Sunday, July 18, 2010

"The Gospel of Mel Gibson"?

Poor schizoid Mr. Gibson, eh?

Oh, perhaps he's no greater wretch than the rest of us, but he certainly seems to be currently working overtime at bringing himself lower than what you might expect to scrape from the bottom of that proverbial barrel, and his image has taken quite a long, hard tumble since his heady days with The Passion of the Christ almost seven years ago.

I've read enough in the transcript from the recording of his self-righteous, narcissistic bluster towards Oksana Grigorieva to realize that we only now truly know the guy, and I don't care to know him any closer by reading more of that.

I'll therefore take some distance from the man and turn to an astute analysis of Gibson's narcissism by David Brooks in his recent column, "The Gospel of Mel Gibson," published with the New York Times (July 15, 2010):

There used to be theories that deep down narcissists feel unworthy, but recent research doesn't support this. Instead, it seems, the narcissist's self-directed passion is deep and sincere.
Note this clever use of the quasi-religious term "passion." We'll return to this. But first, more on the typical narcissist:

His self-love is his most precious possession. It is the holy center of all that is sacred and right. He is hypersensitive about anybody who might splatter or disregard his greatness. If someone treats him slightingly, he perceives that as a deliberate and heinous attack. If someone threatens his reputation, he regards this as an act of blasphemy. He feels justified in punishing the attacker for this moral outrage.
More religious terminology there from Brooks on the narcissist's messianic self-regard, with additional religious language of the sacred yet to come:

And because he plays by different rules, and because so much is at stake, he can be uninhibited in response. Everyone gets angry when they feel their self-worth is threatened, but for the narcissist, revenge is a holy cause and a moral obligation, demanding overwhelming force.
Brooks then turns to Gibson and describes his verbal attack upon Oksana Grigorieva as "primal and searing" in "unleashing one . . . barrage after another," his "breathing . . . heavy," his "vocal muscles . . . clenched," and his "guttural sounds . . . like hammer blows." His "crude and derogatory" words "come out in waves" as he tries "to pulverize her into nothingness, like some corruption that has intertwined itself into his being and now must be expunged." Brooks is especially struck by Gibson's self-righteous -- dare one suggest messianic -- self-regard:

It is striking how morally righteous he is, without ever bothering to explain what exactly she has done wrong. It is striking how quickly he reverts to the vocabulary of purity and disgust. It is striking how much he believes he deserves. It is striking how much he seems to derive satisfaction from his own righteous indignation.
How did he fall so far? Recall that this was a man -- as reported by Allison Adato in "The Gospel of Mel," People (Vol. 61 No. 9, March 08, 2004) -- who imagined himself already so low:

It's the director's left hand nailing Jesus to the cross. The cameo is more than a Hitchcockian gimmick. Gibson feels his telling of the Passion holds all humanity responsible for the death of Jesus. And, he has said, "I'm first on line for culpability. I did it."
I recall being struck by those very words back in 2004 and thinking that they sounded something like what many evangelicals might utter, perhaps echoing the words of St. Paul in I Timothy 1:15, that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

But Gibson's words seemed somehow different, perhaps because he had physically acted out the role of the one actually pounding in the nails. Consider his statement: "I'm first on line for culpability." If Brooks is right about Gibson being a narcissist, then we shouldn't interpret Gibson's confession of his culpability as an expression of humility, but as a claim to primacy.

Mel is just too good to be any place other than "first on line." His "Passion" is first and foremost about himself . . . as Brooks implies in his clever, striking pun on "passion," just one of many wordplays, beginning with his column's title.

Gibson's gospel turns out to be just Gibson, a self-glorifying narcissist flaming out as a falling star in a long, tedious arc of insidious descent.

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At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oksana has brilliantly advanced her interests against a very powerful and rich man with lots of powerful friends. Her strategy of using Radar Online to leak rumors and then post audio and the infamous photo is paying off. The LA Sheriff's Office is now investigating. Regardless of Oksana's motives for getting involved with a man who was obviously hot-tempered, she needs to protect herself and her child while negotiating out of the relationship. Women are most likely to be killed when leaving their partners. Oksana has consistently outmaneuvered Mel at every turn. While she may walk away with a very large settlement, she will still have to deal with a nasty, scary baby daddy for years. As for Mel, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."

I'm signed into Wordpress, but I keep getting a message to sign in every time I try to publish a comment under my Wordpress username.


At 7:50 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Gibson seems like a very dangerous man to me, and appears to have already struck Oksana. He deserves what's coming to him.

As for the Wordpress difficulty, I confess my ignorance.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Phil said...

Mel Gibson's behaviour may have its roots in Evolutionary Psychology, in the logic in this piece.

At 3:08 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Evolutionary psychology offers a very dark picture of human nature . . . which isn't to say that it's incorrect.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:09 PM, Blogger John from Daejeon said...

It looks like you may have gone off on Mel before you "know the rest of the story." It looks like his Russian wife may have learned quite a bit surviving a tough life in Russia while cavorting with assorted Russian thugs.

I'll wait to see what the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department discovers before I go off on the man, especially now that it looks like his wife orchestrated it all in an extortion attempt.

At 5:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

There's always more to a story, and every story has more than one side, but if Gibson struck Oksana hard enough to break a couple of her teeth, then the man has serious issues to deal with in himself regardless what sort of person Oksana might be.

I will agree, however, that some details could modify my views on Gibson's putative narcissism.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Narcissism aside, striking his wife/girlfriend aside, Mel Gibson is a Jew-baiting piece of garbage who basically tried (and perhaps succeeded somewhat) in overturning the Vatican's Canon of 1964 exonerating the Jews for the death of Jesus Christ. The entire "gospel"/story telling of the "bloodthirsty" throng of Jewish people, busy at the time with their celebration of the Passover holiday at the time no less, were eagerly calling for the death of one of thier own people is alone preposterous. Moreover, if it truly were the JEWS who wanted to have JC/YESHUA put to death, then why call out for cruxifiction, the chosen method of execution of their bitterly HATED ENEMIES, THE ROMANS???

For the record, the ancient Jews used stoning as the prescribed method of execution for the killing of their own (ie, "He who is without sin, cast the first STONE"). And what about the followers of JC/YESHUA who revered the man as a prohet and great rabbi, the Nazerenes who lived and died as Jews JUST AS YESHUA DID???!!!

Well, I could go on and on about this ancient, pervasive lie that has basically been the cornerstone of worldwide Jew-hating and hatred for the Jews since ancient times - a LIE that is accepted as truth by those true anti-semites who love to dwell upon it, to immure themselves of guilt for the pleasures they seek in despising the Jews, killing the Jews, blaming the Jews for ALL OF THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS and putting Jews into the gas chambers - oops, I forgot, Mel Gibson and the rest of you Jew-haters out there DENY the Holocaust ever happened; a thousand pardons. Then again, why did this Australian BOOMSLANG SNAKE IN THE GRASS once tell Winona Ryder (YES, A JEW, OH MY GOD)at a Hollywood party that she was an "OVEN DODGER", a reference of course to the NAZI death camp ovens. I am sure that apologists for Mel baby such as Jody Foster will say that Mel meant to call her an OVEN MITT....that's it....

At 7:25 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

There's certainly a lot of antisemitism in the world, and it seems to be growing in influence in the Muslim world these days -- though I suppose I ought to call such sentiments anti-Jewish rather than antisemitic when speaking about Muslim attitudes toward Jews. Pretty frightening, whatever we call it . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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