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"I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable..."Deeper and deeper.So you know that do you, Mel? When you finally climb down from that grandiose horse you sit atop, perhaps you can explain to us commoners in the community just how it is you know such a thing.
Criminy, Meade -- it's a natural human reaction to turn your back on someone who has profoundly insulted you. I don't think it's evidence of further arrogance on Mel's part to expect forgiveness to be a long time in coming.
There is a wonderful Jewish saying: A man is known in this pocketbook, his cups and his anger. (it sounds much better in Hebrew). In other words, the true identity of a person is revealed in how he handles money, how he behaves when drunk or angry.So sorry Mel, appoligize all you want, apparently your fathers teachings did get through to you. You definately have antisemtic tendencies. but don't feel bad, you and most of the rest of the world these days
He had to say something (imagine how much criticism he'd get if he said nothing). What he said seems appropriate. Don't know if that is enough to redeem him in the public's eye - personally I couldn't care one way or the other. There are much greater threats to jews around the world than the drunken rants of a movie star (I don't see him as an "auteur").
Wow. He apologizes. Dont know if he still can be considered to be worse than Jackson, OJ Simpson, and W. Allen. Many genuine alcoholics can completely change personalities when intoxicated. Of course this does not justify his actions. But I think his feelings were warped by the intoxication. People just need to keep their feelings to themselves. Its when people act on their feelings that the true evil occurs..
Mel Gibson said: "I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community."Where exactly is the Jewish community, anyway? I can't find it on the map. Is it one of those gated communities? Does it have a zip code?Maybe it's right next door to the Latino community or the African-American community or the LGBT community.Is there a Jewish Community College?
He needs a Magic Jew to help him heal? I've never understood the white impulse to seek absolution from the people we express bigotry towards. I do think he is apologizing here, but I think he has a long way to go to understand himself and his responsibility for his own words.
Poor W. Wallace - everyone is jumping on him and his racism and giving a free pass to an entire network, CNN, for their biased and I think racist anti-Israel propoganda/fodder. I mean, have you ever seen such a bloody bunch of butchers and mass murderers as them F-ing Jews and their jets over Lebanon!? Mel needs to up and tell the world he has had a few Jews as friends over the years then make another blood-filled movie and sell some tickets. That's the only way to move on from it - make some money. Go the bank repentent, works every time. I wonder if Mel could maybe portray Anwar Sadat? You know, take a hard stand against the Jews in the movie then become their buddy and sign a treaty, or something like that. I think most Americans wouldn't remember Mel's unkind words if he could produce another action movie. I know! Along the lines of The Patriot, it could be The Macabee, starring Mel as Judah Macabeus. If he were to fawn at the feet of Israel and the American Jewish community in such a role, and do it well of course, even including having a Jewish wife in the movie and lots of kids, some then may be inclined then to give a bid of credence to his apology.
Sounds like a real apology to me, to be contrasted with the, these days, all too common non-apology apology (to wit: "I apologize if people misunderstood me", Translation: "I'm sorry you're too stupid to understand what I said." Ala Dick Durbin).
Hmm, it seems to me that if one were truly and deeply sorry for his words and actions, that this is what they would say. Would a true, deep bigot express such contrition? Think of the reaction of other bigots. Was it anywhere near as contrite as this appears to be?I'm not sure. Perhaps I'm being naive. He is an actor so he perhaps knows what strings to pull before an audience. And admittedly I've always been a poor judge of people. Willing to assume the best when it wasn't so wise.Obviously it will probably take more than just words to remove some of stain from what he did and said. Actions, not just press releases.But before we toss out Gibson from the human race (so to speak), I like to be absolutely sure we have a iron tight case. Let's wait a bit, no?SMG
One of the things I like about being Jewish is that I am not beholden to any "Christian" ideals about forgiveness. I have no time for anti-semites whether they are neo-nazis or Islamic fascitsts or asshole hollywood actors. Mel would like forgiveness, not my problem. Fuck him!
Shtetl G, I understand your position and don't disagree with it. "turn the other cheek" was in that other book. :) Culturally, I grew up in a Christian home, and though I don't have any profound faith, I always did like the Old Testament and its simpler guidance(e.g. an Eye for an Eye)I do however agree with Mike that his apology, honest or not, certainly uses much better and direct language than your average celebrity/politico non-apology. I apologize if you misunderstood what I was saying... I feel your pain... Nothing to see here, keep moving on...Depends on what the definition of "is" is...
Although no man or woman knows what is in his heart, he appears to be sincere in his apology.Forgive him. Don't forgive him. But hamsun56 is correct, there are much greater threats to the Jewish people (is this better than community?) than a drunken actor spewing out hateful nonsense.
Mel reaches out: FOX News is saying Mel wants the you-know-who people to help him come to grips with his nastiness towards you-know-who. Who knows, some kosher grape juice and a heart-to-heart with a Rabbi and he is on the mend again, ready for some more action flicks. Mel as Judah, I see some possibilities - it would prove he really doesn't hate 'them'.
I thought Mel's apology was a good one. America is a country of second chances. This statement was curious: I've never understood the white impulse to seek absolution from the people we express bigotry towards. I assume Elizabeth is also disgusted with all the affirmative action programs in this country. I don't see how those are any different from Elizabeth's statement.
Yeah, as a couple people said above, I'd rather we all get a bit more upset about the other anti-semitic rhetoric that's being thrown around with abandon these days... you know, the stuff coming from actual leaders of actual governments.
"But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" - Sermon on the Mount. In other words, if you don't forgive - which DOESN'T mean acceptance of the wrong or taking away the penalty, but acceptance of SOMEONE trying to change from the wrong - then you ain't makin' it to heaven.This has been really hard for me when I read such writers as Frank Rich and Jesse Jackson and Katie Couric accuse me, an evangelical Christian, of thinking things that I don't do or think. I may choose to no longer read them because they are bigoted and short-sighted and unrepentant of such, but I don't hate them.Everyone that doesn't forgive Mel, who has asked twice now admitted wrong and asked for forgiveness:Face up to it - you're a hater and you desperately need counseling. Or, you're just caught up in the moment emotionally, saying something that you don't REALLY mean, and - oh, right, that never happens to you.
