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Boycott Mel Gibson?

Over at the Huffington Post, Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel writes:"People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line." Even before Gibson's recent anti-Jewish tirade, according to a couple of articles in the New York Times (that I cite here) various Hollywood figures refused to work with Mel Gibson because of controversy over The Passion of the Christ and Gibson's views on the Holocaust.

All this "boycotting Gibson" talk raises the question of why, if it's okay to boycott Gibson because his of his views on Jews, it wasn't okay for the Hollywood studios to boycott Stalinists because they were supporters of one of the great mass murderers in world history, who also happened to be America's greatest enemy at the time. The Hollywood Ten, for example, were all members of the Stalinist, and Stalin-controlled, Communist Party. Former Hollywood screenwriter Ayn Rand wrote at the time: "Should the Hollywood 10 suffer unpopularity or loss of jobs as a result of being Communists? They most certainly should — so long as the rest of us, who give them jobs or box office support, would not want to aid Communists or be accessories to the spread of communism."

As I discuss in my review essay on free speech and the "McCarthy era" (which goes into subtleties that are too lengthy and complex for a blog post, but read the whole thing if you are interested), Ronald Radosh, co-author of Red Star Over Hollywood: Th Film Colony's Long Romance With The Left (2005), and an expert on American Communism, tells me that not only were all of the Hollywood Ten members of the CPUSA at the time they were blacklisted, so were approximately 98 per cent of all of the Hollywood blacklist's targets. According to Larry Ceplair & Steven Englund, The Inquisition in Hollywood 239, 241 (2003), Communist screenwriters, in particular, "defended the Stalinist regime, accepted the Comintern's policies and about-faces and criticized enemies and allies alike with infuriating self-righteousness .... screen artist reds became apologists for crimes of monstrous dimensions. ... film Reds in particular never displayed any independence of mind or organization vis-a-vis the Comintern and the Soviet Union." Moreover, as I wrote, "nor was the screenwriters' Communist activism irrelevant to their jobs, as they actively sought to maximize Communist and pro-Soviet sentiment in films, and minimize the opposite."

Yet, the "blacklist" remains one of Hollywood's deepest shames. I'm not going to shed any tears over Mel Gibson's self-destruction, but I haven't shed any over those poor unfortunate Stalinists who temporarily lost their jobs in the 1950s, either.

UPDATE: Beyond not shedding tears, do I support a boycott of Gibson? That's a difficult question. Supposedly, he has been very nice and fair to many Jews he has worked with, and I tend think that actions speak louder than words, especially words not uttered for public consumption (H.L. Mencken, who was prejudiced against Jews, but not only was extremely fair to them as an editor, but was one of a very few public figures who advocated allowing Jews from Germany to immigrate to the U.S. in the 1930s, comes to mind). I still haven't seen his controversial movie, so I have no informed opinion on that. To make the Communist analogy fairer, IF it turns out that Gibson belongs to an anti-Semitic organization, and IF it turns out that he intended to convey hostility to Jews in his movie, a boycott would be as justified as boycotting the Hollywood Ten for being active Stalinists. But I certainly wouldn't begrudge anyone who doesn't want to work with someone who launches into anti-Jewish tirades as soon as he gets a little (.12 blood alcohol) liquor in him.

alkali (mail) (www):
All this "boycotting Gibson" talk raises the question of why, if it's okay to boycott Gibson because his of his views on Jews, it wasn't okay for the Hollywood studios to boycott Stalinists because they were supporters of one of the great mass murderers in world history, who also happened to be America's greatest enemy at the time.

Does Mr. Emanuel suggest otherwise with respect to the "Hollywood Ten"? Or are any of the still-living defenders of the "Hollywood Ten" calling for a boycott of Gibson?
7.31.2006 11:26am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Even before Gibson's recent anti-Jewish tirade, according to a couple of articles in the New York Times (that I cite here) various Hollywood figures refused to work with Mel Gibson because of controversy over The Passion of the Christ and Gibson’s views on the Holocaust.


His view evidently being that the Holocaust happened and he is acquainted with people who were survivors.
7.31.2006 11:27am
Steve:
His view evidently being that the Holocaust happened and he is acquainted with people who were survivors.

Thanks for a typically intellectually honest summary.
7.31.2006 11:30am
LawProfCommentator (mail):
By "still-living defenders" I assume you mean to imply that you don't think that there are many individuals out there who defend Hollywood 10. But they not only have many defenders, but lionizers.
7.31.2006 11:34am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Anyone else find it ironic that Ari Emanuel, who calls for a boycott of Mel Gibson, is the same piece of trash who represents Michael Moore?

Seems to me that just as we ought to hold the defenders of Stalinism to account, we ought to do the same for the apologists of Islamofacism and their literary agents.
7.31.2006 11:35am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

Thanks for a typically intellectually honest summary.


Glad to be of service.
7.31.2006 11:36am
Richard Bellamy (mail):
I might wish to distinguish between an individual (Gibson) who made specific statements (anti-Semitic) and made a movie that is arguably in furtherance of those beliefs (the Passion) and the blacklist, in which hundreds of actors, writers, and directors, some of whom had no creative control over the movies made, and the rest of whom had never used that medium for improper purposes, were all blacklisted.

"The Hollywood Ten" may have all been members of the pro-Stalin Communist Party (I assume they were), but there was no indication that Ring Lardner was writing his movies to further Stalinist propoganda when he was writing "Laura" (or "M*A*S*H).

The hundreds on the blacklist most certainly had a variety of beliefs, from strong pro-Stalinist America-hatred, to "I'm very liberal, and want the party that offers lots of social programs."

The problem the blacklist was not that the members of it weren't members of the Communist Party, but that there was no individual determination which, if any, tenets of the Communist Party they individually held. I'm sure that, given a list of the Top 25 Things the Communist Party Believed, even Mr. Bernstein would find 2 or 3 to agree with.

And even -- and here I'm stretching -- even if each of the hundreds of blacklisted artists wanted in their hearts to overthrow the government and put in place a Communist dictatorship, the problem with the blacklist was that there was no EVIDENCE that they wanted that.

So, here was a group of several hundred individuals, whose only commonalities were that they had all joined the Communist Party for one reason or another. And their punishment is that they all had to either work abroad or (for non-actors) work in their exact same jobs under pseudonyms (which was allowed because it's not anyone REALLY thought their movies were Communist propoganda)?

Really, now. This is not like Mel Gibson at all.
7.31.2006 11:42am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
The hundreds on the blacklist most certainly had a variety of beliefs, from strong pro-Stalinist America-hatred, to "I'm very liberal, and want the party that offers lots of social programs."


You say that almost as if the latter isn’t somehow deserving of condemnation in and of itself and that the proper response to people who openly say they want the government to redistribute more of your wealth is to refuse to give them any of it voluntarily (boycott).
7.31.2006 11:49am
frankcross (mail):
Well, I can't say I'm closely familiar with the facts of the Hollywood 10, but there seems to be a difference between individual decisions and cartelized decisions. There would be nothing wrong or inappropriate about an individual choosing not to hire a Communist but it seems dubious to make it a collective decision, perhaps out of fear of government pressure.

