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Passion Fodder

Mel Gibson goes for a drive. Also: Values are all around. Teddy K. once more. Plus much else.

8.2.06

MEL OF A MESS
Re: Clinton W. Taylor's Braveheart's Tequila Sunrise:

Having just read Clinton Taylor's article, "Braveheart's Tequila Sunset," I feel as though I have been injected with a new sense of hope that there are still clear-headed thinkers among our society who can actually use their intelligence to sort through significant events of the day. In the lop-sided and often predetermined reporting of news by a clearly leftist media, it almost seems as though no one really thinks for themselves anymore, but mindlessly suck down the reconstituted pre-arranged gruel that is constantly dished out by the daily news. Clinton's process of examination and consideration of the real issues underlying Mel Gibson's arrest and the surrounding events are refreshing, and a reminder to all of us that the events that march across our television screens and blare at us from the headlines, are not always accurate or factual. Instead, and sadly in a lot of cases, they are a clear bending of the facts and a sort of journalistic fantasizing by the ratings-hungry and media power mongers who would call themselves members of the fourth estate, but who are, in reality, nothing more than mind-police, who tell us what they want us to think happened, and as if that were not enough, go on to tell us what to think of what they think.

In particular, I enjoyed Clinton's tongue-in-cheek premise, "If one tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth when snockered, then perhaps our courts ought to require witnesses to demonstrate a sufficiently elevated BAC to testify." In dismissing this suggestion correctly as a very stupid idea, we would have to then go back and apply this same logic to the instant situation that was reported on. This is precisely what we all should be doing, i.e., taking the findings of an unbalanced media and carrying out these premises to their logical conclusions. It is only then we would dismiss them as completely preposterous, but it seems that today's average American thinkers don't customarily get that far. Heck, it would mean they would have to shut off the TV and ponder amongst their own thoughts for a bit. In today's media-driven, politically correct, "don't offend anyone" society, it's just not popular to express one's personal opinion, (or even actually have one, for that matter) especially if it reflects one's own often repressed and deeply-held beliefs.

It has become an extremely painful event to become a subject of the evening news. Instead of objective and accurate reporting of events, the media today seems more intent on beating the ratings game, leaping to foregone conclusions, and destroying anyone who dares to hold sway to personal beliefs and feelings that do not coincide with their own liberal bent. It is disgusting, irresponsible, and loathsome, that because of media focus and attention, people are often convicted in the court of public opinion long before they ever see a courtroom. But whose fault is that? The mainstream media mixologists who routinely concoct our daily cuisine, or the ones who so eagerly line up to gulp and swallow it all? Mel Gibson had defied the establishment for a long time, and has been hugely successful without their help or intervention. For that reason, the media-driven court of public opinion has long been spring-loaded against him, only waiting for a purely human mistake in order to unleash the forces of media hell against him.

I am told that most DUI defendants, upon seeing a video of their drunken behavior, rarely ever challenge the DUI charges in court, for obvious reasons. What we must all remember regarding this incident is that someday it might not be a Mel Gibson on that video, it might be one of us. It is then we would recognize the obvious flaw of judging a person's entire character on the basis of a singular unfortunate event.
-- Bill Cassada
North Port, Florida

I will admit to being a movie buff, mostly pre-1960 ones and an avid fan of film noir. I will also admit to being a fan of Mel Gibson, one of the very, very few of contemporary actors I do like, so his recent brush with the law and the self-righteous element of Hollywood is a little distressing (but not much). Mr. Gibson is far from perfect, as we all know. What he has done in his film career, especially recently, seems to be counter to what he does in his private life. He has a problem with alcohol and, yes, he may even feel the way he talked but compared to the rest of the Hollywoodheads, he's a saint. There is no excuse for his excesses or his behavior, that is true, but there is a point where it has to get so he, himself, can address his problem. Now, he may very well think as he talked and that is unfortunate but also it may very well cause him to reflect upon that also. Mr. Gibson is a professed Christian and made a movie about the life of Jesus at his own expense. He is a sinner like all of us and he admits to that. That is attested by this recent event. However, unlike the Hollywoodheads, who are condemning him, Mr. Gibson is contrite about his failings, understands his problem, and wants to change it. That is more than his detractors are willing to do about theirs, so I am willing to give him a chance to show his repentance and wish him luck in overcoming the demons that have taken over his body.
-- Pete Chagnon

