed Hezbollah, calling their initial actions "a very dangerous game." Jumblatt expressed the opinion to the French daily Le Figaro that Hezbollah "will have to explain itself to the Lebanese" and made it clear that he feels radical elements within Lebanon are entirely responsible because "Israel had evacuated Lebanon" and "the kidnappings extend[ed] beyond our country's borders." Jumblatt also declared that Hezbollah deliberately raised the stakes in order to bring Syria and Iran into open conflict with Israel. It speaks volumes that one of the highest profile leaders of the country being attacked sees the problem within his own nation and not Israel.

But hey, never mind, Israel is still responsible because they start all the wars. Everyone knows that! At least according to one big-mouthed Aussie know-it-all. Actually, according to most of the world, who again find themselves crying in their fruity Frappuccinos and wetting themselves over dead Lebanese civilians — which is all very sad, I grant you — but don't spare a moment to consider Israel's constantly precarious position and its right to protect itself. When will Islamist militants finally learn to stop fucking with Israel? It's a question the rest of the world should be asking itself.

I doubt Mel Gibson will be. Unless he starts quaffing loads of Maccabee beer. Then there may just be a glimmer of hope.

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About Nightdragon

  • Some excellent points here, but one clarification. Mel Gibson is not Australian. Despite having been raised there he was born in the US – New York as I recall – and he’s a US Citizen and has been one since birth. His father is American and his mother was Australian.


  • A bit off topic. I wonder how a film similar to The Passion would have turned out if it was directed and produced by a Jewish person? Or, how would a Jewish director change The Passion, if at all?

  • Alcohol is not a “truth serem.” It merely reduces one’s inhibitions to do/say things that one would otherwise not even consider doing/saying.

    There are probably millions of men out there who have drunkenly told women they did not particularly care for that they “love” or “really like” them, in order to get into their pants. There are probably millions of men out there who have told women who they really do love that they “hate” them, or called them vile, hurtful names, only because they were drunk and upset.

    I’m sure that politically-incorrect jokes are more likely to be told in settings where both the teller and the listeners are intoxicated. That doesn’t mean that the teller is a bigot, or that the laughing listeners are, either.

    In short, I don’t believe a single sentence mumbled during a drunken rant, by a man with more Jewish friends than just about everyone reading this, is “proof” that he is somehow a closet NAZI.

    My 2 cents…

  • Anyone who has ever known an alcoholic is familiar with the “Jekyll and Hyde” nature which can manifest itself. Like RJ says, alcohol is not a truth serum but rather a reverse inhibitor.

    Alcoholics will say absolutely absurd, ridiculous, and offensive things, often in a blacked out state they later have no recall of, that they do not necessarily mean.

    A drunk will say whatever pops into his wasted brain at any given moment simply because at that moment he feels the booze empowers him to say it. The same drunk will also often feel crushing guilt once the booze wears off and the hangover sets in. Mel’s apology to me suggests a classic example of such alcoholic guilt.

    Mel probably needs to check himself into rehab. But there are certainly numerous examples of equally offensive behaviour throughout Hollywood that warrant nary a whisper of blacklisting.

    These are after all, celebrities we’re talking about.


  • A drunk can also get into a distorted state of consciousness where paranoia and depression are substantially heightened and something which might be a repressed belief he flirted with at some point might blossom under those circumstances into a full fledged delusion while he’s drunk. So being brought up with a father who is an actual anti-semite could very well have planted a seed in Gibson’s mind that flourished under the influence of alcohol but would never influence his normal behavior or conscious thought.


  • Triniman, a Jewish director could have directed The Passion …. However, I would think that he was a guilt-ridden, self-hating Jew.

    Dave, yeah, you’re right, Gibson didn’t move to Australia until he was 12. So I stand corrected – he’s a big-mouthed Aussie-American know-it-all.