REPARATIONS !!!!!I won't be surprised if he ends up paying them. He's rich, after all, and can afford to give money to the ADL or to Jewish charities, etc. On the other hand, I think the proper path for a public figure to take, after he has disgraced himself in an indiscreet moment, is the Profumo path:Within days of his political decline, he turned up at the refuge centre Toynbee Hall and asked to help with the washing up.. . .He stayed for nearly 40 years, used his still intact political skills to raise huge funds, and expanded the charity's activities to include social programmes and youth training. . . .However, for four decades after his downfall, the beleaguered protagonist always maintained a dignified silence. Don't showboat.That said, Gibson's apology was a good one, and hopefully sincere, although with actors, one can hardly know, their business being a business of falsehoods.
And to think that he could become a mouthpiece for Scientology or drug and rape a 13-year-old girl and his career would be fine.
Here are two possibilities:1. Gibson is an antisemite, and was unable to conceal it when drunk. If so, an "apology" is pretty useless.2. Gibson is not an antisemite, but his father is, and his father routinely blamed Jews for everything when Mel was growing up. When drunk, and angry, Mel blurted out what his father did when he (the father) was angry. I don't think this is at all farfetched. Every parent has had the experience of getting mad at his kid once in a while and having his parents' words suddenly appear from nowhere out of his mouth. Anyway, if this is the story, an apology does work, and I'd accept it.
Didn't Jews run Hollywood in the old days? Goldwyn, Mayer, et al? If Gibson thought Hollywood was a tough town before, it is going to be brutal now!We can have no sympathy for those who insult our Jewish brothers and sisters. They are fighting and dying as we speak in a war that has already taken it's toll on America - 9/11 being the latest example.Gibson's name will be shouted from the pulpits of our sworn enemies by some shriek, I mean Sheik, as an inspiration for future jihadists to attack Israel.Gibson, indeed, Hollywood, does not have a clue as to who our enemy is! Support Israel!
I think JohnF's theory is quite plausible. So much of our behavior is cauterized into our brain in childhood; breaking out of the vicious habits of our parents is extraordinarily difficult.We humans can't change our upbringing; we can only change how we act and behave toward others. God knows Mr. Gibson's heart. We do not. As a prosecutor, I've seen plenty of police reports on DWIs that would make you think the defendant was a raving, lunatic, pathological monster. But mostly, the defendants turn out to be quite ordinary, imperfect human beings after all. I think this is a very sincere apology by a man who takes his Christian faith very seriously.
Sloan, I'll agree there are problems with affirmative action as an entrenched solution to centuries of racial inequity, as well as with welfare state policies that result in a permanent poverty class. But I disagree that these represent nothing but a desire for absolution. We've made flawed, but necessary, adjustments to our education and economic systems after centuries of slavery and nearly a century following of Jim Crow, and we have more to do.
I agree with those who say that Mel's apologies have seemed sincere. But I don't expect those apologies alone to redeem himself in the eyes of those who have been offended. It's going to take extended work on his part, and frankly even then some will doubt his sincerity.To those who say he can never fix this: well, maybe you're right. I mean, let's face it, when Elvis Costello went on a drunken rant about "n!$#@!@" way back when, his career completely tanked and never recovered. Oh, wait!
Brent said:Everyone that doesn't forgive Mel, who has asked twice now admitted wrong and asked for forgiveness:Face up to it - you're a hater and you desperately need counseling. Or, you're just caught up in the moment emotionally, saying something that you don't REALLY mean, and - oh, right, that never happens to you.Let me get this straight, Brent, I'm the hater here? Where is my forgiveness? I agree with other commentators here that there is a lot worse shit going on for Jews than Mel Gibson. That being said Mel Gibson's anti-semitism is his problem not mine. Talk is cheap. Forgiveness in my book needs to be earned.
DRILL SGT... an "eye for an eye" is a profoundly simplistic caricature of the Old Testament worldview. The OT is replete with forgiveness... specifically... the story of Joseph and his brothers, David and Bathsheba and the Prophet Nathan(forgiveness does not remove consequences however), Jonah and Ninevah, Solomon, Samson, Moses and on and on. Forgiveness is a major theme of the Old Testament -- and one of the precepts of OT law.A Jew may not have Christian concept of forgiveness, but forgiveness is part of Judiasm nonetheless.If Mel said nothing then people would pile on. If he apologizes people pile on. Better to do the right thing anyway -- after doing the wrong thing saince he's going to rightly catch flak anyway. There is of course a Jewish community and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. The Jewish people have made it part of their survival mode after the Diaspora to have and keep a Jewish community.
shtetl g,The point of my post was the first sentence of my post.
Spencer Tracy was both a drunk and an adulterer, and in the 1950s too, but nobody cared.Ted Kennedy is both a drunk and also a murderer----Let's turn a tape recorder on him and see what he has to say when drunk. Bet that's an earful!Too bad someone didn't get a tape recorder and record Betty Ford during one of her stammerings.Frankly, I'm more concerned about the crazy nonsense some people spout forth when stone cold sober....as opposed to....--- the nonsense that passes for serious "revelation" when someone is drunk.Peace, Maxine
I've found the whole Gibson spectacle amusing in a sad way. He commits the doubleplus ungood thoughtcrime of expressing hostility towards another people, and immediately our national network of thoughtcrime vigilantes begins to string up the hangin' rope. Shun him! Ban him from decent society! Let no one watch another Mel Gibson movie ever again!I tip my hat to Gibson on his quick response. He knows the thoughtcrime community's playbook. By now there is a well-established protocol for handling this sort of thing:- immediately issue an abject apology- check yourself into an institution for "help" with your problem; this gives you an excuse for vanishing from the scene for a while so things can cool down- set up meetings with representatives of the aggrieved group to ask for help in battling your wicked error in thinking- later, when the first wave of interest has passed, set up a tearful, contrite interview with Diane Sawyer or Barbara Walters to talk about your "problem" and how awful you feel about it- donate money to causes linked to the aggrieved partyIf you're a liberal, you need do less of this than if you're a conservative. Clinton and Jesse Jackson, for example, were forgiven by their fans quickly. A conservative like Gibson, though, will never be forgiven by the liberals, who didn't like him anyway and look for excuses to castigate conservatives. But he is jumping through all the proper multicultural/therapeutic hoops, so he is taking steam out of his accusers' sails. All he has to do is lie low for a year or so and he'll be fine.