Sounded like Martin Riggs on speed to me. Not attractive, but let's keep our eye on the ball here. Gibson is an artist and artists spend a lot of time in pain. Who knew that he thought it was the Jews? He has acknowledged it was socially unacceptable. If he is really burning that much inside about the Jews, that will be its own punishment. This is exactly why we have organized our society the way we have -- so that a very rich, successful person is just another schmoe. Although I like Mel as an actor, the joy of the U-S-of-A is who really gives a damn what he thinks?
-- Greg Richards

I really think you ought to inform Mr. Taylor that Christopher Hitchens is not a man of the left any longer. Taylor seems to be not only confused about the anti-Semite Gibson, but about the ideology of Mr. Hitchens. It seems Mr. Taylor is uninformed and quite myopic. Mr. Taylor's Christianity seems to get in his way of making clear and succinct judgments that are so very apparent. You really ought to find another person to write about Gibson's anti-Semite family and beliefs.
-- E. A. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I couldn't agree more with Clinton Taylor. After all, if saying something anti-Semitic brands you an anti-Semite, then Hillary Clinton is an anti-Semite for calling Paul Fray a "F****** Jew B******." She's also a racist for her sick Gandhi joke, and don't forget her plantation crack at the NAACP dinner this past January. And she wasn't even drunk!

I'm not defending Gibson, but I find people's intolerance of Mel hypocritical. His sin wasn't his drunken tirade but his sobering movie The Passion of the Christ.

We all wished Patrick Kennedy well last May (he received kid glove treatment). I wish the same for Gibson and, especially, his family. They must be suffering as well.
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York

Why didn't the jackals of the press create such an inquisition-like furor with Patrick Kennedy with his DUI and slurs at the airport? Mel has been a marked man since he made the Passion. I can't believe he was off guard enough to get sucked in.
-- Tommy Burleson
Allen, Texas

By now few remember the name of Paul Fray. He was a (former) campaign manager for then Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton. While Clinton was as good a campaigner as he has at parsing words and deeds (lying), he didn't always get away with lying, and he didn't always win elections. Such was the case when managed by Mr. Fray.

Some of us will even recall the interview on television with a very sober Paul Fray recalling the very night of Clinton's loss of the governorship, and Hillary Clinton's non-drunken outburst at the culpable Mr. Fray: "You F****** Jew B******!" Several witnesses reported seeing and hearing Hillary hollering those words, not drunk, but possessed with that "anger" she is famous for.

But the same apologists for Clinton are nowhere to be found for Mel, whom may have a problem that needs intervention. But the apologists failed to intervene with Hillary's husband, who had a similar problem.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

I agree with Mr. Taylor in a lot of what he said, not defending Mr. Gibson's behavior, but the flaw within man that arouses these types of scenarios to occur. But what I do find interesting and typical from the Hollywood condemnation is that they are eating their own when it serves a purpose to smack down anyone they feel is bigger than they should be.

Although Mr. Gibson has had many choice words about current administration woes (Bush), he was inextricably aligned with the Right when The Passion of the Christ was released and it reflected a moral Red State core that clearly contradicts the Left's secular views. So Mel became a target for them, and has likely remained one for various reasons known only to the hypocritical thinking of the Hollywood Left.

All the psycho-babble insight provided by such outstanding experts as Entertainment Tonight and the agent Emanuel on this type of psychosis is more than enough proof that when you are targeted, whatever means possible is justified. And I think most Americans know that stars rarely, if ever get preferential treatment...and the media is not liberal leaning either. So the uproar over a possible quieting of the exact circumstances falls on deaf ears for most, as star after star has been given the benefit of Hollywood doubt and the public is continually fed why this one or that one needs help and understanding...just not if you are Mel Gibson.