That would be the difference between individual freedom and statism.
7.31.2006 11:51am
DClawer:
Isn't the more important objection to the blacklist that it at least in part resulted from state action? As I understand it, prominent people during the McCarthy era (justifiably) feared being investigated by or dragged before the HUAC. If this leads to a boycott, you're no longer dealing with purely private action (e.g., I choose not to drink in a local tavern because it has a confederate flag on the wall).
If individuals choose to boycott Mel Gibson because he has offensive theories about history, so be it--as long as they're motivated by distaste for him, or they fear the scorn of others who do feel such distaste. If people refuse to work with Mr. Gibson because they fear persecution by some government agent of the state, I think everyone should have a real problem with that.
7.31.2006 11:53am
AppSocRes (mail):
Mel Gibson should be castigated for driving under the influence (and more particularly for being out-of-control drunk). However, when under the influence many persons behave in bad ways that are not typical of their "true" selves . I have known an extremely sincere liberal friend -- who strongly believes his political views are a necessary corollary of his Judaism -- to launch into outrageous condemnations of Afro-Americans when under the influence of various psychoactive substances. As Solomon pointed out "wine is a mocker, strong drink enrages".

There are also several odd aspects to this story. Most police offecers are not particularly fond of paperwork. For an officer to generate four pages of notes on a DUI that are irrelevant to the charges is a stupor mundi. Unfortunately the releasse of doucuments like this to the press, while probably illegal, seems to becoming a commonplace.
7.31.2006 11:57am
Allen Asch (mail) (www):
For William Donohue, Mel Gibson picked the wrong week to go on a tirade. To see why, watch this 1 minute 40 second YouTube video clip of Donohue's appearance on The Colbert Report: Colbert Guest William Donohue Loses Credibility
7.31.2006 11:58am
Richard Bellamy (mail):
Frankcross's point is also valid. Were it not for the threat of government sanction, there would have been no need to fire screenwriters, and then re-hire them pseudonymously.

This is a direct response, also, to Thorley Winston, who thinks that between "people who openly say they want the government to redistribute more of your wealth" and government agents forcing terminations of individuals based on assumed beliefs, the former is the greater threat.
7.31.2006 12:04pm
The Divagator (mail) (www):
Consider a comparison between, say, Amiri Baraka (né Leroi Jones) and Mel Gibson.

Draw your own conclusions regarding the motivations of those who alternately praise or disparage either artist. As for me, it seems the Left provides more cover for the anti-semite, which is, I believe, David's point.

There were modestly respectible leftists defending Baraka in his position of poet laureate of New Jersey. I venture to say none of those folks would defend Gibson. To me, such stances have everything to do with politics.

I think the case of Communism in the 1950s American film industry is too complex for what David is trying to accomplish in making the comparison. The above Baraka comparison makes the same point much more effectively.
7.31.2006 12:04pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
The book I review in the essay asserts (with evidence), that the Hollywood blacklist was NOT a result of government pressure, but a result of pressure from various patriotic and emigre groups who threatened Hollywood with a boycott after the atrocious behavior of the Hollywood Ten at their hearing. If one could justifiably criticize the Hollywood moguls, it's that they launched the boycott more for fear of losing a buck, less because they sincerely cared about the victims of Stalinism (though some of them, like Jack Warner, were staunchly anti-Communist).

The myth that the American Stalinists were just "liberals in a hurry," reflected in Bellamy's post, is just that. The exception is that there were some folks who just joined the Part temporarily, not fully aware of what they were doing. But my understanding is that these folks were able to escape the boycott--their were known "circles" to show that one was just a dupe, and regretted one's affiliation with the CPUSA. The problem with sorting this out is that the histories of the last thirty years or so have been so overwhelmingly sympathetic to the Communists and biased in their favor that such simple issues as "what percentage of the blacklistees were Stalinists" has never been thoroughly examined. But from what I've seen, the percentage was very high.
7.31.2006 12:06pm
The Divagator (mail) (www):
I should qualify that anti-semitism was not the focus of the post, though the point stands.
7.31.2006 12:09pm
CJColucci:
Maybe my memory is improving with age, but when I was a lad it was common knowledge, among their friends and foes alike, that most if not all of the Hollywood 10 and many others like them had actually been Communists at some time or another. That any of them were any kind of threat to the security and well-being of the United States was never plausible.
We'd all be better off if we paid less attention to the politics of Hollywood's (and the music industry's) hacks and hams. Not to mention baseball players, NASCAR drivers, and the like.
7.31.2006 12:17pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
I'm not going to shed any tears over Mel Gibson's self-destruction

Since Mel has poved he can make a successful film without any help from Hollyweird and since we can expect that he will appear on some jewish conservative talk shows and obtain forgiveness, I don't expect a boycott to mean much.

See today's NY Sun for an article quoting Gibson supporters as well as opponents.
7.31.2006 12:20pm
Michael B (mail):
"His view evidently being that the Holocaust happened and he is acquainted with people who were survivors."

Precisely, in point of fact, that's very close to a quote of Gibson's.

So, the drunken, or half-drunk, tirade is more than a little regrettable and disappointing, but in the end is precisely, and limited to only, that. Prejudices come in degrees, from the mildest to the most egregious, there is no evidence - whatsoever - that Gibson's is any more than the mildest, if even that. (I look forward to Jewish admissions of similar levels or degrees of anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-religious and other bigotries. Yea, that'll happen.) In terms of Gibson pere, no doubt moreso, though I don't see or hear anyone attributing Gibson pere's view that the WTC towers came down via "remote control" to Gibson fils. Funny, that. Hmmmmmmm. And the notion, as forwarded in the referenced piece, that the anti-Gibson boycott had not already been initiated in Hollywood and elsewhere, is positively risible. And the next joke to be suggested as serious commentary is ...?

On a different tack, as for the Jewish community in America, their own all too studied avoidance of Yuri Slezkine's The Jewish Century, a positively brilliant study and review of the 20th century, is telling, it positively speaks volumes. As reviewed by David Myers, UCLA professor of Jewish history. Apparently, even trenchantly honest and highly probative analyses, if they approach a sensitive subject and cannot be readily labeled as "anti-Semitic," are to be avoided altogether. Decidedly avoided.

Back to Gibson fils again, save us the self-righteousness and all the harrumphs, such as those suggested by Ari Emanuel. This is not first and foremost about anti-Semitism, as much as anything it's about malice and a readily deployed contempt. Much of, though amply cloaked, simple anti-Catholic, anti-religious and anti-Christian prejudices and bigotries - but those are to receive, tacitly or otherwise, approbation and applause.
7.31.2006 12:23pm
Houston Lawyer:
If Gibson had gone into such a tirade against Baptists would anyone care?

My understanding is that Gibson is a schmismatic catholic, following a group that truly believes that they are more Catholic than the pope. Apparently, the Catholics give him a general pass on this one as well.

Some people are fun drunks and some are mean. He apparently falls into the latter category.

Everyone is free to boycott him to the extent that they see fit. But ask yourself whether you apply the same standard to Jesse Jackson, who also apparently has some "issues" with the Jews.
7.31.2006 12:33pm
Richard Bellamy (mail):
Bernstein states in his article that "screenwriters were obligated to try to use their positions to promote Communism." This was, of course, the claim at the time, and even with 50 years of perspective, no one has quite come up with an example of that actually happening.