    RJ, perhaps you have a point. Sodium penathol – the real truth serum – should be administered to Gibson and he should be asked how he feels about Jews then. That might go a long way towards clearing things up. However, I maintain that when inhibitions are lowered, which is exactly what alcohol does to people, feelings that linger beneath the skin of sobriety come festering to the surface. You might normally never consider getting in a fight while sober, but when drunk your fists may start flying. Ergo, you’re apt to be a lot freer with your opinions around people while drunk. It’s a fact. So I’m not buying this whole “look, he was really drunk, cut him some slack” argument. You can’t just write off the things people say when they’re drunk. What’s said is said. After all, we don’t let people off the hook for drunk driving, saying “Ah, he didn’t know what he was doing!” We punish them as they deserve to be. IMO, the same applies to things that are said while drunk. Same principle. You cannot take it back and you cannot excuse it.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    A Jew – not a self-hating Jew either – would probably do a vesion of the Jesus story that would be a lot closer to the Gnostic version of it – it would be far more believable to him. And if he knew what he was doing, the Aramaic would not have sounded stiff and he would hired Israelis to speek the Aramaic…

    It would sound real in their mouths.

    And mainstream Christians would either ignore the film in droves or condemn it.

  • It doesn’t matter how drunk he was. There is no excuse for such actions. Every person needs to stop making excuses and start taking responsibility for their life and actions whether they are alcoholics or not.


  • Clavos


    And mainstream Christians would either ignore the film in droves

    For the most part, mainstream Christians did ignore “The Passion…” Fundamentalists are another story, however.

  • Martin Lav

    This movie made a lot of money at the boxoffice and I doubt there are that many fundamentalist Christians around.
    Dominick– you are correct and I believe Mr. Gibson did take personal resposiblity and has apologized at least twice now.
    You can either choose to accept his apology whether he meant it or not, just as you can either believe he is an actual anti-semite or if it was the alcohol talking.
    In fact the authors examples in this article are comical in themselves since he goes on a rant about all of the wars going on to show how ridiculous Mel’s drunken rant is itself. Which is it? He’s too drunk to know what he’s saying or he know’s what he’s saying, but he’s too drunk to get his Jew-caused wars straight?

    I remember when I got drunk one time I called my wife a bitch and that she was responsible for all my troubles in the world and that I didn’t love her. When I sobered up she said the same thing as you all. You really say what you think when you’re drunk. blah blah blah……A counselor had to point out to her that I also said I hated my myself, my parents and my dog and so on….

  • IgnatiusReilly

    Good piece, Mark. And not just because I made the same drunk driving point in Bambi’s related piece.

    RJ, what are you talking about?

    While men lie to get in a woman’s pants, they do so consciously with a goal in mind. If Mel was consciously lying about the Jews starting all the wars, what was his goal? By the way, are you saying that no sober men lie to get in a woman’s pants?

    If they lash out with hateful comments because they are drunk and upset, how did the Jews hurt Mel’s feeling?

    Your two cents don’t add up.

  • Baronius

    IR, I think one of the arresting officers was Jewish. One of the officers involved was female, too, and Mel made some offensive comments to her as well. The more I hear about this story, the more convinced I am that Mel is just a jerk when he’s drunk.

  • Orchid

    There are several ways to regard drunken utterances. One way is to assume it loosens inhibitions and the drinker says things he thinks but hides. That is the most common interpretation – that the closet bigot is unmasked.

    Another way is to consider that these are things he thinks but he knows are wrong and that lots of drink inhibits his ability to apply moral censorship. This would be someone who has grown up with prejudices or preconceived notions but has since realized they are wrong.

    Finally, it’s possible that drink pushes the brain to a low level psychotic break and causes completely irrational and atypical behavior to occur. This explanation is the favored of apologists.

    I’m not sure that anyone really knows nor that being very drunk affects everyone the same way. I do know that I’ve witnessed alcoholics having delusions after getting drunk after months of sobriety (one fellow in a half-way house I worked in stood in the yard and screamed about how his feet were on fire and he was in hell then later claimed he was the devil).

    Mel obviously has some serious problems and given his success by most objective critera in life, the lesson to be learned may be that having it all by current standards in western cultures may not be all it’s cracked up to be. He doesn’t seem very happy despite all he has.

    I think we’d be better off looking at ourselves and our need to judge rather than condemning sad celebrities for their self-destructive behavior. I think that need must mean we’re not very happy with our lives either.

  • “RJ, what are you talking about?

    “While men lie to get in a woman’s pants, they do so consciously with a goal in mind.”