He made money telling a story Hollywood no longer sees as anything but simple-minded in its belief of a greater being and accountability, which is always at odds in Hollywood anyway. But again this uproar is about Mel Gibson and putting him in his place, not really what he said, that was just icing on the cake.

And to prove the point, how much outrage over his actions would there have been if he had gone off on Conservatives, Evangelicals or Bush again for that matter...none. Or better yet, if this had been George Clooney instead of Mel.

I personally like his maverick style and believe he is true to his craft, disappointed in his actions yes, but he knows better and that is half the battle. And as far as damaging his career, well seeing as he is in the last quarter of it and the fact that he is mostly independent and he still makes lots of money for his movies...Hollywood needs to get over itself.
-- Peter Todd

Well the MSM are having a ball with what Mel Gibson said when drunk, but where is their shock over what some of the Democrats have said about President Bush and America when they are supposedly sober (never sure about Kennedy being sober).
-- Elaine Kyle

VALUING VALUES
Re: Paul Chesser's Values Apply to All Issues:

I think Mr. Chesser misses the boat entirely. His use of the word "unintentional" makes that clear. There are two things certain about the media. As representative of that media I will allude to the Palm Beach Post. It is a newspaper run by Democrats; for Democrats and is lazy. Any time they can get an incendiary quote from self-appointed spokesperson for any religious group they will get it. You can count on Pat Roberts and Jerry Falwell to be at least that. They are newshounds and will say anything to get time on TV or column inches in newspapers. Palm Beach has hundreds of religious leaders. Each of them would have an interesting and probably less inflammatory viewpoint of things. Why not interview them?

Because somebody has to find them; get their phone numbers; take the time to call and then convince each that the purpose of the call is not a character assassination. The other "spokespersons" call them!
-- Jason Brutus Kane
Wellington, Florida

I want to thank you for doing exactly what you accuse everyone else of in your column "Values Apply to All Issues." My favorite sentence was, "But go to your local evangelistic Christian church on any Sunday and ask the politically aware (few are, sadly) what their chief concerns are about the country, and the answers will be little, if any, different from what you hear from anyone else." Thank you for 100 percent missing the boat. It seems you are just as ignorant as the rest of the media/pundit/Hollywood crowd when it comes to what your average Christian is thinking. I don't mean that as insult but as a sad fact.

I attend a small Baptist Church just outside of Houston, Texas. We have a nice cross section of America who attend -- blue collar, white collar, young, old, poor, and wealthy, engineers, police officers, teachers, secretaries, sales people, machinists, mechanics, ditch-diggers etc. In the three and a half years I have been a member of this congregation I have never had a discussion with anyone about, Issue No. 1: Do I have the promise of a job to provide for my family? No. 2 (and closely related to No. 1): Can I afford in the current economy to meet my family's needs? Never, not once and I am usually there three or four days out of the week. I lead a ministry and serve in other capacities. (When I am not there I am out pounding the pavement to make a living.)

Here's a slice of recent discussion topics. Gas prices, we grumble and gripe but what can you do. The war in Iraq, it stinks but it is necessary. There is usually someone in the military on our prayer list each week. We are always praying for our troops. We know it needs to be done. Iran, why haven't we destroyed the mullahs? We know they have caused most of the problems in the Middle East since Carter. Why haven't we bombed them into the Stone Age? Why haven't we done the same to Syria? I know, I know, how can you say that and be a Christian. You see, we who aren't so "politically aware" know that without freedom we will be back in the arena fighting off lions. We know the consequences of Iran nuking Haifa, or Tel Aviv. We also know Iraq, Iran, N. Korea, Syria, and Hezbollah are all connected and the sooner they are dealt with the fewer lives lost.