It's the difference between a "thought police" and an "action police." Hollywood is probably, at this moment, employing gay-haters and Nazis as scriptwriters, but it never comes up because it never appears in the script. (They were also never called in front of a House Committee who asked him "Do you now, or have you ever, believed that The Gay Jews control Hollywood?")

The relevant distinction here is between Mel Gibson and Marlon Brando. Brando was clearly anti-Semitic, but he never tried to slip any Jew-hating scenes into the flick when he was playing Jor-El in Superman. So there was never a call for a Brando boycott. Brando is your anti-Semite for Ring Lardner's Communist. The equivalent of Mel Gibson (a Communist who used his power to actually made a Communist hollywood movie) simply never existed.
7.31.2006 12:43pm
Bithead (mail) (www):
Will someone explain to me the difference between what Mel Gibson supposedly said while drunk the other night, and what Kofi Anan has been DOING while supposedly stone cold sober?
7.31.2006 12:51pm
Michael B (mail):
Richard Bellamy, can you substantiate your charge? Or, put differently, did it even occur to you to do so?

Some Gibson (fils) quotes:

"I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union."

Also, in a Diane Sawyer interview vis-a-vis "The Passion":

Gibson insisted on Primetime he is no anti-Semite, and that anti-Semitism is "un-Christian" and a sin that "goes against the tenets of my faith."

Asked whether it was the Jews who killed Jesus, Gibson noted Jesus, "was a child of Israel, among other children of Israel. There were Jews and Romans in Israel. There were no Norwegians there. The Jewish Sanhedrin, and those who they held sway over — and the Romans — were the material agents of his demise."

"Do I believe that there were concentration camps where defenseless and innocent Jews died cruelly under the Nazi regime? Of course I do; absolutely," he said. "It was an atrocity of monumental proportion."
7.31.2006 12:57pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Duncan Frissell, thanks for the link to the NY Sun article. This quote was particularly interesting:
“While it’s certainly true that alcohol betrays inner thoughts, those inner thoughts are not for any human being to criticize, ” Rabbi Lapin said. “Only God should criticize our thoughts, and I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t harbor unworthy thoughts. My experience with Mel Gibson is that he’s always been upright and honest and good with all his Jewish friends. In Judaism, we judge people by their actions — not what we think their thoughts are.”

Words to live by.
7.31.2006 12:58pm
The Divagator (mail) (www):

The equivalent of Mel Gibson (a Communist who used his power to actually made a Communist hollywood movie) simply never existed.


And what exactly would such a movie look like? How would define 'Communist filmmaking.' Is it merely so-called social realism (because there are dozens if not hundreds of those). Or is it cartoonish, goose-stepping soldiers saluting Stalin? If you answer the cartoon version is what you had in mind, I would suggest to you that, as a matter of analogy, Gibson's Passion wouldn't qualify as 'anti-semitic', for it is not cartoonishly anti-semitic. It's anti-semitism, such that is at all, is more subtle than cries of Long Live Stalin in Red Square.
7.31.2006 12:59pm
JohnAnnArbor:

My understanding is that Gibson is a schmismatic catholic, following a group that truly believes that they are more Catholic than the pope.

I think he had a church built where they still do mass in Latin.
7.31.2006 1:03pm
frankcross (mail):
Well, I still wonder why the Hollywood 10 required a group boycott. That just doesn't look like individualized moral or free market decisionmaking

And the HUAC folks had their own anti-Semitic issue:


HUAC member John Rankin read a list of Hollywood 10 supporters, saying "Another one was Danny Kaye, we found out his real name was David Daniel Kaminsky... One calls himself Edward G. Robinson. His real name is Emmanuel Goldenberg. Another one here calls himself Melvyn Douglas, whose real name is Melvyn Hesselberg."


I took time to read the article, but very quickly. David, you note that in general government shouldn't be "outing" political positions but in this case it was legitimate because of the investigation of a criminal conspiracy, like the Mafia. What crime do you think the Hollywood 10 were advancing? Do you think they were engaged in espionage?
7.31.2006 1:04pm
egn (mail):
And then there's the view that artists shouldn't be "boycotted" because of their privately-held personal views at all, unless they're also hacks. Which Mel Gibson is, but that's neither here nor there. As for whether "Passion" actually exhibits his anti-Semitism, I don't think it's as clear as some in this threat have made it out to be.

It's not quite a direct parallel, but I still watch Polanski movies, too.
7.31.2006 1:06pm
JohnAnnArbor:
It's not quite a direct parallel, but I still watch Polanski movies, too.

I wouldn't give that rapist a nickel.
7.31.2006 1:09pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
If we shunned every talented artist for holding anti-semitic views, we'd lost Dostoyevskiy, Hemingway, Eliot and Solzhenitsyn, to name just very few. To the extent that it's possible to divorce the art from the artist's personal shortcomings, it may behoove us to do so.

PS I apologize for implying Mel Gibson into the same breath as the four mentioned above, (except Solzhenitsyn, who is also a big hack).
7.31.2006 1:11pm
JohnAnnArbor:
(except Solzhenitsyn, who is also a big hack)

Yeah, sucks that he exposed Soviet crimes, huh?
7.31.2006 1:14pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Actually, what I was referring to John is that he (1) pinned his political credibility on his military service, regarding which he consistently lied; (2) lost his relevance when glasnost came along, but continued to harp on all sorts of shit, becoming this anti-fact Chomsky-like figure. (See the criticism by Voinovich - not George).

Also, my great-grandfather was in the GULAG with him and personally found Solzhenitsyn to be a big douche bag.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he just isn't a very good writer. He was great as a muckraker, in terms of the impacth he had. But his prose always sucked. There are much better books about the GULAG than "One Day in the Life..." The infatuation that the West once had with Solzhenitsyn can now safely pass I think. It's okay to say he is a bad writer - despite the fact that we once found him politically agreeable.
7.31.2006 1:20pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Frank, the CPUSA was a criminal conspiracy against the U.S. government because of the espionage that was a good part of the reason for its existence. My analogy to the Mafia was that the mafia engaged in both illegal and legal activities, just like the CPUSA engaged in legal and illegal activities. And just like it was appropriate to call in people with ties to the Mafia who hadn't done anything illegal, like Frank Sinatra, in the process of investigating the mafia, it was appropriate to call in CPUSA members who did not do anything illegal when investigating the CPUSA.

As for anti-Semitism, many years later, Paul Robeson deeply apologized for purposely covering up Stalin's anti-Semitic purges of the late 1940s; if he had publicized them, lives could have been saved.
7.31.2006 1:23pm
Kazinski:
Bellamy,
You are being naive. In "Dutch", Ronald Reagan's biography, it details the efforts of the stalinists attempt to control the screen actors guild and exert their influence on the industry. Reagan, himself a fellow traveler if not actually a communist, came to a realization their was an actual conspiricy to exert communist influence on Hollywood, and his career as an anti-communist began.