    Right. But they are more likely to blantantly lie while in a drunken state. Their inhibitions are lowered, so they are able to shrug off the unethical behavior much easier.

    “If Mel was consciously lying about the Jews starting all the wars, what was his goal?”

    Maybe to piss off the Jewish cop who arrested him?

    “By the way, are you saying that no sober men lie to get in a woman’s pants?”

    No, men lie in order to get laid all the time. But they are more likely to state shameless lies while hammered.

  • Clavos

    Anti-Semite or not (and I believe he is), the guy’s an asshole if that’s the way he treats people when drunk. Since the people he mistreated were cops arresting him, he’s stupid, too. And, since most of Hollywood is run by Jews, showing his ass as an anti-Semite is monumentally stupid. In vino veritas.

  • Martin Lav

    The guy is an alcoholic. Get a clue…..
    How else can anyone explain his behavior? It’s crazy, he’s stupid…..? He’s an alcoholic!
    Alcoholics lose control over time, as it’s a progressive disease. Normal presumably reasonable people start to exhibit destructive behavior and it’s a disease that tells them they have no disease.
    He is RESPONSIBLE for his actions and words ultimately, however, he should be viewed as a person with a disease that needs help.

  • I think the crazy comes first. My guess is that Gibson is an untreated manic-depressive (bi-polar) who uses alcohol to cope with his condition. It’s a pretty common syndrome.


  • Clavos

    As the son AND grandson of alcoholics, I DO have a clue, Lav.

    Unless Gibson has a long-standing pattern of getting uncontrollably drunk repeatedly, or drinking on a daily basis, hiding his drinking, or one of the many other telltales (I don’t know if he does or not), one drunken incident does not make him an alcoholic.

    Alcoholism IS a disease, an incurable one, which is why alcoholics who aren’t drinking refer to themselves as “recovering.” For most of them, admitting they have a disease and are alcoholics (necessary before any recovery process can begin) only happens after they hit bottom.

    I agree with Dave. Gibson’s behavior in this incident indicates he suffers from more than just alcoholism.

    And alcoholic or not, his behavior while drunk makes him an asshole.

  • Martin Lav

    But if you aren’t alcoholic yourself, as I am, then you don’t really “know” what you’re talking about. You are just spouting your intellectualism in the wind as usual, happy with your presumed to be logical arguments. I know what alcoholism is trust me, so I don’t need lectures from someone who is a son and grandson of an alcoholic. Based on those figures, chances are you are one yourself. You may not drink yet, or you may drink in moderation, but judging from your attitude on this post and others, I’m certain you are a juvenile, so time will tell.

    Dave: “bi-polarism” the prognosis of the month is another way of denying the percieved to be worst condition anyone could admit to and that is being an alcoholic. Both you and Clavos just helped poor old Mel out with this denial by implying “I’d rather be crazy than be an alcoholic”….that’s a typical reaction from most alcholics and non-alcoholics alike, so you two are no different than the general populous, so I’m not surprised.

  • Clavos

    Hhhmmm. First, I don’t know what I’m talking about, because I’m not an alcoholic. Then, three sentences later, I probably am one. So, in that case, I probably do know what I’m talking about?

    Oh, and I’m also a juvenile. And you got all of that just from my comments here and in other threads?

    Wow, I’m humbled. I didn’t realize I was that transparent. Damn you’re good, Martin.

  • Martin Lav

    As you pointed out yourself:

    “For most of them, admitting they have a disease and are alcoholics (necessary before any recovery process can begin) only happens after they hit bottom.”

    So you don’t know what you don’t know until “we admitted we were alcoholic and couldn’t manage our own lives”.
    The only part of this comment I would disagree with is the “most of them” part as it would be ALL and not most. Anyway….you need not be humbled as I have a leg up on you as I have done as you say and hit MY bottom (every tub sits on it’s own bottom…..you’re bottom is reached when you decide to stop digging….) and admitted to my disease.

    I stand by my comments about Mel.

  • Clavos

    Martin, You should learn to recognize sarcasm…

  • Martin Lav

    I’m far to serious about this subject I know, but it strikes a very dear nerve.
    Mel needs to help himself that’s for certain and he’ll walk through this and hopefully become part of the “recovering”…..