In defense of Mel Gibson

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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39 Responses

  1. Will H. says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot the same thing.
    I think it’s inappropriate that the recordings are being played by the media, and especially so if this is intended for use as evidence.
    The whole thing has been cast to be inflammatory and prejudicial.
    On the human side of it, I’m sure there are some serious issues there, and the airplay can only make matters worse.
    I strongly suspect that’s why the tapes were released.Report

  2. Geoff Arnold says:

    Or perhaps Hitch is right, and Gibson really is a violent, misogynistic, racist bigot, and the recordings were simply released out of exasperation that people like you keep on making excuses for him.

    Or something like that.

    (And no, he probably isn’t bipolar – see for more details.)Report

    • Rufus in reply to Geoff Arnold says:

      @Geoff Arnold, Since I married a bipolar (sounds like a 50s sci-fi movie) I’d like to alter what you said- Gibson might well be bipolar, but his condition isn’t likely a motivating factor here. When untreated, bipolars tend to oscillate between crushing depression and delusional euphoria, and neither of those tend to include wild rage towards others. They might well be that way on their own, but the important point is that their disorder isn’t what makes them behave that way.Report

      • E.D. Kain in reply to Rufus says:

        @Rufus, I don’t think bipolar disorder alone could account for the violence, but addiction to alcohol certainly could. So could past abuse. I’m fairly certain if we peeled back the history of Gibson’s childhood we’d find some.Report

  3. Francis says:

    Please note that his conduct (and his alleged mental condition) can be found every day of the week in the criminal courts in every good-sized county. But expressions of sympathy for this lot are very rare.Report

  4. Michael Drew says:

    “Another amazing film.” The other one obviously being Lethal Weapon 3, right?Report

  5. silentbeep says:

    E.D. Please give me a break. None of us are without fault, but not many of us admit to criminal activity. It’s really interesting that you have chosen to soft-pedal this kind of violent, mysoginistic language. He never denies hitting her in these tapes, with child in arms. I don’t think you get how terrifying it is to be a woman in that position.

    I wasn’t aware that you were a psychiatrist able to diagnose manic depressives without meeting them. If someone were advocating for violence to be done to him, I’d agree with you. If someone were advocating that he “burn in hell” I agree with you. I also believe in forgivenenss and redemption, but I also know it’s important to take responsbility for one’s actions, and to recognize when someone has done something this abusive and terrifying. What I mostly see are people merely recognizing Mel Gibson’s language for what it is, which is violent, rage-filled, racist, woman-hating threats. Calling it as it is, is all that is going on, and yet, you fill the need to defend him from what? People recognizing that what came out of his mouth is unacceptable? Oh please.

    Hopefully he can pull himself together, I wouldn’t wish any further harm on him, I think he is suffering. That does not make what he did any better.

    Beating girlfriends, threatening them with violence over the phone is not a private matter that should be kept hidden. Abuse thrives in secrecy, no matter what the initial cause are for abuse . it is a criminal matter. Good for her that she exposed him if only in the mere interest, to keep her and her child safe.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    Eh. The guy has made some friggin’ awesome movies.

    He’s also a shit.

    Look throughout history to find similar examples. Pollock was a wife beater. Vincent Van Gogh was nuts. Ike Turner, needs no description after the comma. Hell, Bebe friggin’ WINANS got arrested for spousal abuse.

    You can be a hell of an artist and still be a shit of a man. Ain’t no surprise there.Report

    • Geoff Arnold in reply to Jaybird says:

      @Jaybird, And he’s also made some really, really offensive movies. His visceral hate of everything English is obvious; I don’t know if Hitch’s connection with Henry VIII’s break from Rome is correct, but I wouldn’t be surprised.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Geoff Arnold says:

        @Geoff Arnold, wait, he wrote offensive stuff?

        Well, then.

        THROW THE BOOK AT HIM!!!Report

        • Geoff Arnold in reply to Jaybird says:

          @Jaybird, No, I was just responding to the love-fest about his film-making. (And just because “Passion” accurately quote anti-Semitic language by some 1900-year old dude doesn’t excuse its anti-Semitism.)Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Geoff Arnold says:

            @Geoff Arnold, there’s no accounting for matters of taste.