And from this Jack R. Fischel review of
Radical Hollywood By Paul Buhle and David Wagner:


...a number of them were also Communists who followed the directives from the Soviet Union. During the mid-1930's, they adhered to Moscow's support for the anti-Fascist Popular Front, in which the Soviet Union suspended its objectives of class war and revolution for cooperation with the capitalist democratic governments of the West against the growing threat of fascism and Nazism. This change in Soviet tactics enabled Communists screenwriters to not only support the New Deal, and ally themselves with political liberals in the fight against the economic royalists, but to also back the Roosevelt administration's fight in behalf of the have-nots of American society.


And I don't think I'm going out on a limb if I were willing to bet that the declassified soviet archives explicitly confirmed this relationship.
7.31.2006 1:25pm
marc:
JohnAnnArbor-- "I think he had a church built where they still do mass in Latin." The Gibson family etc may be in schism but Latin in se doesn't have anything to do with it. Latin remains the proper language of the Roman Catholic Church and the Second Vatican Council in its constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium mandated that most of the Mass continue to be celebrated in Latin: why things haven't 'worked out' like this is matter for another site (and, believe me, there are hundreds of them out there).
Pope John Paul II provided, also, for those who want to attend Mass celebrated in the older ("Tridentine"), pre-Second Vatican Council rite.
7.31.2006 1:27pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
whose only commonalities were that they had all joined the Communist Party for one reason or another

Oh, I get it they might have been good commies. I have no problem with anyone firing anyone because they are commies or libertarians or democrats or republicans. In almost all of the US, firing someone for their political beliefs is not unlawful discrimination. In the case of commies, it's probably a good idea. They can always write New York Times bestsellers and make big bucks.
7.31.2006 1:27pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Why is Gibson a "hack" again? This is Mad Max we're talking about, folks. If you're talking about films he directed, he also gave us Braveheart and We Were Soldiers. Hell even if you're judging him by one particular film that most people here seem to have a problem with, the guy directed it according to his own vision, funded it himself when no one else would, and wrote it in ARAMAIC! Exactly how does this make him a "hack?"

I assume this is the definition you're using: "A writer hired to produce routine or commercial writing." - dictionary.com

Doesn't apply to Gibson. Sorry.
7.31.2006 1:37pm
U.Va. 2L (no longer a 1L) (mail):
JohnAnnArbor: as marc points out, it's not just the Latin. The Mass can certainly be said in Latin, and even the Tridentine Mass is allowed. Gibson, though, is charitably described as a "traditionalist Catholic." His father is known to be a sedevacantist (from sede vacante, "the seat being vacant"), that is, someone who believes that every Pope after Pius XII has been illegitimate. The younger Gibson quite possibly shares those views, though it hasn't been confirmed.
7.31.2006 1:45pm
Seamus (mail):

The relevant distinction here is between Mel Gibson and Marlon Brando. Brando was clearly anti-Semitic, but he never tried to slip any Jew-hating scenes into the flick when he was playing Jor-El in Superman. So there was never a call for a Brando boycott.



So where did Gibson insert "Jew-hating scenes"? And please don't try to tell me that TPOTC was one big Jew-hating scene. No one who actually saw the movie would assert that, unless they were already inclined to think there were anti-semites lurking under every bed.
7.31.2006 1:48pm
abb3w:
As others have noted, there's some difference between membership in the American Communist Party, and agreeing with all of the platform they espouse. Just ask Joe Liberman, or the Log Cabin Republicans.

Furthermore, the concept of a blacklist is "here is a list of names; they cannot work." A list of names with specific reasons, which each studio might decide on a case by case basis whether or not to employ them, might be a slightly different matter.

I'll also note, peripherally, that I've been personally boycotting the work of Tom Cruise and John Travolta since 1997, ever since I finally got completely fed up with the Church of Scientology and the antics of its supporters. I don't expect others to. I have no problem with people who disagree, and want to see their movies. But I have not willingly gone to see their work in the theatre, have not bought any of their movies (new or used), and haven't even watched their dreck when it came on TV.

I don't think Hollywood studios should be dropping them until they have a measurable impact on theatrical releases. Of course, with the sort of dreck coming from there these days, that would be hard to tell. I haven't caught a single film this summer. I did pick up the Princess Bride on DVD, along with The Hobbit (it was $0.25; how could I not?). Meanwhile, Vernor Vinge has just released Rainbow's End in hardcover. No regrets about that spending decision here....
7.31.2006 1:51pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Why is Gibson a "hack" again? This is Mad Max we're talking about, folks. If you're talking about films he directed, he also gave us Braveheart and We Were Soldiers. Hell even if you're judging him by one particular film that most people here seem to have a problem with, the guy directed it according to his own vision, funded it himself when no one else would, and wrote it in ARAMAIC! Exactly how does this make him a "hack?"

Agreed, I’d also add “The Patriot,” “The Man Without a Face,” and “Ransom” to the list of great Mel Gibson movies. I haven’t seen TPOTC and have no desire to (I’ve known the story of the crucifixion since I was a small child and don’t need to see it reenacted) but from what I know if it, it sounds like it was made to look and sound as authentic as possible and the fact that he took a risk on it by funding the project himself is hardly the sign of a “hack.”
7.31.2006 1:54pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
The problem with sorting this out is that the histories of the last thirty years or so have been so overwhelmingly sympathetic to the Communists

I can remember as a child a little more than 30 years ago being told by my parents never to sign a petition, because it could come back to haunt you. Whatever the actual CPUSA details, a lot of folks thought Labor and Unions were deserving of support early in this century, and some thought the Loyalists were worse than the Nationalists in Spain. There was a lasting chilling effect.

There is a family story that my grandfather was arrested for "jostling" on the subway (c. 1920s) and at his hearing the cop noted "Well he was carrying {Communist newspaper}" (which he'd probably been handed on his way out of his shift as a skilled factory worker). Luckily the judge was a noted Socialist sympathizer (meaning pro-labor rather than Communist) and he asked the cop "Did he steal the paper?" and dismissed the case.

At the minimum, there is a lot of overlap in idea and sympathies between CPUSA and labor unions and things like the Rochdale Cooperatives movement. I'm probably not a good enough Objectivist because I think the worst thing about redistributist schemes is that they don't work. We used to quote "If you're not a communist when you're eighteen, you have no heart; if you're still a communist when you're twenty-one, you have no head."
7.31.2006 1:54pm
egn (mail):
<i>I assume this is the definition you're using: "A writer hired to produce routine or commercial writing." - dictionary.com

Doesn't apply to Gibson. Sorry.</i>

Fair enough -- how about "no-talent assclown"?

He's a serviceable actor, but I think everything he's directed has been stupid and boring, including, IMHO, "Braveheart"; I'd add that Gibson didn't direct "We Were Soldiers," which <I>was</I> actually racist, what with its reduction of Viet Cong deaths to a humorous sight gag.
7.31.2006 2:04pm
egn (mail):
Sorry about those HTML tags -- thought they were equivalent to hitting the button, but clearly not.
7.31.2006 2:06pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
To my knowledge, the Communist Party never acknowledged the Communist ties of those blacklisted in Hollywood and elsewhere. Instead, they played on non-Communist left sympathies by claiming a plot to suppress all left-wing activism, thus striking fear into the hearts of many potential petition-signers who generally had nothing to be afraid of. Outside of fictional Hollywood movies, how many documented examples are there of anyone being fired, blacklisted, or otherwise punished merely for signing some stupid petition, or attending some stupid rally? As far as I know, none. If there are any, it's terribly few.
7.31.2006 2:07pm
Drive By Comments:

I'd add that Gibson didn't direct "We Were Soldiers," which was actually racist, what with its reduction of Viet Cong deaths to a humorous sight gag.