He's a classic antisemite. And honestly, you don't see that many of them in America these days, so to me it's kind of a curiosity. I grew up Jewish hearing my parents and grandparents talk about virulent antisemitism in this country that they had to deal with, but I never felt like I experienced anything remotely like it (notwithstanding the fact that I grew up in the midwest...though one time my sister came home from playing with the neighbor and asked us all why the Jews killed Jesus). As for the apology, it doesn't mean he's bigoted or not-bigoted, it's good PR and it means he knows how to play with other kids. He's sincerely sorry that he just effed up his career by offending a bunch of people. That's it. It's just not about redemption. He's not going to "redeem" himself to anybody. He's a Jew-hater. He is probably so annoyed now that he has to go meet with a bunch of reform rabbis and do kaddish photo-ops or whatever. But he'll do it and look appropriate because he's not an idiot and hey, he's an actor after all.I don't think he has an "evil heart" and I don't care if he does, he's just ignorant and that's never going to change. He should get together with Michael Barrett and they can make a movie about the Jews and the US Government bringing down the Twin Towers in an effort to trigger holy war and hasten the rapture. But people who are saying..."oh, he's not a Jew hater, that was just drunk rambling" are just wrong. Normal people don't go off on tirades about Jewish conspiracies, drunk or sober. And since that's what he thinks (and he is entitled to think that), he should have stood by his statements publicly instead of offering some desperate, craven apology.
Well, to me the verdict is in: more hate has been spewed in response to Mel's disgraceful act than during the act itself. Of course, it's not a fair fight, Mel Gibson is just one drunk bastard; this is the whole blogosphere. But it's still true.
Why do I care what someone else thinks of me, or my religion??? Much less Mel Gibson.......and now I'm supposed to care what Mel Gibson thinks about me, and my religion...when he's drunk???Of all the things to worry about....Hey, he was driving a Lexus. If he's such a Nazi, why wasn't he driving a Ford....orgasp, how come he doesn't drive a (gulp) Mercedes....like all the wealthy Jews do!Peace, Maxine
Ok, to all the Gibson - haters:What do YOU propose he should do? Assume that he truly realizes that he is wrong and wants to do whatever he can to make it right . . . what do YOU say he should do?And while you're at it, please give us an example of someone that has successfully done what you are going to suggest that Mel needs to do.Put up or shut up.Otherwise, you must be in the group "without sin", so keep casting those stones . . .
This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic license. This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have. It’s about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad.Gone mad, because the Jews started all of these damn wars! Err, maybe he meant something else by that.Where exactly is the Jewish community, anyway? I can't find it on the map.andHe needs a Magic Jew to help him heal?So, what, he's criticized for seeking the forgiveness of an entire amorphous community and for seeking the forgiveness of a specific yet nonexistent individual? All y'all need to get your stories straight.I'm guessing no matter what he says, you're not interested in an apology. Sure, he should apologize to "the Jews." But the last thing he wants to do is put "the Jews" in his apology letter! Those words are forbidden by political correctness.
Maxine: maybe he should buy Kinky Friedman's car. If I was drunk, I might actually repeat the joke he tells about it, but since I'm sober, I'll let you all Google for it.
Congratulations to Dreaming Monkey for channeling Uncle Leo and kicking it up a notch.BAM!!
"Normal people don't go off on tirades about Jewish conspiracies, drunk or sober..."---DreamingOk, then what do "Normal people" do when drunk?What is acceptable conversation for a "Normal" drunk while in custody?I can only imagine your list of topics.What is the proper ettiquette? How should a "Normal" drunk conduct himself?How about driving off a bridge, and killing your passenger. Is that acceptable behavior for the "Normal" drunk?Peace, Maxine
Among other things I said this on my neo-liberal blog: Is Mel Gibson a self-identified liberal?If he is, he may not be anti-Semitic at all, despite his alcohol induced rant about the Jews.You see, liberals are the good guys when it comes to tolerance and ethnic sensitivity. What this means is that they are often not at all *careful* about their language. Why should they be?In order for a conservative to slip into an anti-Jew rant they'd either need to be *heavily* anti-semitic or else far more drunk than a 0.12 alcohol level. Someone who isn't used to watching what they say... well, it doesn't take much. Not too much alcohol and not too much anti-semitism.===Though I was mostly playing devils advocate, it's very true that liberals often aren't careful because they are confident in their non-bigotry. Unlike those of us who have been told all our lives that we can be a bigot even if we think we are not.
Elizabeth,Granted that we need to do more about affirmative action. However, what needs to be done comes more from the recipients than from those doing the giving. There comes a point at which it takes a reaction before additional action. When we get a reaction that actually does something, then maybe something more needs to be done. Until then, I will just wait. Perhaps those recipients of affirmative action might listen to what Bill Cosby has to say on the subject?
Brent,I don't hate Mel Gibson. I just don't see why I have to forgive him just because he seems contrite (or has a good PR rep). His anti-semetism is his cross to bear(to borrow a phrase) not mine. As a rule, I have no time for anti-semites. I hope Mel gets his demons under control but it is not my problem. If this seems un-Christian...well, I'm not Christian. Perhaps you can forgive me this indescrition.
Wow... somehow, for some odd reason, I never thought this topic would polarize people so fast. Just like Bush threads, Iraq war threads, any political thread, any religion-themed thread here or elsewhere in the blogosphere, reactions to what Gibson has done seems to say more about the responder than the actual subject at hand. As was the case with Usenet in the past, blog posts seem to somehow single out people with specific agendas and give them a chance to fire away. Take this thread: Forgive Mel, F*** Mel, he's really that way, he's really not, what a sincere apology, what a crappy apology, you're hateful, I'm hateful??, Affirmative action (WTF??) on and on and ON!...It's so weird to watch this happen, even though I've staked out a side (see the first thread on Gibson for my thought). It's like Mel Gibson's become an Althouse Lebanon: He's been turned into a battle ground/proxy for others to shoot each other over. And that's just so... strange... I figured we'd see a couple of token "Eff 'im" posts, a couple of "Alcoholism is bad" stories (no one seems to be concerned with that angle at all for some odd reason), and then this topic would lay quietly and pass untouched by most. Instead, it's as rockin and heated as other, touchier subjects.No, none of that is a criticism of either side. It's just a bemused observation. I never guessed that this topic would get so many people, myself included, so involved.
