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Poor, Tragic, Troubled Mel Gibson

July 16th, 2010 · 25 Comments

So, I’m not only struck by how profoundly screwed up Jonah Goldberg’s reaction to the recently released audiotapes of Mel Gibson threatening his ex seems—I’m astonished that, having had these thoughts pass through his head, he’s oblivious enough to this that he’d publish them:

I think Gibson is clearly troubled and despite his well-documented paranoia, there are many long knives out with his name on them. I think it is grotesque for his wife to release tapes like this (assuming she is the culprit). […]

My point isn’t to say he’s no conservative because he’s so clearly troubled. Conservatives are, like all other kinds of humans, perfectly capable of mental breakdowns and other tragic maladies. I guess what I object to is the idea that somehow anyone should treat this situation differently because of the man’s  political allegiances, real or alleged. This is a sad situation made all the sadder because there’s such a huge market for it.

Can we review? The manifestation of Mel Gibson’s “tragic malady” in this instance is that he repeatedly roared threats to kill his estranged ex and burn down her house. And these aren’t exactly idle threats, because in what I can only assume was a terrifying exchange, he alludes to having earlier hit her hard enough to break several of her teeth—something he claims she “deserved.”  I suppose it’s accurate, in a sense, to say he’s “troubled”—there’s obviously something very badly wrong with the guy—though also unusually fortunate in that he’d have ample resources to discreetly seek counseling.

But this is, shall we say, not the usual emphasis of conservatives when discussing people who commit violent crimes. Some unemployable inner city junkie who resorts to theft can expect a lecture on personal responsibility—not sympathy for how “unseemly” it is for his crime to be publicly exposed.  But a multi-millionaire who beats up women and then threatens murder?  He sounds an awful lot like a Victim of Society in Goldberg’s account.

Tags: Journalism & the Media


       

 

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 James M. Martin // Jul 17, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Mr. Gibson is demonstrably insane. Now that the judge in his divorce case has ordered him to turn over his arsenal of firearms, Ms. Grigorieva can breathe a sigh of relief, for by now she surely knows that not only is Mel a racist, homophobe, misogynist, and anti-semite, he is a violent, or potentially violent man. He is sick sick sick. Instead of giving him a divorce hearing, the jurist should have committed him to a mental institution.

  • 2 Simon Winthrop // Jul 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    This column is less about Mr. Gibson, who is clearly “troubled” in the sense that he is full of hate and bitterness, than about the circle-the-wagons attitudes of the Movement Conservative and their obsessive need to defend those they consider fellow travellers.
    As Mr. Sanchez noted the likelihood of a Goldberg defense rising to the aid of a non-rich or non- famous thug engaged the same behavior is right around nil. And thus, the blatant hypocrisy continues.
    One observation about Mr. Gibson; he has, like his fellow conservative James Woods, always struck me as lost without a character to inhabit. In his appearances on talk shows and the like he appears to be like a string-less marionette.

  • 3 denise // Jul 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    mel gibson has come unhinged. i don’t know if he is suffering a mental breakdown caused by hi marriage of 30 years crumbling, if is a middle age crisis, or a combination of the two. all i know is this man should already be behind bars. if he were poor and the police caught wind of this, he’d be arrested so fast, his head would spin.
    you do not talk to the mother of your child in this fashion. he shouldn’t speak to any woman in this fashion.
    if gibson spoke to a male friend of his in this way, he’d he hospitalized cause the man would beat the hell out of him. gibson is a coward, as are all men who speak to women like this but wouldn’t dare speak to a male collegue in this fashion.
    i hope his acting career comes to a screeching halt.

  • 4 Pithlord // Jul 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I always voted my party’s call/and I never thought of thinking for myself at all. / I thought so little they rewarded me/ By buying lots of copies of my silly book.

    Goldberg reacts to every piece of news in terms of what it means for his team.

  • 5 efgoldman // Jul 17, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    This brings back memories for those of us old enough to remember the 70s and 80s.

    A big GOBP meme in those decades was that the Democrats were “soft on crime”; that we “bleeding heart liberals” didn’t want to punish criminals, but “coddle” them through “technicalities” like, for instance, Miranda rights or good search warrants. Eventually the racist undertone was brought to the fore with Lee Atwater’s “Willie Horton” ads for Bush1, in 1988.

    So the felon Ollie North (yes, that one) was convicted of stealing from the government and then telling lies about it. Which he did. He appealed, of course. And won, on the “technicality” that his conviction was obtained by using immunized congressional testimony.

    I’ll never forget him standing in front of the microphones and saying he was “vindicated.”

    Right. Like all the “coddled” street kids who got off because they weren’t mirandized or were victimized by an illegal search.

    Damn, I hate those bleepholes!

  • 6 Mike // Jul 18, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Not that it makes the conservative reaction any less horrible, but we should be careful not to pretend it is a conservative impulse and not an unfortunate human one. See Roman Polanski.