When was the death of North Vietnamese soldiers a gag in "We Were Soldiers?"

I think the whole journal set of scenes with the otherwise anonymous Vietnamese soldier would play against that?

Or what about the opening narration by Joe Galloway, with the discussion of how everything going forward was a tribute not only to the Americans killed but the Vietnamese who "died by our hands in that place?"

And then there was the various attentions paid to racial tensions in the film, such as the "whites only" laundry scene among the women, or the Asian (Japanese, I think) soldier manning the mortar who is killed by misdirected napalm.

Likewise, at the end with the (fictional) charge and then the mowing down of most of the PAVNs, they made sure to show how shocked the American soldiers were.

I really don't see the supposed racism of that film.
7.31.2006 2:12pm
Pete Freans (mail):
Having read the initially reports, I think the whole situation is hilarious. Can you just picture a drunk Mel Gibson running away from the deputies, refusing to go quietly, and ranting politically incorrect statements? If that's not comedy, I don't know what is.

Incidentially, he also allegedly told the arresting officer that "he owned Malibu" and that he "spend all his money to get even with" them. Was that also a case of "vino veritas"? Does he really own Malibu? Do you think he intends to fulfill his vendetta using all of his fortune? And does that female officer he encountered truly have "sugar t--s"?
7.31.2006 2:12pm
frankcross (mail):
Did the committee ask Frank Sinatra: "Are you or have you ever been a member of the Mafia?"
7.31.2006 2:13pm
DClawer:
I'm glad someone else here is sticking up for Gibson as an artist. I'm far more interested in whether the Road Warrior is the finest apocalyptic movie made (it is) than Mr. Gibson's opinions of the Catholic Church. I went to Catholic school, and until today I had never even heard of sedevacantists.
Now I'll do my best to forget about those crackpots and start saving up to watch the next Gibson vehicle (as long as it's not Lethal Weapon 5--they jumped the shark with #3).
I don't fear being brainwahsed, since I find it hard to believe that Gibson's political agenda creeps into his films given the out-of-wedlock conception in LW#4, along with some pretty hot premarital sex in both #2 and #3. Although here's a thought: if Gibson doesn't like the Jews, how much more must he hate the British? (Braveheart, The Patriot, Gallipoli). And the South Africans? (LW2) Cops? (Ransom) Sexual deviants? (The Road Warrioor) Aliens? (Signs). I could go on, but perhaps people should keep their perspective about movie stars and remember that most stories have a "bad guy", and portraying the story on screen doesn't mean the actor/director/producer personally dislikes the group.
7.31.2006 2:13pm
Hemingway:
Hemingway . . . antisemitic??? Say it ain't so; you're hitting my namesake. What's the evidence (before I change my moniker)?
7.31.2006 2:18pm
cld:
Lethal Weapon people, Lethal Weapon!!!
7.31.2006 2:25pm
Michael B (mail):
Pete Freans, a tip of the hat, thank you for the (intentionally) humorous take, puts some things in perspective in a perfectly fitting and perfectly hilarious manner.

And the notes about hackery, without commenting upon Ari Emanuel's own slope-headed exhortation. Rich.
7.31.2006 2:33pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Mel's bizzare beliefs.

Mel is a traditionalist Catholic who prefers the Council of Trent to Vatican II. The Vatican these days sort of prefers the Council of Trent to Vatican II (though they still like the 19th Century Vatican I's Doctrine of Papal Infalability).

He's more in conflict with left wing US bishops who outlawed the Tridentine mass after Vatican II and have only slowly allowed it. The Pope is considering a general induit to allow any priest to offer all sacraments using the Tridentine liturgy.

He believes that the power of performing sacerdotal magic is a sex-linked characteristic, that women should cover their heads in church, and Latin should be used for most services. He is a liberal though -- his wife is an Anglican.

Nothing that almost all members of the Orthodox, Roman, and Anglican churchs didn't believe 45 years ago (and which a majority continue to believe today.
7.31.2006 2:44pm
fishbane (mail):
Wow. Gibson goes off on an antisemitic drunken rant and people talk about Michael Moore and how evil the commies were.

That's really cool. We just need some Hillary bashing, and maybe a little about the hippies to round this out.
7.31.2006 2:59pm
Richard Bellamy (mail):

To make the Communist analogy fairer, IF it turns out that Gibson belongs to an anti-Semitic organization, and IF it turns out that he intended to convey hostility to Jews in his movie, a boycott would be as justified as boycotting the Hollywood Ten for being active Stalinists.


Again, where are the pro-Communist movies? What are the anti-Capitalist diatribes by the Hollywood Ten and the other Hollywood hundreds? Citations merely to the occassional Communist writing "We were told to place Communist propaganda in our films" is completely betrayed by the utter lack of actual movies with Communist propoganda in it.

I await the analysis that the Senate Judiciary Committee's 1954 Report of "Comic Books and Juvenile Delinquency" has also been unfairly maligned, due to subsequent revelations about how comic books corrupted Phillip Roth.
7.31.2006 3:09pm
JosephSlater (mail):
This all reminds me of the fine James McMurtry lyric:

"I hadn't intended to bend the rules
But whiskey don't make liars, it just makes fools
So I didn't mean to say it, but I meant what I said.
Too long in the wasteland, must have gone to my head."

As intriguing as it may seem to try to divert attention from Gibson's despicable words with awkward comparisons to what an entirely different set of people did fifty years ago when faced with an entirely different issue, I would say that as to Gibson, we need to separate two issues:

(1) Consumer boycotts, and (2) refusals to work with him by other folks in the biz.

As to consumer boycotts, on the one hand, it's true that if we avoid the work of artists whose politics we find disagreeable, we'll miss a lot of great stuff: T.S. Eliot has been mentioned, and also Gibson's fine work in "Road Warrior" and "Gallipoli" (one of the better anti-war films out there). On the other hand, there's the "don't want to put more money in his pocket" idea, and the most recent "Lethal Weapons" sequels. As a proud and happy Jew, I'll probably still see Gibson movies if I think they will be good, even though I think he really is an anti-semetic jerk.

As to people not working with him, I think that's arguably different. Of course you don't always have to like your co-workers. But again as a proud and happy Jew, if I worked in Hollywood, I might not be comfortable working with him. I mean, even if he isn't a Holocaust-denier, that's setting the bar mighty low.
7.31.2006 3:09pm
Shangui (mail):
If Gibson had gone into such a tirade against Baptists would anyone care?

Probably not so much. You do realize that Jews and Baptists have had slightly different experiences in the 20th century, right?

This whole, "he was just drunk and let his tongue slip" thing really doesn't do it for me. I can see someone being drunk (and let's not forget that he was barely drunk here) and letting a simple racial slur slip out that they wouldn't ordinarily say, but to go on about the Jews being reponsible for the all the wars in the world etc. speaks of a much deeper belief in conspiracy theories (yes, I realize he was in a film of that name) based on Jews running the world. That's a different story. Also, these remarks need to be kept in the context of a guy who gives huge amounts of money to his father's pet causes. And his father is a very open and vitriolic holocaust denier. Gibson has conspicuously has refused to distance himself from this beliefs, saying "my father has never lied to me."