"But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" - Sermon on the Mount. In other words, if you don't forgive - which DOESN'T mean acceptance of the wrong or taking away the penalty, but acceptance of SOMEONE trying to change from the wrong - then you ain't makin' it to heaven.Brent, you are aware, aren't you, that the people offended by Gibson's anti-Jewish rants were, you know, Jews?Gibson has offered an apology on his terms, as a Christian. Jews will accept or reject his apology on their terms, as Jews. I don't know what those terms should be. But I'm pretty sure that demanding they abide by the Gospel of Matthew is not exactly helpful.
“I’m not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing." Would an anti-Semite care enough to say this, much less do it? If so I guess anti-Semitism isn't as bad as I thought...
dick, affirmative action doesn't have much to do with the lives of the people Cosby's been talking to, and about. To encounter affirmative action programs, one needs to be in a work or education environment. There are people in my city who are probably third-generation unemployed and uneducated; their lives are far below the radar of affirmative social programs.
I am so confused! I am supposed hate Mel Gibson becuase he threw some verbal bombs at "the Jews" while he was bottle-of-tequila-drunk but I am not supposed to hate Hezbolla or Hamas for throughing actual bombs actual Jews. Can someone please explain this to me?
Just found this really excellent post on this subject: http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/g/99a48cc4-b1de-444f-9150-cd8271734c09?comments=true#commentAnchorMentions that anti-Semitism goes from Hitler on down to mild jokes about Jews. Mentions the difference between an anti-Semite and an unrepentant anti-Semite. I think a lot of the arguing in these comments is about that. Some of us don't think it is fair to lump Gibson with Hitler, but the term anti-Semite somehow does that. This partly explains why Ann originally compared his comments with OJ murdering people, I think. If Hitler is a level 10 red-sash anti-Semite Gibson is a level 1 red panty anti-Semite, and those of us accused of defending him think that's an important distinction.
Tibore: It's the "J-word", I'm afraid. And the fact that Mr. Gibson is an outspoken "C-word" doesn't help any. I've seen it happen before.I'm surprised Professor Althouse risked it. Still, things have gotten much more heated than this in the past. No ad hominem, yet. That's a good thing.
Hey Elizabeth, did you read Daryl Herbert's 3:10? We're on the same team!Cool.
"I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing."Haven't I seen this on the West Wing. Oh yea...the pilot episode: Josh Lyman makes an off-the-cuff remark to a Christian right-winger, and the White House has to have them over for coffee. And I bet Sam Seaborn wrote the statement for him, too.
Here's a thought.The deputy sheriff who arrested Mel is Jewish. It might be possible that Mel recognized this fact (or suspected it) based on ethic physical features, and chose his words accordingly. Had the deputy been black, would we be discussing Mel's anti-black racism today, instead of his anti-Semitism? (This theory is supported by the fact that he chose a misogynist epithet for the female officer he encountered.)If the deputy had indeed been black, I'll bet there would be far less controversy if he'd called him a n!$#@#. Yes, I know Abe Foxman has nothing on Jesse Jackson, but still; because of Mel's family and history, we focus more on the anti-Semitic stuff.Fate can be cruel, eh? John Podhoretz, commenting on this scandal, said that Jewish and Shiite Muslim were about the two ethnic types least likely to apply to a deputy sheriff. He had to take that back, of course, once he learned the truth. Oops. John then said, "that makes it worse." Well, I can sort of see that, because it makes the offense personal. But on the other hand, if it as "just" an attempt to inflame an individual in the moment...
Juliet,No "demand" here that you or anyone obey the Sermon on the Mount. . . just how about answering my other post - what do YOU (perfect and non-offending one) think Mel should do, if he sincerely wants to change.My point is that you can't help but be a hypocrite on this issue, even according to your own standards . . .unless you supply us with what he should do, and then let everyone else judge you (anyone condemning and not accepting the apology of Gibson) too.It seems to me that when the adulterous woman was brought to Jesus for his approval for having her stoned to death, he said "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" - leaving no one, great leader and appointed judges to self-righteous bloggers able to toss.
Well, to once again shamelessly promote a shy colleague's artistic endeavor's, I will point out that there is unorthodox commentary on Mel Gibson's "incident" at http://uselessducks.googlepages.com/
The crime here was driving, while being well-intoxicated, at almost 100 mph on a section of Pacific Coast Highway more suited to 25 rather than the 55 mph posted. What makes a drunken tirade, and a tsunami of hurt feelings, more important than the physical danger Mr. Gibson put the tourists and surfers in that night?The only person Mr. Gibson owes an apology to is Deputy Mee.
Brent:No "demand" here that you or anyone obey the Sermon on the Mount. . .just how about answering my other post - what do YOU (perfect and non-offending one) think Mel should do, if he sincerely wants to change.First of all--"perfect and non-offending"? You must have me confused with someone else.What do I think? As a Catholic? I think Gibson's apology is a great start. I think he will have to follow through on it. I think he will have to confront and disclaim, once and for all, in very precise words, the anti-Semitism of which he's been accused, and realize that honoring his father does not equal sharing his batty opinions, which he should publicly and vehemently reject. Everything pernicious his father has ever said about Jews, he must deny.But I'm not a Jew (well, I am by descent, but not by faith), so I don't set the rules about forgiveness are for anti-Jewish tirades. This all happened very quickly. I think most Jews would like more than 48 hours to deal with their own feelings about what Gibson said before deciding what they owe him.
