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David Poland

By David Poland

Checking Out On Gibson

After three days of this, I have made the decision – on the MCN side, along with my partner, Laura – to get out of the Mel Gibson DUI business until there is actual news and not just a bunch of people looking for someone else to quote for the next “EXCLUSIVE.”
I have made my position clear. I will respond as appropriate to the blog comments on existing entries. But enough is enough. (I’ve already written too much, really.) How much longer before we get David Hasselhoff and Danny Bonaduce on record EXCLUSIVEly on this incident?
I can’t really scream about all the shit kicking going on today because I have been a part of it. So, in a few days, my shoes may be clean, even if there is still some shit embedded in my soles. (Or is that soul?)
I wondered in The Hot Button today about all these media pieces fit together. And now, by instinct, I have my answer.
We have seen the enemy… and it is ourselves.
We in the media have too often become like children who won’t stop eating the candy until the cupboard is empty or we throw up. I just threw up.
ADDED, 12:08a, 8/1 Anne Thompson takes an honorable position on stopping the madness
ADDED, 12:18a, 8/1 – Proud moment for Slate… a serious web magazine…

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18 Responses to “Checking Out On Gibson”

  1. Campbell says:

    These considerations are why I respect and return to you, Dave.

  2. Wrecktum says:

    I think the only new news for this story is how the negative backlash will affect the roll out plans for Apocalyto. Aside from that, it’ll all be outrage, mea culpas and tongue lashings. Tiresome.

  3. Was any of this really “news” in the first place? Didn’t affect my day beyond a quick chuckle over the weekend.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    I’d say it’s news when a respected and wealthy artist goes apeshit and reveals himself as something of a racist. But I guess it depends on your definition of ‘news’. It won’t raise the price of oil any, for example, which is all that people are concerned about in the Middle East.

  5. Well what can I say? If it’s simply that Gibson is famous that you’re going to consider it “news,” that doesn’t compute for me. That’s pretty much hop-skotching the fact that all it is is “gossip.” The story broke on a gossip site after all, and now that site is being glorified here and there as “breaking” something of substance. So Harvey Levin is a lawyer with, assuredly, ties to the LA Sheriff’s Department. Good call on having a nice source, but whatEVER.
    Just because someone is a famous bigot doesn’t mean they matter more than the next bigot. They don’t to me anyway, but then I don’t own the press.

  6. jeffmcm says:

    Ah, but the difference is that this is a bigot who has had years of success and influence in determining what goes into peoples’ heads. Gibson matters a lot more than the guy on the street corner raving about Jews to himself and the five passersby he meets.

  7. If anyone “lets” something go into their heads because someone is pointing a camera at something, they deserve whatever’s coming to them.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think most movie/TV watchers are that savvy and aware about what they’re consuming.

  9. Wrecktum says:

    I also don’t think that Gibson’s body of work has been overtly bigoted enough to influence what’s going on in peoples’ heads.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    That’s probably correct, although just because something isn’t overtly and obviously racist, there can still be subtle reinforcement of peoples’ beliefs (i.e. the fag-bashing in Braveheart).

  11. jim emerson says:

    How is Gibson’s arrest not legitimate news — hilarious legitimate news?! First there’s his father; then there’s “Passion of the Christ” — a whole history of denials of anti-semitism in his life and in his work. And then he gets arrested, drunk, and what does he say?
    I look at it the same way I look at public figures (politicans, religious leaders) who are gay. It’s not relevant — unless they’re speaking out against gay civil rights. There’s a streak of bigotry running through Gibson’s films — he’s always denied it. But now it’s on record, with police officers as witnesses. This is called karma, payback. And it’s news.

  12. David Poland says:

    I think the arrest was news, the language was news, the comment from Disney was news, the cancellation of the TV movie was news…
    What isn’t news, in my opinion, is the endless minor points made by people jockeying for position. And that is why we have posted two more stories since this went up… and why we won’t be doing daily round-ups of every silly little position paper on the issue.

  13. EDouglas says:

    While I think it’s honorable to stay out of this one, I also don’t think that Mel Gibson should be allowed a free ride on this. Granted, the guy is one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, but no one should be allowed to be as beligerent and openly racist as he obviously is, especially after the denials of anti-Semitism in Passion (which for my money was fairly insulting to the Jewish race).
    The Jewish junkies in rehab will get their revenge in the showers, I’m sure.

  14. Richard Nash says:

    It is legitimate news. A star getting arrested is legit news. It’s not war. It’s not murder but it is certainly newsworthy.

  15. David Poland says:

    The NEWS is legitimate news.
    The GOSSIP is not legitimate news.
    The arrest, the career issue, the apologies… all news.
    Eveyrone’s opinion and jokes… not news.

  16. palmtree says:

    Mel’s apology was accepted by Foxman. Now, if he didn’t issue the second apology, he’d probably still be in deep water, but it seems that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hollywood needs Mel more than he needs them.

  17. Lota says:

    thanks for letting me know about the second apology [Palmtree] (didn;t read any news today). went & read it, and whew, maybe Mel has hit rock bottom, realized he was the Grinch with a heart three-sizes too small, and maybe really will reform enough we see less “Passion” politics, more Road Warrior (but Dry).

  18. THX5334 says:

    Oh man, it’s just disgusting the way the cable news channels are regurgitating this thing with talking heads for ratings.
    MSNBC is just offensive with it.
    It is a testament to the power of celebrity, I guess. Or maybe more to the idea, that Mel is seems to be one of the last great ‘Movie Stars’ we have/had and (not to mention that little Jesus movie he made) so his cultural capital carries more weight than say if Jamie Foxx committed the same offense?
    I didn’t really expect this story to get this grossly big. If the media keeps bludgeniong us with it, the backlash against Mel might turn back to his favor?
    Also, if Mel is the alchoholic they say he is, then I imagine he was pretty blacked out when all this happend. If I was his PR people, I would be hammering home how damagin alchoholism is, and what a blackout really is, and how he really had no clue what he was saying/doing.
    A blackout does not excuse the emotional underpinnings that made Gibson make those comments, but anyone that has suffered with real alchoholism in their family knows that when someone is experiencing a true blackout, there is no formative lucidity, logic, rationality or any kind of upper conscious thinking skills at work.
    Nope, that person is really checked out, and pure unadulterated negative emotions are running rampant.
    That’s the damage control angle I’d be pushing if I were Gibson’s people.
    And with that, I’m done with this one too.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon