Posted on | August 2, 2006 |
Aren’t celebrity psychodramas so entertaining? To be fair, I wish Mel all the luck in the world in dealing with his addiction. We, as a society, do not really understand addiction and treat it more as a moral failing instead of a systemic condition that is passed on genetically and it requires a tremendous amount of will to control it. You can never be cured of an addiction because that’s like trying to be cured of having blue eyes. Having blue eyes does not create problems for you, your loved ones or anyone who comes in contact with you, but an addiction does. The best you can do at present is control it and live with it as best as you can. AA can be a significant help for this and some day, we may understand the genetics so that a real treatment becomes a possibility.
More serious is Mel’s unconscious bigotry. I’m sure that Mel does not consciously hate Jews. But a person can easily have a dark underbelly of prejudice that he isn’t aware of, that he’d deny was there and which does not affect his actions on a normal day-to-day basis, and that I believe is what Mel is dealing with here. He’s going to have to become aware of that prejudice in himself and learn to distance himself from the sources in his life that reinforce it, and one of those, I’m afraid, is his own father, and another is his beloved old-style Catholicism. I myself remember vividly the Good Friday prayer “for the perfidious Jew,” which was prayed before Vatican II. That background permeated Mel’s PASSION, yet he seemed completely surprised that people saw it there, because he thought he’d erased it from the film. But what happened was the spectacle of a man trying to be fair to someone he already thinks is guilty…no matter how much slack you cut them, you can never do it as much as you would for someone you think ISN’T guilty, or even for someone you have NO opinion about.
And lest I seem as holier-than-thou as I suspect I sound, let me say right here, if I lecture Mel Gibson, it is because I am using words I’ve said to myself about my own demons and failings and still say to myself. Good luck Mel.