The Gibson story is interesting on many levels, but least of all as it relates to Gibson as a person.Who knows, and why should anyone care, whether Gibson's apology was sincere? His foolish and offensive comments did not cause any harm whatever to the "Jewish community" (certainly in Malibu, and everywhere else as well) to whom he addressed his apology; given the terms of his apology, no one is in a position to accept or reject it(except perhaps the deputy to whom they were spoken); it wouldn't make any difference if it was accepted or rejected; and the offensive nature of his comments wouldn't be lessened in any degree by his apology. By the same token, it was obviously the right thing to do for Gibson to disavow publicly and profusely his anti-Semitic insults (and the rightness of his doing so is not lessened even if his apology was not sincere). By disvowing his comments, Gibson was acknowledging, and thereby providing support for, the acceptable bounds of decent discourse. It makes no difference what his motives (sincere, crass, opportunistic, anything else) for doing so may have been.More interesting than all the chatter about Gibson personally is the way in which this story has been used as a vehicle to segue into a condemnation of his Passion movie and of orthodox or fundamentalist Christians in general. Among others, Hitchens has a typically powerful piece on Slate making that argument. The basic argument treats equate the harsh portrayal of the Temple and other Jewish authorities in the Gospel version of the Passion (particularly Matthew's version), all of which finds its way into Gibson's movie, as a potentially dangerous source of anti-Semitism in today's world. That is a remarkable stretch, among other reasons because fundamentalist and orthodox Christians are today among the most ardent supporters of Israel and its defense in the US -- unlike, say, the uber-secular, lefty literati who write on these topics in the NY Review of Books, the Nation, the Guardian and similar places. It is an even more remarkable stretch because the world today obviously does not want for many direct and obvious examples of truly murderous instances of anti-Semitism. On tha score, put aside the mayhem in the Middle East, and consider only the grotesque instances of Jew-hatred resulting in murderous violence in France over the last few years. As for Ann's comment that Gibson's work is now irrevocably tainted, I have no doubt she is right -- in the same sense that the work of L-F Celine, Ezra Pund, Paul DeMan and many others has been similarly tainted. While the taint is personal to the author, many will understandly be looking for ways in which the same taint is manifested in the work. Since Gibson's work (with the possible exception of Passion) is mostly diverting (if often bloody) fluff of the Lethal Weapon variety, there isn't much point is scrutinizing his films in that regard. But the really interesting aspect of this story, at least for me, is how it can and has been used in the service of so many agendas, and particularly the agenda of setting up fundamentalist Christians as a hotbed of anti-Semitism, inspired by the ancient idea of deicide flamed by the likes of Gibson. What a cracked view of the world.
Juliet,Kudos for not shying away from giving a response.Good Answer.
"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of Anti-Semitic remark." - the first line of Mel's current "apology."He should have stopped right there.
Oh, nonsense. I'd agree that's where he should have started, but it is entirely reasonable for him to go further and state his intention to seek healing and reconciliation.
You see, liberals are the good guys when it comes to tolerance and ethnic sensitivity. ... Though I was mostly playing devils advocate, it's very true that liberals often aren't careful Synova: that "Dr. Conservative" lecture schtick looks really amateur hour next to things an actual professor writes."you see, the liberal mind is incapable of processing blah blah blah..."
mcg: For what entire reason does he need to state his intentions? Hasn't he stated enough of his intentions already? Why shouldn't he just shut up and quietly go seek healing and reconciliation and redemption and forgiveness and whatever else he may be seeking on his own? You're clearly a sociopathic Jew-hating malignant narcissist, Mel. You have means -- get therapy. What makes you think "the community" should pay you any more attention at all?
daryl, what *are* you talking about? I can't even tell what you objected to.Are liberals careful about what they say? Experience would say, no. Who is more likely to question someone's sexuality in a random debate? Why does Ted Rall manage to publish the hatefully racist stuff he does without getting called on it? How can Hillary not realize that using the word "plantation" is not a good idea?The most oblivious behavior I've ever witnessed comes from people in the "oppressed" group, if it's a feminist sorting through job applications and throwing out the ones with male names on them... not *maliciously* but obliviously, even though (I believe) this lady had a law degree... to racist remarks from minorities which get them in political trouble and they seem surprised because it never ever *occured* to them that they needed to be racially sensative in a public speech.I've had "liberal" screen writers pitch ideas in script groups that were shocking in their bigotry and presumption to speak for other people. You'd almost think you were in an 18th century English Lord's parlour. "Oh how quaint. How very *interesting*. And I would *never* condemn the poor savages for not wearing clothing."People confident of their rightness, and when it comes to social tolerance liberals most certainly are confident of their rightness, are not as careful about their speech.
And I should note, daryl, that if you consider yourself liberal you've lived up to my point.Liberals are supposed to be about equality, but even in that tiny bit, the jist of your criticism seems to be that I'm... unequal to... the educated elite.
And drawing Sambo lips on a Republican politician's picture. Only a *liberal* could do that without realizing that it's BAD to do that. Anyone else might do it on purpose because they were prejudiced against blacks. Only a liberal, and I mean this absolutely, only a liberal could do that by *accident*.
mcg said... The deputy sheriff who arrested Mel is Jewish. It might be possible that Mel recognized this fact (or suspected it) based on ethic physical features, and chose his words accordingly. Knowing that the guy was actually jewish makes this plausible, but the specificity of the comments makes me think that Mel really feels that the "jews" are responsible for all the wars. Thats not unspecific "Damn you, you jewish bastard", that fully in crazy conspiracy theory land where you lose all respect from decent human beings. All this talk about "forgiving" Mel, to me, is silly. Mel didn't do anything to me, I'm not jewish and I don't have anything to forgive. But it makes me think less of him, which is sad, and it confirms alot of the speculation that came about after The Passion of the Christ. The guys got issues with jews. He's not the only one but that doesn't make it better. I believe in vino veritas. You might lose your filter when you drink, but the things you say were there in your mind, buried but there. And if one of the thing that is in your mind is that Jews are responsible for all the wars, well that's pretty messed up.
We're on the same team!Hey Bissage--let's get team bowling shirts!
"And if one of the thing that is in your mind is that Jews are responsible for all the wars, well that's pretty messed up."But you can't possibly think he thinks that... You really think Mel Gibson believes Jews caused the Korean war, or Vietnam? Obviously, no. Which is just more proof that he was being a drunk idiot. Is your faith in wine as truth syrum so strong that you actually think that that is Mel's deep belief?