But I'll certainly agree that many others, from Jesse Jackson on should also be condemned for their beliefs in this area.

And I still loved Mad Max and Braveheart.
7.31.2006 3:17pm
Kazinski:
As bad as Mel Gibson's rant was I wouldn't boycott his films just based on his views, unless the films themselves contained objectionable material. Just like I don't boycott George Clooney, Barbara Steisand, or Alec Baldwin. Boycotting entertainers based on their views, on anything, might give them the impression that I care what they think.
7.31.2006 3:22pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Can you imagine Ted Kennedys rants on the early morning of July 18, 1969?? Hes bad enough when hes sober.
7.31.2006 3:35pm
CJColucci:
the Communist Party never acknowledged the Communist ties of those blacklisted in Hollywood and elsewhere.

What would you expect of the Communist party? As I remember it, the actual CP membership, at one time or another, of the Hollywood Hacks and Hams under scrutiny was a matter of common knowledge. But what, other than hold deplorable political views, did they actually do?
7.31.2006 4:00pm
BGates (mail) (www):
Frank - when does that happen?
7.31.2006 4:01pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Cmon..whos never had a little too much of Grandpas cough medicine and gone off on a drunken rant about the Jews,Cops,Niggers,A-rabs or whatever you really hate. He can't be that much of an Anti-Semite, he was the one poundin the nails into Christs palms for Christs sake.
7.31.2006 4:26pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
While it’s true that Hollywood didn’t generally make pro-Soviet movies, that wasn’t their mission. Their mission was block anti-Soviet films, and they did have success on this front. How many movies focused on events in the Gulag? I can only think of one: a 1970 movie One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Bear in mind that the book by the same name was published in the Soviet Union because it served Khrushchev’s purposes. The really stark horrors of the Gulag were invisible in Hollywood. For example they could have made a movie about the life of Victor Herman, an American who ended up in the Gulag and couldn’t get back to the US even after he got out! He wrote his story in a book called Coming out of the Ice, published in 1978 and now out of print. His story has all the dramatic elements necessary for a good movie. Nothing was ever made about the terror famine in the Ukraine. More people died there than in WWI, yet it’s invisible in Hollywood. There was a French movie Aveu, L’ (The Confession) that played in the US in 1970 dealing with the Slansky show trails in Czechoslovakia, but Hollywood hardly get credit for that.

Unfortunately a lot of people get their history from movies, particularly young people. The Oliver Stone movie JFK largely defines the public coconsciousness about the Kennedy assassination. The film is riddled with inaccuracies, and outright fabrications. Stone claims dramatic license, and he’s right, he didn’t claim to have made a documentary. The Hollywood communists were largely successful in their mission as they effectively kept Americans from getting any kind of negative picture of the Soviet Union at the movies.
7.31.2006 4:29pm
Witness (mail):
I once worked in the mailroom at Endeavor, and I feel confident in doubting that Ari Emanuel's call for a Gibson boycott is motivated by a genuine distaste for the man's alleged anti-semitism. "Apocalypto" probably has the same tentative release date as one of his client's star vehicles, and he's just making sure his client's flick opens unimpeded.
7.31.2006 4:32pm
josh:
wonder whether bernstein would feel the same way about boycotting gibson if gibson had defended hezbollah/hamas ...methinks not
7.31.2006 4:33pm
frankcross (mail):
There were pro-communist movies. They were the ones opposing Anti-Semitism and favoring equality for blacks. I have no defense for those who were communists, save for the possibility they were dupes. But HUAC had racist Anti-Semites who wanted to punish Hollywood for its Jewishness and civil rights films. It was an ugly story on all sides.
7.31.2006 4:33pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Hemingway:


http://www.bookslut.com/hundred_books/2003_07_000124.php
7.31.2006 4:35pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Frank, Stalinists in the 1940s and early 50s opposing anti-Semitism? The leading anti-Semitic governments of the era were the Soviet Union and its satellites. The Communists gave LIP SERVICE to opposing alleged anti-Semitism in the U.S. when it served Stalin's interests (criticizing HUAC, defending the Rosenberg's), but were completely silent about real anti-Semitic state violence in the USSR, et al.
7.31.2006 4:37pm
A.S.:
Over at the Huffington Post, Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel writes: [stuff about how somebody is anti-semitic and people need to do something about it].

Um, did anyone else see Entourage last night? Ari Gold (the character based upon Ari Emanuel) basically saying the same stuff?

Another example of life imitating art (or a very precient bit of realism by the Entourage writing team). Too funny!!!
7.31.2006 4:51pm
frankcross (mail):
David, look at the evidence. I don't question that the USSR was horribly Anti-Semitic. But the Hollywood 10 were mostly Jewish and produced movies like Crossfire that were morality pieces against Anti-Semitism. Indeed, some of them had previously come under attack for supposedly trying to provoke war with Nazi Germany.

As I say, I don't defend their affiliation with communism in any way, but don't blind yourself to the fact that they were targets, in part because Hollywood was considered so Jewish and that they were producing anti-racist, anti-anti-Semitic movies.
7.31.2006 4:58pm
JosephSlater (mail):
A.S.:

I saw "Entourage" last night, and I don't really get the comparison. Ari, in a moment of desperation, made an obviously weak and unsuccessful attempt to take something the Malcolm McDowell character said and twist it into something anti-semetic ("Master plan!" Did you hear that?") This fell flat. Exactly how is that like Mel Gibson saying a bunch of stuff that really was anti-semetic to a cop, for no reason at all?

Getting back to movie scripts, if I recall correctly, the screenplay for "Casablanca" was written by a leftist -- part of the point of that great movie was trying to justify U.S. intervention in WWII.
7.31.2006 5:07pm
A.S.:
Joseph Slater: OK, OK, so the comparison ain't perfect...
7.31.2006 5:20pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Professor Bernstein, not only were the Hollywood Ten members of the CPSU in the early '50s, when the US and USSR were unfriendly, they were also accused of being members of the CPSU during the early 1940s, when the US and the USSR were allies (and good thing, too, we'd never have beaten Hitler without Stalin).

That makes it a bit more complicated, doesn't it?

Or we could go back a little further, staying in Southern California, and consider Upton Sinclair, who may have been a dingbat socialist all his life but was not always a Stalinist, since he preceded Stalin by several decades.

So was it OK for the Hollywood studios to make fake movies -- as tendentious as anything the Hollywood Ten ever managed to slip into their scripts, or more so -- to discredit EPIC?

Coming forward in time, there are some hundreds or thousands of mosques in this country, each with one or more imams. As a worldwide movement, Islam is as murderous and antiwestern as Stalinism. Close down the mosques and see that the imams are deprived of their livelihoods?
7.31.2006 6:05pm
Seamus (mail):

wonder whether bernstein would feel the same way about boycotting gibson if gibson had defended hezbollah/hamas ...methinks not



I can't speak for Professor Bernstein, but I can say that there are those of us who are revolted by Vanessa Redgraves defense of the PLO, but don't mind watching her movies.

