Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What the Hell, Mel?

Is it possible that Mel Gibson was the craziest member of the "Lethal Weapon" cast, which included Danny Glover and Gary Busey? Don't get me wrong, I didn't think Gibson could possibly be as good a guy as his public image suggested about fifteen years ago, but is he really that bad?

Say what you like about Glover (see Chavez, Hugo), but as far as I know he has never left a phone message to a former love interest with references to her getting raped by a pack of crackers. And take your shots at Busey (see Accidents, Motorcycle) but he hasn't threatened to report anyone to the people who take money from the "wetbacks".

Poor Mel. Always being victimized by the Jews who start all the wars, the packs of niggers who rape women, and the wetbacks who... well, apparently they just get their money taken. Is the guy as stupid as he sounds? As Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts pointed out, the "N" word isn't even the most offensive part of the diatribe, it's the word "pack" that implies animalistic tendencies among African-Americans. The only animal here is Gibson, a man unable to measure his words or blunt his rage.

Everyone has prejudices. A man who reveals prejudices is not necessarily a villain. But this is really mean-spirited stuff. And let's not overlook the fact that Gibson has also been accused of domestic violence against Oksana Grigorieva, the woman toward whom he directed these reprehensible comments. Knocking a woman's teeth out is worse than hateful speech but it's the words that present more of a public relations problem for Gibson because they can never, ever be taken back. No one actually saw him strike Grigorieva but people have heard and read his words over and over. It's not a fair world and I think a guy whose worst offense is violence toward women deserves more castigation than a guy whose worst offense is making bigoted remarks, even recorded ones, but I suspect the hate will stick to Mel longer than the hitting. Of course, there is a chance he isn't guilty of the violence, that those claims are inaccurate. We shall see.

If indeed the European crisis, slow growth, housing market woes, and persistent unemployment are going to induce a "double dip recession", can we at least find something else to call it? That seems like such a tired, boring phrase. How about a "reeeeecession"? Or a "rerecession"? Or "recession squared"? Let's just hope it doesn't happen, for both practical and linguistic reasons.

The Jones Act doesn't need to be waived. It applies only to foreign ships within three miles of the United States' coast. That's why President Bush deactivated it during the Hurricane Katrina crisis and why President Obama doesn't need to now.

But, President Obama, please pardon this personal appeal, would you mind getting off the golf course? Seriously. That's one of the claims that dogged President Bush, that he seemed out of touch. Despite golf's transformation over the past twenty to thirty years, there remains an aura of exclusivity and privilege about it. Sure, it's more of an "everyman" game than it used to be, but so many stereotypes about aloof doctors and bad executives involve their presence on the golf course when they should be addressing problems elsewhere. One of the things I liked about Obama from the beginning was his preference for basketball, far more of a blue collar game and one I play myself. I identified with it. I realize golf isn't solely a game for upper class twits anymore, but under the circumstances, I think every appearance on the golf course does incremental damage.


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