So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Gibson yeast in the Hollywood bread.

I do not pretend to understand why Mr. Gibson and his wife of decades divorced. There have been the accusations and sensational headlines. The drive-by media have been well fed on the rise and fall of many an actor and actress whose lives the media feel entitled to own and dispose of.

Ever notice how the media and petulant adolescents resemble each other? Both groups tend to have an allergic reaction to any hint of authority that threatens to ruin their "fun" or deprive them of "liberty". A symbiotic relationship seems to exist between Hollywood and their adolescent robots who lap up the pablum which is fed to them and which turns them into caricatures of young men and women. Evil is duping someone into believing that you understand them when all you want to do is to exploit them for your own selfish ends. Hollywood does that better than any pimp or politician.

The drive-by media are to truth what fast food restaurants are to cuisine. Hollywood is to morality what heroin is to vegetables. Hollywood—or is that Hollow-wood?—and its paramours in the drive-by media gleefully turn people's lives into slogans, slogans that can and frequently do become slick advertisements for Hollywood executives' moral superiority.

Should there be any surprise that Mr. Gibson is considered a pariah among the glitterati when the power-people judging him have a moral compass that is firmly fixed in the direction of schadenfreude and self-righteousness? Hollywood is not known for its consistent application of moral outrage, is it?

Much has been written to sell papers and magazines, i.e, to profit from misery, by those whose own lives, because they are profiteers who traffick in condescension, are hardly prettier than Mr. Gibson's has been. Then again, we live in an age where the double-standard and hypocrisy applies in megatons. Hollywood cares not to look at Gibson's hefty donations to charity because acknowledging the tens of millions of dollars he's given to hospitals and other institutions would somehow humanize Gibson and make him less of a target. The media is quick to sweep his admission of his faults under some grudge-like rug. Neither can the media look at his love for his children. He may not play well with some adults, but he has not forgotten how to be a dad.

There is no way one should attempt to rationalize Mel Gibson's rants and past crass behaviour. As a "traditionalist" Catholic, he should have known and behaved better. A lot better. His behaviour with not one but two girlfriends since leaving his wife proves he has fallen far from the particular design that God has for him and the general design God has for us all. Few can claim to be worthy of canonization and able to toss a first and second and many other grenades stones. God, however, loves a repentant sinner, and He rejoices in his or her return to Him.

'Why not let Hollywood crucify its own, eh?' That's a dangerous thought. Self righteousness is a subtle business, and Hollywood represents self righteousness (and the attendant loss of empathy due to its blinding effects) on steroids. Sophisticated holier-than-thou types miss what is obvious to normal folk who typically resist the temptation to make themselves feel good by tearing down others. It's one thing to comment on behaviour and limit criticism to behaviour for the sake of the good of the person, for his or her reformation. It is another thing entirely to attempt to make someone into the devil and consign them to hell. In those cases where members of the media—journalists, producers, corporate moguls—thrive on robbing someone of the possibility of conversion by sealing someone's character within the narrow confines of some agnostic or atheistic despair, they are merely projecting their own inadequacies and irrational fears on to others. People who live in and enjoy a hell of their own making should not be surprised when that hell becomes real for eternity.

People have every right to turn away from Hollywood sociopathy and, with the goal of healthy self preservation, find ways to detoxify their minds and restore their moral sanity. Let the obvious be said: books are better than movies. Good books, it goes without saying, free the imagination. Movies, even well made movies, tend to do everything for the viewer, like a pre-fabricated toy given to a young child. There are toys which enable creativity, and there are toys which stunt the imagination. Give a child a Lego set and watch the fun be repeated again and again as they build worlds within worlds. A cardboard box can become many things. A child soon grows tired of the toy which cannot be transformed and reconfigured to the imagination.

The old normal does not do the new normal.