These are actually rare conversations. We don't go to church to solve the world's problems. We go to praise and worship Christ our Savior. To fellowship and serve. To love our God with all our might, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We don't always do a good job, we screw up a lot but, we don't stop trying. We all have a sinful nature, but Christ has made it possible by His death on the cross that we may be saved. He died for all of us. You, me, and even the mullahs our job is to accept, to have faith, to surrender to him. If we don't nothing can save us and we are then truly dead.

I am linking your article to my blog.

Thanks,
-- Larry Hicks

Mr. Chesser might have gotten off to a better start had he not misidentified James Dobson as Reverend. Dr. Dobson has on numerous occasions attempted to clear up this misconception but apparently Mr. Chesser chose instead to "monolithically follow a tired reporting template" and passed along the same inaccurate information the mainstream media does. This might suggest he does not know as much about James Dobson as he thinks. Secular critics of evangelicals make these kinds of mistakes all the time because they aren't really interested in understanding folks who take their Christian beliefs seriously, they seek only to discredit them when they disagree with them.

As to the perception by the "broader news-consuming population," why is that a concern to anyone? I am interested only in what God thinks of my choices not in what a cross-section of Americans thinks. Ultimately, I am not accountable to them. Evangelicals have diverse views on any number of topics just like everyone else. However, just like everyone else, we often must make difficult choices and determine which issues are the most important. That does not make us ignorant or unaware of other concerns. For example, many of my evangelical friends and I view the war in Iraq and illegal immigration to be serious problems that need to be addressed. However, we also recognize that if we don't protect the lives the unborn and the elderly and take measures to protect marriage our families are imperiled. Nothing is more important than protecting these institutions because they are foundational to any healthy society. When faced with a smorgasbord of political choices, what criteria does anyone use when casting their vote? If forced to make a decision between a candidate who is refuses to protect life but is fiscally conservative and one who is solidly pro-life but fiscally profligate I will vote for the latter every time. Not all issues carry equal weight. I do not desire having to stand before the Almighty and defend my decision to place the protection of my temporal material assets ahead of the lives of innocent victims of abortion.

I don't recall seeing any representatives of Planned Parenthood or GLSEN being interviewed as experts on the War on Terror or illegal immigration on CNN or Fox. No one seems to be concerned that no one from their organizations has "appl[ied] their worldview to everything that concerns mankind." The reason why conservative Christians or people from liberal advocacy groups appear on network news shows is because they represent a viewpoint germane to the subject matter being discussed during a particular news segment. It is doubtful that the perceptions of anyone are changed simply because someone who does not share their core beliefs can articulate their worldview in broad terms in another venue. Few politicians care about their constituents' worldviews, they merely pander to the concerns of those they think can get them elected to office.
-- Rick Arand
Lee's Summit, Missouri

There are simply too many instances where that evangelical view is real, and not a "misquoted" view...

Like the clown from California who wants to ban that RU-485 (or whatever the number), the "Morning After" pill -- James Dobson's warped buddy Randall Terry of dubious Operation Rescue fame, who would ban all contraceptives... among others, like the people who called for the removal of a Where's Waldo book from a library 'cause there was a picture of a cartoon woman on a cartoon beach going topless while on her cartoon tummy?

No, sir -- these are real instances worthy of note -- and the fact that Dubya's very first veto was not about spending, but was about stem-cells?

That's scary!
-- Geoff

Paul Chesser's "Values Apply to All Issues" offers a peek into the defining challenges of our time. A forward-moving nation cannot progress without guidelines and boundaries that both promote and, at the same time, limit the exercise of human sovereignty. To the rampaging political left, however, free speech means pornography while freedom to assemble is taken as a right to riot over global trade. Thus "values voters," once the heart of America, today are part of an essential behavioral brake on Constitutional abuse and the corruption of liberty. In abortion-crazed Europe, for instance, birth rates are so low that populations are plummeting and their societies are lurching toward demographic crisis. So are "moral values" ultimately not in keeping with the natural order that sustains us?
-- Steve Nikitas
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

ISLAMIST VIOLENCE
Re: Jeremy Lott's Why Not Kill This Man?:

It's not enough that Moslems love killing their own wives, sisters, mothers and daughters to salve some imaginary family honor, they have now taken honor killings to new depths by shooting and killing women in Seattle that work for Jewish causes. Give that Islamic warrior an eagle feather for bravery in the face of women!