(The same goes for Jane Fonda and her defense of the NVA and VC.)
7.31.2006 7:18pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
There were pro-communist movies. They were the ones opposing Anti-Semitism and favoring equality for blacks.



In other words, they wanted to make sure that everyone would be enslaved equally without regard to race or religion.

How very progressive of them.
7.31.2006 7:22pm
CJColucci:
As they say, capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Communism is the opposite.
7.31.2006 7:54pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
The American Stalinists were anti-Nazi--until Stalin made a pact with the Nazis, and then that very day (while some left the party) they changed to being antiinterventionist and critical of Roosevelt for being too hostile to the Germans. When the Germans attacked the USSR, they became pro-intervention against. Forgive me if I don't see them as moral exemplars in the fight against Naziism.
7.31.2006 8:39pm
Toby:
Let's see. we have an infantile reversion when drunk to the way in which someone was brought up by someone who made one of the more complete and specific apolgies that actually cites the concept of shame (how un-Hollywood) and those who lurk ready for a reason to disagree with his politics and his business claim that this is the one true moment of his career?

I think they have been waiting around since the unsympathetic treatment of lawyers in Mad Max and are getting their revenge.

Why can;t I have my own unsupported snarky comments?

I think that someone who has worked to overcome their upbringing and slips is far more appealing than someone whose actual moral fiobre has never been tested...
7.31.2006 8:56pm
TDPerkins (mail):

Also, my great-grandfather was in the GULAG with him and personally found Solzhenitsyn to be a big douche bag.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he just isn't a very good writer.



Well he had the good fortune then to write what needed to be written.

"Oh how we burned in the camps..."

Leftism delenda est.

Yours, TSP, ml, msl, &pfpp
7.31.2006 9:55pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Frank Drackman wrote:

He can't be that much of an Anti-Semite, he was the one poundin the nails into Christs palms for Christs sake.


You're aware that makes him metaphorically a Roman, right?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
7.31.2006 10:19pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Frank Cross wrote:

"Indeed, some of them had previously come under attack for supposedly trying to provoke war with Nazi Germany. "

Betcha not after the Rinbbentrop Pact, not 'til Barbarossa.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
7.31.2006 10:22pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Professor Bernstein, moral exemplars are not always to hand when you need them.

My father and uncles fought against Hitler/Japan. I'm glad Stalin was fighting on the same side.
7.31.2006 11:53pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Let's see. we have an infantile reversion when drunk to the way in which someone was brought up by someone who made one of the more complete and specific apolgies that actually cites the concept of shame (how un-Hollywood) and those who lurk ready for a reason to disagree with his politics and his business claim that this is the one true moment of his career?

. . . . . .

I think that someone who has worked to overcome their upbringing and slips is far more appealing than someone whose actual moral fiobre has never been tested...


Well put. When it’s all said and done, Gibson will probably end up looking better than his most ardent critics.
8.1.2006 12:36am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
I think that someone who has worked to overcome their upbringing and slips is far more appealing than someone whose actual moral fiobre has never been tested...

The Noonan interview revealed that he's a Holocaust denier and he pointedly did not mention the anti-semitic remarks in the recent apology. This appeals to you? Different strokes.
8.1.2006 2:48am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Why is what Gibson does or says of any interest? He isn’t any kind of public intellectual or an expert on anything except perhaps movie making. Am I missing something?
8.1.2006 5:53am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
Zarkov: schadenfreude!

"Public intellectuals" and "experts" (as much as those terms describe movie critics and people who write for National Review and WSJ) peered deeply into Gibson's soul when Passion came out. Over and over again, they claimed he was not anti-semitic and the people who claimed he was were just trying to smear a well-known conservative filmmaker and movie star for making a movie about Jesus supposedly true to the Gospels. Since it's beyond obvious now that they were horribly wrong, it's a heckuva job, Brownie moment for everyone who ever defended him.
8.1.2006 6:25am
TDPerkins (mail):
"Noonan interview revealed that he's a Holocaust denier"

No. It didn't.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
8.1.2006 7:51am
Michael B (mail):
The Peggy Noonan interview is here. Stating he's a denier is a profound lie.

Following is the answer he gave to Noonan, concerning his father, including (in Noonan's question) a query about "some of the accepted versions of the Holocaust":

"My dad taught me my faith, and I believe what he taught me. The man never lied to me in his life. He was born in 1918. He lost his mother at 2 years of age. He lost his father at 15. He went through the Depression. He signed up for World War II, went off to Guadalcanal, got malaria and shot at and didn't like it too much. Served his country fighting the forces of fascism. Came back, worked very hard physically, raised a family, put a roof over my head, clothed me, fed me, taught me my faith, loved me. I love him back. So I'll slug it out until my heart is black-and-blue if anyone ever tries to hurt him."

It's a general defense and statement of love and respect for his father, he avoids the direct question concerning the holocaust, the shoah. By contrast, and immediately following, he renders his own response, vis-a-vis the holocaust:

"I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union."

And later, in a Diane Sawyer interview:

"Do I believe that there were concentration camps where defenseless and innocent Jews died cruelly under the Nazi regime? Of course I do; absolutely," he said. "It was an atrocity of monumental proportion."

Does he put it within the perspective of other atrocities? Yes. But unlike David Bernstein's (who is by no means as egregious as others) suggestion, placing the holocaust in the context of other genocides is not to be a denier, it's not as if he places it within the context of, for example, the Katyn massacre, where "only" twenty or thirty thousand were murdered. The context is suggests is - entirely - relevant and germane to the general history.

Suggesting Gibson fils is a denier is itself a lie based upon a construal of a quote ("The man never lied to me ...") which is taken out of the context noted above.
8.1.2006 8:31am
Michael B (mail):
Too, this, directly upthread, remains relevant as well.
8.1.2006 8:40am
Michael B (mail):
"... Stalinists in the 1940s and early 50s opposing anti-Semitism? The leading anti-Semitic governments of the era were the Soviet Union and its satellites." David Bernstein

Since this is being addressed, how about some commentary on the 1920s and 1930s vis-a-vis the same set of subjects? Firstly, there were in fact momentous movements in the Soviet Union against anti-Semitism, absolutely huge and central movements, originating from Stalin himself. Secondly, many of the those who populated high offices in the Soviet Union (including some of Stalin's right hand men, such as Lavar Kaganovich, though he's merely a prominent example in that he was extremely close to Stalin himself and wielded great power) were extremists of the first order, secularists and ideologically committed atheists, and Jewish. That is not at all to malign the "Joos," who suffered, as a group, decidedly more than other groups during that century, that is merely and more simply a prominent aspect of the 20th century and should be admitted as such - not treated as the seven ton elephant in the room.

The 20th century is a coat of many colors, some of them dark hues indeed. All of that history, to the extent it can be verified and substantiated, is perforce a part of the discussion - in a commensurate, proportional and balanced manner, certainly, but an aspect of the discussion nonetheless. The holocaust, the shoah, was the worst tragedy of the 20th century (other than, perhaps - only time will tell - the introduction of Hitlerian forms of anti-Semitism into the M.E.), but it wasn't the only tragedy. Additionally, not all forms of anti-Semitism are equal, there are mild forms on through to truly virulent and murderous levels, the most despicable and inhumane levels. That's the reality, those are all facts relevant to the entirety of the discussion.
8.1.2006 9:11am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
Why does the Holocaust need the "context" of other atrocities of the 20th century? "Some were Jews" is perfectly ambiguous.

