Guardian Unlimited Film | News | Mel Gibson apologises for anti-semitic outburst
Last July, the Braveheart director was arrested on a Los Angeles motorway on suspicion of drunk driving, after being caught speeding. A three-quarters-full bottle of tequila wrapped in a brown paper bag was found on the floor. According to portions of the arrest report that became public, Gibson launched into an anti-semitic tirade, accusing Jews of starting all wars and demanding to know if his arresting officer was Jewish. The incident sparked international headlines, drew condemnation from Jewish leaders and led to speculation that Gibson's Hollywood career had been irreparably damaged. Within days of the incident, Gibson had entered a rehabilitation clinic and undergone treatment for alcoholism.
Oh, and he also had some choice remarks for the officer's female partner whom he called "sugar tits." Not to mention the fact that he was speeding down the freeway dead drunk, endangering the public. But who's counting? In the words of my favorite quote from Ghostbusters, when the Central Park horse-cab driver is accosted by a demonically possessed tax accountant in full flow: "what an asshole."
These days alcohol rehab is the respectable way out. So, when Mark Foley got caught flirting with youths, it was only natural that he sign on for alcohol rehab and, for good measure, claim that he was a victim of priest abuse. Clearly priest abuse will become de rigeur in all subsequent cases of this nature. Then there was Ellen Cook, the treasurer of the Episcopal Church who embezzled 2.6 million dollars and made the case that it was a consequence of the intolerable stress of male chauvinism that she faced in her position as the Church's highest ranked layperson. Is it possible that anyone actually takes these excuses seriously?
Why can't ordinary slobs like me (and you, dear reader) get away with this? So sorry I haven't shown up to teach my logic classes for the past week--I was flat on the floor in a drunken stupor--I need a paid vacation in rehab. Holy cow, two years ago a screwy part-timer reported me and my next door colleague for smoking in our offices. I managed to get rid of the evidence, but the dean caught my colleague with an ashtray on his desk and there was hell to pay. Why don't we think of these things--alcoholism, priest abuse, male chauvinism? I suppose that's why we aren't celebrities.