  • 7 TomJ // Jul 19, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Yes, it’s an unfortunate human impulse to behave badly, but it IS a conservative impulse to be hypocritical about it. At least what passes for conservative today.

  • 8 SomeGuy // Jul 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    While it is a human impulse all are capable of let’s not pretend that movement conservatives ideological rigidity and blindness is not uniquely involved in this particularly grotesque display. We see them do it over and over.

    Roman Polanski is a terrible comparison because he got support from fellow masters of the artistic universe in Hollyweird NOT political sympathisers. The feminists certainly wanted his balls on a platter.

  • 9 PST // Jul 19, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Mike said, “Not that it makes the conservative reaction any less horrible, but we should be careful not to pretend it is a conservative impulse and not an unfortunate human one. See Roman Polanski.” What was interesting about the Polanski case was how few were his defenders (in the U.S.) and how quickly they shut up. What strikes me as absurd in Goldberg’s comments is the notion that attention to Gibson’s bad behavior is some kind of punishment for his politics. As if celebrity journalism gives a damn about anything except sensation. Heroism, evil, triumph, tragedy, it’s all part of the mix, and politics has little to do with it.

  • 10 Charles // Jul 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Julian Sanchez is absolutely right about Jonah Goldberg’s hypocrisy. It reminds me of the hypocrisy of the five conservative Supreme Court justices in Skilling v. United States. Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy have spent their careers denying justice and mercy to inmates on death row who are mentally disabled, minors, and possibly even innocent. When the particular defendants were rich, white, male corporate executives, however, they finally found people for whom they had empathy and to whom they were willing to extend mercy.

  • 11 Julian Sanchez // Jul 19, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Everyone tends to defend their fellow travelers, but I think it’s remarkable here given that Goldberg’s reaction sounds like the conservative’s caricature of a criminal-coddling liberal.

  • 12 walt // Jul 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Hmmm. I suspect Goldberg’s rote defense of Gibson has more to do with conservatism’s core characteristic: tribalism. When Gov Mark Sanford’s antics were polled in SC, his favorables were highest among social conservatives. Yes, we’re all defensive of our fellow tribesmen, but only movement conservatives regard this unfortunate impulse as “team spirit”. They may as well be drunken fans at a football game.

  • 13 Elvis Elvisberg // Jul 19, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    I think that is pretty astute, walt. Some wiseacre on the Internet a while back wrote, “Movement ‘conservatism’ has roughly the same intellectual content as being, say, a Milwaukee Brewers fan.
    Throw away your Burke and Oakeshott and get a big foam “We’re #1 finger”, because that’s the level at which movement ‘conservatism’ is conducted.”

    There’s us, and there’s them, and that’s that. Them is liberals, Muslims, the French, blacks, whoever. It’s tribalism, not ideology.

  • 14 Jonah Goldberg defends his word // Jul 19, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    […] Via Julian Sanchez […]

  • 15 Gina Gerardo // Jul 20, 2010 at 1:19 am

    There are many people including audio experts who feel these tapes have been “altered” and the photos have been “doctored”.

    Don’t all you liberals feel that it might be a good thing to allow the case to get through court and let Mr. Gibson speak for himself before you judge him? No, of course not, Mr. Gibson doesn’t deserve that courtesy.

    Trying him in the press, and on tapes that he had no idea were being made, is good enough for his ilk.

    Wonder how all of you sound in the privacy of your own home? Perhaps there should be some hidden mikes on you?

  • 16 Eli // Jul 20, 2010 at 2:50 am

    “Wonder how all of you sound in the privacy of your own home? Perhaps there should be some hidden mikes on you?”

    In all honesty, I’ve never hit, or threatened to hit my wife. Nor have I made racially hateful remarks. Nor have I made any movies about Jesus. I think piling on in Mel’s case is quite appropriate.

    Now, as a liberal, I am certainly in favor of making excuses for him. Just as I am for young gang-bangers. Or anyone, really. They are simply responding to the world they inhabit.

    That said, we are justified in establishing standards of social behavior norms. So, in that spirit, shame on Mel.

    OK, that was fun. Oh yeah, shame on Goldberg for being such a pompous knob.

  • 17 Gina Gerardo // Jul 20, 2010 at 3:02 am

    First off Eli, you have your facts wrong, this woman is not his “wife”, not that that makes any difference.

    His wife of thirty years has made a sworn statement to the court that Mr. Gibson has never engaged in any kind of abusive behavior to her or their seven children.

    It is interesting that you choose to answer only some points-there are experts not attached to the case who state the tapes have been altered and the photos have been doctored. But why bother with details?

    And you also never answered the question as to why you feel it is fine to try this case in the media, before giving the man the chance to answer the charges?

    Oh, but I forgot! He made a movie about Jesus! Well, you know what Eli, THAT does
    explain everything! You finally came to the real point. And Mel Gibson is a bigot!

    Oh, but yes, you are a liberal-one of those tolerant, open-minded one at that. Well done!