But I know very well that you will never agree anyway, so I'm wondering what you, Michael, feel is at stake here. This nut drove drunk and ranted about how Jews start all the wars in the world. What's to be gained by propping up his name?
8.1.2006 9:19am
TDPerkins (mail):
"Why does the Holocaust need the "context" of other atrocities of the 20th century?"

Why do you think it is exclusive of them?

"This nut drove drunk and ranted about how Jews start all the wars in the world. What's to be gained by propping up his name?"

What's to be gained by trying to drag it lower than he already has?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
8.1.2006 9:35am
Michael B (mail):
Ship Erect,

No, I'm not "propping up his name," your general dismissiveness notwithstanding. I'm much more simply framing it in a manner that is entirely germane to some of the subjects which have been invoked herein and to the 20th century as a whole. Justice requires commensurate and balanced critiques, not totalizing dismissiveness and levelings, and not any "propping up," but rather a balanced and proportionate assessment.

"Why does the Holocaust need the "context" of other atrocities of the 20th century?"

Depending upon what is being addressed, the holocaust may or may not need to be placed within other, relevant contexts. It can be addressed for what it is, or, in another type of discussion, it can be addressed in a comparative or contextualized manner. It's not an either/or. Why do you feel the need to control or restrict all aspects of the general discussion?

It's a huge topic and all the different contexts it can be framed within (e.g., the 20th century as a whole, totalitarian movements, other genocides, including the Ukrainian genocide) are hardly irrelevant. I own four DVD and VHS documentaries alone which directly address or cover critical aspects of the holocaust, each takes a different approach, some of the approaches and subtexts are more contextualized, other aspects are far less contextualized and simply document and comment upon the holocaust in and of itself, virtually without reference to other contexts. They are all relevant to the overall discussion.

But again, why do you presume to occlude aspects of the overall discussion? Why do you feel contextualized aspects of the discussion need to be proscribed? I already explained, with the Katyn massacre reference, how some contexts could be irrelevant or misinformed or misleading or even indicative of a "denier," but that certainly doesn't serve to indicate that contextualized discussions in general are irrelevant. If you disagree, that may be fine, but forward a real argument, not unalloyed dismissiveness, which reflects your own mindset and prejudices, not anything substantial. For example, you could explain why any references to the Ukrainian genocide are irrelevant.
8.1.2006 10:23am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
Please, answering the question "Why is X?" with "Why is not X?" is not illuminating. When you have an answer for why the Holocaust can only be placed in "context" and cannot be studied without reference to deaths under other totalitarian regimes (thus minimizing the importance of the Nazis' systemized slaughter and particularly the reasons behind it), I'd be interested to hear it.
8.1.2006 3:13pm
CJColucci:
I was curious about the suggestion that Hollywood Communists prevented anti-Soviet movies from getting made. Most of them were actors or, worse, writers. How did they prevent movies from being made? You must have heard the old Hollywood joke about the starlet who was so dumb she fucked a writer.
8.1.2006 4:09pm
Michael B (mail):
I didn't evade a thing. Additionally you're insinuating and putting words in my mouth. Clearly I didn't indicate it could "only" be placed in context, in fact I unambiguously stated the contrary, even providing an example where "context" would be inappropriate. What I did indicate is that there are contexts nonetheless which are relevant. None of that minimizes a thing, nor is it intended to do so, in the slightest, your highly presumptuous tone and implications notwithstanding. And of course taking an aggressive, accusative line like that helps you avoid answering any questions as well, an indication you're not interested in a discussion, you're interested in making demands.
8.1.2006 4:28pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Ship Erect:

Ok, good answer, some of these things fall off may radar.
8.1.2006 5:41pm
Michael B (mail):
If expressing a positivist, self-congratulatory, sum certain "knowing" about what someone's words mean, after they've had far too many drinks in the first place, constitutes a "good answer," then slurpy cow dung is gravy. A contrasting and better grounded opinion was expressed upthread, quoting Rabbi Daniel Lapin:

"While it's certainly true that alcohol betrays inner thoughts, those inner thoughts are not for any human being to criticize," Rabbi Lapin said. "Only God should criticize our thoughts, and I don't know of anyone who doesn't harbor unworthy thoughts. My experience with Mel Gibson is that he's always been upright and honest and good with all his Jewish friends. In Judaism, we judge people by their actions — not what we think their thoughts are."

Of course, and now in a far broader context, the lineage that is the Left has very much succeeded in reversing that, not that malice and a facile and readily born contempt is a distinctively Leftist attribute, it's an all too human attribute, only that the Left succeeded in mainstreaming and habituating it and giving it a habitability in the social/political arenas of the 20th century. We continue to live in the wake of all that, in the wake of all the detritus and flotsam the Left has variously misused, abused and leveraged upon virtually any provocation which fails to meet their ever insistent demands. And for all that they congratulate none other than, themselves.
8.2.2006 9:46am
Chimaxx (mail):
So Michael B: Are you saying that the boycott of the Hollywood 10 was perpetrated by the left? Or are you saying that it was for their actions rather than what some assumed their thoughts were based on their affiliation with some organization.
8.3.2006 11:57pm
Michael B (mail):
Chimaxx, the implication being that it was the right who condemned and boycotted the Hollywood 10, for their "thoughts," rather than their actions? I won't deny your question has some merit, but I also think its merit is limited.

Firstly a caveat, I'm not sufficiently a student of the Hollywood 10 to venture an absolutely confident or decisive reply. I would not be a McCarthyite, if that was an aspect of what you were attempting to suggest. On the other hand I would have been an anti-communist, yes, in the vein of the Truman Doctrine at the outset of the Cold War, and in the vein of the Reagan Doctrine, at the beginning of the end of the Cold War and on through to the end, simplifying caricatures notwithstanding.

In terms of their (back to the Hollywood 10) thoughts, vs. their actions, I'd certainly agree with at least some of what you're implying: McCarthy's excesses and some of the other excesses of the period. On the other hand I might also have had at least some sympathy with some type of a boycott, not simply because of their "thoughts," but because -- unlike Gibson's out-loud thoughts while intoxicated (and in direct contrast to Rabbi Lapin's description, indicating that his "experience with Mel Gibson is that he's always been upright and honest and good with all his Jewish friends") -- they, the Hollywood 10, were sober minded in the choice of their ideology and as such that sober minded decisiveness inherently reflected not simply their "thoughts" but their deeper beliefs and convictions, and thus an inherent part of their person, i.e. their actions as conceived as a part of their very being and avowed social/political interests (v. Ronald Radosh's Red Star Over Hollywood).

So I think your question, while it has some merit, is ultimately something of a Bill Maher type of question, one that probes an inch or two below the surface of things, but little more than that since it doesn't take some critical qualities into account once we penetrate deeper still. Maher makes his living on that but it's meager gruel.
8.4.2006 10:37am
Delmar Knudson (mail):
I don't have a whole lot against a boycott. I think this would have satisfied Senator McCarthy.

I presume Vanessa Redgrave and Mel Gibson will both be boycotted.
8.4.2006 7:06pm