A couple people have mentioned in vino veritas, and I find that very interesting. Last week everyone thought Mel Gibson was a heckuva guy...good Christian...not the run-o-the-mill Hollywood-type. But now that's he's had a little too much to drink and he's saying what he really thinks, everyone wants to tar and feather him. But should we? I mean he only said what was really on his mind. And surely it was on his mind last week. So we groan and snort and chastise for what??? We weren't doing that last week. Why should we now. What's the difference between a) thinking a certain thing and keeping it inside and b)just coming out with it? What are we punishing: the thought or the physical act of saying it? Here's my point. We can't know what a person is thinking...unless he or she tells us, either on his or her own or with the aid and comfort of a little drink. So why should we punish Mel Gibson for just coming out with it and not punish Joe Sixpack who may think the same thing but just hasn't been hittin' the sauce enough to let us know? Now, I'm no big Mel Gibson supporter. I like some of his movies to be sure, but I don't know him personally, so I'm not going to try to analyze what's in his head...whether he is truly and anti-Semite or whatever. I guess people judge others by their actions. And when I think about it, I guess it's really the only measure we have. But say the cop really hated [insert Mel Gibson's ancestral heritage here]. Does that change anything. Should he somehow be overlooked because he doesn't give voice to his inner thoughts? (Please note that I am not saying that the police officer was prompted to arrest Gibson because of any prejudice. I merely hypothetical-izing (-err, usage??))
Elizabeth: A modest proposal: This, or maybe this or my personal favorite, this.Alas, I fear there is zero chance we could find someone to embroider the Icon Productions logo on the back of a bowling shirt.Whatever happened to all the good tailors?WHETHER YOU WANT JACKETS,WE GOT JACKETS. YOU WANT TROUSERS,WE GOT TROUSERS.THIS IS A GOOD TIME, BELIEVE ME.WE'RE HAVING A BIG SALE.TREMENDOUS.POSITIVELYTHE LOWEST PRICES. MAYBE YOU NEEDA NICE DOUBLE-KNIT? INCIDENTAL, I'M STUCKWITH THREE PIECES CORDUROY.
One thing he might be able to do that would get him back in the Jewish community's good graces--make a Braveheart/Patriot-style film about the founding of Israel. For the first part, the enemy would be the British, so it's not like it would be a huge leap from his past films :)
I think he was sincere. I think he realizes that what he said sprang from evil within his heart. We all have evil within our hearts. If you think you don't, you know nothing about yourself or about human nature.A battle rages within all of us. Mel's battle just went public.There are a lot of cynics out there. The thing about cynics is they are afraid of disappointment. So they are cynical. And they are never disappointed.
mcg: For what entire reason does he need to state his intentions?When someone has hurt someone and is contrite about it, I think it's entirely reasonable for them to state how they intend to try and right the wrong, and to solicit the help of the one hurt to do so. Not that said victim must accept the offer, of course.So the question you have to answer is, then, whom did he hurt? If this had been Joe Six Pack, the answer would be simple: the deputy sherriff he berated, and nobody else. Man to man, that's it.But he isn't Joe Six Pack. He's a public figure, so the hounds seized on his case file and spread it as far as the Internet goes. It was the number one story on CNN.com today, and who knows how many other sites.Now if you don't agree he has offended anyone else, then of course you acknowledge that he doesn't owe anyone else an apology, either. That's a point others have made, and while I am not convinced, I could be.Hasn't he stated enough of his intentions already?Uhh, no. I'd say he did so today, but not before.Why shouldn't he just shut up and quietly go seek healing and reconciliation and redemption and forgiveness and whatever else he may be seeking on his own?Seeking reconciliation and forgiveness requires going to the people he offended. For obvious reasons that requires the same public channels over which the offense was caused.You're clearly a sociopathic Jew-hating malignant narcissist, Mel.I'm glad you know him so well. I assume you're his long-time therapist?You have means -- get therapy.I hope he does.What makes you think "the community" should pay you any more attention at all?They don't have to. The ball is in their court. His last statement reflected an understanding of that fact.
Meade said: "What makes you think 'the community' should pay you any more attention at all?"Agreed. Meade: Why are you paying this so much attention? Mel Gibson is a little, over-the-top actor guy. It's amazing that you have your panties in such a complex wad over this.
Re forgiveness: I never said I couldn't forgive Mel. I just said that what he revealed profoundly affected my interpretation of his art. Forgiveness doesn't erase all memory. I have to understand things using all the knowledge I have.
Maxine, to clarify: by "normal people" I meant "people that don't have some kind of grudge against the (real or imagined) Jews." Also, I said "normal," not "acceptable." Lots of drunk behavior falls into the former category but not the latter. Why is everyone so sensitive if someone says Mel is an antisemite or a "Jew-hater?" We should be able to have open conversations about race and racism in this country. Lots of people are racist. Many, many Jews are racist. Mel is racist. It doesn't mean you have to throw out your dvd of "conspiracy theory." But trying to pretend it didn't happen, or it was somehow "just a drunk guy," I don't see the point. I find it odd how the conversation focuses on forgiving or not forgiving him, like you'd forgive a spouse or something. I don't really have the kind of relationship with Mel Gibson that would require forgiveness. Honestly, I just want to know what he really thinks.On top of that, it's just interesting! Religion is interesting, especially now, when fundamentalism is a larger and larger force all over the world. Mel's religion is interesting. "Passion of the Christ" was a cultural and business phenomenon. Does fundamentalist christianity necessarily include a component of antisemitism? People might be curious. Religion is back in a big way and Mel has a significant part to play in it. Honestly it would be better if, instead of apologizing, he just came out and said what's on his mind. He would suffer in the marketplace, though not too significantly, and I believe that these kinds of ideas are better off out in the open.
"Religion is back in a big way..."This strikes me as an absurd statement. I don't know you, dreamingmonkey, and I may be way off base here. So, please, I don't want you to think these comments are necessarily directed at you. Only in your general direction, because you brought it up.There appears to be a certain contingent of people in this country who adhere to this idea that "religion is back in a big way." It's educated people, mostly, people who went to college in a very secular environment and did not encounter religion in their lives. And they look around now and they say, "gosh, golly, religion is back in a big way."Bullshit. When did religion go away? Do you think the imams in the 70s, or Billy Graham, or the Pope, were sort of ignored for the last few decades? Do you believe that people have become more religious in the last few years? Religion has always been around. It's just that a certain segment of people who believe that they are part of the inteligentsia ignored it for a long time. And how did that turn out for you, exactly? Did it help or hinder your ability to understand the world and solve problems?