  • 18 paradoctor // Jul 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Certainly Gibson’s an alcoholic, and full of rage and self-pity; but not all self-pitying alcoholics assault their girlfriends. He has problems in addition to malfunctioning brain chemistry.

    I think he did himself no favor by making that flagellation movie. Supposedly it was religious, but it did not help him tame his inner demons. I suspect the reverse.

  • 19 Gina Gerardo // Jul 22, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Paradoctor, you may be correct about “that movie” not having done him any good. Personally, I did not have any problems with the film, I know that most people on this blog disagree with that, but you are probably correct, that in fact it was probably the worst thing to happen to him.

    But you and others like you continue with the line that Mr. Gibson, “assaulted his girlfriend”. That is not at all clear, and on the contrary, his ex girlfriend, is the one who is now in legal trouble. Can’t we do Mr. Gibson the courtsey of allowing this case to come to trial?

    Haven’t you been reading all the stories today about how furious the judge is at Mr. Gibson’s ex, and she is right now being investigated for extortion?

    Oh, I forgot, Mr. Gibson isn’t innocent until proven guilty. He made The Passion of The Christ.

  • 20 The Passion Of The Gibson « Around The Sphere // Jul 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    […] Julian Sanchez on Goldberg: Can we review? The manifestation of Mel Gibson’s “tragic malady” in this instance is that he repeatedly roared threats to kill his estranged ex and burn down her house. And these aren’t exactly idle threats, because in what I can only assume was a terrifying exchange, he alludes to having earlier hit her hard enough to break several of her teeth—something he claims she “deserved.”  I suppose it’s accurate, in a sense, to say he’s “troubled”—there’s obviously something very badly wrong with the guy—though also unusually fortunate in that he’d have ample resources to discreetly seek counseling. […]

  • 21 Gina Gerardo // Jul 23, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Can we review?

    Mel Gibson’s ex now under investigation for extortion.

    Mel Gibson’s ex’s sister now under investigation for contempt of court for leaking (selling) sealed tapes to radar online.

    Mel Gibson’s ex under investigation for altering tapes she submitted to court, and that were released to radaronline.

    Here is a novel idea-lets see how this all plays out, and all the information is out there, before passing judgment. Mr. Gibson and his ex have been ordered by the court not to say anything about this matter, and Gibson is the only one in this whole mess who is following the judge’s orders.

  • 22 paradoctor // Jul 26, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Gina, making “The Passion” was only one of Gibson’s many artistic sins. There was also “The Patriot” – also blood-libelous – and “Apocalypto”, a bloodfest, and boring too. He’s been heading towards madness for a long time.

    I see the Gibson/Grigorieva fight to be a kind of asymmetrical warfare. On one side, lunacy and hundreds of millions of dollars. On the other side, desperation and a phone line connected to studio recording equipment.

    And what a show they put on! The male lead rants and pants with cinematic villiany; the female co-star (and director and producer) taunts and traps. We, the audience, are the third character in this playlet; invisible to him but visible to her; an ironic fact that turns tragedy into farce.

    As for evidence, there’s her chipped teeth, and her concussion. Also Sasha and the nanny were witnesses to his assault. And just listen to the tone of his voice.

    I eagerly await more news. Pass the popcorn.

  • 23 Gina // Jul 29, 2010 at 2:14 am

    paradoctor, what in the hell does blood-libelous mean? Oh yes, I know what you mean, but do you feel the same about Tarentino, Woo, Scorcese? What you are really saying is that you just don’t care for Mel Gibson of his movies. Of course that is your choice, but millions have loved them, yes, he made seven hundred million dollars world wide for The Passion, but what do these people know?

    Oh, and you are enjoying this spectacle? You are saying so much more about yourself than you are about Mel Gibson. I think it is disgusting that this crap has been brought into the public by his ex girlfriend and radaronline.

    As far as the “evidence”, as I have already said several times, why don’t you wait until the real evidence is evaluated, which will be in the courtroom. In case you don’t know, that is where we do it in this country. Mr. Gibson and his ex have been ordered by the court not to speak about this case, and Mr. Gibson is the only one following the judges orders.

    Regardless whether you know it or not, you know NOTHING about this case, and won’t know anything until everything has been litigated in court. My sources who are close to the case tell me that the photos have been doctored, the tapes have been altered, and all of that will come out.

    But in the meantime, enjoy your fun at other people’s expense paradoctor.

    Oh and paradoctor if Mel Gibson’s movies are so bad and boring, why don’t you make some of your own?

  • 24 Gina // Jul 30, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Mediators call pictures of Oskana’s black eye “absurd”.

    http://www.tmz.com/2010/07/29/oksana-grigorieva-mel-gibson-domestic-violence-black-eye-photo-extortion/

  • 25 エドハーディー // Jan 20, 2012 at 3:36 am

    elon Ollie North (yes, that one) was convicted of stealing from the government and then telling lies about it. Which he did. He appealed, of course. And won, on the “te

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