Mr. Gibson has a few recent projects out—Hacksaw Ridge, and another flick that could be an attempt to expose his own past behaviour. Blood Father is a rough movie, both in terms of the script and the cinematography, which features Gibson as a dad who has done everything wrong. It is not a great movie; it's not really a good movie. It features some great actors, but the script is mostly clumsy. It has its moments, and those moments include a few mea culpa's which do humanize Gibson. He might be forgiven for using said movie as an opportunity to relieve audiences of a few ounces of any baggage they may be carrying around. Given the mercilessness of Hollywood overlords, self absolution films are perhaps the only recourse among actors to overcome the inertia of the Hollywood blacklist.

Hacksaw Ridge transcends the small-mindedness of Gibson's corporate executioners. Gibson has not lost his ability to tell good stories well, and his fans know and appreciate that. The audience members who attended the Late Show featuring Gibson expressed in no uncertain terms their approval of Gibson's return to the limelight: Clearly, however, for some—Megan Garber of The Atlantic, for one, in a confused critique—Gibson will never be able to do enough to prove he has reformed or is reforming.

Here is how Garber characterized Gibson's and Colbert's exchange during a tongue-in-cheek bit that begins at the 2:00 minute mark of the linked video:
During “Big Questions with Even Bigger Stars,” a cheeky introductory segment that called to mind Colbert’s skit with Michelle Obama—this one featured the host and the star lying down and talking as they stared dreamily up toward the heavens of the Ed Sullivan Theater—Colbert asked Gibson, “Hey, Mel-Mels? When you look back on your life, do you think you’ll have any regrets?”

“No,” came the reply. “Not one.”
The audience laughed at this, knowing enough about Mel-Mel’s past to understand that it was meant to be a laugh line.
“Really? Not one?” Colbert persisted.
“No, not one,” came the reply. The audience laughed some more.
And then Garber, missing the obvious or perhaps deliberately omitting a comment which undermines her thesis, leaves off the necessary tag line by Gibson:
Colbert: "Really?! Not one?"
Gibson: "No, not one. [laughter] They (his regrets) tend to come in clusters." [laughter]
Colbert: "Oh, I see."
The audience did indeed laugh some more, a lot more, and they did so because Gibson's acknowledgement (of "clusters" or many regrets) spoke volumes to his need for humility, even if his isn't a perfect humility. The audience appreciated his self-deprecating humour. Like so many other ill-qualified arbiters of the condition of people's souls, media critics often have little or no sense of humour, which is not to say that anyone should approve of Gibson's long past alcohol-fuelled tirades. Neither should Mr. Gibson be robbed of the opportunity to express (a modicum of) contrition. Garber left out information which humanizes Gibson. Editorial bias tends to confirm personal bias. Both biases impinge heavily upon the dignity of journalism.

Yeast; bread.

Point of fact—Hollywood needs Gibson because Hollywood's ability to narrate life is largely impotent, stalled on what Hollywood thinks life should be rather than telling stories which engage the imagination and which do not pollute the mind with cheap imitations of the human experience.

While Hollywood too often delights in the misfortune of others, Mr. Gibson can still count on normal folk, God-fearing folk and people of goodwill, to forgive him. One thing the entertainment media cannot understand is that celebrities can be repentant but not willing to spill their own blood in shark infested waters. What might be deemed an unsatisfactory confession by the media may very well be a guarded expression which attempts to avoid giving to dogs what is holy.

One can and should pray for Mr. Gibson and pray for his now ex-wife, Robyn Gibson and their children. Pray, too, for his daughter Lucia with ex-girlfriend Oskana Grigorieva, and pray for his current girlfriend Rosalind Ross who is expecting Gibson's ninth child.

If Christmas isn't already a complicated time of year, made so by us wacky human beings, imagine the Gibson household and pray for true peace to lead moms and dad and children to the One Who can make sense out of our lives—the One Who can, if we cooperate with grace, transform hearts and repair lives.

Laudetur Iesus Christus!

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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