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John Wayne's Holster: The Truth Behind the Mel Gibson Controversy
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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Truth Behind the Mel Gibson Controversy

A shocked Mel Gibson attempts to strangle an unsuspecting Jesus after discovering that he is a Jew

Iraq is on the brink of civil war. Iran is enriching uranium for a bomb. There is a regional war going on in the Middle East which could escalate into a wider conflict. Despite these facts, the “Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite” nonsense seems to be the story that is really capturing the media’s attention.

In a drunken tirade during his arrest for DUI, Gibson said, "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked the arresting officer, "Are you a Jew?"

Granted, these are ignorant statements that border on anti-Semitism. But so what!

Doesn’t it seem kind of strange that the media are making such a big deal over a few ignorant statements. And let’s remember, there were only statements! Statements for which Gibson issued an apology. But rather than take his apology at face value, Mel has been branded as an avowed anti-Semite.

Where is the forgiveness? Has anyone considered that maybe the ideas that spewed forward from Mel’s lips could be a legacy from his childhood. Something he knows is wrong, but has been struggling to overcome?

Whether that scenario is true or not – or whether Gibson is truly sorry - seems unimportant to the media. That's because the whole controversy really has little or nothing to do with Mel Gibson personally. The goal of the “Mel is an anti-Semite” campaign is nothing more than a veiled attempt to discredit his movie, The Passion of the Christ. The Passion was very unpopular among some Jews because of the unfavorable light in which the Jewish elders were portrayed. Several pundits made this point when the Gibson arrest first hit the front pages, but their voices were drowned out by all the cries of anti-Semitism.

But now, the truth is starting to come out, such as this article by Tim Rutten that appeared in the LA Times over the weekend. In the article, Rutten reveals what is really behind all the attention that Gibson is receiving. Rutten writes:

…why hasn't the press reopened the discussion of Gibson's financially successful but controversial movie, "The Passion of the Christ"? When it was released two years ago, there were some who argued that...Gibson's narrative was studded with the kinds of anti-Semitic caricatures once associated with medieval passion plays.

So there you have it. Its an agenda about saving face.

Rutten then goes on a mini-smear campaign to defame Mel. He starts by attacking Mel’s conservative brand of old-school Catholicism by suggesting that all traditional Catholics are consumed by a “pervasive… antagonism toward Jews and Judaism”. His logic seems to be that Mel is a traditional Catholic, so he must be the same.

Its guilt by association.

Rutten goes on to attack Gibson’s father Hunter, who has made controversial statements about the Holocaust before, by suggesting that is was “largely a myth”. Mel is then criticized for not publicly denouncing his father’s beliefs. Perhaps Rutten missed it, but Mel was interviewed a few years back by Reader’s Digest about his position on the Holocaust. Mel does not deny that the Holocaust happened. In fact, he clearly states that he personally knows people who survived it and that he himself believes that it did indeed happen. This issue for him comes down to a “numbers game”. How many million Jews actually died in the camps?

Since when does questioning the accuracy of history make one anti-Semitic?

Rutten also criticizes Gibson’s primary source material for The Passion, namely the Gospel of Matthew, which he refers to as the "most problematic of the four Christian passion narratives".

Problematic? I wonder what leads him to that conclusion? Is it because he believes the Gospel to be false? Or is it because it paints an unflattering picture of the Jewish elders in their bloodlust to have Christ crucified?

Sounds to me like Rutten has a problem with Catholics. But I digress...

It seems to me that the media are really blowing this out of proportion. This is not news. It is servicing an agenda. Frankly, I think this will backfire on the media. Its the boy who cried wolf.

There are legitimate cases of anti-Semitism that the media could/should focus on. Instead, they choose to focus on the Gibson case - probably to take advantage of Mad Max's celebrity.

Although I find Mel's statements derogatory, they don't really qualify as anti-Semetic. Which of course raises another question? Just what is it that qualifies someone as being eligible for a free membership in the Anti-Semite club? Does one have to burn down a synogouge? Do they have to be a Nazi or a Klansmen? Or is it merely criticizing someone who happens to be Jewish? Is it denying the Holocaust? Is it accepting that the Holocaust happened but questioning some of the details? Or is simply not liking Neil Diamond sufficient?

Oh, I almost forget. Mel worships Jesus who incidentally happens to be a Jew, for Christ’s sake.


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