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Mad Mel Gibson's career-ending tirades

Most lethal weapon is his mouth

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Movie star Mel Gibson's most recent flame-out just may finish him for good.

It's one thing to go on a drunken anti-Semitic tirade, as Gibson did with a Los Angeles policeman in 2006, or to use an offensive epithet for Latinos as he was reported to have done earlier this month.

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Even his Hollywood studio bosses (largely Jewish) forgave him that 2006 offence, because they valued his box-office clout.

But in the wake of the release of those abhorrent voice-mail tapes of him verbally abusing his former girlfiend (and mother of his love-child) last January, Gibson has likely alienated his entire female fan-base.

He has also been dropped by his talent agency, a sure sign of his toxicity, and the studios are panicking over what to do with his projects still in the pipeline.

The first one, already in post-production, has him teaming up with Jodie Foster, who also directs, in a comedy called The Beaver. Good grief. Who does he think he is? A Canadian history buff?

What a sad cliché Gibson, still only 54, has become. He has his head turned by a sexy actress, abandons his wife of 25 years, then becomes enraged by jealousy when the actress flaunts the traits that attracted him in the first place.

For us secular humanists, it is impossible to avoid connecting Gibson's anger issues with his conservative religious background.

He seems both torn apart by, and at war with, the ideals of his traditional Catholicism and the temptations thrown at the feet of an alpha-male movie star.

Religious doctrine instructs him that the sex act is reserved for procreation, and he's done OK in that regard, having fathered at least eight children.

But when he slips up, he lashes out at the vessel of his desire.

Then there would be the issue of his emotional loyalty to his parents.

His father, Hutton, still kicking at 92, seems to be the source of his world view, if not his deeper psychological problems.

In the wake of the terrible publicity Hutton got around the time of Mel's Passion of the Christ movie in 2003, Gibson senior has continued to espouse Nazi-like views that made the late David Ahenakew's spoutings seem like those of a human rights commissionaire.

Hutton has reached the stage where he can say what he wants. At 92, what can anyone do to him?

But this has to be hard on Mel, especially since he appears to agree with his dad. Meanwhile, he has chosen to earn his living in a field dominated by the very Jews his father calls the scourge of the earth.

Subliminally, of course, Mel's internal conflict on the subject infused The Passion of the Christ, a massive hit in the American heartland.

The film gave me the creeps, as it did most godless liberals, with its medieval interpretation of the Gospels and its graphically sado-masochistic violence.

Just prior to its release in 2003, Gibson was profiled in The New Yorker. What stood out for me in that piece was a comment he made about his wife, Robyn, the mother of his first seven children. (Mel, by the way, has 11 siblings.)

Even though Robyn was a devout Christian, Mel said, and a "better person" than he, she wouldn't get into Heaven because she remained a mere Episcopalian.

"It's just not fair if she doesn't make it," he said. "But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it."

Their marriage, which would have been 30 years old this year, lasted another couple years. Big surprise.

Of course, the cause of its breakdown may not have been, in hindsight, their cosmological differences but rather Gibson's Tiger Woodsian hound-dogging.

No wonder he is an alcoholic. No wonder he hates himself. No wonder he lashes out at everyone around him. No wonder his mouth is his most lethal weapon.

Oh, Mad Max. Oh, Braveheart. Oh, Apocalypto. The world was once your kingdom, but now you are a pathetic and bitter old man.

 

morley.walker@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 17, 2010 C3

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