Frank Rich versus Mel Gibson

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Sep 21 15:59:20 MDT 2003

NY Times, Sept. 21, 2003
The Greatest Story Ever Sold

Then Gibson expressed his feelings about Rich. "I want to kill him," he 
said. "I want his intestines on a stick. . . . I want to kill his dog." — 
The New Yorker, Sept. 15

PETA members may be relieved to learn that I do not have a dog.

As for the rest of Mel Gibson's threats, context is all: the guy is a movie 
star. Movie stars expect to get their own way. They are surrounded by 
sycophants, many of them on the payroll. Should a discouraging word somehow 
prick the bubble of fabulousness in which they travel, even big-screen 
he-men can turn into crybabies. Mr. Gibson's tirade sounded less like a 
fatwa from the Ayatollah Khomeini than a tantrum from Sinatra in his cups.

My capital crime was to write a column on this page last month reporting 
that Mr. Gibson was promoting his coming film about the crucifixion, "The 
Passion," by baiting Jews. As indeed he has. In January, the star had gone 
on "The O'Reilly Factor" to counter Jewish criticism of his cinematic 
account of Jesus's final hours — a provocative opening volley given that no 
critic of any faith had yet said anything about his movie (and wouldn't for 
another three months). Clearly he was looking for a brawl, and he hasn't 
let up since. In the New Yorker profile, Mr. Gibson says that "modern 
secular Judaism wants to blame the Holocaust on the Catholic Church," a 
charge that Abraham H. Foxman, of the Anti-Defamation League, labels 
"classic anti-Semitism." Mr. Gibson also says that he trimmed a scene from 
"The Passion" involving the Jewish high priest Caiaphas because if he 
didn't do so "they'd be coming after me at my house, they'd come to kill me."


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