            I understand why some folks would want to pull a “but he must not be *THAT* bad, deep down, if he was capable of creating something so wonderful”.

            It’s like folks feel like they can’t enjoy the art if they know that the artist was a shit… and they know that they enjoy the art (seriously: Listen to Rocket 88 again)… therefore the artist must not have been that bad, deep down.

            Hey. I’m just saying that the artist can be someone who can create stuff like Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) while being someone who can beat up his wife.

            And this isn’t some “tortured artist” bullshit about how maybe one was because of the other thing either.

            Someone can be someone capable of brilliant (even brilliantly offensive) art while, at the exact same time, being a shit of a person.

            You’d think we’d get used to feet of clay by now.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Geoff Arnold says:

        @Geoff Arnold, wait, let me try again.

        I remember seeing The Patriot and being irritated as hell. (Interestingly, I saw it in Canada with my wife and her brother… afterwards he said “wow, it must have been awesome to watch that as an American!” I told him what I’m about to tell you.)

        It didn’t discuss stuff like Rights or the Enlightenment or Human Dignity or anything like that. It was about a guy who didn’t want to fight the British until the British killed his firstborn.

        So, I suppose, it’s interesting that The Patriot had a Conservative rather than a Progressive hero… but, anyway, when I think of the Fathers of the Revolution, I think of the more Jeffersonian arguments. The Patriot was crap.

        But, you know what? That doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s on me for being an idiot for buying the ticket.

        The offensive stuff he’s done is stuff like (insert adultery and abuse and crazy, misogynistic, racist, vile rants against his wife and the mother of his child here) and *NOT* any given offensive movie he’s made.

        I mean, it’s not like he got NEA funding.Report

  7. Brett says:

    To the stone throwers, perhaps it’s best we remembered sound advice given long ago: he who is without sin, throw the first stone.

    What happened to “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”?

    This is the second time that Gibson has been caught uttering wholly inappropriate language, the first being his arrest. There’s no excuse anymore, not when you’re a very public star who has been in the limelight for years.


  8. Brett says:

    By wholly inappropriate, I mean racist and anti-semitic stuff.Report

  9. Eagle Driver says:

    I do not believe that excuses should be made for his behavior as a man must be responsible and upstanding. Anger most likely never solved a problem. I agree with others in that the recordings were made for less than reputable reasons and that the party is guilty of manipulation to grandstand in the public eye.

    Being a man who formerly became angry easily, I can tell you that gaining control of one’s attitude greatly assisted in controlling my anger. One becomes what they think, just as a farmer plants corn to reap a crop of corn. No matter how hard he wishes, prays, sacrifices, etc. he will not reap a crop of lettuce. Plant corn, reap corn. A great source of “enlightenment” was the booklet by James Allen: As A Man Thinketh from Wildside Press. You can get the entire booklet on line and also on CD.

    Food for Thought, If you are HungryReport

  10. Jonathan says:

    E.D., I’m not sure I can back your pseudo-defence of Gibson, but I understand where you’re coming from. Though I may not agree, I respect your post, and I’m glad that his thread hasn’t devolved into a giant hate-fest.

    …although Beyond Thunderdome really did suck.Report

  11. sidereal says:

    I suspect Oksana Grigorieva is one of these moths – perhaps if Gibson had taped her without her knowledge a broader picture of their relationship would have emerged. I suspect there is much more to the story.

    When one enters the business of defusing speculation about other souls, it’s probably best to avoid speculating oneself, especially when the speculatee was, by all appearances, beaten hard enough to break teeth while holding her child.Report

  12. Jamie says:

    It is time for Mel to go home in every way. He needs to go back to his roots. His faith, His foundations, His God. He needs to find peace in his soul through Peace with his God. From there, peace with his family. God came for royal screw ups. He qualifies. I suppose we all do. I hope he walks away from it all, And into the arms of all that really matters. And I wish I could tell him that…………Report