August 02, 2006

Ego Te Absolvo, Mel -

Responsible
Pronunciation: ri-'spän(t)-s&-b&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Anglo-French responsable, from respuns 1 a : liable to be called on to answer b (1) : liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent


The Jews are responsible for
all the wars in the world

- Mel Gibson

There it is. He said it. Come on, you know you were thinking it. Or if you're Jewish, you know your neighbors or perhaps co-workers are thinking it. It's the elephant in the room, the great-unsaid. No matter how many Jewish friends a person has, no matter how intellectually tolerant and progressively minded a person may be, deep down inside doesn't everybody blame us Jews?

Can we characterize Mel's outburst, which he has apologized profusely for, as nothing more than a drunken tirade? Deputy Mee, one of the arresting officers at the scene and the Jew who set Mel off, graciously excused Gibson in an interview when he remarked "that stuff is the booze talking." Very generous of Deputy Mee, throwing Mel a rope like that. In fact, the Malibu police appeared to have handled the matter very delicately the entire evening, understanding the volatile public reaction to Mel's arrest and harangue that could occur both within Hollywood and without.

But was it the booze talking, really? Have you ever said anything when you were drunk that you didn't mean? Or haven't you found it is much more common that when under the influence it's the inhibitors that are weakened? Isn't it your ability to
stop saying the things you ought not to say that is alcohol's first victim? From "Hey, I love you, man!" to "Hey! I love men!" the swath of verbal destruction that alcohol leaves in its wake is notably comprised of those things we truly mean yet shouldn't say, and not those things we don't mean and shouldn't say.

So for my part, I don't believe for a minute that what he said is not reflective of how he truly feels. But I only have an issue with the hypocrisy of it all, because honestly, I happen to agree with Mel.

The vast majority of the most significant battles in the world historically can indeed be attributed to us Jews - sometimes tenuously, other times with bold, shockingly direct lines. Certainly the past 58 years of Middle East conflict can be laid at the feet of the Jews, and much of World War II as well. The Cold War was a direct result of the nuclear brinkmanship caused by Oppenheimer and Einstein, the two Jews primarily responsible for atomic weaponry. In the 19th century, many of the regional wars in Europe were financed by Jews in the banking industry, and of course we have the many wars of occupation throughout the first few centuries of our collective human history whose sole purpose was dispossessing the Jews of their land -- wars brought to you courtesy of the Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans.

Unlike Timothy McVeigh, for instance, who was vilified as an individual, Jews are judged as a single entity. Jews the world over are collectively held responsible for the actions of every other Jew, the most recent examples of this group culpability occurring this past week in the attacks in Seattle and in Sydney. The world Jewish population, in being the focus of such great animosity, incites great conflicts. I do not call Jews accountable for the conflicts, any more than wood or air is accountable for a forest fire. It's not the wood or the air that sparked up the blaze, but none the less, the fire can't exist without them. Similarly I merely point out that by their very existence, great conflict does seem to be generated around the Jews. They are the hook upon which many of the wars in our shared history can be hung. They play a large role in history, inversely proportionate to their relatively small population.

The worldwide Jewish diaspora has given many nations a ready supply of Jews with which to fight. Jews are the great firewall of history, the bell-weather of civil liberties, the canary in the mineshaft that gauges the health of our various democracies and republics. Nazism, Communism, Fascism, and now Islamic extremism have each chosen the Jews as the lever with which to move their adherents, and it's the Jews who have been the first to fight -- or more often, the first to be killed -- in each of the great ideological battles of our age. One of the earliest warnings a free society has that it is headed into dire straits is the souring of public opinion against the Jews. Wherever antisemitism is suffered to thrive, there you'll also find totalitarianism taking root.

It may surprise you to learn that I actually have no problem with antisemites, nor bigots, nor misogynists, nor whatever it is the people who hate others happen to call themselves. Choose your label, I won't judge. Not because I approve or agree, but because I don't believe it's realistic to go through life without some unreasonable animosities developing toward some people. I don't expect to live and die without rankling someone for some reason, so I certainly wouldn't expect whole segments of the population - be it based on gender, creed, color, religion, or sexual orientation - to have a rosy relationship with all the others.

Conflict is at the root of our human nature; it's a by-product of competition, of striving, of the very engineering that created us. In an astounding economy of design, at every level from cellular to planetary, our successes and failures, our sexual reproduction, our very lives are energized by the power of competition and conflict. And it's a short leap from friendly competition to the more unfriendly sort.
Furthermore, hatreds are rarely rational, and it is that very irrationality that render prejudices inevitable.

But while I don't expect to receive love from all quarters, like most people I do expect a certain amount of decorum. When our prehistoric tendencies toward tribal preferences rear up, I count on civilized people to engage in civilized behavior, because that's how civilization works. Or rather, that's how it works best, the rare times when it occurs. Regardless of the stereotypes you may subscribe to, be they instinctual biases you inherited or intellectual ones learned on the go, our co-existence depends upon each of us exercising a certain level of restraint.

In this particular case I believe the alcohol removed Mel Gibson's restraint, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of his own personal prejudices. While I think he is a tacky, poor excuse for an incompetent drunk, it's only his inability to hold his liquor that I object to. His antisemitism neither surprises nor bothers me.

For your sophomoric failure to hold your booze, I forgive you, Mel. Apology accepted.

And as for the rest of it, the antisemitism and the hypocrisies you engage to hide it, I'm much more comfortable knowing someone feels a certain way than wondering if they do. Jews the world over now know where they stand with Mr. Gibson, and there is a certain comfortable honesty in that knowledge.


1 Comments:

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Liana said...

No, I didn’t think it!! You can’t be suggesting that all non-Jews have anti-semitic feelings. The notion would honestly NEVER occur to me. In fact, if I have to blame someone for making a mess of things… Jesus himself comes to mind for the ridiculous amounts of bloodshed perpetrated in his name. Could be why I’m not a fan.

Anyway, I think your point of view is not a global one. And perhaps egocentric. Coming from a Latin American background, we really don’t blame other nationalities for conflict. We prefer to squabble amongst ourselves.

Mel is a freak. Although I still forgive him because he ask me to. But if there is anyone really to blame it’s the antisemites, the bigots, the misogynists, and etc. who make war. Let’s go beat them up.

 

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