Goes to show, Moslems fight hidden among children, are strong shooters against women and children, shoot missiles at civilian targets and are given explained-away cover by Media and politicians. Even left-wing Seattle-ites haven't the moral fortitude to call it straight: Outright murder.

And everyone wonders why the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair lawn, New Jersey

DICTATOR GAMES
Re: Daniel Freedman's Catch-22 Dictatorships:

This is a very interesting point because we watched something similar happen during the cold war. All a dictator had to do to get flooded with U.S. dollars and military aid was to proclaim himself in danger of a communist revolution. If he stole from and murdered his citizens, we looked the other way. We made a lot of policy mistakes that we're paying for today.
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

TEDDY HAYMAKERED
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Dear Senator Kennedy: Resigning to Reform:

Wow, what a great comeback in response to Ted Kennedy's article written in the Washington Post. You hit everything right on the money!

I just wanted to tell you what a great job you did with this article. God forbid anyone who believes this evil man, Ted Kennedy.

I hope you have a blessed day on Tuesday!
-- Craig Walser

Jeffrey Lord must be a boxer. He KO'd the worthless Ted Kennedy and the more worthless Democrats first with a left-hand uppercut writing, "For the record, it is your party -- not mine -- that has supported slavery, segregation, and every form of racial division it is possible to create since the very formation of your party."

He then takes out the bum with a hard and fast right with, "The very fact that America needed civil rights legislation at all in the 1960s is because your party actively sabotaged the same Republican legislation a hundred years earlier -- subjecting African-Americans to decades and decades of racial terror for nothing more than political gain."

Man...even I winced at that one. Must have hurt!

Now, how about a card with you and a supposed ex-boxer, Sen. Harry Reid? I've got good money to put on that one.
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

As a hostage of the Kennedy machine in Massachusetts, I want to thank you, thank you, thank you for running Jeffrey Lord's response to the insane drivel Ted Kennedy opined in the Washington Pest -- uh, Post. I've written to the senator several times, suggesting that he step down before he falls down, to no avail, alas. Conservatives are mere mosquitoes in Massachusetts. But Lord did the deed royally. Beautifully. Factually. Undeniably. Any chance you can get it into the Pest? Or, better still -- into the Boston Glob? Thank you, thank you, thank you...
-- Judith Lawson
Essex, Massachusetts

I heartily support your expose on the rheumy faced drunkard Senator from Mass. I personally cannot understand how this murdering coward continues to get elected to the Senate.

Keep up the good work, the American people approve.

R.I.P. Mary Jo Kopechne...we will NEVER forget.

Respectfully,
-- Joe White
Long Branch, New Jersey

Are you my better? Now let me see.
You are rich and a Kennedy.

The best looking one you used to be,
But to remember that takes a long memory.

Pampered, spoiled, but you weren't always.
Things were pretty rough in your prep school days.

But you cheated at Harvard, and they had to expel
The pompous young man whose exam didn't sell.

Two big brothers paved your way with their lives,
And the unworthy youngest even now survives.

No wonder you're riddled with uncontrollable guilt.
You drink far too much and you pull up your quilt

To destroy the soul-destroying eternal cries
Of Mary Jo Kopechne as she dies.

With this sad dinosaur I sympathize
This pathetic survivor will not again rise.

Tell your tale to St. Peter, I strongly advise,
And ask for forgiveness for all of your lies.

For all of your righteousness how do you sleep
With the dark experiences you still keep

Buried inside a secret place
To your inner self's complete disgrace?

And although you think you're better than me,
I'd not want to be you through Eternity.
-- Mimi Evans Winship

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