Gibson fallout: When bloggers who respect each other collide!

He apologized again today, although it didn’t stop ABC from yanking his project on the Holocaust.

This part is annoying:

I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display [From dad, maybe? — ed.], and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery. Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.

As if Jews don’t have enough to do between worrying about Israel and dodging bullets outside the local JCC, now they have to help this moron understand that they’re not out sowing the seeds of world discord. Were I a cynic, I’d call this a calculated ploy to put the ball back in their court morally, a way to preempt grudge-holding by framing it in terms of denying assistance to a man in distress.

Good thing I’m not a cynic.

But maybe I’m being too hard on him. Dean Barnett finds the apology moving and Clint Taylor’s not so sure it was “the real Mel” who was speaking when he got pulled over, and I respect each of them enough to question myself when we disagree. There’s also the matter of a certain Greenwald-loving, bandwidth-drive-holding elephant in the room, whom Dean acknowledges in explaining why he’s a Gibson fan:

[I]t would be dishonest to deny this had some effect on me – he was hated by all the right people. Frank Rich, Andrew Sullivan, other self-righteous media types – Gibson was loathed by a virtual Who’s Who of annoying Americans.

It would also be dishonest to deny that it has been dispiriting to see these people get a victory lap because of Gibson’s antics. It was bad enough to watch Abe Foxman claiming vindication, but what was really painful was clicking over to Andrew Sullivan’s site to see Gibson’s shame had triggered a 48 hour gloat-fest on the Sage of Provincetown’s part. Somehow I doubt Frank Rich will be any more gracious in his column this Sunday.

Every new post about this at the Daily Dish, including and especially the ones that presume to tell us What It Means about “Christianism” in America, makes me a little more skeptical of my own judgment. I need to be careful or else someday that tool’s going to alienate me right into Pentecostalism.

Clint semi-defends Gibson on two grounds: people do and say uncharacteristic things when their inhibitions are down (e.g., beer goggles) and our uninhibited selves aren’t necessarily any more “real” than their inhibited counterparts. Gibson himself echoed the former point in wondering “where those vicious words came from,” as though the demon rum beamed down Jew-hating gremlins into his brain.

All I’d say to that is, however unpredictable its effects, booze doesn’t change political opinions. I’ve never gotten wasted and started arguing that we should raise the minimum wage, say, or close off ANWR to drilling. Inhibitions suppress thoughts that are already there, as anyone who’s ever been around a “one-drink drunk” can tell you. Replace them with a buzz and blurry vision and you’ve got beer goggles. Or, in the case of an anti-semite, a diatribe about how “Jews cause all the wars in the world.”

Clint’s second point is well taken and mirrors Dean’s conclusion that he’s willing to forgive Gibson because he believes his apology is sincere. If he’s truly remorseful, if he suppresses his prejudice when he’s sober because he doesn’t want to hurt the people he’s prejudiced against (which would be an odd position for a bigot, but fine), then yeah, he deserves some credit. But why should we give him the benefit of the doubt? It’s like the “doctrine of chances” in evidence: after the Passion and what his father said about the Holocaust, this little outburst can’t be a fluke or a coincidence. Why, at this point, should I believe he’s honestly sorry and not just doing damage control to protect his career?

And with that, let the comment sniping begin!

Update: If Karol is with me, who can be against me?

Except Clint and Dean, I mean.

Update: Ace and I are in sync:

Is there anyone who can manage to put out of mind Woody Allen’s numerous “jokes” about the sexual desirability of underage girls now that we know those weren’t so much “jokes” as sexual longings disguised as jokes?