Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Poor Man Institute
the poor man answers your mel gibson questions. Definitively.

huzzah to ari emanuel (also known as jeremy piven, confusingly) for his piece in the huffpo as well. he shows guts by saying hollywood should shun gibson. inasmuch as an agent is showing guts by trying to sabotage another agent's client's opportunity to work on big movies that his own client...

wow, is that cynical. i take it back, i take it back. i genuinely believe that what mr. emanuel is saying is right. no one who doesn't believe what mel believes, i.e. that the holocaust is overblown, and that jews are belligerent scum should hire him. those that agree with those views, by all means. i'm sure the iranian film commission and president ahmenijad would be happy to put mel in the new "drive israel into the sea" thriller.

i will stop now. i'm hoping to still be hired by someone someday in this business, and i believe there is still a bridge left unburned.


Brian Lowry makes some excellent points as well here in Variety. since it is behind a moneywall, to wit:

AT FIRST GLANCE, it would be hard to imagine stranger bedfellows than Mel Gibson and Oliver Stone.

Still, advance publicity surrounding Stone's fundamentally apolitical film "World Trade Center" (which prompted second-guessing from conservatives over whether the conspiracy-minded filmmaker is an appropriate vessel for this patriotic tale) gave way to talk of "professionally shunning" Gibson, as Endeavor principal Ari Emanuel suggested on

The anti-Semitic remarks attributed to Gibson following his drunk-driving arrest are contemptible, just as some of Stone's movies bastardize history. Nevertheless, the broader notion of applying ideological or character tests to talent -- or prejudging projects based on who's associated with them -- is as close to the proverbial slippery slope as anyone should be eager to step.

Right-wing pundits already have a field day demonizing "Hollywood liberals," tarring even benign projects with that label. Some threw silly hissy fits over "Superman Returns" because the Man of Steel is said to stand for "truth, justice, all that stuff" -- ostensibly dropping "the American way" from his repertoire. Damn ungrateful Kryptonian illegal aliens.

Lost amid the din, of course, is the ideal of evaluating artistic works on their merits, as opposed to the increasingly common and distasteful practice of flatly dismissing any material from those with whom one disagrees.

The problem is that once you begin contemplating boycotts over boorish behavior and despicable opinions, where does it end? Good luck finding bankable casts for that next movie or TV show. Media moguls and sports tycoons, after all, have never exclusively employed choirboys, what with the historic link between big money and bigger excess.

Even before the inevitable apology tour, Gibson has cemented his status as a Leno punch line, and no one is required to work with or otherwise help further enrich him -- just as they needn't buy Dixie Chicks CDs, patronize Ludacris concerts or see Stone's next movie.

Clearly, it's naive to think such entertainment decisions can be disentangled from politics. Yet most Hollywood leaders' reticence to join in publicly pillorying Gibson might have something to do with this wider view, and the realization that allowing professional undertakings to become a referendum on personal lives is a slow conveyer belt to Hell -- one where the ox that's gored, in the long run, just might be their own.

That makes sense to me as well. i hate it when i think two people are right and they totally disagree with each other. it is such cognitive dissonance that makes me a liberal, i suppose.

1 comment:

  1. Apologies, but I am required by law to say that I like Mel Gibson, regardless of whether or not I actually do.

    Blame the Braveheart Reverance (Scotland) Act 1998 - Mad Mel could throttle a bunny in front of me and I'd still have to put up a fake grin and chuckle along.

    If you don't trust me on this, check out the statue of William Wallace that stands in Stirling:

    I wish fervently that I could say that this was a hoax. It is not.