There is a wonderful Jewish saying: A man is known in his pocketbook, his cups and his anger.Evidently, even if he weren't drunk or angry, Mel Gibson would point out the irony in a Hebrew saying valuing a man's worth based on how he handles money. And that's wrong.
Like most polarizing issues, this one seems as revealing for what gets left out of the discussion as what's including. Doesn't it seem strange that almost all the commenters have referred, in one way or another, to Gibson's calling officer Mee a Jew -- while there has been virtually no discussion of Gibson's much broader, and arguably more explosive, charge, given what's going on in the world, that "Jews start all the war in the world," or something to that effect. Just wondering, is all.
Elizabeth said: "I've never understood the white impulse to seek absolution from the people we express bigotry towards. "And I've never understood the ability of people to both condemn racism and practice it in the same sentence.Now that I know this is in fact true, I'm both completely unsurprised, and shocked at the same time. However, he apologized, and as doubtful as it may be, it might be that he has FINALLY realized he has some issues and instilled beliefs that need addressing/correcting. I'm still skeptical, but I also don't really care a whole lot about whether Mel "recovers". He's just a bigot in my eyes, celebrity or not.
Bissage, I'm going shopping--what great links. Black with pink stitching for me, please.
Evidently, even if he weren't drunk or angry, Mel Gibson would point out the irony in a Hebrew saying valuing a man's worth based on how he handles money. And that's wrong.Uh, gee, I'm sorry, criticalobserver, but this just strikes me as absurd. I mean, granted, I already reject the "in vino veritas" cop-out, as my previous posts might suggest, but you're going even further than that. You're taking his drunken outburst as what he would do even if he weren't drunk. And for that, frankly, you have no evidence. In fact, the very fact that people had to wait for him to get drunk and reckless before they could catch him in such a horrible slip suggests just the opposite: that he usually knows to keep his mouth shut about such things.
joeblow82:Many genuine alcoholics can completely change personalities when intoxicated.That's what I thought, but a lot of people have told me either that there's no such special thing as alcoholism (it's just drinking a lot till it becomes an addiction), or that it's the true Mel Gibson that came out under the influence.
Doesn't it seem strange that almost all the commenters have referred, in one way or another, to Gibson's calling officer Mee a Jew -- while there has been virtually no discussion of Gibson's much broader, and arguably more explosive, charge, given what's going on in the world, that "Jews start all the war in the world," or something to that effect. Just wondering, is all.MadisonGuy, I don't really think this is being left out; I just don't think it needs to be specifically pointed out. That the entire tirade was anti-Semitic is not in dispute; rather it is what that says about his character or to what degree it defines him as a person.
Machos,I think it is crazy not to recognize that religion has become increasingly politicized and publicized (and polarizing) in the last decade, at least compared to the 80s and 90s. So when I say it's back, I mean it's back in the "public square" as people like to say. And that's fine, I'm not complaining about it, I'm just acknowledging it. Additionally, our primary foreign policy concern has become entangled with religious fundamentalism. I don't recall that being such a big issue when I was growing up, notwithstanding the hostage crisis, the Imams, Billy Graham and all the rest. The political awakening of the "faith based community" + September 11 and related fallout means that religion occupies a much larger role in the public eye today than it did for the last thirty years, not just for the elite effete atheist liberal et ceteras, but for the entire United States.
I like mcg's point: that Gibson might have found a way to insult whoever he perceived was in front of him -- be it Chink, wop, Mick, etc.
What I've learned from the Mel Gibson brouhaha1. Alcohol is either a truth serum or not.2. Most people don't think they have anything untoward being contemplated in their mind that can come out at the wrong moment say after a heated discussion of international politics and a lot of drinks2a. anything said while drunk is a true representation of who you are.3.If I make any kind of jokes about Jews I'm antisemitic but if jewish (descent or faith) comedians make similar jokes about black pple or any other kind of people for that matter that is not racist.3a. antisemitism is another word for racism. why don't we just call it racism and be done with it. Oops they are God's chosen people (that right there by the foregoing makes me anti semitic)4. Its not only african americans that have an identity problem a la 'the jews', 'jewish community' etc5. I'm really cynical, I don't expect much from people and it's not because im afraid of being disappointed its because history /experience teaches me that's how the world works aka reality.6. Christians (evangelical/fundamental) hate Jewseven though in a weird way they actually believe that Jesus was killed to atone for their own sins and there are countless christian hymns and songs identifying that it is their sins that were the hammer blows and nails that held him to the cross. Even though they express their daily gratitude that he died for them so they could live eternally, they somehow at the same time hate the mere instruments (both rome and everyone who conspired to make it happen) of achieving this purpose. 7. Jews had nothing to do with the death of Jesus, somebody concocted those stories written by those fake people claiming to be Jews themselves. It's amuses me to no end how a supposedly historical issue is somehow anti-semitic. Lets even disagree that the new testament is historical. Since I understand that jewish people are usually very smart (is that an anti-semitic remark?) how come they don't know anything about how christians consider/call themselves spiritual jews i.e. Gods chosen people through Jesus Christ a la the letters of Paul most notably the one to the Romans. if they hated Jews and still called themselves spiritual Jews wouldn't that be akin to a KKK member calling himself a white N*@!#%r in those wonderful days of yore.And you wonder why I'm cynical aka don't expect much from people either by way of thinking or otherwise.
dreamingmonkey -- No. Religion has always been politicized and polarizing. That's part of what religion is. Religion is the basis of the problems in the Middle East. It was the basis of the Apartheid problem in South Africa. It is the basis of the centuries-long struggle between Islam and the West.I's true that religion was de-publicized. But this is where the problem arises. Western elites decided in the 20th Century to ignore religion. Religion as an issue seems very new to you and there seems to be a "political awakening of the 'faith based community'" because religion has become impossible to ignore recently. Do you see the difference? Religion and religious people were there all along, as fervent as ever. Secular liberals wanted to ignore it. The only awakening has been of secular liberals to something that's been there the entire time. Relgion seems to occupy "a much larger role in the public eye today than it did for the last thirty years" because people in charge of the public eye through which you look deigned to finally accept that maybe it is important.Anecdotally, I am in the South and I have been flipping through the radio. What you hear on local religious radio boggles the mind. But do you think that these people just got licensed and started doing their religious thing after September 11?
