Monday, July 31, 2006

The centrist internet goes nuts over Mel Gibson

By now, you've probably heard about Mel Gibson's outlandish behaviour and arrest for DWI. While all observers agree that Mel Gibson's actions were personally disastrous and professionally potentially career-killing, I think most Americans following the story are taking his apology at face value and hoping that he will finally put things right in his life once and for all.

Yes, we are in the apology/rehab phase of the celebrity life cycle. However, due to Mr. Gibson's notoriety from having thumbed his nose at the liberal conventional wisdom with "The Passion of the Christ", we still have an additional, vomit-inducing "political football" stage to go through. Leading the political charge is Christopher Hitchens demanding a loyalty oath from Gibson's backers:
Those who endorsed his previous obscene blockbuster are obliged to say something now or be ignored ever after.
This is like negotiating with Right-wing proponents of "The Passion of the Christ" in the way that Hezbollah negotiates with Israel; it's like saying "We've captured Mel Gibson now. Give up 'The Passion of the Christ' if you want him back."

On the other hand, Andrew Sullivan has gone completely nuts with posts (just today) relating to Mel Gibson here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And while Hitchens, to his credit, is willing to give Gibson's backers a rhetorical escape hatch -- disavow "The Passion of the Christ" and cut your losses -- Sullivan is out for "christianist" casulties.

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