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.