Machos: Apartheid was racism borne out of domination. The Boers (I don't know if thats a racist word or not in this world where mere adjectives like fat are now insults) had guns and 'the people of the sky' aka Kwa Zulu had spears and bows and arrows. The latter lost the war and their land were consequently subjugated and kept restricted to a section of their land, slaves in their own land. Diamonds and wealth were the motivation for apartheid not religion if I know anything about the land of my birth.
Machos, You might ask yourself WHY the western elites 'decided' to ignore religion in the 80s and 90s, and WHY, if the secular liberals chose to ignore it, they 'decided' in recent times to stop ignoring it. You yourself suggest that religion has become 'impossible to ignore lately,' while at the same time maintaining the position that nothing has changed in the religious community vis-a-vis politics and the public sphere generally over the last 30 years. That doesn't make sense to me.I do take your point that religion itself has been alive and well for the last thirty years (and then some) and apologize that my cavalier comment ("religion is back") suggested otherwise.
Sure, $CAV3NG3R, jsut like oil is the root of the problems in the Middle East. Just like bin Laden was only mad that there were American soldiers in Saudi Arabia. Just like slavery in the South was merely an economic problem. Just like the Crusades and the Muslim invasion of Europe before that and the the rise of the Ottoman Empire after that were mere land grabs.Yep, Wealth and diamonds and oil and land. That's the philosophical root of it all. Religion and ideas have nothing to do with any of it. There are no philosophical issues undrelying anything that anybody or any entity does.Interesting theory you have there, and a poor understanding of the world you live in.
dreamingmonkey...Western elites decided to ignore religion beginning in the 40s and arguably much, much earlier because they don't believe in religion. They decided to consider it recently because (1) Muslim rage has been directly responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in the last few years and (2) they lost political power because religious Americans started voting against the elites' preferred candidates.Domestically, nothing has changed in the religious community vis-a-vis politics and the public sphere generally over the last 30 years. You could argue that many religious people decided to start voting based on religion in an organized way in the last 30 years in the United States. I would suggest, though, that religious people have always voted based on religion. There used to be a perfectly good home in both parties for religious people. As Ronald Reagan said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. It left me." What happened was, religious people attached themselves massively to the Republican Party because Democratic elites made it impossible for religious people to vote for Democrats. It seems to you that religious people are voting more religiously. They are not. They are just voting more on one side because they perceive that it the only option for them.Internationally, fantatical Arab Muslims have always been with us. They were just ignored, again by secular elites who give you the news. More specifically, the secular elites have tried to frame problems that aren't at all based on material issues in a materialist framework. They continue to do so. I don't know why. The basic problem of how the world is going to accomodate Islam and the West and other completely non-materialist philosophical issues has been with us since the beginning of time.Religion and philosophy are the driving forces of history. The fact that people don't see this is a testament to how deeply one philosophy -- secular materialism -- has become rooted in the Western consciousness.
It's amuses me to no end how a supposedly historical issue is somehow anti-semitic. Lets even disagree that the new testament is historical.Supposedly historical. I am not convinced that a man named Jesus ever lived. Why should I buy the words of book written by men trying to push a new philosophy.Any time you have a religion/political party you are going to have splinter groups that claim to have the new and improved message.In this case the Christians tried to marginalize the elder branch with terms like Old Testament and New.I understand why they would do it. This type of thing happens all the time. Drink New Coke, it is better, blah, blah, blah.The problem that you may not recognize is that this led to 2000 years of persecution. People have a long memory for that kind of thing.In an enlightened society you can let people say whatever they want and not worry about what will happen.The problem is that not everyone is so enlightened. Free speech is not absolute. There is a reason why we have cases like Gitlow versus New York and that you cannot yell fire in a theatre.Going back to the history, I have a hard time believing that the Romans were going to allow the populace to determine the fate of those they arrested. It doesn't make sense to me, unless you place it in the context of those who wanted to marginalize Judaism.Anyway, this is a long rambling comment so I am going to wrap it up here.Thanks for listening/reading along.
And I should note, daryl, that if you consider yourself liberal you've lived up to my point.Liberals are supposed to be about equality, but even in that tiny bit, the jist of your criticism seems to be that I'm... unequal to... the educated elite.I don't consider myself to be a left/social liberal.I don't see anything useful in false equivalences (falsely equating the worth of intelligent commentary with that of stupid commentary).And your response to my post is more of the same. Simple-minded "rules" about what liberals believe, that don't really match up with reality, such as: liberals treat stupid as equal to smart. In fact a lot of liberals take pride in their belief that their politics are more intelligent than conservatives'.
Religion is the basis of the problems in the Middle East. It was the basis of the Apartheid problem in South Africa,Huh?
"Hasn't he stated enough of his intentions already?"mcg said...Uhh, no. I'd say he did so today, but not before.On Saturday, Gibson released the following statement:"After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed. I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the LA County Sheriffs. The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person. I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said. Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself. I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health."Speaking only for myself...Apology accepted, Mel. Okay? Now go tell it to your confessor, your therapist, your mommy, or yourself. But just please -- stop bothering us.
Just a passing thought:Do those who profess a strong belief in in vino veritas do so globally?That is, if someone who while sober has, in words and behavior, expressed prejudice against jews (or gays, or blacks, or women, or whomever), while drunk expressed strong admiring views and feelings, would you weigh more the latter than the former in making a final, overarching judgment?(I'm not excusing Gibson, by the way, nor have I anywhere.)
Meade: make up your mind. If you're speaking solely for yourself, who is this "us" you want him to stop bothering?Look, I'm sorry his apologies just don't suit you. Frankly, I wish he'd issued the second apology alone, and that's it. But hey, nobody's perfect, and given that I considered his first apology a bit incomplete I preferred to see the second.And at this point, I don't anticipate he'll issue a third. So while it may be tantamount to telling a dog to "sit" that's already sat, he may just obey you anyway.
Oh, and speaking of people who say they're speaking for "us", but really aren't: Abe Foxman... of course, I'm not one of the "we/us" he's claiming to speak for, but I suspect that many that are would prefer he not.
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