Shortly after I moved to Albuquerque, I began dating an outwardly gorgeous but completely insane alcoholic Ukrainian woman named Angela. I should note that I, too, was a drunkard extraordinaire at that time of my life, but what I didn’t realize at the onset was that I had finally met my match in this vodka-fueled Tasmanian devil-in-disguise.
One morning we were sipping coffee* in her kitchen after a typically debauched night (the details of which escape me) and she suggested that we adjourn to the sofa to nurse our mutual hangovers. She surfed the channels while eyeing the TV screen with one open bloodshot eye and finally settled on a movie that was just starting on HBO: the Mel Gibson-produced piece of cinematic Ipecac called Apocalypto.
No sooner had the opening credits rolled than Angela nodded off on the couch behind me, remote inconveniently wedged between her cheek and the sofa cushion. I was now trapped like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, forced to watch the most dreadful images I have ever witnessed while ghostly strains of Beethoven’s Ode To Joy seemed to play in the shadow realms of my brain. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what this film was about other than that a bunch of war-painted natives of some unknown time and locale were very fond of reaching into one another’s still breathing chests and digging out a blood-dripping internal organ to hold aloft triumphantly. To this day, I can still feel the nausea in my guts whenever I relive that unfortunate 2 ½ hours of my past. I’m told the level of violence in Gibson’s epic of antisemitism masquerading as Christian devotion “The Passion of the Christ” is even worse. If at some point, they invent an Academy Award for Most Vomitorious Cinematography, Gibson would win this trophy every year, hands down.
Which brings me to the present. Last Sunday, I tuned in for about 5 minutes of the Academy Awards ceremony when Space Ghost on Adult Swim was in commercial break. I was hoping to catch a few moments of Meryl Streep or some other Hollywood icon with an activist bent tearing into the Donald from the podium. But what I got were a few lame jokes from Jimmy Kimmel that seemed to be falling flat with everyone in the crowd except for a cackling tuxedoed Mel Gibson who was seated next to some trophy date IN THE FRONT ROW. What does one have to do in order for their iconic status of beloved Hollywood mainstay to be ignominiously stripped from them forever? Apparently, blaming the Jews for “all of the wars in the world” doesn’t rise to that level. Nor does drunkenly slurring to your arresting officer, “Are you a Jew?” Nor does badmouthing the pontiff of your own church for being too soft and refusing to recognize him in favor of the former Hitler Youth Pope Emeritus Benedict. How about doling out $15,000,000 in hush money to your young-enough-to-be-your-daughter ex-wife on the condition that she keep her mouth shut about your secret hobby of spousal abuse? Nope, that doesn’t rise to the level of unforgivable, either. Or at least, not when you’re Mad Max, motherfuckers. How about this lovely ode to the LGBT community circa 1991: “They take it up the ass … this is only for taking a shit. With this look, who’s going to think I’m gay? I don’t lend myself to that type of confusion. Do I look like a homosexual? Do I talk like them? Do I move like them?” No, I guess you don’t, Dirk Squarejaw. But you do look, talk and move like a giant douchebag.
Why is this asshole even allowed in the door for any of these Hollywood functions? Is it because if the Academy blackballed him, they’d fear being accused of a lack of diversity because homophobic anti-Semites are underrepresented? Listen, I applaud each and every celebrity who takes a stand against corrupt and bigoted politicians, but I don’t applaud their inability to shine that same spotlight upon the most hateful of their own clique.
And Mel…Mel, Mel, Mel…I KNOW you are no stranger to the sour, shaky condition of one’s belly the morning after an epic bout of booze consumption. So why not do everyone a favor and tone down the violence a tad in your horrible films? If you can’t find any love in your heart for those of different faiths, sexual preferences or political leanings, at least throw a bone to your fellow alcoholics. Because if at some time down the road, I fall off the wagon and find myself staring at another of your silver screen nightmares the morning after, I’m afraid I’ll have to take drastic action. What that action would entail, I’m not sure, but in order for it to match the level of offense it deserves, it would probably have something to do with you having fewer internal organs than you currently possess.
*Technically, I drank coffee while she did shots of Stolichnaya. At 8:30 in the morning.