If "Apocalypto" is a great work of art, I want Mel Gibson to get full credit for it. Am I taking back what I said last summer, in a post titled Mel Gibson, you are discredited forever"? Not really. The point there was that what we know about the artist's mind belongs in our interpretation of his work. For that reason, what we learned about him had a very damaging effect on the meaning "The Passion of the Christ," which had already aroused suspicions of anti-Semitism.
What of Richard Schickel's idea of regarding Gibson as a "primitive"? Is this a label that works? Regard the man as an unruly beast who can't meet our normal social standards, and realize that art can spring forth from such a beast and that this art can be fresher and truer that what comes from artists with far greater character and refinement?
IN THE COMMENTS: Johnstodderinexile:
I sense that the Michael Richards incident has retroactively given Mel Gibson another chance....I agree!