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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Passion Hate

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The anti-Semitic flames being fanned by former shampoo model, Mel Gibson, to promote his Jew blaming crucifixion movie, Passion, and insert himself as a modern day martyr, (and further, who threatened to kill New York Times' Frank Rich for mentioning as much), might have an ulterior political motive. Governor-elect Schwarzenegger's expressed admiration for Hitler in his 1970's movie Pumping Iron and Nazi father meant nothing to voters. While his acting skill in the Lethal Weapons series may be more of a reason to crucify Gibson than whatever it was that irked the Jews about Jesus back then, his outbursts have been so misdirected it's a wonder he hasn't accused Schwarzenegger of being Jewish.

Gibson has the anti-Semitic father, Hutton Gibson, and the movie star credentials to become a political figure in America. And clearly we, Americans, are stupid enough to fall for it. If he can create the illusion that he is a glamorous womanizer rather than a dour, preachy, zealot trapped in a pretty-boy body and a discredited William Bennett worldview gone by, he may actually have a chance. Schwarzenegger overcame the potential Jewish voter problem, as well as politcal inexperience, by cultivating iconic status as a powerful, action-figure hero from which we couldn't disassociate him. Gibson's latest turn, and diva-like tirades, may foil any such ambitions -- unless he plans on being governor in Judge Roy Moore's Alabama. --


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As for Mr. Gibson's own speech in this debate, it is often as dishonest as it is un-Christian. In the New Yorker article, he says that his father, Hutton Gibson, a prolific author on religious matters, "never denied the Holocaust"; the article's author, Peter J. Boyer, sanitizes the senior Gibson further by saying he called the Holocaust a "tragedy" in an interview he gave to the writer Christopher Noxon for a New York Times Magazine article published last March. Neither the word "tragedy" nor any synonym for it ever appeared in that Times article, and according to a full transcript of the interview that Mr. Noxon made available to me, Hutton Gibson said there was "no systematic extermination" of the Jews by Hitler, only "a deal where he was supposed to make it rough on them so they would all get out and migrate to Israel because they needed people there to fight the Arabs. . . ." (This is consistent with Hutton Gibson's public stands on the issue; he publishes a newsletter in which the word Holocaust appears in quotes.)

Then again, Mel Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, also plays bizarre games with the Holocaust. He has tried to deflect any criticism of the Gibsons by identifying himself in both The New York Post and The New Yorker as "a founding member of the national Holocaust Museum." That's not a trivial claim. The founders of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington are an elite donors' group specifically designated as such; they gave a minimum of a million dollars each and are inscribed in granite on the museum's wall. Mr. Nierob is not among them. Presumably he was instead among the 300,000 who responded to the museum's first direct-mail campaign for charter members. That could set you back at least 25 bucks. Mr. Gibson has told the press that he regards "The Passion" as having actually been directed by the Holy Ghost. If the movie is only half as fanciful as its promotional campaign, I'd say that He has a lock on the Oscar for best director. A Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for Mr. Gibson himself, though, may be something of a reach.

Frank Rich, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, The New York Times, September 21, 2003

While real men and women are fighting and dying in this war on terrorism, pseudo macho, testosterone-lite, screen queens like Arnold Shwarzenegger and Mel Gibson are playing firefighters and soldiers. Mel Gibson sees the men at war and sensitively ponders “his own boys” in the campy trailer for “We Were Soldiers,” when the closest brush with danger he’s probably ever encountered was getting soap in his eyes filming shampoo commercials. Arnold, who began his career hanging out with scantily clad men with big muscles and small penises in gyms for just a little too long to be considered healthy, is convincing farting, beer-bellied low lives wallowing in mediocrity that, behind the make-up, he’s some super American hero on a mission to get the bad guys (who need be just be a shade or two darker than Michael Jackson) in “Collateral Damage”.

Gym-toned, Dr. Atkins-lean, air brushed, waxed, trimmed and liposucked Vicodin addicts used to play servicemembers, CIA and FBI agents in high tech, high budget movies while the men they were emulating were dying. Now servicemembers will play themselves, taking orders from directors and producers of bad propaganda movies in addition to the inexperienced former coke addict with a drinking problem who is in turn listening to the advice of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney offering on-the-fly war strategies that are as well planned as the hospitality suites at Hotel Guantanamo. And America wonders why the military is crashing helicopters into the sea and massacring local villagers who have been misidentified as the enemy.

Clinton Fein, WARtertainment Reality Television,, February 25, 2002


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