A few readers have written to ask what my take is on Mel Gibson's recent drunken anti-Semitic tirade. I don't think I have anything new to say on the topic. I wish there were something funny in here, like when Seinfeld suspected his dentist converted to Judaism so he could make Jewish jokes, and when asked if that offends him as a Jew, he answers, "No, it offends me as a comedian." I wish I could say Mel Gibson offended me not as a Jew but as an alcoholic, but that's not that hilarious (or true).
Here's what's on my mind: People like Mel Gibson's famous (and Jewish!) friends who are saying he is definitely an alcoholic but he's definitely not anti-Semitic. As if the label will be his undoing, not his actions. Here's what I have to say to you: As long as people do dirty things in the name of religion, then try to excuse their behavior in the name of alcoholism, or vice versa, we will continue to be a nation/world/people/whatever divided. The word "religion" will continue to be a dirty word to many, and the idea of faith as something necessary and positive and personal will continue to rankle.
I will, however, point you to Bill Maher's take on the situation, which actually made me think. In true Maher fashion, his kicker:
Mel, let me remind you: The Jews have not started all the wars in the world. But they have greenlit all the movies.