Monday, April 16, 2012

Holocaust "mostly horseshit", says Mel Gibson

[Originally posted at NOW Lebanon]

In what must surely count as one of history’s most tersely-phrased utterances of five-star fruitcakery and fanaticism, the actor Mel Gibson recently described the Holocaust as “mostly a lot of horseshit”, according to a letter penned by a Hollywood screenwriter with whom Gibson was working on a now-scrapped film about the Jewish historical figure Judah Maccabee.

Of course, this kind of bigotry is more or less routine for Gibson, whose previous outbursts include informing a Los Angeles police officer that “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” and telling his then-girlfriend that she deserved to “get raped by a pack of niggers”. Even so, one finds oneself whistling at the sheer variety of epithets in this latest trove.

As the letter says: “[Gibson] continually called Jews “Hebes” and “oven-dodgers” and “Jewboys” […] [He] said most “gatekeepers” of American companies were “Hebes” who “controlled their bosses […] [He] said the Torah made reference to the sacrifice of Christian babies and infants […] [He said] the mothers of the last three Popes of the Catholic church were Jewish [and] there was a Jewish/Masonic conspiracy to destroy the Catholic church […] [He] referred to Pope John Paul as “the devil” [who] “destroyed the church”” by implementing Vatican II, which famously repealed the charge of Christ-killing against world Jewry (a theme to which he repeatedly returns throughout the letter). “Perhaps most disturbing [was his comment that] “What I really want to do with this movie […] is to convert the Jews to Christianity.””

Indeed, what interests me much more than the crude insults and petty racism is his obsession with the supposed threat posed by Jews to his faith, which in its rank paranoia and delusion exceeds even the efforts of Osama Bin Laden. The religious underpinnings of Gibson’s habitual explosions are still poorly understood by the wider public. As the late Christopher Hitchens noted in a 2010 article titled ‘Mel Gibson Isn’t Just an Angry Narcissist’, Gibson is a member of a “schismatic crackpot sect” of Catholicism, “headed by [his] father, Hutton Gibson” that has “never forgiven the Vatican for lifting the charge of deicide against the Jews”. Seen in this context, Gibson’s latest remarks are yet another reminder – if anybody needed one – of the infinite ways in which religious ideologies nurture and cultivate, rather than restrain, the cancers of hatred and extremism.

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