Peeling the Gibson (or, Why Brave Men Run in my Family)

“Gibson.”  Def.: A martini garnished with a cocktail onion.

I heard that Mel Gibson is planning a movie about Judah Maccabee, the Che Guevara of Hanukah (click for an amusing interview with Mel by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic).  I heard many Jews are outraged.  I hesitate to write about this because you don’t want to encourage bad behavior by paying attention to it.  But just as Mel can’t control himself when he gets loaded, sometimes I just can’t control my fingers at the laptop.



MEL GIBSON HOLLERS at a WOMAN COP.  We only hear fragments:

MEL:  Listen sugar tits, the Jews caused all the wars!

We CRASH ZOOM into Mel’s florid eye and on into his wildly flashing brain, ricocheting from Lethal Weapon Cop leaping from a ledge, to disemboweled Braveheart, to The Passion of the Christ’s Aramaic agony.

Suddenly it all goes BLACK.

Cut to:


A hundred million dollar shot:  The old temple, Jerusalem, casts of thousands all in perfect period garb.

Sweeping over the city, past Greeks, Hellenized Jews, Seleucids, warriors…

Swooping way out into the hills and toward an ancient cave…

ONE CONTINUOUS TRACKING SHOT INTO THE CAVE:  A wild scene:  lots of brawny shoulders, long hair and sandals.  Harlots everywhere.  It looks to be some sort of Scorsesse-inspired proto-casino.

The camera finally comes to rest on a CLOSE-UP of pre-Inception spinning top.  It spins hypnotically and then slowly tumbles over—this is no dream.

We SMASH CUT even closer:  The fallen top is a DREIDEL!

And… it’s showing GIMEL!!!

BIRD’S EYE SHOT as SHARON STONE, playing Jewess right down to her roots, throws handfuls of gold-foil chocolate coins skyward in a cascade of GELT, her lovely neck tossed back in defiant mirth against all forms of oppression and anti-Semitism.

Oil lamps flicker ominously.  CROUPIERS and PIT BOSSES look nervous.  How long can this party last?  Surely not eight nights.

Close on Mel, watching Sharon.  A RANDOM HARLOT offers Mel wine from a goatskin.  He puts his hand over his drinking chalice to stop her.

Mel:  I’m sticking with Perrier.  It’s better for the Jews.

Sharon:  (channeling Cary Grant’s inflection) Judah, Judah, Judah—Judah Maccabee.  I hear Joe Eszterhas is writing this piece of crap story.  Are we going to cut to my Vagina, Vagina, Vagina?

Mel:  (exasperated) Oh, come on… don’t go giving away the dramatic climax in the first scene.

Sharon:  Sorry Mel—Premature exclamation.  But you wouldn’t know anything about that.  (to camera)  Cut.  Let’s take it from the top.

Mel:  No one says, “cut” on this picture but me.  I’m directing here.

Sharon:  (confused) I thought Marty was directing.

Mel:  Oy vey… Somebody get me a latke.

Sharon sarcastically spins the Dreidel again, half-heartedly, and it lands on Nun:  Busted.

Sharon:  I’m out of here.  This is a mess.  You’re a mess.

Mel:  One day at a time, Sharon.  The Seleucids tried to sew my foreskin back on.  Do you have any idea what that does to a man?

Sharon walks away.  Mel crashes his head onto the gaming table then impulsively grabs a goatskin from a Harlot and starts to drink wine copiously as the camera spins sickeningly.

Mel:  (whimpering) I should have stuck with the Christians, at least you get redemption.



Mel is handcuffed against a squad car.

Mel:  It’s the last night of Hanukah for Christ’s sake!

Cop:  (as she shoves him into the back of the black-and-white, echoing Chinatown) It’s Hollywood, Mel.

As the police car pulls away, gimlet-eyed RON BURGUNDY is there amongst the NEWS REPORTERS.

He looks solemnly into the camera, behind him the jeweled necklace of Malibu sparkles against the deep velvety Pacific.

Ron Burgundy:  Stay classy, Malibu.  Stay classy, Hollywood.


Hey, why can’t we all get along?

I think Mel should go for it, and I root for his healing and for everybody’s healing.  I root for humor and for outrageousness because maybe when all the sacred cows are dead and nothing is sacred anymore then everything will be sacred once again—including all our collective children.

Namaste, BD


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11 Responses to “Peeling the Gibson (or, Why Brave Men Run in my Family)”

  1. rebecca @ altared spaces Says:

    Alright Bruce. If this is about all the sacred cows: Can you please help me understand why my son so loves “The Family Guy”?

    The cringe factor is a little high in this mama.

    • privilegeofparenting Says:

      Hi Rebecca, Cringe factor and fear factor are connected to laugh factor. I had to get past a rather high cringe factor on “Family Guy,” but my kid loved it so much that I was worn down to the simple truth that it’s actually hilarious (at least if if you have neurotic anxiety, since it all seems to be based on all things inappropriate, forbidden and disgusting).

      Humor is a better way of dealing with anxiety than is hate and violence, but the theory of comedy is that it’s all based on anxious relief that pain is happening to someone else, or gratification that humiliation is happening to someone else).

      I suspect too many of us fear abandonment, humiliation and loss (and so celebrity melt-downs, from Sheen to Gibson light our Twittering neurons like there’s no tomorrow. Thus when a culture hero crashes and burns and is shunned by the group, it gratifies the collective anxiety because we all fear being ostracized at the same time that we collectively wish to have the loving attention of the group).

      Plunging into the cringe TOGETHER is exactly how to help each other with our fears (not much mattering if it’s “my” fear, “your” fear or our collective kids’/society’s fear in an age of terror and anxiety. It’s also why a good comedy really has to be seen with others to be optimally funny—it’s often the fun of laughing together, sharing our secretly shared anxiety (like “Bridesmaids,” don’t we all have the fear of losing bowel control while trying on wedding dresses?)


  2. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    Since we’re dealing in humor today (and humor with deeper meaning), imagine, if you will, my son (the scion of a lapsed Catholic and an atheist Jew) telling his preschool teacher (he attends, kind of accidentally, a Nazarene Christian school) that he plans to be a Maccabee soldier for Halloween. I’m pretty sure she thinks we’re all crazy. I’m pretty sure she’d be correct.

    When I was younger, I used to like Mel Gibson’s movies, but then I started wondering why each of his movies dealt so graphically with torture (with him usually being the victim). I suspect he’s a person who could benefit from some counseling. Just like the rest of us.

    • privilegeofparenting Says:

      While Mel may have come to over-identify with the hero archetype (which can die and be reborn more elegantly than mortal actors), it might be our culture itself that elevates and then drives mad its would-be heroes.

      As for your son’s plans for Halloween—I love it, perhaps Halloween a holiday that should last eight days?

  3. Mark Brady Says:

    Are you perhaps feeling the call back to screenwriting, sir?

  4. BigLittleWolf Says:

    This was just what the doctor ordered! (Think a Mel-substitute might peel me a grape with that Gibson?)

  5. Wolf Pascoe Says:

    And here I thought I was the only one afraid of losing bowel control while trying on wedding dresses.

  6. rebecca @ Says:

    “Cringe factor and fear factor are connected to laugh factor” love it! And your answer helps! Thanks.

    But just for the record….I have NO anxieties of ANY kind. 🙂

    (confession: sometimes I don’t want to admit to liking anything on the Family Guy for real because it seems to give my son such pleasure to CATCH me laughing at something on the show)

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